Thai-Myamar to establish business council

BANGKOK, 12 February 2010 (NNT) – The Thai-Myanmar Business Council will be jointly established by the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Thai Bankers’ Association with the goal to increase border investments.

The Thai-Myanmar business council will facilitate cooperation and promote trade between the Thai and Myanmar private sectors for trade and investment growth. FTI Chairman Thanit Sorat said that a trade growth of 20% or 80 billion THB is expected in 2-3 years with the current value of 60-70 billion THB.

Recently, the Thai-Myanmar trade along the Mae Sot-Myawaddy border in Tak province has enjoyed growth exceeding target. The trade has risen by 28-30% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, popular products from Thailand in Myanmar as well as in Japan and Europe include bed sheets and curtains which have gained 0% tax advantage from the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Invitation to Participate in Activities for Complaint Submission to Thai Prime Minister and ILO/UN

Re: Invitation to Participate in Activities for Complaint Submission to Thai Prime Minister and ILO/UN
To: Labour and Human Rights Networks
The Action Network for Migrants (ANM), the Migrant Working Group (MWG), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC) are currently preparing to petition Thailand’s Prime Minister, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations (UN) in relation to their concerns for the safety and security of migrant workers in Thailand. This complaint submission is in relation to a Nationality Verification (NV) process. At least 2 million migrant workers in Thailand, of which 80% are from Burma, have been given only until February 28th 2010 by the Royal Thai Government to enter into this NV process or face deportation.

The four above named networks invite you and your organisation to join in activities related to this complaint submission on Tuesday 16th February 2010. From 9am to 10am, the networks shall assemble outside the UN Building on Ratchadamnoern Rd. in Bangkok and representatives shall petition the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar and the ILO’s Director General. At 10am until 11am, the movement shall proceed to march to in front of Government House (Gate 5) to petition Thailand’s Prime Minister with an open letter of concern signed by domestic and international human rights/labour rights groups and domestic and international trade unions. During this time, the procession will display the gimmick: “Let’s divide the benefit between us.”
For more information, do not hesitate to contact or +66 846 119029 or +66 818 129381. For Thai language information, please contact +66 818 695193 or +66 818 602305
Yours Respectfully,

Action Network for Migrants (ANM)
Migrant Working Group (MWG)
Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC)
State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC)

As , Who If Anyone At UN Is Watching Is UNclear, No Nargis Follow Up Alleged

UN’s Ban and Than Shwe, torched Karen villages not shown

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 — On Myanmar, the UN has yet to name a replacement for its previous envoy, Ibrahim Gambari. Amid reports of government soldiers torching villages and targeting medical workers in the Karen minority regions, Inner City Press on February 11 asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky is the UN was aware of these reports, and what it was doing.

“It is possible that the UN is aware,” Nesirky said, adding that “I’m personally not aware.” He said, “I see if I can find out who inside the Organization is following this and knows something about it.” Video here, from Minute 5:49.

When Mr. Gambari was re-assigned to Darfur, Inner City Press exclusively reported (on December 14) and then the UN confirmed (on January 7) that that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff Vijay Nambiar was taking over the Myanmar jurisdiction that had been Gambari’s.

Mr. Nesirky was questioned extensive about this, including the still unanswered question by Inner City Press of how Gambari was compensated by the UN once the Iraq related portion of his take home pay was eliminated. (There is a similarly unanswered question outstanding from Inner City Press about how Ban’s other advisor Robert Orr is paid.)

So, one would expect Mr. Nambiar to be identified as the person ostensibly following Myanmar and reports of torching of Karen villages. Inner City Press also asked about reports of the government increasingly denying and delaying visa for humanitarian workers trying to get to the regions impacted by Cyclone Nargis. continue

Euro-MPs urge China, India, Russia to pressure Myanmar

European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2010 on Burma
The European Parliament ,

– having regard to the Council Conclusions of 27 April 2009 on Burma/Myanmar and the Council Common Position renewing restrictive measures against Burma,

– having regard to the European Council Conclusions – Declaration on Burma/Myanmar of 19 June 2009,

– having regard to the statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 11 June 2009 on the Karen civilians fleeing Burma/Myanmar,

– having regard to the EU Presidency statement of 23 February 2009 calling for all-inclusive dialogue between the authorities and democratic forces in Burma/Myanmar,

– having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 64/238 of 23 December 2009 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar,

– having regard to the statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 14 May 2009 on the arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,

– having regard to the ASEAN Chairman’s statement of 11 August 2009 on Myanmar,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Burma/Myanmar,

– having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar has continued to deteriorate, political repression has escalated further and the fundamental freedoms of the Burmese people are being systematically violated,

B. whereas the military continues to perpetrate human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, forced labour and sexual violence, against civilians in ethnic conflict areas,

C. whereas the Burmese regime is persisting with the widespread and systematic forced recruitment of child soldiers,

D. whereas according to reports there are some 2177 political prisoners, including 14 journalists, in Burma, and whereas more than 230 Buddhist monks involved in the 2007 protests remain in prison,

E. whereas in autumn 2010 Burma/Myanmar is expected to hold its first parliamentary elections in two decades,

F. whereas the elections will be based on the army-drafted Constitution, the legitimacy of which has been widely challenged; whereas this new Constitution foresees elections in 2010 to justify five decades of military rule and gives the military 25% of the seats in parliament,

G. whereas the new Constitution bars Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Nobel Peace Prize winner, from public office; whereas some opposition parties and ethnic minority groups have declared that they will boycott the elections, whilst the NLD will not accept their outcome if there is no prior dialogue on constitutional review,

H. whereas on 28 January 2010 Ngwe Soe Lin was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for working for the foreign news agency Democratic Voice of Burma, whilst on 30 December 2009 Hla Hla Win was sentenced to 27 years in jail on similar charges,

I. whereas the continuous crackdown on political dissent must be seen as an attempt by the Burmese junta to establish greater control over the media ahead of the national elections planned for later this year,

J. whereas on 11 August 2009 Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to three years in prison, a sentence that was later commuted by the Burmese authorities to 18 months to be served under house arrest; whereas her lawyers have appealed to Burma’s Supreme Court against the sentence; whereas the unjustified trial and verdict against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely condemned by the international community,

K. whereas in May 2009 attacks by the Burmese Army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) displaced thousands of civilians and forced an estimated 5000 refugees to flee into Thailand; whereas there is a severe risk that upon their return the Karen refugees will be subjected to severe human rights violations, including forced labour and rape by soldiers of the Burmese Army,

L. whereas there are an estimated half a million internally displaced persons in eastern Burma, 140 000 refugees remain in nine camps along the Thailand-Burma border, and over 200 000 Rohingyas are living in refugee camps or scattered over south-eastern Bangladesh; whereas millions of Burmese migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are living in Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia and are sometimes victims of trafficking,

M. whereas starting on 2 January 2010 there has been an unprecedented crackdown by Bangladesh law enforcement agencies on unregistered Rohingya refugees who have settled outside the two official refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar District; whereas more than 500 Rohingyas have since been arrested and some of those arrested have been forced back across the Burmese border, whilst others have been charged under immigration law and jailed,

N. whereas more than 5000 self-settled Rohingyas in Bangladesh have already fled their homes and flocked to the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Ukhia in search of safety; whereas the population of that camp has now swelled to an estimated 30 000 people, who do not receive food assistance and are now being denied access to a livelihood, as they would face arrest if they were to leave the camp to find work,

1. Strongly condemns the ongoing, systematic violations of the human rights, fundamental freedoms and basic democratic rights of the people of Burma/Myanmar;

2. Expresses grave concern at the recent trial, conviction and sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and calls for her immediate and unconditional release; calls for her to be granted the right to participate in the forthcoming elections;

3. Takes note of the decision by the Government of Burma/Myanmar to hold elections and insists that under the present conditions they cannot be considered free and democratic; criticises, in particular, the ban on Aung San Sui Kyi standing as a candidate;

4. Calls on the Government of Burma/Myanmar immediately to open a genuine dialogue with the NLD, all other opposition parties and ethnic groups; welcomes, in this context, the mediation efforts by the UN Secretary-General and his Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma/Myanmar;

5. Strongly urges the Government of Burma/Myanmar to take without delay the steps needed to ensure a free, fair, transparent and inclusive electoral process consistent with international standards, including by enacting the required electoral laws, allowing all voters and all political parties to participate in the electoral process and agreeing to the presence of international observers;

6. Condemns the arbitrary charges behind the arrests of political opponents of the Burmese regime or dissidents, particularly the continuing repression and intimidation of Buddhist monks; urges the Burmese authorities to desist from further politically motivated arrests and to release all prisoners of conscience, including the monks, immediately and unconditionally and with full restoration of their political rights;

7. Condemns the restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, movement and expression in Burma/Myanmar; urges the authorities of Burma/Myanmar to lift these restrictions, including those imposed on the free and independent media;

8. Expresses its concern at the continuing discrimination, human rights violations, violence, child and forced labour, displacement and forms of repression suffered by numerous ethnic and religious minorities, and calls on the Government of Burma/Myanmar to take immediate action to improve their respective situations;

9. Expresses grave concern at the continuing use of practices such as arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; calls strongly on the Government of Burma/Myanmar to ensure that a full, transparent, effective, impartial and independent investigation is carried out into all reports of human rights violations and to bring those responsible to justice in order to end impunity for such crimes;

10. Calls strongly on the Burmese military junta to put an immediate end to the continuing recruitment and use of child soldiers, to step up measures to protect children from armed conflict and to pursue its cooperation with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Continue reading “Euro-MPs urge China, India, Russia to pressure Myanmar”

HRW:Release Democracy Leader U Tin Oo

Harsh Sentence for US Citizen Nyi Nyi Aung Highlights Challenges for Visiting UN Official

(New York) – The Burmese military government should immediately release the 84-year-old opposition leader U Tin Oo, whose house arrest order expires on February 13, 2010, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also immediately release the human rights activist Nyi Nyi Aung, a US citizen sentenced to three years in prison on February 10 on spurious charges after an unfair trial.

U Tin Oo, the deputy leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), has spent nearly seven years in prison and under house arrest in Rangoon. He has been held under an annually renewed detention order and denied access to visitors and fellow party leaders since 2003. U Tin Oo’s house arrest order expires one day before the arrival of the United Nations human rights envoy on Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, for a visit through February 20. continue

“U Tin Oo will be released tomorrow as his detention period is complete,”

Tin Oo, 83, vice chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has been detained without trial since he was arrested with Suu Kyi after an attack on their motorcade during a political tour in 2003,called Depayin Massacre.
“U Tin Oo will be released tomorrow as his detention period is complete,” a Myanmar official said on condition of anonymity.
NLD spokesman a week ago said the party was expecting his release and said Tin Oo would resume his political activities.
Tin Oo, a retired general, was transferred from prison to house arrest in Yangon in February 2004 under an anti-subversion law.

Junta supremo’s Union Day speech scorns Panglong and Aung San

FRIDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2010 14:37 S.H.A.N.
The prepared speech commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Union Day,12 February 2010, the day leaders of Burma, Shan, Chin and Kachin concluded an alliance pact in 1947, pointedly ignore Panglong where the conference took place, and Aung San, the co-author of the agreement and the father of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, according to sources from Shan State North and South.

“He spoke instead of Pondaung Ponnya, where the first human beings were supposed to have originated and the united struggle against colonialism that had brought Independence to the country,” said a source from Panglong, the town made famous by the Panglong Agreement.
The message was read out by local officials in each township. “He also mentioned the 2008 constitution and exhorted the people to exercise their rights in the upcoming elections,” said a resident of Muse, who had attended the ceremony in the morning presided over by U Tun Min Zaw, Chairman of the Muse District Peace and Development Council. Continue reading “Junta supremo’s Union Day speech scorns Panglong and Aung San”