The convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, Morag Mylne, has called for democracy and a “peaceful and speedy resolution” to the civil unrest in Burma after the country’s military rulers began to use force to break up demonstrations yesterday.
The Church has had long-standing concerns for Burma, which its dictators renamed Myanmar, and along with other religious and development bodies has quietly sought to support civil groups repressed by the regime.
Burma's military junta is using tear gas and baton charges against crowds of Buddhist monkss and civilians taking part in the largest protests against the regime in 19 years.
Two monks and a civilian were killed in the demonstrations on Wednesday 26 September 2007, the BBC reports. The US and the EU have appealed to the UN Security Council to consider imposing sanctions.
Ms Mylne expressed her “sadness at the lack of progress in relation to restoring a democratic government to Burma”.
In 2004, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland condemned the widespread human rights abuses, forced labour and cultural genocide of ethnic minority groups in Burma.
It also urged the UK Government to continue to press for a return of democratic government in Burma and to discourage western companies from investing and operating there.
Mylne joined the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rev Sheilagh Kesting, in asking for prayers for the people of Burma and for a “peaceful and speedy restoration of democracy to their country” in light of the latest crisis.
Some 200,000 people have joined street protests in the largest city Rangoon and sround the country.
China and Russia, which have friendly relations with Burma, have so far blocked attempts by the United Nations to impose sanctions.