Senator Obama Statement on Burma
"In Burma, thousands of ordinary citizens, inspired by their religious leaders, are calling for change in their long-suffering nation. We are witnessing the power of the human spirit -- and the power of non-violent protest consistent with Buddhist tradition. Yet tragically, today, in spite of the peaceful nature of this protest, the Burmese government began another brutal crackdown -- beating demonstrators, firing tear-gas and arresting hundreds. The military junta should halt this violence immediately, heed the will of the Burmese people, release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, and begin the process of national reconciliation.
"The people of Burma have endured terrible oppression under that country's brutal military junta. The heroes standing firm in the streets of Rangoon and other cities now deserve our strongest support. The United States and the international community must not wait for hundreds or thousands of people to be killed before taking additional action to try to prevent further violence from occurring.
"While, ultimately, change must come from within Burma, the international community has an important role to play to signal strong support for the courageous Burmese people. I have supported sanctions against Burma and welcome the additional sanctions the President announced at the UN General Assembly. But far more needs to be done -- immediately. It is not enough for the US to act alone. We must take the lead in working with the other key international players, particularly ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), India, Japan, the European Union, and especially China, to join the United States in pressing for the peaceful resolution of the current crisis in Burma and making clear the junta should not use force against peaceful protesters, including Buddhist monks.
"As the people of Burma stand up, we must stand with them."