Save Burma

အာဏာရွင္စနစ္ က်ဆံုးမွ တတိုင္းျပည္လံုး စစ္မွန္တဲ့ ဒီမိုကေရစီကို ခံစားရမယ္

Posts Tagged ‘torture

World focus on Burma (16 December 2008)

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Glimmers of hope for Burma
Across the Aisle, DC –
… junta of Burma certainly fits that bill, as demonstrated in its complete disregard for its citizens’ livelihoods in the aftermath of cyclone Nargis that …

Mekong a ‘treasure trove’ of 1000 newly discovered species
War is always a threat in countries touched by the Mekong River, particularly Burma. Also known as Myanmar, the largest country by geographical area in …

EarthRights International Special Commentary:, DC –
When asked what advice he would give to private businesses invested in Burma’s (Myanmar’s) energy sector, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon firmly stated …

Isolation or Engagement? It’s Than Shwe’s Choice
MorungExpress, India –
His treatment of the democratic opposition and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and 2000 other political prisoners are also taboo topics. …

ASEAN sets summit, welcomes charter
MorungExpress, India –
… is likely to arise in the case of Myanmar, formerly Burma, where the ruling military junta violently suppressed protests led by Buddhist monks in 2007. …

Vijay Diwas: Maneckshaw stamp released
Times of India, India –
He served in Myanmar, then called Burma, during World War II and was awarded the Military Cross for valour on the battlefield.

Former Czech president criticises EU for relations with Russia
Czech Happenings, Czech Republic –
The European Union should pay more attention to human rights questions on the international scene, starting with Cuba and ending with Burma, Havel said. …

Egat upbeat on Hatgyi prospects
เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand –
… organisations on concern that it will violate human rights, given that part of the project lies in an area occupied by minority groups in Burma. …

Afro-Asian organization demands release of Burmese political prisoners, India –
… (NGOs) today collectively called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, including democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. …

Exiled lawyer slams Burmese legal system
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Dec 16, 2008 (DVB)–A defence lawyer who fled Burma in October under threat of a prison sentence has detailed numerous unnecessary delays and restrictions in …

Junta bans popular Buddhist monk’s sermon, India –
by Myint Maung New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Burmese military junta authorities in Rangoon Division have banned a sermon by abbot U Thumingla, organizers and …

Thailand to host ASEAN summit
Times of the Internet, Ohio –
One of the ASEAN members is the military-ruled Myanmar, formerly called Burma. The junta in 2007 brutally put down protests led by Buddhist monks. …

NLD meeting banned, India –
by Myint Maung New Delhi (Mizzima)– A meeting to prepare for Burma’s Independence Day by a branch of the National League for Democracy was banned by local …

Eight migrant workers killed in truck crash
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Htoo Chit, director of the Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development, said the cause of the accident was not yet known. …

Pro-junta group gearing up to contest elections, India –
… for transforming Burma to a multi-party democracy. But he later turned against and became a critic of main opposition forces including Aung San Suu Kyi …

AK-47s—Made in Wa State
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By LAWI WENG The United Wa State Army (UWSA), an armed ethnic ceasefire group based in Shan State, northern Burma, is manufacturing arms and ammunition for …

Crackdown on Freedom of Speech Condemned
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By MIN LWIN The World Association of Newspapers condemned the crackdown on freedom of expression in Burma, in a press statement released on Monday. …

More Calls for Ban to Visit Burma
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
… Burma by the end of December to persuade the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners, including detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi …

Thailand to Host Postponed Asean Summit in February
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Military-ruled Burma strongly opposes giving the human rights body the power of even monitoring or investigating violations. Asean secretary-general Surin …

Burmese women in exile honoured with Madeleine K. Albright Award, India –
She also met Burmese democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997. Madeleine Albright, in recently released report on preventing genocide, urged US, …

Biggest ever Burma ‘Dirty List’ published
World Travel Guide, UK –
Burma Campaign UK has published a list of 170 companies that directly or indirectly help to finance the military junta ruling Burma (Mynamar). …

Holiday greetings from Burma….
OpEdNews, PA –
“But what about the Junta,” you might ask. “We’ve heard that Myanmar a military state. Are you safe?” Apparently the generals all live in some new capital …

Rice yield down in Bogalay after cyclone
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Dec 16, 2008 (DVB)–The rice yield in areas of Bogalay township in Burma’s delta region has dropped this year in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, …

60 years on, UN rights declaration faces new challenges
Monday Morning, Lebanon –

“Today no government denies that human rights are a valid concern of the international community. They may fail to respect human rights but they can’t deny …

Fugitive lawyer defending political prisoners flees to Thai border, India –
by Than Htike Oo Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Young lawyer Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min who represented political prisoners fled to the Thai-Burma border in the wake of an …

Myanmar in an hour and a half
Earthtimes (press release), UK –
Then there is Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, a notoriously corrupt

Bush met the writer and bloggers
OpEdNews, PA –
… marked Human Rights Day on Wednesday by meeting with a writer from Sudan and six bloggers from Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, and Myanmar(Burma). …

More than 1000 previously unknown species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong, a region comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, …

Tortured for seeking democracy
St Marys Star, Australia –


BY KYLIE STEVENS But it’s been a serious crime in Burma [Myanmar] since the military seized power in 1988. More than 2000 political prisoners are currently …

Over 1000 New Species Found: World’s Largest Huntsman Spider …
Associated Content, CO –
World Wildlife Foundation researchers reported in First Contact: New Species Discoveries that the area, which is comprised of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, …

Asia’s bio-frontier at risk
First, the Greater Mekong – which takes in areas of China’s Yunnan Province as well as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – includes some …

Biggest Burma ‘Dirty List’ Exposes New Companies
OneWorld US, DC –
“To those that claim investment aids the people of Burma, the evidence shows the opposite is true. As investment has increased, the human rights situation …

The dangerous vacuum at the end of Pax Americana
Daily Star – Lebanon, Lebanon –
The evidence of this will be seen not only in global institutions but also in places like Darfur, Zimbabwe, and Burma. Until this happens, let us all hope …

Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede a Highlight of New Species Finds
International Business Times, NY –
There are already twenty-three other dragon millipedes of the genus Desmoxytes in the Southeast Asia area from southeaster China, south through Myanmar, …

Dragon Millipede, Laotian Rock Rat Only Some of Species Found in …
Associated Content, CO –
A majority of the creatures were found in rainforests and wetlands along the Mekong River, which goes through Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, …

Gwynne Dyer: Democracy fails in Thailand
Georgia Straight, Canada –
Relatively few Asian countries are openly run as dictatorships nowadays—China, Vietnam and Burma are the main exceptions—but the urban elites and the big …

ASEAN steps out in European style
The Standard, Hong Kong –
… provision to sanction members like Burma, where the junta has kept democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for most of the past 18 years. …

The junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989, partly in order to legitimize their rule over parts of the country like Kachin, …

Rights & Wrongs: New Media Targeted, Sonic Torture, US Arms Deals …
World Politics Review –
… the anniversary to call on the world community, and the UN in particular, to secure the release from house arrest of Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi. …

Activist Calls for Wife’s Release
自由亚洲电视, Washington DC –

A Burmese social activist wanted for helping the victims of Cyclone Nargis says they have sentenced his pregnant wife to 26 years in jail. …

Smuggling Elephants Out of Myanmar
Asian Tribune, Thailand –
United Nations, 16 December ( : About 250 live Asian Elephants have been smuggled from Myanmar (Burma) in the past decade, mostly destined …

Abhisit, Chuan’s young protege gets his turn at last
Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
… a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (as did former Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj and Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi). …

More Than 1000 New Species Discovered in Rivers, Jungles…and …
MarketWatch –
The region comprises the six countries through which the Mekong River flows including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese …

More than 1000 species discovered in Mekong: WWF
The species were all found in the rainforests and wetlands along the Mekong River, which flows through Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the …

One thousand new species found in Greater Mekong region: WWF
Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand –
… four birds, four turtles, two salamanders and a toad, in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. …


World focus on Burma (15 December 2008)

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Crisis in DRC caused by access to weapons
ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
… Women in Black – Belgrade [Serbia]; Women of vision association; Women of Vision Association [Nigeria]; Women’s League of Burma. By Emergency:

Abhisit, Chuan’s young protege gets his turn at last
Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
… a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (as did former Prime Minister Kukrit Pramoj and Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi). …

Still the land of opportunity?, WA –
Some of the most recent have come from the South Asian countries of Bhutan and Myanmar, the former Burma, farmers whose skills are of little use to them in …

Activists urge Canada to assign special envoy to Burma, India –
Canada has long condemned Burma’s military junta for failing to keep its promise to implement changes, and had supported the pro-democracy movement. …

A postcard from prison, India –
The SPDC [Burmese military government] said they will work toward a democratic process and make positive changes in human rights. But the head of the Burma …

… and military-ruled Burma. ASEAN’s Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan says that all members have work to do on the charter’s commitments. “Democracy …

UN to commemorate former Secretary General U Thant, India –
Despite of his popularity, Burma’s military dictator General Newin, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1962, refused to honor him with a state funeral, …

Thailand’s new PM likely to be more ‘pro-Active’ on Burma: Activist, India –
While the election of Abhisit as the new Prime Minister signals an end to the immediate political crisis, Burmese pro-democracy activists based in Thailand …

Burma: Ne Win’s Daughter Freed
UNPO, Netherlands –
Ne Win took power in a bloodless military coup in 1962, and remained in power until 1988, when a pro-democracy uprising forced him to step down and hand …

Ethnic Chin group rejects junta’s 2010 election plans, India –
The CNF passed the resolution during their Fourth Congress held on the Indo-Burma border from the 8th to the 13th of this month, according to the …

Lancia and the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates for human rights
Autochannel (press release) –
Now a prisoner in her own homeland, Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. This edition of the Summit is dedicated to her, the utmost example …

Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, UK –
The technology also gives organisations like the BBC footage that would be difficult to obtain otherwise, for example the BBC is barred from entering Burma …

Promotions Seen as Part of 2010 Election Plan
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
By MIN LWIN Burma’s military government, the State Peace and Development Council, has promoted a number of senior officers and created new positions in what …

Sandar Win Walks Free After 6 Years
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand – 6

Ironically, the junta has leveled similar accusations at Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who married a British citizen.

Isolation or Engagement? It’s Than Shwe’s Choice
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) will head the $2.5 billion pipeline project with a 50.9 percent stake, while Burma’s state-run Myanmar Oil and …

St. Catharines Standard, Canada –
In Darfur, Congo, Burma and other nations, human rights abuses occur at disturbing levels with no serious response from international society. …

Asean Charter Comes into Force
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

From left to right, Lotian Deputy Foreign Minister Bounkeut Sangsomsak, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Rais Yatim, Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win, …

Burmese Defense Lawyer Flees to Thailand, Blasts Regime
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
According to the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar, Myint Aye funded the bombing, which it said had been carried out by two members of the opposition …

When it was finally signed a year ago, one of its members – Burma – had just made headlines by brutally suppressing pro-democracy demonstrations. …

Turn Left Thailand
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Australia –
After the deliberate chaos created by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) seizure of the airports, the courts stepped in to dissolve the hugely …

Thailand’s Democrat Putsch
Asia Sentinel, Hong Kong –
Chief among them is “Newin Chitchorp”, who was named by his father after the infamous Burmese dictator. The Democrat Party is known among the cyber …

Fresh pressure from junta on UWSA, India –
Burma’s military junta has announced that as the fifth step of its seven-step roadmap to democracy, a general election will be held in 2010, in accordance …

ASEAN charter comes into force
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia –
The bloc’s proposed new rights body has no teeth and the charter has no provision to sanction members like Burma, where the junta has kept democracy leader …

Treaties lead to world government
Augusta Chronicle, GA –
… Burma, China and Russia. America would be surrendering its freedom of the seas to an “unaccountable international agency,” say US security experts. …

Former Burmese dictator’s daughter released from house arrest
Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
Dec 15, 2008—Officials in Burma have released the daughter of the country’s former dictator Ne Win after six years under house arrest, police said on …

Freedom Fighters Need Not Apply
Washington Post, United States –
The denials have included that of a Burmese lawyer who had smuggled anti-government brochures into Burma from Thailand; an Afghan owner of a muffler shop in …

In Praise Of Laura Bush
Forbes, NY –
That said, she has earned worldwide applause for her stand against the Burmese junta. And she has gone on record, with an unfussy but firm statement on TV, …

The bore’s head in hand bear I
Times Online, UK –
But 2008, as well as being the year of a world financial crisis, was also the year a resurgent Russia attempted to snuff out democracy on its borders, …

Bush arrives in Afghanistan for visit, Australia –
You worry about dictators? the head of the UN is from “Burma”. The 5… Nick Again, Maryborough on Journalist flings shoes at President Bush.

Cost of Bangkok Airport Closures Estimated at 540 Million Baht
eTravelBlackboard – Asia Edition, Australia –
The consequences of the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s (PAD) week-long siege of Bangkok’s two main airports will affect AoT’s operation for six months. …

Monday, December 22 (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
1942 – US heavy bombers raid Japanese-occupied Rangoon, Burma _ now Myanmar, in World War II. 1944 – During the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans demand the …

Asean’s charter has to negotiate uncharted waters
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
That is no surprise as many Asean members such as Burma, Laos and Vietnam are under dictatorial rule. They do not want the people’s participation. …

Airlines seek redress for PAD action
Bangkok Post, Thailand –
… resolved to sue leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) for compensation equivalent to its disruption costs and loss of future revenue. …

UWSA faces renewed pressures, India –
Burma’s military junta has announced that as the fifth step of its seven-step roadmap to democracy, a general election will be held in 2010, in accordance …

Labor camp escapee tells of harrowing tale

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by Myint Maung and Haui Pi

Monday, 27 October 2008 18:38

After suffering various atrocities, including torture, and working at the hard labor Lend Tlann prison camp in Tiddim Township, Chin State, U Pyinyarthiri – a Rangoon monk originally from Pyigyitagun Township, Mandalay Division – escaped to the Indian state of Mizoram on the 18th of last month.

He took part in the monk-led Saffron Revolution last September and was arrested in Monywa by authorities on the 18th of October 2007 for his participation in the uprising, subsequently being sentenced to three years imprisonment. After spending about seven months in Monywa prison he was sent to the Lend Tlann prison labour camp in Chin State in late May 2008.

Mizzima interviewed him on his life in prison, the inhumane torture he suffered and on how he escaped.

Q: What was your role in the Saffron Revolution?

A: I took part in the Saffron Revolution by joining hands with All Burma Monks Alliance (ABMA) leading monk U Awbartha.

Q: How were you arrested?

A: All the leading monks, including myself, were on the run when the junta issued arrest warrants after the Saffron Revolution. Military Affairs Security (MAS), Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) members and police came to my monastery and searched for me three times while I was on the run. Fortunately, I was out when they arrived. After that, I decided to flee to Monywa.

I was arrested on the 18th of October 2007 at about 7 p.m. at the Soft Link internet café. I think the café owner called police while I was checking my mail. As soon as I left the internet café the police arrived and arrested me.

Q: Who arrested you and where you were taken?

A: About 25-30 riot police and soldiers arrested me. They just said they had something to ask me and then I was taken to the police station. I replied to them, “You can ask me here if you want. What do you want to ask me?” But they said, “Answer at the police station, you will be questioned there.” Then I was taken to the No. 1 Monywa police station.

Q: How did they interrogate you?

A: They were not pleased with my answers, I did not tell them what they wanted to hear. The worst persons during torture were MAS officials Ko Ko Aung and U San Win. They kicked my chest with their combat boots and stomped on my face with my hands handcuffed behind me. Every question was accompanied by kicks and punches to my head and body. I was almost unconscious. I fell on the table in front of me when they kicked me from the back. At last I could not endure anymore such torture. They twisted my arms and tried to break them, which affected the nervous system in my hand.

They pressed between my rib bones. They slapped me on my temple and pulled my earlobes violently. They stepped on my shins which left me with severe pain until I was sentenced to prison term. I could not walk well. They interrogated me by all means available to them. My little toes were swollen. When I could not endure anymore torture, I head-butted the table in front of me, trying to knock myself unconscious. Police officer U Aung Win, sitting beside me, held me and said, “Please don’t do like that, my reverend. We are acting under the command of higher authority.”

After that, they eased their torture and harsh treatment directed at me. I was interrogated all day and night from the 18th to 24th of October, without even being allowed to drink water. When their higher officers came, they took me to another room for interrogation. These higher officials said to my interrogators, “Interrogate him until he breaks and get the required result.” They once even threatened me by saying, “We will light candles on your body during interrogation”.

They asked me if I knew 88 generation students, had any contact with them or with NLD party members. I replied, “I don’t know anyone you have asked about and have no contact with them.” But they said, “We already have all the facts. Are you a member of the ABFSU (Student Union) or CPB (communist party)? They accused me of things like that.”

Finding a library card of from the American Center in my wallet worsened the situation. They asked me if I attended political trainings conducted at the center. “What are the materials of these trainings? We will use harsher interrogation methods against you if you don’t cooperate with us.”

“You are in our hands now and we can do anything at our will. If you don’t answer and cooperate with us, we shall kill you without leaving any word or clue as to your fate, even at the expense of our designation and occupation, we don’t mind. We know many methods to kill you.”

Then they framed many counts of charges against me, such as ‘disaffection towards the state and government’, ‘joining an unlawful association’, ‘holding foreign currency illegally’. At last, they sentenced me to three years imprisonment under the Foreign Currency Regulation Act to maintain the myth that there are no political prisoners in Burma. Then I was sent to Monywa prison on the 24th of October.

Q: Please tell us about your prison life in Monywa?

A: There were many informers following me inside the prison. They watched me and eavesdropped on me when I talked with someone. I would then be called to the prison office and told, “What did you say to him? Our men are everywhere watching you. Don’t do anything wrongful, otherwise we shall defrock you”.

MAS officer U San Win and two Special Branch (SB) police personnel, along with head monk U Zawtika from Shweku Monastery in Monywa, later visited Monywa prison to defrock me at least three or four times.

U Zawtika told me, “If you are defrocked you cannot be ordained again even when you are released, as your monkshood registration card has been seized and cancelled. However, if you agree to be defrocked now, you might be allowed to be ordained again later.”

Similarly, the assistant jailor frequently tried to persuade me to be defrocked. He asked me many questions about the Buddhist disciplinary code of conduct, about the ABMA and about the monks who joined the Saffron Revolution – things like that. Later I found out this jailor was an informer of MAS officer U San Win.

Q: How many of the political prisoners in Monywa prison were Buddhist monks?

A: Yes, there are many political prisoners in Monywa prison, including six Buddhist monks. There are about ten political prisoners in total. I noticed an old political prisoner named U Saw Htun from Myitkyina, who was in a solitary confinement in cell.

Q: Was there any persecution and ill-treatment against you in prison?

A: Yes, they persecuted me in prison too. They came and interrogated me again when U Gambira was arrested. They asked me, “Where are the other leading monks of ABMA? Where does U Awbartha live? Whom do you know of the leading abbots who protested in the Saffron Revolution?” I replied that I didn’t join the Saffron Revolution. But they didn’t accept my answer.

Q: After being sentenced to prison on January 18th, where were you sent?

A: I was transferred to Kale prison on the 21st of May 2008. After spending about one week in Kale prison, I was sent to the Lend Tlann prison labour camp in Tiddim Township, Chin State, at the end of May.

Q: Did they interrogate you in Kale prison?

A: No, they didn’t interrogate me again in Kale prison as I was fettered and getting ready to be sent to prison labor camp. A total of 100 prisoners were sent there from Monywa prison. Some of them were escapees from prison labour camps. Some were porters used in military operations. These escapees were double fettered. Two-by-two, we were sent to Kale prison from Monywa prison with fetters attached.

Q: What work did you do in the labor camp?

A: We had to start hard labor by carrying heavy logs for firewood while fettered. In hilly Chin State, as you know, there are many ravines and steep hills. We had to carry these heavy logs from the bottom of the ravines to the hilltops, including Sundays, without holidays. When carrying logs, the man in back must keep pace with the front man, otherwise the security guards would beat him up. When someone fell to the ground from exhaustion after a long workday, a security guard would come and kick him in the chest. We had such ill-treatment and persecution in this labor camp.

Q: How about your health while in the labor camp?

A: We had our meals rationed, the notorious so-called ‘Briyani’ (Danbauk) meal. It was a mixture of small stones, un-husked paddy and even some mice feces. The work was so hard but we were poorly fed. Within two to three weeks, the prisoners became pale and lost weight due to malnutrition. Some fell ill and others got bruises and abscesses due to our fetters. Some got boils. I myself got a boil three or four times. A monk from Myitkyina died of the harsh prison environment on the last full moon day of Waso.

Q: Did you get any wage for your labor in the camp?

A: Every prisoner in the camp earned 2,000 kyat per day (less than two dollars), which went to the prison authority. If we had no work to do in the camp, we had to work outside. If we could earn over 2,000 kyat per day, the extra money would be ours and we could buy some food and snacks with this little money.

Q: Why did you flee to India?

A: Two SB (police intelligence) came to Lend Tlann prison labor camp and interrogated me again. They interrogated me continuously on the 15th of September from 9 to 6 p.m., asking, “Do you know the leading monks of ABMA?” I did not have a meal on that day. They kicked and punched me when I could not answer their questions. They asked me, “You are a member of ABMA, aren’t you? Where are the leading members of ABMA now?” And then I realized that they would take me again to Kale prison and put me on trial again with new charges. After that, I decided to try and escape from the camp on that night.

Q: How did you escape from Lend Tlann labor camp?

A: It has a double fence. The first one is a 10 foot high barbed wire one wound with logs. I had to scale over this perimeter, which hurt me much and left me with many injuries. But I had to scale over another 15 foot high barbed wire perimeter fence also. I was bloodied all over my body that night. After crossing the two barriers, I could heave sigh of relief. And then I walked all the night only with the light of a gas lighter. I ran and ran all the night without knowing my proper direction. I had to carefully go down some ravines in this hilly region for over four to five hours.

I crossed some heavy bushes on my hands and knees. I could not care about the danger of beasts but had to cover as much distance as I could. I ate only eastern gooseberries found in the wilderness when I was hungry and thirsty. I spent two days and two nights in this fashion in the wilderness.

Fortunately I found an ethnic Chin youth in the forest. He gave me his lunch box and water. I ate and drank everything with uncontrollable hunger. Then he gave me three cucumbers. I ate them all to quench my thirst. I asked him to show me the way to the Indian border. He showed me the correct way to go. I gave him 2,000 kyat as a thank you, all the money I had. At last, I reached Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram in India.

Q: Were you kept on fetters when you escaped from the camp?

A: They removed the fetters after I gave 50,000 kyat to the prison authority in mid-August, which made it easy to escape from the camp.

Q: What would you like to say concerning the junta’s arbitrary arrest of monks?

A: Even in the brutal and wicked Anglo and Japanese occupations of Burma, these war mongers and imperialists didn’t persecute the monks as the junta is doing now. I cannot find proper words to express the brutality and wickedness of the ruling junta which claims themselves as devout and venerated devotees of the Buddhist Sasana (teachings).

I wish them to stop such atrocities otherwise they will be thrown into the dustbin of history. Nowadays the strongmen and dictators around the world are falling one after another. The world can scarcely see the ruling junta in Burma. They have time to correct their erroneous views. The hatred and prejudice pierced into their hearts will create suffering for themselves and also for the entire people. As soon as they can see the truth, this hatred and prejudice can be converted then and there. Otherwise, the suffering of the people will be exacerbated. I would like to urge them to correct themselves as soon as possible.

Q: What is your future plan?

A: Though the Saffron Revolution movement was suppressed by the violent and brutal crackdown unleashed by the junta, and followed by arbitrary arrest, torture and persecution, there are still nearly 300,000-400,000 monks with ABMA leading abbot U Awbartha. I am determined to continue my struggle against this evil regime by non-violent means, along with my fellow monks and lay people, until my death.

The current situation is like the elephant taking a step backwards to deliver a heavy blow with its tusk soon after. Many brave fighters were born out of this Saffron Revolution. They are like the soccer stars. We only need teamwork with perfect and accurate passing, precise shots on goal and conviction and determination for victory. We are rebuilding these things now.

The most important thing is not to be selfish when the ball is at your feet. Every pro-democracy and democracy loving organization needs to practice democratic principles and values themselves.

Democracy cannot be given by others, it must be practiced by the self. There is no democracy in the junta’s hands, so we cannot ask for democracy from them. It is wasting time. The people must be in unity with strong conviction and determination to achieve total victory. They must join hands with monks and students. I myself, with strong commitment, am determined to join hands with them in this struggle.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

October 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Escapee Describes Torture in Burma

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The only leader of Burma’s 2007 uprising known to have escaped custody says monks have been singled out for rough treatment.

NEW DELHI—The only leader of Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution to escape from a junta prison camp has described torture and backbreaking hard labor in custody.

Ashin Panna Siri spoke after arriving safely in New Delhi following his breakout from the Lin Dan prison camp in Burma’s Chin state on Sept. 15. He was a close associate of U Gambira, leader of the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, which spearheaded last year’s uprising against the military junta that has ruled Burma since 1988.

“I was badly tortured during interrogation [by] agents from military security affairs [formerly military intelligence], and special branch police and conventional police,” Ashin Panna Siri said in an interview.

“I was forced to do squatting and stand on one foot while answering questions. When I couldn’t answer or the answer was unsatisfactory, I was punched in the head, face, and ribs. My toes were stepped on by boots,” he said.

“The military security agent was worst. He kicked my face with boots and also kicked my chest. He said he wouldn’t care if he was dismissed for using violent methods. He also put his pistol on table and threatened me.”

On Sept. 15, Ashin Panna Siri said, he scaled two barbed-wire fences to flee the camp—one of them 10 feet high and one 15 feet high. He declined to disclose any details of his flight to India.

“I climbed over both fences. My hands and arms were torn and lacerated by the barbed wire. But I didn’t care,” he said

Hard labor

Even monks handed only brief sentences for their roles in the 2007 uprising were sent to hard labor camps, a punishment usually reserved for those handed longer terms, he said.

“Conditions in these camps are far worse than in proper prisons. The food is horrible. Rice mixed with stones and sometimes with rat feces. There was almost no proper medical care and inmates had to do very hard labor,” he said.

“Our feet were chained. We had to work from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and then from 1 p.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. We had only Sundays off. It was very hard labor. We had to bring timber logs and carry them on our shoulders. We had to dig ditches, pound gravel, and mend roads,” Ashin Panna Siri said.

While he was initially detained from Oct. 18-24 in police station #1 in Monywa, he said, “High-level military officials—I believe they were the divisional commander and deputy commander—visited quite often and closely supervised my questioning to get information from me. They asked my interrogators in front of me, ‘What is the situation now? What information did we get? Get it from him by any means!’”

Ashin Panna Siri was convicted Jan. 18, 2008 of possessing foreign currency, which he acknowledges having at the time of his arrest. “The reason they didn’t charge me with political acts is that they want to deny that there are any political prisoners in Burma,” he said.

Ashin Panna Siri hid with U Gambira after the crackdown, in which dozens were killed and thousands arrested. Arrested on Oct. 18, 2007, he spent seven months in Kalay prison before he was convicted and sent to hard labor.

Original reporting and translation by Ko Ko Aung and Nay Lin for RFA’s Burmese service. Service director: Nancy Shwe. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

World focus on Burma (26-7-2008)

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Burmese Army soldiers slaughter livestock in famine hit areas

A vengeful Burmese junta has been using Burmese Army soldiers to kill domestic animals in Darling village in Matupi Township, southern Chin state in areas that have been badly hit by food crisis. The slaughtering is a sort of revenge because the residents of the area did not vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum to approve the draft constitution.


7thSpace Interactive (press release), NY –

Before concluding its consideration of its agenda item on human rights, the Council took note of the Report of the Committee on Economic, …

Torture Survivor Campaigns for Freedom in Burma

NewsBlaze, CA –

At the panel discussion, Aung Din said the Burmese regime is holding about 2000 political detainees, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. …

City of London’s link to Burmese junta revealed

Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
… the generals running the oppressed south-east Asian nation. The London insurance involvement, to be exposed this week in a report by Burma Campaign UK, …

Burma: Calling Reporters and Bloggers to boycott Beijing and to …

OpEdNews, PA –

While I was studying in the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka in September 2007, there was a Saffron Revolution in Burma. The military regime …

Sports: Iraq flagged for “interference”

World Magazine, NC –

… has chosen to crack down on the democratically elected government that replaced the Hussein regime—while welcoming to Beijing Zimbabwe, Burma, Cuba, …


Guide and Gazette, UK –

For the oppressed people of Burma this date is particularly significant. It is the 20th anniversary of the massacre ending the last democratic uprising. …

Weekly Business Roundup (July 26, 2008)

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

At least 20 percent of the hundreds of millions of dollars for aid already channeled into Burma has been “lost,” reports Inner City Press, a New York-based …

UN Security Council Action Needed on Burma

The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –

… Burmese regime when UN mediator Ibrahim Gambari visits the country mid-August. Ban also convened a meeting of the so-called “Group of Friends” on Burma …

China Invented Everything

New America Media, CA –

And the Emperor grudgingly let the British Ambassador celebrate his birthday in Burma, and give him presents. They gave him clocks. …, Qatar –

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, requires foreign aid money to be converted first into foreign exchange certificates at a fixed price and then into the …

Not quite the end of history

National Post, Canada –

There’s no democracy in China, which imprisons its citizens at will, supports dictatorships in Burma and elsewhere and nevertheless demands respect for its …

UN: Myanmar taking cut of cyclone aid

United Press International –

Sean Turnell, an economist at Macquarie University in Sydney, said much of the aid is being delivered to Myanmar, formerly Burma, in the form of goods, …

AFC Challenge Cup ’08 Team Profile: Myanmar, Switzerland –

Amoy Ghoshal looks at the sole representative of ASEAN – Myanmar. Myanmar formerly played under the name of “Burma” and was very successful in the 1960s. …

Burma aid cash lost to regime, says UN

Financial Times, UK –

By Harvey Morris at the United Nations International aid money sent to Burma’s cyclone victims is being lost as a result of the junta’s foreign exchange …

The IOC dictatorship: let the Olympic muzzling begin

Georgia Straight, Canada –

I’d say it’s hardly the IOC’s business whether or not athletes express solidarity with oppressed peoples in places such as Tibet, Darfur and Burma… or …

DVD REVIEWS; Action Movies Fail to Deliver

RedOrbit, TX –

The story – Rambo to the rescue, along with some mercenaries, of a bunch of Christian missionaries in brutal and bloody Myanmar (Burma) – is just a device …

Charity May Begin at Home, But It’s Moving Online

Huffington Post, NY –

Online giving has had a particularly significant impact in responding to massive crises like Katrina, the Asian tsunami, the flooding in Burma and the …

Border row exposes Asean’s Achilles heel

Bangkok Post, Thailand –

Fresh from its successful work in spearheading an international humanitarian mission into cyclone-devastated Burma, the 10-country Asean abdicated from …

Farrow calls for Olympics protest

The Keene Sentinel (subscription), NH –

Myanmar was formerly known as Burma. Farrow also lamented President Bush’s decision to attend the opening ceremonies, saying it was “a missed opportunity …

Scoop World Coverage: Sec. Condoleezza Rice In NZ (press release), New Zealand –

And so you can count on US support for your efforts to integrate the ASEAN community. We want to continue to be a good partner and support ASEAN.” – Sec. …

Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World …

Times Online, UK –

In the 1950s, the Philippines and Burma were perceived as frontrunners for economic success, while Taiwan and South Korea were basket cases. …

Robert Fulford on Robert Kagan: Not quite the end of history

National Post, Canada –

There’s no democracy in China, which imprisons its citizens at will, supports dictatorships in Burma and elsewhere and nevertheless demands respect for its …

Voice of America –

ASEAN, together with the United Nations and Burma, formed the Tripartite Core Group after the international community pressured the Burmese government to …

Burmese blogger face the trial, India –

The court had begun hearing on one of the three charges against Nay Phone Latt, who is currently detained in Burma’s notorious Insein prison in Rangoon. …

Junta sentences 10 student activists to labour camps, India –

Tate Naing said, Burma’s military junta might have arrested the young Muslim students out of fear that their involvement in the protests during September …

Religious leaders vow to work for combating Aids/HIV

The Daily Star, Bangladesh –

But the prime concern of the government is that Bangladesh is surrounded by countries like India, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan where the disease is spreading …

UN Says as Much as 25 Percent of Burma Cyclone Aid Lost Due to …

FOXNews –

BANGKOK, Thailand — As much as 25 percent of cyclone relief aid in Burma (also known as Myanmar) is being lost because of the military government’s foreign …

Food top priority for Burma’s cyclone victims, India –

“The situation remains dire in Myanmar [Burma] ,” said Chris Kaye, WFP’s Country Director for Burma on Friday. “The vast majority of families simply don’t …

People in the News

Annapolis Capital, MD –

Myanmar was formerly known as Burma. PHOENIX – DMX rapped for reporters outside a Phoenix courtroom yesterday after pleading not guilty to felony charges of …

International aid for Burma (Myanmar) faces funding crunch

Christian Science Monitor, MA –

By Simon Montlake | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor BANGKOK, THAILAND – International efforts to help millions of people in Burma (Myanmar) …

Obama Statement on the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting

7thSpace Interactive (press release), NY –

I remain particularly concerned about conditions in Burma. I commend ASEAN for its attempts to reach the suffering people in southern Burma, who continue to …

World Focus on Burma (12-12-2007)

  1. un’s Pinheiro seeks return to Myanmar, meet opposition leaders
    International Herald Tribune, France – 11 hours ago
    AP GENEVA: The un’s special investigator on human rights in Myanmar said Tuesday he wants to return to the country as soon as possible to examine the …
  2. Forgetting Myanmar all over again
    Taipei Times, Taiwan –
    By Seth Mydans The streets are quiet in Myanmar. The “destructive elements” are in jail. The international outcry has faded. The junta’s grip on power seems …
  3. Thailand: 20000+ Burma Refugees Resettled, New Zealand – 11 hours ago
    Last week, under the world’s largest refugee resettlement programme, the number of Myanmar refugees who had left Thailand to begin new lives in third …
  4. Departures Of Burma Refugees From Thailand Top 20K, New Zealand –
    This cultural orientation is one of the crucial steps on a journey that has opened up new worlds to more than 20000 refugees from Myanmar who have left …
  5. Myanmar: Monks flee to Bangladesh to evade arrest
    ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
    The young monk said, he finally left Burma for Bangladesh as authorities were conducting raids in several monasteries in Arakan searching for him.
  6. Stubborn junta’s ‘fire and water’ foreign policy stymies diplomacy
    Bangkok Post, Thailand –
    It is time for everyone, especially world leaders and diplomats, to take a serious look at Burma’s foreign policy, which for almost two decades has managed …
  7. Canada’s Miss Universe 2005 not visiting to Burma
    Asian Tribune, Thailand –
    The article “Miss Universe Coming to Burma” appeared last week on Burmese version of ‘Myanmar Time’ weekly journal in Burma, quoting a source from a …
  8. United Nations Special Rapporteur Reports on Worsening Situation …
    US Department of State, DC –
    Today’s report to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma, Paulo Pinheiro, provided important details of …
  9. UN Official Condemns Burma’s Crackdown on Opposition
    Voice of America –
    By Lisa Schlein A United Nations investigator has condemned the military rulers of Burma for using excessive force in cracking down on pro-democracy …
  10. US Sanctions Against Myanmar Boosted
    The Associated Press –
    The bill’s sponsors said they want to stop the military leaders in Myanmar, also known as Burma, from dodging US sanctions by laundering gemstones in third …
  11. US House adopts sanctions on Myanmar’s gem, energy industries
    Forbes, NY –
    LONDON (Thomson Financial) – The US House of Representatives has unanimously adopted sanctions against military-ruled Myanmar, targeting the country’s …
  12. House Sanctions Myanmar’s ‘Blood’ Rubies
    AOL News Newsbloggers, VA –
    “Burma’s generals,” Lantos said, “fund this repression of their own people by selling off the country’s natural resources, especially oil and gems, …
  13. US House adopts sanctions against Myanmar
    AFP –
    … referring to Myanmar by its former name. Aung Din, the executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, said the international community should step up .
  14. US House passes bill hitting Myanmar gems, Chevron
    Guardian Unlimited, UK –
    Tom Lantos, bans the import of Myanmar gems into the United States, freezes the assets of the country’s leaders and stops the former Burma from using US …
  15. US House passes bill on Burma sanctions
    Financial Times, UK –
    Chevron criticised the house move yesterday, saying “punitive tax measures against one company will not serve the purpose of helping the people of Myanmar …
  16. US House approves bill to strengthen sanctions against Myanmar
    Xinhua, China –
    11 (Xinhua) — The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved by voice vote a bill that would halt Myanmar’s rubies and jades from entering the United …
  17. Bill to ban Burmese imports into US
    Daily Times, Pakistan –
    WASHINGTON: A bill moving through Congress this week will stop Burma from importing “blood rubies” into the United States, freeze the assets of its leaders …
  18. US bid to stop Burma gem imports
    BBC News, UK –

    The House of Representatives has voted to stop Burma’s rubies and high-quality jade from entering the United States. The measure tightens sanctions against …

  19. Bergenfield man sent money to Burma in violation of US restrictions, NJ –
    Wai admitted the funds were ultimately transmitted to Burma, officially known as Myanmar, a country that is under military rule and subject to US trade …
  20. Burma Legislation Moves Through Congress
    Voice of America –

    By Dan Robinson Legislation to tighten US sanctions against Burma’s military government is moving through Congress. voa’s Dan Robinson reports from Capitol …

  21. Nonlocal News roundup 12/11 – Our solar system is dented
    Pegasus News, TX –
    The government of Myanmar (aka Burma) defends its violent crackdown. The un’s rights envoy to Sudan might be cut loose. A prisoner in Israel is awarded …
  22. Myanmar rejects UN human rights report
    Reuters –
    GENEVA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Myanmar on Tuesday rejected a UN envoy’s report that said the ruling junta had used excessive force in September to quell …
  23. India: Life on the front-line of India’s missions
    Aid to the Church in Need (press release), Australia –
    It borders Tibet to the north, Myanmar (Burma) to the east and Assam to the south. Nagaland lies towards the southeast and Bhutan to the west. …
  24. Back to normal in Burma – “Torture, Imprisonment, Death”
    Aid to the Church in Need (press release), Australia –
    By John Newton PEOPLE in Myanmar (Burma) continue to face strict government controls including imprisonment, torture and even death in the wake of uprisings …
  25. Bush condemns Myanmar crackdown after UN report
    Reuters India, India –
    Bush said he was “deeply disturbed” by UN human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro’s report describing how the military government in the former Burma …
  26. Statement by the President
    Business Wire (press release), CA –
    I am deeply disturbed by the report that UN Special Rapporteur Paulo Pinheiro released today in Geneva documenting his findings from his trip to Burma last …
  27. Myanmar Faces Sanctions Unless Democracy Talks Begin, Bush Says
    Bloomberg –
    Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, yesterday rejected a United Nations report criticizing the junta for using “excessive force” when soldiers crushed the …
  28. Bush warns Myanmar of world sanctions
    AFP –
    WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States will spearhead a global campaign to step up sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime if it continues to ignore calls .
  29. AJWS reports winter 07
    ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
    “Peace and stability have been restored in Myanmar, and life has returned to normal all over the country.” Thus spoke the UN envoy to Burma, Kyaw Tint Swe, …
  30. Burmese voices louder in 2007
    Bangkok Post, Thailand –
    If anyone deserves a Nobel peace prize this year, it’s Burma’s people and monks for taking to the streets against a brutish regime that has mired their …
  31. US threatens more Myanmar sanctions, Qatar –


    … of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and author of the bill, said the move would target top general’s in the government of Myanmar , also known as Burma .

  32. No democracy, more sanctions, Bush tells Myanmar
    Earthtimes, UK –

    Washington – US President George W Bush threatened further sanctions against Myanmar if its leaders don’t move toward democracy, saying he was “deeply …

  33. Myanmar needs our help
    St. Petersburg Times, FL –
    … Thailand and Vietnam are joining the global community and realizing increased economic growth and political freedom, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) …
  34. US closes loopholes in sanctions, India –
    December 12, 2007 – United States sanctions on the economic interests of Burma’s generals and companies conducting business in Burma are one step closer to …
  35. Double vision over Myanmar crackdown
    Asia Times Online, Hong Kong –
    The Human Rights Watch report, entitled “Crackdown: Repression of the 2007 Popular Protests in Burma”, was based on the testimony of over 100 witnesses to …
  36. India, Burma to sign mou for IT enhancement centre, India –
    “India is committed to extend assistance to Myanmar [Burma] on various developmental projects of mutual benefit including the Kaladan Multi-modal Transport …
  37. Cambodian leader blasts UN report
    Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway –
    Dec 12, 2007 (AP)–The UN should leave Burma alone and stop disrupting the junta’s progress toward democracy by issuing critical reports on human rights …
  38. This beauty and Burma shouldn’t mix
    National Post, Canada –
    A Burmese weekly, the Myanmar Times, recently signalled Glebova’s pending visit with an article that said she would also serve on a jury for the Ancient …
  39. US House backs crackdown on Myanmar gem trade
    International Herald Tribune, France –
    Sponsors of the bill that passed in the House by a voice vote said they wanted to stop the military leaders of Myanmar, formerly Burma, from dodging US …
  40. Rights group: Military perpetuates its rule
    Bangkok Post, Thailand –
    … point toward democracy, they should present concrete foreign policy proposals to end Thailand’s embarrassing ties with Burma’s generals,” Adams said. …
  41. New drive to talk Burma into reform
    The Australian, Australia –
    “The people of Myanmar (Burma) have suffered from isolation for such a long time and it is high time now for the Myanmar authorities and people to be able …
  42. Myanmar: Military offensive targeting villagers’ food supplies
    ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
    The Free Burma Rangers relief team reported on November 22 that since the army commenced operations to relocate villagers in 2006 the Burmese troops had …
  43. Myanmar/Burma: Investigatory body must be proven to exist
    ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland –
    “On 31 October 2007, the Government of Myanmar has established the Investigation Body [sic] chaired by the Minister for Home Affairs with a view to …
  44. un’s Pinheiro pleads with Myanmar for dialogue on human rights (Pressemitteilung), Austria –
    AP GENEVA (AP) – The UN special investigator for Myanmar pleaded with the country’s military junta on Wednesday to engage in a serious dialogue about human …
  45. Local girls inch closer to crown
    Nation Multimedia, Thailand –
    The Thai men’s side will compete in the third-place play-off despite a win over Burma yesterday. Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and reigning champions Thailand …
  46. For Burmese people, a friend in high places
    Christian Science Monitor, MA –

    … Burmese migrants on the Thai border has taught Cynthia Maung, herself a political refugee from military-ruled Burma (Myanmar), to expect the unexpected. …

  47. Hpao Lan Hpar Got a Heart Attack
    Asian Tribune, Thailand –
    (hold scrotum on the palm) The international community and analysts are now saying Burma has eventually become an autonomous region of China except in name. …
  48. Russian action against British Council ‘illegal’: Miliband
    AFP –

    That is Burma and Iran,” he said, using the former name for Myanmar. “I just hope the announcement today from Russia does not signal they are taking steps …

Courage to Resist

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Courage to Resist:
A new report details how women activists have been hunted down, assaulted, tortured and framed with false charges, and their family members threatened and held hostage in the recent crackdown in Burma.

Download – English

Source: Women’s League of BurmaWebsite:

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 23, 2007 at 6:51 pm