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Archive for January 26th, 2009

World focus on Burma (27 January 2009)

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Crucial asean bills pass in rowdy house session
เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand –
Bilateral agreements on matters such as human trafficking with Burma and labour cooperation with South Korea were also approved. An ad-hoc committee of 36 …

asean documents of vital interest
เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand –
As the host of the Asean Summit, we could raise a number of topical issues as far as human rights are concerned, such as the unrest in southern Thailand; …

NLD holds lecture on Law Affairs in Rangoon
Mizzima.com, India –
Thingangyun constituency (1) NLD MP and Central Legal Aid Committee member advocate U Thein Nyunt, delivered his lecture on the title ‘Burmese Laws and …

Burmese Opposition Views Gambari Visit with Skepticism
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
“He [the Secretary General] has, therefore, asked Mr Gambari to return to continue his discussions and engagement with the Myanmar government, …

ILO concerned by jailing of labour activist
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
“ILO’s priority in Burma is to end forced labour in the country and to stop the use of child soldiers. Other issues are outside our mandate, but we will do …

Thailand Burma Border Consortium e-Letter: Issue no 6, Dec 2008 …
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
Certainly 2008 was a dreadful year for Burma with the devastating Cyclone Nargis in May and renewed political oppression and human rights abuses as the …

Excellent jump start for Thai-Cambodian relations
เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand –
The recent calls from Singapore and Burma to boycott the upcoming Asean Summit in Thailand were a bit silly. The postponement of the Asean summit from last …

A royal mess: Why Sweden can’t have its own Obama
The Local, Sweden –
… to Guatemala and Burma to Zimbabwe, elect democratic heads of state. But for a country that prides itself as being something of a beacon of democracy, …

At least four years for full recovery from Nargis devastation: UN
Mizzima.com, India –
The ruling junta changed the country name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. Cyclone Nargis which lashed Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon in May 2 and 3 killed …

More Rohingya boatpeople arrested in Thailand
Mizzima.com, India –
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Burma’s state-run newspaper, New Light of Myanmar reported that Burma will assist Thailand in stemming the inflow of Rohingya boat …

Thailand detains 78 more migrants caught at sea
The Associated Press –
The plight of the Rohingyas — a Muslim ethnic group who fled persecution in Myanmar — was highlighted earlier this month following accusations some of them …

Thai police arrest migrants as scandal continues
ABC Online, Australia –
They come from western Burma, but are not accepted as citizens in their home country. The new Thai Government is on the defensive about the issue, …

OIC says protection of Rohingya refugees Thai’s legal responsibility
http://www.worldbulletin.net, Turkey –

The Rohingya refugees were fleeing oppression and dictatorial rule in Myanmar. Thai coast guards pushed Muslim Rohingyas back at sea in decrepit boats and …

Thailand changes tack on refugees
BBC News, UK –
The latest boatload of Burmese migrants to arrive in Thailand has been handed to the police rather than the military, after an outcry over their treatment. …

At least four years for full recovery from Nargis devastation: UN
Mizzima.com, India –
The ruling junta changed the country name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. Cyclone Nargis which lashed Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon in May 2 and 3 killed …

Between impotency & bosoms: the other news
Thought Leader, South Africa –
… is doing here): In Burma or Myanmar — and not your ma se — tyranny and authoritative rule continues to terrorise the local population and non-violent …

IPI to Davos: Burying News Hurts Crisis Response
International Press Institute (press release), Austria –
Reports from IPI and other media and human rights groups cite crackdowns on journalists in China and Burma (Myanmar) who tried to file field reports on …

Global Money Supply and the Value of Gold
The Market Oracle, UK –

Myanmar (Burma) requires a special note. Cross-country money supply comparisons rank Myanmar very high. This apparent paradox arises from the discrepancy …

Mired in mediocrity
Frontline, India –
He also offers a startling piece of information: the largest concentration of Indian settlers is in Myanmar (erstwhile Burma) and is double the size of the …

Commentary: Constitution and the ethnic nationalities
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Eight Shan leaders including Khun Tun Oo were sentenced to between 75 and 106 years in prison for trying to protect the rights of ethnic nationalities with …

Burmese Monk Talks about Compassion, Obama in Mahachai
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

A week after Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy delta, Sitagu Sayadaw set up emergency relief centers and clinics in Ka Don Ka Ni, Amar, Set San and Kunthi …

Myanmar, children exploited for less than 30 cents a day
AsiaNews.it, Italy –
Among those worst hit are children in the Irrawaddy delta region, badly hit by cyclone Nargis last May. Burmese businessmen, fishermen, and farmers use male …

Training programme shut down in Pyapon
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
… member of the Rangoon division Head Monks’ Association, rebuilt a school in Kyonku village, Pyapon township, which had been destroyed by Cyclone Nargis. …

NLD member’s relatives jailed after being assaulted
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Jan 27, 2009 (DVB)–The mother and uncle of a National League for Democracy member from Hlegu township in Rangoon who were beaten up by a local family have …

Global Crisis Hits Burmese Overseas Workers
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, Ye Min Tun from the Malaysia-based Burma Workers’ Rights Protection Committee said that more than 700 Burmese migrants …

Junta Promises to Address Rohingya Exodus
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Maung Aye said authorities will try to prevent the Rohingya from leaving Burma for other countries. Burma’s state-run newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, …

Army Airbase Built in Northern Arakan
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
The military junta is reportedly building the airbase to accommodate fighter jets. The construction of the airbase began after the Burmese junta found …

UN envoy to visit Myanmar soon, UN says
MSNBC –
By EDITH M. LEDERER UNITED NATIONS – The UN special envoy to Myanmar will be returning soon to pursue a dialogue between the country’s military rulers and …

The Far Eastern Economic Review also says that the Burmese junta’s disgraceful nonresponse to Cyclone Nargis last year called international attention to the …

On this day
News24, South Africa –
1995 – Burmese soldiers win a key battle against one of the world’s oldest insurgencies, capturing the base of Burma’s largest Karen rebel army in the …

Burmese refugee escapes death, regroups in US
High Point Enterprise (subscription), NC –
Pau is among the Chin people of Myanmar, known for being the only Christian ethnic group in the almost 90 percent Buddhist country, and he attributes his …

Myanmar to help Thailand on Rohingyas minority
Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –

BANGKOK, Jan 27 (TNA) – Myanmar’s military leaders agreed to help Thailand to solve the problem of the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority group from …

Malaysian cyber-paper at vanguard of media revolution
AFP –
“Malaysiakini could only have existed in places like Malaysia, Singapore or Burma, simply because the mainstream press have no credibility,” the political …

A Military Out of Control
Asia Sentinel, Hong Kong –
While Thailand’s military has come under fire in the last few weeks for the navy’s treatment of Bangladeshi and Burmese Rohingya Muslims, the fact is that …

Demarcation talks to start in February
Radio Australia, Australia –
ABBANY: Thailand has mentioned that it wants to sort of get to grips with Burma as well, but do you think that this dispute with Cambodia would top Burma in …

Tiger mauls ex-Gisborne woman on mission work
Gisborne Herald, New Zealand –
While here they were members of the Mangapapa Union Parish, members of which still support them in their work in the Myanmar-Thailand border area. …

Situation in Burma critical, says exiled prime minister
Irish Times, Ireland –
Aung San Suu Kyi, still under house arrest in Burma, is occasionally able to get a message out to the exiled cabinet. Dr Win, who is her first cousin, …

Initially, many Burmese – including General Aung San, the father of the currently imprisoned pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the man who would …

More go hungry as world food prices rise
Stock Journal, Australia –
The Humanitarian Action Report says the devastation caused by cyclone Nargis in Burma last May has meant about 20000 children still suffer food shortages. …

Error of judgment
guardian.co.uk, UK –
Even the cyclone appeal for Burma had profoundly political implications, as the military junta blocked access of aid agencies to the Irrawaddy Delta. …

OBI Reaches Milestone with Food Delivery
Christian Broadcasting Network, VA –
After Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar last year, OBI was able to enter the country even after Burma authorities had blocked the aid of several international …

UN envoy to visit Myanmar
Straits Times, Singapore –
UNITED NATIONS – THE UN special envoy to Myanmar will be returning soon to pursue a dialogue between the country’s military rulers and the opposition led by …

War, disasters cause an extra 100 million hungry
Australia Network News, Australia –
UNICEF’s 2009 Humanitarian Action Report says Africa is in the most dire situation, and communities in Burma and East Timor are also finding it harder to …

Pressure is mounting on the Thai Government to reveal the truth about allegations that its military towed hundreds of Burmese refugees out to sea and …

Spread of Malaria Strain Feared as Drug Loses Potency
New York Times, United States –
… the United States has put aside political considerations and approved a malaria monitoring center in military-run Myanmar, formerly Burma. …

UN envoy to visit Myanmar soon, UN says
eTaiwan News, Taiwan –
By EDITH M. LEDERER AP The UN special envoy to Myanmar will be returning soon to pursue a dialogue between the country’s military rulers and the opposition …

Asean pacts ‘on track’ for passage
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
Mr Kasit was a leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) that led protesters in their blockade of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports last …

Customs clarifies rules on banned Burmese gems
National Jeweler Network, NY –

In September 2008, the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008 became law, specifying that all rubies and jadeite originally from Myanmar (formerly called …

UN envoy Gambari to visit Myanmar for talks on democracy
Monsters and Critics.com –
New York – The United Nations envoy for Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, will soon visit Myanmar to continue discussions on the democratic process in the Southeast …

Feds Update Burma Jade Law
Jewelers Circular Keystone Online, NY –
The Act specifies that all rubies and jadeite originally from Burma (also known as Myanmar) or jewelry containing these gemstones cannot enter this country …

UNHCR concern for 126 Rohingya boat people
The New Nation, Bangladesh –
“Given the new Thai government’s commitment to human rights, we are eager to discuss with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya ways that this crisis can be …

mediabistro.com, NY –
Democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi has spent the last 12 years under house arrest in Myanmar, her home country. She’s the leader of the National League for .

From Arms to Art
The Epoch Times, NY –
Imagine hip-hop artists in Iran, slam poets in Moscow, video artists in Burma. Forget about weapons of mass destruction; let’s unleash artists of mass …

Burmese Boat People Scandal Exposes Thai PM’s Debt to Army
Jakarta Globe, Indonesia – 6 hours ago
In his one month as Thai Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva has made much of the need for human rights and the rule of law at the heart of government. …

Rohingyas face ‘slow burning genocide’: Activist
Mizzima.com, India –
Migration of Rohingyas, who mainly reside in parts of Burma’s western Arakan state, in search of greener pastures will persist until the root cause is …

First ever political journal to be published soon
Mizzima.com, India –
… army veteran and former government mouthpiece daily paper ‘New Light of Myanmar’ Vice Editor-in-Chief U Thiha Aung. “Burma is heading towards democracy. …

Government in exile urged to negotiate with opposition groups
Mizzima.com, India –
Dr. Sein Win, a cousin brother of detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has served the NCGUB as Prime Minister since its formation in 1990. …

Is Burma’s former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt to be freed soon?
Mizzima.com, India –
Khin Nyunt, after he took over as Prime Minister in 2003, announced the seven-step road map to democracy that the present regime is still implementing. …


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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm

A New U.S. Strategy for Burma

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Mizzima

by Zo Tum Hmung

Sunday, 25 January 2009 19:46

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States will mark major changes in policy in many areas at home and internationally. However, the Obama administration is highly likely to continue the Bush policy of pushing for restoration of civilian democratic rule in Burma. The new administration should try a new strategy toward the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the ruling military regime in Burma by finding a common ground among key international players on the situation in Burma.

Because time is of the essence, now is the time to think differently – before Burma’s 2010 election.

The United States has pursued bilateral sanctions against the SPDC for years. Burma’s powerful neighbors, China and India, have frustrated this. People close to the Indo-Burma Kaladan project, a $100 million port project in Burma, have confirmed to me that India is fully funding it to foster closer ties with Burma. In order to pursue economic recovery on domestically, Washington will need closer ties with both Beijing and Delhi. Neither India nor China will abandon their strategic relations with Burma, until the United States works with them as equal partners in solving Burma’s problems.

The Bush administration began to engage with members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and India bilaterally to put pressure on the Burmese military regime. The new administration should convene a multilateral talks involving all the parties concerned.

The Bush administration also put Burma on the agenda of the UN Security Council – an idea initially pushed by a June 2003 report from the Council on Foreign Relations task force. The Council members including Senators Richard Lugar (then the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee), Diane Feinstein, and Mitch McConnell, and the late Congressman Tom Lantos. The report by Vaclav Havel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in September 2005 reinforced the notion of Burma as a threat to international peace and security. When a draft resolution finally made it to the Security Council in January 2007, both Russia and China vetoed it. In October 2007, however, Russia and China agreed to a Presidential Statement from the Security Council, condemning violence against protests in Burma and calling for concerned parties to form a dialogue on national reconciliation.

In addition to the unitateral sanctions and working through the Security Council, the United States has supported the efforts of the UN Special Envoys. When Suu Kyi was released in 2002, the United States was hopeful for change. However, the Special UN Envoy Ismael Razali was soon frustrated by the lack of progress and resigned. In 2003, Suu Kyi was arrested again and has remained under house arrest ever since. The appointment of Ibrahim Gambari as a UN envoy led to further hopes, but has yet to produce meaningful results.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also convened an informal consultation of “Friends of the Secretary-General on Burma,” 14 nations, to discuss the matter but not pursue specific action. The Secretary General was almost on the right track with his “Friends,” but the process was informal and there were too many nations involved.

Michael Green, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, recently wrote in Foreign Affairs that the UN approach has failed. In September 2007, I wrote in Mizzima News that the UN approach had failed to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

The realistic prospect of regime change either through the support of opposition groups in the 2010 election or through the support of internal uprisings is very slim. The military regime has already reserved 25 percent, of the parliamentary seats for the Army, giving themselves the upper hand before a single vote has been cast. They are determined not to repeat the 1990 election, when Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory. The military regime will protect its power by any means necessary.

The current strategy has failed for years to produce any meaningful results. Pursuing it further has even less chance of success. This argument does not suggest abandoning this course completely, especially pursuing a Security Council resolution. Rather, it is suggesting coordination of all the concerned parties through a formal framework which could eventually lead to a Security Council resolution.

Given the frustrations of the current, unilateral, uncoordinated approach, Washington should redouble its efforts, and lead all the parties concerned with Burma’s future in a formal, multilateral framework to find a common ground. There are three keys to a successful process.

First, President Obama should appoint a U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma as called for by Rep. Lantos’ Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008 as soon as possible. The Representative should be someone with extensive experience in negotiations and diplomacy.

Second, the Representative should take the lead in framing formal “Seven-Party Talks” involving China, India, ASEAN, the European Union, and the United Nations. I suggested in September 2007 in Mizzima News that a framework similar to the negotiations over North Korea would be the most effective way of reaching a negotiated settlement on Burma’s future. After he left his post with the Bush administration, Michael Green suggested six-party talks, leaving out the United Nations.

Third, the Representative should lead the Seven Parties in sending a common message to the SPDC. It will not be easy, but it is crucial to speak with one voice. The message should include the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as other political prisoners, along with democratic reforms. In delivering this message, the carrot offered to the SPDC should be reassurance that they are part of solution for Burma. The stick should be the promise of punitive action against them and the prospect of holding them accountable for all their actions.

There is no easy solution. But the new administration should launch a new strategy immediately. Given President Obama’s strength and popularity abroad and at home, and bipartisan Congressional support for action on Burma, Obama has a unique opportunity to forge a new path to reform.

Zo Tum Hmung is a former president of the Chin Freedom Coalition. He received a master’s degree from Harvard University, where he concentrated on foreign policy.

http://www.mizzima.com/edop/commentary/1600-a-new-us-strategy-for-burma.html



Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

World focus on Burma (26 January 2009)

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Win Tin rejects election talks with UN envoy
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
During his last visit, he was not able to meet with junta leader senior general Than Shwe or detained NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and was criticised for the …

Event celebrates Burmese culture
News Sentinel, IN –
The dictatorship renamed the country Myanmar. Dr. Nora E. Rowley, a member of the US Campaign for Burma, said she witnessed the abuses of the regime against …

Photos show refugees cast adrift
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –

THE first pictures have emerged showing hundreds of refugees who had fled Burma being towed into international waters on the order of the Thai Army and …

Netaji: The Undying Legend
Mainstream, India –
He collected Rs 25 crores from Indians in Burma, now Myanmar. A Muslim businessman gave away all his worldly possessions worth over a crore of rupees. …

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Malaysian, Thai Officials Trafficking Burmese …
Inter Press Service, Italy –
“They are left stranded, unable to return to Myanmar (official name for Burma) where they face certain persecution by the military regime and rejected from …

More go hungry as world food prices rise
The Age, Australia –
The Humanitarian Action Report says the devastation caused by cyclone Nargis in Burma last May has meant about 20000 children still suffer food shortages. …

Soaring Kyat Means More Economic Turmoil for Burmese
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

Falling world prices and slack demand are hitting Burmese rice farmers especially hard. Already struggling to cope with the effects of Cyclone Nargis, …

Sein Win Re-elected PM of Government-in-Exile
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Sein Win is a cousin of Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbolic leader of the NLD. His new term of office is four years. Bo Kyi, a leading Burmese dissident in Mae …

Obama Speech Censored in Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Last week, the Agence-France Presse (AFP) news agency reported that the Burmese junta hopes that the new US president will change Washington’s tough policy …

8 Bangladeshis Kidnapped by Arakanese Insurgents
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
The DPA is a small armed group fighting against the Burmese military government and is a member of the Arakan National Council. The Arakan National Council …

Labour activist jailed for 10 years
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Jan 26, 2009 (DVB)–Labour activist Zaw Htay, who helped farmers file a report to the International Labour Organisation on land seizure in Magwe’s Nat Mauk …

Rice Traders’ Association chair dismissed
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
The remaining 18000 kyat was spent on providing aid for Cyclone Nargis victims, Win Kyaing said. “He said the association had spent 2 million kyat over the …

NCGUB appoints three new ministers
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Senior National League for Democracy member Win Tin said he supported all efforts for democracy in Burma but warned that the establishment of a new …

Residents Forced to Clean Town for PM’s Trip
Narinjara News, Bangladesh –
Maungdaw: Residents in Maungdaw have been forced by district authorities to clean their town in advance of a visit by the Burmese military junta’s prime …

Burmese celebration ‘shows we are united’
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN –
Day 2, we make democracy.” With President Obama taking the reins in the United States, Soe said he hopes the end of the regime in Myanmar can happen soon. ..

SHRF MONTHLY REPORT – JANUARY 2009
Shan Herald Agency for News, Thailand –
… rigging the coming election as it has just done in the May 2008 referendum, perpetuating their suffering under various brutal human rights violations. …

Australia Day honours list
Brisbane Times, Australia –
For distinguished service to the community through the advancement of human rights and social justice, and by raising public awareness and understanding of …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 26, 2009 at 10:22 am