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Burma: Oppression of Monks Continues

Burma: Oppression of Monks Continues

Press Release: Terry Evans

18 November 2009

Currently some Western and Asian governments are considering the possibility of "pragmatic engagement" with Burma's ruling junta, the so-called State Peace and Development Council. However, the continuing crackdown on the Buddhist clergy should give these proponents food for thought.

There are at least 250 monks currently held in Burmese prisons, and the mounting oppression continues month on month. Abbot U Agga Zara, from Zaryarthain monastery in Rangoon, and Abbot U Munainda, from Zayar Thiri monastery of Htantaw, were arrested by government authorities on 30 September. The reason for their arrest remains unknown.

Click to enlarge

During October eight monks were arrested on arrival at the Rangoon International Airport, accused of having attended dynamite training sessions organised by exile groups abroad. In the same month a Buddhist monk was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a court assembled in Rangoon's notorious Insein Prison. The court also passed down a sentence in absentia on two monks from the All Burma Monks’ Alliance who have fled abroad.

The All Burma Monks Alliance, which led the protests during the Saffron Revolution of September 2007, fears that the scheduled 2010 showcase election planned by the Burmese dictatorship makes a mockery of the genuine freedom sought by the people of Burma.


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