BurmaNet News, June 6, 2007
editor at burmanet.org
Wed Jun 6 14:00:37 EDT 2007
June 6, 2007 Issue # 3220
AFP: Suu Kyi's party to boycott final round of Myanmar charter talks
AP: Myanmar junta's opponents wary of road map to democracy
AFP: Myanmar enters final phase of blinkered constitution
DVB: Political activists gain ground in Rangoon
ON THE BORDER
Reuters: Myanmar political prisoners fight on in Thailand
DVB: Rebel groups slam plans for final National Convention
DVB: Armed groups pledge unity in fight against Burma army
BUSINESS / TRADE
DVB via BBC: Burmese authorities close down business of leading NLD figure
Xinhua: Myanmar cooperates with Asian neighbors in hydropower development
HEALTH / AIDS
DVB: Eleven HIV-positive activists detained by military
SHAN: SSA burns 1.1 million speed pills
Human Rights Watch: EUs inconsistent policy falls flat at ASEM meeting
88 Generation Students: The 88 Generation Students call on China and
Russia to help national reconciliation and democratization in Burma
June 6, Agence France Presse
Suu Kyi's party to boycott final round of Myanmar charter talks
Myanmar's opposition party said Wednesday it would boycott a final session
of talks on drafting a constitution as the ruling junta kept party leader
Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.
Military-ruled Myanmar will reconvene its National Convention tasked with
drafting guidelines for a new constitution in July, acting premier and
chairman of the convention Thein Sein told state media Tuesday.
The country has been without a constitution since 1988 and the junta,
headed by Senior General Than Shwe, has been discussing a new charter on
and off for more than a decade. The last charter talks were held in
Thein Sein said the upcoming session would be final.
The United States, the United Nations and the European Union dismiss the
convention as a sham since Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, the
National League for Democracy (NLD), has boycotted the charter talks.
The party said Wednesday it would boycott the upcoming talks again as the
junta extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year less than
two weeks ago.
Unless the authorities freed her, "our attitude toward cooperating at the
National Convention will not change," NLD spokesman Thein Nyunt told AFP.
The 61-year-old Nobel peace laureate has been detained for most of the
past 17 years under house arrest and has little contact with the outside
world, apart from her live-in maid and visits from her doctor.
Her party won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, but the military
never allowed it to govern.
Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.
June 6, Associated Press
Myanmar junta's opponents wary of road map to democracy - Aye Aye Win
Critics of Myanmar's military regime warily greeted news Wednesday that a
convention to draft guidelines for a new constitution will conclude its
work at its next session, convening in July.
The junta says the National Convention is the first of seven steps on a
"roadmap to democracy" that is supposed to culminate in free elections.
Myanmar, also called Burma, has been military-ruled since 1962.
No timetable has been announced for completing the democracy process, and
critics claim it is manipulated and meaningless.
However, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy or NLD the
party of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said it was
significant that the junta has announced it will wrap up the convention in
the next session.
"The National Convention has been held since 1993, and this is the first
time that the government has ever announced that it is coming to a close,"
said NLD spokesman Nyan Win.
He said that completing the roadmap's first stage would be a step forward,
though it remained to be seen what results it might bring.
The coming session will adopt guidelines for the remaining seven of the
constitution's 15 chapters, and will amend some previously approved parts,
state-run newspapers reported Wednesday.
"It is not clear if the changes will be made in a positive way, or just be
routine changes and additions to the guidelines," Nyan Win said.
State radio and television announced Tuesday night that the convention
will convene July 18. It last met in December 2006.
An exiled opposition activist in Thailand called the convention a sham.
"They are just trying to buy time," said Zin Linn, director of the
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma a self-styled
He said the junta is merely trying to placate the international community,
which has placed political and economic sanctions on the regime for human
rights abuses and lack of democracy.
Other critics say the proceedings should not be taken seriously because
Suu Kyi is currently under house arrest and cannot attend.
The NLD has boycotted the convention to protest her detention and those of
other NLD leaders. The junta hand-picked most of the convention's 1,000
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi has been in prison or under house
arrest for more than 11 of the past 17 years.
The current junta, which took power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy
demonstrations, held a general election in 1990 but refused to cede power
after the NLD's landslide victory.
Myanmar has been without a constitution since 1988, when its 1974 charter
The junta first convened the convention in 1993, but its work was aborted
in 1996 after NLD delegates walked out in protest, saying it was
undemocratic and the military was manipulating the proceedings.
The convention was resurrected in 2004, but the NLD continues to shun it.
June 6, Agence France Presse
Myanmar enters final phase of blinkered constitution
Under pressure from China, military-run Myanmar will hold a final session
of talks on drafting a constitution, but analysts dismiss the move as part
of the junta's ongoing efforts to tighten its grip on power.
Myanmar said late Tuesday it would reconvene its National Convention
tasked with drafting guidelines for a new constitution in July.
"It will be the final session," Thein Sein, chairman of the convention and
acting prime minister, told state media.
Myanmar has been without a constitution since 1988 and the junta, headed
by Senior General Than Shwe has been discussing a new charter on and off
for more than a decade. The last charter talks were held in December.
Writing a constitution is the first step on the junta's "road map" to
democracy that, in theory, would eventually lead to free elections in a
country which has been ruled by the military since 1962.
But detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, the
National League for Democracy, has boycotted the charter talks and the
absence of her party in the convention has prompted the United States, the
United Nations and the European Union to dismiss the proceedings as a
Observers in Yangon had suspected the regime would hold the convention
later this year and speculated the July charter talks were hastily
arranged due to pressure from China.
"We know there has been Chinese pressure. There is discreet pressure from
China since early spring to restart the political process," said a
Yangon-based Western diplomat, who declined to be named.
China, Myanmar's staunchest ally, has always refused to join Western
condemnation for the junta's rights abuses, saying it would not get
involved in the "internal affairs" of the nation formerly known as Burma.
Aung Naing Oo, a Myanmese analyst based in neighboring Thailand, said the
junta was under pressure from China to speed up its constitutional works.
"For China, the most important thing is stability in Burma, and China
strongly believes that the Burmese military is the only institution that
can provide stability in the country," Aung Naing Oo said.
"They don't care about contents of a new constitution. But they believe
the constitution provides stability. That's why they want the military to
be committed to the road map as soon as possible," the analyst said.
Aung Naing Oo warned the world should not be fooled by the junta's
"road-map" to democracy, saying the new constitution would guarantee
nothing but the legitimacy of the military.
"The constitution guarantees that no one can touch the military. The
constitution is the best and the most valuable tool for the junta to
maintain power," he said.
An Asian diplomat in Yangon also dismissed the junta's upcoming charter
talks, which resumes on July 18, as "a show-off" ahead of an ASEAN meeting
in the Philippines late July.
"The timing of the convention seemed suspicious. The regime just wants to
show off to the international community that it is taking positive steps
on the constitution before the ASEAN meeting," said the diplomat.
"Fundamentally speaking, the National Convention does not change the very
nature of the regime as a new constitution enshrines the role of the
military in the country," he said.
The Yangon-based Western diplomat added the draft constitution was almost
The July session will hammer out the final details of the charter
including articles on elections, political parties, the state flag and the
national anthem, according to Thein Sein.
The junta last month extended the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi for
another year, ignoring global appeals for the freedom of the 61-year-old
Nobel peace laureate who has been detained for most of the past 17 years.
Her party won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, but the military
never allowed it to govern.
The United Nations has estimated there are 1,100 political prisoners in
June 06, Democratic Voice of Burma
Analysis Political activists gain ground in Rangoon - Ye Thu
In the four months since Ko Htin Kyaw led a landmark political protest
through Rangoon in February, Burmas authorities have ordered the arrests
of more than 130 activists and politicians.
Not since the 2003 Depayin massacre that resulted in the incarceration of
hundreds of activists and National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi, has there been so much political activity in Burman areas of
The momentum for this new movement started slowly with the original prayer
and letter-writing campaigns launched by the 88 Generation Students group
and other activists last year. Designed around new and highly strategic
political tactics, the campaigns have proved extremely successful, helping
to mobilise thousands of people around the country.
These efforts have been complimented by grassroots attempts, such as the
protest led by Ko Htin Kyaw, to focus activities around complaints about
the poor economic and social conditions in the country instead of
The first thing we need to understand is the reality faced by average
people, 88 Generation Student leader Min Ko Naing told DVB in a recent
We need to know the basics of their daily struggle. This is not hard for
us because we live with these people everyday. We know their needs and we
know what kind of situation they want to be working in, Min Ko Naing
Analysts agree that the opposition movement is better organised than ever
before and their use of new tactics has forced the military to switch
their response from state-sanctioned arrests and prison sentences to
citizens arrests not directlythough obviouslyattributable to the State
Peace and Development Council.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar has also attempted to curb the growing
levels of support for the opposition and purge the military of
responsibility for the arrests by running articles claiming the peace
loving Burmese people were to blame.
They are just USDA members, said Thai-based Burma analyst Win Min. They
are not as organised as the military. So it is not likely that they are
going to be successful with their actions every time . . .
As they are also civilians, if something goes wrong, the impact will
create tension among civilians. And there will be no one to take on the
responsibility of solving this because the government has been saying it
is only the work of the people, Win Min said.
The NLDs response to the increased political activity in Rangoon has been
fairly muted, and perhaps understandably so. Members are still the main
targets for military crackdowns in urban areas and the party remains
subject to the military's draconion registration restrictions.
But NLD rhetoric on the protests took a new turn recently when spokesman U
Nyan Win told DVB he thought they were having a negative overall affect.
In general this is negative . . . We can say that this raises the
tensions between the opposition and the government and that is not useful
for our country, U Nyan Win said.
Calling for social demands under this unlawful government that has
created a situation where law and order is almost non-existent will not
make anything better.
Min Ko Naing disagrees. He says that the campaigns have been extremely
positive and that they have been able to encourage people not
traditionally involved in politics to voice their dissatisfaction with the
military government and the way they run Burma.
But Min Ko Naing admits that so far, the recent campaigns have focused
heavily on Rangoon and that the 88 Generation Students need to start
encouraging Burmas ethnic minorities to participate in the Burman-centric
During our letter campaign, we received a lot of letters from ethnic
nationals from different divisions across Burma . . . But still we have to
admit the fact that we haven't started a campaign yet that directly
relates to other ethnic groups and to getting them . . . to speak their
opinions," said Min Ko Naing.
Chin Human Rights Organization worker and Ethnic Nationalities Council
member Victor Biak Lian said that while it was true that the non-Burman
ethnic groups are often left out of opposition campaigns, it would not be
long before the current levels of political activity in Rangoon spread to
other areas of the country.
Look back at the 1988 uprising, Victor Biak Lian said. It was started
in Rangoon . . . but it didnt take long to get it to spread . . . Due to
the poor transportation and communication systems, it is difficult to know
what is going on in other parts of the country. But I'm sure something
will start happening in other areas, he said.
Min Ko Naing also said that the opposition needed to try to engage with
young people around Burma instead of just activists old enough to have
participated in the 1988 uprising. He said the first step to engaging
Rangoons younger generations would be to give them a harsh dose of
The small number of young people involved worries us and there are many
who do not have internet access because they are busy struggling for their
daily survival. Thats the reality, Min Ko Naing said.
I want them only to be fed with balanced information, not distorted
information and propaganda from either the government's side or the
oppositions. This is when the role of the media gets important.
Min Ko Naing also warned that while recent campaigns had generated a lot
of attention, the number of people arrested was staggering and that the
opposition should not be lulled into a false sense of strategic security.
We cannot be persuaded into thinking that it is okay just because they
are not hitting us out in the open. They might start kicking our knees
under the table where nobody can see, said Min Ko Naing.
ON THE BORDER
June 6, Reuters
Myanmar political prisoners fight on in Thailand - Ed Cropley
Mae Sot, Thailand - The photographs cover almost an entire wall, 200
simple black-and-white reminders that opposition leader and Nobel peace
laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is not the only prisoner of conscience in
In addition to the pictures on display in an unmarked house in the Thai
border town of Mae Sot are another 900 men and women, Buddhist monks and
lay people, thought to be behind bars in the former Burma because of their
Myanmar's current junta, the latest incarnation of an unbroken succession
of military rulers dating back to 1962 and an "outpost of tyranny"
according to Washington, denies it is holding any political prisoners.
But the pictures on the walls of the Assistance Association for Political
Prisoners (AAPP), and the testimony of the people who run it -- themselves
former inmates of notorious hellholes such as Yangon's Insein prison --
"This was my friend," said Khun Saing, an urbane 54-year-old former
medical student who spent 13 years inside Myanmar jails before fleeing to
Thailand in 2006.
He is pointing to a picture of Bo Ni Aung, who died in June 2001 of HIV he
contracted from a dirty needle while in prison.
His finger moves on to Aung Haing Win, whose family was offered $100 in
compensation after he died in prison. They never saw his body. All they
received was a pile of ashes.
Next is Win Tin, a journalist with the dubious honor of being Myanmar's
longest-serving political prisoner, having been sentenced to 20 years in
1989 for writing a critical human rights report and sending it to the
Formally established in 2000 in Mae Sot, 430 km (270 miles) north of
Bangkok, the AAPP has become the main source of information about the
plight of political prisoners in Myanmar, one of the most isolated and
secretive nations on earth.
Keeping in touch with secret contacts by letter, phone and e-mail -- even
though the junta blocks Web sites such as Hotmail and Yahoo -- they have
built up a unique database of the "disappeared."
Without it, the outside world would almost certainly forget.
Official media in Myanmar are completely silent on all political trials
and detainees. Details of arrests, trials or deaths filter out only
through friends and family, or government sources too scared to give their
"We manage to get a lot of information over mobile phones and the
Internet," Khun Saing said. "Many activists know how to use proxy servers
and get round the censors. The government intelligence people are not so
smart," he said with a smile.
Accounts of those who, like Khun Saing and 42-year-old Bo Gyi, have
survived also provide damning evidence against the ruling generals and
suggest they are unwilling to give any ground to those who want democratic
"During my second time in prison, I was kicked and beaten with rubber
truncheons very severely," said Bo Gyi. "They had accused me of agitating
inside the prison and making contact with outsiders."
On display in a concrete-floored room kept sweltering hot to replicate
conditions inside a cell are crude drawings of the various stress
positions prisoners are forced to maintain for hours on end.
Despite their precarious situation as only semi-legal migrants in Thailand
-- itself under military rule following a coup in September -- neither man
wants full asylum in case he is forced to leave for a third country and
give up the fight.
"Any struggle without sacrifice cannot succeed," Bo Gyi said, taking a
long drag from a dark green Burmese cheroot.
He has ultimate respect for student leaders such as Ko Ko Gyi and Min Ko
Naing who launched a tentative new stand against the generals this year,
demanding action against the decline in living standards in a country now
one of the poorest in Asia.
"They are sacrificing their lives for the future generation," he said.
Despite being in Thailand, former prisoners still fear the knock at the
door, although this time it is the Thai, not Myanmar police, who have the
authority to send them back. Fortunately for Khun Saing, they do not
display the inclination.
"The thing we fear most is being deported," he said. "If we get sent back,
we face a death sentence."
June 6, Democratic Voice of Burma
Rebel groups slam plans for final National Convention
Armed rebel groups from around Burma today condemned the
constitution-drafting National Convention after the military announced
yesterday it would re-convene for its final session on July 18.
Khun Okka, secretary general of the National Democratic Front, which
comprises a number of ethnic minority rebel groups such as the Karen
National Union and the Arakan Liberation Army, said the umbrella group did
not consider the convention to be legal.
We do not recognise the Nyaunghnabin convention as legitimate. There is
no way we would accept the result of the army-controlled convention, Khun
The state-run New Light of Myanmar said today that delegates at the final
sitting of the convention, which was first launched in 1993, would make
amendments to a new draft constitution which would then be put to the
Burmese people in a referendum.
The Arakan National Council also said today that the new constitution did
not represent the will of the entire Burmese people.
They are just promoting people from their side in this convention . . .
[The military] are just trying to prolong their control over the country.
The longer they stay in power, the deeper the state of poverty our people
will be in, ANC joint secretary U Maung Lugyi said.
Raymond Htoo, the joint secretary of the Karenni National Progressive
Party, said the KNPP considered the National Convention to be completely
This convention is fake. We will not agree with the results, Raymond
June 5, Democratic Voice of Burma
Armed groups pledge unity in fight against Burma army
The six major armed groups that make up the Military Alliance against the
Burma army re-affirmed their support for cooperation agreements during a
meeting on the Thai-Burma border yesterday.
Representatives from the Arakan Liberation Party, the Karenni National
Progressive Party, the Shan State Army-South, the Chin National Front, the
Karen National Union and the Kachin National Organization, met yesterday
to discuss several developments in the fight against the Burmese military.
KNPP secretary Raymond Htoo told DVB that the Military Alliance discussed
attempts by several members to enter into ceasefire agreements with the
State Peace and Development Council.
Among the parties that are related to the Military Alliance, the KNPP and
the CNF have had talks with the SPDC and the SSA-S almost had talks with
them. We discussed these issues during our meeting, Raymond Htoo said.
He said delegates also re-affirmed their commitment to several agreements
made when the Military Alliance was launched in 2000. The armed groups
have all agreed to recognise the Burma army as a common enemy, to conduct
joint training sessions and to engage in information-sharing programs.
SSA-S spokesperson Sai Lao Hseng said the meeting was successful and that
delegates had agreed to build on cooperation among the six groups.
We discussed things and exchanged opinions on how to move forward in the
future, Sai Lao Hseng said.
BUSINESS / TRADE
June 6, Democratic Voice of Burma via BBC Monitoring
Burmese authorities close down business of leading NLD figure in Mandalay
We have learned that U Ba Soe, brother of Daw Win Mya Mya, member of the
Mandalay Division National League for Democracy (NLD) Organizing
Committee, was pressured into closing down his garment shop which was
later taken over the authorities.
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) was informed by U Ba Soe that the garment
shop - Soon Yaungchi - he was managing in Mandalay's Zaycho Market, was
temporarily closed down on 1 June under pressure from Major Maung Pu,
secretary of the City Development Committee, and family members said the
shop, worth about 1 billion Kyats, was permanently closed down and taken
over by the authorities today. [Passage omitted]
Five brothers and sisters in U Ba Soe's family, including Daw Win Mya Mya,
are members of the NLD, and four of them were imprisoned for their
political activities in 1999, according to Daw Win Mya Mya.
Several months ago under similar circumstances, businesses of 88
Generation Student leader Ko Mya Aye and ethnic leader U Pu Cin Shin Thang
came under pressure and were closed down.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 5 Jun 07
June 06, Xinhua Economic News Service
Myanmar cooperates with Asian neighbors in hydropower development
Myanmar is cooperating with four Asian neighboring countries of Thailand,
China, South Korea and Bangladesh in hydropower development, initiating
major hydropower projects in recent years.
A giant Myanmar-Thai joint venture hydropower project, which is the
7,110-megawatt (mw) Tar-hsan hydropower one, is being implemented on the
Thanlwin River in eastern Shan state's Tachilek.
The 6-billion-U.S.-dollar hydropower project, which started in last April,
is one of the two signed with Thai companies during the past two years.
The Tar-hsan project, which can produce 35.446 billion kilowatt- hours
(kwh) a year, is implemented by the Myanmar Hydropower Implementation
Department of the Ministry of Electric Power and the MDX Group Co Ltd of
Thailand. The project also involves shares of Ratchaburi Co and
Chkarnchang Co of Thailand and the China Gezhouba Water and Power Group Co
Ltd, according to earlier official reports.
The other joint venture project is a 600-mw Hutgyi on the same river in
eastern Kayin state signed with the EGAT Public Company of Thailand. The
plant consists of a 600-mw turbine that can produce 3.82 billion kwh
The two Thai-Myanmar hydropower projects constitute part of those on
Thanlwin and Tanintharyi River agreed in June 2005 by the two countries.
Electricity generated from both of the plants will be mainly sold to the
Southeast Asian neighbor with the rest reserved for domestic use,
according to the project officials.
Myanmar has signed five contracts respectively with some Chinese companies
since 2004 on the implementation of the country's 790-mw Yeywa hydropower
project on the Myitnge River, 50 kilometers southeast of Mandalay, which
will generate 3.55 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year upon
The Chinese companies involved in the Yeywa project are the China National
Electric Equipment Corporation, a joint venture consortium consisting of
the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC)
Technology Co Ltd and Sinohydro Corporation Ltd., the China Gezhouba Water
and Power (Group) Co Ltd and the China National Heavy Machinery
Besides, Myanmar also signed an agreement with the Yunnan Machinery and
Equipment Import and Export Co Ltd (YMEC) of China on the Upper Paunglaung
Hydroelectric Power Project located in the east of Pyinmana, northern
In April 2007, Myanmar inked a memorandum of understanding with the
Farsighted Investment Group Co Ltd and Gold Water Resources Ltd of China
on the implementation of the Upper Thanlwin hydropower project.
Moreover, the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) was also reportedly
to build seven hydropower projects for Myanmar on the confluence of
Ayeyawaddy river and Maykha and Malikha rivers in Kachin state with a
combined capacity of 13,360 mw.
In cooperation with South Korea in developing the sector, Myanmar agreed
in July 2006 with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and
the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) to develop Myanmar's electric
power network dealing with management and operation. The network project,
worth of 1.4 million U.S. dollars, includes the transfer of South Korean
knowledge and experience in power system operation and protection, general
facilities testing, fault analysis and the provision of relay equipment,
the South Korean sources said.
A latest move by Myanmar is that the country is likely to export
hydropower to Bangladesh, deliberating to build hydropower plants in the
western state of Rakhine linking the south Asian neighbor for the power
The project probably involves Bangladesh investment, subject to the
outcome of a deal by a Bangladeshi delegation which is expected to visit
According to the government's National Investment Commission, the electric
power sector dominated foreign investment in Myanmar with 6.311 billion
U.S. dollars as of the end of January this year,
In addition to the projects with the Asian nations, Myanmar is currently
giving priority to implementing some six hydropower projects scattered in
the country's Shan and Kachin states to increase electricity production to
also help solve the country's power shortage.
These six projects are Shweli-1 (600 mw), Shweli-2 (460 mw), Shweli-3 (360
mw), Tarpein-1 (240 mw), Tarpein-2 (168 mw) and Upper Thanlwin (2,400 mw)
among others which have been under construction.
According to official statistics, Myanmar had a total of over 1, 775 mw of
installed generating capacity of electric power as of September 2006, up
from 706.82 mw in 1988 when there were only 24 power plants in the
country, of which 14 were hydropower ones.
Myanmar faces serious power shortage. However, the country, which has rich
water resources, possesses great potential for the development of the
With successful cooperation with the Asian neighbors in development of the
hydropower sector so far, Myanmar still needs much more foreign investment
and cooperation to make greater achievement, observers here said.
HEALTH / AIDS
June 6, Democratic Voice of Burma
Eleven HIV-positive activists detained by military
Eleven activists living with HIV in Burma were detained by police
yesterday after being lured to the Weibagi hospital in Rangoon with
promises of free treatment.
The activists, including high-profile campaigner Ko Tin Ko, have
reportedly angered the military over the past few weeks by repeatedly
calling for the release of detained aid worker Ma Phyu Phyu Thin.
Phyu Phyu Thin, who was arrested by the authorities on May 21, worked for
the National League for Democracy and ran a small clinic that provided
free antiretroviral treatment and accommodation to a group of at least 30
HIV-positive people from around the country.
Phyu Phyu Thins sister, Ma Sabai Oo, told DVB that the group of activists
had been told by the authorities to be at Weibagi hospital at 9am
yesterday to receive free medication.
After they were taken, they never returned . . . so we rang the hospital
and we were told that [the authorities] evacuated a room at the hospital
yesterday and as soon as Ko Tin Ko and his friends arrived they locked
them in that room and told them they were detained, Ma Sabai Oo said.
She said the group had been invited to the hospital by a man claiming to
work for the Ministry of Health but that it was not clear which arm of the
government had ordered the groups detention.
June 6, Shan Herald Agency for News
SSA burns 1.1 million speed pills
The Shan State Army (SSA) South held its third drug bonfire at Loi Kawwan
base, opposite Chiangrai at 11:00 this morning.
The ceremony was presided over by Col Yawdserk, the SSA boss, and
witnessed by a number of foreign media including The Nation, Bangkok Post
and TiTV. The SSA is ready to cooperate with Burmas military junta in the
field of drug suppression, he said, as he put the torch to 1.1 million
methamphetamine pills, priced at Baht 28.5 million( $ 1 million) on the
The pills were reportedly seized from the pro-junta militia led by Ja Seu-bo.
June 5, Human Rights News / Human Rights Watch
Burma: EUs inconsistent policy falls flat at ASEM meeting
European and Asian foreign ministers should be united in their Burma strategy
New York: The European Unions attempts to engage with Burma by allowing
the Burmese foreign minister to attend the annual Asia-Europe Meeting
(ASEM) has failed to bring any improvements in human rights in the
country, Human Rights Watch said today.
The eighth ASEM foreign ministers meeting was held in Hamburg on May
28-29 and attended by 45 foreign ministers from Asia and Europe, and the
EU High Representative for Common and Security Policy, Javier Solana.
Permitting the Burmese foreign minister to attend the ASEM meeting only
days after the military government had extended the house arrest of Aung
San Suu Kyi, despite international calls for her release, is a mark of the
EUs insufficient commitment to pressuring the military to give up power
in Burma, said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
The European Union has had an inconsistent policy on permitting Burmese
officials to attend the annual ASEM meetings. In September 2005, the ASEM
host country, the Netherlands, refused permission for the Burmese economic
minister, Soe Tha, to attend the meeting in Rotterdam. Last year, the
European Union agreed to permit senior officials to attend for the purpose
of genuine dialogue, which was not evident at the ASEM meeting in Helsinki
in September 2006. At the meeting last week in Hamburg, the Burmese
government did not engage in any serious discussions or negotiations over
the human rights situation or a return to democracy.
In a joint declaration at the closure of the meeting last weekend, ASEM
members criticized the lack of tangible progress in the declared
transition towards a civilian and democratic government in Burma. Under
the EU Common Position on Burma, renewed in 2006, the European Union
agrees that no senior official from the ruling State Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) should be permitted to visit member states unless the
official is attending a multilateral forum where a political dialogue is
conducted that directly promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of
law in Burma/Myanmar.
Germanys foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, lauded ASEM as a
forum that has a level of influence we can and should use to an even
greater degree in international politics.
Steinmeier spoke about how ASEM should be used more to influence
international politics precisely at the time when ASEM failed to do so
with Burma, said Adams. The EU effectively gave up on its insistence on
genuine dialogue from the Burmese government when it invited the Burmese
foreign minister to attend the Hamburg meeting. It is reasonable to ask
why they did this and whether the EUs paper commitments to reform are
being matched by its political decisions.
The European Unions softening position contrasts with the increasing
frustration expressed by members of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) over the slow pace of reform in Burma after a decade of
supporting Burmas inclusion in multilateral forums. ASEAN foreign
ministers issued a call for tangible results of progress to reform in
Burma after a meeting in July 2006, months after Burma avoided
embarrassing diplomatic circumstances by deferring its scheduled
chairpersonship of the regional grouping. Even though Indonesia abstained
from voting in January on the UN Security Council resolution condemning
Burmas government over its widespread human rights violations, law makers
from Indonesia and Malaysia have issued critical statements in the past
months on broken promises by Burmese leaders.
Human Rights Watch said that ASEM should have put pressure on members that
are the main external supporters of the SPDC: China, India and Russia.
Each of these three countries has provided millions of dollars worth of
military hardware to the Burmese military, thereby providing the tools of
further repression. In May, Russia announced it had sold a 10 megawatt
nuclear power facility to Burma. In January, both Russia and China vetoed
the UN Security Council resolution condemning Burmas human rights record.
India, a new ASEM member, continues to provide weapons and military
assistance to the SPDC in return for natural-resource concessions.
European and Asian countries together should be calling for the release
of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, demanding an end to
attacks against civilians in ethnic conflict zones, and insisting on
greater access for international humanitarian assistance to the country,
Adams said. Burma is taking advantage of inconsistent policies to run
circles around the international community.
June 4, The 88 Generation Students
The 88 Generation Students call on China and Russia to help national
reconciliation and democratization in Burma
(1) Today, we, the 88 Generation Students send letters to Chinese
President Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin, through their
embassies in Rangoon/ Yangon.
(2) In the letters, we express our dissatisfaction over their decisions to
reject a resolution on Burma/ Myanmar at the UN Security Council on 12
January 2007. The proposed non-punitive resolution was intended to
encourage the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) (the ruling
military government) to take necessary steps towards national
reconciliation and democratization and to strengthen the Secretary-General
good offices mission in Burma/ Myanmar. Although nine countries, a
majority of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution, Russia
and China rejected it by exercising their veto powers.
(3) By doing so, China and Russia missed an opportunity to respond to the
situation in our country constructively, collectively and effectively
within the United Nations frame-work. Further, they have unintentionally
made the SPDC to convince that it can defy the international community
with the strong backing of China and Russia. Therefore, now, we are
witnessing the SPDCs increased attack, arbitrary arrest and unfair
imprisonment on peaceful democracy activists more brutal and more severe
(4) Recently, the whole international community, including the United
Nations, ASEAN, European Union, Japan, Canada, the United States,
Australia, and many nations around the world have called on the SPDC to
release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners. Sadly, China and
Russia refused to join with the rest of the international community,
although they have claimed that they want to see the prosperity,
stability, and political solution in Burma. Therefore, the SPDC decided to
ignore the good-will of the international community and extended Daw Aung
San Suu Kyis detention for another year on May 25, 2007. The repeated
call from the Peoples Representatives-elect to start a meaningful
political dialogue with the SPDC for national reconciliation is also
turned down again.
(5) In the letters, we, the 88 Generation Students call on the President
Hu Jintao of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia to join together
with international community, if they really want to see the prosperity
and stability of the people of Burma. We believe that with their close
relationship with the SPDC and their leading roles in the international
community, they are now in the best position to help realizing of national
reconciliation and democratization in Burma/ Myanmar by urging the SPDC to
take steps recommended by numerous UN General Assembly resolutions.
The 88 Generation Students
Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar)
88generation at gmail.com
Ref: 12/ 2007 (8)
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