Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Leading Burmese Democracy Activist Facing Blindness-take action now

The Burma Campaign is extremely concerned for the safety of leading democracy activist Min Ko Naing, who is being held in Rangoon¹s notorious Insein Prison. He is
suffering from a serious eye infection and may go blind because he is being
denied medical treatment. It is reported that his eye condition has
deteriorated to the point that he is unable to sleep or eat because of the
pain the infection has caused.

Min Ko Naing has been in prison since August last year. He was arrested for
leading protests in Rangoon. The protests triggered the biggest
demonstrations in Burma since the 1988 uprising, but were brutally crushed
by the dictatorship. We will never know how many were killed during the
regime¹s brutal crackdown. Today, the situation in Burma remains as severe
as ever. Arrests continue and torture is routine. Political prisoners are
singled out for brutal treatment, including the denial of medical treatment.

Min Ko Naing is a leading democracy activist and one of the most famous
student leaders from the 1988 uprising. He was arrested in 1989 and spent
more than 16 years in prison. He was severely tortured and held in solitary
confinement for most of his sentence. He was released in 2004 and despite
constant threats and harassment by the regime, he has continued to campaign
for freedom and democracy in Burma.

Please take action now. Visit
and send an email to urge
the Burmese authorities to allow immediate medical attention to Min Ko Naing
and all political prisoners.

Thank you very much

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stop violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe NOW

The Zimbabwe Election Commission owes it to the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe to announce the presidential result without further delay, to enable people to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their shattered lives and economy. The campaign of violence and intimidation that has been embarked upon by members of the ruling party, following the announcement of the parliamentary election results, must stop NOW. Surely people who hold power in any country have a first duty to care for the poor and vulnerable rather than for themselves.

By all reports, the impact on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans has been immense. The people of Zimbabwe appear to have voted for change and the leaders of Southern African states bear a huge responsibility to ensure that the will of the people is respected. If that doesn’t happen, the crisis in Zimbabwe could have an increasingly devastating impact on the entire region.

Like churches across the world, I am proud to express my solidarity and support in prayer and action with partner churches and agencies in Zimbabwe and pledged to continue working together to achieve peace, justice and prosperity there. They have illustrated the plight of Zimbabweans with statistics, including:

INFLATION In 1987 inflation averaged 11.9 percent. It surged to an official record of 100,586 percent in January 2008, but economic experts say the real rate is much higher.

LIFE EXPECTANCY Average life expectancy dropped from 63 years in 1990 to 37.3 years in 2005, according to World Bank and U.N. figures.

UNEMPLOYMENT Estimated at about 80% of the working population.