The Burmese generals’ closest buddies

Arbibi Ashoy
6 Oct 07

I agree with Devi’s letter, Asean is abetting crimes against humanity (see below).

It is shocking that we live in an apathetic world. One Asean country, Singapore, is actually Burma’s second biggest trading partner after China. Despite the fact that Singapore recently fined a forwarding company which sold missile parts to Iran, the government has shown no remorse for its own dealings with the Burma junta.

The European Union has imposed an arms embargo on Burma which is being flaunted by many countries around the world. India has said that it will proceed with its multi-billion dollar sale of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) to Burma despite objections from the European Union. India also sells surveillance aircraft, T-55 tanks and 105mm artillery pieces to Burma.

The state-run Gas Authority of India Limited in partnership with Singaporean company Silver Wave Energy signed a deal with Burma in 2006 to explore natural gas in the Shwe oil fields off the coast of Burma’s Arakan state. Annual exports of Indian textile to Burma exceed more that US$1 billion. India also conducts joint counter-insurgency operations and military training with the Burma junta which is responsible for gross human rights violations against its own people.

Russia, Serbia and the Ukraine also sell weapons to Burma. The Ukrainian state arms company UkrpetsExport has signed a multi-million dollar contract to supply 1,000 armoured personnel carriers to Burma.

China sells jet fighters to Burma. Meanwhile, Israel sells to Burma the high-tech accessories for these Chinese-made jet fighters such as air-to-air radar systems, short-range AAMs (air-to-air missiles) and laser-guided bombs. Pakistan also has its finger in the pie as it sells Burma with ammunitions for its field guns.

Despite the imposition of sanctions and an arms embargo by the international community against the Burma junta, there seems to be many unethical governments willing to do business with Burma.

I am saddened by the hypocrisy of humankind. The Burma government has rounded up hundreds perhaps thousands of peaceful demonstrators especially monks and only God knows what kind of mistreatment or torture they are facing while the world in general is only interested in making profits.

Asean is abetting crimes against humanity

3 Oct 07

It is disgusting the Asean leaders have so far appear to have taken such a lackadaisical attitude towards the repressive junta in Burma. This is accompanied by the ever repeated excuses ‘do not interfere with the internal matters of another country’. It is sheer nonsense.

Thousands have been butchered in Burma, the ethnic minorities are abused and used as forced labour. There is no respect for human rights. This huge population has to bear the brunt of cruelty to preserve the lifestyle of a few military men. In fact, the military murderers should be removed one way or another. Even an invasion by multinational forces will be in order.

Our foreign minister said that sanctions would hurt the ordinary people. This argument has been used by the junta for years. Now, with less sanctions, are the people better off? I suspect many Asean countries are happy to lap up the few crumbs thrown by the junta, and they couldn’t care less about the people there.

Western countries have been more forthcoming with sanctions against the junta. But Burma’s own neighbours are silent and come up with archaic excuses for staying mum – all for a few dollars more. I am ashamed to call them leaders because they are abetting crimes against humanity.

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