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Dear Arlington friends and neighbors,
Among its many responsibilities, the Arlington Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is charged with promoting “awareness and sensitivity to human and civil rights issues.” Because the Commission interprets this duty broadly, it is today releasing this statement in support of the people of Myanmar* whose voices are being repressed and whose democratic vote is being nullified.
The Commission stands with President Biden who recently announced that:
“The military’s seizure of power in Burma, the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian officials, and the declaration of a national state of emergency are a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law. In a democracy, forces should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election. For almost a decade, the people of Burma have been steadily working to establish elections, civilian governance, and the peaceful transfer of power. That progress should be respected.”
We call for an immediate release of all political prisoners and a return to the path of honoring democratic principles. Like the UN Security Council, we also call on Myanmar to address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis and to create conditions necessary for the safe, voluntary, sustainable and dignified return of displaced persons.
Measured by miles, Myanmar is a world away. But the connections between Arlington and those who call Myanmar home are strong and real. Arlington is a home to people who have worked and travelled in Myanmar and welcomes students and other visitors from Myanmar. Arlington is a town that encourages all to “think globally and act locally” and our schools promote the importance of international citizenship.
For these reasons, we encourage all to consider actions you can take to support the people of Myanmar, including:
Write to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Embassy in Washington to express your concern here
* While the governments of the United States and United Kingdom use the term Burma, the UN and most other countries use Myanmar. The democratic leadership of the country has indicated that either term is fine and uses Myanmar on its official letterhead.
Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.
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