Monday, 30 April 2012

Suu Kyi’s NLD to Join Parliament on Wednesday


Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party will take their parliamentary seats on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)

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Burma’s main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) has ended the dispute over the parliamentary admission oath and agrees to take its seats in the national legislature, party chairwomen Aung San Suu Kyi told a press conference at her Rangoon home on Monday morning.

Suu Kyi said NLD members decided to join Parliament on Wednesday in response to their supporters and MPs from ethnic groups who were keen to see the party take up the 43 seats they won in the landmark April 1 by-elections.

“There are two reasons why we decided to join Parliament,” said the 66-year-old. “One is we deeply respect the people’s desire who helped us win a majority at the election. These people want to see us in Parliament.

“Another reason is to show respect to members of ethnic political parties that are already MPs and who have asked us to join Parliament.”

MPs from ethnic political parties as well as independents and members of the National Unity Party all wrote letters in which they offered to cooperate with the NLD to change the Constitution within Parliament, according to Suu Kyi.

“Our party quickly made the decision to join Parliament because we have many matters with which to work together with these ethnic political parties,” said the Nobel Laureate.

She added that there are many undemocratic articles to change within the widely-condemned 2008 Constitution. “This is just a problem regarding the Constitution and is not a political conflict,” said Suu Kyi. “We do not create any political conflicts. Therefore, we agreed to join Parliament because we do not want to have any political tension.”

The NLD wanted to replace the phrase “safeguard” with “respect” the Constitution in the oath sworn by new MPs.

The party campaigned on a platform of amending undemocratic articles within the document—such as the 25 percent of parliamentary seats reserved for military appointees—but face a struggle as any change requires 75 percent of the legislature’s approval.

But Suu Kyi denied that she was backing down over the issue. “Politics is an issue of give and take,” she said. “We are not giving up, we are just yielding to the aspirations of the people.”

Nyan Win, a spokesperson for the NLD, told The Irrawaddy that his party’s members will join the Parliament on Wednesday. Most MP-elects will travel to Naypyidaw on Tuesday, but Suu Kyi has said that she will go to the capital early on Wednesday before swearing-in.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered a historic speech within the Burmese Parliament on Monday. He called for international trade sanctions against Burma to be further reduced and is due to meet with Suu Kyi on Tuesday.

Political prisoners still in Burmese jails

 (Mizzima) – Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) has urged the British government to do more to persuade the military-backed government in Burma to release all remaining political prisoners.

Prisoners walk out of Insein Prison in Rangoon after a presidential amnesty. Photo: Mizzima
Prisoners walk out of Insein Prison in Rangoon after a presidential amnesty. Photo: Mizzima

There have been a series of positive changes in Burma, including the release of high profile political prisoners, and Aung San Suu Kyi being elected as a member of parliament, BCUK said in a statement. However, hundreds of political prisoners remain behind bars in appalling conditions in jail, it said.

“The unconditional release of all political prisoners is an essential step towards genuine democracy and freedom in Burma regardless of the changes in Burma, all the repressive laws which enabled the jailing of political prisoners still remain in place,” it said.

To remember those who still remain in jail, Burma Campaign UK said it will highlight the case of a different political prisoner every month. This month, April, is Thant Zaw (aka) Than Zaw.

Thant Zaw was sentenced to 30 years in 1989 and still remains in jail. He was accused without any evidence and charged with two different counts including High Treason within the Union of Burma Act, said BCUK.

He is a 43-year-old activist and he was an active member of the National League for Democracy Youth (NLD Youth). He was sentenced to death with 30 years in jail in September 1989, but the sentence was later reduced to 30 years in prison. Due to the brutal tortures he went through, Thant Zaw’s health has deteriorated in prison but he has not received any medical attention. His mother, Sein Sein, 70 years old, told Democratic Voice of Burma of her worries about not being able to see her son’s release before she dies.

“Jeremy Browne and the international community must remember the remaining political prisoners such as Thant Zaw”, said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “No one should be left behind in this process of change in Burma. There cannot be peace and a democratic system in Burma as long as one political prisoner still remains in jail.”

Burma Campaign UK supporters are being asked to write a letter to Foreign Minister Jeremy Browne asking him to take action to secure the release of Thant Zaw and for the release of all of Burma’s remaining political prisoners. Solidarity letters can also be written and sent to Thayet prison where Thant Zaw is being held.

၈၈ ေက်ာင္းသား ေခါင္းေဆာင္ေတြရဲ႕ ရွမ္းျပည္ေတာင္ပိုင္း ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးခရီး စတင္

ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးနဲ႔ ပြင့္လင္းလူ႕အဖဲြ႕အစည္း ေပၚထြန္းေရး ဦးတည္လႈပ္ရွားမႈအျဖစ္ ၈၈ မ်ဳိးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားေခါင္းေဆာင္ေတြဟာ ရွမ္းျပည္ေတာင္ပိုင္း ခရီးစဥ္ စတင္ဖို႔ ဒီကေန႔ မနက္ပိုင္းမွာ မႏၱေလးၿမိဳ႕ကို ေရာက္ရွိလာပါတယ္။

၂၀၁၂ခုႏွစ္ ဧျပီလ ၁၇ ရက္က ၈၈ မ်ဳိးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ားအဖြဲ႕ ႏိုင္ငံေရးအက်ဥ္းသား လြတ္ေျမာက္ေရး လႈပ္ရွားမႈျပဳလုပ္ေနစဥ္။
ခရီးစဥ္အတြင္း တိုင္းရင္းသား လူထုအေျချပဳ အဖဲြ႕အစည္းေတြနဲ႔ ေတြ႕ဆံုဖို႔ရွိၿပီး ေဒသခံျပည္သူေတြ ရင္ဆိုင္ေနရတဲ့ အေျခအေနေတြကို ေလ့လာမွာျဖစ္တယ္လို႔ ခရီးစဥ္မွာ အတူလိုက္ပါသြားတဲ့ ၈၈ မ်ဳိးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသား ေခါင္းေဆာင္ ကိုဂ်င္မီက အာအက္ဖ္ေအကို ေျပာပါတယ္။
ရွမ္းျပည္ေတာင္ပိုင္း ခရီးစဥ္ဟာ ရက္သီတင္းပတ္ တပတ္ေလာက္ ၾကာျမင့္မွာျဖစ္ၿပီး ေတာင္ႀကီး၊ ေအာင္ပန္း၊ ပင္းတယ၊ ရပ္ေစာက္၊ ဟိုပုန္းၿမိဳ႕ေတြကို သြားေရာက္မယ္လို႔လည္း ကိုဂ်င္မီက ေျပာပါတယ္။
၈၈ မ်ဳိးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားအဖဲြ႕အေနနဲ႔ လူထုအေျချပဳ အဖဲြ႕အစည္းေတြ အားေကာင္းလာေစဖို႔အတြက္ လႈပ္ရွားေနသူေတြကို အေထာက္အကူျပဳ သင္တန္းေတြ တက္ႏိုင္ေအာင္ ကူညီစီစဥ္ေပးဖို႔ ရွိတယ္လို႔လည္း သိရပါတယ္။

Rights groups call on U.N. chief to press Burma on reforms 


Monday, 30 April 2012 12:56 Ron Corben

Human rights groups are calling on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to further press Burma’s military-backed civilian government to stay the course with reforms.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the tomb of  former U.N. Secretary-General U Thant in Rangoon to pay respect. He exchanges greetings with U Thant’s grandson on Sunday, April 29, 2012. Photo: Mizzima / Ye Min
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the tomb of former U.N. Secretary-General U Thant in Rangoon to pay respect. He exchanges greetings with U Thant’s grandson on Sunday, April 29, 2012. Photo: Mizzima / Ye Min
 U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said  upon his arrival that Burma has entered a critical moment against the backdrop of a series of political and economic reforms undertaken over the past year.

Ban, who is to meet with Burma’s President Thein Sein on Monday in the administrative capital Naypyidaw, had earlier acknowledged reform in Burma - also known as Myanmar - remained fragile with challenges ahead.

“Myanmar (Burma) is only at the beginning of its transition. Many challenges lie ahead. Many concerns have yet to be addressed," Ban said. "Yet I am convinced that we have an unprecedented opportunity to help the country advance toward a better future.”

Ban is also to meet with opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Tuesday. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) Party won a landslide victory in recent by-elections but boycotted the first sitting of parliament last week over wording of the swearing-in oath. Ban says he is hopeful the problem will be quickly resolved.

Ban’s visit comes as European Union policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is also on an official visit to Burma. 

Ashton says international business is still looking for further reform before making major investments in Burma.

The EU suspended economic sanctions in place over Burma’s past human rights record. Several countries have eased sanctions, including Canada, Australia and Japan. But the U.S. says key sanctions will remain as a leverage to press the government on reforms.

Debbie Stothard, spokesperson for rights group Alternative Asean Network, says substantive reforms are still required in areas such as legislation, as well as institutional and policy changes.

Stothard says Ban needs to press Burma’s government to move ahead with reform.

“It’s very important that Mr. Ban Ki-moon is not swept up in the euphoria and he should actually be looking at the situation with a lot of logic and stone-cold sober look at whether there is indeed reform in the country and what needs to be done; that Ban tells the Burmese authorities that this is a good start but much more needs to be done and much more quickly,” said Stothard.

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB) joint secretary Bo Kyi says the U.N chief should call for the release of all political prisoners and an end to army operations in ethnic border areas.

“His visit is very important. Maybe the need to discuss with the solving the problem of Burma, especially to stop the war on the Kachin state and the release of political prisoners and other human rights situations; those three issues are really important in the solving those problems Burma will not get peace,” said Bo.

The government has so far released 659 political prisoners but as many as 900 remain detained.

Ban is also set to travel to northern Shan state, a key opium growing region where a U.N. poppy eradication program has been under way. Aid agencies also expect further international aid and donor funds to flow into the country following Ban’s visit.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

US maintains select sanctions

Published: 26 April 2012
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi meets United States Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and United States embassy charge d’affaires Larry Dinger in Yangon
Aung San Suu Kyi meets US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell (R) and US embassy charge d’affaires Larry Dinger in Rangon on 10 May 2010. (Reuters)
The US yesterday ruled out an immediate end to its main sanctions on Burma, saying it wanted to preserve leverage to push the regime on ending ethnic violence and other key issues.
The EU and Canada this week suspended most sanctions and Japan waived Burma’s debt as rewards after a dramatic year of reforms in which President Thein Sein freed political prisoners and reached out to opponents.

President Barack Obama’s administration has taken a lead in negotiating with Burma and has eased some restrictions, including ending a ban on financial transactions by US non-governmental organisations.
But Kurt Campbell, a key architect of the US outreach to Burma, told cautious lawmakers that the administration had no “gauzy gaze and rose-coloured glasses” and would only ease sanctions in “certain prescribed areas.”

“I would simply say that there is no intention to ‘lift’ sanctions,” Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“We recognise very clearly that there have to be provisions and capabilities to be able to respond if there is a reversal or a stalling out (of reforms), that leverage is an essential component of our strategy,” he said.
Campbell hailed actions taken by Thein Sein, including the decision to allow 1 April elections that gave Aung San Suu Kyi a seat in parliament.

But Campbell said reforms have mostly impacted urban and Burman-majority areas and have not been felt by ethnic minorities in the country, which has some of the world’s longest-running separatist conflicts.
“We need to ensure that that process extends into the country as a whole and we are troubled by very clear – and we believe reliable – reports of continuing attacks and atrocities that are completely antithetical to the overall effort that we’re seeking to achieve,” he said.

Human rights groups have voiced particular concern about allegations of rape, forced labour and other abuses in Kachin state, where troops appeared to ignore Thein Sein’s orders in December to halt violence.
The US maintains strict sanctions against exports from Burma, including on gems, lumber and other lucrative products seen as sources of funding for the long-dominant military.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Rights groups question easing of U.S. sanctions on Burma 


Wednesday, 25 April 2012 16:19 Mizzima News

A group of influential human rights organizations says the U.S. may be moving too quickly in relaxing sanctions against Burma.

U-S-state-department-logoThe group, which includes Human Rights Watch and seven other U.S.-based organizations, sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, questioning his administration's decision to ease several long-standing sanctions against Burma earlier this month.

The U.S. eased an investment ban, some travel restrictions, and other sanctions in early April after Burma held by-elections in which pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's political party won 43 of the 44 seats it contested.

The letter says any further easing of the sanctions should come only after additional political reforms, including the release of more political prisoners, and end to conflicts with ethnic rebel groups and amendments to Burma's military-drafted constitution.

Other groups that signed the letter include Physicians for Human Rights, Open Society Foundations and the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of American labor unions.

While the American groups remain leery about any easing of sanctions, Burma's neighbors are welcoming the moves, which promise to provide a much-needed boost to Burma's economy.

In a formal statement Wednesday, the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) hails Europe's decision to suspend most sanctions for a year as “the right thing to do at the right time.”

The E.U. said Monday that it will suspend almost all sanctions with the exception of an arms embargo.

Burma's current military-backed civilian government has undertaken a series of dramatic political reforms since taking power last March, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners, the holding of peace talks with ethnic rebels and the allowance of greater press freedoms.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Burma later this week to observe the country's transition from military dictatorship.

Ban Ki-moon to Visit Burma to Observe ‘Transition’


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, greets Burmese President Thein Sein during the East Asia Summit in Bali in November. (Photo: Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, greets Burmese President Thein Sein during the East Asia Summit in Bali in November. (Photo: Reuters)
WASHINGTON D.C.—Stressing that Burma is just at the beginning of a transition, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Monday that he will visit the Southeast Asian country later this week.
This will be his third trip to the military-dominated nation in his role as head of the United Nations.
“Myanmar is only at the beginning of its transition,” he said. “Many challenges lie ahead. Many concerns have yet to be addressed. Yet I am convinced that we have an unprecedented opportunity to help the country advance toward a better future.”
“That is why, today, I am announcing that I have accepted an invitation from President Thein Sein to visit Myanmar. I will depart at the end of this week,” Ban told reporters after a meeting with the Friends of the Secretary-General on Burma.
The 14-member group has been a source of consistent support for the bloc’s efforts in engagement with Burma, he added. Observing that this is a critical moment in Burma’s transition, the UN Secretary-General said now is the time for the international community to stand together at its side.
“We have seen encouraging political and economic reforms over the past year-and-a-half. The recent elections were a landmark. We have seen important steps toward reform and reconciliation. We see Myanmar re-opening to the world. Yet we also recognize this fresh start is still fragile,” Ban said.
Responding to questions, Ban hoped that the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, and the government would be able to find a mutually beneficial, harmonious way to make parliamentary proceedings progress smoothly.
The NLD refused to take up the 43 seats it won in the April 1 by-elections as they must currently pledge to “protect” the undemocratic 2008 Constitution. The party has campaigned on a platform of amending the widely-condemned document and wants the wording changed to “respect” instead.
“They have gone through very historic by-elections recently that was reflected by the will of the Myanmar people,” Ban said. “I have taken note of what President Thein Sein said about this matter and I hope that they will be able to find a resolution on this issue harmoniously for the further democratization of their country.”

Ban expressed satisfaction over recent moves to reconcile with ethnic groups, particularly with the Karen National Union. He hoped the same progress will be emulated with the Kachin group. It is important that the Burmese authorities reach out and talk with all minorities for their smooth transition towards fuller participation in the democratization process, he said.

“I will have many opportunities of discussing this matter, starting with President Thein Sein, to Aung San Suu Kyi, to speakers of Parliament. I will have another opportunity of engaging with ministers and economic and social-related leaders there,” Ban said.

Meanwhile, the State Department urged the Burmese government and leaders to resolve the issue of the parliamentary swearing-in oath.

“Our understanding is that the NLD is in discussion with the government and with other parties with regard to this issue and we are calling on everybody to try to work this through in a manner that will allow the NLD to take its seats,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

“We want to see the government and the opposition continue to work on their issues in a consensual manner through dialogue, and that is our understanding of what the NLD itself wants. So I think we need to watch this and hope that in coming days this can be settled,” she added.

But Nuland said the US will not wade into a domestic debate between the players involved. “The NLD has concerns about a number of things, including the name of the country, that were adopted at a time when they were not able to participate in the political process,” she said. “So they’re going to have to work through these things together as part of the general opening in the reform process.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

တတိယအႀကိမ္ ျပည္သူ႔ဂုဏ္ရည္ဆု ပဏာမ ေရြးခ်ယ္ခံ ပုဂိၢဳလ္၊ အဖြဲ႕အစည္း ၂၀ ရဲ့ အမည္စာရင္း ထုတ္ျပန္ ေၾကျငာ 

အေမရိကန္ျပည္ေထာင္စု၊ ယူႏိုက္တက္ ကင္းဒဲန္း၊ ဂ်ပန္နဲ႔ ေတာင္ကိုရီးယားႏိုင္ငံတို႔က အဖြဲ႕ခြဲ ၁၅ ခုနဲ႔ ဖြဲ႕စည္းထားတဲ့ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္အဖြဲ႕ရဲ့ တတိယအႀကိမ္ေျမာက္ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္ ဆု ခ်ီးျမွင့္ပြဲကို ၂၀၁၂ ေမ ၂၇ ရက္ေန႔တြင္ နယူးေယာက္၌ က်င္းပရန္ ျပင္ဆင္လ်က္ရွိရာ ၂၀၁၂ ဧၿပီ ၁၆ ရက္ေန႔က ပဏာမ ေရြးခ်ယ္ခံ ပုဂိၢဳလ္၊ အဖြဲ႕အစည္း ၂၀ ရဲ့ အမည္စာရင္း ထုတ္ျပန္ ေၾကျငာလိုက္ပါတယ္။
ထိုပဏာမစာရင္းအတြက္ ၂၀၁၂ မတ္လလယ္မွ မတ္လ ၃၁ ရက္ေန႔အထိ ေကာက္ခံခဲ့ရာ အမည္စာရင္း တင္သြင္းသူ ၃၃ ဦးအနက္ ဂုဏ္ျပဳပြဲ အခမ္းအနားမ်ား က်င္းပေရး ဗဟိုလုပ္ငန္းေကာ္မတီက လူ ပုဂိၢဳလ္၊ အဖြဲ႕အစည္း ၂၀ ရဲ့ စာရင္းကို ေရြးခ်ယ္ခဲ့တာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ အခု ေရြးခ်ယ္ထားတဲ့ ပဏာမစာရင္းထဲမွ ငါးဦးစီကို သက္ဆိုင္ရာ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္ အဖြဲ႕ခြဲမ်ားက ဧၿပီ ၂၂ ရက္ေန႔ ေနာက္ဆံုးထားၿပီး ျပန္လည္ ေရြးခ်ယ္မွာ ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း၊ ထိုသို႔ ေရြးခ်ယ္ၿပီး စုစုေပါင္း ဆႏၵမဲ အမ်ားဆံုး ရရွိသူ ငါးဦးစာရင္းကို ထပ္မံ ထုတ္ျပန္ ေၾကျငာကာ အြန္လိုင္းမွ မဲေပးစနစ္နဲ႔ ေရြးခ်ယ္ၿပီး ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္ဆု ရရွိသူကို ေမလ ၂၇ ရက္ေန႔တြင္ ေၾကျငာၿပီး ဆုခ်ီးျမွင့္မွာ ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း သိရပါတယ္။

ေမလ ၂၇ ရက္ေန႔ နယူးေယာက္တြင္ က်င္းပမယ့္ ဆု ခ်ီးျမွင့္ပြဲကို ပထမအႀကိမ္ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္ဆု ရရွိသူ ဦးေက်ာ္သူနဲ႔ ဇနီး ေဒၚေရႊဇီးကြက္တို႔ ကိုယ္တိုင္ တက္ေရာက္မွာ ျဖစ္သလို ဒုတိယအႀကိမ္ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္ဆု ရရွိသူ ေဒၚရွဳကလည္း အသံ (သို႔) ဗီဒီယိုနဲ႔ ႏွဳတ္ဆက္စကား ေျပာၾကားမွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ဒီႏွစ္ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္ဆု ခ်ီးျမွင့္ပြဲတြင္ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္အဖြဲ႕က ေရြးခ်ယ္တဲ့ သီးျခား ဆု တဆု ခ်ီးျမွင့္ရန္ စီစဥ္ေနေၾကာင္းလည္း သတင္းရရွိပါတယ္။
ျပည္သူ႔ဂုဏ္ရည္ဆု ခ်ီးျမွင့္ပြဲကိုတက္ေရာက္မယ့္ ဦးေက်ာ္သူတို႔ဇနီးေမာင္ႏွံဟာ ေမလဆန္းကတည္းက အေမရိကန္ျပည္ေထာင္စုကို ေရာက္ရွိမွာ ျဖစ္ကာ ျပည္သူ႕ဂုဏ္ရည္အဖြဲ႕ခြဲမ်ား ရွိရာသို႔ လွည့္လည္ သြားေရာက္ၿပီးေနာက္ နယူးေယာက္ရွိ ဆုခ်ီးျမွင့္ပြဲကို တက္ေရာက္မွာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ (သတင္းအက်ယ္ကို ယေန႔ျမန္မာတြင္ ဧၿပီ ၉ ရက္ေန႔ ရက္စြဲနဲ႔ ေဖာ္ျပခဲ့တဲ့ “ဦးေက်ာ္သူနဲ႔ ေဒၚေရႊဇီးကြက္တို႔ ဇနီးေမာင္ႏွံ အေမရိကန္ျပည္ေထာင္စုသို႔ အလည္အပတ္ လာေရာက္ရန္ စီစဥ္ထား” သတင္းတြင္ ဖတ္ရွဳႏိုင္ပါတယ္။) တတိယအႀကိမ္ေျမာက္ ျပည္သူ႔ဂုဏ္ရည္ ဆု ခ်ီးျမွင့္ရန္အတြက္ ပဏာမ ေရြးခ်ယ္ထားတဲ့ စာရင္းကေတာ့ ေအာက္ပါအတိုင္း ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။
၁။ ဇီ၀ိတဒါန သံဃာ့ေဆးရံု 
၂။ အရွင္ ဉာဏိႆရ 
၃။ အရွင္နာယက (မႏၱေလး ေဖာင္ေတာ္ဦးေက်ာင္း ဆရာေတာ္) 
၄။ အရွင္ ပညာစာရ 
၅။ ဦးဖိုးျဖဴ (ခ) ဦးရန္ႏိုင္ေအာင္ 
၆။ ျဗဟၼစိုရ္ လူမႈကူညီေရးအသင္း 
၇။ ေမတၱာမြန္ကုန္ေလွာင္ရံု မီးေလာင္မွဳတြင္ အသက္ေပးသြားေသာ မီးသတ္ရဲေဘာ္ ၅ ဦး 
၈။ မြတ္စ္လင္ ကုသိုလ္ျဖစ္ေဆးရုံ 
 ၉။ ရခိုင္သဟာရအသင္း (ရန္ကုန္) 
၁၀။ ဦးေရာဘတ္စန္းေအာင္ 
၁၁။ ေရႊျခေသၤ့ လူမႈေစာင့္ေရွာက္ေရးအဖြဲ႕ 
၁၂။ လဖိုင္ေနာ္မိန္း 
၁၃။ လူမႈအေထာက္အကူျပဳအဖြဲ႕ (အမ်ဳိးသားဒီမိုကေရစီအဖြဲ႕ခ်ဳပ္) 
၁၄။ သုခရိပ္ၿမံဳ HIV ကူးစက္ခံ မိဘမဲ့ေလးမ်ား ေဂဟာ 
၁၅။ ဦးသန္းႏိုင္ Community Water Filtration System 
၁၆။ ေဒၚသန္းျမင့္ေအာင္ 
၁၇။ ဆရာေတာ္ ဦးအာစိဏၰ (ေတဇာရာမ ဘုန္းေတာ္ႀကီးသင္ အလယ္တန္းေက်ာင္း) 
၁၈။ ဦးအုန္း (Minamata Environmental Award ဆုရွင္) 
၁၉။ Metta Development Foundation 
၂၀။ Swanyee Development Foundation တုိ႔ ျဖစ္ၾကပါသည္။

NLD sends appeal letter to Thein Sein on oath

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) submitted a letter of appeal to Burmese President Thein Sein on Friday to try to resolve the dispute over a parliamentary oath, which the NLD opposes.

If the NLD and the government do not reach a compromise to the dispute over a word used in the swearing-in oath for new Members of Parliament, NLD-elect representatives will not take the oath to be sworn in on Monday when Parliament reconvenes.

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday she believed the issue could be resolved, and NLD members would eventually assume their seats in Parliament. NLD spokesman Win Tin said, “We’ve submitted a suggestion letter to the president, urging [the authorities] to change the phrase ‘safeguard the Constitution’ to ‘respect the Constitution’ for use in the swearing-in oath. The president will forward the letter to the Constitutional Tribunal. If [a compromise] is not reached before April 23 [Monday], we decided our MPs will not attend” the opening session. The NLD won 43 seats in the by-elections held on April 1.
NLD MP-elect Sandar Min of the Zabu Thiri Township constituency said the NLD was preparing to submit another [appeal] letter to the presidential office and the Constitutional Tribunal.
On Thursday, said the NLD conducted a workshop on the Burmese Constitution for NLD MPs-elect, said Sandar Min. On Friday, they discussed Lower House parliamentary laws.

The NLD boycotted the 2010 general election, but it re-registered as a political party and contested in the 2012 by-elections because the government amended some key areas of the Political Party Registration Law, including wording that said “all political parties must safeguard the country's Constitution.” The wording was amended to “respect the Constitution.”

However, observers say changing the Constitution may present a more complicated obstacle requiring the approval of Parliament or the highest court.

During the campaign, the NLD pledged that it would try to amend the 2008 Constitution to conform to democratic principles.

Open Secrets Behind the KNU Talks


KNU and government peace negotiators shake hands during talks in Rangoon on April 6. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

KNU and government peace negotiators shake hands during talks in Rangoon on April 6. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)
They live in areas under Burmese government control, but they cheer the government’s enemy―the Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic armed group that has fought for greater ethnic autonomy for more than half a century.

In the past, Karen communities in government-administered regions would never have dreamed of openly expressing their support for the KNU, which is still officially regarded as an illegal organization.
But when a KNU peace delegation traveled to the Karen State capital Pa-an and other cities around Burma in early April, including the former national capital Rangoon and regional capitals Pegu and Tavoy, where they will open liaison offices, they were greeted by cheering crowds of local Karen supporters.

Even when they were accompanied by Burmese officials, the KNU peace negotiators were welcomed warmly. In Kyaukgyi Township in Pegu Division, around 3,000 people turned out for a rally to show their support for the KNU when they arrived with government representatives to assess the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the area.

According to Naw May Oo Mudraw, a spokesperson for the KNU peace delegation, such scenes were  common wherever they went.

“We got great support not only from Karen people but also from other ethnic people who have suffered because of the war. They seem very hopeful that our peace process will make their lives better,” she said.
But even as they seem to have lost their fear of expressing their support for the KNU, many ordinary Karens living in government-controlled areas remain troubled by the fact that the group is still officially outlawed.
“Karen people are happy because they want to enjoy the benefits of peace, but they will continue to worry as long as the KNU is an illegal organization,” said Zipporah Sein, the general secretary of the KNU.
Despite such concerns, however, the participation of the wider public in the peace process is crucial to its success, according to Alan Saw Oo, a leader of the Karen community in Rangoon.

For some observers, however, the KNU’s outlawed status is not the only unsettling aspect of the government’s recent push to end decades of fighting. They note that while Naypyidaw is scoring political points by signing ceasefire agreements with some groups, its army is continuing to wage war in the far north against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), another ethnic armed group.

Some, noting that the KNU’s Brigade 4 controls a key area near the multi-billion-dollar Tavoy (Dawei) deep-sea port project in Tenasserim Division, have also suggested that the government’s peace offensive appears to be more about securing its business interests than resolving longstanding political differences.
Ending the conflict with the KNU will greatly benefit the government and its Thai partners in the project, and may also profit some KNU leaders (a business source on the Thai-Burmese border claimed that some have already bought land that could skyrocket in value if the peace holds), but it is still far from clear how local people will be affected.

“I don’t think that civilians will benefit if business concerns drive the peace process. We have to make sure that civilians, especially Karen civilians, also benefit,” said Saw Kapi, a California-based Karen commentator who has followed the peace talks closely.

To allay such concerns, the KNU delegation briefed leaders of Karen community-based organizations about their peace talk with the Burmese government a few days after returning to their base. However, according to a Karen refugee camp leader who attended the meeting, there was no specific message about Karen refugee settlements in their homeland in Karen State.

Despite meeting several times with the Burmese government peace negotiators since late 2011, the KNU has secured no concrete guarantee that IDPs and Karen refugees on the Thai-Burmese border can safely return to their homes, said sources.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

ဒုတိယ ကမာၻစစ္ လက္က်န္တိုက္ေလယာဥ္မ်ား ျဗိတိန္ကို ျပန္ပို႕မည္


ဒုတိယကမာၻစစ္အတြင္း ျမန္မာျပည္ စစ္မ်က္ႏွာမွာ သို၀ွက္ထားခဲ့တဲဲ့ တိုက္ေလယာဥ္ေတြကို ျဗိတိန္ႏိုင္ငံကို ျပန္လည္္ေပးပို႔ဖို႔ အစိုးရခ်င္း သေဘာတူညီခဲ့ၾကပါတယ္။

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံကို လာေရာက္ခဲ့တဲ့ ျဗိတိန္၀န္ႀကီးခ်ဳပ္ မစၥတာ ေဒးဗစ္ ကင္မရြန္းနဲ႔ ျမန္မာအစိုးရ သမၼတ ဦးသိန္းစိန္တို႔ ေတြ႕ဆံုခဲ့စဥ္အတြင္း အဲဒီသမိုင္း၀င္ တိုက္ေလယာဥ္ေတြကို ျပန္လည္ရွာေဖြေပးပို႔ဖို႔ သေဘာတူညီခဲ့ၾကတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

ဒုတိယ ကမာၻစစ္အတြင္း ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံကို ဂ်ပန္တပ္ေတြအ၀င္ ၁၉၄၅ ခုႏွစ္ ေႏြရာသီမွာ ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္ႀကီး ေမာင့္ဘက္တန္ရဲ႕ အမိန္႔နဲ႔ ျဗိတိသွ်စစ္တပ္က Spitfires အမ်ိဳးအစား တိုက္ေလယာဥ္ အသစ္အစီး (၂၀) ကို ဂ်ပန္စစ္တပ္ေတြ မသိမ္းယူႏိုင္ေအာင္ ေျမျမႈဳပ္သို၀ွက္ထားခဲ့ပါတယ္။

အခုအခါ ျဗိိတိန္ႏိုင္ငံ Leeds တကၠသိုလ္က ကၽြမ္းက်င္သူေတြနဲ႔ ရန္ကုန္အေျခစိုက္ ျမန္မာပညာရွင္တစ္ဦးတို႔ ပူးေပါင္းျပီး ေရဒါနည္းစနစ္ေတြနဲ႔ ေလယာဥ္ေတြ သို၀ွက္ ျမႈဳပ္ႏွံထားတဲ့ေနရာကို ရွာေဖြခဲ့ၾကရာမွာ အဲဒီေနရာကို သိရျပီလို႔ ယံုၾကည္ရပါတယ္။

ဒုတိယ ကမာၻစစ္အတြင္းက Spitfires အမ်ိဳးအစား တိုက္ေလယာဥ္ စီးေရ ႏွစ္ေသာင္းတစ္ေထာင္ေလာက္ ထုတ္လုပ္ခဲ့ရာမွာ အခုအခါ (၃၅) စီးေလာက္ပဲ ေမာင္ႏွင္ပ်ံသန္းလို႔ရတဲ့ အေျခအေနမွာရွိတယ္လို႔ သိရပါတယ္။

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi meets Burma President Thein Sein

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses supporters and reporters from behind the gates of the National League for Democracy (NLD) office in Yangon 2 April, 2012 Ms Suu Kyi is holding a private meeting with the president ahead of the next parliament sitting

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met President Thein Sein, ahead of the country's next parliamentary session in a fortnight.

It is the second time Ms Suu Kyi has met the president and comes after she led her party to a sweeping victory in by-elections on 1 April.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) won 43 of 44 seats it contested.

It still holds only a small proportion of the seats in parliament, which is dominated by the military-backed USDP.

There were no immediate details of the talks between Ms Suu Kyi and Mr Thein.

Returning to Rangoon from the capital, Nay Pyi Daw, Ms Suu Kyi told reporters only that it had been "a good meeting".

Ahead of the discussions, an NLD official had said that Ms Suu Kyi would also be lunching with the president's family.

Reformist leader

The Nobel laureate first met the president in August last year.

Much has happened in Burma since that landmark meeting, says the BBC's South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey.

Since then hundreds of political prisoners have been released and the military-backed civilian government has made efforts to negotiate peace deals with ethnic rebel groups - overtures aimed at encouraging the lifting of sanctions by the European Union and US.

It is widely believed that much of the groundwork for the changes stems from an understanding reached between the president and Ms Suu Kyi, who spent most of the last two decades in detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to Burma.

This latest meeting is likely to build on that tentative trust and, perhaps, to chart the next phase in Burma's transition from dictatorship to democracy, says our correspondent.

Tentative change

Ms Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory in national elections in 1990, but was not allowed to govern.

It boycotted polls in 2010 that saw power transferred from the military junta to a military-backed nominally civilian government because of election laws it said were unfair.

But amid reforms in Burma it rejoined the political process and contested by-elections to fill seats left empty by the appointment of ministers.

Thein Sein - who also served as a general and then prime minister under the junta - is broadly considered to be a reformist.

Burma's recent reforms have been welcomed and following the successful by-elections the US agreed to lift some sanctions against Burma.

British PM to visit Burma on Friday


Published: 10 April 2012

British Prime Minister David Cameron is due in Burma this week on the first visit by a top western leader since decades of military rule ended last year, government officials said Monday.

Cameron will meet President Thein Sein in the capital Naypyidaw on Friday and hold talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon the same day, a Burmese government official who did not want to be named told AFP.

“His visit will be a day trip,” he said.

A second official confirmed the plan but said the schedule was still being finalised. An aide to Suu Kyi also told AFP that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was expected to meet Cameron on Friday in Rangoon.

Suu Kyi, who spent 15 of the past 22 years locked up by the former junta, won a seat in parliament for the first time in April’s by-elections that were largely praised by the west as a step towards democracy.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party secured 43 of the 44 seats it contested, becoming the main opposition force in a national parliament dominated by the military and its political allies.

She will take her seat in the lower house for the first time on 23 April, her party said on Monday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague last week hailed the 66-year-old’s election to political office as a “historic result” for the people of Burma, while urging Thein Sein to stay on the reform track.

Burma’s quasi-civilian government has announced a surprising series of reforms over the past year, such as releasing hundreds of political prisoners and welcoming the opposition back into mainstream politics.

Cameron would be the first western head of government to visit since the junta handed power to a nominally civilian regime last year following a controversial 2010 election won by the military’s political proxies.

It comes as the EU considers further easing sanctions against the impoverished nation following the landmark elections.

While some nations have argued for all sanctions to be removed, Britain – the country’s former colonial ruler – and Nordic nations favour a “step-by-step” approach to ensure reforms continue, EU diplomats have said.

The 27-nation bloc already lifted some sanctions on the regime this year and foreign ministers will decide the next steps when they meet on 23 April in Luxembourg.

Hillary Clinton became the first US secretary of state to visit Burma in more than 50 years last November for talks with Thein Sein and Suu Kyi, who was released just days after the 2010 vote.

Her NLD party swept to a landslide election victory in 1990, when Suu Kyi was in detention, but the junta never recognised the result.

Observers say the regime now needs Suu Kyi in parliament to bolster the legitimacy of its political system and spur an easing of western sanctions.

The US announced last week it would ease selected sanctions, including restrictions on investment to Burma, but said measures would stay in place against those opposed to reform.

UN Security Council must address war crimes in Burma

(Commentary) – As the United Nations Security Council will soon meet to discuss developments in Burma, Burma Campaign UK calls on Council members to address attacks against ethnic minority civilians by the Burmese Army, which have escalated in the past year.
The United Nations General Assembly hall at its headquarters in New York  Photo: flickr

The United Nations General Assembly hall at its headquarters in New York Photo: flickr

There have been significant changes and welcome reforms in Burma, including the recent by-elections which, although not free and fair, saw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy win 43 seats. It is right that these changes are acknowledged and encouraged.

However, this should not be at the cost of turning a blind eye to serious violations of international law which are being perpetrated against ethnic minorities.

In his last report the UN Special Rapporteur listed a series of human rights abuses, all committed in Burma in recent months, which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. They include: ‘…grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including attacks against the civilian population, extrajudicial killings, internal displacement, the use of human shields and forced labour, confiscation and destruction of property, and conflict-related sexual violence...’

Burma Campaign UK recently visited the conflict zone in Kachin State, Burma, and documented cases of rape, extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture, deliberate targeting of civilians with mortar and machine gun fire, looting, beatings, forced labour and use of child soldiers by the Burmese Army. Around 70,000 people have been forced to flee attacks and abuses by the Burmese Army, and President Thein Sein is not allowing aid agencies proper access to deliver essential aid.

“Encouraging further reforms while also addressing serious human rights abuses are not incompatible, and are in fact essential if lasting peace and democratic change are to be secured,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The UN Security Council has a legal duty to address the increase in violations of international law which have taken place in Burma in the past year.”

A short while ago, a visit by a British PM ‘was inconceivable’

(Commentary) – For years, I used to say that I had hope for freedom in Burma, but such hope flew in the face of the facts. My hope was based on a belief that the courage of the Burmese people would be rewarded in the end, and that history shows that dictators do not last forever.

It was, however, a vague hope which I had to hold onto to ensure that my advocacy efforts were not in vain. Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest for most of the past two decades, over two thousand dissidents were in jail, and the country’s military was carrying out crimes against humanity. A visit by a British prime minister was inconceivable.
In May 2008 David Cameron, then leader of the Conservative Party while in opposition, visited a Burmese Buddhist Monastery in Colindale, North London. At the time the Burmese government was blocking aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, and David Cameron wanted to meet the Burmese community in London to discuss the situation. He is shown here with monk U Uttara, on his left. Cameron will visit Burma this week. Photo: Burma Campaign UK

In May 2008 David Cameron, then leader of the Conservative Party while in opposition, visited a Burmese Buddhist Monastery in Colindale, North London. At the time the Burmese government was blocking aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, and David Cameron wanted to meet the Burmese community in London to discuss the situation. He is shown here with monk U Uttara, on his left. Cameron will visit Burma this week. Photo: Burma Campaign UK

Today, Burma may be beginning to change. A year ago, I was deported from the country, because the authorities disliked a book I had written about the previous dictator, Senior General Than Shwe. As they threw me out, a military intelligence officer told me assuredly there was “no change, no change.” Just a few months later, the new president, Thein Sein, stunned the world by meeting the woman the regime had refused to talk to but failed to defeat: the democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since that meeting last August, he has taken significant and very welcome steps forward, releasing many political prisoners, including very high profile dissidents, initiating ceasefire talks with some of the country’s ethnic groups, and making it possible for Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to participate in by-elections for the country’s new Parliament. Suu Kyi won her seat in a landslide, and the party won 43 of the 45 seats contested. Ten months after I was deported, I was able to go back to Rangoon.

All this has made David Cameron’s visit later this week not only possible, but desirable. We should now be seeking ways to encourage Thein Sein to continue on this reformist path, and one way to do so is to bring him and other reformers within the regime in from the cold. However, just as it is important to recognize, welcome and applaud the steps taken so far, it is equally important to keep on reminding Thein Sein that there is much more he needs to do.

The Prime Minister must be clear with Thein Sein: so far, what we have seen amounts primarily to a change in atmosphere rather than a change in system. We must not underestimate the significance of the reforms, but nor must we think that the job is done. Reform must of course begin with a change in atmosphere, a widening of political space, a relaxation in mood, but those steps must be the first in a process of change.

The next steps must include the release of all remaining political prisoners, access to prisons and all parts of the country for international human rights monitors, unrestricted access to all areas for international humanitarian aid organizations, and substantial legislative, institutional and constitutional reform. Unjust laws which could put dissidents back in jail tomorrow if the authorities so wished must be amended or repealed; an independent judiciary established; the rule of law developed.

And while the NLD’s victory in the by-elections is significant in what it says about the desires of ordinary Burmese voters, it does not by itself signal lasting reform. The NLD will hold only 6.4 per cent of the parliamentary seats, in a legislature dominated by the military and pro-military parties. In 2010, Burma’s first elections in twenty years were heavily rigged to ensure that the military’s party, the Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), had a large majority.

Just to be sure of guaranteeing power, in addition to rigging and harassment, the military reserved 25 per cent of the seats for themselves even before the poll. So Aung San Suu Kyi and her MPs will have a lot of work to do to build an informal coalition with other pro-democracy parties, ethnic parties and reform-minded members of the USDP, if there is to be a chance for real change. And the real test will be Burma's next general election, in 2015.

In addition to legislative, institutional and constitutional reform, the major challenge to be addressed is the plight of Burma’s ethnic nationalities, who make up 40 per cent of the population and inhabit sixty per cent of the land. For 65 years, successive Burmese governments, and particularly the military regimes that have ruled the country since Ne Win seized power in a coup in 1962, have been fighting the ethnic groups and their simple demand for equal rights and a degree of autonomy. The Karen were the first to be attacked, but by the mid-1960s almost all the ethnic groups were facing brutal military offensives by the regime.

Both Britain and Aung San Suu Kyi have an important role to play in helping Burma secure a lasting nationwide peace. Britain has an historic responsibility, because many of the ethnic nationalities, especially the Karen and Kachin, fought bravely alongside the Allies against the Japanese in the Second World War. Britain promised them autonomy, but failed to deliver, leaving them at the mercy of Burman nationalists after independence.

Suu Kyi, similarly, has a legacy to fulfil, since it was her father, Aung San, who presided over the Panglong Agreement which established equal rights and autonomy for the ethnic nationalities. Aung San, who led the country’s independence movement against British colonial rule, was assassinated before independence, and the Panglong Agreement was discarded. Decades of war and suffering ensued.

Last weekend, leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU), one of the largest ethnic resistance groups, held an historic meeting with President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw, and also held talks with Suu Kyi. The regime has held ceasefire talks with other ethnic nationalities, and established some ceasefire agreements. These steps are very welcome, but they do not in themselves guarantee peace. Ceasefires – an end to active fighting – are not enough, because without a political solution there can be no durable peace.

The government, the ethnic nationalities and the democracy movement must hold talks, and a political system which grants the ethnic people equal rights and a degree of autonomy must be established through dialogue. Burma's regime must embrace the "F" word they have resisted for so long: federalism. Contrary to their view, federalism is the system which would keep the country together, rather than splitting it apart.

Of particular concern currently is the situation in Kachin State, northern Burma. I visited the Kachin on the China-Burma border in January, and heard some of the worst stories of human rights violations I have ever heard, in twelve years of working on Burma. I heard many stories of killings of civilians. I met a woman who, just two months previously, while pregnant, hid for two days under a bed, without food or water, to escape the Burma Army. She heard bullets fly over her, and a Burma Army officer tell his troops: “If you see a Kachin, just kill them”.

I met a pastor who had been arrested and severely beaten and tortured non-stop for six hours. I met a woman whose husband had been decapitated before being shot. I met a 12-year-old boy who had seen his mother shot dead. All these incidents had occurred within the final few months of 2011 and even in January, and I have heard accounts of similar atrocities occurring since my visit. I hope the Prime Minister will raise the situation in Kachin State with Thein Sein and others, and make it clear to them that these horrific attacks must stop and the war in Kachin State must end, if Burma’s reform process is to be taken seriously.

Another issue Cameron should raise is the often overlooked plight of the Rohingya people, a predominantly Muslim group who have lived in northern Arakan State for generations. The Rohingyas are denied citizenship and are effectively stateless, subjected to severe restrictions and persecution. Until their citizenship is restored, and they are granted equal rights with all other citizens of Burma, true democracy and freedom cannot take root.

So there is much on Cameron’s "to do" list on Friday, and a careful balance to strike. To fail to ignore the progress already made could undermine Thein Sein and the reformers and stall the process. But to ignore the continuing human rights violations and the need for substantial institutional and constitutional changes, to embrace the situation today as the end of the road, and to lift all pressure on the regime to change could equally undermine chances of real democracy in Burma.

So far, the Government has got it about right, and William Hague’s pledge of gradual lifting of sanctions, in proportionate response to changes on the ground, rather than removing all sanctions in one go, is the right one. When I was in Rangoon in January, everyone I met – activists who have supported sanctions and those who have been critical – emphasized that to lift all pressure in one go, before change is secured, would be disastrous. We must maintain our leverage and ensure that sanctions are lifted step by step.

As the first western leader to visit Burma in decades, the Prime Minister has a unique opportunity to make good our failed promises of the past, support the reformers and the democrats, and help encourage real change that will bring the freedom and peace for which all the people of Burma have struggled, at great cost, for so long.

ben-rogers-s- Benedict Rogers, a human rights activist with Christian Solidarity Worldwide, is the author of a new book, Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads, to be published in July by Random House. He has visited Burma and its borders more than 40 times.

Monday, 9 April 2012

British PM to visit Myanmar this week: officials

YANGON: British Prime Minister David Cameron is due to visit Myanmar this week on the first visit by a top Western leader since decades of military rule ended last year, government officials said Monday.

Cameron will meet President Thein Sein in the capital Naypyidaw on Friday and hold talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon the same day, a Myanmar government official who did not want to be named told AFP.

"His visit will be a day trip," he said.

A second official confirmed the plan but said the schedule was still being finalised. An aide to Suu Kyi told AFP that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was expected to meet Cameron on Friday in Yangon.

Suu Kyi, who spent 15 of the past 22 years locked up by the former junta, won a seat in parliament for the first time in April 1 by-elections that were largely praised by the West as a step towards democracy.

Myanmar's quasi-civilian government has announced a surprising series of reforms over the past year, such as releasing hundreds of political prisoners and welcoming the opposition back into mainstream politics.

The European Union is considering further easing sanctions against Myanmar following the landmark elections, EU diplomats have said.

While some nations have argued for all sanctions to be removed, Britain -- Myanmar's former colonial ruler -- and Nordic nations are said to favour a "step-by-step" approach to ensure reforms continue.

Cameron would be the first Western head of government to visit since the junta handed power to a new nominally civilian regime last year following a controversial 2010 election won by the military's political proxies.

Suu Kyi was released just days after that vote. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to a landslide election victory in 1990, when Suu Kyi was in detention, but the junta never recognised the result.

Last November, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November became the first US secretary of state to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years.

The United States announced last week it would ease selected sanctions, including restrictions on investment to Myanmar, but said measures would stay in place against those opposed to reform.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

ၾကားျဖတ္ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲအား ၈၈ ႏွင့္ NCUB ႀကိဳဆို၊ ဗကပ အႀကံျပဳ

နယူးေဒလီ (မဇၥ်ိမ) ။ ။ ၾကားျဖတ္ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ ျပည္တြင္းျပည္ပမွ ေၾကညာခ်က္ျဖင့္ သေဘာထားမ်ား ထုတ္ျပန္ၾကရာတြင္ ျပည္တြင္းမွ ၈၈ မ်ဳိးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ား၊ ထိုင္း-ျမန္မာ အေျခစိုက္
ျပည္ေထာင္စုျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ အမ်ဳိးသားေကာင္စီ NCUB ႏွင့္ တ႐ုတ္-ျမန္မာ နယ္စပ္ရွိ ဗကပ တို႔လည္း ပါဝင္သည္။

“ယခုေ႐ြးေကာက္ပြဲရလဒ္သည္ ျပည္သူမ်ားအေနျဖင့္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ႏွင့္ အမ်ိဳးသားဒီမိုကေရစီ အဖြဲ႔ခ်ဳပ္အေပၚ ယုံၾကည္အားကိုးမႈကို ျပသျခင္း” ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း အဂၤါေန႔ထုတ္ ၈၈ ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ားက ရႈျမင္ၿပီး “အမ်ိဳးသားဒီမိုကေရစီအဖြဲ႕ခ်ဳပ္၏ ေအာင္ျမင္မႈအတြက္ ဝမ္းေျမာက္ဂုဏ္ယူေၾကာင္း” လည္း ေဖာ္ျပပါရွိသည္။

NCUB ၏ ‘ၾကားျဖတ္ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲမွ တႏိုင္ငံလံုး အပစ္အခတ္ရပ္စဲေရးဆီသို႔’ ေခါင္းစဥ္တပ္ ေၾကညာခ်က္တြင္မူ တနဂၤေႏြေန႔ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲရလဒ္အား “လိႈက္လွဲစြာ ၾကိဳဆိုဂုဏ္ျပဳ”လိုက္ၿပီး ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရး အမ်ဳိးသားျပန္လည္ သင့္ျမတ္ေရးတို႔အတြက္ ေနာက္တဆင့္ တက္လွမ္းႏိုင္မည့္ အေနအထားသို႔ ေရာက္ရွိလာၿပီဟု ဆိုသည္။

ဦးသိန္းစိန္ အစိုးရ အေနျဖင့္ “ႏိုင္ငံအဝွမ္း အပစ္အခတ္ ရပ္စဲေရး လုပ္ရန္ႏွင့္ တႏိုင္ငံလံုးလႊမ္းျခံဳသည့္ လြတ္ၿငိမ္း ခ်မ္းသာခြင့္ ထုတ္ျပန္ျခင္း” မ်ား လုပ္ရန္ NCUB က အဂၤါေန႔ထုတ္ ေၾကညာခ်က္တြင္ တိုက္တြန္းထားသည္။

ထို႔အျပင္ ႏိုင္ငံတကာ အကူအညီေပးသူမ်ားႏွင့္ပတ္သက္၍ “လူထုအေနျဖင့္ ခ်က္ခ်င္း အလုပ္အကိုင္ရရွိေစမည့္
ႏုိင္ငံဖြံ႔ၿဖိဳးမႈအတြက္ အေျခခံအေဆာက္အအံုမ်ား တည္ေဆာက္ျခင္း” ကိစၥရပ္မ်ားႏွင့္ “ျပည္တြင္းေရေၾကာင္းလမ္းႏွင့္ မီးရထားလမ္းစနစ္မ်ား ခိုင္မာေအာင္ တည္ေဆာက္ျခင္း” မ်ားအတြက္ အကူအညီေပးသည့္ေၾကာင္းလည္း NCUB မွ အဂၤါေန႔ထုတ္ ေၾကညာခ်က္မွာပင္ အၾကံျပဳထားသည္။

NCUB ကို တိုင္းရင္းသားလက္နက္ကိုင္ အဖြဲ႔အစည္းမ်ား၊ ၁၉၉ဝ လႊတ္ေတာ္ ကိုယ္စားလွယ္မ်ား၊ ထိုင္း-ျမန္မာ နယ္စပ္အေျခစိုက္ ဒီမိုကရက္တစ္ အတိုက္အခံမ်ားျဖင့္ စုေပါင္းဖြဲ႔စည္းထားသည္။ ဗမာျပည္ကြန္ျမဴနစ္ပါတီ (ဗကပ) အေနျဖင့္ ဧၿပီလ ၁ ရက္ေန႔ ၾကားျဖတ္ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲမွ “ရဲရင့္တဲ့ ျပည္သူ၊ စစ္အာဏာရွင္ကို မုန္းတီးတဲ့ ျပည္သူရဲ႕ ဆႏၵကို အထင္အရွား ျမင္လိုက္ရပါတယ္”ဟု သေဘာထားထုတ္ျပန္ထားသည္။

ဗကပ အေနျဖင့္ အုပ္စိုးသူ အစိုးရအဆက္ဆက္ႏွင့္ ႏွစ္ေပါင္း ၇ဝ နီးပါး ဆက္ဆံခဲ့ဖူးသျဖင့္ NLD အေနျဖင့္လည္း သတိထားေလွ်ာက္လွမ္းသြားေစလိုေၾကာင္း ေျပာေရးဆိုခြင့္ရွိသူ ရဲေဘာ္ဖိုးသံေခ်ာင္း က ဆိုသည္။

“အခု ႏိုင္လိုက္တာဟာ လႊတ္ေတာ္ထဲမွာ အမ်ားစု မဟုတ္ေသးတဲ့အတြက္ ဗိုလ္သိန္းစိန္တို႔က ၾကည္ၾကည္ျဖဴျဖဴ လက္ခံလို႔ရတယ္။ ဒါေပမယ့္ ေနာက္ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲက်ရင္ ျပႆနာက အဲလိုမဟုတ္ေတာ့ဘူး။ အဲလိုမျဖစ္ေအာင္ စစ္အစိုးရဟာ တခုခု လုပ္လာႏိုင္တယ္။ အေျခခံဥပေဒကလည္း သူတို႔ကို လုပ္ခ်င္တာလုပ္ဖို႔ ခြင့္ျပဳထားေတာ့ အဲဒါေတြကို သတိျပဳရမယ္လို႔ က်ေနာ္တို႔က အၾကံေပးတာပါ” ဟု မဇၥ်ိမကို ေျပာသည္။

ယခု က်င္းပေပးလိုက္သည့္ ၾကားျဖတ္ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲမွာ ပိတ္ဆို႔အေရးယူမႈမ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ထားသည့္ အေနာက္ႏိုင္ငံမ်ား အား ဆြဲေဆာင္ႏိုင္ရန္အတြက္ ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္းလည္း သူက ေျပာသည္။

“ဘာေၾကာင့္လဲဆို လႊတ္ေတာ္ထဲမွာ သိပ္ကို ၾကီးမားတဲ့ အမ်ားစုၾကီးကို သူတို႔က ပိုင္ပိုင္ႏိုင္ႏိုင္ ရထားၿပီးျဖစ္တယ္။ အဲေတာ့ အကုန္လံုးကို ျဖစ္သင့္တဲ့အတိုင္းပဲ လႊတ္ေပးထားလိုက္ၿပီးေတာ့ နာမည္ေကာင္း ယူလိုက္တဲ့ဟာမ်ဳိးလို႔ပဲ
ေျပာခ်င္ပါတယ္။ တနည္းေျပာရရင္ ဗိုလ္သိန္းစိန္တို႔အတြက္ကေတာ့ သူတို႔ရည္မွန္းခ်က္ ေအာင္ျမင္သြားတယ္လို႔
ေျပာလို႔ရပါတယ္” ဟု ရဲေဘာ္ဖိုးသံေခ်ာင္း က ေျပာသည္။

NLD အေနျဖင့္ အေျခခံဥပေဒ ျပင္ဆင္ေရးကို လႊတ္ေတာ္တြင္းမွ ေဆာင္ရြက္သြားမည္ ဆိုသည္ကို မဆန္႔က်င္ေသာ္ လည္း “၆ ရာခိုင္ႏႈန္းအေျခအေနနဲ႔ေတာ့ လႊတ္ေတာ္တြင္းလုပ္ငန္းတခုတည္းနဲ႔ လံုးဝမျဖစ္ႏိုင္ပါဘူး။ တျခားနည္းနာ
ေတြနဲ႔ ေပါင္းစပ္မွ၊ ဒါမွမဟုတ္ရင္ လႊတ္ေတာ္ထဲမွာ ကိုယ္က အမ်ားစု ရလာေအာင္ လံုးပမ္းမွ။ အဲဒါကလည္း စစ္အာဏာရွင္မ်ားက ခြင့္ျပဳေကာင္းမွ ခြင့္ျပဳပါလိမ့္မယ္။ အဲဒါေၾကာင့္ နည္းနာေပါင္းစံု ေပါင္းစပ္ရမယ္လို႔ ထင္ပါတယ္ ခင္ဗ်” ဟု ဗကပ ၏ သေဘာထားကို ထင္ဟပ္ေျပာဆိုသြားသည္။

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Caucus calls for Asean to raise Burmese human rights issue

The Asean Inter Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), while noting allegations of irregularities and widespread electoral violations, on Tuesday welcomed the results of the Burmese by-elections held on 1 April, but called on Asean to raise the issue of ongoing violence and conflict in Burma’s ethnic areas during Asean Summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Phnom Penh.

“While the elections in Myanmar this Sunday can be seen as a step in the right direction, we must not forget that they have been overshadowed not only by widespread and well documented allegations of electoral improprieties, but also the continued violence and human rights abuses taking place in the ethnic areas,” said Eva Kusuma Sundari, Indonesian MP and AIPMC president.

“We congratulate Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi on this historic day for her and her party and we stand by her in her continued efforts to bring human rights, justice and democracy to the people of Myanmar. But the hard work is still to come and we must not be distracted too long by this election,” she said. “The serious issue of continued conflict and human rights abuses in the ethnic areas must be brought to the forefront, as the human toll of these conflicts continues to be too high for any of us to ignore.”

AIPMC called on Asean to monitor closely the situation of human rights, in particular, the continued violent conflict in ethnic areas. UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, reiterated in his latest report in March that the legal institutions were not capable of investigating and bringing human rights cases to legal process. He also expressed concern over the breakdown of ceasefire agreements between government and armed ethnic groups and reports of allegations of serious human rights violations, including attacks against civilian populations, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, internal displacement, land confiscations, the use of human shields, the recruitment of child soldiers, as well as forced labour and portering.

The caucus said it recognizes the reforms undertaken by the government to date, but maintains that key minimum benchmarks remain unsatisfied.

“It is still unclear whether this government sees itself as a transitional government or the real representatives of the people of Burma. We must not hold back until real and substantive reforms have been enacted and the army is neutralized as a political force,” said Son Chhay, Cambodian MP and AIPMC vice president.

“We can take a moment to celebrate the election victory for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who continues to be an inspiration to us all, but the hard work for her and her country is still to come. And it is our responsibility as fellow members of the Asean community to stand by her and the Burmese people as they continue to strive for genuine change in their country. We will continue to impress upon our parliaments how important this issue is,” he said.

Tens of thousands of people remain internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands more are living in refugee camps outside of the country, it said. Of particular concern is the plight of the Rohingya population, who are continually persecuted at home and abroad, and the ongoing conflict in Kachin State, where reports of serious human rights abuses continue, the group said.

While Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy Party have done a valiant job, their small percentage of seats in Parliament leaves them with little constitutional power, said the group. “They, along with reformers in the government, will need the continued support and backing of the international community and Asean to ensure that Myanmar’s transition to democracy will be both enduring and peaceful,” it said.

“As we have seen across the region, we cannot always rely on individuals, no matter how well meaning they may seem. We have to have the laws that protect us, as people can be changed and turned by power. When you change to a new political system, there will necessarily be many legal loopholes, and these holes must be plugged as quickly as possible. You must strengthen the systems and you have to neutralize the power of the army.”

AIPMC also called on Asean leaders to pressure the government of Burma to move swiftly towards conducting a comprehensive and transparent review of the 2008 Constitution and all national legislation. The review should be fully participatory, involving political opposition, civil society, and ethnic nationalities, and be carried out with the aim of amending, repealing or replacing laws that are inconsistent with international human rights and democratic standards, it said.

The Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) is a network formed by parliamentarians from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. It advocates for human rights and democratic reform in Burma.

Suu Kyi urged to give priority to ethnic politics

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese ethnic leaders have asked Aung San Suu Kyi, the MP-elect of the National League for Democracy [NLD] party, to make her first priority solving ethnic political issues, after decades of political and armed struggle against the government.

Shan ethnic leader Khun Htun Oo said, “I don’t think that Aung San Suu Kyi will forget ethnic affairs. Because of events, she cannot ignore it.”

Released from prison in early 2012, Khun Htun Oo noted it is a critical moment for ethnic groups across the country, which are trying to engage with the newly formed government and to build trust while forging a new political relationship.

Suu Kyi has said that she would give priority to three areas: the rule of law, establishing countrywide peace and trying to amend the 2008 Constitution. In the by-elections, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won seats in 40 constituencies, according to official Election Commission results. Results for five more constituencies are still pending.

NLD candidates won in ethnic areas in Kalaw in Shan State and Mawlamyaing in Mon State.

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of ethnic groups, said the electoral results show ethnic people trust Suu Kyi, and she could be a mediator in ethnic-government relations.

Ethnic leader Nai Hong Sar said Suu Kyi wants to work with ethnic groups and the Parliament should “give her responsibility to work for ethnic people.”

“I believe she will work to amend the 2008 Constitution,” he said, which has been cited as a way to realign political relations between the government and ethnic groups, which have sought more autonomy over their affairs.

A spokesman for the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) said Suu Kyi should give first priority to ethnic affairs like her father, General Aung San, who forged deep relations with ethnic groups.

“Establishing nationwide peace is the most important affair. I want her to do it first, and then she can work to establish democracy,” he said.

Speech of General Aung San