Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Monday, 10 March 2008

Bullets in the Alms Bowl now available online. New report on Burma's September 2007 "Saffron Revolution" provides new insight into a premeditated campaign of brutality and the cover up designed to hide the extent of that brutality.

(BANGKOK, THAILAND) On Monday, the Human Rights Documentation Unit (HRDU) released Bullets in the Alms Bowl, a new 190-page report representing the most comprehensive publication detailing the events leading up to, during and following the September 2007 "Saffron Revolution" protests in Burma thus far produced to date, and the first such report to be produced by a Burmese organization.

Bullets in the Alms Bowl, based on over 50 detailed eyewitness testimonies, presents new information on crackdowns thus far not covered in other reports. A detailed analysis of the existing economic climate and prevalent systems of structural violence within the country serves to contextualize the protests along with an analysis of the interdependence of Burma's monastic and lay communities and the relationship existing between the Sangha and the SPDC.

The campaign of continuing arrests, judicial procedure and the conditions of detention are also dealt with in considerable detail, including information and firsthand testimonies on persons being arrested for harbouring those sought by the authorities, those arrested in lieu of others, the collective punishment of entire neighbourhoods, and over 20 deaths in custody.

A detailed analysis of the tactics and actions employed by the SPDC and its agents during the crackdowns is then provided highlighting a premeditated strategy of brutalization which relied on the use of minimal restraint and a concomitant calculated attempt to suppress information so as to cover up the extent of that brutality and ultimately the number of fatalities.

While the SPDC have stated that 15 persons died during the protests, the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro asserts that more than double this number died in Rangoon alone. Meanwhile, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma (AAPPB) today maintains that at least 72 persons still remain unaccounted for. Still, these numbers are conservative, and with protests staged in no fewer than 66 towns and cities across the country – many of which lack reliable information, coupled with the systematic removal of the dead and wounded from the site of each crackdown, and the disposal of the bodies during secret night time cremations, the number of fatalities may well be as high as a hundred. Sadly, though, just as had happened following the 1988 protests, we may never know the true human toll.

The HRDU is the research and documentation department of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). The HRDU was formed in 1994 to comprehensively document the human rights situations in Burma, in order to protect and promote the internationally recognised human rights of those persons in the country. The HRDU is also responsible for the production of the annual Burma Human Rights Yearbook.

Please click here to view Bullets in the Alms Bowl in PDF format (190 pages / 4.75 MB). For more information, please visit our website at Questions, comments and requests for further information may be forwarded to the HRDU via email at

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