Activists Naw Ohn Hla and Nay Myo Zin -Sein Htwe were arrested by police in Rangoon on Tuesday morning for their role in a protest in front of the Chinese embassy, denouncing the killing of Latpadaung villager Khin Win last week.The activists were prosecuted under sections 294(B), 353, 147, 506, 149, and 505(B)/144 of the Penal Code. The judge sentenced them to stay in prison until January 13, 2015.

protestors were calling for an end to violence against villagers protesting land grabs at the Latpadaung copper mine site, which is jointly run by Chinese state mining firm Wanbao and Burmese military-backed Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings. CR. YANGON GLOBE



PHOTOCR. Aung San Thway T






BURMA – Myanmar Police Used Phosphorus on LADPADAUNG Protesters, Lawyers Say

A group of lawyers investigating a violent crackdown in Myanmar that left Buddhist monks and villagers with serious burns has concluded that police used white phosphorus, a munition normally reserved for warfare, to disperse protesters.

The suppression in November of a protest outside a controversial copper mine in central Myanmar shocked the Burmese public after images of critically injured monks circulated across the country. It also gave rise to fears that the civilian government of President Thein Sein, which came to power in 2011, was using the same repressive methods as the military governments that preceded it.

Burmese attorneys together with an American human rights lawyer gathered evidence at the site of the protest, including a metal canister that protesters said was fired by the police. The canister was brought to a private laboratory in Bangkok, where a technician determined that residue inside it contained high levels of phosphorus. Access to the canister and a copy of the laboratory report were provided to a reporter.

“We are confident that they used a munition that contained phosphorus,” said U Thein Than Oo, the head of the legal committee of the Upper Burma Lawyers Network, which helped conduct the investigation. “They wanted to warn the entire population not to protest. They wanted to intimidate the people.”

White Phosphorus has many uses in war – as a smoke screen or incendiary weapon – but is rarely if ever used by police forces.

Reached on Wednesday, Zaw Htay, a director in the office of President Thein Sein, declined to comment on what kind of weapon was used. “I can’t say. I can’t answer,” he said.

John Hart, a senior researcher at the Chemical Weapons Program of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said by e-mail that although white phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon under a 1993 international convention, it is banned from uses that “cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of the chemical.” Continue reading “BURMA – Myanmar Police Used Phosphorus on LADPADAUNG Protesters, Lawyers Say”

Union of Myanmar Economics Holdings Limited (UMEHL)Company under fire to obey decision on Ladpadaung copper project

The Union of Myanmar Economics Holdings Limited (UMEHL) said on December 5 that it will follow any decision by the investigation commission regarding the Lapadaungtaung issue, a controversial copper mine project that triggered local protest last month.

“It is an official organisation [the commission] formed by the government. So we will act upon any decision reached by the commission,” said a project official from the company.

The project is jointly undertaken by the military-backed UMEHL and a Chinese company named Myanmar Wanboa Mining Copper Limited.

Protesters including several Buddhist monks were seriously injured amid a riot police crackdown on the protest on November 29 at the project site.

The President’s Office issued a statement on December 1 about the formation of a 30-member commission, to look into whether the copper mine project at Lapadaungtaung should be continued, and to investigate the recent protest against the project.

The commission was later reconstituted as a 16-member body. CREDIT EMG