Burmese junta and KIO to meet over KIA deadlock in early October

News – Kachin News Group

Representatives of the Burmese military junta and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) will meet in an attempt to resolve the deadlock over transforming the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the armed-wing of KIO to the junta-proposed battalion of the Border Guard Force (BGF) in early October, said KIO sources.

KIO officers in Laiza headquarters on the Sino-Burma border in Kachin State said the meeting is slated to be held on October 2 before the October 30 deadline set by the junta to transform the KIA and the rest of the ethnic ceasefire groups in the country to the Burmese Army-controlled BGF.

The KIO was told to come up with a clear “Yes or No” answer on the transformation by Lt-Gen Ye Myint, the junta’s Chief Naypyitaw negotiator and Chief of Military Affairs Security when he met KIO delegates led by Vice-president No. 1 Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State on September 9, said KIO delegates.

According to KIO delegates, the junta-proposed BGF will be set up with a total manpower of 326 in a battalion including the direct participation of 30 officers of the Burmese Army. The battalion commander will be from KIA but his deputy commander must be from the Burmese Army.

KIA soldiers over 50 years old will not be accepted in the BGF. All military personnel in the BGF will be under the direct control of the Military Chief of Staff of the Burmese Army. They will receive military training, weapons, rations and salary from the Burmese Army, added KIO sources. Continue reading “Burmese junta and KIO to meet over KIA deadlock in early October”

New Mon Party or A New Party formed by Some Mon?

siri-monchan It is not surprising that a few ethnic Mon who claim to be politicians are attempting to form a new party for the so-called 2010 election in Burma. The general public began to notice these Mon leaders when they became involved in the new Working Committee for the Mon Party during NMSP-military ceasefire talks in 1994 and 1995.

Under normal circumstances it would be desirable to have public representation in a multi-party democratic system. Citizens should be able to choose to participate in a party that represents their political preferences – whether it is liberal democracy, national democracy or even social democracy. However, forming a new party solely with the intention of participating in the controversial so-called 2010 election is questionable. Are there conditions or political developments that might encourage multi-party democracy and free and fair elections in Burma? Does the 2008 Constitution upon which the 2010 election will be held guarantee ethnic and democratic rights?

I will try to put myself in the Mon politicians’ shoes. They intend to work in a parliament dominated by military representatives, and to make gradual changes using the principle of evolutional-political development. However, according to change management theory, especially with regard to political change, all parties must genuinely and sincerely intend for change to occur. The change should be based on consultation, compromise, mutual respect and dialogue. At this point in time, do we see the SPDC showing a sincere and genuine desire for change? The SPDC did not show sincerity when it drafted a new constitution, called a referendum, or held the election. Is there really any hope of creating change in a rubber-stamp parliament, dominated by military representatives, bound by this Continue reading “New Mon Party or A New Party formed by Some Mon?”

Karen soldiers ambush Burmese army in Three Pagoda Pass area

Wed 16 Sep 2009, Kon Hadae, IMNA
In two separate incidents, violence has continued to occur in Three Pagoda Pass (TPP) Township, according to local sources. In both incidents, attacks have targeted Burmese troops or facilities.

On Sunday the 13th, Burmese army troops from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 356 were ambushed by KNU troops from Brigade No. 6 near Chanungzone village, TPP Township according to local source.

According to an officer of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) based in the area, LIB No. 356 troops were on their way to join up with LIB No. 283 in the recently captured Maketa village. However before they arrived, LIB No. 356 was ambushed by KNU soldiers. Chanungzone village is about 15 Kilometer from TPP town.

“We heard from Burmese authorities 4 Burmese soldiers were injured in the ambush,” the NMSP officer said to IMNA. “One was shot in the stomach, two were hit in the leg and I am not sure about the 4th soldier.”

According to a source close to Burmese authorities form Three Pagoda Pass town, the KNU ambush led to a brief firefight lasting 10 minutes. No KNU soldiers were killed or injured.

However the number of injured and killed is disputed, with a KNU Captain stating that 4 Burmese soldiers were killed and 6 were injured in the brief skirmish. Continue reading “Karen soldiers ambush Burmese army in Three Pagoda Pass area”

On the 7th of September 60 Burmese migrants working in the construction industry in Bangkok were arrested

On the 7th of September 60 Burmese migrants working in the construction industry in Bangkok were arrested when attempting to apply for a passport at the Myawadi border, the workers, including Kwakapon villagers from the Mon state were sentenced to an undisclosed amount of time in Inn Sein Jail.
Many Burmese migrant workers currently employed in Thailand are being forced to make the dangerous trip back to Burma because all current work permits issued by the Thai government are set to expire in February 2010 and the Thai government has confirmed that no new work permits will be issued and no current work permits will be extended. Therefore, in order to continue legally working in Thailand without the possibility of deportation all migrant workers employers require that they have a valid Burmese passport.
Ko Nyi Naing who lives in the same village as the arrested workers families stated that “yesterday my mom called me from the village. She told me that people from our village are from Inn Sein Jail” he also confirmed that those arrested were being forced to pay money even if they had a valid Burmese National ID card in order to secure their release from prison and that if they were released there was no guarantee that they would get a passport.
Ma Mi San from the Mudon Township also confirmed that many arrests were being made “yes, some people from our Mudon Township have been arrested, they are about 60 including women.” She expressed the fears of many Burmese migrant workers saying that “our employers here say we are not allow to stay if we didn’t make passport but we didn’t know what we should do because for those who go back are been arrested.”
When a reporter attempted to contact the Myawadi Passport Issue Department all four numbers had been disconnected and when the passport office at Mae Sod was contacted the answer was a short “no, nothing, no one’s been arrested.”
The experience for Burmese workers in Thailand is vastly different to workers from Laos and Cambodia whose governments are providing assistance in order to help workers save time and money. Despite knowing the dangers many Thai employers still ask their workers daily to make the border crossing which leaves the welfare of many migrant workers at risk.

Koh Phala Aeh and Ma Mupa both aged 20, a Burmese couple of Karen origin who had been employed in Bangkok for over two years were arrested by the SDPC after attempting to apply for a passport at the Mae-Sai

Burmese Husband and Wife Facing Trouble after Passport Application.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 04:24
On the second of September Koh Phala Aeh and Ma Mupa both aged 20, a Burmese couple of Karen origin who had been employed in Bangkok for over two years were arrested by the SDPC after attempting to apply for a passport at the Mae-Sai – Tachilake border despite promises by the Burmese Immigration Department that they would not “arrest those who apply for a passport.”
The couple were forced to apply for a Burmese passport after the Thai government refused to extend current work visas which are set to expire in February 2010. The couples friend Ma Tin Tin who resides in Bangkok stated that she had been in contact with Ma Mupa who had asked her to take care of the couple’s children, Ma Tin Tin also voiced the fears of many Burmese workers saying that many will now refuse to make the border crossing for fear of being detained by the SDPC leaving their future status in jeopardy. Ma Tin Tin and the couples boss attempted to contact the Burmese Citizens office to inquire about the status of the couple but they were met with a staunch “we know nothing.” The Eleven Journal estimates that 535 people have attempted to gain a passport at each of the 3 border areas, however this is in direct contradiction with the Burmese Government figures which estimate that 200 people attempt to cross daily, these discrepancies coupled with the cost which is often in excess of 3000 baht leaves many migrants who’s work visas expire in Febuary 2010 with few options.