(Hong Kong, October 18, 2012) The Asian Human Rights Commission on Wednesday sent a message of support to farmers and their allies gathering for a “people’s conference” to opposed land confiscation and degradation for a copper mining project.

In the message to farmers and others gathering for the inaugural Letpadaung Mountain region people’s conference, the AHRC said that the farmers’ struggle set “an important example and signals the determination of people … to resist dispossession, repression and the use of violence and illegal tactics by powerful interests”.

The farmers around the Letpadaung Mountain, which is in Sagaing Region, have since June conducted an increasingly high profile and determined campaign against attempts by an army-owned company and a Chinese partner firm to push them off their farmland.

They have posted signs warning “no trespassing” onto agricultural lands, and in October conducted a funeral march to a local cemetery where while praying, they insisted that the spirits of deceased ancestors are also rising up against the new copper mining project — one of a string of such projects conducted in the region over decades.

The AHRC in September issued a statement on the protests (AHRC-STM-184-2012), in which it iterated an eight-point list of demands from the farmers, including that the mining project be halted and further consultations conducted, that no further villages be demolished — to date, four have been relocated — and that farmlands not be used for the dumping of pollution from the mining project.

In its message to the people’s conference being convened on Thursday, the Hong Kong-based regional human rights group again voiced concerns about the dangers of a “land-grabbing epidemic” in Burma, and said that it would be through actions such as those of the farmers in the Letpadaung Mountain region that such an epidemic might be avoided.

The group added that the dimensions of the struggle for land in the region went beyond questions of land tenure and farmers’ rights, writing that it “encompasses all dimensions of the struggle for political, legal and social change in Myanmar today, including fundamental rights to freedom of speech and assembly, to organize and hold opinions, and to participate fully in public life without fear of persecution or violence”.

The full text of the message to the farmers follows.


The Asian Human Rights Commission has for the past two months been following closely the struggle of farmers in Sarlingyi Township of Sagaing Region, Myanmar, against the forcible dispossession of their land for the Letpadaung Mountain copper mining operation of Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd and its Chinese partner.

On the occasion of the first people’s conference of the Letpadaung Mountain region, the AHRC expresses its support and solidarity for the struggle against land grabbing and injustice being waged by villagers and their allies through this movement. The AHRC is aware of, and has documented, many such cases of land expropriation in Myanmar, or Burma, over recent years and is very concerned that the country at present is in danger of a land-grabbing epidemic. As such, the struggle of the farmers and their allies in Sarlingyi sets an important example and signals the determination of people who already occupy and earn their livelihoods from land to resist dispossession, repression and the use of violence and illegal tactics by powerful interests.

But the struggle in the Letpadaung Mountain region is not only about land, and it is for this reason that it is of especial importance. The struggle encompasses all dimensions of the struggle for political, legal and social change in Myanmar today, including fundamental rights to freedom of speech and assembly, to organize and hold opinions, and to participate fully in public life without fear of persecution or violence. These are rights of no small significance, and they are rights that not only are the people of this region clearly not taking for granted, but furthermore they are rights that they are fully prepared to exercise in pursuit of their goals.

The Asian Human Rights Commission applauds the people of Letpadaung Mountain region for their determination and perseverance; for their willingness to fight when a fight must be had for their rights, and for the example that they are setting as citizens of Myanmar. Furthermore,the AHRC can assure the people struggling for their rights of land ownership and usage in the Letpadaung Mountains that they are not alone: others around the world are aware of their struggle and are joining in it through advocacy and public actions. Therefore, the AHRC again endorses and iterates its solidarity for the first people’s conference to be convened in the Letpadaung Mountains region, and wishes the organizers and participants every success.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Burma_Myanmar: Deadline for switching to GSM prepaid set Oct 31

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People waiting in line to pay their phone bills at an MPT billing counter near Sule Pagoda, Yangon 
(Photo – Kay Khaing Wint/EMG)

The Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) authorities have extended the deadline for postpaid GSM mobile phone users to switch to prepaid plans until October 31.

The previous deadline was May 31.

To switch to prepaid plans, the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phone users have to text “Yes” to 18812 before the new deadline ends, said an MPT official who requested anonymity.

The GSM prepaid plan subscribers can pay their bill either through a prepaid system or at designated banks. They enjoy per-second mobile billing.

Meanwhile, the postpaid plan users are charged by the minute. They pay their bill at designated banks and MPT billing counters.

A GSM SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card in Myanmar costs around US$1,500 (1.5 million kyats).

It takes long time to get a GSM SIM as there are always many people on the queue. This drives many people to look for SIM cards in black markets.

The price of a GSM SIM card is almost double, around $3,000 (about 3 million kyats), in the black market. The price varies depending on the credibility of the owner. If the phone number is easy to remember, the price further goes up.


တိုက္ပြဲ အဆက္မျပတ္ ျဖစ္ေနသည့္ ၾကားက KIA ႏွင့္ အစိုးရ ေတြ႔ဆံုပ

Jinghpaw_KasaTAဖားကန္႔ ျမိဳ႔ရွိ အစိုးရ စစ္ဗ်ဴဟာ ကုန္းသည္ ကခ်င္ျပည္ လြတ္လပ္ေရး အဖြဲ႔၏ အေနာက္ပုိင္းတုိင္း တပ္မဟာ (၂) နယ္ေျမ ျဖစ္ေသာ ဖားကန္႔ေဒသ ေမာ္ေမာဘြမ္း ေက်းရြာသုိ႔ လက္နက္ႀကီး မ်ားျဖင့္ ပစ္ခတ္မွဳေၾကာင့္ ရြာသား ႏွစ္ဦး ေသဆံုးျပီး (၆) ဦး ဒါဏ္ရာ ရခဲ့သည္ဟု ေဒသခံ ကခ်င္လူငယ္ ေခါင္းေဆာင္ တဦးက ဆိုပါသည္။

“ ပစ္တာက ည (၉နာရီနဲ႔ ၁၀) နာရီ ၾကားမွာပါ။ ၁၂၀ မမ လို႔ ထင္ရတဲ့ လက္နက္ႀကီး အလံုး (၂၀) ေလာက္ ရွိမယ္ ပစ္တာ။ တပ္ရင္း (၆) က KIA တပ္သားလည္း (၂) ဦး ေသျပီး (၂) ဦး ဒါဏ္ရာ ရတယ္လို႔ တပ္ထဲက သူငယ္ခ်င္းက ေျပာျပ တယ္ေလ။ တိုက္ပြဲ မျဖစ္တာ ၾကာျပီးဗ်။ (၁၀) ရက္ မကေတာ့ဘူး။ ျပီးေတာ့ ေဆြးေႏြးပြဲ ေလသံေတြလည္း ၾကားေနရေတာ့ ဒီတခါ ေအးေဆးျပီးေပါ့ စဥ္းစား ေနၾကတယ္ဘဲ ရွိေသးတယ္။ ညက ထပစ္လိုက္ေတာ့ ေမွ်ာ္လင့္ခ်က္က သဲထဲေရသြန္ မလားေတာ့ မေျပာတတ္ဘူး” ဟု ဆိုပါသည္။

ဒါဏ္ရာရေသာ ရြာသား မ်ားသည္ ဖါးကန္႔ ေဆးရံုသို႔ ေရာက္ရွိ ေနၾက ပါသည္။ အစိုးရ တပ္ဖြဲ႔ရွိသည့္ စစ္ဗ်ဴကုန္းႏွင့္ ေမာ္ေမာဘြမ္း ေက်းရြာသည္ ေျမပံုအရ (၃) မိုင္ေက်ာ္ ရွိပါသည္။ ဤဖါးကန္႔နယ္ထဲ၌ ျပီးခဲ့သည့္ ရက္ပိုင္းတြင္ ေမာ္ေမာ့ဗုံနဲ႕ ဆိုင္ဂ်ာဗြန္ ေက်းရြာဖက္၌ တိုက္ပြဲငယ္မ်ား ျဖစ္ပြား ခဲ့သည္မွ တပါး တိုက္ပြဲ မရွိဟု ေဒသခံ ကခ်င္ လူငယ္ ေခါင္းေဆာင္ ခြန္ဆိုင္က ဆိုပါသည္။

“ ရင္ဆိုင္ တိုက္ပြဲေတြ မျဖစ္ပါဘူး ဟိုလြန္ခဲ့တဲ့ အပတ္တုန္းက တက္လာလတဲ့ အစိုးရတပ္ကို ေပ်ာက္က်ား ပစ္တာတို႕ ဆီး ႀကိဳးပစ္တာတို႕ ဘဲ႐ိွပါတယ္။ မိုင္ခြဲ တိုက္တာ တို႕ေတာ့ ႐ိွတယ္။ မေန့က လက္နက္ႀကီးနဲ႕ ပစ္တာ အဲဒါဘဲ ႐ိွတယ္။ တခ်ဳိ႔သ တင္းေတြမွာ ေတြ႔တယ္ေလ။ ဖါးကန္႔ဖက္မွာ တိုက္ပြဲျပင္းထန္တယ္တဲ့။ အဲဒါေတာ့ မဟုတ္ပါဘူး” ဟု ဆိုပါသည္။

အစိုးရ တပ္ဖြဲ႔မ်ားသည္၊ ကခ်င္ တပ္မဟာ (၄) ဖက္၌ ဗ်ဴဟာ (၃)ခုႏွင့္ စစ္ဆင္ေနသည္ဟု ပေလာင္ အဖြဲ႔မွ ဆိုပါသည္။ မန္ ဆန္ၿမိဳ႕နယ္၊ မန္တုံၿမိဳ႕နယ္။ ကြတ္ခိုင္ၿမိဳ႕နယ္ႏွင့္ နမ္းခမ္းၿမိဳ႕နယ္ထဲ ဂြင္ထဲတြင္ အစိုးရ တပ္ဖြဲ႔ (၁၀) ရင္းေက်ာ္ လႈပ္႐ွားေနပါ သည္။  ၄င္းစစ္ဗ်ဴဟာမွဴးမ်ားသည္ မန္ဆန္းျမိဳ႔၊  မန္တုံျမိဳ႔ႏွင့္ နမ္းခန္း (မိုင္းဝီ) ၌ အေျခခ်ျပီး စစ္ဆင္ ေနပါသည္။


ကခ်င္တပ္သား တဦး၏ ေရွ႔တန္းလွဳပ္ရွားမွဳဟန္ (ဓါတ္ပံု အင္တာနက္)

ဤစစ္ဆင္ေရးတြင္ ပေလာင္ ေက်းရြာ လူႀကီးမ်ားကို ဖမ္းဆီး ေနၾကျပီး ညွင္းပမ္းႏွိပ္စက္မွဳျဖင့္ KIA ႏွင့္ ပေလာင္တပ္ဖြဲ႔ သတင္း မ်ားကို ေဖၚထုတ္ ေနၾကပါသည္။ KIA တပ္မဟာ (၄) ေဒသတြင္ ပေလာင္ လြတ္ေျမာက္ေရး အဖြဲ႔မွ တပ္ရင္း (၄) ရင္း လွဳပ္ရွား ေနပါသည္။

အစိုးရသည္ KIA ႏွင့္ ေတြ႔ဆံု ေဆြးေႏြးရန္ ျပီးခဲ့သည့္ ေအာက္တိုဘာလ (၁၀) ရက္ေန႔က ကမ္းလွမ္း ခဲ့ပါသည္။ ေအာက္တိုဘာ လဆန္း တရက္ေန႔မွ (၁၀) ရက္ေန႔ အထိ  KIA ႏွင့္ ျဖစ္ခဲ့ေသာ တိုက္ပြဲေပါင္းမွာ (၂၀) ပြဲထက္မနဲ ရွိသည္ဟု စစ္ေရး ေလ့လာ သူမ်ားက ခန္႔မွန္း ထားပါသည္။

ဤသို႔ေၾကာင့္ တိုက္ပြဲ အဆက္မျပတ္ ျဖစ္ပြား ေနသည့္ၾကားမွ KIA ႏွင့္ အစိုးရတို႔၏ ေတြ႔ဆံု ေဆြးေႏြးေရးသည္ ျဖစ္လာဖြယ္ရွိ ေသာ္ျငားလည္း KIA ၏ ေတာင္းဆို မွဳကသာ ေဆြးေႏြးပဲြကို လႊမ္းမိုး ေနမည္ ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း စစ္ေရး သံုးသပ္သူမ်ားက ဆိုပါသည္။


Bangladesh Muslim Man Arrested On Charges Of Plotting Bomb Attack In US

Posted October 17th, 2012 at 7:30 pm (UTC-4)

A Bangladeshi man arrested on suspicion that he plotted to blow up the U.S. Federal Reserve building in New York City has appeared in federal court and has been ordered held without bail.

Federal authorities arrested 21-year-old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis in lower Manhattan Wednesday on suspicion that he planned to detonate a van with explosives on a suicide mission. Officials say he was arrested in a sting operation and that there were no other suspects involved.

The chief of the New York City Police Department, Ray Kelly, told reporters that Nafis came to the United States in January with the specific intent to commit a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. He said the suspect was inspired by al-Qaida and that once in the United States he attempted to recruit accomplices.

At his request, undercover federal agents supplied Nafis with 20 bags of purported explosives. Earlier Wednesday, Nafis went to a warehouse to assemble a 450-kilogram bomb from the material in the bags. He then allegedly parked the van near the Federal Reserve building and tried to detonate what he thought were explosives in the vehicle.

Officials say Nafis was closely monitored and there was never any danger to the public.

The Department of Justice issued a statement saying Nafis faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida.

Officials say that before the attempted attack, Nafis recorded a video statement saying: “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”

Bangladeshi Man Arrested On Charges Of Plotting Bomb Attack In US

Bangladesh envoy plans meeting officials of Rakhine National Network (RNN) in private over attack on Buddhists

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Monks staged a demonstration in front of the Bangladeshi Consulate in Sittway, Rakhine state, on October 9
(Photo – EMG)

Bangladesh’s ambassador to Myanmar Anup Kumar Chakma has offered to meet the officials of Rakhine National Network (RNN) in private over recent attacks on the Buddhist community in the country.

Confirming the Bangladesh envoy’s offer, RNN chairman Ko Tin Htoo Aung said it came after the activist group issued a statement demanding safety of the Buddhists and punishment to the perpetrators.

A mob destroyed 12 Buddhist temples and monasteries and over 50 houses in Ramu sub-district of Cox’s Bazar district in southeastern Bangladesh on September 30 after alleged posting of a photo on Facebook defaming the Quran.

In its statement, which was sent to the Bangladeshi embassy in Yangon on October 5, RNN demanded security to the lives and properties of the Buddhist monks and the minority Rakhine nationals living in the country.

The activist group also urged the Bangladesh government to speed up rehabilitation works for the Buddhist community and to take action against those involved in the attack.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Buddhist monks gathered in front of People’s Park in Yangon on October 8 to protest the attack. They marched to Bangladesh embassy later to convey their condemnation of the attack.