Burma activist speaks out at Leamington event
On Saturday, the Warwick district branch of the United Nations Association welcomed Zoya Phan, the UK’s leading Burma campaigner, to speak at St Paul’s church in Lillington.
Having worked alongside Aung San Suu Kyi - both during the politician’s house arrest and after her release - and lobbied and met Gordon Brown, David Cameron and other world leaders through her work with Burma Campaign UK, 33-year-old Zoya continues to travel anywhere she is invited to spread the word about the continuing atrocities occurring in Burma, where she grew up.
Now living as a refugee in London, Zoya, at the age of 14, was forced to flee her country when soldiers attacked her village.
But her main message on Saturday was about what is happening now.
Showing the crowd at St Paul’s upsetting images of children who had been killed, women who had been raped and child soldiers who had been recruited by force, Zoya was keen to make people aware that, although the Burmese government has released Aung San Suu Kyi and other high profile political prisoners, people are still being targeted because of their ethnic origin.
She said: “We were very disappointed that foreign secretary William Hague did not include Burma in his Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) last year, and would urge people to write to him to ask him to do so.
“The UK government has relaxed its attitude towards Burma and I am not happy about that at all.”