Burmese government’s Supreme Court delays hearing for three Kachin villagers

Supreme Court Building in Nay Pyi Daw (Photo: mmtimes)

Burmese government’s  Supreme Court postponed a public hearing  against Burmese Army holding three Kachin civilians as hostages in Army’s posts and monastery.  In a rare response, Supreme Court initially agreed to hear cases involving Sumlut Roi Ja, Mr. Brang Seng and Mr. Zau Seng in Nay Pyi Daw on Feb 9, 2012. The hearing has been postponed to Feb 23, 2012.

Sumlut Roi Ja (age 28, a mother) was abducted by Burmese Army soldiers stationed at Mu hill  on Oct 28, 2011. Local sources say she was often spotted standing in front of army camp for long hours and last seen on Oct 31, 2011 being dragged down by four soldiers into a bunker.  Mr. Brang Seng (age 30) of Tarlawgyi village an official of Kachin Su quarter in Myitkyina, was taken by Burmese soldiers led by Major Aung Zaw Oo from Hkalaya (37) on Jan 5, 2012. The same unit held Mr. Zau Seng of Tarlawgyi village as a hostage. Family members of hostages said their loved ones were still being held by Burma army and haven’t heard about them. Sumlut Roi Ja’s family members say they still hope she is alive though she hasn’t been seen for long time.

Mr. Ma Hka, an attorney for the victims said, “when we arrive Supreme Court on Feb 9, government’s lawyer says the case hasn’t been studied well as he has only received it on Feb 8” and requested to postpone the hearing. All plaintiffs, lawyers, one army major and captain were presence in initial hearing on Feb 9.”

Mr. Thein Oo, a member of Burma’s lawyer council said “Though government lawyer said he hasn’t studied the case, it is up to Supreme Court to make a decision. The lawyer can take one or two days to study the case and it is not fair to delay this case for a long time”. Due to high costs of expenses in Nay Pyi Daw, the members of victim families return to their homes and wait for postponed date.

Plaintiff Lawyers from National Democratic Front (NDF) submitted the case to Burmese’s government’s Supreme Court in Nay Pyi Daw on Jan 26, 2012.

WAR: Burmese narco-battalion fights KIA in Shan State


ka soldier shan stateKIA soldiers who are resisting against Burma government troops in Northern Shan State.

MONGKOE, Burma — Kutkai Township in Northern Shan state saw heavy fighting Tuesday between the Kachin Independence Army and troops from a Burmese army battalion know for its involvement in the narcotics trade.

Villagers from Pang Huk told the Kachin News Group that throughout the day Tuesday a group of about 60 soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 239 fought with troops from the KIA’s Battalion 38 based in Munggu (or Mongkoe).

The fighting began at about 5 AM when a column of Burmese troops accompanied by members of the pro-government Mong Hawm and Kutkai militia groups was attacked near Pang Huk. According to a local opium farmer the Burmese convoy was carrying 160 Kg of opium which had just been collected as a tax from farmers in the Pang Huk area.

Soldiers from the Infantry Battalion No. 239 responded to the attack by killings a number of pigs owned by Pang Huk villagers, according eye witnesses.  Most of the residents of the predominately ethnic Chinese village fled during the fighting leaving their livestock open for the taking. Continue reading “WAR: Burmese narco-battalion fights KIA in Shan State”

PRESS RELEASE Doctors without borders: Myanmar: Urgent Action Needed Against HIV and TB

Myanmar 2012 © Greg Constantine

A young man co-infected with HIV and TB at MSF’s clinic in Yangon.

BANGKOK/NEW YORK, February 22, 2012—Tens of thousands of people living with HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in Myanmar are unable to access lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART), a dire situation exacerbated by the recent cancellation of a new round of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in a report released Wednesday.

In its report, “Lives in the Balance,” MSF, the largest provider of HIV treatment in Myanmar, said that there are now 85,000 people in need of ART. In 2010, fewer than 30,000 people received treatment. MSF is currently treating more than 23,000 people living with HIV in Myanmar.

Of an estimated 9,300 people newly infected with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), only about 300 are receiving treatment. The MSF report details the devastating effect the cancellation of an entire round of funding from the Global Fund will have on the struggle to provide HIV and TB treatment in Myanmar. There will be no new funding to expand treatment for HIV or TB and its drug-resistant forms in Myanmar until 2014.

“Yet again, donors have turned their backs on people living with HIV and TB in Myanmar,” said Peter Paul de Groote, MSF head of mission in Myanmar. “Every day we are confronted with the tragic consequences of these decisions: desperately sick people and unnecessary deaths.”

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people living with HIV die every year in Myanmar because of lack of access to lifesaving ART. TB prevalence in Myanmar is more than three times the global average and Myanmar is among the 27 countries with the highest MDR-TB rates in the world. Like non-resistant TB, MDR-TB is easily transmitted through the air and can infect perfectly healthy people, but requires far more complex and lengthy treatment.

“Without increased availability of treatment, HIV and TB will continue to spread unchecked in many areas,” said MSF’s Dr. Khin Nyein Chan. “The time to treat is now. There is a real opportunity here; HIV prevalence rates in Myanmar are relatively low. It is lack of access to treatment that makes it one of the most serious epidemics in Asia.”

Myanmar, the least developed country in Southeast Asia, receives some of the least official development assistance in the world. With political reform in Myanmar resulting in greater international engagement with the country, an opportunity now exists to put access to treatment for people living with HIV and TB at the top of donor priorities, said MSF.

“I want to see treatment be accessible for every patient in Myanmar,” said Zaw Zaw a female 30-year-old MSF patient, whose husband and youngest child are also HIV positive and receive ART from MSF. “I want people to stay alive by taking treatment, like us.”

Myanmar suffers from an underfunded state healthcare system. While there are promising efforts to increase the health budget, it will be years before the country has a fully comprehensive healthcare system.

“The math is simple,” said de Groote. “Rapidly scaling up HIV and TB treatment now will prevent further transmission and save both lives and money. Fewer people infected means fewer lives lost, and fewer people in need of treatment. It is critical that donors help Myanmar ensure that more patients across the country receive treatment for HIV and MDR-TB.”

MSF currently treats more than 23,000 HIV patients in Myanmar. An additional 6,000 people will be enrolled in MSF clinics in 2012. Worlwide, MSF treats more than 170,000 people living with HIV. 


Fire in Umpiem Mai refugee camp-mp4

After Fire

A huge fire has destroyed as many as 1,000 houses at Umpiem Refugee Camp, 87km south of the Tak town of Mae Sot. A teacher at the camp explained to Karen News that the fire has destroyed large sections of the camp.
“Section 9,8,7 and 6 are all gone, completely burnt. It’s dry and windy and the wind has turned it down the hill towards the camp’s main market area.”

A camp resident who lives in Section 1 told Karen News.
“The fire was started 10 minute ago around 11.30am. There’s a lot of smoke here, making it hard to breathe. The houses are still burning. I am worried as the wind is blowing the fire towards our section.”

Thai officials told Karen News that the fire started at around 11.30am and fire trucks from the Phro Phra district were dispatched to the refugee camp. Local hospitals at Phop Phra, Mae Sot and Umphang are on emergency standby. The isolated and hilly terrain the camp is located in makes the road trip from Mae Sot an estimated one and half hours.

The Thai Burma Border Consortium estimate Umpiem Mai Refugee Camp is home to 15,207 refugees.

The teacher said he has taken refuge on top of a nearby hill and can see the wind driven fire roaring through the camp.
“It started near the school. People need drinking water and shelter. Thick smoke is obscuring everything.”

The camp consists of 493 rai and is built on a 1100 metre high hill. At the time of writing there are unconfirmed reports of two children injured in the fire.

WAR: Shan State Army’s Battalion 34 and BA another clash Monghai, 25 km northwest of Tachilek

22.february 2012    Since mid-February, the Burma Army has been renovating the road that goes up to its border bases, according to monks at the Fa Wiang Inn monastery that straddles the boundary between Burma’s Mong Hta sub-township and Thailand’s Wiang Haeng district. The fresh move by the Burma Army, following the recent signing of a ceasefire agreement with the Shan State Army (SSA) has alarmed both the Thai military and the local populace, they say. One result was the drilling of monks and novices in personal safety measures in case the monastery is caught in the crossfire.

23.february 2012

Another clash took place at Monghai, 25 km northwest of Tachilek, between the Shan State Army’s Battalion 34 and the pursuing Burma Army’s joint column this morning. Casualties are not known. Since the ceasefire was signed, at least 11 clashes have taken place between the sides. (SHAN)

15 January 2012 in Hpruso Township, after a battle between the Burma Army and the Karenni Army, BA IB 54 killed a 35-year-old villager

In This Report
The following information was collected from the five FBR teams in eight townships of Karenni State.

Map showing area of report


On 15 January 2012 in Hpruso Township, after a battle between the Burma Army and the Karenni Army, Burma Army IB 54 killed a 35-year-old villager named Lu Reh in Htay Byar Nyae. In December 2011, a Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 57 soldier raped Buu Leh (name changed to protect victim), a villager from Dah Weh Village in Sha Daw Township. On 25 November 2011, six soldiers from IB 428 and IB 531 who were stationed at a training base in Hpruso Township raped three women from Law Jar Village. On 14 January 2012, Infantry Battalion (IB) 295, commanded by Aung Zey Ya, killed a village man in Karenni State.

There are currently 23 Burma Army battalions operating in Karenni State with two to three battalions located within each township. Last month, seven battalions rotated in and out of the area. From 1 January 2012 to 28 January 2012, nine battles took place between the Burma Army and the Karenni Army (KA). Three of the battles took place in Sha Daw Township, two in Maw Chi Township with one battle each occurring in Loi Kaw Township, Baw La Ke Township, Hpruso Township and Demawso Township. The KA did not suffer any casualties in these battles, but the BA suffered a total of ten casualties and ten wounded. The Burma Army units involved were IB 250, IB 135, IB 248, IB 54, LIB 72 and Military Operations Command (MOC) 55. Burma Army soldiers are also stopping civilian vehicles on Shadaw Road, Bawlake Road, and a main hwy running into Thailand and forcing them to transport food, weapons and supplies. Continue reading “15 January 2012 in Hpruso Township, after a battle between the Burma Army and the Karenni Army, BA IB 54 killed a 35-year-old villager”