The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

27 September 2007

The State of Burma

Since an army coup overthrew Burma's last democratically-elected government in 1962, military-run or dominated regimes in Burma have been among the world's worst violators of human rights. An already serious level of abuses climbed higher after the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) (renamed the State Peace and Development Council in November 1997) seized power in September 1988. The junta removed all pretence of civilian administration and marked its arrival by massacring thousands of unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in Rangoon and other Burmese cities and towns.

Today, says Amnesty International, "torture has become an institution" in Burma. Reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other groups have repeatedly detailed a gruesome litany of abuses, including murder, torture, rape, detention without trial, massive forced relocations, and forced labor Even before 1988, Burma's army faced allegations of serious human rights abuses, especially in its campaigns against ethnic groups along the country's borders. These severe violations continue today. (from the Burma Campaign)

The Buddhist monks are standing up against the regime. They may be suppressed, when their bravery will live on. Or it may be the spark that brings down this illegal, corrupt government… and brings freedom to a nation impoverished by those who rule it.

Support the pursuit of human rights by the Burmese in Burma. Join in one of these campaigns:
The Burma Campaign UK:
BurmaNet (USA):

Aung San Suu Kyi is the legitimately elected leader of Burma (in the last free elections that were held) and a Nobel Peace Laureate, who has been under house arrest or imprisoned since then by the Military Junta that took power. Visit her website at

Information on the state of human rights in Burma
These are world’s two major human rights organisations and the information they provide on Burma:

Amnesty International
The AI report on human rights in Burma:
The AI website (although Burma is not one of its major campaign themes):

Human Rights Watch:
The HRW Burma file:
The HRW website:

The Wikipedia entry on human rights in Burma (which has a listing of organisations concerned with the subject:

Transparency International has just published its 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index. This places Burma/Myanmar bottom equal with Somalia at No 179:

September 28th 2007: wear red or pink
A campaign was organised on the internet to wear red shirts on 28th September 2007 in solidarity with the human rights protestors in Burma.

On the same day, the Breast Cancer Campaign asked everyone to wear pink:


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