Aung San Suu Kyi Reaches 14 Years in Detention – 24th October

3 Oct 2009
The Burma Campaign UK today called on the United Nations and international community to renew efforts to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.
On 24th October Aung San Suu Kyi reaches a total of 14 years in detention, most of it under house arrest. On 11th August 2009, after a sham trial, Aung San Suu Kyi was given a further 18 months under house arrest. Her current period of detention is not due to expire until February 2011. Despite an international outcry, no concrete action was taken to secure her release.
“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon needs to mobilise the international community to secure the release of all political prisoners,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Aung San Suu Kyi has managed to use sanctions as leverage to persuade the Generals to resume dialogue, but so far all we have is low level officials talking about talks. Aung San Suu Kyi needs our support in pressuring the generals to start real dialogue.”
Burma’s generals are pressing ahead with fake elections in 2010, which will bring in a rubber stamp parliament and a new constitution designed to legalise dictatorship. Ahead of the elections the dictatorship has increased arrests and harassment of democracy activists, and ensured that Aung San Suu Kyi remains detained during the period of the elections. It is also escalating attacks on ethnic people, creating a human rights and humanitarian crisis which has already spread to its neighbours.
Despite the slaughter and increasing instability taking place in ethnic areas, and the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and more than 2,100 political prisoners, much of the international community seems prepared to sit back and wait and see if any small change comes from ‘elections’ next year. Continue reading “Aung San Suu Kyi Reaches 14 Years in Detention – 24th October”

But Quintana on Thursday appeared to some to defend the regime of Than Shwe.

UN’s Quintana Soft on Myanmar, Praises Regime’s Rohinga Ruling, in Total Denial

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 22 — As two repressive countries were reviewed Thursday at the UN, the different approach of the two UN rapporteurs emerged through torture as a story in itself. Both Myanmar and North Korea have country specific rapporteurs, to which the UN’s other human rights experts defer on events in the two nations. For example, when Inner City Press asked the UN’s expert on the rights of the indigenous James Anaya about the plight of Rohinga and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar, Anaya said he defers to the country expert, Tomas Ojea Quintana.

Likewise when Inner City Press asked the UN’s expert on business and human rights, John Ruggie, about Total’s investment in Myanmar, Ruggie said he deferred to Quintana.

But Quintana on Thursday appeared to some to defend the regime of Than Shwe. When Inner City Press asked about the Rohinga, rather than speak about the denial of citizenship and mass exodus as boat people, Quintana praised a Burmese court decision that Rohinga can marry each other. Continue reading “But Quintana on Thursday appeared to some to defend the regime of Than Shwe.”

Army camps for NDA-K demarcated

FRIDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2009 09:13

The process of converting the New Democratic Army – Kachin (NDA-K), a Kachin ceasefire group into the Border Guard Force (BGF) has begun in earnest. It is being transformed into three battalions of the BGF. Locations for the army camps have been demarcated.

The area demarcated for the BGF battalion no.1001 is near Phe Maw village in Che Vay township, battalion no.1002 will be based on the ground between Che Vay and Lu Pi village and no.1003 at Sin Kyai village near Kan Paik Tee in Has Don township, said a close friend of NDA-K leaders.

“No.1001 will be at Phe Maw, No.1002 between Phe Maw and Lu Pi and No.1003 at Sin Kyin near Kan Paik Tee. Lu pi located at the junction between Che Vay and Pangwa. The distance between Lu Pi and Pangwa is about 10 miles. The Burmese Army Infantry battalion No. 74 is based at Pangwa under a company commander,” said a Pangwa local.

The Pangwa local said the Pai Hsun Chain led Kokan Army in Lauk Kai region in Kokan will be transformed into BGF no.1004, and no.1005.

The NDA-K split from the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in December 1989 and signed a ceasefire agreement. The group agreed to transform BGF on June 8.

The U La Hsag Aung Wa led ceasefire group, which split from the Kachin Independence Organization in 2005, transformed to the Kawa Yan militia on October 16. A company from the Kawa Yan militia group will be based at Gway Htu village and another company at Kawa Yan village in Waingmaw Township.

In a BGF battalion, there will be 326 soldiers of them 30 will be from the Burmese Army. The BGF battalions will be under the command of the Commander-in–Chief of the army.

Some NDA-K members have been attending military training at Pyin Htaung boot camp in Myitkyina. The remaining NDA-K soldiers will be re-trained.

The Kachin Independence Organization, United Wa State Army, and Mueng La army, a special region 4 in eastern Shan State, have refused to transform to BGF so far.

Court hears witnesses in trial against Burmese-American

by Mungpi
Friday, 23 October 2009 19:54

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A special court in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison on Friday heard two prosecution witnesses in the trial of Burmese born American Kyaw Zaw Lwin (a.k.a) Nyi Nyi Aung.

Kyi Win, one of the defense attorneys, said the testimony on Friday by an officer of the Rangoon Special Branch Police and an Immigration officer in the special court presided over by a Minglardon Township court judge, were not convincing and were vague.

“But we still have 13 more prosecution witnesses. It would be too early to comment on the case, but so far we cannot call Nyi Nyi Aung guilty,” said Kyi Win, adding that the next hearing has been scheduled for October 30.

The prosecution has charged Nyi Nyi Aung under article 420 and 468, of fraud and forgery. He is accused of possessing a fake Burmese national identity card, where he had allegedly placed his photograph.

“The two prosecution witnesses today produced the Burmese national identity card that was said to have been forged by Nyi Nyi Aung,” said Kyi Win, but he added that the witnesses failed to provide specific answers to several questions, which was unconvincing to the lawyers.

The Burmese born American was arrested on September 3, at the Rangoon International Airport while entering Burma from Bangkok. He was detained and later charged. The US embassy has contacted high court advocates Kyi Win and Nyan Win to defend him.

On Friday, two officials from the US embassy – a consular officer and a Burmese official – attended the hearing. But families of Nyi Nyi Aung, two of his aunts, were barred from entering the court room. Continue reading “Court hears witnesses in trial against Burmese-American”

AS A MEMBER of Asean, Burma is a sham. Since its admission into the grouping in 1997, the pariah state has violated international norms unabated

Asean needs electoral standards before it can become a community phoca_thumb_l_200800727
By SOMRI HANANUNTASUK
Published on October 23, 2009

AS A MEMBER of Asean, Burma is a sham. Since its admission into the grouping in 1997, the pariah state has violated international norms unabated. Even though the Asean Charter came into force last December, the Rangoon regime continues to defy several fundamental principles contained in the charter, such as the respect for the rule of law, good governance, democracy, human rights and social justice.

In the absence of an environment conducive to the freedom of assembly, association and expression of all the people (including all ethnic groups and political parties) inside Burma, any move towards holding elections – given the standards outlined in the Inter Parliamentary Union’s “Free and Fair Elections” – would be a farce.

Is there any hope of putting into place the required minimum international standards before holding the Burmese election next year?

To ensure the successful outcome of the Asean Summit in Cha-am it is imperative to review all existing electoral standards within Asean.

The Burmese situation underscores the need for minimum standards to be met before holding an election. The Asean leaders (elected, nominated or appointed) must realise that a peaceful and unified Asean Community as envisaged in the charter requires systems that uphold international norms and standards on free and fair elections. There is an urgent need for collaboration among the Asean Secretariat, Asean governments and regional civil society groups in developing, strengthening and maintaining electoral processes that are free and fair within member countries.

Most Asean governments are averse to civil society groups raising the issue of electoral standards because it reflects the ongoing poor practice of undemocratic governance lacking transparency and accountability in selecting parliaments. Apparently Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia have developed better electoral mechanisms by setting up independent bodies such as election commissions (the EC, Comelec and KPU), to oversee and monitor elections.

The other Asean countries do not have independent institutions dealing with electoral processes. These countries use political parties (Cambodia), the military (Burma) and government bodies (Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Laos) to influence electoral compositions, administration and functions. Thus they lack neutrality and transparency. Continue reading “AS A MEMBER of Asean, Burma is a sham. Since its admission into the grouping in 1997, the pariah state has violated international norms unabated”

STATEMENT FROM THE ORGANISERS OF THE ASEAN PEOPLES FORUM/ASEAN CIVIL SOCIETY CONFERENCE

At 1130pm, Thurs, Thai foreign Ministry officials informed organizers of APF that 5 out of 10 civil society representatives were rejected from the interface meeting with ASEAN heads of government. The remaining representatives were told to be ready for pick up at 7.A.M., nearly 5 hours before the scheduled meeting. (see below for list of delegates).

These representatives arrived at the Dusit Hotel and were instructed that they would not be permitted to speak at the event. The only person from civil society allowed to make a statement would be Dr Surichai Wangaeo of Chulalongkorn University, who was originally appointed as moderator of the Interface.

The representatives were further shocked to learn that Singapore and Myanmar had selected substitutes from government-sponsored agencies. Singapore selected a substitute from a charity and the Myanmar regime selected Sitt Aye and Win Myaing, of the Anti-Narcotics Association (Win Myaing is a former high-ranking police officer).

These developments rendered the interface, an important space for civil society to engage with government officials, utterly meaningless. Therefore, the representatives of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia decided to walk out of the meeting.

We feel strongly that the rejection of our democratically-selected representatives is a rejection of both civil society and the democratic process. Our delegates were selected during the 3-day APF/ACSC, Oct 18-20. Through this action, the governments concerned are fundamentally undermining the spirit and content of the ASEAN Charter that they ratified a year ago. Continue reading “STATEMENT FROM THE ORGANISERS OF THE ASEAN PEOPLES FORUM/ASEAN CIVIL SOCIETY CONFERENCE”

Junta conducts combat training in ceasefire area-given basic trainings for guerrilla and night combat tactics.

FRIDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2009 15:09 HSENG KHIO FAH

The junta military is conducting weapons and combat trainings for its civilian and paramilitary members in Kunhing township, where the ceasefire group the Shan State Army (SSA) North’s 7th brigade is based, said one of the trainees’ relative.

The training which is to last one month began on 15 October. All members of fire brigades and local militia units in the town have to attend it, said a resident whose nephew was in the fire brigade.

The trainees were aged between 18 and 40. They were being given basic trainings for guerrilla and night combat tactics.

“The trainees were equipped with the Army’s old weapons like G3, G4,” he said.

In addition, village headmen were ordered to recruit new members in order to form new local militia units. The recruitment must be started in the first week of November and it must combine with at least 400 members from the whole township, said another resident.

All trainees will be provided uniforms in green color. Moreover, they are being told they will also receive daily supplies and some stipends. However, the expenses were being forcibly collected from villagers.

“No one dared to oppose the order,” he added, “We were being told not to say that the training was organized by the Army, but by the villagers themselves for their own security.

Similar activities are also taking place in Tangyan township, 83 miles south of Shan State North capital Lashio, where the group SSA North is active.

On 19 October, 120 Lahu militias men from villages in the township were being trained in combat and guerrilla tactics, conducted at the command post of the Infantry Battalion (IB) #33. The training is being conducted by Captain Saw Nay Aung.
At the same time, another militia unit led by Than Tin has been conducting trainings for 30 new members in Nawngmong village tract, east of the township.

Political analysts say that the training program is likely intended to use the trainees in front line to fight against ceasefire groups if they refuse to comply with the junta’ demand to become Border Guard Forces (BGFs). Another is to use them [trainees] as campaigners for the upcoming 2010 general elections.

Since early this year, the Burma Army has been intensively and constantly giving military trainings to members of Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), fire service, police forces and militia units as well as civilians in several townships in Shan State and other ethnic States like Mon and Arakan. On the other hand, villagers are being forced to set up militia units and provide service to the army.