Dissident Monk Ashin Gambira Disrobes



Prominent Buddhist monk Ashin Gambira, one of the main leaders of the crushed Saffron Revolution anti-government demonstrations, has disrobed and returns to layman status after he was refused sanctuary by several monasteries.

“He has to live back at home as no other monasteries will allow him to stay there,” his mother, Daw Yay, told The Irrawaddy. “As the Buddhist lent of Waso is drawing near, it is impossible for him to spend this time at home. So, he decided to renounce the monkhood and disrobed on April 17.”

Gambira was sentenced to 63 years imprisonment after the brutal junta crackdown against the monk-led popular uprising of September 2007. He was released during the presidential amnesty in January but has continued to be a thorn in the side of the Burmese authorities.

In February, Gambira was briefly detained once again on allegations that he broke into three Rangoon monasteries which were sealed by the government for being hotbeds of the dissident movement within the Buddhist clergy.

He was also apprehended and interrogated by police in March after returning from a visit to refugees in Kachin State. Gambira has also clashed with the Buddhist hierarchy in Burma for refusing to toe the line and dampen his fierce anti-government rhetoric.

Shortly after his release from a 24-hour detention, state-run newspapers described him as being “under a complete political spell” and the authorities announced fresh legal charges against him were under way.

Since then, as monasteries no longer welcomed him because of his outspoken views, he has had to stay at the homes of relatives and later moved back to live with his parents in Meikhtila, Mandalay Division.

“Although the new government says that the country is now a democracy, the way they treat monks who have been released from prison is unreasonable,” said his mother. “So we would like to request that monasteries, the senior abbots of country and the authorities accept those monks who have been released from jail.”

There are widespread reports of Buddhist monks and nuns who were released from prison during the recent amnesty and have disrobed, while others stay with relatives due to the unwelcoming nature of monasteries.


Political Prisoner Protest Insein Prison,by Burma Vj Media Audio


အင္းစိန္ဗဟိုအက်ဥ္းေထာင္အတြင္းရွိ သီးသန္႔ ၊ သာမန္သီးသန္႔ အက်ဥ္းသားမ်ား၏ တင္ျပေတာင္းဆိုခ်က္ကုိ ၂၀၁၂ ခုႏွစ္ ဧၿပီလ ၉ ရက္ေန႔က အင္းစိန္အက်ဥ္းေထာင္မွာ အက်ဥ္းက်ခံေနရသည့္ အက်ဥ္းသား ၁၂ ဦးမွ ဆႏၵထုတ္ေဖာ္ ေတာင္းဆုိခဲ့သည့္အေပၚ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ ႏုိင္ငံေရးအက်ဥ္းသား မိသားစုမ်ား အက်ိဳးေဆာင္ကြန္ယက္မွ အဖြဲ႔ဝင္တဦးျဖစ္သည့္ ကုိသူႀကီးကုိ ဘားမားဗီေဂ် မီဒီယာမွ ဆက္သြယ္ေမးျမန္းခဲ့ပါသည္။

European Union governments will suspend sanctions against Myanmar next week, French foreign minister Alain Juppe said on Friday,

Paris: European Union governments will suspend sanctions against Myanmar next week, French foreign minister Alain Juppe said on Friday, in recognition of rapid political and economic reforms after decades of military dictatorship.


A file photo of French foreign minister Alain Juppe

A file photo of French foreign minister Alain Juppe


“Next Monday we will not lift sanctions but suspend them because we want to check that the regime is progressing on the path of democracy,” Juppe told BFM television. “There is progress but we haven’t reached the final objective yet.”


EU diplomats say sanctions are being suspended – not lifted altogether – to maintain pressure on Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government to keep up its democratic transition.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, long an advocate of sanctions imposed for human rights abuses by Myanmar’s military rules, has spoken out in support of such an approach.


NLD Party Secretary Nyan Win press conference 20.April.2012 to Boycott Parliament ?video

NLD to Boycott Parliament

Burmese authorities refuse a request by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party to amend an oath for MPs.

Elected representatives of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy are to boycott parliament following a rejection by authorities of a proposed change in the wording of the oath that lawmakers must take.

NLD Party Secretary Nyan Win traveled to the capital Naypyidaw on Thursday to convince election officials and legislators to change the oath from a vow to “safeguard” the constitution to one that pledges to “respect” the set of laws. Continue reading “NLD Party Secretary Nyan Win press conference 20.April.2012 to Boycott Parliament ?video”

Myanmar-Burma Labour Minister Myint Thein “Migrant labour conditions slowly improving”

With industrial development still some years off in Myanmar, Nyapyidaw’s concern at present is to ensure that migrant workers receive standard rights protection, because their remittances have helped shape the growing economy, Myanmar Deputy Labour Minister Myint Thein said in Bangkok on Friday.

Migrant workers from neighboring countries use sewing machines on a production line at a clothing company in Bangkok. (Photo EPA)

At his first press conference with Bangkok-based media, Myint Thein took a taken positive but realistic view of the situation of Myanmar workers in Thailand.

“Certainly there are lots of problems. There are about two million of our people working here. For the documented workers, it’s easier for us to raise their problems with the Thai authorities, but for the undocumented workers it’s still difficult,” he said.

Myint Thein said that access to information about the migrant workers’ situation has been much better in recent  years. Not only have Thai officials been more cooperative, but information from multilateral organisations and non-government organisations has helped highlight their circumstances.

“There has been some improvement. Before I could talk only with people in the Mahachai [Samut Sakhon]  cases, but now we get more information on problems elsewhere such as in Songkhla and Kanchanaburi,” Myanmar’s deputy labour minister said.

He was speaking after a meeting with the Thai deputy labour minister, vice minister for foreign affairs and head of the immigration bureau to clear the last hurdle for a nationality verification and passport-visa issuing office to finally begin working.

The first Thaksin administration initiated the nationality verification process with Myanmar in 2004 and a year later Myanmar gradually sent officials to work with Thai officials at Kawthaung (opposite Ranong), Tachilek (bordering Chiang Rai) and Myawaddy (bordering Tak).
From 2005 to 2009, about 750,000 passports were issued to workers from Myanmar, Myint Thein said.
Myanmar’s Deputy Labour Minister Myint Thein (Photos by Patipat Janthong)

Another 750,000 migrant workers were waiting to complete the nationality verification process. However, there remained another 500,000 undocumented workers who have yet to be included in the  process, he said.

Resolving the migrant problems was a cumbersome and difficult process, he conceded. His government on March 30 last year set up a special committee co-chaired by labour and border affairs ministers to tackle internal and overseas migration issues.

After Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to Myanmar in October last year, President Thein Sein agreed to send another five teams to work inside Thailand to facilitate this migrant management  process. Continue reading “Myanmar-Burma Labour Minister Myint Thein “Migrant labour conditions slowly improving””

United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) is now ready to parley with Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator U Aung Min

The 11-member United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) is now ready to parley with Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator U Aung Min, according to the statement issued by the grouping yesterday at a press conference held on the Chiangmai-Shan State East border.


This is the official response to U Aung Min’s offer made through him on 23 December 2011 in Bangkok, said Hkun Okker, the UNFC’s Joint Secretary #2 and President of the PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO).

The alliance is expected to present U Aung Min with a new peace roadmap. “The fact that some of our members have signed ceasefire agreements with the regime doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with its proposed peace process.”

Five of the member organizations that have signed ceasefire agreements are Chin National Front (CNF), Karen National Union (KNU), Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP).

UNFC Press Conference on 19 April 2012 (Photo: SHAN)

Other members are Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Arakan National Council (ANC), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) and Wa National Organization (WNO).

The said 3 stage process as announced by U Aung Min during his meeting with representatives from 5 armed movements in Chiangrai on 19 November includes Ceasefire, Development and Political Dialogue leading to a (1947) Panglong-like conference.

President Thein Sein, during his speech to the Union Assembly on 1 March elaborated further: Continue reading “United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) is now ready to parley with Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator U Aung Min”