Anti-social activities in model village on western border

Local people on the western Burma border are worried about the spread of HIV after two Burman settlers set up prostitution networks in their homes, said an elderly woman in the village.

“As two Burmese settlers are into the prostitution bussiness in our villages many people are worried about the spread of HIV and AIDS infection to people in the area,” she said.

The model village is Shwe Yin Aye, located on the outskirts of Maungdaw on the western Burma border and comprises 100 households belonging to both local Arakanese and Burman settlers.

“I did not want to attack them personally but it is dangerous for all our people, Buddhists and Muslims. So I had to inform you of the situation. The two settlers – U Win Aung and U Kyaw Naing Moe – are into prostitution business in our village,” she said.

Some young poor women in the village are involved in the prostitution rings run by U Win Aung and U Kyaw Naing Moe, who moved to the area from Burma proper in 2000.

Another source said that because many model village settlers in the area suffer economic hardship and crisis due to a lack of business skills, they are now involved in prostitution.

“In our village, many people, including young women, are jobless with no income. So the work is not only luring men but also young women. Currently some women in our village had to become involved in prostitution along with women from other areas. I have been worried about other innocent young women,” she said. Continue reading “Anti-social activities in model village on western border”

Family of 11 detained youth appeal to witness trial

Family members of 11 detained Arakanese youth submitted an appeal to the judge in the notorious Insein prison asking for an opportunity to be present at their children’s trials, reports a family source.

“The appeal was submitted by them through their lawyer on 29 March when the authorities produced the 11 Arakanese youths in the court of Insein prison,” the source said.

On 29 March, 2010, the 11 youths, who were arrested in September last year, were produced before a judge in the western district court inside Insein prison but the families were not given the opportunity to learn of developments in the case.

Lawyer U Kyaw Hoo submitted the appeal to the court on behalf of family members of the 11 youths and the court said that it will decide on the appeal on 5 April.

U Kyaw Hoo was quoted as saying, “The court is able to give the family members of the 11 Arakanese youths like other families of clients in Insein prison, who are able to regularly hear their relative’s cases inside Insein prison during trial.”

The youths have been facing trial since 29 December last year, but their family members have not been able to hear any updates on their case.

The Arakanese youths are Ko Kyaw Moe, Ko Kyaw Win, Ko Tun Lun Kyaw, Ko Kyaw Zaw Tun, Ko Khin Maung Htay, Ko Naing Soe, Ko Kyaw Zan Thein, Ko Aung Moe Zaw, Ko Kyaw San Hlaing, Ko Maung Naing Soe, and Ko Zaw Tun Oo. They were arrested by Burmese intelligence in September last year on allegations of opposing the government. Continue reading “Family of 11 detained youth appeal to witness trial”

Extortion efforts against residents near Kanbauk to Myinkalay pipeline expanded

HURFOM,Mon State: Residents along the Kanbauk to Myain Kalay gas pipeline have reported increased efforts to extort money by Burmese government State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) forces.

In March, Burmese soldiers in areas along the pipeline stepped up extortion efforts, making demands for money more frequently, using the new justification that the funds cover the costs of “the general military spending”.

The Kanabunk to Myaing Kalay gas pipeline, which was completed in 2002, was constructed through Tarnissarine Division, Mon State, and Karen State. Detailed in HURFOM’s 2009 annual report, Laid Waste: Human Rights along the Kanbauk to Myaing Kalay gas pipeline, the construction and operation of the pipeline have brought extensive human rights abuses to the area.

Highlighted in the report are countless instances of extortion committed in areas located close to the pipeline such as Tarnissarine Division, Thanbyuzayat, Mudon, Moulmein, Yebyu, Ye, and Kyaikmayaw Townships in Mon State, and Pa Ann Township in Karen State, by local military battalions.

A source from the SPDC Artillery Battalion (AB) No. 318, based Abit village, Mudon Township, described how in the beginning of March that the local authorities have, been expanding their justification for extortion of villagers, from “gas pipeline security and repair costs “ to also include “the general spending for the military service.” According to residents in the area, prior to this new cost, local authorities would collect 2,000 to 3,000 from each household every month.

The justification for an additional monthly costs, appears to arbitrary, as no significant changes have been made to either the pipeline or the methods by which Battalions operate in the area.

Residents have told HURFOM that they see no way in which there is any justification for the extortion money they have paid, even when the government troops claim the costs go towards maintenance of the gas pipeline and for security against potential attacks from splinter groups. Villagers subject to the new cost, though unable to confirm how much more is money is take, have expressed concerns that local military authorities will continue to create additional justifications for further extorting money. Continue reading “Extortion efforts against residents near Kanbauk to Myinkalay pipeline expanded”

Chairman of Burma’s Election Commission on EU blacklist

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Deputy Supreme Court Judge Thein Soe, the newly appointed Chairman of Burma’s Election Commission is on the EU’s blacklist of sanctions.  The list, which targets key members of Burma’s military regime also includes Dr. Tin Aung Aye, a fellow Supreme Court Judge, and also a member of the EC.

Judges Thein Soe, Dr. Tin Aung Aye and other members on the blacklist including notorious junta crony Tay Zaw, are banned from traveling to the European Union.  They are also subject to a freeze on any financial assets they may have in Europe.  As such they cannot undertake financial transactions with European based financial institutions.

The two judges  and other senior members of the Burmese regime’s judiciary were added to the EU’s sanctions list following the outcome of Aung San Suu Kyi’s August 2009 trial in which she was convicted of flouting the terms of her house arrest after an uninvited American man swam to her home.

According to the EU Council, members of the Burmese judiciary were targeted because of the “gravity of the violation of the fundamental rights of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Council considers it appropriate to include the members of the judiciary responsible for the verdict in the list of persons and entities subject to a travel ban and to an asset freeze”. Continue reading “Chairman of Burma’s Election Commission on EU blacklist”