Statement by International Karen Organisation
The International Karen Organisation condemns the military coup on 1st February. We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners and an end to arrests of human rights and democracy activists.
The International Karen Organisation supports the growing calls in Burma since the coup for a boycott of military companies. We call on all Karen people in Burma and overseas not to buy products from military companies.
At the same time as the coup, once again Karen people are fleeing for their lives as Burma Army bombs drop on their homes and villages. The bombs and bullets fired at Karen people are paid for in part with the profits from military owned companies including Mytel, Myanmar Beer and many other products.
As the report on the economic interests of the military by the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar has exposed, the Burmese military owns many companies making many products. These companies help fund the Burmese military and fuel conflict.
If we as Karen people buy things from Burmese military companies, we are giving our money to the same people who have attacked our villages, driven us from our homes, killed our family members and forced hundreds of thousands of us to seek sanctuary in countries all over the world.
We call on the international community to take action against the Burmese military for their crimes, including referring Burma to the International Criminal Court, to impose a UN Global Arms Embargo on Burma, and impose sanctions on Burmese military companies.
At the same time, everyone in Burma can also impose their own personal sanctions on the Burmese military by not buying from Burmese military companies. We all have the power to hurt the military by decisions we make at the shop or the market.
By boycotting Burmese military companies, we can reduce the money the Burmese military have and so weaken them. Boycotting Burmese military companies is a new weapon we must use in our struggle for human rights and a truly democratic federal Burma.
Central Executive Committee
International Karen Organization (IKO)