The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned the Burmese military junta's violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrations by Buddhist monks and opposition protesters. According to human rights groups, Burmese government forces killed as many as two-hundred protestors and arrested more than a thousand. The U-N Human Rights Council is urging the Burmese government to release all the people detained and is calling for an independent investigation of the human rights situation in Burma.
Portuguese Ambassador to the U-N Francisco Xavier Esteves submitted the Burma resolution on behalf of the European Union. He says the U-N Human Rights Council could not remain silent about the shocking events in Burma:
"The European Union expressed solidarity with the Burmese people and its admiration for the demonstrations by monks, nuns, and other citizens who are exercising their rights for peaceful demonstration and freedom of speech. They should know that the international community is listening to their protests."
U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met Burma's military ruler General Than Shwe. But the repression continues. Nighttime arrests continued during and after Mr. Gambari's visit to Burma. The highest ranking U.S. diplomat in Burma, Shari Villarosa, says her staff visited several monasteries and found some of them empty, while others were surrounded by Burmese troops.
In a statement before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel said, "our approach over the past few years has focused on building international pressure on the regime to engage in a truly inclusive dialogue with the democratic opposition, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and with the ethnic minority groups, leading to a genuine political transition from military rule to civilian-led democracy. This is what Burma's democratic opposition has said it wants."
The United States is calling on the Burmese government to cease its violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, and begin a genuine dialogue with the Burmese people, including opposition groups. "Every civilized nation," said President George W. Bush, "has a responsibility to stand up for the people suffering under dictatorship." That includes the people of Burma.