New censorship imposed by ministry responsible for Burma railways

New censorship imposed by ministry responsible for railways

(Mizzima News/IFEX) – As of January 2010, all films and videos shot at locations associated with the Burmese Railways have to be submitted to the Myanmar Rail Film and Video Scrutiny Board, a senior Rail Ministry official said.

The order is tantamount to the production of all films, videos and musical tracks/CDs going through two separate censor boards in both the pre-production and post-production stages.

“If the location for the shooting for films and videos is at places related to the railways, the producers must first seek permission from the ministry, after which they have to submit their film and video to the rail censor board,” an officer who did not want to be named told Mizzima.

Normally, censorship of films and videos is conducted by the Myanmar Film and Video Censor Board.

The new regulation makes it mandatory for films and videos which have already passed through the rail censor board to be submitted again to the Myanmar Film and Video Censor Board for final approval.

The Myanmar Rail Film and Video Scrutiny Board was set up by the Rail Ministry in November 2009.

The restricted locations which need to be cleared by the rail censor board are all major railway stations, small railway stations, railway coaches and railway tracks. The producers also have to pay taxes to the ministry after they obtain permission. Continue reading “New censorship imposed by ministry responsible for Burma railways”

(HRDF) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission-THAILAND: Managing Migration in 2010: Effective Registration or Effective Deportation?

January 12, 2010

An article from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND: Managing Migration in 2010: Effective Registration or Effective Deportation?

On 20th January (or in just 8 working days) the end of the “permission to stay and work in Thailand for one year, pending deportation” for 61, 543 Burmese, Cambodian and Laotian migrants who “illegally” entered the country will arrive. As the first migrant work permit renewal deadline of the year it is somewhat different to past deadlines however. For if any of these workers refuse to go through the Royal Thai Government’s (RTG) Nationality Verification (NV) process, policy announcements suggest they will be deported. Whether deportation starts then or on 28th February (the “final” deadline to agree to NV or be deported for the other million or so registered migrants whose work permits expire on that day) remains unclear.

NV is the RTG’s policy to formalise the status of some of the approximately 2 million migrants from Burma, Cambodian and Laos currently working in Thailand. These workers contribute an estimated 5-6% of Thailand’s GDP and make up around 5% of the nation’s workforce. For these workers who work in Thailand’s most dangerous, dirty and demeaning jobs, NV is apparently required because they left their countries without permission and entered Thailand “illegally”. They are currently nationality-less labourers. As around 90% of these workers are from Burma and in the most unenviable position of all, urgent attention must be given to this group.

Migrants from Burma have since 2008 been given a clear choice by the RTG. Whatever their ethnicity or personal histories, they must send their biographical details to the Burmese government and see if it agrees that they are “Burmese.” If “no,” no-one yet knows what would happen to them as the RTG has yet to make any policy announcements on this issue and it is unclear where they could be deported to. But if “yes,” they can request permission from the Ministry of Interior to leave their province of registration and return for NV in Burma (N.b. Cambodian and Laotian workers have the luxury of their officials coming to see them in Thailand, but Burma has for years refused such a sensible step giving the RTG an understandable headache!). If once migrants arrive in Burma they are not arrested (rumours continue to abound they will be) and are “approved” of as being Burmese, they will get a 3-year 100 Baht (3, 000 kyat) “temporary” passport. These “Burmese” nationals then return to Thailand “legally” and receive a 500 baht 2-year visa. Total costs 600 baht.

However, the NV process is not as easy as it seems. It is 13-steps, involving at least 3 Thai ministries, the Burmese embassy in Bangkok and a few more Burmese ministries. Unless you like adventure, employers and migrants are well advised to hire a broker for the journey. According to a Ministry of Labour’s (MoL’s) statement on 22nd December 2009 in response to a Thai PBS documentary on these brokers, the ever increasing number of broker companies are approved by the Burmese Embassy and have nothing to do with the MoL. This is despite the fact they are all based in and registered in Thailand. Continue reading “(HRDF) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission-THAILAND: Managing Migration in 2010: Effective Registration or Effective Deportation?”

Manau Festival Reveals Human Rights Violation On Ethnic People

Written by KNG
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Human rights abuse on the ethnic Kachin people in Northern Burma have been in evidence by the Burmese junta at the recently concluded 62nd anniversary of the State Day and Manau Festival in the State, said a Human Rights expert.

The annual 62nd Kachin State Day was celebrated by ethnic Kachin people in Myitkyina, the capital of the State, from January 5 to 11 with the Manau dance festival. There was overt restriction and disturbance by the junta.

Participants and the Manau Festival committee workers and eyewitnesses have talked about the unsavoury reaction of the regime on events including the publishing of a daily newspaper in Kachin language. It was heavily censored both in terms of news and photographic coverage.Aung Myo Min, Thailand based Executive Director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) told Kachin News Group, this is not a new incident of human rights abuse in the region and on the ethnic people by the junta.

“It is possible to help ethnic people promote their culture only without any interference from the junta,” said Aung Myo Min.” Continue reading “Manau Festival Reveals Human Rights Violation On Ethnic People”

Township chairman and army officer back brothels in Thanphyuzayart

Brothels sanctioned by a Burmese army officer, have opened with the support of senior township administration in Thanphyuzayart township.

The chairman of Burmese government Township Peace and Development Council is supporting the opening of 10 brothels in Thanphyuzayart town, by cooperating with an army officer from Infantry Battalion (IB) No. 62, according to a source close to the government.

The 10 brothels are located in the same quarter, and all are identifiable by a leaf thatched tent roof that slopes out over the sides and front of the brothel. Nearly 200,000 people live in Thanphyuzayart town.

Prostitution is illegal in Burma, made so by the Suppression of Prostitution Act from 1949, under which violators can receive a prison sentence of 3 years.

In an agreement that provides the brothels with protection from harassment by authorities, each of the 10 brothels has to pay 50,000 kyat each to the TPDC chairman and the officer from IB No. 62 every month. Additionally the TPDC chairman and the army officer will take 25,000 kyat a piece, per day from each brothel, according to a source from a government department who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons. Continue reading “Township chairman and army officer back brothels in Thanphyuzayart”

YOMA_စစ္အာဏာရွင္ႀကီးေတြရဲ႕ အနာဂတ္

ျမန္မာျပည္မွာ စစ္တပ္ အာဏာကို ခ်ဳပ္ကိုင္ခဲ့တာ ႏွစ္ေပါင္း ၅၀ ဆိုၾကပါစုိ႔။ ေနာက္ဆုံး ၁၉၈၈ ခုႏွစ္ လူထုအုံႂကြမႈအၿပီး စစ္အာဏာရွင္ရယ္လို႔ ေျပာင္က်က် အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ခဲ့တာက ႏွစ္ ၂၀ ေက်ာ္ခဲ့ပါၿပီ။ ဒီႏွစ္ေပါင္း ႏွစ္ဆယ္ေက်ာ္ကာလမွာ စစ္အာဏာရွင္ေတြဟာ ျပဳတ္က်မသြားသည့္တုိင္ ေသခ်ာတာကေတာ့ လူထုရဲ႕ ေထာက္ခံမႈ အစစ္အမွန္ကို မရခဲ့ၾကတာပါပဲ။ ၁၉၈၈ ခု လူထုအုံႂကြမႈေတြ ျဖစ္ပြားေနတဲ့ကာလ (၉ – ၈ – ၈၈) ေန႔ Continue reading “YOMA_စစ္အာဏာရွင္ႀကီးေတြရဲ႕ အနာဂတ္”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers to submit final appeal

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Lawyers of detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday met with her as part of their preparation to submit a final argument in their appeal to the Supreme Court against her sentence, according to her lawyers.

Kyi Win, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense team, on Tuesday said he along with fellow Supreme Court Advocate Nyan Win visited the Burmese Nobel Peace laureate at her lakeside villa on Rangoon’s University Avenue and discussed the appeal against her sentence.
“She [Aung San Suu Kyi] is in good health. We discussed our final argument to be submitted to the Supreme Court on January 18th,” Kyi Win explained.

The pro-democracy leader’s lawyers had filed a petition with the Supreme Court over the sentence handed down to her by a District Court last year on charges of violating her previous detention regulations. Continue reading “Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers to submit final appeal”

Detained American’s hearing nears conclusion

New Delhi (Mizzima) – With the testimony of a defense witness on Tuesday, Rangoon’s Southern District court concluded witness hearings in the trial against Burmese-born American Kyaw Zaw Lwin, (alias) Nyi Nyi Aung.

“Both lawyers will present final arguments on January 22nd, and following that the court will hand down the verdict,” Kyi Win, one of the US citizen’s lawyers, told Mizzima.

The naturalized American has been standing trial on charges of fraud, forgery and illegal entry into the country.

“I don’t want to speculate on what the court will decide but our position is that the accused is innocent,” Kyi Win said.

The international lawyer of Nyi Nyi Aung, Beth Swanke, expanded on the legal position of the defense, claiming the charges are a ‘sham’ and an attempt to frame and imprison the accused, as he is a known pro-democracy activist advocating for democracy and human rights in Burma.

Nyi Nyi Aung, a student activist at the time of the nationwide protests in 1988, was forced to flee Burma to Thailand along with fellow students as the military began cracking down on protestors. He later moved to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen. Continue reading “Detained American’s hearing nears conclusion”

Tay Za and Zaw Zaw, were awarded one of the country’s highest honors, the title of “Thiri Pyanchi,”







Junta Confers Titles on Cronies
by Wai Moe

Businessmen associated with Burma’s military junta are not just profiting from their cozy relations with the country’s top generals, they’re also being honored for their contributions to society, according to reports from Rangoon.

Sources in the former Burmese capital said that two of the junta’s closest cronies, Tay Za and Zaw Zaw, were awarded one of the country’s highest honors, the title of “Thiri Pyanchi,” on Jan. 4, Burma’s Independence Day.Although the state-run media has made no mention of the honors conferred on the two men, who have both been placed on international sanctions blacklists, many in Rangoon’s business and journalistic circles are talking about it.

“We were all surprised when we heard that they had been awarded one of the highest honors in Burma along with 16 senior military officials,” said one Rangoon-based journalist, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Journalists and businessmen in Rangoon said Tay Za and Zaw Zaw were honored with the Thiri Pyanchi title for their “outstanding work” in helping Burma to develop its economy and for their contributions to the development of professional football in the country.

Tay Za and Zaw Zaw are two of the richest civilians in military-ruled Burma. Tay Za chairs the Htoo Group of Companies and Zaw Zaw runs the Max Myanmar Group of Companies.

Their close ties to the junta’s top generals have won them lucrative business concessions in a number of key industries, including logging, gems and jewelry, tourism and transportation, and civil engineering and construction. They are also involved in international trade, exporting rice, rubber and other agricultural products and importing machines, and have invested in the regime’s newly built Yadanabon Cyber City near Mandalay. Continue reading “Tay Za and Zaw Zaw, were awarded one of the country’s highest honors, the title of “Thiri Pyanchi,””

Death Sentences a Disgrace: All Monk’s Alliance

The All Burma Monk’s Alliance (ABMA) has urged the Burmese military junta to release two persons who were sentenced to death last week for releasing state secrets to exiled media, according to a statement on Tuesday.

The ABMA, the group that spearheaded the 2007 Saffron Revolution, is a leading opposition group with members in exile and within Burma.

The statement said that the death sentences are a disgrace, inappropriate and that they threaten all civil servants.

Win Naing Kyaw and Thura Kyaw were sentenced to death for their role in the release of information about a secret trip to North Korea by Burmese generals in connection with the procurement of military weapons.

“They are brave people who dare to leak secret information from the military government,” said the statement.

The statement said dialogue is the only way to solve the political differences in the country and putting people in prison will not solve the conflict. More than 20 other persons have been arrested in an investigation of the leaked information, which included documents, photographs and video. Their fate is unknown.

Burma currently has 2,177 political prisoners, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights group based in Thailand.

Meanwhile, a Mon monk, Ashin Uk Kong Sa, 28, was arrested by special police about 2 a.m. On Thursday in Thanbyuzayat Township in Mon State, after he launched a campaign opposing the 2010 election, Mon sources said.

A friend of the monk told The Irrawaddy: “The special police arrested Ashin Uk Kong Sa for painting “No 2010 Election” along the highway from Moulmein to Ye townships to mark New Year’s. When he was arrested, police seized a video camera, a computer and leaflets opposing the 2010 election. Later, a computer hard drive was seized from his room.

He was treated at Moulmein Hospital after he was disrobed and tortured by authorities while being detained in Thanbyuzayat Township, sources said

New Mon State Party sources said that Ashin Uk Kong Sah, who is well-known in the Mon community, has been transferred to an interrogation center in Rangoon.

Thai-US Cobra Gold annual exercise starts next month

BANGKOK, Jan 11 (TNA) – The 29th Cobra Gold 10 (CG 10) training to be joined by six countries will run February 1 to 11 at the U-Tapao Thai Naval Air Base in Rayong.

Gen Ratchakrit Kanchanawat, Royal Thai Army Chief of Joint Staff and US Ambassador to Thailand Eric G. John held a news conference on Monday to announce the annual exercise.

Gen Ratchakrit said the two countries have cooperated in the joint training for 54 years. Cobra Gold 10 is not only engaged in military training but also operations to maintain peace and humanitarian missions such as helping tsunami victims.

The drill also stimulates a flow of funds–about Bt200 million into the training area.

The six countries which joined the training are Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea, while 10 other countries will attend as observers.

The United States and South Korea will bring state-of-the-art weapons to be used during the drill.

It’s the first time South Korea will join the exercise, it was while Malaysia intends to jparticipate in the next round.

Cobra Gold 10 is the biggest military training exercise in the Pacific region.

South Korea was selected to join as their goals are similar to boost security in the region, maintain peace and conduct humanitarian work, said the US ambassador.

Col Cho Jeong Ku, military attache at South Korean embassy in Bangkok said it is honoured to join the drill and is confident that his country will help boost stability and security in the region. (TNA)