Address: Dublin, Ireland
Project Coordinator Mr. Anthony Hannon:
Burma Action Ireland (BAI) was established in May 1996 to raise awareness about the situation in Burma and to promote human rights and democracy for the people of Burma. In doing so, BAI seeks to ensure that international policies on Burma support democratisation and human rights.
We are inspired by the words of Aung San Suu Kyi – “Please use your liberty to promote ours”. We believe that there is a common humanity across all the peoples of the world. When there is blatant disregard for human rights in a country like Burma, and those affected are not in a position to protest openly for themselves, we think it is imperative that we do what we can to protest the crimes and support the victims of the abuse.
1) Why do you think it’s important for young people in Ireland to engage in an exchange programme like this?
Listening to the people directly and communicating with them provides an enriching awareness of the consequences of unjust laws and violations of universally accepted human rights that you simply cannot get from other sources. It humanizes the human rights abuses that the people suffer on a daily basis. What the international community can do to help resolve the challenges must also be directed by the people living in Burma. It is essential that that we hear the voices of the people in Burma, including the youth and future leaders of the country, and are lead by them.
2) What would you say directly to the young people in our schools network?
What we would say is to listen to the young people in Burma that you will be communicating with. Be conscious that they are not living in as free a society as you. However try to ask as any questions as you can think of. Treat this as a wonderful opportunity to explore the world of your contemporaries in Burma. Try and be as open-minded as you can and, in the end, come up with your own conclusions.