Trade with Burma doesn't help country's suffering people

[This letter to the Editor appeared in the 1999 February 21 issue of the Edmonton Journal.]

As a Burmese pro-democracy and human rights activist, and also a close associate of Aung San Suu Kyi, a 1991 Nobel peace laureate, I would like to express my appreciation to Tracy Morrow for her Feb. 15 letter, "How can we justify business with Burma?"

The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have documented many of the abuses of human rights committed by Burma's military regime, including the fact that duly elected members of parliament are subject to arrest and detention without legal trial.

Due to the mounting evidence of its complicity with the drug trade, Burma's junta has been called a "narco-dictatorship" by the U.S. State Department.

Burma is one of the largest suppliers of opium, and most of the heroin in Canada comes from Burma. Given this history, we are deeply troubled that military regime is being sustained by economic engagement with some of the companies who are concerned only with their profits at the expense of the sufferings of the people inside the country.

The claim that investments into Burma are meant to stimulate the economy is easily disproved by the fact all the money just ends up in the hands of the military junta.

We strongly urge Canadian corporations to kindly stop existing investments or abandon future decisions to invest there, in light of the worsening repression of human rights and democracy in the country.

Alice Khin Saw Win, Edmonton

Date last changed: 2007 September 25

Burma Watch International, 533 Buchanan Road NW, Edmonton, AB CANADA T6R 2B7
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