DKBA accuses couple of being witches, executes them on the spot

HURFOM : A married couple in Myawaddy Township, Kawkareik District was accused of practicing black magic and executed by soldiers of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) on November 20th, say local sources.
At 6:30 pm, a group of soldiers led by Saw Leh Aye second commander of Battalion No. 907 entered the village and called out to the victims to come outside their home. When the victims did not comply Saw Leh Aye and two soldiers entered the house and stabbed U Tee War, 52, in the chest and stomach with a bayonet. He died on the spot. Saw Leh Aye and the soldiers than dragged Daw Kin Mu, 50, from the house and stabbed her at least twice with the bayonet. Both bodies are buried at the site.
“They killed the victim because the DKBA commander believed that U Tee War and his spouse have evil magic power. He thought U Tee War and his wife Daw Kin Mu were witches. Everyone knows that U Tee war was just a traditional medic and his wife was a normal person. I don’t know how the DKBA commander thought this to kill them,” said a Karen man, 28, who resides in the village.
“I have lived in this village for many years, but I never heard of this couple having magic power. I just heard that after the couple was killed. They have lived in this village very peacefully,” said a Karen woman, 55, also from the same village.

BURMA BULLETIN ISSUE 24 – DECEMBER 2008 ALTSEAN (Alternative Asean Network on Burma)

• Ban says ‘no’
• Daw Suu watch
• Prison sentences
• Prison transfers
• Detention conditions
• Migrant workers hit
• Deaths, detention, deportation
• Exodus from Arakan State
• Rice trade and shortages
• Financial crisis
• New deals, more shame
REPORTS read all

ASEAN Schools Tour Heads to Mandalay

After Thailand, the ASEAN Schools Tour made its stop in Mandalay, Myanmar on 22 December 2008. A total of 500 students from 14 Basic Education High Schools took part in the event at the No. 2 Basic Education High School, which was the host school.

The programme was packed with a variety of traditional dance, song and music performances; presentation of the winning entries from the painting and poster competition; and the ASEAN Quiz. The students also had an interactive question-and-answer segment with Dr Termsak Chalermpalanupap, Director and Head of Research, Office of the Secretary-General of ASEAN, who headed the delegation to Mandalay.

Feedback from the students showed that they enjoyed the programme and hoped that the ASEAN Schools Tour will continue its stop in Myanmar next year. Some also hoped to get a chance to meet students and youth from the other ASEAN member countries.

Very soon, the ASEAN Schools Tour 2008 will come to an end. Come January 2009, the Schools Tour will make its last stop in Indonesia.

Spectre of dam disasters in northern Burma

series of earth quakes in China’s southwest Yunnan province, bordering Burma has brought to the fore the spectre of future Chinese-made dam disasters in northern Burma, said a Kachin watchdog group after a quake of 4.9 magnitude on the Richter scale hit Ruili (Shweli) on the China-Burma border early on Friday morning.

The governments of China and Burma are constructing three dams for hydropower projects in Taping River also called Ta Hkaw Hka in Kachin. It is rooted from China’s Yunnan province and will join Irrawaddy River near Bhamo in Kachin state, northern Burma, said the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) based on China-Burma border.
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At UN, Nigeria Gives Myanmar $500,000, Bypassing UN Programs, Also UN-Transparent

UNITED NATIONS, December 25 — Two days before Christmas, Myanmar’s mission to the UN got a gift with no strings attached. In the dimly-lit Indonesia Lounge next to the General Assembly chamber, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative Joy Ogwu handed her counterpart from Myanmar Kyaw Tint Swe a check for $500,000. This was Nigeria’s response to the UN’s plea for funds to continue to respond to Cyclone Nargis, which hit in May.

The UN has been exposed, first by Inner City Press, for allowing the military government of Myanmar to take 25% of aid funds through currency exchange. Nigeria gave its money directly, in U.S. dollars, and apparently with no requirement to report back on how the funds are used. This is the type of hard currency for which Senior General Than Shwe is desperate.Later on December 23, Inner City Press asked a South Asian diplomat active on the UN budget why he thought Nigeria gave direct. “You make more friends that way,” he said. “If you give through the UN, you don’t know how your money’s used. If you give it direct, you can ask for reports if you want. And if you don’t want, that’s fine to. You just have a new friend.” read all

Maternal Health Problems In Burma Widespread

The maternal health care issues facing women in eastern Burma (also known as Myanmar) are widespread and underreported, according to surveys by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers report that more than 88 percent of women had a home delivery during their last pregnancy and displaced women were more than 5 time as likely to receive no antenatal care. Human rights violations, like displacement and forced labor, were are also widespread and found to affect access to maternal health care. The findings are published in the December 2008 issue of PLoS Medicine. continue

The Responsibility to Protect and Its Application to the Situation in Burma

May 9, 2008
The R2PCS program has been following the situation in Burma as it relates to the Responsibility to Protect for the past year. The government of Burma’s systematic commission of violations such as forced labor, forced displacement, rape of ethnic minority women and recruitment of child soldiers are a few of the many crimes that fit within the four crimes stipulated under the Responsibility to Protect: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. (for more on this, please see . This week, following Cyclone Nargis on 3 May and the resulting humanitarian emergency, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called for the use of the Responsibility to Protect. We believe, however, that the current humanitarian situation requires, first and foremost, attention to measures that can help the millions of people affected. Further, the current situation does not warrant the application of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine and in all likelihood application could be counterproductive to alleviating the suffering of those affected by the cyclone.

On Tuesday May 7, 2008, Kouchner said, “We are seeing at the United Nations whether we can implement the Responsibility to Protect, given that food, boats and relief teams are there, and obtain a United Nations’ resolution which authorizes the delivery (of aid) and imposes this on the Burmese government.” His comment has aroused concern both because it does not adhere to what governments agreed at the 2005 World Summit and because it equates the responsibility to forceful military intervention. We do not advocate using the Responsibility to Protect at the current time with respect to the humanitarian disaster following Cyclone Nargis, for two reasons.

First, we take this view because of the difficulty of establishing that the regime’s actions before and after Cyclone Nargis constitute one of the four crimes to which R2P is meant to apply: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. read all