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Saperstein:The people of Myanmar have acted boldly in the face of fear, demanding that their government allow them to exercise their fundamental freedoms.
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Washington, D.C. September 26, 2007 – In response to the ongoing peaceful efforts to achieve human rights and democracy in Myanmar and the resulting violent crackdown by military forces, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“For over a month, Buddhist religious leaders and others in Myanmar have been engaging in peaceful protest against the 19–year-old Burmese military junta’s totalitarian practices, including the systematic denial of basic human rights and essential civil liberties. The people of Myanmar have acted boldly in the face of fear, demanding that their government allow them to exercise their fundamental freedoms. We stand with the brave people of Myanmar in their protest.
“We commend the efforts of the U.S. government and United Nations to push the Burmese junta to grant their people essential and fundamental freedoms. We also renew our call for the release of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi and encourage other nations to join in the fight for her freedom and that of Myanmar’s people.
“The Jewish tradition teaches us that we were each created b’tselem elohim – in the image of God – an idea which underpins our belief that all human beings have equal rights. By obstructing the right to free speech, free press, and free assembly as well as a just judicial system, the Burmese junta is violating a central tenet of our shared humanity.
“It is our hope and our prayer that the current protests result in greater freedom for the people of Myanmar. They deserve nothing less.”