Sunday, 29 June 2008

Human Rights Watch pages for Burma

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Amnesty International Report 2008-Myanmar

Head of State: Senior General Than Shwe
Head of government: General Thein Sein (replaced General Soe Win in October)Death
penalty: abolitionist in practice
Population: 51.5 million
Life expectancy: 60.8 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 107/89 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 89.9 per cent
The human rights situation in Myanmar continued to deteriorate, culminating in September when authorities staged a five-day crackdown on widespread protests that had begun six weeks earlier. The peaceful protests voiced both economic and political grievances. More than 100 people were believed to have been killed in the crackdown, and a similar number were the victims of enforced disappearance. Several thousands were detained in deplorable conditions. The government began prosecutions under anti-terrorism legislation against many protestors. International response to the crisis included a tightening of sanctions by Western countries. At least 1,150 additional political prisoners, some arrested decades ago, remained in detention.
A military offensive continued in northern Kayin State, with widespread and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. In western Rakhine State, the government continued negotiations on a large-scale Shwe gas pipeline, preparations for which included forced displacement and forced labour of ethnic communities.
In September, the government completed drafting guidelines for a new Constitution, the second step in their seven-step "Road Map" for moving toward democracy. In December, the government appointed a 54-member commission of military and other officials to draft the Constitution. The National League for Democracy (NLD), the main opposition party, has not participated in this process since the early stages, and legislation criminalizing criticism of the process remained in place.
The government had ceasefires in place with the armies of all but three ethnic groups, but forced displacement, labour, and portering by the military continued in all seven ethnic states.
Following a visit by the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, the Myanmar authorities met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi toward starting dialogue on national reconciliation, but the NLD party leader remained under house arrest, where she has been for 12 of the past 18 years.
Freedom of expression
Members of the NLD were subjected to harassment and threats all year, forcing many to resign from the party. Campaigners and demonstrators for democracy were arrested. In particular, the 88 Generation Students group (88G), formed in 2005 by former students active in the pro-democracy uprising in 1988, was targeted and threatened by the authorities.
With the economy already in decline, the government raised fuel prices exponentially in August, triggering peaceful protests across the country. When a group of demonstrating monks in Pakokku was attacked by the authorities in September, monks began leading the protests nationwide, primarily in Yangon, Mandalay, Sittwe, Pakokku, and Myitkyina. The authorities violently cracked down on protesters between 25 and 29 September. Monasteries were raided and closed down, property was destroyed and confiscated and monks were beaten and detained. Other protesters' homes and hiding places were raided, usually at night, and authorities took friends or relatives as hostages to put pressure on wanted persons and to discourage further dissent. The All Burma Monks Alliance (ABMA), a new group formed by the protests' religious leaders, became a main target. The authorities took photographs and recorded the demonstrations, later warning the public that they had these records and used them in their raids. The internet throughout Myanmar was cut during the crackdown, and when a small group demonstrated at the one-month anniversary of the crackdown. Journalists were targeted and arrested.
Killings and excessive use of force
Two members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters group were attacked by more than 50 people on 18 April in Ayeyarwaddy Division, causing their hospitalization with head injuries. Senior members of the village police and the Secretary of the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA), a state-sponsored social organization, were reportedly present.
Thirty-one people were confirmed killed during the five-day crackdown on protesters in September although the actual number is likely to be over 100. Rubber bullets and live rounds were fired into crowds of peaceful demonstrators by state security personnel or groups supported by them. The total number of people killed or injured by gunfire was not known. Given eye-witness testimony of shots being fired from atop military trucks and from flyover bridges, as well as the profile of the victims, it is likely that the authorities deliberately targeted real or perceived leaders of the demonstrations.
*Thet Paing Soe and Maung Tun Lynn Kyaw, students at State High School No. 3 in Yangon, were shot and killed on 27 September.
*Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai was shot and killed at point-blank range on 27 September.
State security personnel and groups supported by them also beat protesters with sticks. Victims included monks as well as men, women and children who were either directly participating in the protests or onlookers. In some cases these beatings were administered indiscriminately, while in other cases the authorities deliberately targeted individuals, chasing them down to beat them.
*Ko Ko Win, a 22-year-old NLD member, died as a result of injuries sustained when he was beaten near Sule Pagoda in Yangon on 27 September.
Crimes against humanity
In Kayin State, a military offensive by the tatmadaw (Myanmar army) continued on a slightly lesser scale but still included widespread and systematic commission of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law on a scale that amounted to crimes against humanity. Destruction of houses and crops, enforced disappearances, forced labour, displacement and killings of Karen villagers were among the abuses.
Political imprisonment
Even before the large-scale demonstrations began in August, the authorities arrested many well-known opponents of the government on political grounds, several of whom had only been released from prison several months earlier.
Once the protests were underway but before the 25-29 September crackdown, more arrests of NLD and 88G activists took place – many of which were clearly a pre-emptive measure before the crackdown.
Mass round-ups occurred during the crackdown itself, and the authorities continued to arrest protesters and supporters throughout the year, making use initially of a three-week curfew in October. Between 3,000 and 4,000 political prisoners were detained, including children and pregnant women, 700 of whom were believed still in detention at year's end. At least 20 were charged and sentenced under anti-terrorism legislation in proceedings which did not meet international fair trial standards. Detainees and defendants were denied the right to legal counsel.
Ko Ko Gyi, Min Ko Naing, Min Zeya, Pyone Cho, and Htay Kywe, all 88G leaders, were released from detention without charge the day before the UN Security Council voted on a resolution on Myanmar in January. The first four were detained again on 21 and 22 August for participating in protests, while Htay Kywe – in hiding for about a month – was captured on 13 October.
Zargana, a comedian and former prisoner of conscience, was detained at the start of the crackdown on 25 September.
He was released on 17 October, only to be detained again for several hours days later.
Mie Mie and Thet Thet Aung, women leaders of the 88G, were arrested on 13 and 19 October, respectively. Both had participated in the demonstrations in August but had been forced into hiding. The latter's husband was also detained, as had been her mother and mother-in-law as hostages.
U Gambira, head of the ABMA and a leader of the September protests, was arrested on 4 November and reportedly charged with treason. Two of his family members who were previously detained as hostages remained in detention.
Su Su Nway, a member of the youth wing of the NLD, released in July 2006 after being detained for reporting forced labour to the International Labour Organization (ILO), was detained on 13 November while putting up anti-government posters.
Eight members of the ethnic Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) were arrested on 24 November reportedly on account of the KIO's refusal to publicly renounce a statement by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi regarding national reconciliation talks.
Prisoners of conscience and senior NLD leaders Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, Daw May Win Myint and Dr Than Nyein, all held without charge or trial – the latter two since October 1997 – had their detention extended by the maximum term of one year. Senior ethnic leaders, such as U Khun Htun Oo of the Shan National League for Democracy, also remained in detention.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was permitted to meet three times with the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, but was not released from house arrest.
Enforced disappearances
During and after the September crackdown, there were at least 72 confirmed cases of enforced disappearance.
Prison conditions
Following a deterioration of prison conditions in 2006, standards fell even further during the crackdown when the authorities detained thousands of people during the five-day period. Large-capacity, informal, secret detention centres were opened which failed to meet international standards on the treatment of prisoners. There was inadequate provision of basic necessities such as food, water, blankets, sleeping space, sanitary facilities, and medical treatment. The International Committee of the Red Cross was denied the opportunity to carry out its core mandate activities in prisons throughout the year.
Torture and other ill-treatment
During the crackdown, some detainees, including Zargana, were held in degrading conditions in rooms designed for holding dogs. Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment including beatings in custody were reported. One detainee was made to kneel bare-legged for long periods on broken bricks and also made to stand on tiptoe in an uncomfortable position for long periods (known as the bicycle-riding position). Monks held in detention were stripped of their robes and purposely fed in the afternoon when their religion forbids them to eat.
Deaths in custody
An unconfirmed number of prisoners died in detention after the crackdown in September due to their treatment during interrogation.
Venerable U Thilavantha, Deputy Abbot of a monastery in Myitkyina, was beaten to death in detention on 26 September, having also been beaten the night before when his monastery was raided.
Ko Win Shwe, an NLD member, died in Plate Myot Police Centre near Mandalay on 9 October. Government authorities cremated his body before notifying his family, thereby preventing any confirmation of reports that he died as a result of torture or other ill-treatment.
From 27 to 29 September, a large number of bodies were reportedly burned at the Ye Way municipal crematorium in Yangon during the night. It was reportedly unusual for the crematorium to function at night, and normal employees were instructed to keep away whilst the facility was operated by state security personnel or state supported groups. On at least one night, reports indicate that some of the cremated had shaved heads or signs of serious injury.
International developments
The UN Security Council voted on a resolution criticizing Myanmar on 12 January, which China and Russia vetoed. On 26 February the Government of Myanmar reached a "Supplementary Understanding" with the International Labour Organization, designed to provide a mechanism to enable victims of forced labour to seek redress without fear of retaliation.
During the crackdown in late September, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a critical statement on Myanmar, but allowed Myanmar to sign its new Charter in November. The UN Human Rights Council called a Special Session on 2 October and passed a resolution strongly deploring the crackdown on protesters. In November, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar visited Myanmar for the first time since 2003. Following this visit, the UN Human Rights Council passed another resolution, based on his report requesting a follow-up mission. The UN Security Council issued a presidential statement in October that strongly deplored the crackdown, while the UN General Assembly strongly condemned the crackdown in a resolution in December.
The Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar visited Myanmar in October and November. The USA, EU, and other Western nations enacted or tightened sanctions.
In December, India reportedly suspended arms sales and transfers to Myanmar.
Amnesty International visits/reports
Amnesty International delegates visited the Thailand-Myanmar border in October and November.
Myanmar: Amnesty International calls for comprehensive international arms embargo (ASA 16/016/2007)
Myanmar: No return to "normal" (ASA 16/037/2007)
Myanmar: Arrests continue two months on (ASA 16/041/2007)
Topics: Torture, Torture, Crimes against humanity, Extrajudicial executions, Disappeared persons, Death in custody, Freedom of expression, Persecution based on political opinion, Prison conditions, Imprisonment,
Copyright notice: © Copyright Amnesty International

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008

Source by:UNHCR
BURMA (Tier 3)
Burma is a source country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Burmese women and children are trafficked to Thailand, People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Macau for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor. Some Burmese migrating abroad for better economic opportunities wind up in situations of forced or bonded labor or forced prostitution. Burmese children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Thailand as hawkers, beggars, and for work in shops, agriculture, fish processing, and small-scale industries. Women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Malaysia and the P.R.C.; some women are trafficked to the P.R.C. as forced brides. Some trafficking victims transit Burma from Bangladesh to Malaysia and from P.R.C. to Thailand. Internal trafficking occurs primarily from villages to urban centers and economic hubs for labor in industrial zones, agricultural estates, and commercial sexual exploitation. Forced labor and trafficking may also occur in ethnic border areas outside the central government's control. Military and civilian officials continue to use a significant amount of forced labor. Poor villagers in rural regions must provide corvee labor on demand as a tax imposed by authorities. Urban poor and street children in Rangoon and Mandalay are at growing risk of involuntary conscription as child soldiers by the Burmese junta, as desertions of men in the Burmese army rises. Ethnic insurgent groups also used compulsory labor of adults and unlawful recruitment of children. The military junta's gross economic mismanagement, human rights abuses, and its policy of using forced labor are the top causal factors for Burma's significant trafficking problem.
The Government of Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Military and civilian officials remained directly involved in significant acts of forced labor and unlawful conscription of child soldiers. The government, however, made modest improvements in its collaboration with the ILO on forced labor complaints, implementing the 2007 Supplementary Understanding on Forced Labor, though its criminal punishment of these trafficking crimes remained weak. Over the past year, the government took some steps to combat cross-border trafficking by increasing law enforcement efforts at border crossings and collaboration with the P.R.C.
Recommendations for Burma: Criminally prosecute military or civilian officials responsible for forced labor and the conscription of children into armed forces; increase prosecutions and convictions for internal trafficking; collaborate with international NGOs and international organizations in a transparent and accountable manner; and focus more attention on internal trafficking of females for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Burmese junta demonstrated modest progress to combat cross-border trafficking throughout the past year, though it continued to conflate illegal emigration with trafficking and it took limited law enforcement action against military or civilian officials who engaged in forced labor. Burma criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for rape. Military recruitment of children under 18 is prohibited by Armed Forces Notification number 13/73 from 1974. The Burmese junta rules arbitrarily through its unilaterally imposed laws but rule of law is absent, as is an independent judiciary that would respect trafficking victims' rights and provide fair justice. The Burmese government stated that it investigated 236 cases of trafficking, identifying 237 suspected traffickers, in 2007. The regime also reported it arrested 174 traffickers, prosecuted 18 trafficking cases, and convicted 31 traffickers. In the past, data claimed to represent trafficking in persons issues often included individuals caught trying to leave Burma without permission. In cases where persons are internally trafficked for labor by a high-level official or well-connected individual, the police can be expected to self-limit their investigations, even if no political pressure has been overtly employed. Burmese law enforcement officers worked with Chinese counterparts in joint investigations of 11 cross-border trafficking cases, which resulted in the rescue of 57 Burmese victims. Labor traffickers found guilty under the law are subject to imprisonment and a fine. The Ministry of Labor in 2007 issued licenses to 122 companies to recruit workers for overseas jobs. Since 2005, the Ministry of Labor cancelled the licenses of 53 companies for legal violations. In 2007, the ILO Liaison Officer accepted 53 complaints and submitted 37 to the Burmese Government for action during the February 2007-2008 period. The government prosecuted four perpetrators of forced labor, dismissed seven civilian administrative perpetrators, and reprimanded 11 military perpetrators – inadequate punishments. In 2007, two government officials were prosecuted and found guilty of violating Section 30 of the Trafficking Law, involving official corruption. No details were made public and this conviction is currently under appeal. During the year, the government conducted training related to trafficking in persons for 60 instructors and 45 other law enforcement officials.
The Burmese regime showed modest efforts to protect repatriated victims of cross-border sex trafficking. There were no discernable efforts to protect the far larger number of victims of forced labor and internal sex trafficking exploited within Burma's borders. In the past, victims of forced labor could be penalized for making accusations against the officials who impressed them unlawfully into forced labor. The government also, at times, filed charges against those who assist claimants of forced labor, including their legal counsel and witnesses. The government took steps to resolve these issues by extending the 2007 Supplementary Understanding on Forced Labor for an additional year in February 2008. This established a mechanism for forced labor complaints and provided protections for those who reported cases to the ILO, and harassment of complainants dropped in 2007. The government provides no legal assistance to victims. The government encourages internationally trafficked victims to assist in investigations and prosecutions. Victims have the right to refuse to cooperate with law enforcement. In 2007, officials improved the level of victim protection from inappropriate media attention during the repatriation and reintegration process. Victims are not jailed, fined, or prosecuted for acts committed as a result of being trafficked. Over the last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs reported assisting 137 victims, the Ministry of Social Welfare stated it helped 79 victims, and Women's Affairs Federation reportedly assisted 110 returned victims. In October 2007, the Anti-Trafficking Task Force in Tachilek rescued eight female P.R.C. victims being trafficked from Yunnan Province to Thailand. The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and Police provided care to the victims for two months, after which they were repatriated to the P.R.C. The DSW provided temporary shelter to repatriated victims at eight vocational training centers as well as a reintegration package which includes counseling, vocational training, and health care. In 2007, the government showed limited cooperation with international organizations on the issue of the military's conscription of children, resulting in the return of 11 children to their families, though it did not adequately punish those responsible for these child trafficking offenses.
The government increased its efforts to prevent international trafficking in persons. The government also established a Bilateral Liaison Office (BLO) in Muse, along the China border, which shares information about trafficking with Chinese counterparts. Although the government improved its activities, addressing international trafficking issues, it made little effort to address far more prevalent trafficking issues inside the country's borders. The government has an interagency Working Committee on Prevention chaired by the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare. The National Police conducted 306 awareness campaigns reaching over 28,000 people. The Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with an international organization conducted awareness raising campaigns at bus terminals, targeting drivers, merchants, ticket sellers, and local police. The government posted billboards and notices at hotels aimed at tourists to warn about trafficking.
Topics: Witnesses, Prostitution, Forced marriage, Forced labour, Child soldiers, Trafficking in persons,


The United Nations Human Rights Council today condemned "ongoing systematic violations of human rights" in Myanmar and called on the Government to stop making politically motivated arrests and to release all political prisoners immediately.
In a resolution adopted without a vote, the Council also called on the Government of Myanmar to fully implement commitments it made to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it would grant relief workers "immediate, full and unhindered access" to people in need in the wake of last month’s catastrophic Cyclone Nargis.
It called on the Government to refrain from sending victims of the disaster back to areas where they would not have access to emergency relief, and to ensure that any returns are voluntary, safe and carried out with dignity.
The resolution, introduced before the Geneva-based Council by the European Union, also condemned the recruitment of child soldiers by both Government forces and non-State armed groups and urged "an absolute an immediate stop of this appalling activity."
In addition, it called for an independent investigation into reports of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, acts of torture and forced labour, and called for those responsible for such crimes to be brought to justice.
The resolution also called on the Government "to engage in a real process of dialogue and national reconciliation with the full and genuine participation of representatives of all political parties and ethnic groups who have been excluded from the political process."
Introducing the resolution on behalf of the EU, Slovenian representative Andrej Logar said previous resolutions had not been implemented by Myanmar and many political prisoners remained in detention.
The recent constitutional referendum was conducted in complete disregard of basic standards on such issues as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, he said.
Myanmar’s representative U Wunna Maung Lwin described the resolution as politically motivated and lopsided and said powerful States were trying to influence matters through political interference.
The representative said Myanmar was working with the international community in the response effort to Cyclone Nargis, which struck the country on 2-3 May, and was also making efforts on the political front, such as with the recent holding of the constitutional referendum.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the General Assembly today on his recent trip to Myanmar, saying that overall the relief effort there is continuing to improve and to be scaled up.
More than 134,000 people are dead or missing as a result of Cyclone Nargis and the subsequent tidal wave, and as many as 2.4 million people were affected and now need humanitarian assistance.
In his address to Assembly members, Mr. Ban stressed that the humanitarian tragedy wrought by the cyclone should not be politicized, and he plans to remain focused on the issue, drawing on the efforts of his Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari.
The Secretary-General also covered other issues in his remarks to the Assembly, including his latest travels, the most recent developments in the global food crisis and the situation in Zimbabwe.
Topics: Voluntary repatriation, Torture, Forced labour, Disappeared persons, Arbitrary arrest and detention, Militias, Child soldiers, Armed forces/military,

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual REport 2007-Burma

Political context
The most significant event of 2007 was undoubtedly the unprecedented peaceful protest movement since 1988, triggered by the Government's decision, on August 15, 2007, to increase the price of fuel, in spite of a socio-economic situation that had already largely deteriorated. The demonstrations called for improvement in the quality of life and for dialogue with the Government on political reforms. They began in Rangoon and quickly spread, bringing together tens of thousands of people. Led by Buddhist monks, they were violently repressed by the police, the army and members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), the civil branch of the military Government. On the evening of September 25, 2007, the authorities ordered a curfew and began systematic raids into monasteries. Several thousands of people were arrested, including monks and students, as well as members of the 88 Generation Students Group and the National League for Democracy (NLD)
1 The Burmese authorities' brutal repression was a reminder to the international community of the harshness of the Burmese military Government, led by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). It was strongly condemned, especially by Ms. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights,
2 the United Nations Council on Human Rights
3 and its Special Procedures,
4 the United Nations Security Council,
5 the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),
6 the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
7 and the European Union (EU).
8 Furthermore, Burma's National Convention, which was in charge since 1993 of drafting the principles of a new Constitution, ended its works on September 3, 2007, but excluded most of the political parties from the drafting process and prohibited by law any criticism of the convention.
In 2007, in spite of the climate of repression and of continued, serious and systematic violations, for the first time since 2003 the SPDC authorised the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar to visit the country as a result of the unprecedented international pressure put on the regime. However, the Rapporteur has not been able to return since then, nor has the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, despite requests to do so made by the Security Council on November 14, 2007 and on January 17, 2008.
Repression of all human rights activities
In Burma, it remains almost impossible to carry out human rights activities due to the heavy repression that defenders continue to suffer. On May 21, 2007, for example, Ms. Phyu Phyu Thin, an HIV/AIDS activist, was arrested by the special police for protesting against the lack of access to antiretroviral drugs in Government hospitals, placed in detention at the Kyaikkasan Centre in Rangoon and was questioned about her activities. She was released on July 2, 2007, and at no time did the authorities inform her of the reasons for her detention.
9 Moreover, on July 24, 2007, six members of the association Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP) – Messrs. Ko Myint Naing (alias Myint Hlaing), Ko Kyaw Lwin, U Hla Shien, U Mya Sein, U Win and U Myint – were given from four to eight years prison sentences for "attempting to disturb public order". On April 17, 2007, the six men had actively taken part to the organisation of a human rights training seminar.
Trade union leaders are also the focus of repression. For instance, on September 7, 2007, Messrs. Thurein Aung, Kyaw Kyaw, Wai Lin, Myo Min, Kyaw Win and Nyi Nyi Zaw, six defenders of the right to work and freedom of association, were found guilty of "inciting hate and contempt of the Government" and some were accused of being members of "illegal associations".
10 Messrs. Thurein Aung, Kyaw Kyaw, Wai Lin and Nyi Nyi Zaw were arrested on May 1, 2007 after organising a May Day celebration and planning to organise discussions on subjects related to labour and freedom of association at the American Centre of the United States Embassy in Rangoon. This event was cancelled immediately following these arrests. On May 10, 2007, Messrs. Kyaw Win and Myo Min were arrested while they were on their way to the border with Thailand with the intention of informing the international community about these arrests. Similarly, on November 28 2007, Mr. U Tin Hla, a member of the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) and the Burma Railway Union, was arrested together with his family at their home by the special police. The police accused Mr. U Tin Hla of having encouraged railway workers to join the September 2007 demonstrations.
In 2007, policy regarding the Internet and cyber dissidents, i.e. those defenders who use the Internet to promote human rights and democracy, continued to be extremely repressive. The Myanmar Wide Web sites, a national Intranet network composed of websites authorised by the regime, are the main sites – if not the only ones – to which Burmese have access. Furthermore, during the demonstrations in August and September, Internet connections were severely restricted, when they were not completely cut off, after Burmese citizens had used the Internet to send images and news of the violent repression of the demonstrations. Cybercafés in Rangoon were also closed down. On November 30, 2007, Mr. Aung Gyi (aka) Aung Thwin was arrested in a Rangoon cybercafé whilst sending photos taken the day before of security forces forcibly evicting the monks from Maggin monastery. Since these demonstrations, the authorities have tried to impose new restrictions on Internet use. The owners of cybercafés have thus been ordered to copy the data from their computers and send it to the special police each week.
11 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).
1 According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma (AAPPB), as of December 1, 2007, 706 people remained in detention following the demonstrations, in addition to the 1,158 political prisoners who had been held prior to August 5, 2007.
2 On October 2, 2007, Ms. Louise Arbour noted that "the peaceful protests we have witnessed in recent weeks [...] are only the most recent manifestations of the repression of fundamental rights and freedoms that have taken place for almost 20 years in Myanmar".
3 On October 2, 2007, during its fifth Special Session, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution deploring "the continued violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar" and urging "the Government of Myanmar to release without delay those arrested and detained as a result of the recent repression of peaceful protests" (See United Nations document A/HRC/S5/L.1/Rev.1, October 2, 2007).
4 On September 28, 2007, Mr. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Ms. Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ms. Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, and Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, expressed their grave concern "over the growing number of reported deaths and serious injuries suffered by protesters and bystanders" (See United Nations Press Release, September 28, 2007).
5 On October 11, 2007, the Security Council strongly deplored "the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators" and emphasised "the importance of the early release of all political prisoners and remaining detainees" (See United Nations Press Release SC/9139, October 11, 2007).
6 The Governing Body "expressed its serious concern at the Government's crackdown in response to the recent peaceful protests" and "noted with deep regret the imprisonment of persons exercising their fundamental right to freedom of association and the freedom of expression it entails", "[calling on] the Government to immediately release those persons" (See 300th session of the Governing Body of the ILO, Conclusions concerning Myanmar, November 2007, GB.300/8 (& Add.) ).
7 The ASEAN Ministers for Foreign Affairs demanded that the Myanmar Government "desist from the use of violence against demonstrators" and spoke of their "revulsion" on being informed that the demonstrations were being repressed by force (See Statement by ASEAN Chairperson, September 27, 2007).
8 See Declaration by the EU Presidency of August 28, 2007 and European Parliament Resolutions P6_TA (2007) 0384 and P6_TA (2007) 0420 of September 6 and 27, 2007.
9 See AAPPB, July 2007.
10 Messrs. Thurein Aung, Wai Lin, Myo Min and Kyaw Win were sentenced to 28 years in prison and Messrs. Nyi Nyi Zaw and Kyaw Kyaw were sentenced to 20 years.

Resettlement of Burmese Refugees from Thailand tops 30,000

UNHCR News Stories

BANGKOK, Thailand, June 25 (UNHCR) – The world's largest resettlement operation passed a significant milestone this week with more than 30,000 Myanmar refugees transported from Thailand since January 2005 to begin new lives in third countries.
The UN refugee agency said in Bangkok that the number of departures since the resettlement programme began had this week reached 30,144. Nearly all of the refugees had been sheltering in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border since fleeing fighting and oppression in their homeland.
"Some of the refugees have been here for nearly two decades. Some were born in refugee camps, grew up there and are now raising their own families in refugee camps," said UNHCR Regional Representative Raymond Hall. "For them, resettlement offers a way out of the camps and the opportunity for a fresh start in life."
Resettlement has become an attractive option for Myanmar refugees in Thailand, Hall added, as the chances of returning home any time soon have dimmed. Settling down permanently in Thailand is also not a possibility.
"We are very grateful to resettlement countries for making it possible for so many refugees to get a new chance at building productive lives," Hall said.
Of the 30,144 departures so far, the vast majority – 21,453 – have gone to the United States, which made an open-ended offer in 2005 to take refugees from the camps in Thailand. They have gone to cities like Milwaukee, Denver, Syracuse and Minneapolis.
Australia has received 3,405 and Canada 2,605. Other resettlement countries for Myanmar refugees are Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
About 300 Myanmar refugees leave Thailand every week on average for resettlement, and close to 8,000 more could leave by the end of this year. The nine camps remain home to 123,584 refugees and asylum-seekers.
Asia is also the site of another of the world's largest resettlement operations, with more than 10,000 refugees from Bhutan expected to leave Nepal for resettlement countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway in a programme that began in March this year.
By Kitty McKinseyIn Bangkok, Thailand
More . . .
Refugees are not always able to return safely home or to remain in the country where they received asylum. There are situations in which resettlement to a third country is the only safe and viable durable solution for refugees.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Arakan Thingyan on US

If you live in, or plan to visit the New York City area on Sunday, July 13th, 2008, please come and join us to celebrate the 14th Annual Rakhaing Thingyan Burmese New Year Water Festival…

From 11am to 4pm, Junior High School 56 courtyard, 220 Henry Street - on the corner of Madison Street and Montgomery Street - New York, NY 10002.

Admission is FREE.

If you're not able to join us, please pass this invitation along to others who might be interested.

We also invite you to buy Raffle tickets ($5.00 each)… The Raffle Prizes are:

1. Delta Airlines - Domestic round trip airline tickets for two
2. White Gold Diamond Ring
3. Broadway Show Tickets - For two (show to be announced later)
4. American Museum of Natural History - Passes for four including IMAX
5. Film Society of Lincoln Center – Dual Membership
6. Shell Gas Card
7. Cafe Amrita - Lunch for two
and more…

Send us an email and we'll get you your Raffle Tickets!

We look forward to seeing you.


Rakhaing ThinGyan Planning Committee
Burmese New Year Water Festival

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Our Letter to Aung San Suu Kyi

19 June 2008
Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have released an open letter to Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
The two leaders praised Aung San Suu Kyi for her courage and dedication to the Burmese people.
Read the letter
Dear Aung San Suu Kyi,
We wish to use this opportunity, on the occasion of your birthday, to reaffirm our commitment to your lifelong struggle to achieve democracy and humanity in Burma. You have sacrificed your freedom for the freedom of others. You have shown exceptional courage and dedication to your people.
Your release from house arrest and your freedom to participate in Burma's political future remain essential. We believe the recent referendum lacks credibility as a genuine reflection of the people's will and the new constitution cannot provide a sound basis for Burma's future political development. We call on the Government of Burma to set in motion, without delay, a fully inclusive political process which involves representatives of the full range of civil opposition and ethnic groups.
We welcome your readiness to have a genuine and meaningful dialogue with the military leadership to find a way out of the current stalemate. We are convinced that this voice of humanity and reason will be heard, as people must now realize that bold initiatives and compromises are required and that the present situation is neither satisfactory nor sustainable.
We are very concerned by the humanitarian situation following Cyclone Nargis, and greatly saddened that Burma's people, already deprived of basic human freedoms and economic opportunities, have fallen victim to such a major natural disaster. We were further deeply saddened that offers of international aid were not taken up at a sufficient scale at the outset, but we are pleased that ASEAN countries and the ASEAN Secretary General were able to initiate a response, and that Ban Ki-Moon has given his personal support to the process. The work of the regional and international aid agencies has been encouraging, however more needs to be done to ensure aid reaches all the people in acute need and to prevent further suffering and loss of life. The UK and France have immediately committed themselves to helping the relief effort and will support the ASEAN mechanism for longer term reconstruction. The success of the international effort will rely on the actions and conditions set by the Government of Burma.
We admire your strength in reconciling the hopes of Burma's many groups and dedication to the country's national integrity. We will not forget you or your people in this struggle.
Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Souce from:Refugess International .
Contact: Joel Charny
Economic difficulties drove the dramatic September 2007 protests in Burma. In their aftermath, the international community is beginning to respond to the humanitarian needs of ordinary Burmese. The U.S. is a critical exception. While most analysts, including Refugees International, believe only a change in political leadership can address the structural causes of poverty in Burma, few forecast an end to the country’s political stalemate. The international community must do more to address the humanitarian needs of Burma’s 55 million people in the absence of political progress. Burma is widely believed to be one of the poorest countries in the world. The UN Development Program estimates that GDP per capita in Burma is the 13th lowest in the world. The average Burmese family spends 75% of that meager income on securing adequate food supplies. Less than 50% of children complete primary school and according to UNICEF under-5 child mortality averages 104 per 1,000 children, the second-highest rate outside Africa, after Afghanistan. Burma also has the highest HIV rates in Southeast Asia, and malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, is still the leading cause of mortality and morbidity. Western donor governments, until recently, have opted to impose broad-based sanctions, including limiting humanitarian and development assistance to minimal levels, to pressure the government into reforms. While the government has shown indifference to the West and its policies, the impact on Burma’s population is undeniable. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Burma receives less overseas development assistance, a mere $2.88 per person, than any of the poorest 50 countries. The average assistance in this tier of countries is more than $58 per person. Other countries with similarly repressive governments routinely receive much larger assistance packages: Sudan ($55/person); Zimbabwe ($21/person); Laos ($63/person). In the past year, there has been an important shift by European donors to address this anomaly and to increase humanitarian assistance to the country. Increased humanitarian aid has been matched by a tightening of sanctions targeted specifically at the economic activities of government officials and their cronies. This carrot and stick approach recognizes that broad-based sanctions often hurt average Burmese more than the ruling regime, but validates the legitimacy of sanctions as a tool to pressure rogue regimes. A lack of political progress cannot justify the prolonged suffering of ordinary Burmese, who are in large part innocent victims of the prolonged political stalemate. To this end, the European Commission is allocating €26.6 million ($42 million) in assistance to Burma for 2008, and plans to increase that amount to €40 million ($63 million) by 2010. These funds are tightly restricted to humanitarian assistance and very limited development work. Financial, technical, and material assistance to Burmese government institutions is also strictly prohibited. The United Kingdom provides ₤9 million ($18 million) in humanitarian assistance in 2008, with plans to double that amount in three years. Also, in an effort to combat infectious disease, European donors, along with Australia, have funded the Three Diseases Fund, which combats malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, at $104 million over five years. Though these investments are welcome steps in the right direction, at its height in 2011, the total of Europe’s investment in Burma, if treated as all new money, will only raise Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) per capita by $2.16/person. Greater international commitment, including U.S. funding, will be needed to adequately address the basic needs of the Burmese people. U.S. policy makers in Washington maintain restrictions on humanitarian assistance to Burma, with minor exceptions for HIV and avian flu programs, in the belief that any aid provided to Rangoon-based agencies will inevitably prop up the government. U.S. officials most familiar with the country, those in Rangoon and in regional offices in Thailand, however, support greater humanitarian assistance inside Burma. Despite this view, Administration and Congressional staff who drive the U.S. sanctions policy have been reluctant to visit Burma, making it difficult for legitimate humanitarian actors to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. UN and international NGOs working in Burma go to pains to ensure that their work does not benefit the regime. The World Food Program can detail its use of independent firms in its purchasing, transport, and delivery of food, and is transparent with donors about all contracts it holds to allay any concerns. Population Services International and Save the Children insist on similar transparency, and both agree that it is possible to work without compromising these principles. One NGO worker told RI that “the working conditions are terrible, but they are not prohibitive. Our operations in Darfur face more government restrictions and interference, and no one is talking about pulling out of Darfur.” Local staff and cooperation with local NGOs and community-based organizations underpin the operations of international agencies. Despite reports to the contrary, local staff of international agencies reported travelling without restrictions throughout the country. At the village level, rice banks, buffalo banks, health promoters, church groups, temple associations, and other informal, often unregistered entities have emerged as effective, independent partners for international organizations. Support for international work often translates directly into strengthening Burmese civil society. International NGOs working in Burma believe that the current environment, while difficult, will still allow for an incremental and progressive expansion of operations. Considerable capacity and an interest in expansion in the health and education sectors provide the greatest opportunities. There is also a need to expand the geographic scope of work, and many NGOs mention Northern Rakhine state as a top priority. In most cases, operational agencies as well as donors believe that a lack of funding, and not government restrictions, is the main limitation to expanding operations.
International funding to address Burma’s humanitarian problems supports agencies working inside the country and Thailand-based organizations working with refugees and providing cross-border assistance to conflict-affected areas in Burma that are inaccessible to organizations inside. Several major donors, notably the European Commission and the U.S., have approached the Burma situation as zero sum, meaning that any increase in funding on one side of the border threatens a decrease on the other. Britain’s Department for International Development sets a positive example by increasing its overall funding for Burma, retaining the flexibility to allocate increases wherever the need is greatest. Both Thai-based and Burma-based humanitarian operations are legitimate responses to the situation inside Burma, and both access needy populations that their counterparts cannot. Both deserve international support. The policies of some international donors must stop pitting one group of actors against the other in search of scarce funding resources. Donors should base their giving on need and the capacity to respond, not on where an organization is based. The aid organizations themselves need to make greater efforts to collaborate and exchange information quietly to ensure a more holistic approach to Burma’s problems. International donors are recognizing the tremendous need inside Burma and the obligation to end the humanitarian restrictions that constitute an additional punishment for the Burmese people. The U.S. is the glaring exception to this trend. The U.S. must re-think its Burma strategy and look at the European model of sanctions and assistance if it is to meet its goal of supporting the people of Burma. Policy Recommendations:
The U.S. government re-evaluate its policies for Burma, and join the U.K. and Europe in increasing support for independent humanitarian work inside the country with targeted sanctions on the Burmese leadership. Additional U.S. funding to programs inside Burma should not affect commitments to organizations based in Thailand.
U.S. Congressional staff and Administration officials travel to Burma to directly assess the situation, including the ability of the UN and NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance inside the country.
All organizations providing assistance inside Burma better document the breadth and depth of their operations to the greatest extent possible and better coordinate activities with collegial organizations.
Organizations inside Burma and working cross-border from Thailand work with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to increase information sharing and coordination of operations. As the only donor working on both sides of the border, the British Department for International Development should also play a leading role in encouraging coordination and dialogue.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Geographic distribution by Chittangonian (Rohingya)

Chittagonian is spoken in Southeastern Bangladesh throughout Chittagong Division but mainly in Chittagong District and Cox's Bazar District . It has an estimated number of around 14 million speakers in Bangladesh, and also in countries where many Chittagonians have migrated. It has no official status and is not taught at any level in schools. It is regarded by many Bangladeshis, including most Chittagonians, to be a crude form of Bangla, as all educated Chittagonians are schooled in Bangla.
Essentially, Chittagonian has no standard form and is rather a continuum of different dialects, varying with location from north to south and also by religion between Muslims (professed by most Chittagonians) and Hindus. Variation between Muslims and Hindus is strictly in terms of vocabulary, whereas by location, grammar is varied as well as vocabulary. The Rohingya are a community of ethnically Chittagonian related Muslims who spoke the Muslim dialect of southeastern region of Bangladesh bordering Burma and migrated to Arakan.

Afew Language of Chittagonian, so call(Rohingya)

How are you: -তুঁই কেন আছো? Tũi ken aso?
I am fine: -আঁই গোম আছি। Ãi gom asi. I am not fine -Ai gom nai.
Where are you: -তুঁই হোন্দে? Tũi honde?
What's your name: -তোঁয়ার নাম কী? Tõar nam ki?
My name is Abul: -আঁর নাম আবুল। Ãr nam Abul.
I miss you: -তোঁয়ার লাই আঁর ফেড ফুরের। Tõar lai ãr fed furer.
I love you: -আঁই তুয়ানরে বেশি গোম লাগে। Ãnttun tuanre beshi gom lage.
Where are you going: --তুঁই হোন্দে যোর? Tũi honde jor?
Where are you from? - Tui hothtun aishshu?
Where do you live? -- Tui honde thako?

The Best Joke of 2007 .

Please clip on below:,%20f3.pdf

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Political and Economic History of Burma.

By:Thayer Watkins.
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Population of Burma.

Population: 57.6 million (IMF estimate 2007); no official census has been taken since 1983.
Annual population growth rate (UNDP 2005 estimate): 0.8%. Ethnic groups:
Burman 68%,
Shan 9%,
Karen 7%,
Rakhine(Arakanese) 4%,
Chinese 3%,
Mon 2%,
Indian 2%, Inc(
Bengali, Bhils ,Bihari , Chhettris ,Chittagonians (Rohingya) ,Dhivehi,
Dogras ,Dom ,Garhwali, Gujarati ,Gurkhas ,Hindkis, Jat people ,Kambojs,
Kambohs ,Konkani ,Kumaoni ,Lohanas ,Manipuri ,Marathi,Marwaris ,Mers
Nepali ,Oriya,Punjabi ,Rajasthani ,Romani ,Seraikis ,Sinhalese ,Sindhi
Also :Kyulia, Sonny, Shia, Mizoram, Manipu,and Kathe' .
other 5%.
Buddhist 89%,
Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%),
Muslim 4%,
animist 1%,
other 2%.
Burmese, minority ethnic languages.
Literacy--adult, 89.9%;
male, 93.9%;
female, 86.4% (UNDP 2005 estimate). Source from U.S.Deparment of State.
Therefore, don't be lies by so call Rohingya(Bengali) to the ingenious people,International communities,Governments, NGOs and the World.
They (Rohingya) were try ed to distribution about poor strategic is"Over 3 millions Rohingya(Bengali) people has being living Arakan state along".Is that situation could coming next thousand of years ?,Or bring them(relative) to Arakan from Bangladesh.
Although,More then Three hundreds thousands of Arakanese, Marma,Bruwor, Mro' and that' has being living in Bangladesh by peacefully.But they're never making crisis with ingenious people on inland.
On the other hand,25 millions of Bengali people were migrated to East site of India's states(Mizoram and Manipui) within 60 years.That case gonna be come one of the most important things for further India's politic.


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