Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Human Rights Abuses in Burma (part 5)

Neglect of the people-The SDPC, as the only military dictatorship in today’s world, has very little, if any, expertise in running a country and instead concentrates both its efforts and resources on suppressing the Burmese people and carrying out ethnic cleansing against minorities. This distribution of resources is a human rights abuse in itself; the regime currently spends 50% of its budget on the military and just 2% on health an education combined[1]. Economic mismanagement has left 75% of Burma’s population below the poverty line living on less than 60p per day. Infant mortality rate currently stands at 76 deaths per 100 live births whilst the under-five mortality rate stands at 107 deaths per 1000 live births; one of the worst situations in South-East Asia. The regime has done nothing to counter this and has made no attempts to provide clean water and agriculture to once-prosperous areas now suffering from malnutrition and Cholera. In fact, the regime is actively hindering the situation. Whilst 60 000 people, 1.3% of the population is now infected with an ever more out of control HIV/AIDS epidemic[2] the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been forced to pull out of Burma. The Global Fund left on the basis that restriction imposed on their activity by the regime had left their aims impossible and arguably a waste of resources. Aid workers are not allowed to leave Rangoon without three weeks notice and even then areas of ‘military operations’ such as the genocide in the Karen region are off limits. Although UNAIDS and Medicines Sans Frontiers still have clinics in Burma, helping the people neglected by the regime, both are restricted especially in the limitation imposed on medical staff coming in from abroad. The regime has deemed all aid work an “interference”, leaving the remaining projects in danger of being forced to pull out.[3] After the 2005 Tsunami the regime refused to let in aid workers and put the number of dead at 300 despite UN estimates in the thousands.
This highlights the regimes disgraceful neglect of the people, and concentration on oppression and maintaining control whilst the country is racked by disease, poverty and malnutrition.

[1] Burma Campaign UK
[2]National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (in exile)
[3] BBC World News-Asia Pacific

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