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Burma-Myanmar: A Historic Moment for Peaceful Transition and Genuine

by Mel Duncan, Nonviolent Peaceforce, September 30, 2007

Recognizing the historic moment of opportunity for the emergence of genuine democracy in Burma-Myanmar we call upon all the peoples of that country and of the world to support reconciliation and peaceful transition through nonviolent means.  This is a time for deep wisdom and historic leadership to guarantee a peaceful and nonviolent transition, to engage the government, military and civil society and all the peoples of all nationalities of Burma-Myanmar.

The world community is concerned for the security and well-being of the peoples of Burma-Myanmar. We call upon all its citizens - Government leaders, officers and soldiers of the military, monks and all religious leaders, students and all citizens - to face this historic moment side-by-side with the courage of nonviolence, openness to dialogue, and respect for human rights and freedoms.

We call for the setting aside of violence and the courage to work nonviolently for national reconciliation to achieve genuine and peaceful democratization.

We are encouraged by and strongly support Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of ASEAN George Yeo's statement (Sept. 29) recognizing the historic opportunity in Burma-Myanmar today for peaceful transition and genuine reconciliation. We urge the people and governments of Singapore, China, Malaysia, India, Thailand and ASEAN as a whole to play a proactive and constructive role, to strongly urge restraint from the use of violence, and to use all opportunities available to engage the Government and peoples of Burma-Myanmar in a process of peaceful transition.

We urge the European Union, the United States and Russia to actively support the countries of the region and to directly engage with the Government and peoples of Burma-Myanmar to support democratization and genuine reconciliation.

We urge Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the UN General Assembly, the Secretariat, and Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari to ensure that Burma-Myanmar remains at the forefront of their agenda and endeavor to play a key and decisive role in supporting democratization and national reconciliation in the country.

Burma-Myanmar has reached a crucial moment in its history. There now exists an opportunity for peace, genuine reconciliation, and democratization. The peoples of Burma-Myanmar continue to show tremendous courage. We call upon all people of the world - NGOs, citizens' organizations, businesses, students, religious communities, unions, governments, local authorities and international organizations - to demonstrate their solidarity for the people of Burma-Myanmar, for nonviolence and democratization. In this, we applaud the efforts and dedication of the world's media and the courage of those journalists who are keeping the world informed about the situation Burma-Myanmar.

To all the people of Burma - to the monks and all religious leaders, students, citizens, soldiers, government, civil service, and refugees outside Burma - you are not alone. The world is watching, and stands with you in this historic moment in support of genuine reconciliation, democratization, and peaceful transition.

International Civil Society Organizations from 48 countries, gathered at the Nonviolent Peaceforce International Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, affirmed their support for this statement and encourage the people of Burma-Myanmar and the world to work for peaceful transformation of the conflict in Burma-Myanmar.

Nonviolent Peaceforce affirms its commitment to advocate for and provide when able nonviolent civilian peacekeeping to deter violence.

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