BurmaNet News, May 10, 2007
editor at burmanet.org
Thu May 10 13:57:24 EDT 2007
May 10, 2007 Issue # 3201
Irrawaddy: Naypyidaw workers complain of exploitation
DVB: Ninth-grader recruited by Burmese military
Xinhua: South Korean company to implement e-citizens project for Myanmar
Xinhua: Roundup: Construction of Asian highway Myanmar section to be
ON THE BORDER
Network Media Group: Burmese migrants arrested in Maesot
Irrawaddy: Drug fears lead Thailand to increase security on borders
Mizzima: Drugs worth Kyat six million seized in Sittwe
AFP: UN rights experts urge Myanmar to release democracy icon
UPI: North Korea, Sudan make worst regimes list
May 10, Irrawaddy
Naypyidaw workers complain of exploitation - Yeni
In a further indication that the construction of Burmas new capital,
Naypyidaw, is not proceeding as smoothly as the regime hoped, a group of
about 100 workers is complaining of exploitation by a company close to the
The workers, led by Kyaw Moe Latt from Pegu, signed a contract with the
Inn Arr Htat company to work on construction projects in Naypyidaw,
beginning in 2005. Inn Arr Htat is owned by Nay Moe Kyaw, who is nephew of
government member Lt-Gen Tin Aye.
Inn Arr Htat ceased work on the project in February this year, two months
before the contract was due to end. The company blamed a lack of raw
materials and financing, and ordered the workers to leave the construction
The disgruntled group complained to a workers management committee based
in nearby Pyinmana. According to documents obtained by The Irrawaddy, the
group finally received compensation totaling 850,000 kyat (about US $700),
less than a quarter of the 3,659,660 kyat (about $ 3,000) they say they
were due for the unfulfilled two months.
According to sources in Pyinmana, this is only one example of the
exploitation involved in the construction of Naypyidaw. Many exploited
workers, however, remain silent because their employers are powerful
construction companies with links to the regime.
The population of Naypyidaw has officially grown to 925,000 since its
founding as the new capital, which is experiencing a mini-boom in
economically backward Burma.
May 10, Democratic Voice of Burma
Ninth-grader recruited by Burmese military
A young boy aged between 14 and 15 from Rangoon's North Okkalapa township
was forcibly recruited into the Burmese military last month after leaving
his home to visit his aunt.
The boy, who can not be named, was taken off the street by a soldier from
the 435th Infantry Regiment on April 23, according to his mother Daw Nu Nu
"[After they took him] we went to the military unit of that soldier but we
weren't allowed to meet his commander. The guard at the gates told us that
age didn't matter," Daw Nu Nu Htway said.
"We went to the recruitment centre . . . and it turned out our son was
inside. We were able to send him some snacks and books and they let my son
write us a letter back."
The boy remains in military custody and has not been allowed to see his
parents, according to his family. It is not the first time a son of Daw Nu
Nu Htway has been forcibly recruited into the military.
"Our older son once ran away from home when he was a ninth grader. He and
his two friends arrived to Phayagyi train station in Bago and they were
threatened by a soldier to join the army or else they would be sent into a
prison," Daw Nu Nu Htway said.
"So they got frightened and had agreed to join the army. We followed to
Bago immediately and requested their captain to let our sons go. They were
let go after we had agreed to pay 20,000 kyats for each one of them."
The recruitment of child soldiers is unlawful under the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child and also violates child labour laws
set down by the International Labour Organization.
May 10, Xinhua General News Service
South Korean company to implement e-citizens project for Myanmar
Yangon: A South Korean company will implement an e-citizens project for
Myanmar after completion of a basic e-government project for the country,
according to the Myanmar telecommunications authorities Thursday.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday
between the state-run Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications and the Daewoo
International Corporation of South Korea, Daewoo will undertake the
project with the cooperation of Myanmar.
The signing took place during a visit to the new capital by Daewoo
President Young Won Kang and Korean EXIM Bank Chairman Cheon Sik Yang.
The Korean delegation met with Myanmar Minister of Communications, Posts
and Telegraphs Brigadier-General Thein Zaw on the day and discussions were
made on cooperation between the two countries in the sector of
communications, according to the sources.
Daewoo along with another South Korean company, KCOMS, had implemented the
basic e-government project for Myanmar under a 12- million-US-dollar
contract which covered provision of information and communication
technology infrastructure for the Myanmar government and linking of its 38
ministries to a high-speed internet network and computerizing of its
document management system and personnel management system.
So far, Myanmar has launched some e-government systems including e-visa,
e-passport, e-procurement and e-D (departure) form to effect management of
Of them, the e-D form system was the latest introduced in last November
for all travelers leaving the country to facilitate people across the
nation in their process for exit after a passport is ready at hand.
With a special website for e-D form purpose put up on the internet, the
e-D form system is being directly administered by the ministry based in
Nay Pyi Taw.
Myanmar's e-government project is implemented under the e-ASEAN Framework
Agreement signed at a regional summit in Singapore in 2000 with the aim of
narrowing the IT gap among the ten members of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Meanwhile, the authorities have projected to introduce 400 public internet
service centers in 324 townships in the country within three years to
facilitate communication links.
According to the authorities, the number of internet users in Myanmar has
reached to nearly 300,000, up from merely 12 four years ago.
May 10, Xinhua General News Service
Roundup: Construction of Asian highway Myanmar section to be continued
Yangon: A ground survey is underway to continue to build another section
of the Asian highway in Myanmar to stretch from Thingan Nyinaung to
Kawkareik in southeastern Kayin state, the local Yangon Times reported
A prior section which extends from Myawaddy to Thingan Nyinaung in the
state was completed with the assistance of Thailand last year.
Connecting Thailand's Maesot, the Asian highway Myanmar section stretches
as Myawaddy-Thingan Nyinaung-Kawkareik-Mawlamyine with a total length of
about 1,400 kilometers (km).
The present 40-km Thingan Nyinaung-Kawkareik section will be built also by
Thailand through the low-lying areas of the Dawna mountain range after the
18-km prior section of Myawaddy-Thingan Nyinaung, the report said.
Once the remaining 1,360-km section from Kawkareik to Mawlamyine, where a
planned deep-sea port locates, is further built, it will provide a link to
Europe through Asia's China, India and Thailand.
The Myanmar section of roads are based on the existing ones and be
upgraded to two to four lanes from single one and be durable to withstand
60 tons of load to meet the set standard according to an
inter-governmental agreement to build the Asian highway signed in
Shanghai, China, in April 2004 between 26 out of 32 member countries of
the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
The Asian highway constitutes a network of 140,000 km of roads criss
crossing the continent and linking up to Europe. The network, which will
signify promotion of regional integration and cooperation, is expected to
be completed by 2010.
The highway plan was initiated by ESCAP in 1959 and revised at a meeting
of 32 countries held in Bangkok in 2003.
Meanwhile, the Asian highway sections also play an important role in
connecting the East-West Economic Corridor Highway covered by the Greater
Mekong Subregion (GMS)- Economic Cooperation Program.
The East-West economic corridor under the GMS program, links the South
China Sea to the Bay of Bengal, that is from Vietnam's Danang Port in the
East to Myanmar's Mawlamyine in the West. The Mawlamyine-Danang land route
will take only 1,000 km whereas the sea route which passes through the
Malacca Straits takes 4,000 km.
The deep seaport project at Mawlamyine in Myanmar's southern Mon state,
which will contribute to the development of the East- West corridor in
terms of regional cross-border transportation and trade, has been
On completion of the project, Myanmar will become a key seaport in the GMS
region and will benefit from being lying in the corridor.
The development of the East-West economic corridor constitutes part of the
strategic program for the current decade starting 2002 of the six GMS
countries -- Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The GMS economic cooperation program was initiated by the Asian
Development Bank in 1992.
Observers noted that Myanmar has been placing emphasis on road
construction not only for the development of its economy but also for
development of trade and economic cooperation with other countries.
ON THE BORDER
May 9, Network Media Group
Burmese migrants arrested in Maesot
About 800 Burmese migrant workers were arrested on the Thai-Burma border
town of Maesot.
The Thai army, police and immigration officers sought and arrested about
500 Burmese migrants who have no work permit in Ban Hton Htaung and Kant
Be Ban wards yesterday. About 200 migrants from Naung Bua and 100 from Mae
Tha Law village were arrested today, said a person on condition of
Ma Khin, an eye witness said, "There are about 400 migrants including
children. They arrested the migrants. Soldiers and immigration officers
conducted the operation. They arrested the migrants in a muddy field. Many
were arrested yesterday."
Ko Min Oo, working for the Yaung Chi Oo larbour organization based in
Maesot, said that migrants who have no work permits and those whose
permits had expired were arrested including children and their mothers.
Ma Nyo, who comes to sell his wares in Kant Be Ban ward, said if they
cannot arrest parents, they arrest the children.
"They came to our places to arrest us. Many migrants are arrested
including workers, children and school boys. Sometimes the parents flee.
If the parents flee, they arrest the children. When the children start
crying, their parents come out of hiding."
Among 500 migrants, some who had old work permits were released and the
remaining have been arrested and put in Maesot jail and the immigration
Yaung Chi Oo larbour organization said that an estimated 80,000 migrants
are working in the Maesot area. Thai labour laws mention that the wage
should be 143 Baht per day but the majority of migrant workers get between
80 and 90 Baht in practice. Workers on daily wages get only 55 Baht per
May 10, Irrawaddy
Drug fears lead Thailand to increase security on borders - Sai Silp
Thai officials have stepped up security along their borders because of
fears that substantial stockpiles of illicit drugs await in neighboring
countries for transport to the kingdom.
We estimate that five million narcotic pills have been stored in
neighboring countries and are ready to be carried into Thailand, said
Kitti Limchaikij, the secretary-general of Thailands Narcotics Control
Board, on Wednesday.
He added that there are significant problems with drugs being stored in
areas populated by ethnic minority groups, which make it difficult for
Thai officials to investigate.
There have been several battles between security forces and traffickers
because the cost of drugs has increased, so traffickers work harder to
protect their stock by hiring armed groups, Kitti said.
The drug problem does not only affect the Thai-Burmese border
areatraditionally a main conduit for drugs into Thailand. Traffickers
have been confronted in increasing numbers recently along the Thai borders
with Cambodia and Laos.
Pol Gen Wongkot Maneerin, the deputy chief of the Thai Royal Police, said
that the increase in trafficked drugs into Thailand corresponds with a
higher incidence of drug use throughout the country.
Meanwhile, officials in the Mae Sot district of Tak Province, near the
border with eastern Burma, have also stepped up security efforts to stop
drugs from crossing the border from Burmas Karen State.
Seri Thaijongrak, head of the Mae Sot Customs Office, said that the office
has increased its efforts to suppress illicit drugs and arrest traffickers
along the Burmese border. Those efforts followed reports of an increase in
drug use in the area, according to a report in the Thai language newspaper
Manager on Thursday.
Arrests of drug traffickers have increased in recent weeks in Bangkoka
major market for drugs coming across Thailands borders.
Bangkok police on Wednesday arrested two menMaitree Atthawuttichai and
Mongkol Jaioakdeewho were in possession of three kilos of yaa ice, a
type of methamphetamine, in Nonsee district. The drugs had a street value
of 9 million baht (more than US $250,000).
Pol Lt-Gen Suwat Chanittikul, chief of Thailands Narcotics Suppression
Bureau, said that an investigation found that Maitree was a member of a
major drug trafficking group and was responsible for procuring chemicals
and equipment for drug production in a factory across the border in Burma,
from which he received supplies for distribution in bars and clubs in
May 10, Mizzima News
Drugs worth Kyat six million seized in Sittwe - Nyein Chan
Drugs worth Kyat six million were seized by the police from a boat docked
at the Sittwe port in western Burma on May 5. The narcotics haul included
heroin and methamphetamine tablets.
The anti-drug squad searched the boat (Sa Ta/582) and arrested Ba Than and
Tun Phyu suspected of smuggling 1.5 kilograms of heroin and 1,000 tablets,
an eye witness told Mizzima.
"They are being detained in the Sittwe police station No.2," said Ba Thein
from Sittwe port.
Boats loaded with rice bags sail to Maungdaw, the border town close to
Bangladesh from the capital of Arakan state.
The market price of heroin in Sittwe is Kyat three million for a kilogram
and Kyat 1,500 for a Yaba tablet. Police sources said these drugs seem to
have been brought from Tachileik, Shan State in eastern Burma.
This is the first seizure following the reshuffle of police officers in
the Arakan last month.
BUSINESS / TRADE
May 10, Agence France Presse
UN rights experts urge Myanmar to release democracy icon
Geneva: Fourteen UN human rights experts on Thursday called on Myanmar's
military regime to unconditionally release opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi when her detention comes up for review on May 27.
The joint statement by the United Nations human rights investigators also
reiterated an appeal for the release of all political prisoners in
The experts said Suu Kyi was a symbol of "the plight of all people in
"As of one of the world's most acclaimed human rights defenders, the Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate is a major political and spiritual leader of
Myanmar," the UN experts said in a statement.
"We call on the Government of Myanmar to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
unconditionally and to free all the remaining political prisoners," they
Suu Kyi has been under house arrest at her home in Yangon for most of the
past 17 years without charge or trial.
Her latest period in detention began after a May 2003 attack on her convoy
by a junta-backed militia.
She was thrown into prison after the assault but, following an operation
four months later, was allowed to return home under house arrest.
If the political prisoners are released, it would be a "significant sign"
of the government's will to start "a genuine and effective" transition
towards democracy, the UN experts said.
The experts included the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar,
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, and specialists on arbitrary detention, freedom of
expression, and torture.
May 10, UPI
North Korea, Sudan make worst regimes list
Washington: North Korea, Sudan and Uzbekistan continue to be among the
most repressive countries in the world, a Washington-based group says.
According to the democracy advocacy group Freedom House, those countries
stood out even among the 17 nations which were found to have the worst
record for political rights and civil liberties over the last five years
"Repressive regimes can be incredibly resilient," said Arch Puddington,
director of research at the Washington-based group. "Some of the countries
on this list are global bullies; others are responsible for unspeakable
humanitarian crises. In practically every case, these regimes are
resistant to change and are indifferent to their citizens' political
rights, civil liberties and basic human needs."
The other 14 nations that were named in the group's latest annual study on
the world's most repressive regimes are: Belarus, Burma, China, Ivory
Coast, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Libya, Saudi Arabia,
Somalia, Syria, Turkmenistan and Zimbabwe. Also included in the list were
three territories: Chechnya, Tibet and Western Sahara.
"These regimes have toughened and refined their techniques of control over
the years, and are determined to suppress the opposition, no matter how
small. It is thus essential for those who champion freedom to recognize
that contributing to change in these settings will require commitment and
a great deal of patience," Puddington said.
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