Border Guard Force plan leads to end of ceasefire


The failure of the Kokang ceasefire group to join the junta’s border guard force led to the armed clashes between government troops and the Kokang army, the subsequent loss of the Kokang headquarters and the end to two-decade ceasefire.

It may also signal the start of more similar clashes between government forces and ethnic groups opposed to the junta’s plan to create a border guard force made up of ethnic armies.

A four-month campaign to have ethnic ceasefire groups get behind the State Peace and Development Council’s (SPDC) Border Guard Force before the 2010 election has clearly failed.

What is the Border Guard Force (BGF)?

In late April, Burmese generals, including Lt-Gen Ye Myint, the chief of the Military Affairs Security (MAS) of the Tatmadaw ( Burmese armed forces) and secretary of the BGF Transformation Committee, traveled to Shan State and Kachin State to meet with leaders of the Kachin, Kokang, Shan and Wa ethnic armed groups based along the Sino-Burmese border.

The generals outlined the blue print of the Border Guard Force. According to a military document obtained by The Irrawaddy at the end of April, the blueprint made clear the BGF plan gives greater control of ethnic armed groups to the Tatmadaw by putting all ethnic armies under the command of the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, currently Srn-Gen Than Shwe, head of the SPDC. Continue reading “Border Guard Force plan leads to end of ceasefire”

BURMA: Four men tried for having stickers of Aung San Suu Kyi


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-107-2009

28 August 2009
BURMA: Four men tried for having stickers of Aung San Suu Kyi

ISSUES: Rule of law; military government; judicial system; illegal detention; freedom of expression

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed of an ongoing case in Burma in which four men are being tried for having stickers of Aung San Suu Kyi. The men were arrested without basis and it was reportedly only after entering their houses that the police seized the stickers and accused them of having stuck them up in public and caused a disturbance, even though they had no proof.


According to the details of the case that the AHRC has obtained so far, on the night of 12-13 June 2009, two police and local officials arrested Aung Aung Oo (31), Bo Htun (36) and Kyaw Myo Naing (21) in Bahan, Rangoon. A companion managed to get away. The police took the three back to their houses where they allegedly found stickers with photos of democracy party leader Aung San Suu Kyi and some other materials. Later, the police claimed that they had taken the stickers from the three on the roadside, although persons familiar with the case deny this. The police records also are faulty, suggesting that they did not find the materials on the men as they said they did, because they were not filled out correctly: although they should have taken witness signatures at the place of arrest on the search and seizure forms, the signatures were taken at the district police station. Furthermore, the signatories were also government officials, not independent witnesses at all.

After the accused were detained, the police opened a case against them over an alleged bombing, completely unrelated to the pretext for their arrests. At the opening and subsequent hearing, neither the families nor lawyer of the accused were able to get access to the trial. Prosecution witnesses were not cross-examined. At a subsequent hearing, suddenly the police changed the charge to one of causing fear and alarm in the public, which is a “catch all” section of the law used when the police cannot come up with anything with which to charge the defendants. As of August the case was ongoing. The accused face two years’ imprisonment for this offence.


The AHRC has been documenting numerous cases speaking to what it has described as Burma’s “injustice system” and Urgent Appeals on many of these can be accessed by going to the appeals page and entering “Burma” into the search box: Some recent cases include the life-imprisonment of a human rights defender and two other men over an alleged bomb plot (AHRC-UAU-018-2009), the killing of a young man in local council custody (AHRC-UAC-082-2009), the lengthy imprisonment of two elected MPs for writing a letter to the UN (AHRC-UAC-074-2009), the revocation of two lawyers’ licences for merely acting on the wishes of their clients in accordance with the law (AHRC-UAC-062-2009), and the case against Aung San Suu Kyi and three others (AHRC-UAC-060-2009; AHRC-STM-169-2009).

Two special reports have also been issued in the article 2 periodical, “Saffron Revolution imprisoned, law denied” (vol. 7, no. 3, September 2008) and “Burma, political psychosis and legal dementia” (vol. 6, no. 5-6, December 2007). There are also a number of related sites, including the AHRC Burmese-language blog, Pyithu Hittaing, and the 2008 AHRC Human Rights Report chapter on Burma.

LABOUR-THAILAND: Economic Crisis Hits Burmese Migrant Women

By Marwaan Macan-Markar
BANGKOK, Aug 28 (IPS) – The global financial crisis is threatening to shred the dreams of thousands of women from Burma, who have fled their military-ruled country over the past decade for better jobs in more prosperous Thailand, say activists.

Mae Sot, a town along the Thai-Burma border that has been a magnet for female migrant workers, is one area where this pain is being felt, they add. Ongoing conflicts between the military and ethnic groups and a depressed economy in Burma, also known as Myanmar, are among the reasons behind such flight across the border.

“There is growing worry among these women that they will not be able to remit part of their earnings to their families in Burma,” says Jackie Pollock, director of the Migrant Action Programme, a group lobbying for migrants’ rights in Thailand. “Entire families depend on such remittances, which are about 2,500 baht (about 75 U.S. dollars) every quarter.”

She expects this predicament to worsen as the crisis, which has resulted in the drying up of export markets in the United States, unfolds in the months ahead. “It is just starting to hit them. The families in Burma are living off what was saved from last year’s remittances.”

This economic downturn is squeezing a female labour force that is already being discriminated against by the factory owners, mostly Thais, who refuse to pay the daily minimum wage. The Burmese women who labour for hours behind sewing machines get between 60 and 80 baht a day, whereas the minimum wage set out by the Thai state for Mae Sot is 151 baht (4.57 U.S. dollars) a day.

These women make up the predominant labour force in the nearly 300 export-oriented textile and garment factories in Mae Sot, reveals a report launched Friday in Bangkok. Each factory employs 100 to 1,000 workers, while “about another 200 unregistered ‘home factories’ would employ between five and 20 workers,” says the report.

This female labour force is part of the estimated 300,000 Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot, which also provides work in other areas. That includes jobs in agriculture, construction, domestic work, call centres, the entertainment industry and on garbage sites. Continue reading “LABOUR-THAILAND: Economic Crisis Hits Burmese Migrant Women”

Nearly 60 firms to participate in computer trade fair

by Pho Zaw
Monday, 31 August 2009 21:00

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – About 60 computer firms will participate in the ‘Electronic and Living ’09’ computer trade fair to be held at the Armed Forces Hall in U Wisara Road, Rangoon between September 3 and 6.

The ‘Shwe Lamin Nagar Co.’, the sole agent of Acer Computer and Computer Accessories, will sell a limited number of new models of laptops at a special discounted price at the trade fair during from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“According to current estimates, the discount will be about 10 per cent. The minimum price of the laptops will be about Kyat 550,000. We have to limit the number of laptop to be sold at a discount during the sales promotion period,” an official of the service centre of the company said.

The trade fair is being sponsored by IEMS Co. Ltd. and its major support comes from NIBBAN Electric & Electronic, an official of NIBBAN said.

It is learnt that about 120 showrooms have already been booked and many companies such as Toshiba, Access and KMD will showcase their computers and computer accessories in the trade fair.

“The starting price of a desktop PC is Kyat 250,000. For a laptop it is Kyat 550,000. In earlier shows, the companies gave discounts from 5 per cent to 16 per cent. For keyboards, mouse and modems, the maximum discount rate was 50 per cent,” a manager of KMD told Mizzima. The final pricing is yet to be fixed for the trade fair, he added.

Moreover it is learnt that other branded electronic companies, computer companies and interior decoration firms will participate in the trade fair and sell their products at specially discounted prices.

An entertainment programme will be included in the inaugural ceremony of the trade fair. It will be presented by John Lwin’s Star and Model Agency with product demonstrations and a ramp walk.

Junta briefs KIO on Kokang war

by Phanida
Monday, 31 August 2009 20:55

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese military junta has taken pains to explain to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) that its recent war on the Kokang armed group was to nip in the bud production of narcotic drugs and arms and ammunition by the ethnic ceasefire group.

A junta delegation led by Col. Thet Pone from Northern Military Command Military Affairs Security (MAS) met ethnic Kachin leaders on August 29 in Laiza Hotel in KIO’s headquarter in Laiza. Col. Thet Pone told them that the Kokang ethnic group led by Peng Jia Xing was into manufacturing arms and traded in drugs.

On the KIO’s side, the Strategic Command Commander Brig. Gen. En Banla, Vice Chief-of-Staff Col. Guan Mau and Secretary Dr. Laja attended the meeting.

“They made out that the Kokang group led by Peng Jia Xiang fired first at them, when they wanted to inspect their arms manufacturing unit and search for narcotic drugs. After which they had no option but to occupy the area,” a Kachin officer said on condition of anonymity.

The military government’s mouthpiece the ‘New Light of Myanmar’ reported that in the three-day clashes between the junta’s forces and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), 11 were killed and 31 injured on the Burmese Army’s side. Besides 15 policemen were killed, 13 injured and eight bodies of Kokang soldiers were also found, the news paper reported. Continue reading “Junta briefs KIO on Kokang war”

Local Nargis victims exploited by head of 100 Household

U Htay Tin Aung, head of 100 household from Danichaung village, Kadon-Kani village track, Bogale Township benefited by exploiting local Nargis refugees and farmers. He selfishly misused materials, which were donated by local and international NGOs for Nargis affected people.
One of the farmers said; “We lost our livestock so we were unable to farm. The donors donated three Plough machines and he took all, leaving nothing for villagers – clothes, essential materials. I wanted to catch fish with a cast-net, which was donated but only received it after I paid 5,000 Kyat for it. He is selling all valuable things until he becomes rich. Whatever things are donated need to be handed over to him.”
He further added: “100 household head, U Htay Tin Aung went to Kadon-Kani village track to feed U Zaw Min tea/coffee every morning.”
The local authorities signed a contract with local farmers that provided a loan for 100,000 per acre to buy seed from Ayeyar Delta Agri Export Co. Ltd, owned by the country’s business Tycoon, Tay Za, but the loan didn’t come for four months, so many farmers faced difficulties in growing the paddy in time.
A school building that was the only one in the area built by UNDP after Nargis had fallen down and was wrecked. According to one farmer; “The wood and roofing sheets are kept under a tent built by villagers but 100 Household head, U Htay Tin Aung took all the materials to his home. When an International donor came to build the school, his father in-law was the carpenter and mason. His men were full of the good things that came from foreign donations. Our villagers are given the things that they didn’t want. Even when we ask, we have to pay for things.”
One woman said: “ACF, the EU countries mission provided $100 US to each family but U Htay Tin Aung only gave them 75,000 Kyats each. They should have received 100,000 Kyats each.
Another woman said he shouts: “We have no chance. We should take what we can get. Nobody has removed him from his position, even king of hell unable to do so.”
Danichaung village is a big village in the Irrawaddy with around 500 households and 200 farmers living there. It is located 5 hours by motorboat from Bogale city.
One year after Nargis, the local people in the area are still facing difficulties of unemployment, living and education for children, according to a local resident from Danichaung village.

The Burmese military junta imposed night curfew in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in the country’s north since August 27, the day Burmese troops and the ethnic Kokang armed group clashed in northeast Shan State, said residents of Myitkyina.

A resident of Myitkyina told KNG today, that townspeople are prohibited from going out from their homes after 10 p.m. local time. People who flout the law will be punished by the town military authorities.

Every night, policemen are on the prowl in the town including Buddhist monasteries, in jail-trucks, said local eyewitnesses.However, the people have been authorized to cross the Irrawaddy River Bridge known as Balaminhtin, the key bridge which joins the capital Myitkyina and China borders east of the town, only during the authorized period from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., said Myitkyina’s residents. Continue reading “The Burmese military junta imposed night curfew in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in the country’s north since August 27, the day Burmese troops and the ethnic Kokang armed group clashed in northeast Shan State, said residents of Myitkyina.”

Mistaken Identity reveals new Mon Splinter group behind extortion effort

Mon 31 Aug 2009, IMNA, Rai Maraoh
A new Mon insurgent group is revealed to be demanding money from farmers in Mudon Township, after it was mistake by farmers for an older less active group.

A week ago, when famers were confronted with demands in a letter from an insurgent group for money, they identified the group as the Mon Peace and Defense Front (MPDF) by the symbol on the letter. However, when asked, the MPDF denied any involvement in the demands for money.

After the news about the demands reached a senior abbot in the area, the abbot called the MPDF group leader, major general Nai Aung Naing asking about the letter villagers had received. Major general Nai Aung Naing, now a living as a monk, denied that the group he previously led had any involvement in the demands.

After reviewing an actual copy of the letter sent to farmers in Mudon Township, in Kamawet, Naing-hlone and Lettet villages, IMNA has confirmed the letter is in fact from a new Mon splinter group. The New group calls itself the Mon Defense Front (MDF).

“Three members from that group, with guns, went, themselves, to the farmers. However in some cases they ordered their assistants to deliver the letter, when they went to other farmers,” said a resident close to one of the farmers that received a letter. “They told the farmers to be ready for their demands (money) after the farmers were given the letter.” Continue reading “Mistaken Identity reveals new Mon Splinter group behind extortion effort”

To congregrate on International Peace Day September 21rst and pray for peace in Burma, Thailand and the world while commemorating the September 18th 2007 peaceful monks’ protest in Burma. by Ashin Sopaka

Type: brand
Other – Ceremony
Network: burmese_monks BDC4
Free for peace!
Monday, 21 September 2009
09:00 – 20:00
Thai Burma Border
Asia Road to Burma
Mae Sot, Thailand
To congregrate on International Peace Day September 21rst and pray for peace in Burma, Thailand and the world while commemorating the September 18th 2007 peaceful monks’ protest in Burma. There is international support for this walk (other simultaneous walks in America,etc) and various media will be made aware a few days before the march about the peaceful and international purpose of the march.

Banners will say:

Peace (in Thai) (Santipap).

Peace for the World and Burma

Peace in Burma Means No Civil War

No Nuclear Enrichment in Burma

Thai Bannner:

May all beings not fight each other

May all beings be happy and peaceful

Participants will be wearing white shirts with doves for peace and UN Anti-Nuclear Sign ( blue for peace) in various languages.

There will be peace flags for people
Groups Joining the March:

ALTSEAN, PEF, Forums-Asia, TACDB (Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma), ( International Buddhist Monks’ Organizations) , INEB (International Network of Engaged Buddhists), Friends of Burma

Burma Groups- FDB, BP

To be invited: Students Federation of Thailand (SFT), Young Progressive Democracy(YPD), Students – Student Federation of Thailand (SFT)

Chaing Mai- International Women partnership,