Junta wants KIO to disarm

For the first time during its sixteen year old ceasefire agreement with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Burmese army said it wants the KIO to disarm. That information came on August 22, after a series of meetings between the two sides, according to sources close to the KIO.

KIO delegates were informed in a letter from Burmese military officials during a Sunday meeting at the Mali Hka Center, inside the junta’s Northern Regional Command at Myitkyina, Kachin State, KIO sources told the Thailand-based Kachin News Group today.

The KIO informed the junta that it will reply to the directive after the upcoming KIO Party Congress in Laiza, located on the China-Burma border, eastern Kachin State, which begins Friday, August 27, according to KIO officials in Laiza.

This is the first congress for the KIO in its 49 year revolutionary history and the congress will made decisions on shifts in the Kachin political situation, including whether it will accept the disarmament plan or resume armed struggle with the junta.

Wawhkyung Sin Wa, Deputy General Secretary of the KIO told the KNG earlier this week the congress will be attended by about 200 KIO delegates from Kachin State and Northeast Shan State and make decisions on its policies for the future.

Sin Wa also added that those decisions will be important for any group or organization related to the KIO and all Kachin people.

The Sunday meeting was joined by five KIO senior officials, including Chairman/president Lanyaw Zawng Hkra, Vice-president No. 1- Lt-Gen Gauri Zau Seng, General Secretary Dr. Lahkyen La Ja, and Vice Chief of Staff Brig-Gen Sumlut Gun Maw, KIO officials said. Continue reading “Junta wants KIO to disarm”

NDF leader gives up on polls citing bureaucratic obstacles

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – National Democratic Force party central executive committee member Khin Maung Swe announced today he is withdrawing from nationwide polls on November 7.

He and other members of the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party had split to form the National Democratic Force (NDF) so they could stand in this year’s elections.

The junta’s electoral watchdog, the Union Election Commission (UEC), told Khin Maung Swe and the NDF’s vice-chairman Tin Aung Aung, central executive committee member Thar Saing and politburo member Sein Hla Oo, to file an appeal to allow them to stand, as electoral laws barred them from participating on grounds of their high treason convictions in 1990.

Though they had already filed such petitions they said they were instructed to file again, so Khin Maung Swe believed this suggested the junta would block any of their efforts to be elected.

“I have submitted this petition to them. Now they’ve [the UEC staff] asked me to file it again as a personal appeal. They will not give me permission to contest in this election even though I submitted this petition again as they said. So I will not file this petition again and will not contest in this election,” Khin Maung Swe told Mizzima.

“They’ve imposed restrictions on me for this election. They have permitted registration of our party so they should also allow its leaders to participate … It is logical and natural,” he said.

It is not yet known whether the three other leaders will resubmit their petitions.

Other politicians who have turned their backs on the upcoming election, denouncing it as neither free nor fair, include Union Democratic Party chairman Phyo Min Thein.

As Myanmar Ends Visas for Cyclone NGOs, UN Looks Away, Blessing Scam Election

UN’s Ban at Burma model village, follow through not shown

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 — In the run up to a November election which will exclude Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, the military government of Myanmar has moved to curtail the system of entry visas for aid workers instituted after Cyclone Nargis.

While one might expect the UN, whose Secretary General Ban Ki-moon once claimed this post-Nargis access as one of his major accomplishments, to speak out against this re-closing down of Myanmar, that has not been the case.

In recent weeks, Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky and UN officials who appeared only on condition of not being named to list any recent accomplishment on Myanmar of the UN’s Good Offices role. On August 20, Inner City Press specifically asked if the UN or its envoy on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar, Ban’s chief of staff, had any comment on the visa crackdown. Here is the UN’s response in Inner City Press:

Subject: Your question on the TCG
From: UN Spokesperson – Do Not Reply <unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org>
To: Matthew Lee [at] innercitypress.com
Date: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 3:25 PM

At the 43rd ASEAN annual meeting Hanoi on 19–20 July 2010, the ASEAN Foreign agreed to officially to end the Tripartite Core Group (TCG) and the ASEAN Humanitarian Task Force (AHTF) by 31 July 2010 and to transfer the coordination role to the Government.

In light of the Government’s announcement that Nargis related work will be taken up by the relevant line ministries, the UNCT is engaging closely with the authorities to ensure that needed assistance in not interrupted.

There are today 15 UN agencies, 50 international organizations and a similar number of local NGOs operating inside the country and are working not only in the Ayeyarwaddy delta, but in all regions of Myanmar. Looking forward, the United Nations and the Government of Myanmar have reached agreement for collaborating on a two-year Joint Humanitarian Initiative (2010-2011) for Northern Rakhine State, a border area whose population faces a particularly difficult combination of socio-economic and humanitarian factors.

So will the UN’s current push for Pakistan end with a similar whimper?


Two labor rights activists released

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Two activists who had assisted farmers in central Burma in filing legal proceedings against the seizure of their farmlands by local industry, have been released.

Myint Maung and Thura Aung, from Aunglan Township in Magway Division, were released from Thayat Prison on Tuesday after winning an appeal through the Central Court in Mandalay Division.

The appeal was lodged against decisions taken by the Aunglan District Township Court and Magway Division Court.

In December 2009, Myint Maung was sentenced to two years in prison under section 427 of the Penal Code, while in late 2008 Thura Aung was given seven years under section 6 (1) of the Public Property Protection Act. Following the ruling of the Central Court, their sentences were reduced to six months and one year, respectively.

“Our cases were not nullified by the Central Court in Mandalay. Our sentences were just reduced. That still means we committed a crime,” Myint Maung told Mizzima. Continue reading “Two labor rights activists released”

Wa, Mongla say No to Naypyitaw’s BGF program

Two of Burma’s ceasefire groups: the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) aka Mongla group, claim that their decision to declare ‘No’ to Border Guard Force (BGF) program is because there is no benefit in being BGF as it doesn’t provide any space and rights for the non-Burman ethnic nationalities, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border.

The decision was made up from the two’s latest meeting held on 21-24 August at the UWSA’s headquarters Panghsang after receiving another deadline to respond their acceptance on the program by 1September, 2010, at their meeting with Naypyitaw’s negotiators on 20 August.

“The groups claimed that the BGF program is just a one sided (drawn by the regime) program,” an informed source close to a top official’s family said.

“They [the military regime] did not ask our opinion and did not discuss with us before they created the program. So it is an unfair program. Thus is why we will never accept and put ourselves into such unfair situation,” one of the Wa leaders was reported to have said. “We will also never surrender.”

According to him, the two groups decided to stand firm on their ceasefire agreement and will do their utmost to live in peace with the regime.

“Nevertheless, it will depend on the military regime’s decision whether it wants war or peace,” he added.

With regards to the latest deadline, a report that just came in from the Sino-Burma border says that the deadline was not for the groups to become BGFs, but for them to totally surrender as the BGF deadline had already expired on 28 April.

According to the two’s response to SHAN last week, the groups will continue to uphold the following 4 principles: 1) will not surrender, 2) will not transform into BGF unless their autonomy demands are met, 3) will not shoot first, but they are ready to protect themselves and 4) they will not secede from the Union.

shanland org.news