Letter to Kofi Annan from the Canadian Activist Groups and Friends of Burma

September 18, 2003

H.E. Kofi Annan
Secretary General
United Nations
New York, N.Y

Your Excellency,

As you are well aware, Burma is presently in the midst of a severe political and humanitarian crisis that calls for immediate international attention.

Over three months have passed and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains held in detention and incommunicado. Little is known about her whereabouts or her health and well-being. Despite strong condemnation and criticism from the international community in response to her incarceration, resulting from the May 30 2003 attack on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy movement, the generals in Rangoon have refused to release her.

For this reason we, undersigned organizations, the supporters of the pro-democracy movement for Burma based in Canada and individual friends of Burma, are writing to you with an urgent appeal to take strong actions, including economic sanctions to resolve the crisis in Burma. In order for economic sanctions to be effective they must be imposed by a coalition of nations from around the world.

It is clear that the SPDC is incapable and unwilling to begin a transition to democracy. The regime's sheer contempt for world opinion is appalling. It is inconceivable that the SPDC can violently suppress the democracy movement in Burma and incarcerate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and democratic leader. Such brutal acts are causing the devastation of the pro-democracy movement resulting in the continued oppression of the people of Burma at the hands of this unelected military junta that is a world renowned human rights abuser.

We believe the time has come for the United Nations to take more concrete actions for the realization of a peaceful settlement for all peoples in Burma. International solidarity campaigns have helped bring peace, stability and democracy to such place as South Africa, East Timor, Cambodia, Sierra Leone and many others. Therefore, we would like to see the same strong actions implemented for the people of Burma who have bravely suffered alone from over forty years of military rule. It is the responsibility of the international community to use every instrument in its power to protect the safety and livelihoods of all citizens of the globe and to ensure that all people are able to live in peace, freedom and dignity. We feel that the United Nations is the most appropriate and effective channel to bring justice to Burma. Therefore we, undersigned organizations and the concerned citizens of the world, implore Your Excellency to consider the following recommendations:

1. To urge the SPDC to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally.

2. To call upon the military junta to honour the results of 1990 general elections.

3. To bring Burma's grave crisis to the attention of the United Nations Security Council in order to immediately assert UN political intervention.

We look forward to a response to this letter and immediate action to help resolve the crisis in Burma.

Yours sincerely,

Shareef Korah
Executive Director
Canadian Friends of Burma


1. Canadian Friends of Burma (Ottawa)
2. Burma Watch International (Edmonton)
3. Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation for World Peace (Edmonton)
4. Canadian Auto Workers (CAW-Canada)
5. Canadian Union of Postal Workers
6. Primates World Relief and Development Fund
7. Burmese Students Democratic Organization (Toronto)
8. Svend Robinson MP- Burnaby Douglas ( New Democratic Party of Canada)
9. Judy-Wasylycia-Leis MP- Winnipeg North Centre (New Democratic Party of Canada)
10. Comité de Solidarité Birmanie (Montreal)
11. Canadian Human Rights Foundation
12. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
13. National Union of Public and General Employees
14. Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada
15. Canadian Karen Community (Vancouver)
16. Rahim Jaffer MP- Edmonton-Strathcona (Canadian Alliance)
17. Mon Unity League (Calgary)
18. Calgary Burma Roundtable
19. James and Janis Myint Swe (Sarnia)
20. Victor Biak Lian (Moncton)
21. Peace Magazine
22. Freedom Quest International
23. Free Burma Coalition of McGill University (Montreal)
24. The Sleeping Giant (Thunder Bay)
25. Burmese Students' Democratic Organization (Vancouver)
26. Regina Friends of Burma
27. Inter Pares
28. Ethical Action Trading Group
29. Canada Asia Pacific Resource Network
30. Peacefund Canada
31. Rotmon Hongsa (Toronto)
32. Toronto Burma Roundtable
33. Patricia Elliot (Regina)
34. Mining Watch Canada
35. Penny Sanger (Ottawa)
36. Clyde Sanger (Ottawa)
37. Murray Thomson (Ottawa)
38. Bayu Wicaksono (Indonesia Public Defenders Association)
39. Antoine Nouvet (Ottawa)
40. Yavar Hameed (Ottawa)
41. Kyaw Moe (Journalist- Ottawa)
42. Ontario Public Interest Research Group (Carleton University, Ottawa)
43. Ed Hudson Friends of Burma Newfoundland and Labrador ( St. John's)
44. Cambodia League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (Licadho)
45. Aleta Cooper
46. David and Cathy Downham
47. Cho Youth Association
48. Chin Human Rights Organization
49. Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma (Toronto)
50. Mika Lévèsque (Montreal)
51. Norman Webster (Journalist- Montreal)

Date last changed: 2007 September 25

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telephone: (780) 439-7555       email: info@burmawatch.org