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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2740

Photo exhibition depicting rampant human rights violations in Burma

London, 14 July, (Asiantribune.com): A new photo exhibition on Burma will open on Monday 16 July depicting the rampant human rights violations in Burma at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event is being hosted by British MEPs Timothy Kirkhope and Geoffrey Van Orden in cooperation with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and the Euro-Burma Office.

The exhibition will showcase the work of photographers Philip Daly and Toby Madden. Their pictures highlight a number of human rights issues related to Burma including landmine victims, refugees on the Thai side of the border, and the plight of Burma’s internally displaced population.

Burma is ruled by a military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which has one of the world’s worst human rights records. Over 1,200 prisoners of conscience are detained in Burma today and subjected to horrendous forms of torture.

Burma’s democracy leader, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is in her 12th year of house arrest.

Burma has the highest number of forcibly conscripted child soldiers in the world, and is perpetrating a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its ethnic minorities, particularly the Karen, Karenni and Shan people, who are featured in the photo exhibition. Since 1996, over 3,000 villages in eastern Burma have been destroyed and over a million people internally displaced. In the last year, the Burma Army has mounted the worst offensive against civilians in Karen State in a decade, displacing more than 27,000 people. Forced labour, rape as a weapon of war and the use of human minesweepers are widespread.

Philip Daly, based in Cork, Ireland, accompanied CSW and Irish TD (Member of Parliament) and former MEP Simon Coveney on a visit to the border in November 2005. His work has been exhibited across Ireland and in Europe. “I hope that these photos will allow others to experience a little of what I saw during our visit to the Thai-Burma border: a humble and courageous people living out their lives under extremely difficult circumstances,” said Daly. “They have endured this situation for far too long. Events like this exhibition should not only serve to raise awareness, but also to challenge us to find an effective way of responding to this ongoing tragedy.”

Toby Madden, who works out of London, visited the Thai-Burma border with CSW in 2006. Commenting on the exhibition, he said: “This is an important exhibition shedding light on a situation that has gone on for far too long. My time spent on the border showed such huge displacement and hardship, but never without hope or courage.”

Benedict Rogers, CSW’s Advocacy Officer for South Asia and author of A Land Without Evil: Stopping the Genocide of Burma’s Karen People, will speak at the reception. He said: “This exhibition is a vital way of raising awareness about Burma’s long-forgotten suffering people. We are deeply indebted to the two photographers for their outstanding work, and grateful to Timothy Kirkhope and Geoffrey Van Orden for hosting this exhibition. We hope that it will make an impact on all who come to see it, be they political decision-makers, aid organisations or the media, and that they will then be moved to act.”

The exhibition will run until the European Parliament closes for summer on July 18.

- Asian Tribune -

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