On May 1, soldiers from Burma's military held a woman captive in a church for three days, not far from my hometown. "Ngwa Wi" (not her real name) was beaten, stabbed and raped until she became mentally deranged, while her neighbor was forced to watch.
I know Ngwa Wi's story is not uncommon. The Burmese military employs systematic rape, torture, and murder when big corporations want access to our land for mining, drilling and other natural resources.
Despite this, last week the U.S. government announced it will suspend sanctions on American investment in Burma. That means American companies can join the frenzy for natural resources in my homeland, and Burma's military will step up their atrocities. Ngwa Wi's suffering could be repeated hundreds, if not thousands of times all over my country.
But there are a few weeks before the Obama Administration will issue the Executive Order to suspend sanctions on Burma. That's why I started a petition on Change.org calling on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to include protections for my people before suspending sanctions on American businesses in Burma. Click here to sign my petition.
Abuses like rapes, killings and beatings cluster near major projects financed by foreign companies like drilling for natural gas and oil. Though my country is starting to escape a 50-year military dictatorship, there's still no rule of law in Burma. Soldiers like the ones that raped Ngwa Li are never brought to justice -- sometimes, those are even their orders.
But Secretary Clinton can prevent atrocities from happening because of American businesses in Burma. I know Change.org petitions have helped Secretary Clinton to speak out on human rights issues in the past. Last year, Saudi women petitioned Secretary Clinton to call for women's right to drive -- and she did, reversing her initial position because of their petition.
If enough people speak out and tell Secretary Clinton that she can't leave us without any protections against American companies' thirsts for our resources -- and the military's terrifying tactics -- she will listen.
Please click here to sign my petition now, and call on Secretary Clinton to keep protecting the people of Burma, not abandon us.
Moon Nay Li