Ten of NLD’s new CC members still languishing in prisons

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Several political prisoners languishing in jails across Burma are among the newly announced 100 members of the expanded central committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma.

Among the detained by the junta are 10 NLD members including Members of Parliament elected in 1990.

The detained members include two from central Burma’s Mandalay city, four from Western Burma’s Arakan state, one from Shan State and three others from Sagaing division. They are currently held in Rangoon’s Insein prison, Putao and Myitkyina jails in Northern Burma’s Kachin State, Thayet, Taunggyi of Shan State and Mandalay.

The NLD party leadership in Rangoon said on Wednesday that it is preparing to call a meeting of the 100 central committee members and eight auxiliary members for assigning of portfolios. Continue reading “Ten of NLD’s new CC members still languishing in prisons”

Two Cameroonians soccer player found guilty-

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two Cameroonian soccer players found guilty of fraud were sentenced to 9 and 7 year jail terms by a Rangoon court, legal sources said.

Both were sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for fraud but the man identified as Tecow Teta Joseph Appod had an extra two years added on because on the first day of trial he briefly escaped, causing a minor diplomatic incident in the process.

Mizzima was told by sources familiar with the case, that while at court awaiting the beginning of the proceeding Appod asked guards to go to the toilet and somehow managed to escape from the building. He then climbed over a series of high walls before jumping into a taxi. He instructed the driver to take him to the French embassy where he sought protection. French diplomatic were unwilling to assist the young African hide from the Burmese police and turned him over to authorities who promptly returned him to Insein prison.

Facing an almost totally assured conviction at the hands of presiding Judge Mya Win in Lanmadaw township court, Appod broke down in tears during today’s final day of proceedings. Continue reading “Two Cameroonians soccer player found guilty-“

Amid Threats, Women Dissidents Stick to Political Beliefs By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Mar 4, 2010 (IPS) – While Aung San Suu Kyi remains the most widely-known woman suppressed for her political views in Burma, the jails in that military-ruled country continue to be filled by lesser-known women dissidents being held on a range of questionable charges.

Mid-February saw the latest group of female political activists thrown into jail with a two-year prison term, including hard labour, for a “crime” they committed four months ago – donating religious literature to a Buddhist monastery, an act that the junta deemed as “disturbing the peace.”

At the time of their arrest in October 2009, Naw Ohn Hla, Myint Myint San, Cho Cho Lwin and Cho Cho Aye had also been conducting regular prayers at the landmark Shwedagon pagoda in Rangoon, the country’s former capital, to secure the release of opposition leader Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for over 14 of the last 20 years.

“These women were very persistent with their religious activity no matter the risks they faced, any oppression,” says Khin Ohmar, vice chairwoman of the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU), a network of democracy activists exiled in Thailand. “It is a sign of their determination and political beliefs.”

“Jailing female political activists is not going to silence them,” she revealed in a telephone interview from Mae Sot, a town along the Thai-Burmese border. “The military authorities keep repeatedly making this mistake.”

The four women prisoners bring to nearly 190 the number of female activists among the estimated 2,200 political prisoners now in Burmese jails. The women who are paying a steep price for their political beliefs include Buddhists nuns, journalists, labour rights activists and members and sympathisers of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party that Suu Kyi heads. Continue reading “Amid Threats, Women Dissidents Stick to Political Beliefs By Marwaan Macan-Markar”

With mounting tension KIA makes fresh recruitment

Thursday, 04 March 2010 KNG
Escalating tension between the Kachin Independent Organization/Army (KIO/A) and the Burmese military junta over the contentious Border Guard Force issue has seen to the ethnic group recruiting new batches of soldiers, said local residents.

The KIO stepped up fresh recruitment since last week in Northeast Shan State, eastern Burma and Kachin State the residents added.“Some youths from Nam Hpak Ka village ran into my house,” said a resident of Namtau village in Shan State. At least three of her close family members escaped the recruitment dragnet of the rebels in Nam Hpa Ka village in Northeast Shan State.

She said the three youths fled from their homes because they did not want to join the rebel army.

The junta and the KIO failed to reach an understanding over the thorny BGF issue, which sought to transform the latter’s armed wing into a small guard force under Burmese Army control. Continue reading “With mounting tension KIA makes fresh recruitment”

KNU Statement Requesting UN SG to Call on SPDC to Stop Attacks against Karen Civilians



KNU Statement Requesting UN SG to Call on SPDC to Stop Attacks against Karen Civilians

March 4, 2010

While we, the Karen National Union (KNU), welcome UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s expression of concern regarding new attacks on the Karen people, we do not believe that this alone is an adequate response to the current crisis.

We would like to remind the Secretary General that these attacks have been taking place for more than 60 years, and that numerous requests and expressions of concern, and even resolutions from the United Nations General Assembly, and a Presidential Statement from the United Nations Security Council, have failed to halt these attacks and persuade the SPDC military dictatorship to enter into genuine dialogue.

We note that a UN Special Rapporteur report on human rights in Burma has described the attacks by the SPDC Burmese Army against Karen and other ethnic peoples in eastern Burma as being in breach of the Geneva Conventions. They are, therefore, war crimes. We also note that at least two former Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Burma have said that human rights abuses by the Burmese Army taking place in eastern Burma should be investigated as potential crimes against humanity.

The Secretary General’s call for ‘all concerned’ to work towards a peaceful resolution misrepresents the true situation in our country, and in so doing amounts to protecting the dictatorship, which is guilty of perpetrating these heinous attacks.

What is happening in Karen State is not a civil war with two sides fighting each other. The reality is that the Burmese Army is attacking and deliberately targeting civilians, and this has been verified by the United Nations’ own reports. The KNU cannot end hostilities as we are not engaged in active hostilities against the regime. Our soldiers in the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) are protecting civilians from attack and providing humanitarian assistance.

We have repeatedly tried to enter into dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the problems in Burma. The dictatorship refuses to enter into genuine dialogue, and instead demands what amounts to a total and unconditional surrender that would lead to an increase in human rights abuses against Karen people.

It is time for the United Nations Secretary General to lay blame where it belongs, and stop portraying the situation as if two sides of equal strength are in dispute. It is the military dictatorship and its proxy allies who are solely responsible for the attacks and abuses taking place in the Karen State. It is the military dictatorship, which refuses to enter into genuine dialogue and seek a peaceful solution to the problems in Burma.

In conclusion, we would like to request earnestly the Secretary General to use his good offices to apply real pressure on the dictatorship to end attacks against ethnic peoples, and enter into genuine dialogue with all stake holders, for national reconciliation and peace. He should also seek a resolution from the United Nations Security Council to reinforce this effort.

Supreme Headquarters
Karen National Union

Zoya Phan, daughter of Padoh Mahn Sha,wins international acclaim

Thursday, 04 March 2010 09:25 Mizzima News

(Mizzima) – A young Karen woman has been included in the list of this year’s recipients of the Young Global Leader award.

Zoya Phan, daughter of Padoh Mahn Sha, the assassinated former General Secretary of the Karen National Union, is the sole Burmese recipient of the honorific as recognized by the World Economic Forum.

In announcing the winners, the World Economic Forum issued a statement reading in part, “The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future.”

Responding to the news, Zoya Phan said, “It is a great encouragement to see such a respected body give recognition of the struggle for freedom and justice in Burma. I am delighted and honored to have been chosen, and hope that it will enable me to do more to raise the profile of the situation in Burma.”

The annual award recognizes from 200 to 300 individuals under the age of 40 for “their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.” Continue reading “Zoya Phan, daughter of Padoh Mahn Sha,wins international acclaim”

Burma may save its tigers and not its women by Open Democracy

Cora Weiss reports on the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma – an overwhelming day of stories told by remarkable women of all ages of inhumanity leaving the listeners wondering how the women could have survived.

The World Bank is determined to play conservationist and protect the last of the 3200 wild tigers, down from 100,000 a century ago, most in Burma, but finds it is “shackled from doling out aid” to this South East Asian nation. But shackles also seem to be in place when it comes to a robust policy to demand freedom for Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, her National League for Democracy adherents and thousands of Burmese members of traditional ethnic groups jailed or abused following a democratically held election in May 1990 which gave her party 80% of parliamentary seats. The military coup following that election has left the natural resource wealthy country drowning in the most egregious human rights abuses including documented child soldiers, sexual violence, forced labour, slavery, destruction of entire villages of the many ethnic groups, extra judicial killings, over a million internally displaced persons and a record of being condemned for this by the UN for the past 15 years.

This is the background that led to the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma, held on March 2nd in New York City as one of nearly 200 parallel civil society sponsored events during the United Nations 54th Commission on the Status of Women annual conference.

Recommendations from the judges, Nobel Peace laureates, Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi, Thai law Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn and Prof. Heisoo Shin of Korea’s Women’s University, include those to Burma’s military regime to:

STOP all forms of violence against women;
STOP attacks and persecution against ethnic nationalities and groups;

RELEASE immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners;
GRANT access to UN agencies and NGO humanitarian groups;
PROVIDE access to and cooperate with United Nations and human rights organizations to monitor human rights within Burma;
RATIFY all human rights treaties…;

To the Asia-Pacific region including ASEAN to:

IMPEL Burma to comply with the ASEAN Charter and international legal obligations and human rights standards;
INVITE the ASEAN Human Rights Commission to submit reports covering particular issues related to Burma;
SUPPORT the establishment of the ASEAN Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, including consideration of the situation in Burma;

To the international community, particularly the United Nations, to:
URGE states to take collective action to ensure the implementation of SCRs 1325, 1820, 1888,and 1889 guaranteeing women’s full participation in post conflict reconstruction and freedom from all forms of sexual violence;

URGE the UN Security Council to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court,

To civil society to:

CONTINUE to actively engage with the peoples of Burma inside and outside the country and to mobilize public pressure at all levels to raise consciousness of the crimes and violations being committed by the Burmese military regime against the peoples of Burma, especially women and children. Continue reading “Burma may save its tigers and not its women by Open Democracy”