U.N. Security Council Criticized for Failure to Act Against Abuses in Burma

(CNSNews.com) – The U.N. Security Council came under fresh calls Thursday to take action on Burma.

Hundreds of lawmakers from 29 countries urged the world body’s most powerful organ to pass a resolution setting up an inquiry into human rights violations and imposing a global arms embargo on the military junta.

The appeal, on International Human Rights Day, came as Burmese opposition groups warned that with controversial elections coming up next year, the country’s “most dangerous days” lay ahead.

Four months ago, the Security Council issued a brief “press statement” on Burma whose strongest language was the expression of “serious concern” about the conviction and sentencing of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Council press statements are weaker than presidential statements, and do not become part of the official record. Continue reading “U.N. Security Council Criticized for Failure to Act Against Abuses in Burma”

NDA-K Transforms To BGF With 30 Per Cent Strength

Written by KNG
Saturday, 12 December 2009

A divided New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) has had to transform to the Burmese Army controlled Border Guard Force with only 30 percent of its troops, said former NDA-K sources.

This situation arose following fissures in the NDA-K after 70 per cent of its veteran military personnel including the NDA-K Vice-chairman We Dau and Lagwi Bawm Lang left the organization before conversion to the BGF, said sources close to the two.

The NDA-K had about 800 active military personnel but over 500 left before the official transformation to the BGF. About 250 troops remained in groups for conversion of the NDA-K to three battalions of the BGF, said a retired officer.

Some NDA-K military personnel, who were over 50 years old, had to step down in keeping with the junta’s BGF rules. Interestingly most who left the NDA-K before the conversion were under 50, according to former NDA-K officers. Continue reading “NDA-K Transforms To BGF With 30 Per Cent Strength”

The military in parliament – form versus function

by Joseph Ball
Saturday, 12 December 2009 12:26

Mizzima News – Of the multitude of flaws commonly leveled against the standing 2008 constitution, typically at or near the top of the list is the 25 percent of reserved seats in parliament for appointees of the armed forces. Reasoning follows that the parameter was included as a means of safeguarding the interests of the armed forces. A bloc of military parliamentarians it is presumed will vote as a single entity. But, is this a realistic assumption? And should the inclusion of the clause be deemed a non-starter by the democratic opposition?

Put succinctly, the military in parliament must not be approached as an infinite, absolutist bloc. Just as representatives within a functioning multiparty democratic apparatus cannot be100 percent relied upon to blindly follow the national party’s line, neither should a military bloc in parliament be expected to automatically hold rank.

Further, the situation in Burma necessitates a high level of security sector reform. This should be a crucial task assigned parliament. However, the lead in this goal – though by no means the sole prerogative, likely falls under the jurisdiction of the armed forces. As de facto political actors, implementation of security sector reform in regional cases has conformed to this trend.

Not only were “the Habibie administration’s most assertive strides towards democratization taken, ironically, by two generals with hardline reputations: Lt. Gen. Syarwan Hamid and Lt. Gen. Yunus Yosfiah,” according to Indonesian security expert Peter O’Rourke, a similar observation can be made of the actions of military appointed parliamentarians and proxy parties both during and post-Suharto rule. Continue reading “The military in parliament – form versus function”