Sunday, May 18, 2008

Myanmar (Burma) - Take Action Email

As you are probably all aware of, on May 3rd, Myanmar (Burma) as hit by a cyclone that destroyed much of the country. Instead of permitting international aid, the government of Myanmar has been refusing aid for its people. However, "private" organizations have been allowed into the country.

One of these organizations is Air Mobile Ministries ( Barbara Walker and Joe Hurston left last Sunday to Myanmar to bring water purifiers to the cyclone affected areas. I wish that I could have gone with them... Good News! Barb & Joe are back from Myanmar. You can read some updates on Joe's blog. But, please braise yourself because it shows a photo that he took of dead babies and toddlers in the water.

I encourage you to write an email to the Embassador of Myanmar to voice your support to allow international relief agencies access to the country. According to news reports, many many children and adults are on the verge of starvation and death. The Myanmar government needs to open its doors.

If you are in the U.S., you can click on the following two links to send an email the the Ambassador of Myanmar in the U.S.

Click on: » Take Action: Ensure humanitarian aid reaches Cyclone Nargis victims

Other Countries:
Here is an online list of all the Myanmar Embassies around the world. The list includes physical mailing addresses and email addresses as well.

If you do not know what to write, here is a proposed text:

Subject: International relief for the victims

I stand in solidarity with the victims and the Union of Myanmar in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. I am relieved to see that the international community has effectively responded through their willingness to assist the victims by providing the most essential life-saving supplies.

However, I am growing concerned that not all of this aid will be able to be delivered, due to government-restricted access and aid being distributed through discrimination, and not need.
The relief, aid, rehabilitation, and subsequent development of the Union of Myanmar will depend heavily on how it responds to the needs of its citizens in all parts of the country. Ensuring access to all impacted regions of the country will help ensure that aid is adequately delivered. I hope that you will ease visa restrictions and customs procedures that have already hampered access by international relief workers over the course of the past few days, and has slowed the delivery of desperately needed aid, especially to the hardest hit areas, and to the over one million people that have been displaced.

I am also concerned that international relief funds might be misused to forcibly relocate populations. Any relocation of internally displaced persons from camps or disaster areas must be voluntary, unless the safety and health of those affected requires evacuation. They should not be coerced in any way, including through the suspension of assistance to those persons. The right of internally displaced persons to return voluntarily to their former homes or lands in safety and with dignity should be respected and the authorities should assist them in either returning or resettling in another part of the country.

I ask that you fully cooperate with the international relief and rehabilitation efforts underway, and that there be transparent mechanisms for the delivery of international aid. Human rights violations in disaster settings greatly impair the effectiveness of humanitarian workers and add unnecessary complexity to the reconstruction of the country. I hope that as a sovereign power, you will exercise your most fundamental duty – the responsibility to protect your population.

My thoughts will continue to be with the victims during this difficult time.

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