For the women who continue to struggle against the dictatorship Women Political Prisoners in Burma is a joint report of the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).
In the history of Burmese politics – during the colonial and post-independence eras, under Ne Win’s Burmese Socialist Program Party, and now under the current military regime – there has been no political movement in which women were not involved. Although Burmese society holds that politics is the realm of men, many women bravely and valiantly challenge that tradition and take part in the political journey alongside men. This can clearly be seen throughout Burma’s history.
Women’s participation is a must for a society to be developed and peaceful. Not only women, but all human beings are responsible for encouraging women’s participation in politics. Understanding this responsibility is important, especially for the State leaders who govern the country.
The regime in Burma sponsored a general election in 1990. Of 2296 candidates, 84 women ran for election. Although the percentage of female candidates was low, we must honor the political energy of women striving to become political players under the rule of a regime that cruelly cracks down on all activists. 15 women won seats in parliament in the election. They all have boldly faced imprisonment and different kinds of oppression on their family lives. The regime has refused to transfer power to the people’s elected representatives. Now, four of those 15 women have passed away.
In the current political movement, there are many female activists working with their own consciousness and commitment, together with male activists, to struggle against the regime’s repression and to restore democracy in Burma.