June 27th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
9 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. Spencer

    I cannot believe some of the comments on this topic. "Who cares?" "Let the third world deal with itself". ARE YOU HUMAN BEINGS? My God, these are people that have no voice, and are thrown in jail for the slightest offenses. As Americans, not Democrats or Republicans, but as AMERICANS, we have a responsibility to the people that are being persecuted as we are the supposed champions of democracy. These isolationist ideas have done little for our country-read history. Shame on all of you for making a political point at the expense of real people suffering. Pathetic.

    June 27, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Prophet

    Aren't there enough problems in the U.S. without us trying to solve the worlds problems?

    June 27, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Texas Teacher

    How sick am I of the Media, CNN included, love affair with the GOP?

    More than I can say.... Every article here is about the opinions of the GOP! What happended to the coverage of the Obama administration? They get shoved to back and treated as though they are the work of the minority... NOT the majority that they are! GOP proganda fed by the media is destroying this countries confidence in their leaders as well as the reasons we voted for Barack Obama in the first place! We want his changes.... we voted for them. And I truly resent the scare tactics of the GOP which is fueled by the media!

    I pray that Obama and his Democratic Congress work together to give us what we voted for! I am so disheartened by their lack of support! They voted in lock step with the Republicans for Bush's agenda... now they are many still doing the same! Every time I hear that the majority of people are against these changes I want to barf... because I know it is just the opposite! The right is mobilized... those who cannot think for themselves and follow the party line without question! And the media is covering their opinions like they are the voice for all of us. Shame on you, CNN, Shame on YOU!

    June 27, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    Laura is pure class. She was a voice for human rights the full time she occupied the White House. The radical liberals posting here didn't have time to notice, they were too busy spouting hate and anti-war and anti-American comments for the full eight years.

    June 27, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Post always rejected by CNN

    What happened to her speaking out about the outrage of Iraq starting with the day her husband INVADED an innocent country and is responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqis and most of all 4000 precious Americans.

    June 27, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. republicans hate america

    well now that the stepford wife has spoken it all makes sense and there is clarity in everyones life. just go away

    June 27, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Texas Teacher

    Laura Bush never had a voice during her husband's administration! Why should we be concerned now with her opinions? More of the love affair of the Media with the Republican Party line! Political gossip over Substance Political News! 😦

    June 27, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Anne Lee

    Thank you, Mrs. Bush, for speaking clearly and calmly about this
    important issue. We all need to respect people of other religions and political beliefs.

    June 27, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. ghowe

    It's amazing how narrow minded people are, especially Steven (11:52).
    For the record, I'm a left-wing progressive who voted for Obama. I applaud Laura Bush for shining more light on this issue. Any list of priorities that puts terrible human rights abuses "on the bottom of the importance scale" is seriously flawed in my opinion. Besides, what Laura Bush is doing is raising awareness, not saying we should focus all our resources on the situation.

    June 27, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Bob

    Too bad she doesn't show the same evident concern for Americans as she does for the people of Burma. How many people did her incompetent husband throw on the streets because of his rank mismanagement of the economy? How many grieving families is he responsible for because their sons and daughters were thrown into his illegal war in Iraq? Why doesn't she speak up for the rights of those destroyed by corporate and financial malfeasance in this country? Sorry, Burma is a long ways away and awfully low on the list of things that concern Americans the most. This is not to denigrate her humanitarian impulses, but to show that her priorities are awfully strange. Maybe she can't bear to look at the wreckage her husband left behind. Or maybe she just doesn't see it from her ivory tower.

    June 27, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Joe in NJ

    I love all these idiots who can do nothing but criticize her because her last name is Bush. Even better are the dopes who say the U.S. should stay out of Burma even though the article clearly states she is urging the United Nations to take more action.

    June 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Pat Dunedin Fl

    Too Too Bad , she did not care much about the men who were
    never tried for crimes and mixed in with the real enemies of
    humanity. She turned a blind eye for those tortured at Gitmo!!
    She is a good woman tainted by the republicans that think
    war and torture are good for society.
    I think maybe Sanford and Ensign should try some waterboarding
    to stop their extremely strong sex drives and then spewing bible

    June 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    Bush a classy guy? Come on .... where were you the last 8 years as he bumbled through his 8 years in office with constant bloopers and cowboy superficiality? Why is it that Geo. W. Bush is the only member of his family with a Texas twang? He spent no more time here than the rest! ALL over the World he is a JOKE! And someone here calls him classy? Wow... I am overwhelmed with your and his ignorance!

    June 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. mjm

    T Mckinley....

    Then what happened in 2004? Did he steal that one too?

    Bush was voted into office twice by the people. Deal with it.

    June 27, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. dollorbil

    If this woman is so worried about theses people instead of being worried about the many people who are in dires straits in her own country. Why doesn't she just go live over there and really help instead of crying about it from afar. If she would or could wakeup to reality. She would find a few million poor and hungry people right here in her own back yard to help. All this lady is is a publicity hound looking for headlines

    June 27, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. mfn57

    People don't know of Laura's concern for Burma or anything else, because the media didn't now record her every move and outfit like they do Michelle Obama.
    Burma is a serious situation, and I hope the Aung is released. At least the UN and the U.S.should diplomatically bring pressure.
    You can criticize Laura Bush, but she is making people think about Burma at least for a moment. A good way to use her celebrity.

    And I'm sick of the "stolen election" mantra for 2000. Look, if you can't figure out how to mark your ballot, tough luck! My vote deserves equal protection too, and I would not want some board of elections stooge decide how I "meant" to vote! That violates the 14th amendment, and the Supreme Court was right to stop if, even if it had been Gore winning the election. They had a recount and Bush won Florida. That looking at the ballots with magnifying glasses was unconstitutional in any venue. Again, as a citizen, learn how to mark a ballot, or stay home!

    June 27, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    i always knew Laura Bush was a good lady

    June 27, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. johnIam

    Ms.Laura....come to the real world...why not find a cause with the guy who's kid is Don't travel to Brazil, someone may want your kid to stay with them and do the same thing to you.....
    boycott brazil....and the joke court.

    June 27, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. johnIam

    OH Laura, we have this stuff going on in this country....open your eyes....lets worry about America and quit spending our taxes in other countries trying to do something that you won't even try here.
    Lets worry about the True American Citizens.....when all is great here then we can worry about everyone else....right now we worry about everyone else and not the US Taxpaying Citizens. we get leftovers from other countries...

    June 27, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. RUFF!!!

    @Anonymous June 27th, 2009 11:35 am ET
    Shut the H_ll Up .........Now take this Bone....Go home wagging your Tail behind you.....RUFF!

    June 27, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. bluey

    I am so distressed by those who say, 'who cares' about horrible crimes against humanity.

    is that how you feel about the holocaust as well, because it did not happen in this country? Is the horrible suffering of people who are not Americans somehow less awful?

    This should not be a partisan issue. When there is terrible suffering and injustice, people with any humanity whatever should care.

    Or as John Donne said, "No man is an island. We are all part of the continent known as mankind."

    June 27, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. rob

    @T Mckinley

    Jokes on you, we elected him again in 2004. If the moron Dems would have put up someone other than the 2 most idiotic candidates then they may have won.

    Now we have to live with this admin shoving Cap & Trade and "Health care for everybody" down our throats with out even knowing how much it will cost or the exact details. The national debt is skyrocketing but they preach fiscal discipline and pay-go as they spend, spend and spend ever more.

    Details don't matter to people who can't think for themselves. The Dems know this so they will keep going until the adults wake up and vote them out.

    Nov. 2010 can't come fast enough.

    June 27, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. AndyB

    Bushco did enough damage to America so it's better if you shut up about everything Laura. Go crawl back into your hole with your husband and Cheney.

    June 27, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. JB

    You know, this is truly disgusting. A First Lady speaks out about human rights violations and CNN feels the need to post A hole liberal lemmings who assault the First Lady. Now I know you moderate these posts (mine have been withheld several times) and CNN feels the need to post these obnoxious posts, furthering the divide between the left and the right. The funny thing is, the lefty lemmings feel confident and therefore mouth off (rudely I might add to the right) creating an environment that legitimizes the rights ability to do the same in 8 years or so (when the Repub take back control of Congress/WH). What comes around goes around. And the young lefty 's think they will never lose control of congress/wh. Nice job CNN. Make our political system even more dysfunctional.

    June 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. James

    Why does a woman who was married to that moron and criminal all these years called "classy." She has not had much to say of any importance while standing behind that jerk while smiling. No thanks!

    June 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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