Sunday, December 14, 2008

60th Anniversary of UN Declaration of Human Rights

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day (10/12/2008)

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day (10/12/2008)

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day (10/12/2008)

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day (10/12/2008)

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day (10/12/2008)

60th Anniversary of Human Rights Day (10/12/2008)

On the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Burmese and solidarity groups held a demonstration at the Myanmar/Burma Embassy 19A, Charles St, London W1J 5DX (10/12/2008). There is no justice, freedom or respect for human rights in Burma. The protesters called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma. Ignoring international calls the regime has sentenced many more political prisoners in the last month to sentences as long as 65 years.

For details of Political Prisoners in Burma:
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)

Over 200 Asian Legislators urge UN Sec-Gen to travel to Myanmar, secure release of all Political Prisoners

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Amnesty International Human Rights Day London Event

Amnesty's 60th Anniversary of the UDHR

Amnesty's 60th Anniversary of the UDHR

December marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On Saturday 6th December, Amnesty International asked people to gather together in hundreds of locations around the world, holding up a light and forming the shape of the iconic Amnesty candle. The images captured sent a strong message of solidarity around the world, and showed our commitment to making the basic human rights articles laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago, a reality for us all.

In London 30 AI groups held up a group-made banner representing one of the articles of UN Declaration of Human Rights, with a photo of from around the world of a person not lucky enough to be afforded that particular right. Barnet and Enfield Amnesty group had chosen Aung San Suu Kyi as somebody who does not enjoy the rights for this day. They held up a placard for article 7: "All are equal before the Law". Aung San Suu Kyi clearly does not enjoy this right in Burma as she is now in her thirteenth year of detention. Her party was elected in 1990 with 82% of the vote, but the corrupt Burmese military junta refused to recognise the result of the election that they had organised. Now they propose new elections in 2010 that are far from democratic as the military will retain absolute control and Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from standing in the new elections. Clearly the Burmese junta is intent on continuing to ignore Article 7 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights: "All are equal before the Law", despite Burma having signed it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Santa Boycott's Total Oil at Marylebone Rd

On 3rd December 2008, Santa Claus assisted by some merry elves, boycotted the Total petrol station at Dorset House, 170-172 Marylebone Rd, London. French Total Oil had been very bad all year, funding the brutal military regime in Burma with approximately 500 million dollars a year. Many passing taxis, buses and other motorists beeped their support for the boycott.

Whilst French Total Oil had profited all year from high prices and the misery it caused in Burma and elsewhere, Santa hoped people would remember just how totally disgraceful a year it had been for Total:

In January a French court made French Total Oil pay a large share of €200 million in damages to civil parties for Europe's largest oil tanker disaster. The Erika tanker disaster suffocated hundreds of miles of Atlantic coastline killing or injuring 300,000 sea birds. The court said Total, the world's fourth largest oil group, had failed to take into account the age of the ship and deficiencies in its maintenance. This carelessness had a "causal role in the sinking and, as such, provoked the accident", the judge said.

In October Total Oil was found guilty of price fixing. The European Commission fined nine firms that had been fixing the price of paraffin between 1992 and 2005. French Total Oil was fined 128.1million euros (the 2nd largest fine of the firms involved).

In December Total Oil faced criminal charges over Buncefield, Europe's largest peacetime blaze and the UK's largest peacetime explosion. Total is facing three charges — failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees; failing to protect persons not in their employment; and causing pollution to ground water in the vicinity of the plant. In October Total finally gave up 3 years of ridiculous denial that they were only liable for damages within 451m of the explosion, putting residents through years of "unnecessary struggle". Ironically Total's partner in Buncefield is Chevron (known as Texaco in UK), the same partner as in Total's Burma Yadana gas pipeline. Chevron and Total are arguing over responsibility for Buncefield : "Chevron, which owns 40 per cent of Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd. claims that Total alone should be responsible for the damage claims, on the grounds that the French company controlled Buncefield's employees and day-to-day operating procedures. "Total proposes that the focal point of the current litigation should be to ensure that Chevron, its joint venture partner, properly faces up to its responsibilities,'' the company said."

The Burmese have long suffered from Total Denial, but let's hope Total doesn't manage to get away with it for much longer in the UK and the Buncefield victims get total satisfaction in 2009.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

24 hour Hunger Strike/Fast for Burma's political prisoners

From Indymedia:

From 9am 26th November to 9am 27th November Burmese held a 24 hour hunger strike/fast in Parliament Square, London. Burmese Muslims, Buddhists and Christians all held prayer services for political prisoners in Burma. The brutal Burmese military dictatorship has recently sentenced student leaders and democracy activists to 65 years in prison. The Burmese were calling on UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma in December.

The event was sponsored by the NLD-LA UK ( - National League for Democracy is Aung San Suu Kyi's political party) and supported by Women of Burma - UK, Burmese Muslim Association, Burma Democratic Concern, Rep of NCUB, International Buddhist Monks Organisation and representatives of Burmese ethnic groups and other solidarity groups. The Burmese wore white (or white arm bands) as the prison uniform in Burma is white. Many Burmese visited throughout the day. Passers-by kindly signed a petition that was handed in to 10 Downing Street by the Burmese.

Sadly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has just said he won't even visit Burma, despite being invited by the regime and a December visit being suggested for months.

The military junta in Burma has sentenced at least 215 political activists, monks, nuns and journalists during November, bringing the total number of political prisoners sentenced since last year's uprising to at least 384.

• Activist and famous comedian Zarganar, who had been organising relief supplies to survivors of Cyclone Nargis, received sentences totalling 59 years.

• Prominent Buddhist monk U Gambira, leader of the All Burma Monks' Alliance, who played a leading role in last year's Saffron Revolution, was given sentences totalling 68 years.

• Twenty-three members of the 88 Generation Students Group, who led the protests against fuel price hikes in August last year, including Min Ko Naing, were given sentences of at least 65 years each.

Ban says he won't go to Burma because there has been no progress, but it is his job to ensure progress happens. He won't bring change to Burma sitting behind a desk in New York. He must go to Burma and negotiate change, including the release of all political prisoners.

On 10th December the UN will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration proclaims "the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." Surely the best way to celebrate the declaration would be for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma and at least try to obtain the release of Burmese political prisoners.

TAKE ACTION: please fax/email Ban Ki-moon asking him not to abandon Burma's brave democracy activists to spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Download a message to fax at:
Or send a message via email:

40 Burmese Dissidents Given Prison Terms of up to 65 Years

Burmese Online Petition Request for Release of Political Prisoners in Burma


More Photos of 24 hour hunger strike/fast for political prisoners event:

Full Article on Indymedia with more photos