Leaders of Burma groups have developed effective ways for westerners to support Burma and the Burmese struggle. Here are a few of the best ongoing campaigns and projects. These campaigns make a difference in the lives of Burmese inside Burma and in exile.
SHARE THE RESOURCES: GIVE MONEY / RAISE MONEY
Join and donate to both national and local organizations. Local support groups are doing important work such as informing local media, putting on events and talking with Congressional representatives. Many groups working on these issues are in need of funds for the simplest things. Your dollars will go a long way.
Shan Women's Action Network
SWAN has a small staff working directly with girls from Burma who are caught in the sex trade. Fund go directly to help girls in prison, to provide emergency medical care, and other immediate needs. International money order should be sent to:
GPO Box 79,
Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand
Coalition Against Prostitution and Child Abuse and Trafficking
CAPCAT has a list of local Thai organizations working to stop the sex trade in Thailand. Visit their web site for this list:
HELP RATIFY THE WOMEN'S RIGHTS TREATY
This treaty establishes a minimum set of standards for combating discrimination against women. It has been ratified by over 165 countries, but not the United States. For direct action in support of this treaty:
SUPPORT A US. CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION ON TRAFFICKING
http//www.captive.org/Actions/OtherGroupActions/GSNaction.htm#Global Survival Network Action
SHOW THIS FILM
This film is a valuable resource to help you spread the word about the recent history and current situation in Burma. Gather a small group of friends in your home, school, church or temple. Show the film and encourage a discussion.
Tell your friends how they can help: become a sponsor, write letters to lobby for change, or make a donation to an organization of their choice. Even a few dollars goes a long way.
ORGANIZE A BENEFIT FILM SCREENING
Organize a fundraising benefit by screening of the film SACRIFICE at your school, church, community center, or public library. It is easy to do and a great way to raise money and educate others about human rights issues in Burma.
Here is a step by step guide to organizing a benefit screening:
SCHEDULE A SPEAKER
Many activists are eager to speak publicly on these issues. Find a speaker who is well-informed, lively, and leaves the audience feeling empowered. Or organize a panel of speakers discussing different aspects of Burma: human rights violations, environmental destruction, culture, history, religion, medicine, art, travel, etc. Find a space in your school, church, temple, library or community center. Publicize the event.
ORGANIZE A RADIO SHOW
Contact your local radio station. Talk to a producer and suggest a show on Burma issues. Recommend that they feature a local activist or a member of the Burmese community. Lend the producer a copy of the film SACRIFICE to stimulate their interest and give them background on the issues.
HELP EDUCATE LOCAL STUDENTS
Local middle and high schools need to be educated about current issues in Burma. Contact your local Burma support group and identify an appropriate speaker, perhaps someone with a slide show to present or a film to screen. Encourage discussion after the presentation. Suggest ways the students can get involved, such as fund raising, sponsorships, and letter writing campaigns. These activities help students feel empowered and let them understand how they can influence government policy.
Learn more about Burma so you can educate others and take effective action. Following are some of the best resources on Burma.
Films and Videos
Books, Articles and Newsletters
THE BURMA FUND
THE BURMA PROJECT
BURMANET SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:
COALITION AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN
COALITION TO ABOLISH SLAVERY AND TRAFFICKING
COALITION AGAINST PROSTITUTION, CHILD ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING (CAPCAT
COALITION AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN
EARTH RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL
End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes
FREE BURMA COALITION
GLOBAL ALLIANCE AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN (GAATW)
GLOBAL FUND FOR WOMEN
Circle Against Sex Trafficking
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH/ASIA
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH/ WOMEN'S RIGHTS PROJECT
KAREN NATIONAL LEAGUE
KAREN HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP
The democracy movement in Burma is urging people to support their efforts in various ways. A Free Burma movement organizes actions intended to weaken the stronghold of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) on the people of Burma. What follows are ways to educate yourself and to help free Burma.
SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE OF BURMA'S MINORITY PEOPLE
Burma has more than 100 ethnic minority groups, many which have been involved in long term struggles against the oppressive regime. Some ethnic nationalities have signed cease-fire agreements with the regime, but to no avail. They continue to be brutally oppressed by military troops and suffer gross human rights abuses.
Visit the Orchestra Burma web site to learn more about the struggles of the ethnic people in Burma. This site is dedicated to representing both political and non-political organizations working for democracy and human rights from inside Burma.
PRESSURE FOREIGN COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS IN BURMA
In 1997 the US government passed economic sanctions on new investment in Burma. However, those companies involved in business ventures before1997 are untouched by these sanctions.
The largest US company invested in Burma is the UNOCAL Oil Corporation. Along with their French partner Total Oil, UNOCAL has built a natural gas pipeline running from the Andaman Sea through Burma to Thailand. The construction of this pipeline has resulted in massive human rights abuses, including forced labor, forced relocation of villages, widespread rape, and murder by government troops hired by UNOCAL to protect pipeline construction.
Burma Forum LA
Burma Forum LA
For more information on UNOCAL, their role in these massive abuses, and what you can to help stop them, contact the Burma Forum. The Burma Forum site includes information on pipeline abuses, action alerts, current events and other information US company investment.
8124 W 3rd Street
LA, CA 90048
Telephone (323) 653-4571
Fax (323) 653-4581
HELP THE ACTIVISTS
Learn more about issues surrounding Burma and what activists are doing to help. Visit the Free Burma web site to learn who is doing what around issues that concern you, such as AIDS, abuses by oil companies, drugs, the environment, refugees, women and grassroots activism. Sign up for the various list serves and get the latest information emailed to you. Join in on the discussions.
Free Burma Site
Free Burma Coalition (FBC)
The Free Burma Coalition (FBC) is a loosely based umbrella organization for local Free Burma groups. The FBC provides information and resources to help local groups be most effective. To find out about a group in your area and the FBC.
Free Burma Coalition
P.O. Box 19405
Washington, D.C. 20036
ENCOURAGE YOUR CITY TO BOYCOTT ABUSIVE COMPANIES
Modeled after legislation introduced during the antiapartheid movement, activists nationwide are getting legislation passed to prohibit their city, county or state from signing contracts with companies with business ventures in Burma. To learn more about this legislation and how you can get involved, visit:
HEAR FROM DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the National League for Democracy elected representative is the inspirational leader of Burma's democracy movement. Although, her ten year house arrest was lifted in 1998, her life has been threatened by the ruing junta in Burma, making her travel inside Burma nearly impossible.
Read Aung San Suu Kyi's speeches and see why her strong Buddhist belief and Gandhian values have given hope to the Burmese people.
Learn about Burma from the most comprehensive and current source "Burma: Country in Crisis". This online and hard copy resource was prepared by the Open Society Institute's Burma Project. The report contains 12 Burma Backgrounders on history, human rights, ethnic groups, heroin, Asian security, refugees, women, environment, economy, foreign investment, tourism, and health and education. Each backgrounder ends with a short list of resources for further information. The on-line version will be regularly updated.
Open Society Institute - Burma Project
400 W. 59th St.
NY, NY 10019