THAILAND: New drug crackdown raises concerns

Thai officers examine seized yaba pills

CHIANG MAI, 18 October 2011 (IRIN) – Thailand’s new government has unveiled plans for an ambitious crackdown on drugs, with an emphasis on rehabilitation and compassion.

Officially announced on 3 October, the policy includes placing some 400,000 drug addicts in rehabilitation programmes within the year, as well as arresting some 10,000 known dealers.

But while the planned focus on rehabilitation is seen as a step forward in a country where nearly 3,000 people were killed during the 2003 controversial war on drugs, human rights groups and activists remain sceptical.

“An ambitious and worrying target has been set to ‘rehabilitate’ 400,000 drug users within one year,” says Human Rights Watch (HRW) spokesman Sunnai Pasuk.

“Concerns remain about the potential arbitrary arrests and detention of drug users in compulsory drug ‘rehabilitation’ centres, mostly run by the military and Interior Ministry, where ‘treatment’ is based on military-style physical exercise, with little medical assistance for drug withdrawal symptoms,” he added.

HRW is not alone in its concern.

“We need to ensure that in working with the government that full respect for human rights is maintained and that the treatment provided to drug users is voluntary, evidence-based and rights-based,” Gary Lewis, regional representative for East Asia and the Pacific in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said.

In 2010, more than 80 percent of all persons who received drug treatment in specialized treatment facilities and correctional institutions reported methamphetamine pills as the primary drug of use.

Thailand is one of the few countries in the region that provides specialized treatment for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) usage, according to the UNODC’s 2011 Global ATS Assessment.

That is due, in large part, to the alarming increase in drug seizures in the region in recent years. UNODC reports that the number of methamphetamine pills seized in South-East Asia leaped from 32 million in 2008 to 133 million in 2010, with Thailand remaining one of the largest markets.
Continue reading “THAILAND: New drug crackdown raises concerns”

Myanmar’s new Government must tackle continuing rights abuses – UN expert

19 October 2011 –

Despite positive actions by Myanmar’s new Government, such as easing media restrictions and proposed bills on political parties and demonstrations, many serious human rights issues remain, a United Nations expert said today, calling for the speedy release of all political prisoners.“A pattern of gross and systematic violations of human rights has existed in Myanmar for many years,” UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, told the General Assembly’s third committee in presenting his latest report on the South-East Asian country, where a newly-convened Parliament elected a new President earlier this year.“I continue to receive allegations of such violations to date. Measures to ensure justice and accountability, including access to the truth, are essential for Myanmar to face its past and current human rights challenges and to move forward towards national reconciliation.”

It is imperative that the Government completes the liberation of all such prisoners without delay. Continue reading “Myanmar’s new Government must tackle continuing rights abuses – UN expert”

Freed prisoner Myint Naing to file risky lawsuit

A human rights activist jailed in 2007 after he was assaulted by a mob alleged to belong to the former junta’s so-called “civic” organisation, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), says he will file a lawsuit against the perpetrators.

Myint Naing was released from prison last week as part of a controversial amnesty that included some 220 political prisoners. The activist, who worked with the Human Rights Promoters and Defenders (HRDP) network, said that police were also complicit in the attack four years ago in Irrawaddy division, which resulted in he and a colleague being hospitalised.

Following the incident, he was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of inciting unrest. Now, he says, justice must play its part.

“I was beaten up and also imprisoned – I take this as a violation of my human rights and … I will sue my assailants to bring justice,” said Myint Naing. “I once raised this with the home affairs ministry while I was in prison but they said I could only follow up on this when I’m released.

“Since it is said that there is no one above the law, the first thing I’ll do is to sue them under the constitution.”

Critics of the Burmese regime, including foreign governments and rights groups, say that hundreds of prisoners are locked up on arbitrary, politically-motivated charges. Myint Naing and his colleague had attempted to sue the USDA following the incident, but had been hit by a counter lawsuit.

The independence of the country’s legal system is highly questionable, with few verdicts going in favour of the opposition. While a degree of openness has emerged with the new government, up to 1,700 political prisoners remain behind bars, and critics that that pressure on the government should not ease until they have been released.

Myint Naing says he chose to publicise the lawsuit through media because the newly-formed National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which includes former government ministers, only has a mandate to deal with new cases, and not existing complaints.

He claims that around 100 people were involved in the attack, which happened on 18 April 2007  in Irrawaddy division’s Henzada township. Police at the scene allegedly used slingshots to provide cover fire for the assailants.

Burma’s Junta: Can a Tiger Change Its Stripes?-foreign policy

By Kyi May Kaung, October 18, 2011


Than Shwe
Than Shwe

Since at least the fake elections of November 2010, the Burmese junta has floated the fiction that it is now a “civilian government” with a real parliamentary process in place at the Potemkin capital of Naypyidaw, or “The Seat of the King.” Senior General Than Shwe, who “retired” in 2010, and his wife are said to have a Burmese royalty fetish, with only two chairs in their reception room. Visitors, it is said, must sit or grovel on the floor and use the “royal language” of the old pre-1886 Burmese court when addressing them. This may be apocryphal, but “Naypyidaw” does mean what it means, and the parade ground there features the three great conqueror kings of Burmese history. 

General Thein Sein, now changed into civilian clothes, is Burma’s nominal “Prime Minister.” He is supposed to be the “reformer” behind the so-called moderate group now said to be on the ascendant. Since anti-sanctions, pro-junta apologists have always been seeing “young Turks” in the Burmese army, I think it is little more than a good cop, bad cop routine. But two weeks ago the controversial Myitsone Dam in North Burma was halted in response to “the people’s wishes.” Continue reading “Burma’s Junta: Can a Tiger Change Its Stripes?-foreign policy”

Mongloi news:သျှမ်းပြည်မြောက်ပိုင်းနမ္မတူမြို့နယ်အတွင်း လှုပ်ရှား

WEDNESDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2011 18:11 သျှမ်းသံတော်ဆင့်
သျှမ်းပြည်မြောက်ပိုင်းနမ္မတူမြို့နယ်အတွင်း လှုပ်ရှား နေသည့် မြန်မာစစ်တပ် စစ်ကြောင်းတကြောင်းလူစု ခွဲပြီး ကျေးရွာ အတွင်းဝင်ရာ အချင်းချင်းပြန်လည် တိုက်ခိုက်မှုဖြစ်ပွားခဲ့ကြောင်းဒေသခံသတင်းရပ်ကွက် မှ သိရပါသည်။
“ သူတို့တွေ နှစ်ဖွဲခွဲပြီး ရွာထဲဝင်တယ်။ တဖွဲ့ကမြောက်ဘက်က  တဖွဲ့ကတောင်ဘက်က ဝင်ကြတယ်။မြောက်ဖက် က ဝင်လာတဲ့ တဖွဲ့က ရွာထဲအရင်ရောက်တယ်၊ ရွာက ဘုန်းကြီးကျောင်းမှာလဲ သီတင်းကျွတ်ပွဲ လုပ်နေတာလေ။ တောင် ဖက်ကဝင်လာတဲ့အဖွဲ့  မိုင်းဆိန်ချောင်းကူးတံတား နားရောက်တော့ ကေအိုင်အေ ထောင်ထားတဲ့ မိုင်း နင်းမိတာ။ နှစ်ဖွဲ့လုံးလှန့်ပြီး အချင်းချင်းပြန်တိုက်တာ။ ကချင်တပ် တော့ ရွာထဲမှာ မရှိပါဘူး” – ဟု ဒေသခံစိုင်းခွန် ကပြောပါသည်။




အောက်တိုဘာ ၁၂ ရက် သျှမ်းပြည်မြောက်ပိုင်း နမ္မတူ မြို့နယ် မိုင်းတတ်ကျေးရွာအုပ်စုဝင် မိုင်းဆိန်ရွာဘက် (နမ္မတူမြို့ နှင့် ၄ မိုင်အကွာ) နယ်လှည့်သည့် ခလရ ၁၄၇ လက်အောက်ခံ စစ်ကြောင်းမြန်မာ့စစ် ကြောင်း တကြောင်း က နှစ်ဖွဲ့ခွဲပြီးရွာ အတွင်း ဝင်ကြောင်း၊ တဖွဲ့က မိုင်းဆိန်ချောင်းကူး တံတားအနီး KIA တပ်ဖွဲ့ ထောင်ထားသော မှိုင်း ၂  လုံးကို နင်းမိ ရာမှရွာအတွင်း အရင်ရောက်သည့်အဖွဲ့နှင့်အပြန်အလှန်မှား ပစ်ခတ် တိုက်ခိုက် ခဲ့ကြောင်း၊ ထိုတိုက်ပွဲကြောင့် ၆ ယောက် ပွဲချင်းပြီးသေဆုံးပြီး အရာရှိနှစ်ဦးအပါဝင် ၇ ဦး ဒဏ်ရာ ရှိကြောင်း – အမည် မဖေါ် လိုသူ ရပ်မိရပ်ဖတဦးကပြော ပါ သည်။ Continue reading “Mongloi news:သျှမ်းပြည်မြောက်ပိုင်းနမ္မတူမြို့နယ်အတွင်း လှုပ်ရှား”