Mon and Karen leaders among 5 awarded national reconciliation prize in Norway(PADO MAHN SHA)

Five ethnic leaders have received a National Reconciliation Hero Award from the Norway-based 88 Generation group in exile. Mon leader Nai Ngwe Thein is among those receiving the award, as is Phado Mahn Sha La Phan, the only recipient to also be an armed revolutionary.

“National reconciliation plays the main role in our struggle for true democracy and national equality,” reads a statement released to mark the award on February 14th. “These selfless people continue to work for the country bravely despite the oppression of military government’s oppression, tortures, killing and imprisonment” (sic).

“This prize is an honor for ethnic people who try to get democracy and human rights,” agreed U Nyan Win, spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD). The NLD is Burma’s largest opposition political party, lead by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Recipients of the award included Nai Ngwe Thein, from the Mon National League for Democracy (MNDF) and Phado Mahn Sha La Phan. Phado Mahn Sha La Phan was the late secretary general of the Karen National Union (KNU). He was assassinated in his home in February 2008.

The award to Phado Mahn Sha La Phan is notable for he was a crucial member of a group that was – and still is – engaged in armed struggle with the Burmese government. The KNU is Burma’s longest-fighting insurgent group, and took up arms soon after Burma achieved independence in 1948. “For Phada Mahn Sha, that honor is worthy and deserved,” added U Nyan Win.

“The international community has given honors to people trying to implement democracy and human rights in Burma. But until now they had not recognized ethnic people who are trying to implement real democracy in Burma. This national reconciliation prize highlights these leaders for the Burmese people,” said Nai Hong Sa, General Secretary of the New Mon State Party (NMSP). The NMSP is the largest political party representing Mon people in Burma.

“Even though some fought as armed revolutionaries, they understand that this era is not for fighting with guns,” added Nai Hong Sa. “Ethnic armed groups also want national reconciliation. Phado Mahn Sha is that kind of person, that’s why that prize was bestowed upon him.” The NMSP agreed to a cease-fire with Burma’s military government in 1995.

“We aren’t hoping to get a prize from the international community when we try to get democracy for our country,” added Nai Ngwe Thein, who received the award on behalf of the MNDF. The MNDF won 5 seats in Burma’s 1990 election, which was later annulled. “The prize committee also chooses which person they should give the prize too. That prize also improves morale for the people trying to get ethnic reconciliation and an example for the youth.”

Pado Mahn Sha- Heroes never die-Congratulation


Clinton Signals Possible Shift in U.S. Policy on Burma

JAKARTA, Feb. 18 — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western governments had failed to pressure the repressive Burmese government, signaling a potentially major shift in U.S. policy.

(Cause all trade goes over Thailand,India,china..)

Clinton, at a news conference here, did not deny that easing sanctions was one of the ideas under consideration by the Obama administration as part of a major review. “We are looking at possible ideas that can be presented,” she told reporters and said that she had discussed the issue with Indonesia officials here.

“Clearly the path we have taken in imposing sanctions hasn’t influenced the Burmese junta,” she said, adding that the route taken by Burma’s neighbors of “reaching out and trying to engage them has not influenced them either.” continue

Hillary,Hillary ,I think I dont like you anymore….

Tour operators have defended their decision to send tourists to Burma despite being accused of supporting the country’s brutal regime.

Tourism Concern has accused 15 British tour operators of using hotels and resorts “with known links to Burma’s military regime and those individuals who personally profit from the repressive activities and human rights abuses that it perpetrates.”

The charity is now hoping the forthcoming tightening of European legislation will close the loophole and prevent this happening in the future.

However, Bales Worldwide one of the companies named, defended its decision to feature the destination in its programme. Sales director Iain Fenton said: “We are a non-political organisation and there is a lot of potential harm you can do by isolating a country.

“At this point in time we have no reason to believe that [Tourism Concern’s claims] are the case.”

TransIndus product director Shivjit Bagga, whose company was also named, added: “I would want Tourism Concern to give more facts and supporting evidence before I defend anything.”

US seeks support from Indonesia on Myanmar

The United States plans to seek more advice from Indonesia to effectively dealing with the military-ruled Myanwar, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday in Jakarta.

“We are going to work closely and we are going to consult with Indonesia,” Clinton said after meeting with Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda late in the afternoon.

Clinton said the United States applauded Indonesia for working, both bilaterally and through ASEAN, for better future of the Myanmar people.

She said it has been difficult to address the problems in Myanmar, who seemed impervious to any influence from anyone.

“Imposing sanction has not influence the junta … reaching out and trying to engage has not influence them either,” she said.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations and killing as many as 3,000 people. It called elections in 1990 but refused to honor the results when pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi political party won overwhelmingly.

VDO_Time For Ibrahim Gambari To Vacate His Post As United Nations Envoy To Burma

Burma Democratic Concerns (BDC) has determined that it is time for Ibrahim Gambari to vacate his post as United Nations Envoy to Burma. His continual failure to stem the tide of genocide has yielded catastrophic results in human suffering and death to the citizens of Burma. His efforts to bring democracy to Burma were counterproductive at best.

Myo Thein, Director of Burma Democratic Concerns in the United Kingdom, ascertained, We have been expressing our doubts over his (Gambari) impartiality and now the image is much clearer that he is merely a special advocate for the Burmese Junta.

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal, about to begin its first trial, should resist political interference and meet international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said today.

Cambodia: First Trial to Test Tribunal’s Credibility

The tribunal is prosecuting Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes against humanity in the deaths of up to 2 million people in the late 1970s.

The UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a hybrid tribunal in operation for three years that includes both Cambodian and international judges, faces serious allegations of corruption and political interference. On February 17, 2009, the tribunal will conduct the first procedural hearing in the trial of Kaing Gech Eav (Duch), the chief of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison and torture center. Duch is the first of five former Khmer Rouge leaders currently facing trial before the tribunal.

“Any hint of political manipulation at the tribunal will undermine its credibility with the Cambodian people,” said Sara Colm, Cambodia-based senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Until allegations of corruption and improper interference by the government are investigated and resolved, the tribunal’s integrity as a legitimate and independent court will remain in question.”

The Khmer Rouge tribunal consists of a majority of Cambodian judges sitting alongside international judges, with Cambodian and international co-prosecutors. The UN initially opposed the arrangement, given that Cambodia’s judiciary is widely known for its lack of independence, corruption, and low professional standards. continue

You are the next Than Shwe…

Under age boys are being recruited forcibly as soldiers in the Burmese Army in Chin state, western Myanmar.

Three boys, about 13 years of age in Paletwa town were forcibly recruited in the army on January 28 by Commander Maung Than and seven soldiers from the Lisin Army camp of IB (304). They are still at the military camp, a local said.

He said the victims are NguiTheing (13) son of Pa Net, In Thawng (14) son of Khipui, and Sawng San (13) son of Khan Kung of Lung Zaw Kung village. They were taken from their homes..

“Ngui Theing was taken from his house. He was reluctant to go and cried out but even village heads were afraid to stop the forced recruitment, he told to Khonumthung News.

A report said that five boys from Matupi and Paletwa townships ran away to Mizoram state between December 2008 to January 2009 as they were afraid to join the army.

A local in Matupi said that if soldiers in Matupi IB (304) can recruit children, they will be promoted to a higher rank. So army people are searching for boys in the villages.

“When the authorities constructed the Matupi army camp in December 2008, they were trying to persuade a boy who was not attending school to serve as a soldier. But he refused and he was put in the lockup for a whole night as punishment,” he added.

Regarding this matter Terah of Chin Human Rights Organistaion(CHRO) said, “Actually the government should protect children from forced recruitment as child soldiers, but they doing this disgusting thing for their own interest and it violates human rights,”

The military junta is a signatory to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) paragraph (38) which mentions that it has to protect under 15 year-old children from forced recruitment to the military. – Khonumthung News

Quintana will reportedly hold a press conference at Rangoon Airport before leaving Burma on Thursday. The UN human rights envoy arrived in Burma on Saturday on a six-day mission and was immediately flown by helicopter to a DKBA base in Karen State, surprising and disappointing many Burma observers.

Coinciding with the arrival of the UN’s human rights envoy in Burma, the Burmese courts have this week reduced the prison sentences on several convicted political activists. Quintana held meetings with Burmese political prisoners in Insein Prison on Monday.

On Tuesday, a court in Burma’s second largest city, Mandalay, reduced the sentences of two activists by 16 years each, according to their lawyer, Myint Thway.

Pregnant activist Kay Thi Aung and dissident Wai Myo Htoo, who were both sentenced in December to 26 years in prison for their part in pro-democracy activities, had their sentences commuted to 10 years each, he said.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, Kay Thi Aung’s husband said, “In fact, Ma Kay Thi Aung is not guilty. The fact that she suffered a miscarriage in prison is a human rights abuse. I would only be satisfied if the authorities released her, not just reduced her sentence.

“I think they are just doing it while Mr Quintana is in Burma, and to ease international pressure,” he added. continue