Burma’s military government is developing little-used roads to showcase the Mon State coastline while neglecting the main road connecting Moulmein to the southern Tennasserim Peninsula. According to local sources, new roads that will serve mostly to connect local villages on the coast are being paved while the main Moulmein to Ye road continues to be ignored.
The rationale for the road projects was explained in a January 30th article in the government-controlled New Light of Myanmar Newspaper. “Kyaikami to Set sae is an indirect route,” said the article, referring to the path between a famous temple and beach in north-central Mon State’s Thanbyuzayat Township. “When this road is finished, people can go directly from Kyaikami to Set sae. And they will also see the natural beauty of the beach.”
he article only referred to a new road that is being built to connect Kyaikami to Set sae, which are often visited one after the other by holidaymakers in Mon State. In the past, visitors had to take a vaguely indirect route back to Kyaikami and Set sae village, rather than travel along Mon State’s coast.
Just to the south, a dirt road connecting Panga and Lamine villages, Thanbyuzayat and Ye Townships, has been paved with asphalt. Like the newly planned Kyaikami to Set Se road, the Panga to Lamine road is not likely to be heavily used. Instead, it will simply make traffic easier for the 10 villages that lie along its path. continue http://www.monnews-imna.com/news.php
At 8pm on February 2, soldiers assaulted two young men returning from Kwan Hlar village as they passed the barracks for Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 62. According to an eyewitness, about 10 men, some wearing army uniforms, threw a stick at the men as they drove by. coninue http://www.monnews-imna.com/newsupdate.php?ID=1319
12 February 2009: The Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO), widely known as the shadow United Nations body, marked its founding anniversary this week with calls for new attention to the rapid rate of global environmental destruction, which threatens the survival of some of the most vulnerable peoples in the world.
February 11, 2009, marked the 18th anniversary of the founding of the UNPO at the Peace Foundation at The Hague in 1991. With an original founding membership of 15, the organization now boasts a membership of over 60 worldwide, whose voice are not represented in major international fora and decision-making process such as at the United Nations. The UNPO’s membership consists of organizations from indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognized or occupied territories, who are committed to “protecting and promoting their human and cultural rights, to preserve their environments and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts affecting them.”
Among many of its core objectives, the UNPO chose the issue of environments as this year’s special theme to promote environmental awareness with the launching of the UNPO Day of Action “Earth, Exploitation and Survival.” The campaign aims at highlighting the destruction of the environments as they relate to the challenges and suffering of indigenous people, many of whom are its members. The campaign is now launching an online petition calling for world citizens to support its cause at http://www.unpo.org/content/view/8278/236/.
Despite its relatively recent inception, the UNPO has a membership spanning from all continents. The organization is now widely regarded as an alternative world body. Members of the UNPO from Burma include the Chins, Mons and Shans. The Chins are represented by the Chin National Front when it was formally admitted to the organization in 2001. http://www.chinlandguardian.com/index.php/Home/410
BANGKOK, 13 February 2009 (IRIN) – East Asia is a major source of human trafficking, with victims dispersed in more than 20 countries, sometimes as far away as South Africa, a UN report has found.
And while East Asian and other governments are mobilising against human trafficking, much more needs to be done, states the 2009 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“Victims from this region, when compared with victims from other regions, tend to be shipped very, very far away,” said the UNODC representative for East Asia and the Pacific, Gary Lewis, at the report’s Asia-Pacific launch on 13 February.
“In more than 20 countries on other parts of the planet, we found a reasonably significant number of victims from this region. That did not characterise the export of victims from any other part of the world to the same degree,” he said.
The report is the first global assessment of the world’s response to human trafficking. It was written with criminal justice and victim assistance data from 155 countries and territories from 2003 to 2007, and compiled in 2007-2008.
The report states that East Asian trafficking victims were found in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. IRIN NEWS
On February 14 last year, two unknown men pulled up in a pick-up truck outside Mahn Sha’s house in Mae Sot. He was upstairs resting on the balcony at the time, family members say. The men walked into the house armed with shotguns. They marched up the stairs and a series of loud gunshots was heard. The gunmen ran downstairs and escaped. The Karen National Union (KNU) general-secretary lay dead in a pool of blood.
On Saturday, Karen people around the world, Burmese opposition leaders, international Burma watchers and exiled Burmese will pay respects to Mahn Sha, considered a visionary Karen leader—a man respected by all, especially his adversaries.
Ceremonies of remembrance to Mahn Shah, who was 64 when he died, will be held on Saturday in Norway and other countries around the world.
Mahn Sha was born in Irrawaddy Division on July 5, 1944. After majoring in history at Rangoon University in 1962, he joined the Karen movement at its jungle headquarters, Manerplaw, on the Thai-Burmese border.
He was involved in ceasefire talks with the Burmese military regime, which came to see him as a strong leader who repeatedly called for genuine political dialogue. He was regarded by many as one of the leading lights in the KNU and was being groomed to take over the troubled KNU leadership.
In its six-decade war for autonomy, the KNU never signed a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese armed forces and, in recent years, had to contend with the splinter Karen group, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, as an enemy too.
With so many enemies, it has never been confirmed who ordered the Karen leader’s assassination.
Brig-Gen Johnny, commander of the Karen National Liberation Army’s Brigade 7, said that Karen youth should look at Mahn Sha’s example and the way he sacrificed his life for the Karen people.
Brig-Gen Johnny said, “Mahn Sha didn’t work for his own family. He worked for his people. He didn’t even possess any belongings of worth when he died.”
The current general-secretary of the KNU, Zipporah Sein, said she encouraged Karen youths to learn from Mahn Sha as he was the one who always supported education and politics, and even prompted youngsters to get involved in the democracy movement.
Burmese opposition leaders in exile also spoke out in support of Mahn Sha’s vision. Most agreed that the death of Mahn Sha was a huge loss for the Burmese democracy movement as no one in the KNU leadership could substitute for him.
Aung Moe Zaw, the chairman of the Thailand-based Democratic Party for a New Society, said that Mahn Sha was an ethnic leader who spoke for the whole Burmese democracy movement, including ethnic people and the Burmese opposition.
The secretary-general of the Forum for Democracy in Burma, Naing Aung, agreed that Mahn Sha was a strong ethnic leader who knew and understood the history of the Burmese opposition alliance and who dealt harmoniously with the Burmese opposition groups.
In Norway on Saturday, a posthumous award will be presented to Mahn Sha as well as four other ethnic leaders for their efforts toward national reconciliation in Burma.
The four others are Khun Htun Oo, Aye Tha Aung, Cin Sian Thang and Nai Ngwe Thein.
Mahn Sha’s daughter, Zoya Phan, will receive the award on her father’s behalf.
Burma extends detention of oppn leader
February 13, 2009 – 11:54PM
Burma’s military government has extended the house arrest of the deputy leader of Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party, despite recent calls from the United Nations for the release of political prisoners.
Several policemen were seen visiting Tin Oo’s house to inform him that the restrictions had been extended, according to a neighbour who asked not to be named for fear of government reprisal.
The extension was for one year, said a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to release such information. Burma’s junta tightly controls the release of all news.
Tin Oo, 82, the vice chairman of the National League for Democracy, was arrested with Suu Kyi in May 2003, when a pro-government mob attacked their motorcade as they were making a political tour of northern Burma. Both party leaders have been in either prison or under house arrest since then.
The extension came less than two weeks after an official visit by the UN’s visiting envoy earlier this month in an effort to promote political reform in the military-ruled country.
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