As we commemorate International Women’s Day today and remember the sacrifices and struggles of women the world over to attain equality and respect, we must not forget the struggle of Burma and the woman who has become an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.Women the world over are free to go out and celebrate this day, but Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading Burmese democratic opposition leader, remains under house arrest.
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The “Mindanao Peaceweavers” supports the holding of exploratory talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 19-20, and hopes that the meeting if successful will lead to the resumption of formal talks. There is public impatience for the resumption of negotiations even if only exploratory, since the last round of exploratory talks was held last September 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. This impatience is also understandable considering that the formal GRP-MILF talks had opened in October 1999, was derailed by the “all-out” war six months later in April 2000, and after the February 2003 war in Buliok, has been moving forward largely through exploratory talks and back-channeling efforts.
In commemorating “Union Day of Burma”, the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC-Phils) believes that as long as a military dictatorship rules Burma, the country cannot achieve genuine peace, democracy, human rights and national harmony. FBC-Phils expresses its solidarity with the true leaders of Burma by rejecting the road map unveiled in August by the ruling military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as part of the junta’s public relations campaign after it took opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi into detention.”
The clashes between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) happening in Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Piang, Maguindanao Province since mid-January are dangerous fires that should be doused. Already, many civilians in those towns have started to pack up their belongings including their livestock and preparing for another uncertain life in the evacuation centers.
The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is a Philippines-based advocacy institution promoting human security, democratization and people-to-people solidarity.
IID conducts policy advocacy and campaign programs on Burma, Mindanao, Southern Thailand, West Papua, and East Timor.