Burma Campaign US
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Information Release – for immediate release
12 June 2009
Political Prisoners Punished in Insein Prison
[Mae Sot, Thailand] Five political prisoners in Rangoon’s Insein prison have been held in punishment cells [military dog cells] and banned from receiving family visits since 11 May 2009, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) has learned. The reason for their punishment is unknown.
They are U Naing Naing (National League for Democracy Member of Parliament), U Soe Han (NLD member and lawyer), Aung Naing (NLD member), Lwin Ko Latt (student and member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions), and U Sandimar (senior abbot monk).
U Naing Naing is suffering from a hernia and also hypertension. U Soe Han has eye problems. Their families have been banned from visiting, and have been unable to provide them with essential medicines. The families are now very worried for the health of their loved ones.
Due to inadequate healthcare provision in Burma’s prisons, political prisoners rely on their family members to bring them medicines and other essential items. The ruling military regime has prevented the International Committee of the Red Cross from conducting prison visits since November 2005.
Security in Insein prison is currently very tight, due to the ongoing trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her two live-in party members Daw Khin Khin Win and Daw Win Ma Ma, and US citizen John William Yettaw.
Background on their cases:
NLD MP U Naing Naing aka Saw Naing Naing was arrested on 14 September 2000. He was charged with Section 5(j) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, and Section 17/20 of the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Act. He was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment.
NLD member and lawyer U Soe Han was arrested on 14 September 2000. He was also charged with Section 5(j) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act, and Section 17/20 of the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Act, and sentenced to 21 years imprisonment.
NLD member Aung Naing was arrested on 11 June 2005. The charges against him are unknown, but he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
Student and ABFSU member Lwin Ko Latt was arrested on 26 September 2003. He was charged with Section 5(j) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act and Section 17/1 of the 1908 Unlawful Association Act. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
U Sandimar, a monk and senior abbot from Kyar monastery, Pazundaung Township, Rangoon, was arrested on 7 September 2007. He was charged with Sections 17/1 and 17/2 of the 1908 Unlawful Association Act and Sections 5 and 6 of the 1988 Law Relating to the Forming of Organisations (State Law and Order Restoration Council Law No. 6/88 30 September 1988). On 14 November 2008 he was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.
For further information, please contact:
Tate Naing, AAPP Secretary, +66(0)812878751
Bo Kyi, AAPP Joint-Secretary, +66(0)81-3248935
Karen State, Burma
12 June, 2009
Villagers continue to flee and thousands remain displaced as attacks intensify against Karen villagers and resistance in Pa-an District
Mortars fired by the Burma Army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) landed in Thailand on June 8 and 9.
Intensity of fighting at the frontline increased on June 12 in the KNLA 21st battalion area.
Villagers continue to flee and thousands remain displaced as attacks intensify against Karen villagers and resistance in Pa-an District, central Karen State, eastern Burma. Seven mortars fired by the Burma Army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) landed in Thailand on June 8 and 9 according to reports received by the Free Burma Rangers. On June 8 three mortars landed close to Ta Zu Nya, opposite a position held by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the resistance force of the Karen National Union (KNU). Four landed close to Mae Salik village in Tha Song Yang province, Tak district, western Thailand on June 9.
The fighting at the frontline increased on June 12 at 8:30am to 9:30am at the KNLA 21st battalion area (opposite Mae Salik village). The Burma Army and DKBA continuously mortared the area and are reportedly planning to attack KNLA 22 and 101 battalion areas opposite Mae Salik. Some 200 mortars landed in the areas under attack. 60mm, 75mm and 32mm shells were fired.
On June 11, the Burma Army and DKBA attacked the KNLA 22 and 101 battalion areas at 1:25pm and rained 20 mortars on the area. The KNLA resisted this attack and drove them back a short distance. The DKBA Special Tactical Command led by Ner Kha Mwe brought up more soldiers for continuing attacks on this area.
In total there are reported to be some 3,521 people who have fled across the border to U Thu Hta, Noh Bo, Mae Salik and Mae Salik Noi (Kray Hta) in Thailand as a result of the fighting. The attacks on Ler Per Her and the surrounding area began on June 5 with most leaving Ler Per Her Internally Displaced People camp by June 7. On June 9, 12 more families arrived in U Thu Hta, bringing the total at that location to 1,410. They are from Mae La Ah Kee, Mae La Ah Hta, Per New Pu, Wa Mee Kla and Pyo Pawan Lay.
Relief efforts are being coordinated in Thailand by the Karen Refugee Committee with assistance from FBR, Partners Relief and Development and other NGOs. FBR and Partners have sent in clothing, medical supplies, food and blankets. The Thailand Burma Border Consortium has also provided food, shelter, cooking implements, blankets and other relief supplies to those displaced.
Medicine is also being provided by some Thai authorities in cooperation with medical treatment by Karen medics. Thai soldiers have also provided 100 tarps to the displaced people.
The KNLA are deploying 101, 22, 21, 202 battalions and soldiers from the 7th Brigade Headquarters.
The Burma Army battalions involved are Light Infantry Division 22 of Tactical Operations Command 222, Light Infantry Battalions 201, 202, 203, 205, 210 and Infantry Battalion 81. LIBs 338 and 339 remain at their base camps. (There are ten battalions in each Military Operations Command with usually only seven deployed. There are ten battalions in each LID and approximately 120 to 150 soldiers in each Burma Army battalion).
The DKBA, a proxy army of the Burma Army, is deploying 333 Brigade led by Mg Kyi, 555 Brigade led by Pya Pya and 999 Brigade led by Pah Nwee. In these attacks, Mg Chi Thu is the tactical commander. The DKBA is armed with 61mm, 81mm, and 82mm mortars, and .5 machine guns. The aim of the DKBA is to displace villagers who resist their control, control additional territory and crush KNU resistance in their areas.
Kachin university students have reiterated their demand that the Burmese junta frees democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi unconditionally. In another daring move they spray-painted their demand in Kachin State’s capital Myitkyina, said student leaders.
The sprayed message in red and in big letters were painted in two places— on the brick-walls in front of Myitkyina University and on the State High School in Manhkring quarter, said a student leader Francis who organized the movement.
The students sprayed their demand on the walls in Burmese. It read “Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi immediately!” The letters were sprayed in red paint so that it could be seen easily by people and would be hard to erase, Francis told KNG this afternoon over telephone.
The movement is for the release of Mrs. Suu Kyi and it is being organized by the All Kachin Students’ Union (AKSU), an underground student organization based in Kachin State, said Francis.
The AKSU held a special Christian traditional prayer service with 25 participants including students, pastors and local people in a room in Myitkyina on Wednesday (June 10) between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Burma Standard Time, said Ms. Seng Mai, a student organizer.
The prayer service took an hour. They prayed for the release of Mrs. Suu Kyi from illegal detention, receiving a fair decision on her trial as well as freedom and peace on her 64th birthday on June 19, she added. Continue reading “Kachin students spray paint demand for Suu Kyi’s release”
Fri 12 Jun 2009, Kon Hadai and Blai Mon
A group of Mon monks and students have sent a letter to Burma’s largest Mon political party urging it not to transform its armed wing into a government-controlled “Border Guard Force” (BGF) or participate in elections scheduled for 2010.
“We are worried that the NMSP [New Mon State Party] will join the 2010 election and will accept to the government plan to change the MNLA [Mon National Liberation Army] into ‘border guards,’” a youth member of the group told IMNA. “Because we know that these two things are not the way to solve our nation’s problems, we demanded the NMSP listen to us.”
Cease-fire groups across Burma have been urged by the country’s military government to join national elections and disarm their armed wings or bring them under nominal state control. Burma’s largest ceasefire army, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), has refused the proposal. The large Kachin Independence Organization, meanwhile, appears to have accepted the general principle that its Kachin Independence Army must be transformed, though it says it has not necessarily agreed to become a BGF.
The letter to the NMSP, of which IMNA has obtained a copy, makes an explicit reference to the UWSA as it calls on the NMSP not transform the MNLA. An excerpt of the letter, which was sent to NMSP chairman Nai Htaw Mon on June 10, is translated below: Continue reading “Monks and youth issue letter demanding Mon cease-fire group not transform into “border guards””
The trial of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi may be complicating the ruling junta’s efforts to persuade armed ceasefire groups to transform themselves into border security forces, according to sources close to the groups.
“We can’t trust this government because it has dared to charge even the world-respected democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Nai ong Ma-nge, a spokesperson for the New Mon State Party (NMSP), one of several ceasefire groups now under pressure from the Burmese regime to form a border security force.
The NMSP’s leaders met with the junta’s Southeast Regional Commander Maj-Gen Thet Naing Win in the Mon State capital of Moulmein on June 7 to discuss the issue of forming a border security force under Burmese military control. A source close to the party said the NMSP was told to make a decision on the proposal by July.
“Regarding the border guard proposal, we have to think deeply about it, because we can see [from the trial against Suu Kyi] that the junta could turn against us at any time,” said Nai ong Ma-nge. Continue reading “Suu Kyi Trial Adds to Ceasefire Groups’ Distrust of Junta”
SATURDAY, 13 JUNE 2009 08:46 HSENG KHIO FAH
The Shan State Army (SSA) South has been working hard to look for new recruits among the migrant population, according to a Shan case researcher Ms Amporn Jitrattikorn at a seminar held on 11 June at an undisclosed place on the Thai-Burma border.
The SSA has been recruiting from Shan State inside Burma every year, but its mission has not been much of a success as mass of migrants is crossing the border each year. Among those migrants, some are escaping from the SSA’s the recruitment drives.
In 1999, the SSA’s annual meeting report stated that one of its plans was to find new recruits among young Shan men inside Burma. But by 2007, the SSA command had come to terms with the fact that perhaps half of young Shan population were now residing in Thailand, Ms Amporn said.
“Recently SSA leader Col Yawd Serk issued a statement urging his people to come back to Burma to help him fight for independence,” she recalled.
In order to win the hearts and minds of migrants, to instill nationalism and to look for new recruits from them, the SSA began to build networks with an innovative approach partly through its media strategy.
The new media strategy attempts to incite patriotic feelings among the Shan migrants by delivering leaflets, books, websites, battledfield images and video clips of how people in Shan State are being repressed and tortured by the Burmese military and how the SSA is fighting for its people.
Among those methods, producing and delivering VCDs about those battlefield images is the most effective one to inspire and catch the feelings among the audience, according to her survey. Many people eagerly join the SSA after being exposed to the reality as it is being presented by the SSA inside Burma.
“During the festivals I have observed that the audience especially males always gather and form a big crowd to watch these images together in front of the television set. It can therefore be assumed that they are being captivated by the message being transmitted,” she said.
Ms Amporn Jitrattikorn is a Ph.D in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, having received the Master’s Degree from the University of Hawaii, Amnoa.
She had documented about the Shan migrants in 2007 through the report named “Shan Noises: Transnational migrants, popular music and nation of the Shan people.”
The Shan migrant population in Chiangmai is one sixth of Chiangmai’s population, according to her report in 2007.
There are at least 2 million legal and illegal migrant workers in Thailand.
နအဖေခါင္းေဆာင္သန္းေရႊရဲ ့သားမက္ ေတဇရဲ ့သား ထက္ေတဇဆိုတဲ့ ခ်ာတိတ္ဟာ မိမိကုိကိုယ္ ဘ၀င္ေလ ဟပ္ျပီး အဆင့္မရွိတဲ ့ စကားေတြေျပာတာႀကားရေတာ့၊ ပ်က္စီးေနတာေတြေတြ ့ရေတာ့ အာဏာရူးစီးပြား ေရး ေလာဘသမားေတြရဲ ့ သားသမီးအသိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းကလို ့မေျပာရဘူး၊ မိမိတင္မက တစ္ေဆြတစ္မ်ဳိးလုံးရဲ ့မ ေကာင္းတဲ့ဂုဏ္ယုတ္ကိုပါ ေဖၚ ျပေနတဲ့ မသူေတာ္ျဖစ္ေနေလရဲ ့။ continue