Human Rights In Burma


Sir, - I am sure that many of your readers are aware of the terrible plight of James Mawdsley, who is currently serving a 17-year sentence in a Burmese prison. James, who was born in Lancashire, is a devout Catholic and his only "crime" is that he dared to protest against the genocide of the Karen ethnic minorities.

What your readers might not be aware of is that he is being held in solitary confinement and his family have just learned that for three consecutive days he has been savagely beaten by his captors with bamboo poles. He suffered a broken nose and also has internal injuries but he has not been allowed to see a doctor. His parents now fear for his life. James says that it is only his deep faith in God and constant prayer that keep his spirits up - and, of course, his conviction that his cause is right and just.

It is not necessary to spell out the nature of the vicious military dictatorship which rules Burma with an iron fist but it is, surely, vital that the civilised world continue to put constant pressure on this dictatorship to respect basic human rights and democracy. It is important that this cruel government is treated as a pariah and the strongest international pressure must be applied to bring about radical change in this unfortunate country. The people of Burma have suffered so much and they simply cannot be forgotten or abandoned by the international community.

I appeal to the Irish Government, before it is too late, to seek the immediate release from prison of the courageous James Mawdsley. Might I also ask that we remember him and his family in our prayers? The world is a better place because of people like James. - Yours, etc.,

Anthony Redmond, North Great George's Street, Dublin 1.