Christian News from Scotland

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Human rights organization condemns Myanmar referendum result

The ruling military junta in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has claimed that 99 percent of the electorate turned out to vote in the referendum that was held on May 10.

It stated that 92.4 percent of voters approved the constitution voted upon on that day.

The junta is now gearing up to hold a further round of voting on May 24 in areas which were severely affected by Cyclone Nargis.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today unequivocally condemned the result of the referendum held to approve the new constitution in Myanmar. The Christian human rights organization did so as its Advocacy Officer, Benedict Rogers, returned from a two-week fact-finding visit to the Thailand-Burma border.

During his visit, Rogers visited Karen and Karenni refugees, Chin and Kachin activists and relief organizations currently responding to the humanitarian crisis in Burma following the cyclone. Rogers traveled to the Thailand-Burma border from Japan, where he had discussions with Japanese Members of Parliament and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the crisis in Burma.

Rogers said: "The result of the referendum announced by the military junta in the midst of indescribable suffering of the people of Burma must be internationally rejected and immediate action must be taken to ensure delivery of aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis."

He continued: "During the past two weeks I have met with relief teams doing courageous work to get aid to the victims of the cyclone, despite the military regime's obstruction. I have been given reports and photographs which illustrate the catastrophe unfolding in Burma."

He added: "I have also heard widespread reports of the regime's efforts to rig the referendum on 10 May and have been told of the people's courageous defiance of the regime in some places by overwhelmingly voting against the proposed constitution. In addition to these humanitarian and political crises, human rights violations continue to be perpetrated on a systematic scale in Karen and Karenni areas and throughout Burma. "Every hour of international inaction is costing lives. It is now time to hold the regime to account for these collective crimes against humanity."

CSW is a human rights organization which specializes in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.For more information contact Benedict Rogers at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 07823 329 664, email or visit .

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