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. joann

    @NEUTRALIZER....

    WE ALREADY HAVE SOCIALISM IN THIS COUNTRY....AND WAY BEFORE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE....

    AND BESIDES....WHO CARES WHAT YOU AND THE REST OF THE HATERS THINK ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA.....THE KEY WORD IN THIS SENTENCE IS "PRESIDENT"!!!! I REST MY CASE!!!

    HAVE A BLESSED DAY!!!

    June 27, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Jenn, Philadelphia

    For goodness sakes, it is the year 2009! The rest of the world has moved on. Could the delusional "Bush stole the 2000 election" please catch up? While Bush was in one courtroom "stealing" the election, your hero "St." Al Gore was in a different courtroom at the same time trying to steal the election for himself. His thieves just weren't as good, get over it.

    June 27, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. DanielTrevino

    Well Iran, Myanmar, and Iraq just need a strong leader for the people to believe in and actully stand behind, like Washington, William Wallace, or even Joan of Arc. The main opposition leader in Iran, Mousavi, is pushing for change and that is great, but he is too mild in his offensive to do anything but upset the current regime.

    June 27, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Maureen

    EcoAZ – what exactly delutional world do you live in – W put us in a horrible state and of course he is to blame – incredibly he is married to a lovely woman – and smart as well. Evan a liberal like me can easily recognize that. Come out into the real world and help not hate.

    June 27, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Mary

    seems to me that the U.S has its plate full just trying to handle its own affairs.... we should lend support when it is needed and we are able but....it also appers that the entire Bush family needs to remain home and clean up their own problems. the U.S has had more than enough of the way the bush's hamndle anything much less our government. from George down to Prescott there have been problems after problems fromtreason to out and out lies to the American people... o wish them well they certainly need good wishes and good night Bush family the U.S does not want any more Bush suggestions we have had our fill........

    June 27, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Margaret

    Laura Bush is such a lady. Love her. Also liked George W. When will you idiot liberals get over the fact that the 2000 election was not fixed and Bush had nothing to do with 9/11. Good grief, Instead I would be worried about what Obama has already done to our country. We are doomed, he is destroying us.

    June 27, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Robert New York City & Miami, Florida

    to A Real America-

    That is what we need: SOCIALISM.

    On Laura Bush:

    This woman did nothing for anyone. Since when getting her picture taken with a head towel means I did something?

    How many years did this woman work? Librarian? My @ss.

    June 27, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Robert New York City & Miami, Florida

    This woman never did a damn thing for anyone.

    June 27, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. P-51 Driver

    Shut UP and crawl back into your hole with "W"...

    June 27, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. P-51 Driver

    What do you have to do to get posted here??????

    June 27, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Glennis

    You woulen't seriously think that bunch of US bashing thugs and scoundrels in the UN would do anything to alleviate the situation in Burma would you? They embrace some of the worst human rights offenders in the world and protect them, along with the outright criminals among their officials.

    And for the record, I think George Bush, for all his mistakes, did far more good for people than you're going to ever see from the arrogant self-serving president we have today.

    June 27, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. please!

    Laura was irrelevant during her time in the white house, and now is even more so. Just go away

    June 27, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. K from South Carolina

    I like Laura Bush, she is a classy woman who always held herself well.

    June 27, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Scumbag Liberls

    I see ACORN is spending their new-found stimulus funds by keeping the low life's still employed as bloggers. The only news I want to read is that some honest person uncovers the illegal alien usurper's "real" birth certificate.

    June 27, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Mary

    this is a real question from someone who really does not know first hand.. I have friends that live in Canada and they have socialize medical there. I have never lived anywhere but in the U.S so I have never known what it is like but i do know we have thousands that have no insurance and therefore have no health care ( unless you are an illegal) they get health care... but my friends say they are satisfied with their medical there and everyone is covered so please just saying "OH NO SOCIALIZED MEDICINE" what exactly is wrong with it??? the question is for those who hve tried it not fore those who think they know......

    June 27, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. irene

    we need to take care of those here at home now,
    we can not be going all over the world and not do for the needy of this country

    June 27, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Ron

    Good for Laura......We had better start doing all we can in these situations......makes a person feel like the end is near ...there is a lot of ignorance in the world and that is what is going to kill us all.

    June 27, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. KP

    As we focus on Iran, let us not forget there are human rights violations around the world. Burma and Southeast Asia and Africa are two examples.

    June 27, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Jeremiah Liend

    I think you all are missing the point on this one. It's not about conservative or liberal or who she's married to or what has transpired. There are people dying in Burma every day. Children and elephants being blown up by landmines along the Thai border. People being put in prison just for expressing the opinions you all so casually throw away. The woman is right to bring our attention to the injustice, not as a republican or wife of a president, but as a member of a global community. I have visited Thailand and seen the brutality and cruelty of the despot junta currently in control of Burma. If you don't think that the plight of suffering humans effects you as an American than by God think like a human for once in your terrible little lives.

    June 27, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. jules

    We will blame Obama when he actually does anything.. so far he loves the bowling alley, likes to take 4 planes to NY for date night .. tax payers paid that bill.. one day he will actually get to work and do something

    June 27, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. annie against biased news

    It is nice to know that there are a few Americans who look beyond themselves and truly do care for less fortunate human beings.

    June 27, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Why don't both Laura and W just get on a plane and fly to Burma and tell their government to their face how it should be run, instead of trying to get President Obama to continue the failed foreign policy we had for the last 8 years.

    June 27, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. WIlly Brown

    Donkey, donkey, donkey. Just wear your Change and Hope shirt at work and when you asked me if I’d like fries with that I’ll wink with my right eye at you.

    June 27, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Scott L

    $50 says Obama shows up at Jackson's funeral.

    June 27, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Dear World

    Dear world,
    As you shake your heads in disbelief, please know that what you are reading here is true. We Americans are the most pitiful of the world. Notice how people here speak as if they are giving facts; 911 conspiracies, etc., then there are the selfish people like Steven who feel that since Burma is not on HIS list then to hell with them. That is what happens when your country is full of Reality TV, Porn, and poor education. It is sad but true notice not a single one of these selfish negative posters gave any kind of solution. On the one hand they want the government to do everything for them, and on the other hand they criticize all that the government does. Don’t even get me started on the total disrespect Americans have for people in general let alone elected officials. What a pathetic bunch we Americans… On a broader scope what you are witnessing is the moral decay and decline of the world’s last empire.

    June 27, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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