Thailand is selected for presidency of UNHRC, according to Foreign Minister´s Secretary

BANGKOK, 21 June 2010 (NNT) – Forty-one countries count on Thailand as one of the five countries holding the presidency of The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Secretary to Foreign Minister Chavanond Intarakomalyasut stated that Thailand was the first country in ASEAN to be selected as the president of UNHRC. It will also be an opportunity of the country to regain reputation and clarify on the human right violating case during political demonstration, saying that the government had followed peaceful measure and gave the right to protesters to demonstrate.

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system, comprising 47 States responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

The Killer 8 Sells Well To Evil Despots

June 21, 2010: Myanmar is buying another fifty K-8 jet trainers fromChina, after having ordered 12 in the late 1990s. Myanmar does not want the K-8s just for training, but apparently plans to use the aircraft more for reconnaissance and combat. In the vast, and thinly populated, north of the country, tribal rebels hide out in the forests. It’s a lot cheaper to look for them, and drop a few bombs, with a K-8 than the other warplanes Myanmar has (F-7/MiG-21s or MiG-29s). K-8s are for cheap killing, and the Chinese are increasingly marketing them that way to nations with poorly armed rebellions to worry about.

Also known as the JL-8, the K-8 is a 4.3 ton, two seat aircraft. Normally carrying a trainee and instructor, this is replaced by a pilot and observer on combat missions. The K-8 entered service in 1994, and over 500 have been built. The aircraft can be fitted with a 23mm cannon, and carry nearly a ton of missiles and bombs.Egypt and Pakistan also use the K-8. The aircraft sells for $4-5 million each.

New Burma land route mooted

The government plans to develop a land transport route linking Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province with the port of Dawei in Burma as a gateway to markets to the west of the country.

Authorities say better land transport is needed because the Pak Bara deep-sea port in the southern province of Satun province cannot be developed on a scale to compete with other other deep-sea ports in the region is.

As well, communities in Pak Bara oppose the expansion because they are worried about the environmental impact, so it would remain a domestic port, said Putthipong Punnakan, vice-minister to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Transport Ministry will study the construction of a highway of 180 to 190 kilometres to link Kanchanaburi with Dawei, also known as Tavoy.

Mr Putthipong said a link with Dawei would have great benefits for Thailand because China also wants to use the town as a possible site for a major trading port with western and eastern markets.

The Dawei-Kanchanaburi road link would also be connected to a new 1,360-km highway network linking India, Burma and Thailand. the route would run from Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand via Bagan in Burma.

Situated in the southwest of Burma, the deep-sea port at Dawei is being built and should be completed in 2013. It will be capable of handling 300,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) containers a year for ships sailing between Europe and Africa, and the Middle East and South Asia, plying the India Ocean and Andaman Seas.

Dawei Port is a major component in the overall strategy to create an East-West Economic Corridor (linking Danang in Vietnam to Mawlamyine in Burma), the Southern Economic Corridor (Ho Chi Minh City to Dawei), and the North-South Economic Corridor (Kunming-Bangkok).

Transporting goods via the North-South Economic Corridor (NSEC) would shorten the journey from southern China to the Andaman Sea from 16-18 days to just six days, bypassing the congested Straits of Malacca.

BKK Post

Doesn’t Aung San Suu Kyi deserve better than glib rhetoric from politicians?

Haider Kikabhoy
The Daily Telegraph, UK
June 20, 2010

There will be no shortage of tributes for Aung San Suu Kyi today as she marks her 65th birthday

It is Aung San Suu Kyi’s 15th year spent under house arrest since 1989. However, as Burma heads for elections for the first time in two decades, freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi – and her fellow 2,200 political prisoners – remains a remote prospect.

Indeed, the run-up to the polls slated for later this year may be a period of intensified repression of human rights, especially for the “three freedoms” of expression, peaceful assembly and association. International scrutiny of and robust response to these violations must increase as the Burmese authorities appear set to stamp out any dissent ahead of the vote. The new UK government can play a key role in helping to reverse that trend and continue to champion human rights in Burma.

The international community, including Burma’s influential neighbours such as China, India and Japan and the ASEAN countries, all agree that they want the forthcoming elections to be “free and fair”. However, this hope does not go nearly far enough to protect the rights that are most at risk in the upcoming period.

Over the past several years at least, Amnesty’s research shows that ethnic minority political opponents and activists have been systematically repressed by the Burmese authorities, including through arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, imprisonment, torture and extrajudicial executions. The doubling of the number of political prisoners since the start of the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007 is a huge indictment of the grim human rights situation in the country.

Among other restrictions, vaguely worded provisions in the electoral laws state that anyone who tries to “disrupt” the vote through speech or publication will be prosecuted. Similarly, punitive action awaits those who try to persuade persons to vote or not to vote in the elections. And no one who is currently detained, including Aung San Suu Kyi herself, can participate in the elections. It is therefore simply not enough for governments to adopt a wait and see attitude.

The three freedoms must be safeguarded for all, whether people are participating in the elections or boycotting them.

The British Government can lead by example and persuade all those countries that wish for free and fair elections to call for the three freedoms to be respected. They must also be prepared to speak out forcefully when individuals are harassed and detained for their peaceful political views and activities, deemed unfavourable by the state as the polls approach.

Many activists in Burma continue to organise themselves, peacefully and at great personal risk, to challenge the government’s repressive agenda.

The British government can practically support their legitimate work by making the implementation of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders a priority for the EU in Burma – something that is long overdue in the country.

The guidelines, adopted in 2004, provide EU member states with practical guidance on how to protect and support human rights defenders, especially in third countries. If the EU needs to honour its responsibilities for protecting human rights defenders. As a starting point, the EU should talk to the activists themselves about how the guidelines can be best implemented in Burma.

With each passing year that Aung San Suu Kyi is still in detention, events marking her birthday have become increasingly poignant. However, if the birthday of the world’s most famous prisoner of conscience is to be meaningful for human rights in Burma this year, governments worldwide must end their glib rhetoric about free and fair elections in the country and call for the three freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association to be firmly at the centre of the elections.

Haider Kikabhoy is Amnesty International’s Burma campaigner

More Burma Army officers deserting

Maj Sai Thein Win

More defections from the Burma Army have been reported after the defection of Maj Sai Thein Win, the source of the latest exposé of the Burma ruling military junta’s nuclear weapons program, according to sources from the Thai-Burma border.

The latter deserters are reportedly from Air Defense Command, under the command of Lt-Gen Myint Hlaing, former commander of the Northeastern Region Command. They were identified as Captain Aung Ko Ko and Captain Aye Min Maung, who deserted in the same month, said an informed source from Thai border security.

Capt Aung Ko Ko who deserted on 21 May was from Air Defense Battalion # 3036 and Capt Aye Min Maung, who deserted on 3 May, was from the Air Defense Base#4.

“But there have been no reports about where the two have gone to,” the officer said.

Following the two’s defections, Lt-Gen Myint Hlaing has passed an order on 16 June, to every subordinate level command to prevent its own men from deserting. If there is someone reported fleeing from a unit, the commander concerned will be held responsible for the desertions. In addition, he would also be given heavy punishment and would be forced to resign by the Tatmadaw, if his men are reported to have defected to opposition groups.

The headquarters says that the reason for more desertions is because unit commanders do not have practical measures to monitor its own officers, especially while they are on a visit to their families or on holidays. Another fact is commanders did not make efforts to capture those deserters in time.

“More desertions are being informed from other locations, some from low rank officers and some just private soldiers,” he said.

Top leaders are more worried about internal unity within the army after Sai Thein Win’s disclosure of its nuclear program, according to a source close to Naypyitaw.

A border-based group Network for Democracy and Development (NDD), quoting documents it had compiled, reported on 23 March 2007 that the Burma Army, with 215 infantry battalions and 340 light infantry battalions totaling 555 in September 2006, had been losing about 10,000 men every 4 months, most of them through desertions.

In the past few years, as many as 200 officers have defected. Missile expert Maj Sai Thein Win deserted in February.