Blackout for Hungary

On the 21st of December the party holding the majority of the Hungarian parliament voted in favor of a new media law that is a collection of some of the most oppressive and undemocratic laws from all over Europe including some worrying additions.

To show our concern for fundamental rights and free speech we black out our online presence on the 5th January 2011 for at least 24 hours.

Suu Kyi, SNLD Call for Ethnic Unity

Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with six executive members of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) on Sunday to discuss the importance of ethnic unity in the face of the emergence of the Shan Nationalities Development Party (SNDP) and other parties formed to contest last year’s election.

The meeting with the leaders of the SNLD, which did not take part in the election but came second only to Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) when Burma went to the polls in 1990, lasted nearly an hour and a half, according to a party spokesperson.

“We said that the SNDP doesn’t represent all ethnic Shan and that if she [Suu Kyi] could guarantee ethnic equality and self-determination, we will organize people from all walks of life in Shan State,” said SNLD spokesman Sai Leik.

Ethnic parties which won seats in the Nov. 7 election have shown no interest in joining other ethnic parties and the NLD in their calls for a second Panglong conference, modeled on the historic meeting between Suu Kyi’s father, Gen Aung San, and ethnic leaders that laid the foundations for Burma’s independence from British colonial rule.

“She emphasized the need to hold a second Panglong conference because many ethnic leaders are united in their desire for such talks. However, she said that it would be difficult to move forward with this plan without the cooperation of all ethnic minority parties,” said Sai Leik.

In radio interviews, the leaders of two major ethnic parties, the SNDP and the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), have said that they don’t want to participate in a Panglong-type conference, he added.

Under the original agreement reached in Panglong, Shan State, in 1947, ethnic nationalities were guaranteed the right to self-determination within the framework of a federal union. The agreement was later scrapped by Burma’s military when it seized power in 1962.

In the 1990 election, the SNLD won the largest number of seats in Shan State, but the party’s leaders were subsequently arrested and are now serving long prison sentences in remote prisons across Burma.

The SNDP is now Burma’s largest ethnic party. It won 57 of the 156 seats it contested in November, mostly in constituencies in Shan and Kachin states. The RNDP won in 35 of the 44 constituencies it contested in Arakan State.

NLD Outlines Four Principles for Foreign Investment

Burma’s leading democratic opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has outlined four principles for foreign investment in the country and reaffirmed its stand on the need to review existing economic sanctions for the benefit of the people, according to a party policy statement.

“Consideration of environmental and social impacts on the people, respect for labor rights, the creation of job opportunities and technically advanced investments” are the four main priorities of the party’s foreign investment policy, said the statement, which was titled “Economic Analysis” and released on Jan. 4, Burma’s  Independence Day.

The statement also highlighted the need to address rising commodity prices and increasing joblessness due to the unequal distribution of wealth in the country.

Asked whether the party has begun to consider welcoming foreign direct investment to the country based on these principles, Win Tin, the secretary of the NLD, told The Irrawaddy: “First we want to review the impact of the sanctions on ordinary citizens. We have already said that if we find that they negatively impact the people, we will consider calling for an end to sanctions.”

He added that if the sanctions are lifted, “These four principles will be our guideline to decide whether which investments we should accept.” Continue reading “NLD Outlines Four Principles for Foreign Investment”

The National League for Democracy (NLD) launched a network of over 300 volunteers in support of political prisoners at Independence Day

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The National League for Democracy (NLD) launched a network of over 300 volunteers in support of political prisoners at an Independence Day function held yesterday at their head office in Bahan Township, Rangoon yesterday.

NLD party members and supporters matched volunteers with prisoners and their families through a lottery.  Volunteers

undertake to contact to their respective prisoner’s family and give both moral and materials support.

“This does not mean bearing all expenses for their allocated political prisoners from their own pockets. (Volunteers) can also give encouragement and support. Such support is helpful and will go some of the way in alleviating their problems”, Ohn Kyaing, the head of NLD’s Information Department told Mizzima.

“When I was in prison, I felt happy to know I had been remembered, that someone showed their love by giving even a small pouch of fish paste. I was encouraged and my morale was boosted”.

“In prison, morale and spiritual encouragement are very important”, Ohn Kyaing added.

Despite continued advocacy by international human rights groups, over 2,200 political prisoners remain in prisons across the country, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).  The group says that conditions for political prisoners are poor, many suffer ill health and at least 146 prisoners have died in custody since 1988.

In December, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the country, Tomas Ojea Quintana called for their unconditional release.

The NLD itself has over 600 of their own party members in prison. At least half of this number will today have a volunteer assigned to them, including volunteers from the party leadership.

Nobel laureate and party leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been paired with Soe Min Min from Hlaing Tharyar Township, Rangoon, while central committee member and former journalist  Win Tin will provide volunteer support for Win Mya Mya, an executive committee member of the NLD’s Mandalay Division being held in Puta-O prison.

NLD Women Affairs Committee member Le Le has been paired with 88 Generation Student leader Nilar Thein, who is being held in Thayet prison.

Nyunt Nyunt Oo, mother of imprisoned 88-Generation student leader Punneit Tun who is serving a 65-year prison term, said that NLD’s this programme was great and a ‘noble effort’.

“It’s a very good programme and I thank them”, she told Mizzima.

All political prisoners including monks, student leaders and ethnic leaders must be immediately and unconditionally released, she said.

The Independence Day celebration was attended by over 1,000 people including diplomats, ethnic leaders, veteran politicians and recent candidates from the November 7 general elections.

NLD central committee member May Win Myint said that the party had raised around four million kyat from the trade fair organised since January 2. The funds will be used to support both political prisoners and HIV patients.

A concurrent celebration for 200 young people was held at the residence of Thein Dan, branch chairman of the Mandalay division NLD.

Senior General Than Shwe’s Independence Day message reported in yesterday’s official papers, said he urged all people to ‘guard the nation’ against ‘disruptions’ to prevent Burma from falling under ‘alien influence’.

Burma achieved independence from British colonial rule in 1948, under the leadership of its first president,  Sao Shwe Thaik and prime minister U Nu. However, the country has been plagued with political and economic problems under decades of military rule.

ALP Fighting at Army Camp on Western Burma Border Kills 4

By Maung Aye
The Arakan Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Arakan Liberation Party, attacked a Burmese army camp in Paletwa Township in southern Chin State on 3 January, 2010, killing four Burmese soldiers, according to an ALP report.

Joint-Secretary 2 of the ALP, Khaing Thu Ka, said, “We fought the camp during the daytimes, so we saw what happened in the camp during the fighting. Four Burmese soldiers fell in the battle and one man from our side sacrificed for our nation.”

ALA battalionPhoto caption: Arakan Liberation Army

The army camp is locally known as Lat Bar Wa Camp in Paletwa Township, and it is located five miles from the border with Bangladesh.

“We started our plan this year by fighting an army camp on the western Burmese border. Our party decided to increase war during this period,” said Khaing Thu Kha.

A column from the ALA took part in the battle that was led by Lieutenant Bo Khing Thein Zaw. On the Burmese side, Light Battalion 55 is stationed at Lat Ban Wa Camp, where Captain Myo Min Tun is in charge.

After the attack, the Burmese army gathered reinforcement troops on the border to carry out an operation against ALA soldiers on the border. Many villagers in the area fled their homes as the Burmese army often forces villagers to work as porters when conducting operations.

The Arakan Liberation Army is the biggest revolutionary army on the western Burmese border that is fighting for Arakanese independence. The army was established by Arakanese patriots in the area controlled by the Karen National Union on the Thai border in 1973.

narinjara news


Arakanese rebels attack Burma army

Published: 5 January 2011

Four Burmese soldiers have been killed after their column came under attack during a patrol in the country’s western Arakan state.

Fighting between the army’s Light Infantry Battalion 55 and the Arakan Liberation Army (ALA), which operates in the region, lasted around one hour, according to Khine Thukha, joint secretary of the group’s political wing, the Arakan Liberation Party.

The column had been patrolling in Latpanwa, an area close to Paletwa on the Bangladeshi-Burma border, on 3 January when fighting broke out.

“It was an intense fight that lasted for about one hour,” Khine Thukha said. “Four enemy soldiers were killed and two were injured, while their outpost also took heavy damage.” He added that one ALA solider was killed.

The attack was launched “to signal that we have to continue our fight for independence and to stress that the ALA will be stepping up its military action in 2011,” he continued.

The ALA was formed in the late 1960s with the assistance of the Karen National Union to push for autonomy from the central government. Eruptions of fighting such as this in Arakan state are, however, rare.

Arakanese rebels attack Burma army thumbnail

Location of Paletwa, near to where the attack happened
Published: 5 January 2011

dvb news