Myanmar-Mae Hong Son in free trade talks

The Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce officials and officials from Myanmar held free trade agreement talks on January 25 and 26 in an effort to increase cross border trade and investment and to enable ASEAN agreements with Mae Hong Son. The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Alongkorn Polabutre, attended the first meeting in Mae Hong Son’s City Hall on the 25th and the Thai Chamber of Commerce attended the event on the 26th at the Golden Pai Resort in Mae Hong Son. The Director General of the Myanmar Trade Department, the Director of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and the Director of the Chamber of Commerce for Loikho, Mandalay and Tongyee as well as business associates participated in the meetings to increase cross border trade.

Major drug haul of key component in Chiang Rai

Peerapol Saelee of Chiang Rai was arrested with pseudoephedrine,
a key component in the manufacture of ya ice on January 13.

986,500 pseudoephedrine pills were confiscated by the Pha Muang Task Force and military rangers from the 3rd and 2nd Cavalry Regiments in Baan Khao Sai in Chiang Rai on January 13. Acting on a tip off that the drug, used to make ya ice, was being smuggled in bulk over the border, police stopped a pickup truck driven by Mae Sai resident Peerapol Saelee, 33, and found the pills hidden in a bag in the truck. The value of the drugs could be as high as 7 million baht. Mr. Peerapol was taken to the Mae Sai police station to be charged with drug smuggling.

980,000 yabaa pills found in Fang

The owner of an orange processing plant was arrested on January 20 after local police received a tip off that a large shipment of drugs from Fang was expected to be sent to Bangkok from the factory. A police raid on the factory yielded 980,000 yabaa tablets hidden in baskets ready for shipment. Surapin Suponsophon, 54, the owner of the plant located in Baan Huai Moung, was arrested by police for drug trafficking but denied all knowledge of the drugs.Surapin Suponsophon was arrested after 980,000 yabaa pills were found in her orange packing plant.
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Pairote Saengphuwong announced that it was one of the biggest drug arrests in Chiang Mai and that cooperation between all departments had resulted in the arrest, with a hope to further track down the drug trafficking network. He added that the details of any concerned citizens offering information that leads to arrests will be held in complete confidence by the authorities.

Why we do not accept the 2010 election? What we need to do it?

By Htun Aung Gyaw

We do not accept the 2010 election sponsored by the Burmese regime because we have a strong reason to believe that it will not give freedom and liberty to our people including the soldiers who are working under the generals’ command. Everyone knows that 2008 Constitution is far away from democratic norms and principles. Instead of the Constitution below facts will proved that we have the reasonable doubt about the coming election.

1. Potential political leaders and many political prisoners are still in various prisons or detentions.
2. Current political parties have no right to call for party convention, organizational trips, and reopen their offices which have been forced to close down for years.
3. Newspapers and radio stations are totally control and run by the regime, there are no single independent newspapers, radio station or TV station existed in Burma.
4. There is no freedom of speech, assembly, travel, and publication.
5. Still formations of new political parties are pending. Continue reading “Why we do not accept the 2010 election? What we need to do it?”

Special Report: Thailand and human rights principles

TNT News

The New York-based Human Rights Watch in its 612-page World Report 2010, an annual review of human right practice around the world, accused the Thai government of violating several human rights principles and failing to fulfill its pledges to make human rights a priority. Defending the allegations, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reaffirmed that the Thai government has always placed great importance on human rights issues.

Prime Minister Abhisit said the Thai government has dealt with the four key cases mentioned in the latest HRW report in a legitimate and cautious manner. Those cases involve the use of violence against street protesters in April 2009 in Bangkok and at Al-Furqan mosque in Narathiwat southern province, the enforcement of the lese majeste law and computer information law, and imposition of the emergency decree to handle political rallies.

Ms Vimon Kidchob, in her capacity as Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, observed that the human rights group emphasized mainly upon the human rights abuses, but failed to take into consideration all the factual information and positive accomplishments occurring in Thailand over the previous year. It was deemed as unjust to paint a biased picture, giving the wrong impression that Thailand is backsliding on human rights. Thailand, as ASEAN Chairman, has successfully pushed forward several initiatives to promote human rights principles at the regional level, such as the inauguration of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the convening of interface meetings between ASEAN leaders and civil society representatives. At the national level, the Thai government has also made great strides in the protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of the people. Continue reading “Special Report: Thailand and human rights principles”

Tibetan MPs urge junta to hold free and fair elections

FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2010 16:38

Mrs. Dolma Gyari, the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament has urged the Burmese military junta to hold free and fair general elections in 2010.

She said this while talking to Burmese democracy activists on January 25 during their three-day tour of Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh in India, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. The Burmese activists were visiting Dharamsala at the invitation of Tibetan students.

“Elections are crucial for a democratic State. So, we would like to urge the military junta to ensure free and fair polls. The regime ought to give its people a chance to elect leaders they like,” Dolma Gyari told Mizzima.

But given that the junta is a repressive regime, it might manipulate people’s votes by pressurizing them, Dolma Gyari added.

“The Tibetan people and Tibetan parliament believe in free and fair elections. The people have the right to vote for the party they want to without fear. They have the right to choose. And the regime known to be repressive should not force the people to cast their vote in fear,” she said.

MPs of the Tibetan Parliament were elected by the popular vote of the Tibetan people in exile. Dolma Gyari was elected the first woman Deputy Speaker in 2001 and re-elected in 2006. The tenure of the current Parliament is from 2006 to 2011. Continue reading “Tibetan MPs urge junta to hold free and fair elections”

Rumble in the Junta


Walking through the streets of Yangon this January, I saw the futility of U.S. sanctions on every corner. Commerce thrives on steamy streets and markets, and billboards advertising Japanese, South Korean, and European brands are everywhere. Meanwhile, junta leaders targeted by sanctions that prevent their families’ travel have contented themselves with retirement in splendid homes, while their grandchildren, denied visas to visit the United States, simply go to college in Europe and Australia. Sanctions have only served to isolate the United States. This is especially unfortunate at a time when the United States should be carefully watching, and even influencing, what might be the most important political year in Myanmar’s recent history.

The date is not set, but the tiny handful of generals who have a monopoly on political power have declared elections will take place in 2010, and no one doubts they will happen before the year’s end. Most Burmese citizens are nonplussed, and no one can blame them for assuming that the military junta that runs the country from the isolated capital of Naypyidaw has rigged the process.

But the truth is that the elections will bring change: perhaps not a sudden end to the military junta, but important and underappreciated change nonetheless. And the United States should be fully engaged.

This year’s elections will be hotly contested by opposition politicians eager to gain a parliamentary seat. Although far from being a free and fair process, they might represent the start of a long and possibly tortuous road toward a relatively more democratic system. A new government is certain to emerge in Myanmar once the voting is over, one that is expected to include directly elected politicians representing a broader cross section of society than ever before. Rather than dismissing these elections out of hand and calling them a sham, the United States should carefully consider its options and assess this potentially historic opportunity to shape Myanmar’s future.

The reason elections are expected soon is the ill health of the detested general known as “Number One,” Than Shwe. A leader of the 1988 coup, Than Shwe became the chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1992 (in 1997, the SLORC changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council) and has maintained a firm grip on power to this day. He and his family have amassed a fortune, and at nearly age 77 his health is failing and he is ready to retire. Like many dictators before him, however, he realizes that retiring in safety can be more complicated than maintaining an iron grip on power. As the saying goes, “Riding a tiger is easy; getting off is more difficult.” continue

Burma junta and KIO meet to resolve standoff over Border Guard Force

Friday, 29 January 2010 KNG
For the first time this year, senior leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the Burmese junta met in Myitkyina, the capital of Burma’s northern Kachin State today to resolve the standoff on transforming the Kachin Independence Army, said sources close to Kachin delegates.KIO leaders from its headquarters in Laiza in Kachin State, near the Sino–Burma border met two senior Burmese military officials in Myitkyina— Lt-Gen Ye Myint, chief of Military Affairs Security (MAS) and Naypyitaw-appointed negotiator on transforming ethnic armed groups to the Burmese Army-controlled Border Guard Force (BGF) and Maj-Gen Soe Win commander of Northern Regional Command, said KIO officials.

This is the tenth meeting since April last year and it was held at Mali Hka house in the headquarters of the Northern Regional Command in Myitkyina, between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. local time, according to KIO officers in Myitkyina. Continue reading “Burma junta and KIO meet to resolve standoff over Border Guard Force”