Germany’s Merkel concerns ASEAN’s chair to Burma-U Zin Linn

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to openly discuss Burma’s political and human rights problems before the country takes its turn as chair of the regional bloc, according to AFP news.

“Looking at the discussion about Myanmar (Burma) and its interest in taking over the presidency of ASEAN, I am a little bit concerned,” she told a forum in Singapore, a founding member of ASEAN.

Merkel told an audience of government officials, foreign diplomats and academics that “the present leadership of Myanmar has not really proved that they are serious about embarking on the road of democracy.”

The 10-member ASEAN rotates its chairmanship annually, with Indonesia currently presiding.

Following ‘the 7 November 2010 election’, the junta released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest on 13 November. Then President Thein Sein’s so-called civilian government took the office in March. Built upon the SPDC’s unilaterally drafted 2008 Constitution and the undemocratic elections in 2010, Thein Sein’s new government will be continually plagued by promises of state impunity and military supremacy.

Although the new government did not stop systematic human rights violations, its authorities said that they were ready to host the ASEAN summit in 2014. However, Last month, other ASEAN leaders said they had no objections in principle to the request but urged Myanmar (Burma) to improve its human rights record leading up to 2014.

Myanmar was originally scheduled to chair an ASEAN summit in 2006, but it skipped its turn to chair because of widespread criticism of its human rights record and negative response to implement political reforms. The United States and European nations have repeatedly called for Rangoon’s government to release 2,000 political prisoners, including opposition ethnic leaders, as well as to carry out democratic transformation.

Human Rights Watch pointed out in its 6th May statement that Burma has failed to address concerns repeatedly raised by ASEAN leaders in past summits.

“Rewarding Burma with ASEAN’s chairmanship after it staged sham elections and still holds 2,000 political prisoners would be an embarrassment for the region,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“ASEAN leaders need to decide if they will let Burma demote ASEAN to the laughingstock of intergovernmental forums.”

However, the Thein Sein government has been reinforcing its troops in several areas where ethnic armed groups that did not follow the border guard force (BGF) plan are based. Armed reinforcements have been reported in Karen State and Shan State in eastern Burma since early this year.

Sporadic armed clashes has been going on recently between the junta’s troops and armed ethnic groups such as the Karen National Union (KNU), the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) Brigade 5, the Shan State Army–North (SSA-North) and Shan State Army-South (SSA-South).

Hence, Burma has been going on with war against the ethnic minorities who are defending their basic civil rights including self-determination. If ASEAN leaders consider offering the chair to Burma in 2014, they should pressure Thein Sein government to stop the unjust war on the ethnic people. They ought to push Burma to end the civil war.

In this ongoing civil war, Burmese soldiers have been committing lots of crimes – lootings, rapes, burnt down villages, destroying the crops, killing innocent ethnic villagers, forced-labor and forced conscription. Continue reading “Germany’s Merkel concerns ASEAN’s chair to Burma-U Zin Linn”

Burmese treated harshly by China after President Thein Sein’s visit

Thursday, 02 June 2011 20:17 KNG
Arrests and beatings of Burmese by Chinese police, in Ruili, China’s main trade centre on the Burma border, have increased right after Burma’s President U Thein Sein returned from his three-day visit to China on May 29, according to Burmese in Ruili.

Both legal and illegal Burmese workers and traders in Ruili (or Shweli) have been treated harshly by Chinese police and the Border Guard Force for  nearly a week, since U Thein Sein’s departure from China, said Burmese workers in Ruili.
Sources said many Burmese have been hospitalized at Ruili after being beaten by Chinese authorities, while over a hundred legal and illegal Burmese have been jailed in the police prison in Ruili.

Some were arrested for using drugs after urine tests. However, some innocent people were beaten and put in jail without being given a reason, the sources added.

A Kachin politician in Ruili told the Thailand-based Kachin News Group today, “It is significant. Both Burmese citizens who hold Chinese Border Passbooks and non-documented Burmese are suddenly stopped and beaten when they are coming back to the Burmese side, by Chinese police and the Border Guard Force”.  

Moreover, Burmese motorcycle traders (who buy a motorcycle from China and drive it back to Burma to sell) are being stopped on the road by police, beaten and arrested before they cross into Burma. And, their motorcycles are detained, according to eyewitnesses.

Ruili, opposite the main trade town of Muse in Burmese side, is the largest border trade corridor between the two countries and it is also the largest market of famous Hpakant jade, from Burma’s Northern Kachin State.

This harsh treatment by Chinese authorities is very unusual and confusing to Burmese traders and residents in Ruili, Burmese traders added.

Speculation is spreading among Burmese in the border trade town that the harsh treatment is being implemented at the instruction of Burmese President, U Thein Sein.


900,000 methamphetamine pills and 25 kg of Ice seized by the Phamueng Force on Tuesday along the Maesai belong militia groups operating under Burmese Army

2.June 2011
According to a senior member Shan Drug Watch in Shan State East, the 900,000 methamphetamine pills and 25 kg of Ice seized by the Phamueng Force on Tuesday along the Maesai belong to the militia groups operating under the command of the Burma Army. Areas opposite Maesai district, Chiangrai Province, are all under the control of several Burma Army run militias such as Punako, Loi Taw Kham and Nampong, he adds. (SHAN)