Mongla looking for white sedan

FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2010 16:58 S.H.A.N.
Three days after the gunning down of Mongla’s #6 leader Min Ein, the assassin, who was reported to have driven off in a white sedan, is still at large. “It’s a Mark 2 Toyota,” said a source.

“There must be 100 White Mark 2 Toyotas in the area,” spat another source. Finding no culprits to blame, a Mongla official thought that killer could be from one of the two likely sources:

One, the 4,500 strong NDAA (National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State)
Two, the Burma Army

There are only a handful of junta officials in the area: Immigration, Customs and school teachers. Apart from them, there are hundreds of Burmese hired laborers in the city opposite China’s Daluo.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), an alliance of several ethnic movements, yesterday issued a statement saying the secret order to assassinate leaders of the ethnic ceasefire groups that have refused to transform themselves into Border Guard Forces (BGFs) came out from Naypyitaw following the Tri-annual meeting held in November.

Irrawaddy News also reported junta commanders have been instructed to launch preemptive strikes against recalcitrant ceasefire groups. Apart from the NDAA, there are 5 official ceasefire groups that have refused to allow themselves to be run by the Burma Army: Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Kayan New Land Party (KNLP), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Shan State Army (SSA) North and United Wa State Army (UWSA).

Min Ein’s funeral is on Sunday, 31 January.

Jailed 88 Generation Activist Calls for Blanket Amnesty

An imprisoned leader of the dissident 88 Generation Students group has called for a blanket amnesty for Burma’s political prisoners before this year’s election and an inclusive political process as two of the cornerstones of the group’s election policy.

In a letter written by Hla Myo Naung from Mandalay Prison in October, he said that he had discussed the policies with other detained activists from the 88 Generation group in prison during their trial in 2008. He said in his letter that the activists had decided upon the two provisions after much discussion and heated argument.

Hla Myo Naung said that the issue of ethnic minorities was the main obstacle to the ruling junta announcing an electoral law.

“Unless the issue of the armed ethnic groups is resolved, there cannot be any party registration law [for the election],” he said in the letter, adding that, for the ruling generals, the ethnic issue is more critical than the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD)’s role in the election. Continue reading “Jailed 88 Generation Activist Calls for Blanket Amnesty”

New guidebook highlights domestic workers’ rights_ILO

The International Labour Organisation has released a guidebook for domestic workers to promote recognition of their rights.

About 17,000 of the booklets titled Domestic Work _ Decent Work, printed in seven languages including Thai, Burmese, Lao, Shan and Karen, will be distributed through the Labour Ministry and labour advocacy groups.

Domestic workers such as maids, nannies, drivers, security guards and gardeners should receive fair pay, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or gender, Thetis Mangahas, the ILO’s regional migration specialist, said yesterday.

Ms Thetis said the aim of the guidebook was to help domestic workers so they did not fall into labour exploitation traps while empowering them with the necessary information about their rights.

While distributing the booklets, the ILO is also promoting its conference on domestic workers in Geneva in June.

Anantachai Uthaipattanacheep, director of the Labour Ministry’s legal department, said there might not be clear-cut laws to protect domestic workers but the 1998 Labour Protection Act did provide some safeguards.

The ministry is planning to review legal standards to better protect domestic workers, but labour advocates are not happy about the time it is taking.

Mr Anantachai said the ministry had provided two help hotlines _ 1300 for immediate help for labour trafficking victims and 1506 to deal with contract violations and work permits.

Kanchana Di-ut, of the Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnic Labour, said Thailand lacked adequate legal and social mechanisms to protect domestic helpers and the government must move quickly to address the problem. Continue reading “New guidebook highlights domestic workers’ rights_ILO”

Falam Township NLD Chairman dies

RIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2010 13:21

the Chairman of the National League for Democracy, Falam Township in Chin state western Burma, died on January 16. He was suffering from diabetes and cancer.

Zungluai (80) died at his home in Cinmual block, Falam town. He was Chairman of Falam Township NLD till his death.

“It is a great lost for us as we lost a person who loved his countrymen and fought for democracy and human rights till his very last day,” said Mr. Bawihsum, NLD Chairman (1) and co-worker of Zungluai.

Zuangluai belonged to the ethnic tribe Taisun in Chin state and he was a nephew of Chin revolutionary leader Cawnbik. He completed class X in Falam town, and then served as middle school teacher, after that he joined as assistant educational director in the education department till his retirement at 60.

After his retirement he worked hard to make the English-Chin dictionary. He was actively involved in the 1960 national movement as one of the leaders against Prime Minister U Nu’s policy announcing Buddhism must be the official religion in the country.

Mr. Bawihsum told Khonumthung News that Zungluai was actively involved in the 1988 students’ uprising in Burma and in 1990 he was elected as a member of the Township Commission. When the military regime prohibited Chin literature from being studied in government schools, he prepared Chin literature to be studied during extra school hours. He was a brave man who used to fight unfair practice and oppression on civilians. –

Doctor provides gifts at pro-government election meeting

Fri 29 Jan 2010, IMNA

In Ye Township residents have reported receiving unexpected gifts of mosquito nets and medical advice from an area doctor, at a meeting in which members of the local government administration urged villagers to support pro-military government election parties.

The mosquito nets were distributed last week, at meetings held in the villages of Lane Maw Chan, Aung Thaphay and Bay Lamine, located in northern Ye Township. At the meeting the doctor, who was from Lamine sub township, distributed mosquito nets to families, and offered brief advice on the importance of health and that residents should take care.

According to a resident who attended the meeting, after the doctors health announcement, members of the Lamine Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) talked about the upcoming 2010 election, and told villagers to vote for the political party that would support the military government.

Before the doctor and TPDC members arrived at the villages, soldiers from the Burmese army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 343 arrived to check security, according to a witness from one of the villages. Soldiers are reported to have arrived in advance at every village the doctor and TPDC members spoke at. During these speeches soldiers from LIB No. 343 took up guard positions outside the villages. Continue reading “Doctor provides gifts at pro-government election meeting”

DVB is initiating a campaign for the release of all its journalists languishing in jails, with the cooperation of international journalist and human rights organizations.

Press Release
Free DVB Journalists Campaign

January 29, 2010
Rangoon Insein jail’s special court handed down a 13-year sentence to a journalist of Democratic Voice of Burma, Ngwe Soe Lin, also known as Tun Kyaw, on 27 January. He was charged under Electronics and Immigration Acts. The Burmese authorities arrested him on 26 June 2009 in Rangoon and detained him at Aung Thabye interrogation centre.
Ngwe Soe Lin played a vital role in recording the lives of children left orphaned by Cyclone Nargis in 2008. His video records were turned into a documentary, ‘Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone’, and it was aired on Channel 4 in the UK and several countries. Along with another DVB journalist named Zoro, he won the 2009 Rory Peck award for best documentary – recognising his brave efforts to reveal the truth.
Ngwe Soe Linn is the second DVB journalist given jail term within a month. On 30 December 2009, DVB journalist, Hla Hla Win was sentenced to 27 years in jail. She and another DVB correspondent named Win Maw, were awarded Kenji Nagai memorial award 2010.
DVB is initiating a campaign for the release of all its journalists languishing in jails, with the cooperation of international journalist and human rights organizations.
Aye Chan Naing
+47 91107743
Khin Maung Win
+47 45276649
Moe Aye
+47 94179096