Burma Campaign UK
Please email President Thein Sein, asking him to publish his full army record, including the role he played in crushing the uprising on 8th August 1988.
On the 8th August it will be the 26th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of people, many of them students, who had been protesting for democracy in Burma.
Soldiers opened fire on the protesting students, and in the following weeks at least three thousand people are thought to have been killed. The date, 8-8-88 is one of the most significant anniversaries in Burma’s struggle for freedom. There has never been a full investigation into the massacre.
When he became President, Thein Sein described the massacre and crackdown as having ‘saved the nation’.
A leaked US embassy diplomatic cable dated 20th October 2004 said Thein Sein ’distinguished’ himself cracking down against the 1988 uprising. It stated: ‘Major Thein Sein served as commander of Light Infantry Division (LID)-55, one of the elite organizations loyal to the Burmese Socialist Program Party (BSPP). In that capacity, he distinguished himself, as did Soe Win, in the crackdown against the 1988 uprising in support of democracy.’
The people of Burma have the right to know the past actions of the President.
President Thein Sein has been praised by the international community, including the British government, as a reformer. Yet horrific human rights abuses have continued under his rule. Now that sanctions have been lifted and aid and trade is flowing into Burma, reforms are going into reverse, with new crackdowns on media freedom, a doubling of the number of political prisoners, and increased repression against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
If President Thein Sein has nothing to hide, he has no reason not make his full army record available for everyone in Burma to see. There has been virtually no public scrutiny of President Thein Sein’s past. If President Thein Sein has been involved in massacring students protesting on the streets of Rangoon, is he really the kind of person who can be trusted to bring democracy and human rights to Burma?
Thank you for supporting the campaign for human rights in Burma.
Burma Campaign UK
PS: in the 1990s the UN documented human rights abuses ordered by President Thein Sein while he served in Shan State. He is the only senior general we are aware of to be personally named by the UN in this way for ordering human rights abuses.