The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) and the Clear View Project on Tuesday launched an international appeal, calling for urgent humanitarian relief for Buddhist monks and nuns living in Myanmar in the shadow of the military junta, which seized control of the nation in February.
“The International Network of Engaged Buddhists and the US-based Clear View Project are coordinating an urgent appeal to raise funds to support the humanitarian emergency in Myanmar that focuses on Buddhist monks and nuns,” INEB said in a message shared with Buddhistdoor Global. “Nearly three months ago, on 1 February, the Myanmar military staged what they considered would be a ‘quick coup’ in which democratically elected members of government, including President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were detained. Since that time, the country has been in turmoil with the people responding by taking a civil disobedience movement to cities and villages across Myanmar.”
Myanmar’s military declared a year-long state of emergency on 1 February, after detaining the president, state counselor, and other senior members of the governing National League for Democracy (NLD) party. The coup d’état took place just hours before the country’s new parliament was due to convene following a general election in November last year, in which the NLD made substantial electoral gains.
A nationwide civil disobedience movement (CDM) has quickly gathered pace in the wake of the coup, with hundreds of thousands of people protesting in towns and cities across the country, denouncing the military and calling for the release of detained civilian leaders. The non-violent CDM movement, which began with medical personnel, has been taken up by people from all levels of Myanmar society.
“The Myanmar military has responded with extreme forms of armed violence and terror tactics against its own people,” INEB told Buddhistdoor Global. “Yet under these extreme circumstances, the people of Myanmar remain resolved not to return to life dictated by the military. Now, Buddhist monks and nuns are taking up leadership roles in the civil disobedience movement as too many others have been killed, injured, or forced to flee and go into hiding.”
As of 27 April, 755 people were confirmed to have been killed by the military junta, the Myanmar- and Thailand-based human rights organization Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported, adding that the figure represented only deaths that the AAPP could verify, and that the actual number of killings was likely much higher. A total of 3,448 people were known to have been taken into detention and 20 had been sentenced to death.
“At this time, monks and nuns are not generally being targeted by the military, yet some key monks have been arrested, unlawfully detained, and injured,” INEB explained. “All need humanitarian relief funds for food, blankets, medical assistance, help for their families to visit them in prison, and for legal counsel. An estimated 20 monks would benefit greatly by receiving US$3,000 each to help them. At this time, no nuns have been arrested.
“Also, an estimated 1,000 monks and nuns urgently need funds to support their participation as non-violent protester leaders in the civil disobedience movement. Many of them are in hiding. Donating US$100 to each of the monks and nuns would help to meet their essential needs including food, first aid, legal counsel, SIM cards, transportation and more.”
Thailand-based INEB has been active in Myanmar for more than 25 years through grassroots initiatives, offering education, empowerment, and humanitarian relief programs. By working with local partners throughout the country in this period of, INEB is able to collaborate with individuals and organizations on the ground to distribute funds directly to those in need.
Leading a growing chorus of voices in the Buddhist world in response to the coup, INEB issued a public statement in February urging reconciliation in the Southeast Asian nation and calling for the unhindered restoration of democratic processes.*
“We are asking people to contribute to this relief fund and to share information about the situation in Myanmar through their social media, websites, and personal networks,” INEB Executive Secretary Somboon Chungprampree told Buddhistdoor Global.
For full details about the appeal or to donate via INEB,
visit the INEB website here.
Donations via the Clear View Project
can be made by check or by Paypal here.
INEB was established in Thailand in 1989 by the prominent Thai academic, activist, and social critic Sulak Sivaraksa, with a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists. The organization was formed with the aim of connecting engaged Buddhists around the world to promote understanding, cooperation, and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious groups, and to address global issues such as human rights, conflict resolution, and environmental crises. INEB’s members include monks, nuns, social workers, and academics from more than 25 countries in Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America, working together under the umbrella of kalyana-mitrata.***
While founded in and motivated by the Buddhadharma, INEB welcomes members from other spiritual traditions and recognizes the importance of interfaith activities, stating: “INEB’s philosophy and practice is based on compassion, social justice, non-violence, and co-existence as put forth by Gautama the Buddha. The network’s core mission is to confront and end suffering using analysis and action guided by the Four Noble Truths.” (INEB)
Clear View Project, overseen by Hozan Alan Senauke, is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization based in Berkeley, California supporting Buddhist-based relief and training initiatives. Clear View Project has actively worked on humanitarian projects throughout Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar as a partner organization within INEB.
* UPDATE: INEB Calls for Reconciliation in Myanmar as Pro-democracy Protests Turn Violent (Buddhistdoor Global)
*** Kalyaṇa-mittata (Pali) kalyaṇa-mitrata (Skt.), the Buddhist concept of spiritual friendship.
URGENT APPEAL for Humanitarian Relief to support Buddhist Monks and Nuns in Myanmar’s Political Movement Against Military Dictatorship (INEB)
International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Clear View Project
INEB – International Network of Engaged Buddhists (Facebook)
Daily Briefing in Relation to the Military Coup (Assistance Association for Political Prisoners)