MYANMAR: Cyclone recovery “will take up to four years” (IRIN)

YANGON, 15 January 2009 (IRIN) – Cyclone survivors in Myanmar will likely need up to four years to fully recover from the impact of Nargis, according to the UN.

“Full recovery will take three to four years, depending on the availability of funds,” Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, told IRIN in Yangon, the former Burmese capital.

His assessment runs from May 2008 when the cyclone struck to 2011, the recovery period now being envisioned by the upcoming Post-Nargis Recovery and Preparedness Plan, a strategic framework for the international community’s recovery assistance.

More than eight months after Nargis left close to 140,000 people dead or missing when it hit the Ayeyarwady delta on 2 and 3 May, life remains a struggle for thousands of the 2.4 million people affected, many of whom lost their homes, property and livelihoods.

Despite a massive outpouring of humanitarian assistance, recovery will not be quick. Indonesia took four to five years to recover from the Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed some 167,000 people in the western province of Aceh in 2004, Parajuli explained.

Massive challenges

Across the affected area – nearly twice the size of Lebanon – relief and recovery in the coming months will likely run in parallel.

Since the start of its operations in May, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has provided food to more than one million people and will continue to do so through April, covering the needs of at least 450,000 people.

An assessment in February will determine whether that support will have to be continued. continue

THAILAND: Addressing sexual violence in Mae La refugee camp (IRIN)

MAE LA, 15 January 2009 (IRIN) – Mae La camp, the largest of nine for Burmese refugees on the Thai border, resembles a small thatched city, now more than a decade old, with a population of 50,000 registered and non-registered residents, according to camp officials and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Mae La suffers from a significant degree of sexual violence and domestic abuse, aggravated by frustration born of the inability to return to Myanmar, live and work openly in Thai society, or resettle in other countries, according to aid workers.

A Sexual and Gender Based Violence Committee (SGBV) was established in the camp in 2003 with support from UNHCR.

“For a long time, we had been informally helping people in the camp who had been abused,” Myint Aye, committee chairwoman, told IRIN. Now it has 15 members, five of them men, and two interns.

Myint Aye, chairwoman of the UNHCR-funded Sexual and Gender Based Violence Committee (SGBV), in Mae La Camp in Thailand on the border with Myanmar
Myint Aye, chairwoman of the UNHCR-funded Sexual and Gender Based Violence Committee (SGBV), in Mae La Camp in Thailand on the border with Myanmar

While most of the camp residents identify themselves as ethnic Karen, many are Christian, Catholic, Muslim and Buddhist, said Soe Win, a Muslim member of SGBV. “I wanted to work with the committee as I was witnessing so much violence and abuse in the Muslim community and wanted to help,” he said. continue

The war on Myanmar’s border Unequal struggle Less for freedom than survival

From The Economist print edition
ONE of Asia’s longest-running wars gets no less vicious as it gets older. For six decades the Karen National Union (KNU) has resisted the government in Yangon—inaptly known, these days, as the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC, a brutal junta. The biggest of Myanmar’s myriad insurgent groups not to have reached a truce with the SPDC, the KNU’s armed wing is now fighting desperately for survival in the mountainous Thai border region around the town of Umphang.
This month SPDC soldiers razed the base camp of one of its seven brigades: a newish settlement equipped with solar power, piped water, fish-holding tanks and medical facilities. Soldiers are now sleeping rough in dense jungle. Several hundred civilians, their homes in ashes, huddle under makeshift shelters.

Fighting alongside the SPDC are soldiers ostensibly belonging to a rival Karen militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)—a loose coalition of KNU defectors, drug-runners and freelance thugs. The armies often mount attacks from Thai soil. That side of the border is more navigable, and is not strewn with landmines. The KNU’s David Thackrabaw accuses the SPDC of pursuing a scorched-earth policy against both fighters and the civilian population. Another KNU commander, Nerdah Mya, his base in cinders, says his army has no “location” any more and is “always on the move”. But he denies the war is in a critical stage. The KNU has been coping with such hardships for years.
Umphang was once home to one of Thailand’s finest teak forests, logged by the KNU, in the days when Thailand tolerated it as a useful buffer to Myanmar. The region is also rich in antimony, gold, zinc and tin. The latest phase of the war began last June, with a concerted battle for control of the area. At times the Thai army has resorted to lobbing mortars at SPDC battalions, whose stray shells have forced the evacuation of Thai villages. Local farmers are “taxed” by both sides to get their produce to market.

Of some 140,000 refugees from Myanmar in camps in Thailand, more than 60% come from Karen state. They may be the lucky ones. Reports from western Karen state say that villages and crops there are often torched. The DKBA is much loathed, and many of its soldiers might join the KNU if it had any scent of victory. But at the moment, it has none.

TCG Study Tour to Thailand Shares Experience and Lessons Learnt in Natural Disaster Management

Tripartite Core Group (TCG) members, including Bansarn Bunnag, Thai
Ambassador to the Union of Myanmar/Senior ASEAN member to the TCG and
Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, completed the first
TCG Study Tour to Thailand on 12 January 2009. The visit, led by U Kyaw Thu,
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Myanmar/Chairman of the
TCG, took place between 6 – 12 January 2009. The first TCG’s Study tour aimed at exchanging experiences and taking more
lessons learned from Thailand on the natural disaster management and to visit
the Tsunami-affected areas in Phuket Province and Phangnga Province. The
TCG visited the Department of Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior of
Thailand, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre in Bangkok and its centre in
Prathumthani Province, and the National Warning Centre. The TCG also made a
study tour to Phuket and Phangnga provinces, the Tsunami-affected areas in the
South of Thailand, to share views and experiences with the provincial authorities
and villagers in the affected area. ……………. “Cooperation among agencies in Thailand, the international network, and the UN-
based agencies in Bangkok and Myanmar has excellent advantages, creating
regional cooperation to prevent and prepare for the next natural disaster,” Bishow
Parajuli said.
On the last day of the visit, U Kyaw Thu also met with the Minister of Foreign
Affairs of Thailand, Kasit Piromya, who confirmed that “Thailand will continue its
humanitarian role and its support to the Union of Myanmar.”

Just an question, HOW can Desaster Goverment prevent ppl for desaster?


Khun Lu aka Lionel Khun Ka, member of the “Shan Government” who died of liver cancer on 12 January, was cremated at Chiangmai’s Wat Paphaeng without much fanfare this afternoon.

A gold medallion presented by the Thai embassy in Rangoon following his retirement from its service was shown to the mourners
A gold medallion presented by the Thai embassy in Rangoon following his retirement from its service was shown to the mourners

Departed “minister” gets quiet send-off
by admin — last modified 2009-01-15 10:29
Khun Lu aka Lionel Khun Ka, member of the “Shan Government” who died of liver cancer on 12 January, was cremated at Chiangmai’s Wat Paphaeng without much fanfare this afternoon.

15 January 2009

If was attended by a few close friends, relatives and colleagues.

A notification, read out by his childhood friend and “Vice President” Sao Khun Hsarm aka Khun Hsiha, released him from his duties as “Deputy Foreign Minister” and “Member of the Cabinet.”

This was in accordance with the directive from “President” Sao Hso Hkan Hpa who is residing in Canada, according to the “information minister” Suwan Soikhamseng. “He told us to make it simple,” he said. continue

ARAKAN NEWS 14./15.01.2009 Ten tanks stationed in north Arakan….

Buthidaung, Arakan State: Ten tanks were secretly stationed in north Arakan on December 29, 2008. They were brought from Burma proper and arrived at about 2 am at the Buthidaung Military Operation Command (MOC)-15, according to a local elder who declined to be named.

On January 7, regarding the deployment of tanks in Arakan and other issues, Vice Senior General Maung Aye, Vice Chief of State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Vice Chief of Defence Service and Chief of Defence Service (Army) visited north Arakan.

Later, Vice Senior General continued his journey to Maungdaw and stayed at Nasaka Headquarters in Maungdaw where he held a meeting with District Peace and Development Council Chairman of Maungdaw, officers of Nasaka, officers of the Immigration Department of Maungdaw District and Tactical Operation Commander of Buthidaung. Nobody knows what was discussed in the meeting, said an aide of Nasaka. continue….

Buthidaung, Arakan State: Locals of Buthidaung Township are overjoyed regarding the transfer of Nasaka Area No. 9 Commander on January 4, 2009 to another Nasaka area in Maungdaw Township, according to a local elder of Buthidaung. continue..

Nasaka into lucrative business in Maungdaw
Written by Webmaster
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Maungdaw, Arakan state: The Commander of Nasaka Burma’s border security force of area No.5 in Maungdaw Township provided loans to villagers of his area on January 7, for cultivation of summer paddy…….

Burma deploys army on Bangladesh border
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Maungdaw, Arakan State: The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) of the Burmese military junta has been increasing army deployment on the Burma-Bangladesh border with heavy guns ahead of the bilateral meeting in January on the maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. It is also restricting the movement of the Rohingya community severely, said a close aide of the Nasaka. continue….

Burma’s Crimes Against Humanity – A Test Case for the ‘Responsibility to Protect’
Benedict Rogers

Burma is ruled by one of the world’s most brutal military regimes, guilty of every possible human rights violation. Known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and led by Senior General Than Shwe, Burma’s junta is not only brutal, but illegitimate. Elections held in 1990 were overwhelmingly won by the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The NLD won 82 per cent of the parliamentary seats – yet the regime rejected the results, imprisoned the victors and intensified its grip on power. Most of those elected in 1990 are either in prison or exile, and Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. continue…

click on

Foreigners in Kachin Manau Festival closely watched by junta

European tourists in Kachin manau festival in the Kachin National Manau Park in Myitkyina, Kachin State in northern Burma.
European tourists in Kachin manau festival in the Kachin National Manau Park in Myitkyina, Kachin State in northern Burma.

Foreign visitors were under close scrutiny by security agents of the Burmese ruling junta during the Kachin Manau Festival on the 61st anniversary of Kachin State Day in northern Burma held from January 5 to 11, said local sources.All visitors from European countries and neighbouring China in the Manau festival were monitored and closely watched. Their countries’ names and number of visitors were listed by the junta’s security agents, said sources close to visitors. The visitors were directly or indirectly asked for this information by security agents.

The visitors were mainly quizzed by military intelligence called the Military Affairs Security Unit (Sa Ya Pha) and the special branch of the police even as 500 Burmese soldiers took up security duty at the Manau festival by camping around the Manau compound, according to local participants. continue

Non-military Pilots to be Trained in Rangoon

Military-ruled Burma is set to open a pilot ground training school at Hmawbi Air Force Base in Rangoon Division that—for the first time—will allow non-military applicants to obtain commercial pilots’ licenses, according to sources at the base.

The pilot ground training school is due to be opened at the end of January to young men and women between 20 and 30 years of age. The 30-week course will cost 1.5 million kyat (US $1,300).

The January 5 issue of Rangoon-based weekly journal The Voice quoted a senior official from the Department of Civil Aviation as saying that the course will help develop civilian pilots and will be taught at the Department of Civil Aviation in accordance with the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization. continue

Mon News from HURFORM 15.01.2009 Woman raped,girl raped….Police harassing Mon women legally working in Thailand

logo Mon woman lured to Malaysia, raped
WCRP: A woman from Mon State was repeatedly raped by a Burman man who had promised her a job at his guesthouse and clothes store on Penan island, Malaysia. The woman became pregnant to the man, and was then forced to abort the child.
In May 2008, the Burman man persuaded a 24 year-old single woman from Thanbyuzayat Township, to migrate to Malaysia to work in his store. Upon arrival in Malaysia, she was told that he could no longer afford to employ her. She was instead, everyday, held down with robes and raped by the man. “After three months of this horrendous abuse, she became pregnant to her perpetrator,” said her uncle. The man then forced her to abort her pregnancy using a medical treatment that caused her much physical pain.
Mon woman gang raped by a group of Burmese Army Soldiers
WCRP: On August 13th 2008, A group of 25 Burmese soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 282 raped a 50 year old woman in Yebyu Township. An anonymous migrant worker in Yebyu Township confirmed that “Mi Jay Son [name changed for the source’s protection] was arrested for being affiliated with a rebel army group.”
Mi Jay Son is the wife of a village leader in their village. Mi Jay Son, along with her family and five other villagers, were accused of helping Nai Chan Dain, the leader of an armed rebel group, to fight against the military government. continue

Mon Woman Raped by Mon Migrant Worker WCRP:In November 2008, Mi Kyi Kyi (not real name), a 16 year-old Mon women, was raped by a Mon migrant worker.
Mi Kyi Kyi was sharing a room temporarily with a friend in the house of 18 year-old Nai Chan, when he found her alone in her room and raped her.
When Mi Kyi Kyi’s roommate shifted to another house, she was left alone in the previously shared room. Once alone, Nai Chan entered her room uninvited, and asked her to marry him. When she refused, Nai Chan raped the young woman. Nai Chan is employed to sell oranges and lives in Wanka village, Sangkhlaburi district, Kanchanaburi province, Thailand. continue
Police harassing Mon women legally working in Thailand
WCRP: Thai police or men posing as Thai police are harassing migrant workers from Burma, say workers in Mahachi, Samut Sakorn Province, Thailand. Workers are arrested, sexually assaulted and made to pay bribes for their release regardless of whether they have visas or work permits.
In November, Thai police arrested Mi Su, 27, as she walked to work at 4 am. According to Nai Aie Lawi Mon, from the Labor Rights Promotion Network, the victim possesses a work permit but, unluckily, forgot it that morning. continue
10-year-old girl raped by ex-soldier in Ye Township WCRP: A ten-year-old girl in Han Gan village, Ye Township, was raped by an ex-soldier in December. The ex-soldier is under arrest after he escaped and was re-captured at the railway station in Ye Town.
The victim was staying at the perpetrator’s house along with approximately 50 other students attending evening tutoring sessions with his wife. On December 14th, the wife left to visit her parents in Moulmein. The children, unsure of whether she would return in time for the lesson, came to the home anyway to study and then sleep.
According to an account published by the Independent Mon News Agency, the ex-soldier picked the young girl up as she slept, carried her to his room, covered her mouth with his hand and raped her. The next day, he came to the victim’s home to tell her to attend the evening class again, though he kept his wife’s continued absence a secret.

Homepage of HURFORM

Burmese Schoolteacher Ko Gyi, who had been living in Ranong since 1995, was reportedly sent back to Burma with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, and is currently being detained in a police station in the Burmese border town of Kawthaung.

A Burmese schoolteacher in Ranong in southern Thailand was arrested by Burmese police in Kawthaung after he and his family were repatriated by Thai officials on January 11, according to sources at the Thai-Burmese border.

Ko Gyi, who had been living in Ranong since 1995, was reportedly sent back to Burma with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, and is currently being detained in a police station in the Burmese border town of Kawthaung.

Sources said Ko Gyi had become a target for Burma’s military authorities because of his supposed links with Burmese opposition groups, as well as allegedly providing information to exiled Burmese news organizations. continue