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Archive for July 23rd, 2008

Despite ratifying ASEAN charter on democracy and human rights, Burmese junta fears for shame and blame plus sanctions

Myanmar opposes investigative powers of ASEAN


22 July 2008

SINGAPORE -Myanmar’s junta has indicated it will oppose any effort to give a Southeast Asian human rights body the power to monitor or investigate rights violations in the region, diplomats said Tuesday.

A high-level panel of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations started work Monday to set up the rights body. The panel will lay down the body’s future makeup, role and powers, which will be presented to a summit of ASEAN leaders in December.

But in a closed-door session with the panel Monday, Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win said the human rights body should uphold ASEAN’s bedrock policy of noninterference in each other’s affairs, a diplomat present at the meeting told The Associated Press.

The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

Another diplomat who attended a separate meeting between all 10 ASEAN ministers and the panel also said Nyan Win made clear his opposition to the rights body having any monitoring authority.

Myanmar’s military government, which has been strongly criticized by Western governments and even fellow ASEAN members for its dismal human rights record, has used the bloc’s policy to parry any attempt by outsiders to intervene on behalf of human rights victims in the military-ruled nation.

It has already been decided that the rights body will not have the power to impose sanctions or seek prosecution of violators. But Myanmar’s objections, if honored, will make the body even less effective.

A majority of other ASEAN foreign ministers, led by Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, separately told the panel that the human rights body should at least be empowered to monitor violations and offer advice to prevent such problems, said the first diplomat.

Myanmar officials were not immediately available for comment but in the past they have said the human rights body should only serve as a “consultative mechanism” and that it should not “shame and blame” any ASEAN nation.

The rights body is being set up as part of ASEAN’s proposed new charter, which seeks to make the organization rule-based.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said the charter will serve as a guide to the panel drafting the terms of reference for the rights body.

“They’re going to follow the charter very, very closely _ its principle of promoting, upholding and protecting human rights,” Surin said.

The international community has condemned Myanmar’s junta for its refusal to restore democracy and release pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other political detainees. ASEAN has also been criticized for not doing enough to pressure Myanmar’s military leaders.

ASEAN foreign ministers, disappointed with the Myanmar junta’s foot-dragging on democracy, expressed “deep disappointment” in a statement Sunday at the junta’s May decision to extend Suu Kyi’s detention.

ASEAN’s members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Myanmar objects to monitoring powers of new ASEAN human rights body

Mike Rosen-Molina at 10:30 AM ET Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Photo source or description

[JURIST] Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win has called for the newly-established Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) [official website] to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of ASEAN member nations. The comments, made during a Monday meeting to organize the new ASEAN human rights committee, indicate that Myanmar [JURIST news archive] may block attempts to give the new body any authority to investigate alleged human rights violations. Other member states reportedly objected to the restrictions on the committee, which critics note already lacks authority [JURIST report] to issue sanctions against member states which violate human rights. AP has more.

Myanmar signed on [ceremony speech; JURIST report] to a new ASEAN charter Monday, despite other ASEAN members’ criticism [statement text] of the country’s human rights record and continued detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The charter [PDF text] was designed to create stronger economic and security ties within the region, and Article 14 establishes a body to monitor human rights in member countries. Myanmar’s inclusion in the in charter has long been controversial [JURIST report] because of its human rights record..

Myanmar ratifies ASEAN pact on democracy, rights

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SINGAPORE — Myanmar’s junta ratified a new ASEAN charter binding it to ideals of democracy and human rights Monday, as ministers urged the regime to release political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar pledged to abide by the EU-style charter at the annual meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers, which was also dominated by an armed standoff on the Thailand Cambodia border.

Under the charter, ASEAN members are committing to principles of democracy, good governance and human rights, and aim to establish a free-trade zone of more than 500 million people by 2015.


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 23, 2008 at 5:48 pm

World focus on Burma (23 July 2008)


Open China’s great firewall

Christian Science Monitor, MA –

Egypt, Syria, Russia, and Burma (Myanmar) are among those countries known to crack down on citizens who use the Internet to protest. …

Southeast Asia Nations Back Indo-US Nuclear Deal – PTI, OR –

The ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar [Burma], the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. …

Discrimination over aid distribution among cyclone victims: new report, India –

Ko Shwe, author of the report, said he travelled extensively to cyclone-hit areas, particularly to Laputta and Ngaputaw townships in Burma’s southwestern …

US removes oil giant from Burma sanctions, UK –

The US oil giant Chevron will continue to do business in Burma after a provision to stop it operating there was removed from the latest round of US …

Congress Bows to Big Oil in Burma

The Washington Independent, DC –

More recently, the junta barred most international aid in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta in May. …

Activists urge action after ASEAN charter ratification

Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –

Jul 23, 2008 (DVB)–Burmese rights activists have welcomed Burma’s ratification of the ASEAN charter but urged that public education and an enforcement …

Authorities censor Nargis cartoons, India –

The cartoons were exhibited for a fund raising drive in an exhibition entitled ‘Wakeup from Storm’ for Cyclone Nargis victims. Five officials of the Cartoon …

Burmese Junta censors Cyclone cartoons, India –

Burma’s military authorities on Tuesday banned several cartoons at a fund raising exhibition for victims of Cyclone-Nargis, for allegedly violating censor …

Remarks at ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference

US Department of State, DC –

We are especially concerned, as you know, about the situation in Burma. And the United States did indeed extend humanitarian assistance. …

Human rights group backs increased pressure on Burma

Religious Intelligence Ltd, UK –

“Furthermore, we call on the UN Security Council to impose a universal arms embargo on the regime in Burma, and to refer a case against Burma’s Generals to …

US Tamils to Hold Black July Rally and Vigil

TamilNet, Sri Lanka –

The joint rally will protest China against its military support to Sri Lanka and Burma whose governments are accused of committing grave human rights …

Relief Must Focus on Remote Areas: Holmes

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

By SAW YAN NAING After visiting cyclone-hit areas of Burma’s Irrawaddy delta on Tuesday, John Holmes, the United Nations’ chief humanitarian relief official …

Speculation Surrounds Future UWSA Leaders

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

By WAI MOE As Bao Yuxiang, the chairman of one of the largest armed groups in Burma, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), remains in ill heath, …

Metro Snapshot: July 23, 2008

Metro Canada – Toronto, Canada –

STAYING BEHIND BARS:After word spread that Myanmar’s military may be releasing democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi within six months, a Singapore newspaper …

Burma activist’s trek crosses Morris, NJ –

His name is simply Athein, a 35-year-old native of Burma, which was renamed Myanmar 20 years ago by the ruling military junta. Athein’s stroll along the …

Washington Post Editor’s Dad Has Anti-Bush Blog

Gawker, NY –

Furthermore, Burma initially rejected all foreign aid whereas Mr. Bush only rejected aid from Cuba. As the recent hearings show, by not tracking the …

Barefoot for Burma

Melton Today, UK –

A teacher walked barefoot through Melton on Monday on his way from Scotland to London to raise the plight of children in Burma. Carrying only salt, rice, …

Great Falls resident helps effort to get life-saving drugs into …

Great Falls Tribune, MT –

Three days after Myanmar, formerly called Burma, was ravaged by Cyclone Nargis, the country’s worst tropical storm in 25 years, Sollid and five other …

Thai Paper Urges More Pressure on Burma, OR –

The foreseeable future for Burma is clear: there will be no opposition to worry the junta. What is emerging from the ASEAN ministerial meeting is an …

China to Strengthen Cooperation With ASEAN, OR –

ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar [Burma], the Philippines, Singapore, …

Current Affairs Heavy Hearts and High Hopes

Velocity, KY –

But Eh Doh Htoo, a refugee from Myanmar (formerly called Burma), has had plenty of other things on his mind, too, since he arrived in Louisville in March …

Australia to give more aid to Myanmar, US says it’s ready to …

International Herald Tribune, France –

… in addressing the root cause of Burma’s grave problem, the repression of the Burmese democracy movement,” Rice said, using the former name for Myanmar. …

UN Security Council to Discuss Burma

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

By LALIT K JHA / UNITED NATIONS NEW YORK — As the United Nations plans to send special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Burma in September and the Security Council …

Asean EU-style Union Likely to Stumble

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

Burma ratified the charter this week, but immediately declared in Singapore that it will resist any attempt by guardians of a future Asean human rights …

Rice urges ASEAN to push Myanmar to reform

Reuters –

“It was in the interest of ASEAN and the people of Burma to persuade Myanmar’s leaders to free political prisoners and to open up a dialogue with the …

US Senate Bans on Import of Burmese Gems

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

Congress began to consider the legislation in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, when the Burmese regime placed restrictions that severely limited the ability …

UN pulls out of cyclone-swamped Burma

Independent Online, South Africa –

Bangkok – The United Nations is to stop flying in aid to Myanmar/Burma in August, forcing relief agencies to find another way to bring in vital supplies to …

Singapore And US Reaffirm Their Strong Relations

Bernama, Malaysia –

They also discussed developments in Myanmar and the important mission of United Nations’ Special Envoy Professor Ibrahim Gambari to meet the country’s …

Opposition leader to be freed in six months?

Metro, UK –

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be freed from house arrest in about six months, the military junta has suggested. Ms Suu Kyi is approaching the …

New Zealand to Provide Further Funding for Burma Relief, OR –

New Zealand will provide a further 2m dollars [approx 1.5m US] for ongoing relief efforts in Myanmar [Burma], announced Foreign Minister Winston Peters …

Millions in Myanmar cyclone aid still to be released

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –

GENEVA, July 22, 2008 (AFP) – More than 5.8 million dollars in emergency aid for victims of Myanmar’s cyclone Nargis is still to be released by donor …

US Congress approves legislation to bar Myanmar gems


… clear message to the junta that the United States stands squarely with the freedom-loving people of Burma,” McConnell said, using Myanmar’s former name. …

Australia to give aid to Myanmar

The Associated Press –

SINGAPORE (AP) — Australia announced Wednesday an extra $29 million in aid for survivors of Myanmar’s May cyclone, but pressed its recalcitrant military …

Australia injects 29 million US dollars more for cyclone victims

Monsters and –

‘We made this contribution because we are very pleased with the progress that ASEAN and the United Nations have made in conjunction with Myanmar,’ he told …

Burma urged to hold free, fair election

Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia –

AUSTRALIA has repeated its call for Burma to hold free and fair elections and release Aung San Suu Kyi after the junta ratified an ASEAN charter setting …

Australia calls on Myanmar to hold free elections

The Standard, Hong Kong –

Australia has reiterated calls for Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi after the junta ratified an ASEAN charter setting principles of human rights, …

Aus pledges another $30 million in Myanmar cyclone aid, India –

Australia has committed an extra 30 million dollars (USD 29 million) to Myanmar cyclone relief, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Wednesday. …

US Congress passes new Myanmar gemstone sanctions bill

International Herald Tribune, France –

… a gap in current sanctions, which already bar the importation of gemstones directly from Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. …

Burma, North Korea Top Southeast Asian Security Agenda

Media Newswire (press release), NY –

Rice will meet with ASEAN ministers July 23 to take stock of US-ASEAN cooperation on regional issues, Marciel said, including Burma’s cyclone recovery and …

Suu Kyi: ‘Don’t just sit there. Do something.’

Pacific Daily News, GU –

When the junta organized the “Visit Myanmar Year 1996,” Suu Kyi declared, “we would like potential visitors to Burma to show they are not going to buy their …

Dine out and help a good cause

Camden Haven Courier, Australia –

Her latest project will raise funds for the victims in Burma’s Cyclone Nargis in the Irrawaddy Delta. Tin is a Burma-born Australian and, with her husband …

Burmese still waiting on $6m in cyclone aid

Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia –

MORE than $US5.8 million ($5.94 million) in emergency aid for victims of Burma’s cyclone Nargis is still to be released by donor countries, the World Health …

Flowering Bamboo Leads to Starvation in Burma

The Epoch Times, NY –

“The situation is at a critical point,” said Salai Bawi Lian Mang, head of the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) which is monitoring the situation. …

Burma Dissidents Urge UN Secretary General To Intervene In Crisis

BosNewsLife, Hungary –

The military government of Burma, which it calls Myanmar, has been reluctant to allow foreign Christian groups to enter the country, although some managed …

John McCain’s Remarks on Abortion to National Pro-Life Convention, MT –

And I know that I have a personal obligation to advocate human rights wherever they are denied, in Bosnia or Burma, in Cuba or the Middle East, …

SE Asian nations fail to win Thai-Cambodia breakthrough, New Zealand –

The fracas did manage to shove Myanmar out of the spotlight it usually occupies with great uneasiness at Asean meetings. The meetings began with a rare ray …

Japan Vows Additional Aid for Myanmar, OR –

Singapore, July 22 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura on Tuesday promised to provide cyclone-hit Myanmar with additional aid worth 21 …

Local concert raises $11000

Independent and Free Press, Canada –

… John’ United Church, was so moved by the plight of the people of Burma (Myanmar) and China, that she decided to put together a benefit concert to help. …

CPJ calls on Burma donors to consider media access

CPJ Press Freedom Online, NY –

Those detained include Aung Kyaw San, editor-in-chief of the Myanmar Tribune; Ma Eine Khine Oo, a journalist with Ecovision Journal; popular commentator, …

Australia gives $30m to Burma, Australia –

AUSTRALIA has boosted its funding to Cyclone Nargis-ravaged Burma by $30 million, the Government has announced. The increase brings Australia’s total …

‘Suu Kyi will not be freed in 6 months’

Howrah News Service, India –

Singapore: Burma’s foreign minister has said pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi can be kept in detention legally until late 2009 and not until December …

ASEAN all talk and no action on temple spat

The Standard, Hong Kong –

Thailand disagreed yesterday and the plan was abandoned. Burma also put its foot down on an ASEAN plan to set up a human rights body. AP.

Myanmar objects to monitoring powers of new ASEAN human rights body


The comments, made during a Monday meeting to organize the new ASEAN human rights committee, indicate that Myanmar [JURIST news archive] may block attempts …