Four hundred migrant workers arrested
Friday, 05 June 2009 07:48
Four hundred migrant workers and their children were arrested by Thai border guards at around 3 am, yesterday morning. The Thai border guard soldiers raided the “44 Kilo Village” in Phuphaya townsip, south of Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border. After they arrested four hundreds migrants, including children who are studying in school, the soldiers also burnt the houses, clothes and kitchen wares of migrants in the village who had managed to escaped arrest.
“They ran. The soldiers burnt about three or four houses and about thirty houses in the village were destroyed. They took all the chickens of the villagers,” said Ma Yin Win, a witness who escaped arrest. “The three 70-year old people,” she added, “including pregnant women with babies were also arrested. We’re anxious about so many difficulties. We moved to Thailand as it was too difficult for us even to survive in Burma. Thailand’s also not safe for us. We now have so many difficult situations.”
Htike Thu Aung, who is a teacher of migrant children in 44 kilo village, said, “All 120 children from kindergarten to grade five, studying in our school were arrested. They also arrested the people nearby my place. If they want to arrest the workers without work permit cards, ok, they can. Now, why did they even burn the houses of the villagers? The parents of a child from Kindergarten have work permit cards. The child was staying with his grandparents. The soldiers arrested the grandparents together with the child. The child’s parents begged them not to arrest their child but the soldiers did anyway. They even burnt the houses. They’re so cruel!”
The soldiers continuously carried all the arrested migrant villagers by truck from 3 am, early in the morning to 8 am. Last month, the same had happened in that village (44 kilo). The soldiers raided the village and expelled the villagers from the village. Since then the villagers had been hiding in the nearby forest for a month. Now, the soldiers have arrested them and burnt their houses down not long after they returned home from the forest due to it being rainy season.
“The reason for the arrests was not having work permit cards. We don’t understand Abhisit who said that Thailand fully respects human rights. All the workers, working in this area, are from Burma. They don’t get paid full wages. They get the wages from 60 Baht to 100 Baht (US$1.7 to US$ 2.8) per day. All the profits from the workers’ effort are just for Thailand. The Thai authorities should be sympathetic the workers whom they get the profits from,” said Ko Nyo Maung, a teacher in “44 Kilo Village.”
Ko Moe Gyo, the Chairman of Joint Action Committee for Burmese Affair (JACBA), said, “On the 28th of March 2009 the Thai soldiers raided “War Taw Village” which lies about 48 Kilometers from Phuphaya township. They burnt 80 houses and all the houses were destroyed. The villagers fled to the forest. We gave food and other necessary things to two hundred workers who had fled into the forest. The Thai government need to respect human rights as Thailand is a democratic country. It has said that over two million foreign migrant workers will be registered. They should wait until the registration period has finished before they arrest illegal migrant workers. If the workers have work permit cards, it will be good for their health and safety. They will be able to go out safely. However, the firm owners don’t want to help those workers who are working for them. Aside from the police and immigration officers, a Thai volunteer force also harasses the Burmese workers. We don’t like such an unfair behavior.”
According to migrant teachers and volunteers who are working in the “44 Kilo Village” area, the Thai soldiers raided the villages of Burmese workers and burnt their houses twice in 2008 and another twice in 2009, including this time.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:37:00 06/06/2009
Filed Under: Human Rights, Justice & Rights, Foreign affairs & international relations
The recent arrest and detention of Burma’s democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi poses a monumental challenge to democracy.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, is being tried on charges that she violated the terms of her six-year house arrest. The charges came with only two weeks to go before the expiration of the term of her house arrest.
She was supposed to be freed on May 27, but the junta found another reason to extend her detention period when an American war veteran spent a night at the waterfront villa where Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years.
Unelected and unwanted by their own people, the ruling generals of Burma are now becoming more and more irrational and paranoid. Instead of forging a sincere dialogue with the National League for Democracy (NLD), they have chosen to marginalize the opposition and its leader, Suu Kyi, by fabricating charges against her.
Since the junta took power in 1962, there has been a clear absence of the rule of law in Burma. This has resulted in massive human rights violations, which include systematic rape, forced labor, killings of media practitioners and human rights defenders, and torture of political prisoners, whose number has now reached 2,100, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma. Continue reading “It’s Burma’s generals who should be persecuted”
The Burmese army and the ceasefire Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) are shelling the main base of Brigade 7 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) with long-distance mortars, according to Karen sources.
Karen relief and human rights organizations said that the Burmese army and DKBA troops have started advancing on the Brigade 7 base following a long-distance attack on KNLA Battalion 21 that began at 1 am local time today.A new offensive by pro-junta forces that began on June 1 with an attack on KNLA Brigade 6 has displaced more than 2,000 people, forcing many to flee to Thailand, according to Karen aid groups.
David Takapaw, the vice-chairman of the KNLA’s political wing, the Karen National Union (KNU), said that the DKBA was recruiting about 20,000 troops to launch more attacks.
He added that the current offensive appeared to be aimed at eliminating KNLA bases along the Thai-Burmese border ahead of a push by the Burmese junta to establish a new border security force consisting of DKBA troops under the command of the Burmese army.
The recent attacks were being launched by Burmese battalions under Light Infantry Division 22 and DKBA Battalion 999, according to the KNU.
Karen refugees are now staying in Ta Song Yang District in Thailand’s Tak Province, according to the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).
Poe Shen, a field director for the KHRG, said the fleeing villagers include residents of the villages of See Poh Kee, Mae Lah Ah Kee and Mae Lah Ah in Pa-an District.
Poe Shen said it was risky for Karen refugees to stay in a camp for internally displaced persons in Ler Per Her, on the Thai border, because the camp is located near KNLA Battalions 101, 21 and 22. The camp houses more than 1,200 people from Pa-an District.
In response to the offensive, KNLA soldiers launched two guerrilla-style attacks on Burmese troops on June 2-3 and planted landmines. Five Burmese soldiers were reported killed and eight injured in the attacks, according to a KHRG report.
Members of Burma’s main opposition party have been warned that they could be charged with violating the country’s infamous electronics act for publishing a statement about the trial of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi online, Burma’s state-run media reported on Saturday.
According to a report in The New Light of Myanmar, youth members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were told that posting a party statement about Suu Kyi’s trial on the Internet constituted a violation of Electronic Act 33 (A).
The law, which forbids unauthorized use of electronic media, was used against many pro-democracy dissidents in trials held at Insein Prison late last year, resulting in lengthy prison sentences for critics of the ruling regime’s crackdown on monks in 2007 and its response to Cyclone Nargis last May.
The report also suggested that the youth members may have broken other draconian censorship laws by posting the statement on the blog http://www.niknayman-niknayman.co.cc/ on June 3. Continue reading “NLD Accused of Violating Electronics Act”
As the announcement contained false hood detrimental to prevalence of law and order of the State and peace and stability and security, the authorities concerned on 46-2009 evening warned those in charge of NLD youth branch who released the announcement. Treasurer U Hla Thein (Tamway-1), youth incharge U Myo Nyunt (Ahlon), U Hla Oo (Mandalay) and U Aye Tun (Yankin) were present to hear the warning. Those in charge of NLD youth branch said that the announcement was released with the prior permission of the CEC of NLD. They said that the points in the announcement were excerpts from the announcements of NLD CEC. They added that they compiled the draft announcement and the CEC edited and approved it before the release. Having sought the approval, the CEC assured that they would take responsibility for the announcement which was the attitude of CEC and the instructions of the authorities concerned would be submitted to the CEC, they said. A group comprising Commissioner of Yangon Division General Administration Department U Khin Maung Tun, Division Law Officer U Zeya, Deputy Commander of Special Branch Police Col Win Naing Tun of Myanmar Police Force and Commander of Division Police Force Police Col Win Naing warned NLD CECs U Than Tun, U Nyunt Wai, U Hla Pe and U Soe Myint from 5.12 pm to 5.46 pm on 5-6-2009. Regarding the intrusion case of US citizen Mr. John William Yettaw, the paragraph 2 of the announcement No. 01/06/09 released by the youth tasks undertaking group of NLD mentioned that the case against Daw Khin Khin Win and Daw Win Ma Ma including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was being heard under Article 22 of the Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts without attendance of the public at the special court in the Insein Jail. In reality, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi‚Äôs case is being tried at the special court with the court decision for the application of prosecution law officers and the crime of security violation. Although the trial is taking place at the special court, court reporters have been appointed and daily court hearings are reported in newspapers. Moreover, diplomats and local and foreign correspondents are allowed to visit the court occasionally. Therefore, the people are informed about the case in time. As stated in the announcement of the youth branch, there has been no report yet on the side of the accused that the people have no chance to know about the case. Therefore, the announcement with false accusations against the measures the court is taking in accord with the law is tantamount to disturbing the court and the existing laws. It is stated in the third paragraph of the announcement that it is regrettable that up to date, authorities have been refusing the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi demanded by the UN Secretary-General and leaders of ASEAN, EU and the world‚Äôs countries. In reality, the case is being examined at the court as the accused including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have violated the existing internal laws. The case is just the internal issue. The announcement that has been issued at the outside instigation is an act of misleading the public, causing misunderstandings and creating public unrest. The fourth paragraph states that in hearing the lawsuit against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi she has no full right to defend herself. The truth is that the accused have had the rights to hire their lawyers as they wished, to consult with their lawyers and to apply for amendments regarding the controversial matters. For example, they were arranging for defence witnesses at Yangon Division Court at about 3 pm on 5-6-2009. This means they have their full rights.
FREE Burma! Free Daw Aung San Suu
YANGON, Myanmar – State media accused supporters of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday of threatening Myanmar’s security and trying to undermine the courts with comments calling for the Nobel Peace laureate’s immediate release.
The New Light of Myanmar, the military junta’s mouthpiece, said a warning was delivered Friday to members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, which earlier in the week had criticized Suu Kyi’s detention as illegal.
The party says the detention is based on the country’s 1974 constitution and that the constitution is invalid since the current military regime took power in 1988.
Suu Kyi, who has been in detention for 13 of the past 19 years, is on trial for violating her house arrest after an American swam to her lakeside villa uninvited and stayed for two days in May. Suu Kyi, 63, has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, she faces up to five years in jail.
Her trial is expected to resume Friday.
The trial has drawn condemnation from the international community and Suu Kyi’s local supporters, who worry the military junta has found an excuse to keep her detained through elections planned for next year.
Her defense team acknowledges that Yettaw entered her home, but they argue it was the duty of government guards outside her closely watched house to prevent intruders.
The state-run newspaper said criticism of Suu Kyi’s detention by her party’s youth wing were “misleading the public.”
“The act of saying that the 1974 constitution has been dissolved without showing any firm proof is a lawless act,” the newspaper warned. “Stating such incorrect and biased words in advance, while the case is still in progress, amounts to interfering or influencing the ongoing trial proceedings.”
The trial has been delayed by a request for more defense witnesses for Suu Kyi. On Wednesday, the Divisional Court is scheduled to rule on whether to readmit three defense witnesses. Continue reading “Myanmar junta warns Suu Kyi supporters”