September 2007 - monks in Burma led peaceful demonstrations throughout the country calling on the government to respect human rights. The response of the military was brutal.
1948 - Independence from Britain
Burma's army, 15,000.
Burma had one of the highest living standard in Asia
1962 - General Ne Win's coup
Burma's army, 104,000
1987 - Burma declared "Least Developed Nation"
1988 - Democracy uprising suppressed
10,000 - 30,000 killed
Burma's army, 200,000
2007- Saffron Revolution
4000 monks arrested
Number killed unknown
Burma's army 400,000
On October 1, we received news that a group of monks was crossing the border seeking refuge outside the country. We expect that, in the coming days and weeks, this will increase substantially. We expect that many of the fleeing monks will try to reach India.
India is not a Buddhist country (yet), but there are monasteries in the northeast states, including Tripura, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, and in West Bengal which can and will accommodate them temporarily. They will need assistance in applying for refugee status from UNHCR and in furthering their studies, perhaps at universities.
Buddhist Relief Mission is cooperating closely with a network of monks and activists in India and Bangladesh to build support for this expected crisis. Funds will be needed to provide food, medicine, transportation, and other requisites. The network is also prepared to channel funds secretly and securely inside Burma to assist monks and nuns where possible.