Source: New Statesman/Buddhist Channel
Six months ago the world watched a courageous attempt led by Buddhist monks to replace military dictatorship with democracy. But what's the situation in Burma today?
In recent days much of the world's attention has been firmly fixed on Tibet and the plight of the Burmese people seems to have been all but forgotten.
And yet things are not improving in that country. Far from it. According to one renowned Buddhist leader, the situation is deteriorating six months on from the bloody military crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.
Many monks have been forced to cross into Thailand and Malaysia because of political persecution. There are widespread allegations of disappearances, murder and torture by the dictatorship.
All this seems to be continuing despite an announcement by the military junta that next month a national referendum will be held on a new constitution with elections following in 2010.
The state media reported that "the time has now come to change from military rule to democratic civilian rule". Considering the junta’s numerous broken promises, the announcement to restore democratic civilian rule has been at best received with scepticism.