A labour activist who returned to Myanmar last year after years of exile says he will sue the newspaper Irrawaddy for “unethical reporting”.

U Maung Maung, general secretary of the National Council of the Union of Burma, told reporters last week that a Myanmar-language article in the Irrawaddy blog of February 8 had damaged his reputation and that of his organisation.

The story headlined “NUCB General Secretary fired” alleged that U Maung Maung had “broken the rules” of the organisation, and accused him of failing to repay borrowed money. It was based on a press release signed by U Myint Thein, the group’s joint secretary.



“It’s unethical and unfair. I will not accept a correction, but take legal action. It hurts my name which I’ve built for 20 years, as well as the image of my organisation,” said U Maung Maung, insisting to local journalists that the report was “totally wrong”.

“Irrawaddy has no ethics. They didn’t approach me for comment and did not seek confirmation from anyone. They could have contacted me, or anyone from the NCUB,” said a visibly angry U Maung Maung. “Irrawaddy should change now that we’re in a transition to democracy.”

U Maung Maung sought exile in Thailand after the 1988 student uprising, and became involved in NCUB, which says it advocates for democracy, human rights and federalism in Myanmar, after the organisation was founded in 1992.

He returned to Myanmar in September and started advocating for labour rights, offering training on labour rights with the International Labour Organisation in Myanmar.

U Myint Thein told reporters via Skype from Chiang Mai that he had not drafted or signed the press release and only knew about the news when he was informed by U Maung Maung.

“What I can say is that our organisation never made that announcement. I never signed it,” he said.

“U Maung Maung has worked hard for our organisation and for labour rights in general,” U Myint Thein said. Continue reading “HOT NEWS: MAUNG MAUNG SLAMS “UNETHICAL” IRRAWADDY BLOG”

FTUB wants to show MITU is an associate union of FTUB, that’s why they invited us

Myanmar Industrial Trade Union (MITU) refused the invitation from Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB) to attend an International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) meeting, according to U Ye Kyaw Thu, a chairman of MITU.

“We assume that FTUB does not have any unions in Myanmar. FTUB wants to show MITU is an associate union of FTUB, that’s why they invited us; Therefore, we refused their invitation,” he said.

The ITUC and the Global Unions Federations will meet at the office of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) on December 6th. MITU was invited to attend this meeting.

The ITUC has a plan to open an office in Myanmar and to form the worker unions independently once they have visited Myanmar.

Working under MITU, there are 12 basic unions that have already registered and there are 8 basic unions still registering. This totals around 20 basic unions under MITU.

FTUB also invited other unions to the meeting: representatives from the Uni Color note book factory, Myanmar Centre plastic factory and the representatives of workers in Dagon Port Township.

The MITU chairman said they want to meet the ITUC independently by the ILO (International Labor Organization) arrangement, contrary to the arrangement of FTUB.


“The decision to not attend the meeting of FTUB is not only my decision but also the decisions of the executive members. Our union is based on a democratic system; this decision was made together, in agreement,” U Ye Kyaw Thu said.

MITU will have to register its unions to become township level unions later this month. They are going to register officially for township level in the townships of Dagon Port, Hmawby, South Dagon and Hlinethaya.

MITU is a partner union of AFFM (Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar). AFFM announced at their October 8th, conference of unions from divisions and states, that they have no involvement with FTUB. This statement is in contrast with U Maung Maung’s claims; The FTUB general secretary has told the international worker’s unions that 88 percent of AFFM is under the umbrella of FTUB.

AFFM chairperson, Daw Than Than Htay, said FTUB’s presentation is not true. AFFM is a member of The International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) and is also recognized by the ILO.


STOPP CORRUPTION  -FTUB has been working in exile for twenty years and receives funds from international donors such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), however, they have failed to set up any unions inside Myanmar. Many people won’t accept FTUB as a legitimate organization because it is not an official union.

The so-called Movement for Democracy and Rights of Ethnic Nationalities launched its “Proposal for National Reconciliation” at the end of talks in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

JAKARTA: Myanmar’s exiled leaders and other opposition groups formed a new movement for democracy on Thursday during a meeting in Indonesia.

The so-called Movement for Democracy and Rights of Ethnic Nationalities launched its “Proposal for National Reconciliation” at the end of talks in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

The movement is made up of the exiled National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma plus six pro-democracy groups, but does not include the main National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party.

The NLD is headed by Nobel laureate and democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, who won a landslide election victory in 1990 which the junta has never recognised.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 years since then, and was sentenced to another 18 months’ confinement on Wednesday in a major blow to her supporters ahead of fresh elections set for next year.

One of the exiled leaders Sein Win, the first cousin of the NLD leader, said reconciliation would fail unless Suu Kyi was released and allowed to resume her political activities.

“We have produced a detailed proposal for a democratic, federal union of Burma and we will continue to work in the interests of all the people of Burma. That is our job,” he said, using the old name for the country.

“Without her release and that of all other political prisoners, the process of national reconciliation cannot commence nor can the planned 2010 elections be credible.”

The movement’s declaration, backed by former and exiled NLD members, concedes the military an “important political role” as a “stakeholder” in the country’s transition to democracy.

It also refers to the “sharing of responsibility” among civil society, ethnic groups and the military for the rebuilding of the country, but makes no concrete proposals.

Organisers said the meeting had been curtailed due to restrictions by police after Yangon’s embassy complained to the Indonesian government.

Foreign ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia could not allow exiled leaders to meet on its territory.

But several local parliamentarians held talks with the exiled opposition activists in a gesture of solidarity with the democracy movement, Sein Win said.

Indonesia is a founding member of the ten-state Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is criticised for failing to speak out strongly enough against human rights abuses in member-state Myanmar.

Analysts have expressed scepticism about the effectiveness of the new movement and Myanmar’s fragmented exiled politics in general.

“The cardinal failure is its inability to connect with the people inside (Myanmar),” London School of Economics researcher Zarni, who goes by one name, told AFP last week.

As in New York the UN Security Council delays in even issuing a statement about the conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, in Jakarta a planned meeting of exiled Burmese democracy figures was cut back by Indonesian authorities, from two days to less than one.

Amid UN’s Myanmar Stalling, Exiles Curtailed in Jakarta, Suu Kyi House Litigation

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, August 11 — As in New York the UN Security Council delays in even issuing a statement about the conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, in Jakarta a planned meeting of exiled Burmese democracy figures was cut back by Indonesian authorities, from two days to less than one. Three participants spoke to the Press in New York on August 7, in an event organized by Independent Diplomat, promoting their upcoming Jakarta meeting. When four days later it was curtailed, no update was given. On background, a media advisory arrived:

“Due to restrictions by Indonesian police, a revised program to discuss the Burma democracy movement’s transitional / national reconciliation package with Indonesian parliamentarians, politicians and Indonesia-based diplomats and NGOs will take place only briefly tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12. The original two-day program, will now be shortened to a one-day program where from 9 am -11 am a briefing will be held for invitees and participants at the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel and then continued in the afternoon from 2-5pm at the Indonesian parliament, hosted by the PDI-P caucus at their office. There are no scheduled events or meetings and NO press conference on August 13.”

Of the three exiles who appeared at the UN in New York on August 7, an Inner City Press source writes:

“What is intriguing about your items on 5 and 8 August is that the ‘Trio’ seems to include both Sein Win (NCGUB) and Maung Maung (NCUB). Last year, against SW’s advice, MM tried to “unseat” the Myanmar delegation. MM knew it was just propaganda, but he is a better politician than SW. If they have really come together, that is news. Of the Trio who met you, only Bo Hla-Tint is an elected NLD Member. Maung Maung is the darling of AFL-CIO, the ITUC an the Italian Trade Union Confederation, but was not elected in 1990. Sein Win is PND (Party for National Democracy) and a cousin of Suu Kyi whose brother Aung San Oo, a US citizen, married Le Le Nwe Thein who must have a brother I assume to be Sein Win. Suu Kyi and Aung San Oo are fighting for possession of 54 University Avenue which has supposedly just been “sold” by family proxies for Aung San Oo, a sale which Suu Kyi is currently contesting. Sein Win, wisely, keeps well out of this family squabble.
In 2001 they were all good friends:

‘Minister U Win Sein, Chief Justice U Aung Toe, Attorney-General U Tha Tun and Auditor-General Brig-Gen. Tin Aye then left the Mausoleum. U Nan Nwe and family on behalf of U Aung San Oo and wife Daw Le Le Nwe Thein and Secretary of National League for Democracy U Lwin and party, on behalf of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi laid wreaths. Afterwards, families of the Arzanis [“Martyrs”] laid wreaths at the respective tombs and shared merits.’ (New Light of Myanmar 20 July 2001)

The UN Security Council’s deliberations will continue. Watch this site.