Advocacy / Campaign

Statement against the violent crackdown in Burma


on Oct 03, 2007

We protest against the violent crackdown of the peaceful
demonstrations and the killing of a journalist in Burma and request that the Japanese government suspend its aid to the military junta

In opposition to all forms of violence against women, the Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center (AJWRC) has been working with Burmese ethnic minority women to resist organized sexual violence by the Burmese military junta.

The AJWRC is shocked and angered at the news of Burmese monks and citizens, as well as Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai, killed as the result of brutal crackdowns on their peaceful demonstrations. As an expression of our deep condolences for the violent death of yet another courageous journalist who bravely exposed power abuse, we declare anew our determination to fight against all forms of power that threaten freedom of expression.

In addition, we are deeply disappointed that the Japanese government is demanding the Burmese government punish only the soldier who killed Nagai, that it is not questioning the responsibility of the leader who authorized the crackdown, and that it is not taking further steps in reconsidering its current development aid supporting the military junta. The AJWRC demands an investigation into the killing of the peaceful protestors and the journalist and the prosecution of those responsible, rather than simply protesting the killing of a Japanese citizen.

While many countries around the world have imposed sanctions against Burma’s military junta, the Japanese government has instead provided official development aid to the military junta. We strongly request that the Japanese government reconsider the measures it has hitherto taken. It is now apparent that Japan’s “independent diplomacy” in fact favors the Burmese military junta―the source of human rights violations―and Japan has shown its inadequacy to stop the use of force against fellow Burmese. The AJWRC protests against further use of Japanese taxpayers’ money to support Burmese generals in exchange for access to Burma’s rich resources.

In solidarity with people in and out of Burma fighting against human rights violations under Burma’s military junta, which also include sexual and gender-based violence, we demand a comprehensive investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators responsible for the recent demonstration crackdown, and redress for the victims of the crackdown. We also request that the Japanese government act in accordance with the international community in promoting the democratization of Burma and the protection of Burmese human rights.

3 October 2007
Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center