Monday, May 12, 2008



Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today called for immediate, significant and effective action to address the deteriorating humanitarian and political emergency in Burma. CSW warned that failure on the part of the regime to facilitate international relief efforts could result in the international community being left with no option but to act without the regime’s permission. CSW also called on the UN Security Council to refer a case against Burma’s military regime to the International Criminal Court.

While CSW welcomes the news that a US plane carrying aid has been permitted to land in Burma today, it is vital that international aid workers be permitted to access the disaster regions without further delay in order to ensure aid reaches the victims of Cyclone Nargis. Nine days after the cyclone struck, visas continue to be denied to aid workers.

CSW is concerned after receiving clear evidence that in addition to the regime failing to respond to the crisis and blocking international access, it is actively obstructing the delivery of aid. There are reports that Burmese people attempting to distribute aid have been attacked by the regime’s militia, the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) and Swan Ah Shin. CSW believes these actions provide further evidence amounting to charges of crimes against humanity already levelled against the regime, and calls for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1674, known as the “Responsibility to Protect”.

CSW has also received reports from sources in some parts of Burma that people have overwhelmingly rejected the regime’s proposed constitution in a referendum held on Saturday 10 May. Initial reports from some villages in Chin and Kachin states indicate a strong majority of votes cast against the constitution, and reports from other parts of the country show clear rigging by the regime. CSW has strongly condemned the referendum process as a “sham” and urges the international community to unite in rejecting the result if the regime declares victory. Voting in the cyclone-affected areas will take place on 24 May.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “As the death toll mounts daily, further delays in bringing aid and aid workers into Burma simply mean more deaths through starvation and disease. The bodies are piling up, and shocking photographs smuggled out of the country show whole communities wiped out. The regime is now guilty not only of neglect but of deliberate obstruction of emergency relief efforts. This adds to the list of charges of crimes against humanity which has mounted against this brutal regime over the years. It is time now to bring help to the Burmese people and to bring the Generals to justice.”

For more information, please contact Rebecca Nind at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on 020 8329 0026, email or visit

CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

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