An American court blocks human-rights suits against businesses

WHEN lawyers for a group of Burmese villagers used an obscure American law in 1996 to sue Unocal, an oil company, for using forced labour and other abuses while constructing a pipeline in Myanmar, human-rights campaigners saw a new way of attacking companies (as opposed to their executives in person) for misdeeds abroad. A flurry of headline-grabbing suits followed. Nine Nigerians, including relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a playwright, accused Shell of complicity in human-rights abuses. Vietnamese villagers sued Dow Chemical and others for injuries caused by the Agent Orange herbicide.

39 migrant workers injured in crash way from Ranong in southern Thailand to Samut Sakhon,

October 7th, 2010

Jury Chai : A vehicle carrying Burmese migrant workers crashed on the way from Ranong in southern Thailand to Samut Sakhon, this morning at 8 am. The vehicle’s passengers were returning from registering for temporary passports in Ranong.

About 39 migrant workers were injured in the accident, and were treated in Maekong hospital. The vehicle in question was traveling in a caravan of three buses. No deaths have been reported.

According to a witness from one of the other buses, the vehicle hit a pole in the road and swerved into a ditch.

This witness reported, “yes, it capsized and many people got injured, but its not sure [if anyone is] dead”.

The vehicle in question carried 39 migrant workers, two brokers, a driver and his follower. Each vehicle in the caravan carried about 39 migrant workers, and were express buses from Ranong to Samut Sakhon.

This witness reported that the accident occurred near Samut Sakhon, and that most of the migrant workers injured were Burmese and Mon.

According to an agency that makes temporary passports in Ranong, the driver of the crashed vehicle will take responsibility for the costs of the crash victims’ hospital treatment. Many broke their legs or arms in the crash. Currently Thai police are investigating the scene of the accident. Continue reading “39 migrant workers injured in crash way from Ranong in southern Thailand to Samut Sakhon,”

Eligible voters exceed voting station limits 5 fold

October 7th, 2010

Hong Dein : The number of eligible voters in Mudon Township and Three Pagodas Pass (TPP), as announced by the Burmese Election Commission in late September, is five times greater than maximum amount each allotted poll station can process on election day.

Thousands of eligible voters could find themselves still waiting for the chance to cast their ballots when polls stations are closed on the night of November 7th, 2010.

According to the Amyotha Hluttaw Election Law’s article 75, from Union Election Commission, if an approved village tract has more than 300 eligible voters for a single election station, each tract should be given accorded another station and appropriate amounts of poll attendants.

“They recognize about 300 eligible voters per voting station. But now about 1,800 and over 2,000 eligible voters per voting station” a member of the Election Commission in Mudon Township reported.

According to the Election Commission’s announcement for Mudon Township in Mon State, there are 1,800 eligible voters for Kalortthot village group per station, 2,525 for Kyaikywe village group per station, and 2,200 for Kawpihtaw village group per station.

“Eligible voters have to vote for four [different legislatures] so there is not enough time from 6 am to 4 pm to give all voters [a chance to vote] according to the amount [of voters] they announced currently”, the Election Commission member reported.

According to Nai Tun Ye also known Dr Ngwe Soe of the All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP), who is contesting for State Hluttaw Constituency No -2 in Mudon Township, “We have to be careful and [tell] the remaining eligible voters [still standing in line on election day] are not to return home without voting, and they must stay in line and vote at the station”.

TPP town, Karen State has been allotted only six polling booths for over 8,000 eligible voters in the town, according to a member of the TPP Sub-Township Election Commission.

Elsewhere in Mon state, the Election Commission’s preparations for November 7th are well underway. The Thanphyuzayart Township Election Commission recently held a training with government officials and voting station officers in Tayortpo village and Kyaikhamee town, where the Burmese officials taught Commission members and poll station officers proper voting procedures for election day. Continue reading “Eligible voters exceed voting station limits 5 fold”

Arakanese activists post notices urging poll boycott

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Notices urging the public to boycott the Burmese junta’s elections next month and oppose its constitution were posted on lamp posts and fences in 15 villages across Arakan State early yesterday morning, youth activists said.

The notices on white card posted in the villages of Taunggok Township in the western Burmese state bore the phrases “2008 constitution” and “2010 election” crossed out, with “Boycott the Election” underneath, and measured 8×6 inches eight.

“The notices were stuck up on lamp posts along the main road and on fences in 15 villages. But the papers were removed by police and local authorities since early morning,” Aung Tha Hla, an activist from Taunggok, told Mizzima.

A group of young activists from 15 villages including Maei, Sarpyin, Tanlwellchaung, Ywama, Lamu, Taintaung, Myotaung, Saidipyin and Yanmyoaung villages posted a total of about 800 of the notices.

Mizzima contacted Taunggok Police Station seeking comment on the case but the officer in charge refused to provide any response. Three local residents said they were unaware the notices had been distributed.