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. Human Race

    Dear Human race,
    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 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Jesus

    to Steven:

    "Who cares?"

    Ok, tell us what is higher on your list of important things in this world.

    June 27, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Frogs

    When I visited Burma, several local people there told me to bring this message back to the USA: "There are several Al Queda terrorists in our country. Feel free to invade and overthrow our government."
    Yes, they actually want this. They would prefer ANYTHING over the oppression they currently face.

    June 27, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Crazy ass human being

    Well laura now that you have all this spare time why don't you go to Iraq and dig up that 9 billion that went missing. That should do some good in Burma.

    June 27, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Karen

    Those who are interested in stopping the abuses in Burma and elsewhere in the world should find another spokesperson for their cause...I mean, Laura Bush actually married George Bush...need I say more?

    June 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Hope

    If she spoke and her husband did that stop the Burmas from doing what they are doing nope so why not try new ways?

    June 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. E.C.Coleman

    Laura Bush is an incredible woman and was an honorable and superb First Lady.
    If she expects support from the UN, it will be slow to surface.
    The UN is the most ineffective body of International Freedom that ever existed.
    The UN should be dissolved and a new organization founded upon the principles of FREEDOM in the WORLD.
    The UN is slow to respond, ineffective and corrupt.

    What a sad documentary on this organization when situations such as Burma and Iran are allowed to continue such criminal acts against humanity.

    June 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Johnny in Chicago

    Oh, please. Go away. Next we'll be going to Mars.

    No... wait. We're already still working on that.

    June 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Andi

    I did have a lot of respect for Laura until Katrina. Her theories of how that tragedy would help the poor were very telling. Does any one else remember the footage of her saying the people at the Astrodome were better off since they were all so poor anyway? That was not my imagination – I watched the coverage.

    June 27, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Jerry

    She probably is mistaking the country for the shaving cream signs of the sixties. In Texas, W thought tort reform had to do with pie. BTW, my america died in the end of 2000 when the country of the people was replced with the country of whom appointed the supreme court justices. Now we're just splitting up what's left of the treasury.

    June 27, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Jason

    LOL...Hillarious. The leidy never knew about Burma till she had all the power and her husband went on a global war rampage killing thousands. She never even remembered Burma when she went on a spending spree of cosmetic surgeries at tax payer dollars now out of the blue she has all the concern for Burmese. Where was her concern for Americans when her husbands cronies aka the oil barons went on a hiking spree. We did not hear any concern. Leidy your days are over please fade away into oblivion

    June 27, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Marilyn

    Who cares???? I don't care about Laura and I don't care about Burma.

    June 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    ""In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled," ...

    But Obama has been President for only 6 of those 21 months ... where was her own husband and what was he doing? There is a lot of misery in the world – always has been ... but this country is stretched to the limit trying to solve its own challenges ...

    June 27, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Pat-Indianapolis

    Laura was a great First Lady, and will be the last good we have for a long time (looking at you Michelle)

    June 27, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. eliza

    Good for you, Laura! While I never voted for your husband I have always admired you. Keep up the good work.

    June 27, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. E.C.Coleman

    Where have you been, raagos?

    Are you kidding?

    You are not living in the same world as the rest of us....

    Do you NOT recall that President Bush usurped a 30 year Dictator and Tyrant of Iraq who was guilty murder and torture to the citizens of Iraq for years and years? People disappeared in the middle of the night, dragged from their homes and murdered.

    Before you make IGNORANT statements like this, get your FACTS STRAIGHT. Obviously you are uneducated and ignorant.

    June 27, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. teopa

    well, as a citizen she has the right to speak....but hello, who's listening.

    i myself appreciate enlightenment wherever it comes from but, sorry not a priority right now.....

    June 27, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Zion

    Laura has always been my girl. Pres. Bush's biggest mistake was listening to his conservative friends who said control your wife. She was an asset. You notice how Pres. Obama pads himself by keeping his wife in front of us.

    June 27, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Mark Knox

    I never cared much for her husband's policies, but I'm glad Ms. Bush highlighting this issue. It's a travesty that has gone almost unnoticed by the West, and the policies of the junta need to finally be dragged out into the light. Their manipulation of the aid to Burma was just the tip of the iceberg. Well done, Ms. Bush.

    June 27, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. jan

    All Laura Bush ever did was to stand around and grin while she was first lady.

    Why would anyone think that she had something intelligent to say now?

    June 27, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Paul H

    If you want to see the face of the administration that we voted for, the look no farther than the comments, and snide remarks on this headline.

    June 27, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. csh

    Laura Bush was such a disapointment after Hillary Clinton.

    June 27, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Dangerclose

    I wish half you people that comment would be put in positions that require a dire need for action and leadership. I have one word Oblivious.

    June 27, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Tired

    You know you people are a bunch of jackasses. The woman speaks out and you jump on her for it. Oh as for stealing the election, it was a liberal Supreme Court at the time. One more thing, most of you are cowards. When have you put anything on the line. I forgot you do not do that since you might get hurt. Freaking jerks.

    June 27, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. DonkeyStomper

    @donkeyparty so your a tough guy? I wonder if you would really pay money to travel to someones location so they could administer a nice azz whipping to you and then return you to whatever hole in the wall you dwell in and explain to your associates why your so swollen and bruised..
    That would be a you tube moment.
    Your about the same calibre as those "Wake up America People" and the "We got guns People".
    What you have is too much television, too many snacks, too much air conditioning and not enough spine.
    We are in historical times watching the demise of america and we are too lazy and cowardly to do anything, but lament and post rhetoric online. We all deserve the fate that awaits us and all cowards, but donkeyparty boy, I do thank you for the laugh.

    June 27, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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