Next Monday, December 10, is International Human Rights Day, and it seems a good moment do our bit to make sure we don’t forget Burma.

COHRE (the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions) has posted two reports – one on Displacement and Dispossession: Forced Displacement and Land Rights in Burma (pdf) and the other naming Burma as a recipient of the Housing Rights Violator Award for 2007 (pdf).

More directly related to the monks’ protest, over at the Berkman Center, John Palfrey recently pointed up this OpenNet Initiative study (pdf). :

Many reported the story of how the junta “shut off” the Internet before they carried out some of the worst acts in the process of suppressing the demonstration. The ONI is today releasing a careful technical review that describes what in fact the military junta did, set in context of the demonstrations and the state’s history of Internet filtering. […] It’s the first time, with the exception of Nepal in 2005, that a state has sought to shut off access to the Internet altogether.

The report itself concludes with the following analysis (my italics):

Burmese netizens, operating in a constrained and challenging space in a country with especially low Internet penetration rates, have demonstrated that the tools of information technology can have a strong impact on the global coverage of events as they are unfolding, and sometimes on the events themselves. The events in Burma also provide a chilling example of the limitations of the Internet, access to which was ultimately vulnerable to the unilateral choices of a repressive regime. However, even the vast majority of Burmese without access to or knowledge of the Internet may have benefited from the enduring achievement of a small band of citizen bloggers and journalists—the uploading of vital, relevant information to the Internet was broadcast back in via television and radio and spread through personal networks and communities throughout the country.

As we watched the events in Burma unfold in September, we were working on the alpha version of the Hub, wishing it were ready to release, not just for that “small band” in Burma, but the bands of activists, bloggers, citizens and journalists everywhere.  We’ll be working actively to ensure that the Hub continues to evolve to meets the needs of all of these participants, but we’re especially keen to hear from activists on the ground, and we really encourage you to participate, engage and give us your feedback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *