June 27th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Laura Bush speaks out on Burma

Laura Bush is speaking out on the ongoing situation in Burma.
Laura Bush is speaking out on the ongoing situation in Burma.

(CNN) – Former First Lady Laura Bush - who has kept a low profile since her husband's administration came to an end - is speaking out on a cause she championed while in the White House: the ongoing situation in Burma.

In a Washington Post op-ed set to be published in the paper's Sunday edition, Bush draws parallels between the events in Iran and Burma (Myanmar), and urges the United Nations to press the ruling regime there to end human rights abuses.

"In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled," Bush writes in the op-ed. "Within the past 10 days, two Burmese citizens were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Their offense: praying in a Buddhist pagoda for the release of the jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. That is only the tip of the regime's brutality."

Suu Kyi, under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, had been expected to be freed by the military junta last month, until the new subversion charge was filed.  Suu Kyi is accused of violating her house arrest by offering temporary shelter to American John William Yettaw, who swam to her lakeside home on May 3. She said she doesn't know Yettaw, didn't know of his plans and didn't do anything wrong.

Related: Myanmar's Suu Kyi turns 64 in prison

Her supporters say the arrest is meant to keep her confined so she cannot participate in the general elections that the junta has scheduled for next year.  President Obama urged for her release last month.

In her op-ed, Bush also says the ruling regime has forced tens of thousands of child soldiers into its army, closed churches and mosques, and imprisoned comedians and bloggers who take aim at the government.

"With U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon planning to visit Burma this summer, it is crucial that he press the regime to take immediate steps to end human rights abuses, particularly in ethnic minority areas," writes Bush. "There have been 38 U.N. resolutions condemning these abuses, yet the horrors continue unabated. Under the junta's brutal rule, too many lives have been wasted, lives whose talents could have helped all of Burma prosper."


Filed under: Laura Bush
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. raagos

    I remember bush didn't fo nothing to stop killing ........why now are u playing politic..the new face of GOP

    June 27, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. pat c

    here we go again...the repubs thinking we ought to jump in an save the world at america's cost. the UN needs to step up and fight for human rights and let america take care of america. funny how the GOP never thinks in terms of WE HAVE NO MONEY unless it is to show-dog in war games.

    June 27, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I hated her husband but Laura is one classy woman.

    June 27, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. EcoAZ

    Mrs. Bush is a wonderful person, and I am sick to death of hostile liberal screamers constantly accusing Mr. Bush of destroying this country. It's time the 2000 election tantrums cease. Left wingers need to grow up and move on.

    And by the way, this country owes George W. Bush a huge apology.

    June 27, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. lynn in NM

    Laura has done more for human rights with this one statement than Hillary has done since January. After all, in the administration's eyes, there are more important things than human rights, as Hillary has stated.

    June 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Neutralizer

    Bush is NOTHING compared to Obama in destroying this country. Obama and the DEMOCRAPS are moving this country towards socialism. They've just pass another tax increase across the board – global warming crap! Take off the blinders, you'll see better, what's going on in this country.

    June 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. a REAL American

    Let's see how many hateful comments come from this story.... my guess is hundreds, if CNN doesn't close comments early! Gotta love the so-called "progressive" left.... the only thing that continues to "progress" is the amount of blame and vile they continue to pile onto the Bush family and those that disagree with them!

    June 27, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Claudia in Houson

    Solution; free the Burma prisoners and replace them with GWB.

    June 27, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Allen In North Carolina

    Good for the former first lady..... And I am pleased to see that there is really more in the news besides MJ..... Come on CNN give it a break three days into MJ's death? There has got to be more going on in the world of news. Don't get me wrong, The guy was a legend for sure. And I really apprecoate what he has done in his life. But can we move on just a step or two? Three days worth is quite enough. People are having to pick through your site just to find another story. The guy was a true superstar grant it but really enough is enough. Do I have to change my home page to find out whats going on in the world besides MJ?

    June 27, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Larry

    Why don't you send some of the millions that your husband made on the Iraq war over to help them.

    That's all you're going to get. This country has bled enough on useless wars.

    June 27, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. James, Ho. TX

    Laura, before going off a a continous tangent; Ask G.W. to come clean about 9/11 !

    June 27, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. T

    Hey, you gotta give it to Laura because she is a classy woman.

    Even Bush, despite being a total failure, was still a classy guy.

    June 27, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. mark Owens

    Where was Laura when the U.S. was committing human rights violations against the people of Iraq?!?!?!?!?!

    June 27, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Ted

    I was unaware of Laura Bush's efforts in Burma. Unfortunately, she was overshadowed by her incompetent husband as he ruined the world.

    Good for Laura.

    June 27, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. girlymen love the GOP

    Bravo,she has my respect on this one even if her husband was a Vietnam coward.

    June 27, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. strong

    Finally a voice of reason. When Laura speaks, people listen. Now only is she a smart dame, but a funny one with a good sense of humor, as evidenced on talks shows.

    June 27, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Louis

    I think the Bushes should move to Burma and streighten that mess out!
    I'm sure that they will be well recieved......

    June 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Clinton Fringer

    As usual someone really has a point about a real issue and all the nutters can do is call names. Our country is being destroyed before our eyes and that's the best you can do? An old saying is......it's all over til the crying.......get ready for it because there's a lot of crying headed our way.

    June 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. bill

    Mrs bush has a good point but we should let the UN fund any interference in Burma. Also # 2's comments sound like typical liberals blather. Wonder what he is trying to say?

    June 27, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. palin is vile

    what a joke. what about the bush regime's brutality in Iraq and Gitmo?

    June 27, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. ken

    i must of missed all the work she did for burma when her incompetent husband was president. i must of also missed all the work she allegedly did for the women of afghanistan. i didn't miss her pretty much staying in the background with that smile on her face for 8 agonizing years.

    June 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Ken in NC

    Mrs. Bush is a class act and always has been. To bad her husband did not learn from her.

    June 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. ck

    Laura Bush is the epitome of class, what a great first lady!

    June 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. WIlly Brown

    I love you liberals. Work all week making French fries so you can spend time in a public library ranting online about other peoples actions with out even doing any research. Hurry the shelter is almost full for the evening.

    June 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Operation Crush Rush

    Thanks Laura,many people arent aware of the things that happen in the world unless its in their tiny little town of Bugtussle.It makes my day to hear and see the rightwing radical republicans crying and knashing their teeth on here everyday.hahaha.Its a shame your husband was controlled by Cheney and big oil.

    June 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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