Six inmates die in Insein prison in a week

by Nem Davies
Thursday, 05 November 2009 21:37

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Six prisoners including, former Foreign Minister U Win Aung have died in a week in the infamous Insein Prison, Rangoon, it is learnt.

Prison sources said that U Win Aung (65), Ma Thida Soe from Pazuntaung, Mayanthee from Mingaladon, Ko Phyo, Myint Wei and Pho Si died between from October 28 and November 4.

Prison officials refused to answer queries on the pretext that a meeting was in progress when Mizzima contacted the Prison Department, Rangoon Division for details.

Aung Kyaw Oo of the Thai based ‘Association of Assistance to Political Prisoners-Burma’ (AAPP-B) said, “We heard that diarrhoea was endemic in the prison for about three days. It is certain something has happened inside the prison but we do not know the details yet”.

Advocate U Aung Thein, whose license was revoked by the regime while representing his clients in political cases, said that there were 7,000 to 8,000 prisoners including political prisoners in Insein prison.

“Some of my clients had TB, malnutrition and skin diseases,” U Aung Thein said.

Some prisoners died in prison from internal injuries that they sustained in interrogation camps and police stations. They were subject to brutal torture like beating and kicking during interrogation before being sent to prison. Continue reading “Six inmates die in Insein prison in a week”

Raids continue in KNU members’ homes

by Kyaw Kha
Thursday, 05 November 2009 21:03
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Thai security agencies continued surprise raids and search of houses of those suspected of being connected with the ‘Karen National Union’ (KNU) yesterday.

A total of over 100 personnel led by Tak province commander Col. Nong Pathong, Border Security Force and People’s Militia, searched three houses in Naung Bwa village in Thar Saung Yan Township.

An eyewitness said that the search was conducted from 6 a.m. to over 1 p.m. today at Naung Bwa village, 80 miles south of Mae Sot. The raid was mainly to find hidden arms. But nothing was found, he added.

Over 1,000 Karen war refugees are currently sheltered near Naung Bwa village. They fled from their villages after combined forces of the Burmese Army and DKBA launched offensives against KNU’s 7th Brigade five months ago.

Similarly on 27 October, the Thai Army searched the houses of top KNU leaders living in Mae Sot, Tak Province.

Migrants worse off than other workers during recession, warns UN official

4 November 2009 – The global economic crisis is having a particular impact on the well-being of those who cross borders seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families, a senior United Nations official said today, noting that migrants are often the first to suffer job losses or worsening working conditions.
“While the impact is not the same in all countries and regions, globally speaking, worsening economic conditions and more restrictive policies for labour movements have led to a slowdown of migration and remittance flows,” said Carlos Lopes, Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Chair-in-Office of the Global Migration Group (GMG).

Established in 2006, the GMG is an inter-agency effort aimed at enhancing cooperation between UN agencies, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Bank in the field of international migration.

Addressing the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which opened today in Athens, Mr. Lopes noted that remittances are a major source of foreign income for developing countries, especially at a time when foreign direct investment (FDI) has declined owing to the economic slowdown.

While remittances remain relatively resilient, the World Bank forecasts that flows to all developing regions will decline between 7 and 10 per cent in 2009.

“Many countries which depend upon these flows will be adversely affected not only economically, but also socially. Households that receive fewer remittances are under pressure to cut back on expenses.

“Too often this will negatively affect development outcomes, for example in the area of children’s and especially girls’ education and health,” said Mr. Lopes.
continue click on Global Forum on Migration and Development

UNHCR in Bangladesh Holds Two-Day Discussion with Burmese Refugees

Cox’sbazar : The UNHCR in Bangladesh held a two-day meeting with urban Burmese refugees in the border town of Cox’s Bazar with the aim of improving conditions for Burmese refugees in Bangladesh, said one refugee U San Mra Aung.

“We discussed with UNHCR officials several refugee-related issues at the meeting. Especially we discussed those issues like resettlement in a third country, refugee security in Bangladesh, and the health and education of children of Burmese refugees,” he said.

The meeting started on Wednesday in a hotel in Cox’s Bazar and over 100 urban Burmese refugees participated in the meeting.

“The UNHCR team was led by Mr. Jelvas Musau, a protection officer with the UNHCR, and they told us about the future plans for Burmese refugees in Bangladesh. We also submitted our difficulties we have faced here to the UNHCR officials,” he added.

According to a refugee source, most Burmese refugees brought up the issue of security in Bangladesh, and pointed out the recent murder of Burmese refugee U Sit Naing, who was killed by local youth in Bandarban for no apparent reason.

At the meeting, UNHCR officials promised the refugees increased security in Bangladesh and an improvement in the living standard among urban Burmese refugees in the future.

Another refugee, Ko Kyaw Thein, said, “The meeting was fruitful for us because we had the chance to discuss freely with the UNHCR officials and we disclosed our willingness and other difficulties to UNHCR officials.”

UNHCR officials also revealed some future plans to improve the situation for refugees in Bangladesh and asked for cooperation to help their plan succeed.

The UNCHR office in Bangladesh is now conducting trainings for Burmese refugees to improve their skills in many areas in order to aid their survival and self-sufficiency in Bangladesh.

On Thursday, the last day of the meeting, the UNHCR officials discussed gender as well as HIV/AIDS related issues. The meeting was conducted in the afternoon.

In Bangladesh, there are over 300 Burmese urban refugees, mostly Arakanese refugees who came to Bangladesh after the 1988 democracy uprising and the 2007 Saffron Revolution protests to escape persecution by the military junta.

Chairman of Rakhine State CCI to Run in 2010 Election

Rathidaung: U Oo Bo Thein, Chairman of the Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or CCI, will run in the forthcoming 2010 election in Rathidaung Township, said one town elder.

“U Oo Bo Thein has been renting a house in Rathidaung since August 2009 and the house is now being opened as a campaign office for the 2010 election,” he said.

The house being rented by U Oo Bo Thein was owned by the late Khin Maung Shwe in Roon Tet Land in Rathidaung’s Chaung Wa Ward. Rathidaung is located on the eastern banks of the Mayu River 20 miles north of Arakan’s State capital Sittwe.

“He is now organizing people from our township by giving presents like money, food, and cloth to them in order to gain their support in the 2010 election. But he has not told us if he will run in the 2010 election as an individual or for a party,” the elder said.

According to another local source, U Oo Bo Thein recently conducted several visits to rural Rathidaung Township to organize people for the 2010 election.

U Oo Bo Thein is an Arakanese national born in Zaydi Daung Village in Buthidaung Township, next to Rathidaung. He is also a close associate of the Burmese military junta.

There is no election rule in Burma so far, but many individuals and organizations close to the government are working in Arakan state in preparation for the election.

In the 1990 election, one representative from the National League for Democracy and the Arakan League for Democracy won in two constituencies in Rathidaung.