Rally with Hong Kong Coalition for a free Burma
On the 7, February 2012, Hong Kong Coalition for a free Burma makes a camping concerning about the human right situation in Burma. These campaign is facilitated with Hong Kong based Amnesty International. Recently, Amnesty showed movies “The Lady” and “Burma VJ documentary film” in the first week of February. Following by this, they make a movement to urge to release all remaining prisoners of conscience.
The campaign organizer of Amnesty said that “Yes, there have been four prisoner amnesties under Myanmar’s post-elections government, bringing the total number of political prisoners released to at least 477. But more than a thousand political prisoners may remain behind bars, many of whom are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Meanwhile, the repressive laws used to convict them remain in place. For that reason, we called the government to release all the political prisoners immediately.”
Today, rally is composed with colleagues and interns from Amnesty International, activists from Labors right organization, staff from Burma Campaign based in New Zeeland , some Hong Kong journalists and intern from Asian Human Right Commission (myself).
The main objective of the campaign is based on two reasons of calling to release all remaining prisoners of conscience and calling on CNPC, Hutchison and all other Chinese companies to be responsible investors in Burma and place human rights before profit.
This movement started from 10:30, assembled at Wan Chai MTR station from where the group went to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) brunch office. CNPC is one of the most influential investor in Burma, which invests in relation with the military government and signed a memorandum in 2008 regarding for the purchase and transportation of natural gas. Directly due to the pipeline project, the militarization along the pipeline has been intensified. Since that time human rights groups, such as the Shwe Gas Movement, have documented gross human rights violations including forced labor, land confiscation and killings, resulting from the construction of the pipelines. While the project will generate enormous revenue for the Burmese government, the local people cannot benefit from the project. On the contrary, the livelihood of villagers, farmers are ruined because of the land confiscation and pollution. CNPC is a state-owned enterprise, its investment represents state’s activities. These campaign regret CNPC turns a blind eye to the predicament of people in Burma and disregards the discontent of these same people. Furthermore, the company should exert influence on the Burmese government for democratization and the peace process in Burma.
During movement, the group lift up their voice “Stop human right violation” , “Human rights first rather than Economic profit”, “Stop force labors, land confiscation”, “Be responsible”. After protesting in front of the company, the representative of the CNPC came out and receive the letter from HKCFB( Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma).
Afterwards, the crowd proceeds to Burmese consulate to call immediate release of all the political prisoners in Burma. Fortunately, the entire participant can enter into the reception and started doing the activities. As being Burmese, I was nervous when I enter to the Burma Embassy for the purpose to protest .In fact, I am presently in Hong Kong but my past 20 years had been living under tremendous fear. Normally, people from Burma do not dare to speak their minds lest they receive arbitrary detention, torture and other kinds of retaliation by brutal government when they try to speak out against them. So do I felt the same dilemma, however I participate it well and enthusiastically as my first protest for Burma in my life time.
We try to call the Burmese counselor to come out and receive the letter for the President Thein Sein which include with the agenda to urge to release all the detained political prisoners, uphold Freedom of expression, peaceful movement, and association as well as stop the ethnic eliminating wars. As far as the counselor did not appear, we expanded our protest for 45 minutes, expressing again and again “Free Burma, Free Burma ,Stop Political repression in Burma”. For the period time of waiting, we distributed the booklet named “Myanmar in Prison” published by Amnesty, to the visitors nearby. Later on, one gentleman from Burma named Nyang , identified himself attache , came out as a representative of counselor and accepted the letter.
Subsequently, we went to the Hutchison building in Central. Hutchison Company is Hong Kong own company which operates Myanmar International Terminals Thilawa (MITT) , a major terminal in Yangon, was accused of facilitating the transport of weapons from North Korea to Burma. Ethnic nationals are constantly exposed to atrocities inflicted by the government troops and supported by the weapons imported from North Korea. These weapons are used not only for the state defending sectors but also for the purpose of eliminating of ethnic which can obviously see in the conflict with KIA ( Kachin Independent Army ). Using chemical weapons in war against ethnic make a question where the things come from. Similarly, as a socially responsible company, Hutchison should support the peace process of Burma by monitoring what passes through their terminal, however at the present time, and from now.
The HKCFB (our campaign ) , protested at the grown floor of the company and called to stop transporting the weapons to Burma. A few minutes later, polices came around and wanted to negotiate with us. They spoke us with kind tone and brought us to the Hutchison house where the company’s representative office located. I found that every peaceful movement , police from Hong Kong came and talked to the protesters , consult with them without doing any violations. Apparently not like in Burma. As soon as we arrived the house , the representative greeted us and gently received the letter from HKCFB.
Nevertheless, we do not wish to end our campaign soon quickly, we demonstrated in front of the road for 10 to 20 minutes in order to get the public attention. Then , the Hong Kong Coalition for a free Burma ended their rally “Call to release all remaining prisoners of conscience” and will continue to monitor the political development in Burma until people in the country can live in freedom and dignity. The HKCFB will protest for the release of the political prisoners until all of them are free.