Stephen Crabb MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, today condemned the Burmese junta’s crackdown on protestors and urged the British Government to call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the crisis in Burma.

Following some of the biggest demonstrations in Burma in a decade, the Burmese military regime has arrested almost all the leading pro-democracy activists and launched violent assaults on demonstrators. Over 100 people have been detained. According to reports from sources in Burma, thousands of police and members of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) have been deployed throughout the country, and there are reports of a significant build up of troops in Rangoon. Protestors were “brutally attacked, kicked and beaten” by members of the USDA, before being “dragged” into trucks and brought to “unknown locations for detention, interrogation and torture”. The USDA is the junta’s civilian proxy organisation which in 2003 launched an assassination attempt on democracy leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi at Depayin in which over 100 of her supporters were beaten to death.

The protests were sparked by the regime’s decision to raise fuel prices by 500 per cent. The organisers of the demonstrations included leaders of the “88 Generation Students” who led the pro-democracy movement in 1988 when thousands of peaceful demonstrators were massacred by the regime. Those arrested include Min Ko Naing, who has already spent 16 years in jail for his role in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, and Ko Ko Gyi, who was imprisoned for 15 years. It is believed they will be charged with disrupting the stability of the state, a crime which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A former political prisoner, U Ohn Than, staged a solo protest in front of the US Embassy in Rangoon on 23 August and has been arrested.

Stephen Crabb MP said: “The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission joins with Governments and international human rights organisations around the world in condemning this brutal crackdown. We urge the Burmese regime to release all those arrested immediately. We welcome the statement this week from the Foreign Office Minister Meg Munn, but we believe the British Government’s response to the crisis in Burma has so far been woefully inadequate. We know what the Burmese regime is capable of. We have the lessons of 1988, when the military turned its guns on peaceful demonstrators in their thousands. We urge the British Government to bring this crisis to the attention of the UN Security Council, other UN forums and the European Union as a matter of urgency, and to act now to prevent another mass slaughter.”

Notes to Editors:
Burma is ruled by one of the world’s worst violators of human rights, a military regime which took power in a coup in 1962. Now known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the regime held elections in 1990 which were overwhelmingly won by the National League for Democracy (NLD). The regime refused to accept the results, and NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest.

Over 1,200 political prisoners are in jail, subjected to some of the worst forms of torture.
The military regime is committing crimes against humanity against Burma’s people, including the widespread and systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, the forcible conscription of child soldiers, forced labour, the use of human minesweepers, and the forcible displacement of over a million people.

Since 1996, over 3,000 villages in eastern Burma have been destroyed by the Burma Army.

For more information please contact Ben Rogers, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, on 07823  329664 or email brogers50@hotmail.com