MYANMAR BURMA : Courts fine activists for peace protests, while others face jail


YANGON – Two members of the Kachin Peace Network have been fined Ks 20,000 (US$20) each by courts in Sanchaung and Dagon townships on Tuesday for demonstrating for peace in war-torn Kachin State.   

“Under Section 18, Sanchaung Township Court and Dagon Township Court fined us [the activists] for holding the unauthorised demonstration to end the wars in Kachin State on the International Peace Day,” Maran Jaw Gun from the Kachin Peace Network told Eleven Media yesterday.

Under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law, Maran Jaw Gun and May Sabe Phyu were sentenced a one-month imprisonment or allowed to pay a fine of Ks 10,000 (US$10) in the two courts.

“We protested on behalf of the people who are suffering in the refugee camps due to the conflict. Our demand is the demand of the refugees. We also submitted for permission to the authorities and since the authorities didn’t give us permission, we held the demonstration, which is our right as citizens.”

Kachin Peace Network coordinators facing trial at San Chaung Township Court, Yangon at 10 AM on 26 November 2013.
Kachin Peace Network coordinators facing trial at San Chaung Township Court, Yangon at 10 AM on 26 November 2013.

Last Thursday, activists including student leader D Nyein Lin were given a one month prison sentence for protesting against the authorities use of fire bombs against demonstrators in the Letpadaungtaung copper mine project last November. They did not have the option of a fine.

Political activists have criticised Myanmar’s judiciary for giving one month’s prison sentences to the six Letpadaungtaung activists, while the Kachin peace activists were given fines even though they were all charged under the same Section.

“According to the law, [the activists] were accused for protesting without permission. There seems to be distinctions in the judiciary because different courts gave different sentences even though the activists were tried under the same Section. So this may lead to doubts among the public against Myanmar’s judiciary sector,” said Myint Aung, a lawyer from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

AAPP member Aung Myo Kyaw said he believes the activists were given different sentences because the government wants to protect the interests of the Chinese company Wenbao, which is jointly operating the copper mine project with military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd.

He added that Myanmar’s judiciary sector is infamous for injustice and corruption and the government is still unable to control it.

Maran Jaw Gun and May Sabe Phyu from the Kachin Peace Network have been charged under Section 18 by the courts in six townships – Sanchaung Township, Tamwe Township, Mingala Taungnyunt Township, Pazundaung Township, and Dagon Township – for leading a march of around 1,000 demonstrators calling for peace in the Kachin State on September 21, 2012.

Political activists, legal experts, and social organisations have been demanding the government to amend Section 18 after the six activists were given one month’s imprisonment last week.

Lower House MP Thura Aung Ko have earlier said the Parliament will review the proposal to amend Section 18.

MYANMAR BURMA: UNFC-Ceasefire breakthrough still possible in Hpa-an

EMG – A national ceasefire agreement is still far from being concluded due to the government’s draft accord containing unacceptable provisions for ethnic armed groups.

NCCT meeting second day on November 27 in Chiang Mai
NCCT meeting second day on November 27 in Chiang Mai

Naing Han Tha, the secretary of United Nationalities Federation Council (UNFC), said there were still different views between the government and armed groups over a nationwide ceasefire accord.

“We will meet again in Hpa-an. How can they (government) compromise? How can we compromise? We can guess the solution could be sought during the Hpa-an meeting. We cannot tell now,” said Naing Han Tha.

Naing Han Tha, who also leads the National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), hinted that progress could be achieved through a series of meetings and by maintaining the already-discussed peace processes.

He added that during a meeting with the NCCT held earlier this month in Myitkyina, Kachin State, the government shared its draft ceasefire accord with armed groups. However, it was difficult to move forward as the draft contained provisions which went beyond the points discussed in the regional and union-level peace talks.

He insisted that coordination would continue.

The Hpa-an meeting is scheduled to take place in mid-December between the Union Peacemaking Work Committee and NCCT which was formed with the ethnic armed groups after the Laiza conference in Kachin State.

The meeting will follow the second conference of the ethnic armed groups due to take place in early December in area under the Karen National Union (KNU).

NCCT members are preparing to submit their own draft ceasefire draft plan containing the position of ethnic armed groups after discussing the 11-point common agreement reached after a meeting of the UNFC held recently in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

THAILAND: ผีเสื้อประชาธิปไตย : “FRIENDS OF THAI PEOPLE, regard to the occurring political situation in Thailand, we, the people

Friends of Thai people,In regard to the occurring political situation in Thailand, we, the people who strongly oppose the entire Thaksin-backed regime, want to see his influence completely washed out from our beloved country.

We have lost trust in the Thai government, a puppet being controlled by fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the brother of the current PM, Yingluck Shinawatra. With Thaksin’s ghost-like presence in Thailand, this has shown that we will never achieve our goal if his root has not been eradicated.

This has been the largest demonstration in Thailand’s history of almost a thousand year, two-times larger than in 1973 uprising and twenty-times than in 2010, millions of people have gathered at the democratic heart of Bangkok in Rajdamnoen and elsewhere across the country, as they can no longer accept the wide spread Thaksin-devil-regime present at all level.

We can no longer stand the government claiming its victory to election to the rights of the majoritarianism, especially in the Parliament, where they have been trying to make laws beneficial to the Shinawatra family and those involved in the circle. This is a dictatorship democracy against the provision of public will.

We can no longer stand to see the media still being under its control, putting the government in a good light. Finally, we can not stand to watch the country being plagued by Yingluck’s administration through its disastrous policies and the huge scale of corruption in Thai history.

We, the people, would like to see the Shinawatra family and cronies be dismissed from Thai politics.

The nationwide uprising in Bangkok and rural provinces, as well as the occupation of government premises and ministries across the country, are our intention to paralyse Yingluck Shinawatra’s government. We have always upheld our methods through peaceful means. We strongly oppose any movements of violence and we do not desire a military intervention.

We hope our friends all around the world will give us your support and bless us all.

From the hearts of Thai people.











Mes cher amis du peuple thaïlandais,

En ce qui concerne la situation politique survenant en Thaïlande, nous, le peuple, avons envie de voir l’ensemble du régime soutenu par Thaksin Shinnawatra complètement disparu de notre pays bien-aimé. Autrement dit, nous s’opposons fermement à son influence sur notre pays dans toutes les activités.

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