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Burma’s Saffron Revolution: A revolution that has not ended

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People in Burma stood up against the continuous oppression by the government in August. Their revolution has gone on and the military has responded by violence: 800 people are reported to be killed.

Burma remains one of the countries in Asia, if not in the world, that has the most oppressive government. The criticism to the government grew this year, regionally and beyond.

It started with the demonstration following petroleum price raised by 500% by the military junta. Angry with the continuous oppression and human rights violations, people stood up for their rights. The largest number of people coming out on the street reached 100,000, the largest number of uprising since 1988. As it was in the past, the military responded people by violence.

The military troops fired tear gas and bullets into the crowd. While the Burmese military government insists that there were only ten deaths, Rangoon-based diplomats and other observers estimate about 800.

The international human rights community called for a special session in the Human Rights Council. Burma became the first Asian country being discussed specifically during the Special Session. Civil society organisations made an intervention calling for the fact-finding mission together with the establishment of the independent monitoring team inside the country. The resolution by the Council was passed in consensus condemning the human rights violation.

As a result of the Special Session, Paulo Pinheiro, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation of Myanmar, visited the country. After his visit, the Council reaffirmed the need for him to visit the country once more to assess the situation. This is a development that we need to continue to monitor.