Myanmar’s monks urge EU to bring junta chief to court

June 18th, 2008 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, June 18 (DPA) The European Union (EU) should use their meeting in Brussels Thursday to back a call to bring Myanmar’s junta chief to be tried in the international court for crimes against humanity, Myanmar’s activist monks said in a statement Wednesday. “We request the EU to bring Than Shwe, leader of Burmese (Myanmar) military junta, before the International Criminal Court to be tried for his crimes against humanity, as recommended by the European Parliament,” said the All Burma Monks’ Alliance, one of the driving forces behind the monk-led anti-regime demonstrations held in Yangon last September.

The alliance also appealed to the 27 heads of state from the EU Council “to assist Burma’s democracy movement led by detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”.

Thursday, the day the EU council gathers in Brussels, also marked Suu Kyi’s 63rd birthday.

She will celebrate her birthday in her Yangon family compound where she has been kept under house detention in near complete isolation for the past five years.

Myanmar’s military regime on May 27 extended Suu Kyi’s house arrest for at least another year.

The junta, headed by Senior General Than Shwe, drew international fury for its brutal crackdown on Buddhist monks last September and more recently for its callousness in handling disaster relief for some 2.4 million people affected by Cyclone Nargis, that smashed into the country’s central coastal region May 2-3 leaving at least 133,000 people dead or missing.

Although Myanmar has accepted international aid, during the first two weeks of the cyclone catastrophe, authorities placed tight restrictions on granting visas for foreign relief experts, apparently concerned that an inflow of foreigners might affect their national referendum held May 10 and 25 to endorse a new constitution that institutionalises military rule in the country.

“The Burmese military junta has used the devastated situation of the people of Burma after the attack of Cyclone Nargis to consolidate its grip on power, and to exploit the generosity of the international community for its own benefit,” said the All Burma Monks’ Alliance.

“Some international actors assume that this is the time to save the lives, not to talk about the politics. Some even think that any harsh words or actions against the generals will jeopardise their humanitarian effort,” the alliance said.

“This is totally wrong, morally, principally and practically. The Burmese military junta and their policies are responsible for all bad things happening in Burma, all the crises overloading the shoulders of the people of Burma,” it added in its message to the EU Council.

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