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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
UK-based exiles seek Burma change
Protests in Burma
One protester has reportedly been killed in Burma
There have been calls in the UK for the international community to help people in Burma who are protesting to demand the end of military rule.

Among them are human rights campaigners and exiled Burmese citizens who have either been protesters or political prisoners.


Mark Farmaner, acting director of Burma Campaign UK, believes political promises are not enough.

"It's good that Gordon Brown has said there should be action, but where is that action?

"We have already had 17 years of international dithering. Now after years of just turning and looking the other way, they finally need to take some real action.

"We need another UN resolution, a legally binding requirement to reform.

There is real hope that this time it's different, that this time the regime won't be able to intimidate people
Mark Farmaner
Burma Campaign UK

"There should be a UN arms embargo because the world is still selling guns to these people.

"And the UK and EU should be stopping companies doing businesses with Burma."

Mr Farmaner says Burmese people in the UK are "hopeful, afraid and frustrated".

"They are scared for their friends and family, but there is real hope that this time it's different, that this time the regime won't be able to intimidate people."


Aung Naing Oo is a former student leader in Burma who was involved in the 1988 uprising. He lives in the UK and is optimistic about the situation in his homeland.

"It seems that the tide has turned.

"The Burmese people have waited for this moment for the past 19 years. I don't think they are going to give up. I think it's unstoppable.

"Nobody knew what was happening in 1998. More than 3,000 people were killed, but there was only very little information about the killings.

"Now with the internet and the whole world watching I think it's a totally different story.

"I think the other important difference is that in 1998 it was the students that were leading the demonstrations, but now it is the monks. Monks are highly revered in the country."


Myo Thein was held as a political prisoner in Burma four years ago and is now based in the UK. He says recent developments are very worrying.

"What is happening is a critical situation. The world needs to take action, immediate action now, before the military regime kills thousands of people again. History is repeating itself.

They want freedom, they want democracy and they want human rights. They are ready to die for it
Myo Thein
Former Burmese political prisoner

"The United Nations Security Council should have an emergency meeting and they should have a resolution on how to solve the situation in Burma.

"We should look at the lead of the United States. President Bush is leading the way, putting the UK and the EU to shame.

"I have to call for Mr Brown personally. He needs to take the lead in Europe, as he has with Third World debt. I have to say to Mr Brown please take action now."

Mr Thein said: "People in Burma, they want freedom, they want democracy and they want human rights. They are ready to die for it."


Guy Horton, a human rights campaigner with a long-standing interest in Burma, believes the world has turned its back on the country for too long.

Wounded monk is treated by medics amid Burma protests
At least five monks have reportedly been injured in clashes

"This is an extremely unpredictable regime and we don't quite know which way this is going to go.

"The point I would make is that at this very perilous moment in Burma's history the international community should express very clearly that the junta will be held accountable for its actions."

Mr Horton says a political transition would be "extremely fraught and painful", but believes the international community's actions in ignoring the behaviour of the Burmese regime has been "disastrous".

"In the jungles of Burma, the mountains of Burma, something like 3,000 villages have been destroyed in the last five, six, seven years and this has been going on despite the apparent facade of calm."


Retired British Army officer Major General Patrick Cordingley travelled to Burma last year and met two of the country's generals.

"I very much left with the feeling that these were people who you could negotiate with, you could persuade, but the problem was that we had isolated Burma.

"We had moved away from Burma, we had stopped tourism and we were in a position where now really they were on their own. I just felt that was a terrible shame."

Maj Gen Cordingley believes the monks are part of a much wider movement.

"These monks, I think one's got to remember that they are doing religious service, if you like, and young men drop in and out of doing this religious service.

"(The monks) are really the young people of the country saying we must have democracy."

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