THAILAND: AHRC to attend court reading of appeal verdict in disappeared lawyer’s case_Somchai Neelaphaijit

(Hong Kong, January 18, 2011) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will send international and domestic observers to attend the reading of the verdict on January 21 in the appeal case concerning the disappearance and presumed killing of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, its executive director announced today.

“This is an historic case of tremendous importance not only for Thailand but also for the regional human rights movement,” Wong Kai Shing said.

“The AHRC has followed and worked on the case of Somchai since within days that police abducted him from a street in Bangkok in March 2004, and on Friday we will have people in the courtroom from Thailand and abroad to hear the reading of the appeal verdict, as we did throughout the trial of the five accused in the court of first instance,” Wong said.

The Appeal Court verdict will be read at the Criminal Court, Bangkok on Friday, January 21, at 9:30am.

In 2005 and 2006 the Hong Kong-based regional rights group sent observers to the criminal trial of five police charged with offences connected to the lawyer’s forced disappearance. It compiled the trial observation notes into a 144-page dossier, “The disappearance of a person and the defects of a system”. The dossier is available on the Somchai campaign webpage:

Heavy snowfall in northern Kachin State on Sunday

Heavy snowfall in northern Kachin State on Sunday caused the collapse of several buildings belonging to a customs office in the Panwa Valley, near the border with China, according to local residents.

“I’ve never experienced anything like it,” said one resident of the area. “The snow came down like heavy rain, causing a number of buildings to collapse. No one was injured, but travel in and out of the area has been blocked for days.”

Meanwhile, in nearby Chipwe Township, local residents said that transportation was slowed by snow and hail.

A customs building that has collapsed under the weight of heavy snow in the Panwa Valley of Kachin State, near the border with China. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

“People are having trouble getting around because of all the snow and hail on the road,” said an employee of Asia Wall, a local company, adding that poor travel conditions have prevented outside aid groups from reaching the remote area.

According to a resident of Bamaw Township, several older people in the area have reportedly gone into shock due to the extremely cold weather.
Earlier this month, Tun Lwin, a retired director-general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology in Rangoon, predicted that a cold wave would hit the region four times between January and March.

Temperatures in the region would rise and fall depending on the speed and direction of winds from high-altitude areas of China, he added on his website.

Freezing conditions in high-altitude areas of western, eastern and northern Burma at the end of December have continued into the new year, with Hakha and Mindat townships in Chin State and Loilem and Pinlaung townships in southern Shan State experiencing below-zero temperatures at night.

According to the state-run New Light of Myanmar, recent nighttime temperatures in Kachin and Chin states have been 3-4°C below January averages.  Continue reading “Heavy snowfall in northern Kachin State on Sunday”

ASEAN’s political correct by khaleejtimes

18 January 2011
The Southeast Asian organisation has finally found the will to reflect on Myanmar. The call on the part of ASEAN foreign ministers to lift sanctions against Yangon must have come after serious deliberations. 

Irrespective of the fact that the military regime reigns supreme to this day, Myanmar has walked an extra mile in realising the goals that the civil society and pro-democracy parties had set for itself. The November elections, though sham in character, have at least forwarded the process of transition to democracy with the release of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. It goes without saying that the ultimate victims of socio-economic sanctions were the people and it had hardly mattered for the generals in power. This whiff of fresh air that has come with the freedom wave is in need of being bolstered, and the best way to do that is to empower the people by disseminating opportunities for growth and social mobility. The ASEAN should not merely stop at voicing for the sanctions to be lifted but also deliberate how could a nation reeling under abject poverty and political curbs be rehabilitated.

It’s high time the tedious process of nation building begins in Myanmar. The world community’s focus on its political parameters and the desire to dislodge the generals is now overstretched. Myanmar under Suu Kyi has exhibited a unique tolerance module and that needs to appreciated and reenacted in other flashpoints of the world. By deciding to peacefully work with the generals for a complete transition to civilian supremacy, Suu Kyi has put the junta on the mat. As rightly stated by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa the elections should be seen as ‘conducive’, and efforts should be made to get the country back on the map of world recognition.

As the ASEAN believes lifting of sanctions can buoy the ongoing dialogue between pro-democracy groups and the junta, and provide a solution to the pestering conflict. Yangon’s problem, like Pyongyang, is one of recognition and provision of opportunities for its socio-economic progress. This is why development must not be allowed to dissipate for reasons of expediency. While Myanmar is another hotbed of heterogeneous communities, the desire on the part of its ethnic groups to lift sanctions should not be ignored. An exploding Myanmar is much dangerous than a contained nation under the tin-pot governance of military generals. ASEAN’s courage to speak out in adversity is genuine leadership, and should be measured beyond the prisms of real-politick. The decision is politically correct.


8 Thais arrested by Myanmar troops

Eight Thais from western Tak province’s Pob Pra district were captured by Myanmar soldiers after they crossed the border on Wednesday.

Myanmese authority said five of them were arrested in Huay Pomubo while harvesting corns they planted there and other three while fishing.

All of them are now being detained at Third Strategy-Implementation Division.

Thai local officials and group of villagers were seeking their release by negotiating with the Burmese soldiers, but it was difficult as the soldiers were from other areas and were assigned to deal with the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) troops in the area.



After negotiation with Thai authorities, Myanmar military release eight Thai villagers from Phob Phra

For Your Information:Network Functioning Team National Youth Network

Dear Friends,
For your information.
Best regards,
Myo Thein 


National Youth Network
(Statement 3/2011)

There are altogether 53 groups, organizations and networks which are linked with National Youth Network.

36 Parties take part in National Youth Network in person whereas the rest links to the network through telephone face book and email.

These 36 parties out of 53 held the meeting from 9:30 to 2:30 pm on the 16th of January 2011 and decided to reform the network and to set clear and definite principles, structure and objectives of the network.

Any group, organizations and network are considered to be network to National Youth Network provided that, that group, organization or network accepts the principles, structure and objectives set with the consensus of 36 parties participated in the meeting held on the 16th of January 2011.

The principles, structure and objectives are as mentioned in the separate document attached to this statement. Continue reading “For Your Information:Network Functioning Team National Youth Network”