“The health of Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni May Myint were not very well before I was released from prison. Ko Moe Nay Soe is suffering from paralysis while Ma Ni Ni May Myint is suffering from weakness,”

Health of Political Prisoners Deteriorating in Buthidaung

Buthidaung: The health of two political prisoners being held in Buthidaung prison in Arakan State has been deteriorating by the day due to lack of proper medical treatment, said one former prisoner who did not want to disclose his name.

“The health of Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni May Myint were not very well before I was released from prison. Ko Moe Nay Soe is suffering from paralysis while Ma Ni Ni May Myint is suffering from weakness,” he said.

However, they are not receiving proper medical treatment in the prison, he said.

Ko Moe Nay Soe was severely tortured by prison authorities soon after he arrived at the prison from his hometown because he refused to follow some restrictions imposed by the prison authority.

“Ko Moe Nay Soe, Ma Ni Ni May Myint and their colleagues were sent to the dog cells after the incident. They had to sleep on the concrete floor in the dog cells everyday. Ko Moe Nay Soe has since begun suffering from the paralysis,” he added.

According to a family source, the health of Ma Ni Ni May Myint has been deteriorating the last few weeks due to bad weather, but family members have not been able to send medicine to her.

Many political prisoners in Buthidaung prison depend primarily on their family for medicine, but have been unable to receive such packages since the authority imposed restrictions.

Ko Thein Aung, who is a human rights activist in Arakan said, “Family members of political prisoners in Buthidaung prison are unable to send medicine and food inside the prison after four senior prison officials were sacked from their jobs.”

The authority banned visits from family after the four senior officials were sacked, due to information being leaked to the outside. The prison officials that were fired were prison in-charge Tin Tun, prison doctor Htay Win, jailer Win Maung, and one other unidentified person.

Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni May Myint were arrested along with three other political activists in Taungup in southern Arakan State for observing the anniversary of the 1988 protests on August 8, 2008.

The Taungup court sentenced them to two and a half years in prison and sent them to serve their terms at Buthidaung prison.

At least 25 political prisoners, including Reverend Monk Ei Tharya, former student leaders Ko Ko Gyi, KoMaung Maung Thet, and Ko Chit Maung Maung are being held in the notorious Buthidaung prison along with Ko Moe Nay Soe and Ma Ni Ni Myint.

AASYC Launches Monthly Chronology

aasyc285 Maesot: The Thailand-based AASYC’s Research & Documentation Department launched distribution of a monthly chronology in Burmese starting in June, 2009, featuring published news stories from several agencies based both inside Burma and in exile.

Ko Aung Mram Oo, secretary of the AASYC, said that most people are unable to know the situation inArakan State in a short period. “We would like to give information, what happened in Arakan in that month, to the people who are interested in Arakan. So we are publishing the chronology,” he said.

The chronology has two sections – one related to Arakan State and another for news from all of Burma. The chronology will be published in Burmese.

“We collect important stories in our chronology which are not only from exile media, but also inside media. Every Burmese can read all short news stories from a month within a short period. This is our target for readers,” he said.

In the June issue, many news stories were picked up from exiled Arakanese news agency Narinjara, but there were also many news stories from other agencies such as bi-weekly Eleven, 7-days news journal, and the Yangon Times.

Ko Tun Kyaw, from Bangladesh, who accesses the internet regularly, said that it is great work and a good idea because it is impossible to some stories published inside Burma from Bangladesh. “Now we can easily get the stories from the AASYC monthly chronology. I really appreciate them launching this publication,” he added.

The chronology is currently targeted at a Burmese audience at present, but AASYC has plans to publish in the English language to reach out to international readers.

The AASYC, or All Arakan Students and Youths Congress, is a political organization based on the Thai-Burma border that is struggling for democracy and self-determination for all ethnic nationalities in Burma. The organization was formed by some Arakanese students and youth in exile in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1996.

Thailand to Burma, Salt exports drop

Mon 06 Jul 2009, Rai Maraoh , IMNA
Salt exports from Thailand to Burma have decreased this month, according to salt traders from Myawaddy

“This month we didn’t export very much salt to Burma, which is not good for trade. Last April the salt trade did very well, so we got a good profit. Now we can’t export any more,” said a trader from Myawaddy

Most salt traders have been able to keep exporting salt into Burma for a living last February, however traders have had to adjust to the reduced amount of salt they have had to export from Thailand this month.

One cause of the decrease in exports has been due to the threat the rain brings to transporting their product. Traders from Moulmein in Mon sate worry that their cargo of salt will become liquid water and thus worthless. Therefore salt traders have tried to export their salt before raining season began. As the rainy season has begun there have been fewer salt shipments.

But fear over rain is not the greatest problem for slat traders. “Before we had more benefits from exporting salt because distributers from Burma needed more salt. Now they don’t want more salt from Thailand, they only want a little. For us, we don’t get the benefits” a trader explained. It is not currently clear why salt demand is down throughout Burma.

Last April the salt traders exported their product across the Thai- Burmese border at Myawaddy to Mae Sot; At times over 100 10-wheel-trucks were shipping salt each day across Burma. Continue reading “Thailand to Burma, Salt exports drop”

Snubbing of Ban will prompt world to act

THE Myanmar junta’s refusal to allow United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will likely prompt a new push for Security Council action, but all depends on China.

The 15-nation council has been unable to take serious action in the case of the former Burma because China, the nearest Myanmar has to a major ally, has opposed it. Like the United States, Britain, France and Russia, China is a permanent veto-wielding member of the council and can block any action.

The last time the council said anything about Myanmar was last May, when it issued a non-binding statement urging the junta to ensure an upcoming referendum on the country’s new constitution would be “an inclusive and credible process”.

At the time, critics said the referendum that approved the constitution was a farce. Many UN officials and diplomats worry next year’s multi-party election will be the same.

China has shown flexibility on North Korea. It has supported two sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons programme. But Beijing has been unwilling to allow the council to impose sanctions on Myanmar, whose nearly 2,000km coastline provides neighbour China with easy land and sea access to South Asia markets.
One Security Council diplomat said it might be time to try again to press China to use its influence on the secretive military rulers of Myanmar to reform.

“I think China knows the council will have to look again at Myanmar,” the Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity after Ban’s visit. Other Western diplomats have expressed similar views.

Ban embarked on his two-day visit to the Southeast Asian country with low expectations, telling reporters ahead of time it would be a “very tough mission”. Continue reading “Snubbing of Ban will prompt world to act”

EDITORIAL Humiliation of UN chief

Published: 6/07/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
The Burmese military junta stripped away the pride of the United Nations during the weekend, but the UN was a too-willing accomplice. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spent two fruitless days on an impossible mission. He not only failed to secure the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but also refrained from even the most mild criticism of the regime that has locked her away on trumped-up charges. Then, in a final humiliation of the visitor, the ruling Burmese generals guided Mr Ban into a meeting with ”former armed groups” now intimidated into acting as shills for the regime.
The United Nations, and Mr Ban himself, billed the visit to Burma in somewhat glowing terms. Their theory was that the presence of the secretary-general in Burma would create a moral facade. The importance of his office, Mr Ban apparently believed, would convince or shame the generals into changing 47 years of iron-fisted control. They would release Mrs Suu Kyi and hundreds of other political prisoners and agree to accept a political path to democracy. The reality was that the dictators stayed on the course they have repeatedly announced and enforced with the blood of thousands of Burmese citizens. Mrs Suu Kyi remains jailed, as do all other political prisoners, and Burma remains under the boot of the military regime.

Mr Ban and his aides at the United Nations had plenty of warning that the secretary would become a pawn rather than a peacemaker. His decision to visit Burma and plead for Mrs Suu Kyi was doomed from the start, and it is disturbing that he could not see it. His cheerful optimism last week seemed to be a denial of the task that lay ahead. He did not go to Burma to demand freedom for thousands of battered and unjustly imprisoned citizens; he went to beg for them.

It is not that Mr Ban failed to win freedom for Mrs Suu Kyi and 50 million fellow Burmese. It was the manner of his failure that let down the free world and caused Mr Ban and the UN to lose face. The UN chief said as his ill-fated trip ended that he was ”deeply disappointed” in failing to win so much as a prison visit with Mrs Suu Kyi. There were no sharp words about her jailers, no criticism of the system they impose at gunpoint.

Mr Ban had a rare opportunity to shed light and show the world how violent and unjust the Burmese generals have made their country. Instead, he was convinced or tricked into attending a fake event to boost the prestige of the junta. Prime Minister Thein Sein ushered the visitor into a meeting of former opponents of the regime. These groups, including political parties and former armed rebel forces, have been crushed and intimidated at gunpoint. The junta has coerced or forced them into supporting the regime’s so-called ”road to democracy” sham, which will climax next year in a carefully controlled referendum to perpetuate military rule in Burma forever.

There was never much chance that Mr Ban would succeed at gaining freedom for Mrs Suu Kyi or the other political prisoners. Nor was there a chance that the generals would heed the prestige of the UN and switch from brutal dictatorship to democracy. But Mr Ban did have a rare chance to stand up to the junta. He did have an opportunity to speak the truth. By confronting the junta, he would have earned huge respect for the United Nations and provide hope to the people of Burma.

Instead he has reduced the plight of that sad country to more routine diplomatic failure.

Bkk Post

Foreign investment in Myanmar hits 15 bln USD

YANGON, Jul. 6, 2009 (Xinhua News Agency) — Foreign investment in Myanmar hit 15. 77 billion U.S. dollars as of May this year since the country was open to foreign investment in 1988, the local Weekly Eleven News reported Monday.

Of the total foreign investment from 31 countries and regions in 424 projects, Thailand is leading with 7.41 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 46.98 percent, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry was quoted by the report as saying.

The second biggest foreign investor is the United Kingdom with 1.86 billion U.S. dollars or 11.8 percent, while the third is Singapore with 1.55 billion U.S. dollars and the fourth China with 1.33 billion U.S. dollars.

They were followed by Malaysia (660.75 million U.S. dollars), Hong Kong SAR (504.22 million U.S. dollars), France (469 million U. S. dollars), the United States (243,565 million U.S. dollars), Indonesia (241.50 million U.S. dollars) and South Korea (239.32 million U.S. dollars).

Their investments were respectively injected into 12 economic sectors , including electric power, oil and gas (OTCBB:PWOIF) , manufacturing, real estate, hotels and tourism, mining, transport and communications, livestock breeding and fisheries, industry, construction, agriculture and services sector.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )

Ban versus the junta – who won?


by Larry Jagan
Monday, 06 July 2009 18:56

Bangkok (Mizzima) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appears to have left Burma empty-handed on what was seen beforehand as a crucial visit to strengthen the UN’s role in the country and encourage the junta to be inclusive and transparent in its national reconciliation process. The international community is now focused on the regime’s rejection of Ban’s requests to see detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ban is obviously personally disappointed as he believed he had established a special relationship with Senior General Than Shwe, hinting that Burma’s military head-of-state may listen favorably to him. “I’m deeply disappointed,” Ban told journalists at Rangoon airport when he arrived by plane from the capital Naypyitaw, after a second meeting with the junta’s top leader.

“I think they have missed a very important opportunity of demonstrating their willingness to commit to continuing reconciliation with all political leaders. It is a setback to the international community’s efforts to provide a helping hand to Myanmar [Burma] at this time.”

But is it really that big a deal – though symbolically important for sure. Even Ban Ki-moon on reflection seems to concede this. “My meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, however, should not be seen as the only benchmark for success or failure of my visit,” he told journalists in Bangkok after he flew out of Rangoon. But of course he may only be putting a brave face on what was a definite personal rebuff.

Access to Aung San Suu Kyi is the only card the regime has to play when dealing with the UN and its Western detractors. But UN involvement in Burma is far greater than that, and involves both political, development and humanitarian issues.

What is really important, as Aung San Suu Kyi has repeatedly said, is the start of genuine dialogue with the military regime. For many of the poor in Burma, the more immediate question is humanitarian aid and development assistance. Continue reading “Ban versus the junta – who won?”

U Aung Htoo, General Secretary of Burma Lawyers’ Council on “How to bring junta to ICC”

General Secretary of Burma Lawyers’ Council U Aung Htoo discuss inclusively on “How to bring Burmese Military Regime to International Criminal Court (ICC)”. He said that “United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can refer Burma to International Criminal Court (ICC) if they decide that it falls within the Article 7 of UDHR. ICC prosecutor can investigate and refer junta to ICC if someone files the case against junta. Russia and China, permanent members of the UNSC, could oppose bringing a case before the ICC against the junta, but the world is changing. We cant always assume that China will always back the junta. We’re hopeful Chinas position on Burma will change since China mentioned that Burma became an international concern at the HRC recently. This is very significant.
At the same time ethnic cease fire groups are openly defying the juntas 2008 constitution. Clearly, China has become increasingly reluctant to endorse and support the junta. Hopefully China will not become a sanctuary for fugitives from justice when we prove the junta was involved in crimes against humanity. By bringing this case before the ICC we are seeking a positive solution to Burmas current crisis. With reference to the Rome statute, the ICC has the authority to prosecute based on individual accountability. We are not intending to prosecute all of the leadership of military who are not committing any crimes. Continue reading “U Aung Htoo, General Secretary of Burma Lawyers’ Council on “How to bring junta to ICC””