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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Calls for Definitive Response to Burma’s Military Offensive

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 29 September ( The international humanitarian agency, based in the United States, which has a 60-year service history and works in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, Church World Service (CWS) is calling on the United Nations Security Council to respond definitively to the offensive of Burma’s military dictatorship against its civilians, including the forcible displacement of more than a million people and the destruction and relocation of more than 3,000 villages in eastern Burma.

A UN Security Council meeting on Friday, September 29 will be the first time the council has addressed the increasing deterioration of Burma’s civil life.

"This humanitarian nightmare has gone completely unaddressed by the U.N. Security Council and is one of the world’s least known," said CWS Executive Director and CEO John L. McCullough.

It was to the credit of the United States, after pushing for one year, the issue of Burma was put on the Security Council agenda which will be debated Friday, September 29. The Security Council is expected to take some far reaching decisions.

A forthcoming report from Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), of which CWS is a co-founder and an active partner, indicates alarming figures of 470,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), 82,000 of them displaced by war or human rights abuses in the past year alone.

The Church World Service CWS) says that since the end of 2005, Burma’s military junta has escalated attacks against civilians, in particular against the country’s Karen ethnic minority. In early April, the ruling military junta attacked villages in Ton Oo and Yong Lay Pin townships, burning villages, destroying food supplies and committing atrocities. Up to 20,000 people have been driven from their homes in eastern Burma in this latest brutal "anti-insurgency" campaign, and some have been tortured and/or killed, reports CWS.

Some observers believe these are the most serious attacks since 1997. Burma apparently is attempting to clear the territory east of Burma’s new capital city of any ethnic armed groups, including the Karen National Union, along with ethnic nationalities’ civilians.

Church World Service is calling for:

- The U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution requiring Burma’s military regime to stop attacking ethnic nationalities. The longer the Security Council waits, the more villages will be destroyed and the more people will die.

- The U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, to publicly condemn the latest attack by Burma’s, or officially known as Myanmar, ruling military junta on ethnic nationalities in eastern Burma.

In the past, the CWS says, Burma’s military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has destroyed, relocated or forced abandonment of 232 villages, bringing the total to 3,077 in the last decade. About 95,000 IDPs currently live in hiding in the jungles, while 118,000 IDPs currently reside in "relocation sites." 257,000 IDPs are currently in "ceasefire areas," says CWS.

Founded in 1946, Church World Service is the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States. It works in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries. CWS works worldwide to meet human needs and foster self-reliance for all whose way is hard.

More than 20,000 people in Bangladesh – particularly women – are taking part in savings and credit programs, learning new skills, and improving their food security, with CWS help.

In Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab provinces, women and men are learning about HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and are sharing what they learn with others in their communities, under the leadership of CWS.

Access to clean, drinkable water is a problem across much of Malawi, and CWS is helping to provide wells and training villagers in their maintenance. The CWS has implemented the same program in Cambodia.

The organization maintains close contacts with foreign economic assistance agencies of the United States government in coordinating its programs in all continents.

- Asian Tribune -

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