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U.S. Statement on Burma

Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Geneva
Human Rights Council Special Session
Geneva, Switzerland
October 2, 2007

Thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity -- to address what the US feels is an imperative -- to address in this Council the escalating crisis in Burma. Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma, we have watched in horror as the regime has reacted with brutal violence to the peaceful expressions of its own people. Democratic activists, Buddhist monks and nuns, students, journalists, ordinary people all asking to be heard.  Instead of dialogue, they have been beaten back. The pictures fronting newspapers worldwide tell it all: the Burmese government has been violently repressing arresting, beating shooting and killing its own people and a Japanese journalist in order to preserve its unearned power. While the junta remains unyielding, the people's desire for freedom is unmistakable.

The serious unrest caused by the junta's actions further hinders its ability to deal with existing situations that have significant regional impact. Such crises include narcotics, other forms of smuggling, human trafficking, the spread of infectious diseases, regional insurgencies and refugee flows, creating regional security issues.

How many people must die; how many lives must be wasted in prison; how many injuries must be sustained for the military junta to stop acting in its own interests and start listening to the Burmese people and nation?  In the recent days, we have heard the calls by many nations for the junta to stop the violence which it has unleashed against peaceful protesters, release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and begin a genuine dialogue with those who want democracy and with ethnic minorities.  The ASEAN Foreign Ministers' statement of September 27 expressed the "revulsion" that we all feel toward the violence and the repression exacted upon the Burmese people.  We must support their legitimate demands for human rights and freedom.

The United States urges all countries, particularly Burma's neighbors to use every effort to persuade the regime to end the violence and permit a peaceful transition to civilian, democratic government and in so doing help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom.   Last week President Bush, announced that the US was imposing additional targeted bilateral sanctions against the Burmese leadership to help bring peaceful change to Burma.

The gravity and complexity of the crisis in Burma also demand that all parts of the UN system play their roles in seeking an end to the violence and a peaceful transition in Burma.  We welcome the Secretary General's decision to send Special Adviser Gambari to Burma and hope that the Burmese regime cooperates fully with him and with Special Rapporteur Pinheiro to establish a genuine political dialogue among all parties that can lead to a civilian, democratic government.  The first step should be the release of all those detained in the recent demonstrations as well as all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. The US will also continue work to address Burma in the UN Security Council as the misrule and abuses of the Burmese regime pose a threat not only to the Burmese people, but to peace and security in the region.

Thank you.



Released on October 2, 2007

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