Death sentences to eliminate the regime’s opponents

The notion of “state” has replaced that of “the People” as ordinary Burmese continue to be enslaved by the dictatorship. The ruling junta spends less than 3 per cent in health care, with the military taking the lion share (40 per cent) of the rest. Generals prepare the ground for this year’s phony elections with the assistance of China, Russia, North Korea and India.

Burma’s military dictatorship has sentenced two government officials to death for leaking “confidential” state secrets about two state visits to North Korea and Russia as well as “military secrets” regarding underground tunnels built around the new capital Naypyiday with North Korean help.

AsiaNews contacted Tint Swe, a member of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), for information about the two officials. The NCGUB is made of refugees from Burma who fled after the 1990 elections won by the National League for Democracy were not recognised by the junta. Tint Swe left for India in 1990 and has lived in New Delhi since 21 December 1991. He has been a member of the NCGUB since then and has acted as its information point man for South Asia and East Timor.

Almost every day, there are news about people who defy the junta. Last Friday, three more were added to the list. All three are guilty of leaking state secrets.

The military likes the term “state” nowadays, which stands for the regime itself. When public works are done, the state’s role is emphasised. For example, when public funds are spent to build a school, it is treated a “gift” by the state. The same is true for foreign aid, which are handled, manipulated, siphoned off or misused by the state whilst the Burmese population has no say in the matter.

The junta’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme has come in for criticism by the opposition for the same reason. The same is true for humanitarian aid that arrived after cyclone Nargis hit Burma on 2 May 2008, leaving a trail of death (almost 150,000 people) and destruction. Credit and funding ended up in the hands of the regime’s strongman, Generalissimo Than Shwe. Continue reading “Death sentences to eliminate the regime’s opponents”

10 to study through the night( to pay 5000 kyat (4.95 USD) per month)

WCRP: 10 standard students required to pay 5000 kyat (4.95 USD) per month to attend an all night study program in Khaw-Zar sub-township, Mon State.
The fee covers the costs of using the school after normal hours, petrol for the generator, and materials. Regular school hours are from 9am to 3pm and the compulsory program is from 6pm to 6am, Monday thru Friday. Students return home on the weekends and during break periods.
According to local sources, teachers from the Basic Education High School independently undertook the program two years ago in hopes of improving test scores. Last year only 3 of the 22, 10 standard students passed the March final exam, which helps determines future college placements.
Local sources told WCRP that last year, Khaw-zar Sub-township Peace and Development Council Chairman, Kyaw Moe, provided a couple rooms in the USDA office for the night study program. Additionally he supplied State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) soldiers, petrol for the building’s generator, and extra electricity. No support, financial or material, was provided for the program this year.
Financial support for this year’s program may have been withheld because last year some of the 10 standard students had problems with the patrolling SPDC soldiers. Continue reading “10 to study through the night( to pay 5000 kyat (4.95 USD) per month)”

Massive Christian Prayer Services To Halt Irrawaddy Dam

Monday, 18 January 2010

One of the biggest Christian prayer services is underway in Burma’s Northern Kachin State since 6 a.m. local time today to halt the Myitsone dam project on the country’s longest river the Irrawaddy, said local prayer goers.

This is the first and largest inter-church prayer service so far this year and it is being conducted by Myitkyina Zonal Kachin Baptist Church based in Myitkyina the capital of Kachin State.
The non-stop 24-hour prayer service is taking place in every church belonging to the Zonal Church and hundreds of people in each church are praying after fasting, one at a time till tomorrow 6 a.m., those in Shatapru Kachin Baptist Church in Myitkyina told Kachin News Group today. Continue reading “Massive Christian Prayer Services To Halt Irrawaddy Dam”

Checkpoints cut truck driver income in Ye township

Mon 18 Jan 2010, Mehm oa, Tuka
Truck drivers who were previously able to make a living carrying passengers, now face a threat to their livelihood as they must pay increased fees at checkpoints in Ye township, according to area passengers and drivers.

Passenger trucks traveling from Panan Pone village to Ye town must pay a tax of 14,000 kyat to travel one way. 1,000 kyat is paid to as a total to cross the bridge outside of Ye town, 5,000 kyat is taken by Burmese army soldiers at a check point outside Ye town, and another 5,000 kyat to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) Liaison Office, in charge of a second checkpoint to enter inside Ye town. Once in the city drivers must pass three more checkpoints.

“To get permission to enter Ye town, they [truck drivers] have to pay the soldiers who are at the check point, and the NMSP liaison office in Ye town 5,000 kyat each,” said, a passenger from Panan Pone village. “Moreover, the transport owners must then pay 1,000 kyat for each check point once inside Ye town. There are three of these check points [in the city].”

The tax increase came at the open of the road travel season, which is determined by the start and end of rainy season. Because roads become impassible during rainy season travel is severely restricted, making travel by truck from Panan Pone to Ye town impossible for villagers. Truck drivers can generally only make their income carrying passengers between late November to the end of April. Continue reading “Checkpoints cut truck driver income in Ye township”

Family Disowned Young Burmese Journalist

BANGKOK — The family of Hla Hla Win, who was sentenced in December to 27-years imprisonment for attempting to smuggle information to the exiled media, had publicly disowned her because of her political beliefs.

“Hla Hla Win’s family opposes her political beliefs,” said a colleague who asked for anonymity. “She seems soft from the outside, but she is a woman of strength. It was very tough for her to decide to go ahead without her family’s encouragement. She is in a very difficult battle now without moral support.

“When your family supports your beliefs, you’ve already won half of what you fight for. But if they do not support your cause, then you must hide what you are doing from them.”

Coming from a lower-middle class family with four siblings, Hla Hla Win, 25, lived in Thanlyin Township outside of Rangoon. By the time of her arrest, her family had moved to South Dagon, a satellite township. Continue reading “Family Disowned Young Burmese Journalist”

Defense counsels optimistic of Suu Kyi’s release

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Lawyers of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed optimism of her acquittal after the Supreme Court on Monday heard their final arguments on the petition against the extended sentenced of their client.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team on Monday argued that the extended sentence is unlawful as it is based on provisions of the 1974 constitution, which is no longer in effect.

The Burmese pro-democracy leader was sentenced to 18 months house arrest by a district court which found her guilty of violating her previous detention law by allowing an American to stay at her lakeside house for two nights in early May of last year.

Kyi Win, a member of the defense team, said provisions of the 1974 constitution cannot be used as a basis for charges against his client as they were been nullified by current junta leader Senior General Than Shwe when he signed the 2008 constitution.

“We have on our side Senior General Than Shwe’s signature on the 2008 constitution. We are very hopeful. And we also believe that the court will uphold the rule of law,” Kyi Win added. Continue reading “Defense counsels optimistic of Suu Kyi’s release”

Nang Charm Tong – A Shan Woman Peace Builder Profile

Charm Tong

An advocacy team member of the Shan Women’s Action Network in Burma, and recipient of the 2005 Reebok Human Rights Award.

Charm Tong was lucky. At six years old her parents took her across the border of her native Burma to Thailand where she was raised in an orphanage.

As a Shan, an ethnic minority that makes up nine percent of the population of Burma, Tong would have lived her life in fear of the Burmese military, which systematically pursued a campaign of rape, torture and murder against the Shan.

Not that Tong’s life in Thailand was easy. She grew up an orphan and again was lucky not to be trafficked into the sex industry as many of her friends were. Instead, Tong received an education.

At 23 years old, reporters describe her as poised young woman who laughs often. But they also describe her “coiled fury”[1] against the Burmese military regime and her incredible gutsiness.

Tong became an activist at 16 years old.

She wrote:

The military has done lots of things to damage our hearts, our beliefs, our souls, and our rights… It is difficult for people to forget all kinds of violations that the military committed. There are still more and more violations of human rights in Burma, especially in the rural and border areas. The best thing we can do is to fight with our hearts and minds, so that we are not in fear and pain. [2] Continue reading “Nang Charm Tong – A Shan Woman Peace Builder Profile”