Amnesty International: ‘Break the silence, buy radios for Burma’
From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.
The junta in Myanmar, also known as Burma, has announced plans for the first elections in two decades and Amnesty International UK has launched a campaign to raise money for portable radios to help people get information on the vote and on political parties.
The online campaign called “Break the silence” wants to get 4,000 radios, 60 walkie-talkie kits and 6 satellite kits into Burma by mid-July. Each radio costs $18.50, and that includes batteries and the cost of getting it into the country.
The Associated Press reports:
“So far, 33 new political parties have been approved by the Election Commission and five existing parties have reregistered to contest the polls. Global criticism has failed to win the freedom of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose now-defunct party overwhelmingly won the last election in 1990, but was never allowed to take power.
“Under recently enacted election laws, Suu Kyi and other political prisoners — estimated at more than 2,000 — are effectively barred from taking part in the polls. Her National League for Democracy party has called the laws unfair and undemocratic and is boycotting the vote. The party was disbanded after refusing to register for the elections by a May 6 deadline.”
The elections have been denounced as a sham designed to reinforce military rule, and the junta hasn’t announced an exact date for the vote, but others see this as a chance to call for change. Even a faction from within the disbanded NLD has applied to form a new political party, to be called the National Democratic Force, in a bid to advance the movement’s two-decade campaign to end military rule.
Amnesty organizers say:
“In Burma’s harsh media environment a number of courageous individuals work hard to break through the wall of censorship. Although millions tune into broadcasts daily, not everybody in Burma has access to the crucial information they provide. With your help we can break the silence for many more.”
The site says, “The humble radio can play a vital role in empowering the voting public. One radio could help a family or community learn about their rights and show them the international solidarity that Burma’s military regime works so hard to silence.”
About 12 people will use each radio, so if Amnesty reaches its target, 50,000 more people inside Burma will have access to independent news broadcasts.
Donations can be made online, but if you want to send a check with your donation you can send it to:
Supporter Care Team
Amnesty International UK Section
The Human Rights Action Centre
17 – 25 New Inn Yard
Add a note saying that it’s for the Burma radio campaign.
For more information, see: