We demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners, the end to military attacks on ethnic groups in Burma, and changes to the flawed 2008 constitution that will permit a true democracy to develop in the country.
On December 1, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the first American Secretary of State to visit the Southeast Asian nation of Burma in 50 years. Her visit is a way for the United States to assess the sincerity of the Burmese military regime’s commitment to human rights and democracy -- including democratic elections and the release of Nobel Peace Laureate and pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
The November 2010 elections were highly flawed, and many parties (including Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy) boycotted them altogether knowing that their real goal was to install retired military officials and the generals' cronies.
Additionally, though Burma's most famous political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi, is now free, over 1,600 political prisoners still remain in Burma, including Buddhist monk U Gambira -- a leader of the 2007 Saffron Revolution led by Burma's monastic community.
While Burma's government prepares to welcome Secretary Clinton, it is still attacking ethnic minorities throughout Burma, using rape as a weapon of war, forced labor, torture and extrajudicial killing. Over 3,700 villages have been destroyed and over 600,000 people are internally displaced or on the run from the Burmese army.
On the occasion of her historic visit to Burma on December 1, Secretary Clinton must push publicly for the unconditional release of all of Burma's political prisoners, including the venerable U Gambira, and she must insist on an end to hostilities in Burma, and insist on changes to the 2008 flawed constitution.