Monday, August 24, 2009


Mission Statement

Burmese monks from all around the world established the International Burmese Monks Organization (IBMO) in October 2007 under the leadership of two prominent Burmese Buddhist monks, the late Venerable U Kovida and Venerable U Pannya Vamsa. Following the September 2007 street protests in Burma, many Buddhist monks were arrested, disappeared, beaten and even killed. During the crackdown, monks and nuns inside Burma asked monks living outside of the country to continue to their struggle. They asked the IBMO to raise international awareness about Burma’s political struggles. Inside Burma, there is no freedom of speech. To speak out against human rights abuses, to speak out against dictatorship, or to speak out for common human decency, as the Buddhist faith demands, is to invite attack at the hands of the military junta. The IBMO travels the globe in order to provide a voice for our monks and nuns inside Burma who are denied this right. We try to teach others about both the beauty and the harsh realities of military control inside the closed country.

Monks are not politicians but is their duty to help relieve the suffering of all the people of Burma. The Buddha gave ten rules for kings to ensure that kings did not harm their subjects. Burma’s generals violate all of these rules every day. According to IBMO Chairman, the Venerable U Pannya Vamsa, the roots of Burma’s crisis are in the military’s refusal to hand over power in 1990 to leaders elected in general elections. The IBMO works alongside the Burma democracy movement to lobby international governments to pressure the junta to commence a real dialogue with democratic opposition leaders including the Nobel Peace Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Additionally, IBMO partners with the Burmese Diaspora, grassroots advocacy groups, and ecumenical and peace organizations to support direct advocacy efforts on behalf of the Burmese people, such as media interviews, lectures, and testifying before legislators.

The IBMO also supports the courageous work of monks and nuns inside Burma. Throughout Burmese history, monks have played a significant role in maintaining peace in our society. The Burmese military dictatorship has total disregard for the welfare of its people. The junta provides no proper education, health care or other public services. People are forced to turn to the monasteries for help. Monks witness the desperate needs of the people every day and in September, they rose up together to answer these needs. Today, monks inside Burma are working desperately to feed and clothe Cyclone Nargis victims taking shelter in monasteries throughout Southern Burma. The IBMO raises funds to send directly to these monks inside Burma to buy rice, medicine, and other much-needed relief supplies.

Throughout this year, the monks will continue their global tour meeting with the public, testifying before members of Parliament and ministers, and garnering global support for the cause of the Burmese people.

If a country has peace, all the neighbors will have peace. This is not just Burma’s problem; you must look at it as a human problem. -Venerable U Uttara from Irrawaddy Magazine, January 16, 2008

So long as the junta is in power, the Burmese people will never be liberated from suppression. -Venerable U Pyinya Zawta from Irrawaddy Magazine, March 18,2008


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