In a nondescript little corner on the fifth floor of Peninsula Plaza, pictures of the 2007 violent clampdown on Burmese protesters are laid out. A small group of visitors, which include Singaporean activists, examines the exhibits and engages in discussion.
The simple, yet poignant, observation is to mark the United Nation’s 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December – and to remember the military suppression of pro-democracy protesters in Burma last September.
The famous pictures of the uprising led by Burmese monks bring the relevance of the UDHR to sharper focus for those present, especially the Burmese in Singapore.
“Even three years ago, I didn’t know there was such a thing as the UDHR,” said Marc Myo, a Burmese who’s studying at the Singapore Management University. “Today marks the 60th anniversary of the recognition that all humans are equal,” he explains. “It has given me enlightenment and motivates me to make human rights real for me.”
Marc was one of those involved in the protests which were held in Singapore during the uprising last year. Today’s event is a marked contrast to the public protests which the Burmese community in Singapore held at the Burma embassy and Orchard Road, where hundreds of Burmese took part in demonstrations over a number of days.
Speaking to The Online Citizen, Marc says he is both sad and happy about the UDHR’s anniversary. “I’m happy that we’ve achieved such a declaration,” he says, “but sad that we’ve not achieved such freedom [for Burma].”
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