Stoic Karen vow to fight for their right to life by Daniel Pederson

As the Thai government and international organisations attempt to deal with the aftermath of the Burmese junta’s destructive offensive in the Karen National Liberation Army’s Seventh Brigade the junta’s soldiers march on.
They began a massive thrust against the Karen people in Sixth Brigade in June of last year.
Sixth Brigade is south of the border town of Mae Sot.
The State Peace and Development Council stormtroopers flanked by their allied militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army then marched north, into Seventh Brigade region, to Mae Sot’s north.
They sent more than 3000 people across the border into Thailand and for now there they shall stay, struggling to survive, forced from their homes and farms.
Their former villages, the ones that have not been burned down, are now dangerous ghost towns, surrounded by landmines and boobytraps.
And the junta’s troops continue to march north, heading for the KNLA’s Fifth Brigade.
This is, word for word, what Fifth Brigade has to say about what is to come.

Migrant News by Grassrotes Human Right

A workshop on work permits and labor rights for foreign migrant workers was conducted. The workshop took place at Andaburi Resort, Kaolak, Tombol Takuapa in Phang Nga province with the cooperation of GHRE, IOM and World Vision.
It was established that migrant workers come to Thailand for several reasons, doing jobs that Thai people are not willing to do. Htoo Chit, Executive Director of GHRE suggests migrant workers take the opportunity to get a work permit as guests in Thailand, therefore receiving sympathy from the resident citizens, whilst also abiding by Thailand law.
Mr. Surapong Kongchantuk, Chairperson of Karen Culture and Development Centre (Executive committee member of Thailands’ Human Rights Committee and Lawyer Council, as well as Vice Chairperson of the sub-committee of Indigenous people) discussed the rights of migrant workers and internally displaced people in relation to the Thailand Human Rights Commission, along with new work permit regulations and the opportunity to educate migrant children.

Ms. Thidarat Tohteb from World Vision spoke about the provision of health care for migrant workers and a medical treatment card, which outlines health status and treatment required.
Later, Hla Phone Naing, GHRE’s coordinator for the migrant development program discussed road safety – signs, rules and regulations.
50 migrant workers participated in the workshop, along with community leaders and NGO workers.

Collective Warso Tingan offering ceremony of Burmese migrant workers was celebrated

The third Warso Tingan (Suit for Monk) and rice offering and Buddha Anaykazar (Spiritual empowering Buddha statue) ceremony was organized at Banbaw fish box factory warehouse by Burmese migrant workers who work at the factory.
On this special Buddhist festival hosted on the 6th of July 60 young monks who are from different regions of Burma who are learning at Chularlongkong University of Bangkok were invited and the celebration was well attended.
Ko Hla Soe, one of the organizers said “For the continued existence of Buddhist religion and the great honor of these Buddhist monks who are learning here we celebrated this special Buddhist celebration. We are also very pleased to see many monks together as this third alms giving occasion is a produce of our hard work”.
The organizers estimate that in this alms-giving around one hundred and fifty thousand Baht has been raised. The presiding monk of Wattalone Monastery, who allows 50 studying monks from Burma to live at his Monastery, also joined to honor this ceremony.
During the previous years, celebrations took place at Warso Tingan and Katheir Tingan, but only 5 to 10 monks attended as no one could bring many monks to the same place.

The occasion started at around 8AM and ice creams, white noodles, soft drinks and a variety of snacks were offered. At noon, the Tingan (Monk Robe) was offered to the Monks for them to worship. They were also offered rice. The religious ceremony had been a success and was finished by 2 PM.
A small group of Burmese migrant workers communities also celebrated Buddhist religious in other Monasteries such as Watkanfar, Wathon, Watsaypond and Watpok close to Bangkok.

A small explosion occurred on Tuesday at a port in western Rangoon’s Ahlone Township, according to an official at the Township fire brigade.

by Mizzima News
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 21:03

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A small explosion occurred on Tuesday at a port in western Rangoon’s Ahlone Township, according to an official at the Township fire brigade.

The official told Mizzima that the explosion occurred at the Asia World port on Tuesday evening, but said he did not have any details.

“We don’t know what happened but we heard there was an explosion in the port at about 4 p.m. But firefighters from our station did not go to the site. We were only informed after everything settled down. I don’t know any details of it,” the official said.

An official at the Asia World port, however, denied the information, saying, “We don’t know anything in detail. I have not heard anything like that here.”

But contrary to the official’s statement, an official at the Myanmar Industrial Port, located nearby the Asia World port, said, “We heard that there was an explosion at Asia World. But I don’t know any details.”

The Asia World terminal is owned by Steven Law, son of notorious drug lord Lo Hsing Han. The United States has imposed sanctions on both father and son, resulting in Asia World being banned from doing business with any American citizens.

Earlier in January, Rangoon police seized packets of heroin from a container loaded on a ship at the Asia World port.

Police reportedly seized 38 kilograms of heroin hidden inside teak logs in a ship set to sail for Singapore.

The question is, by “free to participate” does Ban Ki-moon mean “free to run for office”? by Innercity Press

Inner City Press: Mr. Secretary-General, you said that [Senior General] Than Shwe has committed to make the elections free and fair. But the constitution that was passed right after the cyclone says that a quarter of the seats have to go to people with military backgrounds, and that Aung San Suu Kyi couldn’t run because she married a foreigner. Under those conditions, how can you believe that the elections are going to be free, fair or credible?
SG Ban: I urged Senior General Than Shwe that this election should be fair and free, but also legitimate, inclusive and credible. To be credible and legitimate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners should be released. I emphasized that, without participation of Aung San Suu Kyi, without her being able to campaign freely, and without her NLD party [being able] to establish party offices all throughout the provinces, this election may not be regarded as credible and legitimate.

Inner City Press: Should she be a candidate?

SG Ban: That is what I am going to continue to follow up. You have heard the Permanent Representative of Myanmar saying that his Government is now taking some procedures to allow some amnesty. But I’m not quite sure who will be included in this amnesty. But I have made it quite clear that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in particular should be released and free to participate in the election. [Video here.]


The Burmese army’s Southeast Regional Commander in Moulmein, Mon State, has suggested to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that it should transform its armed wing into a militia group if it doesn’t want to take up border guard duties.

Mon Group Offered Alternative to Border Guard Proposal
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 21:24
The Burmese army’s Southeast Regional Commander in Moulmein, Mon State, has suggested to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that it should transform its armed wing into a militia group if it doesn’t want to take up border guard duties.

A NMSP spokesman at the party’s liaison office in Sangkalaburi, Thailand, said Maj-Gen Thet Naing Win made the proposal at a meeting with NMSP leaders in Moulmein on June 7.

The NMSP, like other armed ethnic groups, has been under pressure by the regime to reassign its armed wing into a border guard force. The party has been given until the end of July to reach a decision.

NMSP leaders will hold an urgent meeting on July 25 to decide whether to comply with the regime’s proposal, the spokesman said. He said, however, that the party would accept no proposal that put its armed forces under the command of the Burmese army. Continue reading “The Burmese army’s Southeast Regional Commander in Moulmein, Mon State, has suggested to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that it should transform its armed wing into a militia group if it doesn’t want to take up border guard duties.”

The newly-appointed U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific reportedly said Washington was eyeing nuclear ties between North Korea and Myanmar.

‘U.S. eyeing N.K.-Myanmar nuke ties’

Kurt Campbell said in a written reply for a Congressional confirmation hearing that the Southeast Asian country and North Korea were strengthening their partnership, according to Radio Free Asia, a private station funded by the U.S. Congress that broadcasts in nine Asian languages.

RFA reported that Campbell picked North Korea and Russia as supporters of Myanmar’s nuclear development, while noting that the Southeast Asian country was not running a nuclear reactor.

Russia and Myanmar signed an agreement in May 2007 to build nuclear facilities, including a 10-megawatt reactor for research purposes, Campbell was quoted as saying by the radio station.

The United States raised concerns regarding this in an ASEAN Regional Forum where both Russia and North Korea attended, Campbell said.

Under the bilateral agreement, hundreds of Burmese scientists were to be trained in Russia, he said.

As North Korea was strengthening its ties with Burma, Campbell said he would continue to closely watch all external support for Burma’s nuclear development, including those by Russia and North Korea.

The U.S. official added that he believed Burma did not have the legal, technological or financial infrastructure essential for safe nuclear development.

Campbell, who assumed the post last month, is expected to visit Seoul later this week to meet with top officials here ahead of talks between Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum from July 17-23.

Campbell is expected to make his first tour to Northeast Asian nations, including South Korea, just before attending the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phuket.

Campbell, who replaced Christopher Hill, is known to be an expert on Asian affairs, having served as a top adviser on Asian affairs to former U.S. president Bill Clinton.