Hearty Congratulations to Burmese Junta Leader Than Shwe

This is not Myanmar junta leader General Than Shwe

The military junta leader of Myanmar (Burma), (senior) General Than Shwe, went on a multi-day visit to India.  While there, Than Shwe (responsible for widespread human rights violations in Burma, including the detention of thousands of prisoners of conscience) received a most marvelous gift from the Government of India, a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, the “apostle of non-violence.” Surely the sense of irony is lost on the victims of human rights in Burma.

So, again a hearty congratulations to the leader of Myanmar junta Than Shwe for the successful trip to India and a special congratulations to the Government of India for undermining the shreds of hope for the people of Myanmar.  It’s a job well done– I hope the Government of India enjoys the undeserved fruits of its cynical foreign policy until human rights comes to Myanmar.  And then…?

Check out Amnesty’s brand new action page on MyanmarStand with the People of Myanmar. Demand they be given the three freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association. Also, show your support on twitter by start using #3freedoms.

Welcome to India, Junta Leader

Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s junta leader, General Than Shwe has been given the red carpet treatment during his visit to India.  India should be telling this dude that he should be releasing thousands of prisoners of conscience including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.  Do you think that’s what the Government of India is doing?  It would make sense given India’s strong democratic credentials.

Nope.

Instead, India is talking about how they score up on natural gas and oil stuff.  According to the BBC:

… analysts say India’s desire to do business with Burma, reputed to have large reserves of natural gas and precious stones, has since outweighed concerns over human rights.

That hasn’t stopped Indians and Burmese exiles in India from protesting this visit and India’s approach to the visit.

Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians(GCIC) has sent an appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the Indian government for a greater commitment to restoring democracy and respect for human rights in Myanmar.

Kyaw Than, president of Burma Student League, says: “Having adopted a policy of engagement with Myanmar, India can not do things that may irritate the Burmese military clique. Everyone knows they know that the Burmese elections will not be free and fair, but India does not see this as a negative factor. For this reason, the government will not speak out on the issue in order not to disturb the general. ”

They have a good point.  India’s attitude towards Myanmar has been pathetic.