As Rakhine state burns and Rohingya flee, Aung San Suu Kyi is preparing to address Myanmar on the crisis for the first time - a high wire act seeking to soothe global outrage without baiting an army that is again showing its teeth.
Suu Kyi took office last year as Myanmar's first civilian leader after 50 years of junta rule.
She has since focused her energy on the delicate political dance between her civilian government and the generals who still hold many of the levers of power.
...All the more so in a country where the majority of the population shares the military's view that Rohingya Muslims -- whom it disparagingly calls "Bengalis" -- are interlopers bent on taking land and resources from Buddhists.
A leader who bends too far to international will could lose the support of the people she governs.
In these circumstances, observers say, it is not hard to imagine another coup by an army that always used national security concerns to justify its iron-fisted rule.
...From the ashes of Rakhine, Commander-in- Chief Min Aung Hlaing is emerging as an unexpectedly popular figure, defying deep mistrust of the military.
Through Facebook and Twitter he has successfully pitched his once reviled institution as the defender of Myanmar's territorial sovereignty and the Buddhist faith against "extremist Bengali terrorists".
On Saturday his Facebook feed repeated the widely-held domestic view that the Rohingya have "never been an ethnic group in Myanmar."
With the army flexing its muscles, Suu Kyi's next steps have become increasingly treacherous.
A complex swirl of ethnic and religious rivalries, incubated under five decades of military rule, has toxified all debate inside Myanmar around the Rohingya.
... read in full this excellent article in MIZZIMA
Only One Person Can Stop Ethnic Cleansing In Myanmar, And It Isnt Aung San Suu Kyi
While the world focuses on Aung San Suu Kyi, the man responsible for these horrific abuses gets little condemnation.
General Min Aung Hlaing should be treated as a pariah by now....[+]
'The Rule of Law'
Panel discussion with Aung San Suu Kyi at the London School of Economics
[19 June 2012]
Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday she would be “above
the president” and run the government if her party wins this weekend's election,
in defiant comments addressing a current ban on her taking top office.
“I have said I am going to be above the president,” Suu Kyi said in strong remarks to reporters ahead of this Sunday's vote, which her National League for Democracy (NLD) party hopes to sweep.
Asked to elaborate, she replied: “I have already made plans”.
“We said very openly that somebody will represent the NLD as the President. But, I will make all the important decisions which regard to the government. The President will be working in accordance with NLD policy” she told reporters gathered on the lawn of her Yangon home.
Her path to the presidency is blocked by a charter clause outlawing those with foreign-born offspring taking the top post. Her two sons have British passports and their late father was a British academic.
At the same press conference when addressing the issue of advanced voter fraud she said “Very recently, we received some news that advanced voting has started in some parts of the country. And that is contrary to the rules and regulations of the Union Election Commission. I will not go into detail about it because it will take a long time. But, we will make the information available to everybody.”
... more in BBC - The Guardian - The Independent - The Telegraph - The New York Times - ABC Australia - Mizzima - The Irrawady - Al Jazeera - NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
Former military ruling party head lends support to Aung San Suu Kyi ... [+]
Burma election: Aung San Suu Kyi's rivals deploy British colonial slur in 'dirty tricks' campaign... [+]
Myanmar's massive jade industry connected to notorious military elites, report finds ... [+]
Still the generals' election ... [+]
International observers admit they are muzzled ... [+]
Irrawaddy Liveblog: The Day After ... Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy wins a very large majority of seats in Parliament
Myanmar / Burma election results updates by the BBC
Burma / Myanmar election results updates by AlJazeera
The group that was born out of Burma’s 1988 student uprising and the party of Aung San Suu Kyi last week said they would join forces to campaign for key changes to the military-drafted Constitution before elections in 2015.
The current Constitution guarantees the military a role in national politics, bars NLD chairperson Suu Kyi from becoming president and is criticized by ethnic groups who demand more autonomy in border areas.
On Sunday, following the latest in a series of meetings between leaders from the NLD and the 88 Generation, the groups issued another joint statement declaring that they would prioritize amending Chapter 12’s Article 436. The article currently gives the Burmese military an effective veto over Constitutional amendments.
Opposition spokesman Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the rules around amending the Constitution would be addressed first by the two groups’ joint campaign.
... more in The Irrawady
One medic finds that moves towards political reform have not benefited his patients in Burma's remote border areas
... more in WITNESS at AlJazeera
"This is not a democracy," Antonio García-Trevijano denounces in the first pages of this book. To confront the great lie that Europe does have democratic regimes, a lie rooted in people's confounding of the liberties they enjoy with the political freedom that they lack, the author builds a realistic theory of democracy to end the false idea that corruption, state crime, and public immorality are democracy's (undesirable) products and not the natural and inevitable fruits of oligarchic regimes. Thanks to a superb review of the events that mark the history of democracy, the author reveals the obstacles that, from the 17th century English revolution, the United States' War of Independence, and the French Revolution, opposed political freedom, deviating old Europe's democratic possibilities toward the current parties' state. There exist important theories of the state and of constitution, but none that can be called a theory of democracy. Antonio García-Trevijano's original theory, a modern synthesis of Rousseau's pure democracy and Montesquieu's political freedom, responds to European need for a theory of democracy as a real alternative to the corrupted parties' regime that was engendered by Western pragmatism during the Cold War.
About the authors:
Antonio García-Trevijano was born in Granada, Spain, in 1927. He has been a prominent figure of Spanish politics since the late sixties and is arguably one of the most important intellectual figures of the 20th century. His work, 'A Pure Theory of the Republic', will be published this year by University Press of America.
Miguel Rodríguez de Peñaranda was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1974. He is a writer and a translator. He is the author of several books on the fields of philosophy, poetry, religion, and political theory and is the translator of 'A Pure Theory of Democracy' and the forthcoming 'A Pure Theory of the Republic'.
Buy this important book in Amazon or in the University Press of America
... more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Guardian - Al Jazeera - Democratic Voice of Burma - BBC - National League for Democracy
... more information in Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - BBC - AlJazeera
- Change was in the Air as Obama Took Center Stage for the Day ... [+]
- 45 political prisoners released across Burma ... [+]
- A Minister without Borders ... [+]
Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the unease that has prevailed during her trip to India about the country’s support for the Burmese military junta during her period of house arrest, but reserved most of her 35-minute speech in Delhi for praising Indian leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.
“The two words I have heard most often [since I arrived in India two days ago] have been ‘expectations’ and ‘disappointment,’” Suu Kyi said.
“I was saddened to feel that we had drawn away from India, or rather that India had drawn away from us during our very difficult days. But I always had faith in the lasting friendship between our two countries based on lasting friendship between our two peoples,” she said.
... more in Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - BBC
Burma earthquake leaves at least 12 feared dead: 6.8-magnitude quake rocks northern Burma, destroying homes, mines and schools across region ... [+]
Escalating violence signals religious war: As the country prepares for Barack Obama's arrival, Rohingya and Arakanese communities claim atrocities on both sides... [+]
... Most of the 1,700 complaints are related to land disputes, and legal and judicial issues, said committee Secretary Win Myint. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is chairman of the committee.
“The complaints come from across the country,” he told Elevennews. “We will deal with them by seeking cooperation from related ministries. He said the committee would try to improve the judicial system.
“We have plans to submit our findings to the parliament,” said committee member and MP Thein Nyunt.
The committee is charged with overseeing that lawmakers, judicial bodies, government staff and media conform to the rule of law.
... more in Mizzima - The Irrawady
Myanmar scraps Islamic group's office plan: OIC refused permission to set up liaison office to aid displaced Rohingya Muslims after protests by Buddhist monks... [+]
Blood and Gold: Inside Burma's Hidden War
an investigation by 'People & Power' of AlJazeera
Suu Kyi Returns Home from historic tour of USA ... [+]
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with Burmese Community in SF Bay Area
Burma's Thein Sein: 'Aung San Suu Kyi could be president'
Harvard University honours Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Yale University speech by Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar President U Thein Sein's Speech at Q&A session by Asia Society
At U.N., Myanmar President Highlights Steps to Reform ... [+]
Suu Kyi speaks at Queens College, New York City
Suu Kyi receives the Gold Medal, the highest civil honor of the US Congress
President Obama meets Aung San Suu Kyi at the Oval Office of the White House
Meeting with the Secretary of State Mrs Hillary Rodham Clinton and event at the Asia Society and Institute of Peace in Washington
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - BBC - France 24 - MNSBC - AlJazeera - The Telegraph - The Guardian - National League for Democracy
Her extraordinary personal journey – already enshrined in films and books and perhaps far from over – has captured the world’s attention, and her walk on the US stage this month will call forth even more tributes – while giving her a chance to repay a debt for US support over the decades during her house arrest, and it's relentless pressure on the former military junta to relinquish power and embark on its current path to democracy.
That it happened so suddenly has been a source of surprise and wonder throughout the world, and it has also called forth tributes to the former junta general, President Thein Sein, who now leads the country’s parliamentary government as a civilian.
Thein Sein is scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly in New York City at the end of September, and he may also meet with government officials in Washington, according to reports.
Meanwhile, US dignitaries and other officials are lining up to be a part of the tributes to Burma’s democracy heroine.
First off, Suu Kyi will pick up the US Congressional Gold Medal – the highest civilian award of the US Congress – at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. The award will be presented in the Rotunda of the US Capitol building.
She will also reportedly be feted at the White House in a dinner attended by top US officials and celebrities including former US Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as Microsoft chief Bill Gates, according to reports. Such an occasion is usually reserved for heads of state and special dignitaries.
... more in Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - BBC - MSNBC - The Guardian - The New York Times
National League for Democracy Legal Advice Team a Big Hit ... [+]
Thein Sein set for first US trip as president ... [+]
Burma’s ‘exile government’ dissolved ... [+]
Suu Kyi to head ‘rule of law’ committee ... [+]
Inside Story - Why is the world ignoring Myanmar's Rohingya? :
Burma releases 500 prisoners in amnesty: The government has released more than 600 political prisoners over the last year. Burma has released more than 500 prisoners, who the opposition NLD says may include all remaining political detainees... [+]
Thein Sein, Myanmar's president, has announced a major cabinet reshuffle in what is seen as a move seeking to advance the Southeast Asian's reform agenda.
In a statement on his website, Thein Sein announced on Monday that he had changed nine of the 29 cabinet posts.
The shake-up is the biggest since Sein's government took office from the former military junta in March 2011 and launched a wave of dramatic reforms that have surprised the world and prompted Western powers to ease crippling sanctions. Rumours about a possible government shake-up have circulated for months.
The reshuffle brings in 15 new deputy ministers.
...more in AlJazeera - BBC - The Guardian
Aung San Suu Kyi holds first talks with Burma president since becoming MP: Burma's opposition leader met Thein Sein in capital Naypyitaw for two hours, but no details of discussions were released ... [+]
The British Council Library in Rangoon is Burma’s leading authority on history and culture, but one woman is owed a huge debt of gratitude for preserving its peerless collection.
Monica Mya Maung first arrived in Rangoon in October 1937 as the English wife of Burmese barrister Percy Mya Maung, the son of a judge who had graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge.
When the British Council library opened in 1947, “Auntie Monica,” as she was affectionately known, began helping out in her spare time. But when former dictator Gen Ne Win orchestrated a military coup in 1962, his troops overran the library, and ordered it closed and the books sold off.
A sharp-witted Auntie Monica quickly hid 500 Burmese history tomes under tables and in surreptitious cubbyholes inside the embassy to save them from the purge. She then kept the library running in secret until the British Council was finally allowed to reopen in Rangoon in 1973.
“She was so energetic, and such a wonderful woman—an example,” the current Library Information Manager Moe Moe Soe told The Irrawaddy. “She loved Burma and the Burmese people and she always felt like this was her home. She continued to work part-time here even after she retired.”
And it is thanks to Auntie Monica’s daring actions that such irreplaceable titles such as: “Burma Past and Present, Journal of a Residence in the Burnham Empire” and “The Economics of the Central Chin Tribe” remain available to scholars today.
However, not everyone took to Auntie’s Monica’s iron-willed approach and for a time she remained ostracized in the stuffy colonial circles of her British countrymen. But she cared little for such pretensions and threw herself headfirst into her new Burmese kinfolk.
... more in The Irrawaddy
Suu Kyi Defends Use of ‘Burma’ ... [+]
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday she would travel to Asian countries if invited, following her return from a five-country tour of Europe last week... [+]
More Political Prisoners Released in Amnesty ... [+]
Suu Kyi Hears Constituents’ Concerns ... [+]
Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made her historic parliamentary debut on Monday, marking a new phase in her near quarter century struggle to bring democracy to her army-dominated homeland... [+]
Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi emphasised the need for “precise laws on citizenship” and “uncorrupted border vigilance” to address ongoing sectarian strife in Burma’s western Arakan state, at a press conference in Geneva on Thursday.
Speaking at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) annual conference, she said that “fear of illegal immigration” lay at the heart of the violence between ethnic Arakanese and the stateless Rohingya minority, which has claimed at least twenty-four lives since Friday.
“Of course I am concerned and the most important lesson is the need for rule of law,” she said when asked by reporters. “We need precise laws on citizenship. I think a big problem comes from fear of illegal immigration, I think we need more responsible uncorrupted border vigilance.”
She added that those deemed worthy of citizenship, should get all the legal benefits that entails.
Ongoing ethnic strife in Burma’s western state has thrown a global spotlight on the discrimination faced by the Muslim minority the Rohingya – considered “illegal Bengali immigrants” by the government and denied citizenship, even though many of them have lived in Burma for generations.
Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) have come under growing pressure to outline their position on the Rohingya – seen as a hot-button political issue that risks alienating many of its supporters.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Democratic Voice of Burma - Mizzima - BBC - AlJazeera - The Guardian
Read and watch also:
Suu Kyi to Make Bittersweet Return to Oxford ... [+]
Suu Kyi Asks Burma Exiles to Unite ... [+]
Burmese State Media ‘Praises’ Suu Kyi ... [+]
Aung San Suu Kyi at the Royal Festival Hall, London, 22nd June 2012
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said his country will double aid to Burma by 2015, as he ended his three-day visit on Friday.
After meeting with President Thein Sein in Naypyitaw on Thursday, the Australian government said aid would double to US$ 98.5 million. In addition, it agreed to remove all economic sanctions except an arms embargo.
In April, Australia eased travel and financial restrictions on about 260 Burmese nationals, including President Thein Sein.
“In meetings over the past two days, I've gained a first-hand appreciation of the reform effort under way,” Carr said in a statement. “The point has been reached where lifting sanctions is the best way to promote further progress.” Sanctions would be reinstated if the need arose, the statement said.
Australia will continue to support Burma in economic and social development, he said.
Foreign aid to the country will increase by 30 per cent next year to help provide access to education and health care.
Carr and Thein Sein discussed development efforts in the sectors of education, health, human resources, maintenance of ancient cultural heritage, the peace process and assistance for regions where peace has been achieved.
The two countries also discussed cooperation in tourism, investment in mining, upgrading of technology and strengthening of ties between their militaries, sources said.
On Wednesday, Carr met with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon, and she welcomed Australia's decision to ease sanctions against her country.
Carr invited Suu Kyi to visit Australia and she accepted, saying she will visit the country in 2013.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Guardian - BBC - Democratic Voice of Burma
Burma ethnic violence escalates as villagers flee: President Thein Sein declares state of emergency and sends in troops as growing unrest threatens democratic reforms ... [+]
Myanmar opposition leader arrives in Thailand, leaving country where she was long imprisoned for first time since 1988.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's Nobel Peace Prize-winning opposition figure, has left the country for the first time in 24 years on a visit to Thailand.
Her trip on Tuesday is seen as a newfound display of confidence in the liberalisation taking shape in her country after five decades of military rule.
Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years in detention under Myanmar's military dictatorship, is due to give a speech at this week's World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok.
She was greeted at the airport by journalists and around two dozen of her compatriots who chanted "Mother Suu", eliciting smiles and a wave from the democracy champion, before she was whisked away by car.
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Bangkok, said Suu Kyi's five-day schedule would be packed.
"Her first official engagement is first thing on Wednesday morning, when she goes to see, first-hand, what is really a major problem between Thailand and Myanmar, and that is the plight of migrant workers in this country from Myanmar," said Hay.
"There are estimated to be about three million migrant workers in Thailand, most of them are thought to be from Myanmar, many of them mistreated, many of them are trafficking victims, so [Suu Kyi] is going to tour around an area where there is a large concentration of those Myanmar migrant workers... and listen to some of their stories."
...more in AlJazeera - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Guardian - BBC - France 24 - El Mundo - Publico
Aung San Suu Kyi completed her historic journey from political prisoner to parliamentarian on Wednesday, assuming public office for the first time in a risky new strategy to work alongside Burma’s new reform-minded government after her 25-year struggle against military rule.
The session on Wednesday cements a detente between Suu Kyi’s party and the administration of President Thein Sein, which came to power last year after the nation’s long-ruling army junta stepped down. Some analysts see it as a gamble in which the opposition could end up bestowing legitimacy upon a regime that needs Suu Kyi to end years of isolation from the West and get lingering sanctions lifted.
The 66-year-old democracy leader will have almost no power in the assembly, but she’ll nevertheless have an official voice in the legislative branch for the first time and the chance to challenge public policy from inside the halls of power.
Suu Kyi’s parliamentary debut comes after her National League for Democracy NLD party lost its first major political battle since this Southeast Asian nation’s April 1 by-election—a bid to change the lawmakers’ oath.
The NLD had refused to take its seats in the assembly last week because they opposed wording in the oath that obliges legislators to “safeguard” the constitution. The party, which has vowed to amend the document because it enshrines military power, wanted the phrasing changed to “respect.”
Their failure to push through even that small change, though, underscores the immense challenges ahead in a nation still dominated by the military. On Wednesday, Suu Kyi and several dozen of her party brethren chose to compromise for now—jointly reciting the oath in the capital, Naypyidaw, as the ruling party and the army looked on.
Mobbed by reporters after the ceremony, Suu Kyi said she would not give up the struggle she has waged since 1988.
“We have to now work within the parliament as well as outside the parliament as we have been doing all along,” she said.
...more in The Irrawaddy - AlJazeera - The Guardian - BBC - Publico - El Mundo - France 24 - MSNBC - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma
Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), announced on Friday that its MPs are “highly unlikely” to participate in the swearing-in ceremony at Parliament on April 23 as it has received no confirmation that the government will change the wording of the oath its representatives have to pledge by.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Rangoon headquarters, spokesman Nyan Win said, “It is not sure yet whether the NLD’s elected MPs will attend the April 23 parliamentary meeting.”
The NLD has proposed a rewording of the oath—which all new parliamentarians must swear to—from “abide by and protect the Constitution” to read “abide by and respect the Constitution.”
Nyan Win said that he had met with members of the Constitutional Court on Thursday and that “they did not say that they will not change” the wording of the oath.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday ahead of his press conference, Nyan Win said, “The Constitutional Court explained the legal perspective in terms of changing words in the oath.”
Soon after, when he addressed the issue with reporters, he said that he did not argue or discuss the issue, but “just listened to what the Constitutional Court had to say.”
The NLD spokesman said the party is now planning to submit letters regarding its position on the oath to the president’s office, to both the Upper and Lower Houses, and to the Constitutional Court.
“We will try to resolve the issue,” he said. “We are trying to avoid a political deadlock.”
Meanwhile, the NLD is continuing with a four-day training program in Rangoon for its 43 MP-elects who must wait to see if the oath issue is resolved before they travel to Naypyidaw for Monday’s ceremony.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - AlJazeera - BBC - The Guardian - The Telegraph
Dissident Monk Ashin Gambira Disrobes ... [+]
Burma’s by-elections on Sunday only counts for a small portion of parliament seats, but has taken on immense symbolic importance because it will likely see pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi win her first term in office.
The elections represent a key step for national reconciliation after more than two decades of bitter struggle which set the ruling military against a pro-democracy movement led by Suu Kyi and which turned Burma into a shunned, pariah state with stunted development.
Though the seats up for grabs are relatively few, the stakes are high for both the military-backed government, which wants to emerge from international isolation, and for Suu Kyi’s camp, which wants real democracy. The vote also sets the stage for an even more important general election in 2015.
Here’s a look at Sunday’s polling, the players and what’s at stake:
...more in The Irriwaddy - BBC - AlJazeera - MSNBC - The Guardian - The Telegraph - El Mundo - France 24 - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - LIVE ELECTIONS - Die Spiegel - La Repubblica - Publico - The Financial Times - The Economist - Democracy Now
Aung San Suu Kyi: 'election irregularities go beyond what is acceptable': The Burmese pro-democracy leader and opposition politician Aung San Suy Kyi warns that this weekend's elections will be neither free nor fair, but vows to continue to campaign and take part in the election because it is what 'our people' want...
Magical Mandalay Still Holds Court for Tourists...
Thousands Missing from Voters Lists...
101 East - AlJazeera :: Myanmar's Turn: Will recent reforms including the release of political prisoners see the country emerge as Asia's newest democracy?...
Serious Voter List Fraud Uncovered by Observer...
Suu Kyi wins parliament seat in historic Myanmar election, party says...
Aung San Suu Kyi supporters claim victory in Burma byelection: Burmese Nobel laureate and pro-democracy linchpin said to have won 65% of preferences counted so far after landmark vote...
Aung San Suu Kyi 'wins landslide landmark election' as Burma rejoices: Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has claimed a landslide victory in a series of by-election contests which hold the key to Burma's return from international isolation...
...more in 101 East / AlJazeera
Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has fallen ill while campaigning for Burma's upcoming by-elections and has suspended her extensive tour of the country a week ahead of the polls, her party said Sunday.
Kyi Toe, deputy information officer for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said that Suu Kyi's personal physician advised taking the break after she fell ill with vomiting while campaigning in the Mergui archipelago in southernmost Burma.
Her accompanying doctor, Tin Myo Win, said the 66-year-old's ill health was due to exhaustion and the hot weather, according to Kyi Toe. Party members traveling with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said she had been put on an intravenous drip.
Released from house arrest in 2010, Suu Kyi has traveled thousands of miles by car, plane and boat to campaign around the country for her party. She herself is running in a constituency south of former capital Rangoon.
The polls are the first in which Suu Kyi's party is taking part since it won a 1990 general election only to have the army refuse to let it take power, kicking off two decades of military repression. They are seen as an indicator of political reforms by Burma's current military-aligned government since a 2010 election that the opposition boycotted.
Suu Kyi fell ill on Saturday during a grueling day of boat travel that saw her vessel go temporarily aground. NLD members, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the authorities denied her party the use of a larger ferry-type vessel which would have allowed her to travel faster, so her group was forced to use three smaller boats which made the journey's duration three times as long.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Democratic Voice of Burma - The Guardian - The Telegraph - BBC - AlJazeera
Burma's top general defends army's role in politics
The ‘Virtuous Circle’ of Carrot & Stick Sanctions
The story behind Aung San Suu Kyi: The background story of a woman who has come to symbolise non-violent resistance against oppression in Myanmar...
Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma election not 'free and fair'
The Triumphal Rise of Aung San Suu Kyi
After the authorities suspended his 68-year jail sentence for leading anti-government protests in 2007 and released him from prison, Gambira moved into Maggin Monastery in South Okkalapa Township in Rangoon, which was renowned as a center of anti-government activity during the 2007 uprising.
But the state-backed Buddhist Council ordered Gambira and four other Buddhist monks who were freed from jail together with him to leave Maggin Monastery since it was reopened without official permission.
Gambira and his colleagues moved to nearby Ledi Monastery in Rangoon. But the Council also summoned Gambira three times to make a formal admonition. The dissident monk ignored the calls, one of his friends told The Irrawaddy.
Gambira's whereabouts are currently unknown.
Later on Friday, the head abbot at Maggin Monastery told The Irrawaddy that the monastery was reopened at 1 pm by government officers, as was Pyi Kyaw Shwe Taung Monastery in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, which was also known as hotbed of dissent during the Saffron Revolution of 2007.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - El Mundo - The Guardian
Shwe Mann delivers reformist-style speech
Writers’ talks banned in Magway region
Burma dissident monk freed after questioning: Shin Gambira was taken from a monastery in Rangoon on Thursday by authorities from the ministry of religious affairs...
Aung San Suu Kyi greeted by thousands on campaign trail: Burmese opposition leader visits Irrawaddy delta for first time since 1989 to campaign before elections in April...
When Tin Mynit (aka Zin Bo) appeared at the gate of Rangoon's infamous Insein Prison at around 11:30 am on Friday, the crowd waiting outside erupted in a jubilant cheer of "good health to the released political prisoners.”
Tin Mynit was the first of about 74 political inmates released from Insein Prison after Burmese President Thein Sein ordered that 651 detainees be set free.
"I feel really happy. I was sentenced to 23 years, but now have only served 10 years and seven months," said Tin Myint as his colleagues gathered around and hugged him.
More than 200 political prisoners were released from locked jails scattered across the country, including prominent figures such as Min Ko Naing, a leader of the 88 Student Generation Students group, Hkun Htun Oo, the chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, and Ye Myat Hein, who was just 17 when he was put behind bars on a 21 year sentence.
Others walking free were the leading monks of the failed 2007 Saffron Revolution, the grandson and son-in-law of former Burmese dictator Ne Win, and ex-spy chief General Khin Nyunt and other purged Military Intelligence (MI) officials.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Democratic Voice of Burma - Al Jazeera - BBC - The Telegraph - The Guardian - France 24 - El Mundo - Le Figaro
My father's release from prison is good. But there is still no reform in Burma: This is not a democratic society – and there are as many political prisoners left in jail as there were five years ago...
As the dust settles, are we any clearer about tomorrow’s Burma?
And visit the website of The National League for Democracy in Burma
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed on Friday U.S. engagement with Myanmar, saying she hoped it would set her long-isolated country on the road to democracy.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a final meeting with Suu Kyi as she wrapped up a landmark visit to Myanmar, which saw the new civilian government pledge to forge ahead with political reforms and re-engage with the world community.
Clinton held hands with Suu Kyi on the porch of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's lakeside home — where she spent much of the past two decades under house arrest — and thanked her for her "steadfast and very clear leadership."
The meeting was the second in as many days for the pair, who appeared to have bonded almost as sisters after a private, one-on-one dinner in Yangon Thursday.
After the meeting, they embraced and seemed visibly moved by their encounter.
... ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - Al Jazeera - BBC - The Telegraph - The Guardian - El Mundo - Voz Populi - La Repubblica - MSNBC - Die Welt - Burma VJ Media Network
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Myanmar.
She is the highest ranking US official to visit the southeast Asian nation in more than 50 years.
Clinton will meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein during her trip.
Al Jazeera's Aela Callan reports from Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday shared dinner with Myanmar's most famous former political prisoner and challenged the nation's leaders to expand upon recent reforms, end violent campaigns against ethnic minorities and break military ties with North Korea.
"We believe that any political prisoner anywhere should be released," Clinton told reporters during the first visit to this long-isolated nation by the top U.S. diplomat in more than 50 years. "One political prisoner is one too many in our view."
Clinton made her comments before her private dinner with opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released last year after two decades of on-and-off imprisonment and has said she will run in upcoming elections. Clinton and Suu Kyi were to meet more formally on Friday.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Guardian - The Telegraph - BBC - AlJazeera - MNBC - The Independent - VozPopuli - Al Jazeera
November and earlier
The freed Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has indicated that her formerly banned party is ready to re-enter politics and stand for parliament, after recent reforms by the country's military-dominated leadership.
The comments, in her first officially permitted interview with the BBC since release from long-term house arrest last year, come as Burma takes a step away from international isolation with its selection by south-east Asian countries to chair a major regional organisation.
Aung San Suu Kyi said she believed most supporters of her National League for Democracy (NDL) would think it was the right time for it to re-enter politics.
"Actually, I'm not entirely sure of the reasons why people think it's not yet the right time to reregister," she said. "On the whole, I think the great majority of our people will go in for reregistration."
A number of parliamentary byelections are due, and the Nobel peace laureate said further decisions would be needed on whether the party should contest elections under the existing system.
...more in The Guardian - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - La Stampa - MSBC - Democratic Voice of Burma
Il partito di Aung San Suu Kyi torna alla legalità e sfida il regime
Clinton to Make Historic Visit to Burma Next Month
NLD Decides to Re-register, Compete in Coming Elections
Aung San Suu Kyi to stand in Burma election
Hillary Clinton to visit Burma to check on 'flickers of progress' News of first Burma visit by a US secretary of state in 50 years follows decision by Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD to re-enter politics
The de-facto opposition leader said around 100 political prisoners had been released as part of an amnesty on Wednesday and she hoped more would be freed.
"I welcome everyone who has been released. Each one of them has priceless values. Freedom of a person is priceless," Aung San Suu Kyi said.
The prominent satirist and vocal government critic Zarganar, who goes by one name, was among those released as part of a pardon of more than 6,300 prisoners by the new nominally civilian leadership.
The release of roughly 2,000 political detainees including pro-democracy campaigners, journalists, monks and lawyers, has long been a key demand of Western powers that have imposed sanctions on the country.
...more in The Telegraph
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, signalled that she was ready for full scale engagement in the country's military-dominated politics on Monday and insisted the president was "genuine" in his desire for change.
Dr. Suu Kyi declared that President Thein Sein appeared to be a man she could do business with during a rare public address at her party's Rangoon headquarters to mark a year of freedom from house arrest. She also said she had revived her own political party from near extinction since her release.
"Looking back at the past year, I think I can say that it has been eventful, energising and to a certain extent encouraging," she said.
"I spoke of my intention to form a network for democracy. This network has been one of the great successes in past year."
The daughter of Burma's foremost fighter for independence has spent 15 years and 19 days of the last two decades in detention as she fought its generals for democracy.
Yesterday she was on stage in a cramped, humid room in central Rangoon explaining how much had changed since she was freed.
...more in The Telegraph - The Irrawaddy - AlJazeera - BBC - The Guardian - MSNBC - Mizzima - The Democratic Voice of Burma
Following a trip to Burma by Erik Solheim, Norway’s international development minister, the Norwegian media reported on positive changes that have taken place in the country, including President Thein Sein’s promise to move quickly towards democracy, and the possible future role of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a democratic government.
During his three-day visit to Burma, Solheim met with President Thein Sein and other government officials in Naypyidaw and with Suu Kyi in Rangoon.
Aftenposten, an Oslo-based newspaper, reported on Nov. 1 that Thein Sein promised a fast process of democratization during his meeting with Solheim.
“He [Thein Sein] was very clear that they [the government] will continue on the path to democracy. It is quite amazing, things have happened that nobody thought possible a few months ago,” Solheim was quoted as saying by Aftenposten.
The Norwegian newspaper spoke with Burma’s Lower House speaker, ex-Gen Shwe Mann, at the Parliament building in Naypyidaw and asked about Suu Kyi’s space in the political process.
“It depends on her actions. For our part, she is certainly welcome,” said Shwe Mann.
Explaining the current government’s work towards reform, Shwe Mann told Aftenposten: “We have been steering these changes because they are necessary.”
Norway’s TV2 also covered the Norwegian delegation’s trip to Burma and reported on the country. One headline on the station’s website read: “Aung San Suu Kyi will be president if the people want her.”
“If people want me and things go in the right way, it is something that I will have to consider seriously,” Suu Kyi said about the possibility of a future role as president.
Suu Kyi also spoke about her interactions with and perception of Thein Sein.
“I feel the dialogue is good. I believe in the president’s goodwill. And I think he really wants to bring positive changes in Burma,” said Suu Kyi.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Democratic Voice of Burma - BBC - Al Jazeera
Give Suu Kyi a Blank Check
Listen Aung San Suu Kyi delivering The Reith Lectures on 'Securing Freedom: Dissent' in the BBC Radio
The story of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and the academic and writer Michael Aris; a true story of love set against political turmoil.
She is the stoic, enduring face of the struggle against military rule in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest.
Her dignified persistence has made the 66-year-old a towering figure of inspiration at home and abroad.
But is the Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy icon still the best hope for freedom in Myanmar?
...more in 101 East at Al Jazeera - BBC
Suu Kyi to Meet US Envoy on Monday
Entrevista a Suu Kyi en Público
In December 1941, the Japanese invasion of Burma (now Myanmar) opened what would be the longest land campaign fought by the British in the Second World War. It began with defeat and retreat for Britain, as Rangoon fell to the Japanese in March 1942. But the fighting went on, over a varied terrain of jungles, mountains, plains and wide rivers, until the Japanese forces surrendered in August 1945.
Some 100,000 African soldiers were taken from British colonies to fight in the jungles of Burma against the Japanese. They performed heroically in one of the most brutal theatres of war, yet their contribution has been largely ignored, both in Britain and their now independent home countries.
In the villages of Nigeria and Ghana, these veterans are known as 'the Burma Boys'. They brought back terrifying tales from faraway lands. Few survived, even fewer are alive today.
Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips travels to Nigeria, Burma and Japan to find a Nigerian veteran of the war and to talk to those who fought alongside him as well as against him. He even finds the family that saved the life of the wounded veteran in the jungles of Myanmar.
...more in Al Jazeera
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is satisfied with her first meeting and talks with President Thein Sein.
Before leaving Naypyidaw on Saturday, Suu Kyi told reporters at the government workshop that she was "happy and satisfied" with her first meetings with Thein Sein on Friday. She added she hoped to meet again with Thein Sein, according to reporters in Naypyidaw.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Saturday, Khun Thar Myint, who was responsible for Suu Kyi’s security during her first visit to Burmese capital Naypyidaw, said that Suu Kyi had left Naypyidaw at around 11am after attending the second day of a government workshop on economic development.
Khun Thar Myint said that, at the workshop, Suu Kyi met and spoke to: Minister for Border Affairs and for National Industrial Development Maj-Gen Thein Htay; Minister for Industry 1 and 2 former Vice Admiral Soe Thein; Minister for Railway Transportation ex-Maj-Gen Aung Min; and Minister for Labor and for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement ex-Maj-Gen Aung Kyi.
Suu Kyi’s aide said Suu Kyi exchanged friendly conversations with the ministers during a break at the workshop.
A government source who spoke on conditional of anonymity said that government officials who met with Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw were also pleased with their meeting with the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
During Suu Kyi’s one-hour dialogue with Thein Sein on Friday afternoon, she requested a meeting with Snr-Gen Than Shwe and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, the government source said, adding he thought “it was a good approach.”
However, he did not provide further details of the discussions.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - El Pais - El Mundo - BBC - France 24 - The Guardian - The Telegraph
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met President Thein Sein early on Friday afternoon after travelling for the first time to the country's administrative capital, Naypyidaw. It was the first meeting between the two.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Thein Sein met around 1 pm local time,” an official source who spoke on conditional of anonymity told The Irrawaddy on Friday. “I heard she also went to look around the town after the president advised her to go sightseeing.”
Businessmen attending a government workshop on economic development said that although they had been told Suu Kyi was to attend the workshop, she did not appear at the opening ceremony.
Sources in the capital said that Suu Kyi was invited to dinner on Friday evening by Thein Sein.
With a government convoy, Suu Kyi left Rangoon by car for the capital at 8:30 am, accompanied by Pol. Col. Win Naing Tun, the head of the political department at the Special Branch. She was reportedly invited as the president’s special guest to the workshop, government and NLD sources said.
Commenting on Suu Kyi’s trip to Naypyidaw, her close aide Win Tin, who is also a leader of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), said Suu Kyi's main agenda is to meet Thein Sein and other senior government officials.
NLD sources said Suu Kyi is likely to return Rangoon on Saturday.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - BBC - Al Jazeera - The Telegraph - France 24 - El Mundo - Publico
Profile: Burmese leader Thein Sein
The actions of the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, are unlawful and against the state and could harm Burma's peace, stability and rule of law, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper on Wednesday.
The newspaper reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs sent a letter to Suu Kyi and Aung Shwe, the chairman of the NLD, on Tuesday urging them to stop engaging in unlawful activities in opposition to the new Parliament and government.
It also noted that the party was dissolved on Sept. 14, 2010, for refusing to take part in last year's election, but continued to run its headquarters and branch offices around the country.
The newspaper quoted the letter as saying: “If they really want to accept and practice democracy effectively, they are to stop such acts that can harm peace and stability and the rule of law as well as the unity among the people including monks and service personnel.”
Asked about the legal implications of the letter, Aung Thein, a Rangoon-based lawyer, said that it could signal government plans to crack down on the party.
“The government may use the fact that the NLD was dissolved as an excuse to increase restrictions on its political gatherings in the near future,” he said.
This latest pressure on the NLD comes soon after Suu Kyi expressed support for calls to establish a UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma in video testimony to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In her message, Suu Kyi made clear that the purpose of the CoI is to determine the extent of human rights violations in the country, not to prosecute the perpetrators.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - France 24 - The Guardian - Al Jazeera
Suu Kyi to Visit Pagan Next Week, together with his younger son
Michelle Yeoh deported from Burma before Aung San Suu Kyi film
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has used a birthday message to reach out to Indians, particularly women, to campaign for a Burma ‘free from fear’.
In a short video released to coincide with her 66th birthday on 19 June, Suu Kyi said India had a very special place in her heart, and she noted the important friendships she has with Indian women. The video will be shown at the function jointly organized by Burmese democracy activists and MANUSHI women magazine, in New Delhi on Sunday to celebrate her birthday.
‘I am happy you remember me’, she said, referring to the meetings and parties to be held to celebrate her birthday, but she said she hoped people would remember ‘all the people of Burma’ and called on all those who campaign for human rights and democracy to rally to the cause.
The call comes one day before a high level Indian official is due to make a visit to Rangoon for talks with the government and possibly Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi, who was released from lengthy house arrest last November, called on people in India to remember the political prisoners in Burma, who she said number more than 2,000, and who live under ‘very, very harassing conditions’, calling for them to be released.
...more in Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - The Guardian - Al Jazeera - BBC - MSNBC - Democratic Voice of Burma
Read and hear also: Aung San Suu Kyi: Why the BBC Reith Lectures matter
... more in 101 East / AlJazeera
Expressing serious concern over the safety and security of Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the US government on Wednesday said that this is a fundamental responsibility of the military junta.
“We remain concerned about Aung San Suu Kyi’s safety and security. This is a fundamental responsibility of Burmese authorities to ensure her safety and that of all Burmese citizens,” said US State Department Spokesman P J Crowley.
Burma, he said, needs to recognize the legitimacy of the National League for Democracy, which has struggled for over 22 years to bring democracy to Burma’s people.
“The regime should immediately release all political prisoners, allow their participation in the political process, and begin a genuine and inclusive political dialogue with ethnic and democratic opposition leaders as a first step toward national reconciliation,” Crowley said.
Responding to questions, the State Department spokesman said the US is a bit apprehensive about her safety because of the past experience in this regard.
“If you look at history, there have been times where she has been released and then they found a way to bring her again under house arrest,” he said. “We hope that with her release, she’s able to do what she wants to do, which is reconstitute her political party as part of the process of opening up civil society within Burma.”
Since an article appeared earlier this week in The New Light of Myanmar, the official mouthpiece of the junta, openly threatening Suu Kyi and her party, Crowley said one would assume that there is actually something behind this.
Crowley had tweeted that the military junta is back to its old tricks.
“New suits does not a new system make,” he said.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Guardian - Al Jazeera
Distinguished guests - heads of state, government and UN officials, leaders of global companies, representatives of the media, academia, NGOs, and young global leaders: I am very honoured and privileged to have this opportunity to address the World Economic Forum in Davos. I would especially like to extend my appreciation to Professor Klaus Schwab and the organizers of this influential gathering of leaders who are committed to improving the state of this planet.
Over the past few years, despite my isolation from much of the world, I have been able to follow closely the global response to the economic downturn through listening assiduously to radio broadcasts. While the challenges were immense, the response was both swift and strong. Of course much still remains to be done. Our global interdependence has compelled and resulted in increased cooperation.
In this context, however, I would like to speak on behalf of the 55 million people of Burma who have for the most part been left behind. We yearn to be a part of the global community: not only to be economically and socially connected, but also to achieve the domestic political stability and national reconciliation that would enable us to fully address the needs of our people.
Economic policies linked to human development and capacity buildings are the best path to the achievement of stability in a democratic transition. We have already missed so many opportunities because of political conflicts in our country over the last 50 years. Despite an abundance of natural resources, Burma's development has lagged far behind its neighbours. Our government annually spend about 40 percent of our GDP on the military and barely two percent on health and education combined.
The young people of Burma need the kind of education that has enabled Young Global Leaders, some of whom are present at this gathering, to excel so early in their careers. We need investments in technology and infrastructure. We need to counter and eventually eradicate widespread poverty by offering opportunities that will allow the entrepreneurial spirit of our people to be gainfully harnessed through micro lending programmes. The National League for Democracy (NLD) has in fact embarked on an experimental micro credit scheme on a very small scale.
We need to address the tragic consequences of preventable diseases, particularly in conflict zones and rural areas. At the same time, we also need to pay close attention to the costs and collateral damage of our development, whether environmental or social. These however can be contained if we plan ahead responsibly. In addition to these enormous challenges, we also need to reform our legal system that we might be able to attract foreign direct investment and guarantee the rule of law.
I believe that as necessary steps towards integration within the global community Burma must achieve national reconciliation, political stability, and economic growth grounded in human resources development. Without the first two which are essential for the basic requirements of good governance such as transparency, accountability, credibility and integrity, social and economic development will remain mere pipe dreams.
I would like to request those who have invested or who are thinking of investing in Burma to put a premium on respect for the law, on environmental and social factors, on the rights of workers, on job creation and on the promotion of technological skills. Such an approach would not only be in line with a global sense of responsibility, it would lead in the long run to greater benefits for all concerned.
I look forward to the day when there will be a political and social environment that is favourable to a wide range of investments in Burma. We are certainly in need of innovation and diversification if our country is to fulfil the aspirations of its people and catch up with the rest of the world.
I would like to appeal to all those present at this gathering to use their particular opportunities and skills as far as possible to promote national reconciliation, genuine democratization, human development and economic growth in Burma that our people may in turn be able to make their own contribution towards a safer happier world.
Myanmar has opened its first parliament in more than two decades, an event greeted with cautious optimism by opposition lawmakers despite the military's tight management of the event.
Heavy security was in place when hundreds of uniformed soldiers and over 1,000 elected members of parliament gathered in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's capital, for Monday's opening.
Each vehicle entering the massive parliamentary parliament compound was checked for bombs, while reporters were barred from witnessing the proceedings inside.
"Parliament started at 8:55am. All members attended," a Myanmar official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
There is muted hope that the new legislature will be a step in the right direction for a country that has seen the army rule with impunity since a 1962 coup ended the last legitimate parliamentary democracy.
After a November election, marred by the absence of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and claims of cheating and intimidation, the military leadership enjoys a crushing majority in the new parliament.
...more in Al Jazeera - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Guardian - France 24
Britain has suggested to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that a full-time envoy be appointed to replace Vijay Nambiar, Ban’s interim Burma envoy, the country’s UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters in New York last week.
...Grant made the comment following a UN Security Council meeting on Burma in which Nambiar reported back on his recent two-day trip to Rangoon, during which he met pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The British calls for a full-time replacement for Nambiar were echoed by Mexico’s ambassador to the UN, Claude Heller.
...Mark Farmaner of the London-based advocacy group Burma Campaign UK, responded to news that the British government had proposed replacing Nambiar, stating that while his organisation had advocated that Ban and his office take a greater role on the Burma file they were unimpressed with the performance of his chief of staff as Burma envoy.
He said his organisation was “increasingly concerned by the approach of Nambiar, who seems to be following the failed approach of Gambari, thinking that befriending the generals will somehow buy influence. It seems that the dictatorship has got lucky yet again”.
Burma Campaign was extremely disappointed with Nambiar’s handling of Burma’s ethnic question, Farmaner said, adding that: “We are also disappointed that yet again a UN envoy has gone to Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi and the generals, and not with key ethnic representatives. The mandate from the General Assembly which Nambiar is acting on is to secure tripartite dialogue, not just dialogue between the generals and Aung San Suu Kyi.”
NLD veteran Win Tin, in a phone interview conducted the night before taking part in Suu Kyi’s meeting with Nambiar, told Mizzima that he would use occasion to urge the UN diplomat to meet leaders of Burma’s main ethnic groups so as to better understand their situation. Despite the request, Nambiar failed to do so during his short trip.
The Washington Post reported last month that in August Nambiar had met Chinese UN ambassador Li Baodong days after the US announced its support for the creation of a commission of inquiry to investigate possible war crimes committed by the Burmese regime. The report said that during the “confidential” meeting, Li relayed Beijing’s strong opposition to any such inquiry.
The Post’s Colum Lynch wrote that three separate UN sources privy to the details of the meeting said Li had told Nambiar the proposed Burma inquiry was “dangerous and counterproductive, and should not be allowed to proceed”.
Nambiar by omission appeared to share Chinese opposition to the commission of inquiry. A report in September this year on the Situation of Human rights in Burma, prepared with the assistance of Nambiar in his position as Burma envoy and officially submitted by Ban to the General Assembly, made no mention of the proposed inquiry.
The omission came despite the fact that UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana had issued a report in March to the UN Human Rights Council that called for such an inquiry. The September report, while briefly mentioning Quintana’s report also left out any discussion of his conclusion that in Burma there existed a pattern of “gross and systematic” rights abuses which suggested that the abuses were a state policy that involved authorities at all levels of the executive, military and judiciary.
The September report, which is supposed to cover the period from August last year to August this year also left out any mention of the significant Burmese military offences in ethnic areas that occurred during this time, leaving many in the Burma movement deeply concerned.
In a previous interview with Mizzima, senior NLD leader Win Tin said that it was totally unacceptable that the September report neglected to mention the continuing attacks against villagers in eastern Burma. He also said he was deeply disturbed that the report ignored the Burmese Army’s military offensive in the Kokang region of Shan State in August-September last year which the UN itself had estimated forced 37,000 refugees to flee into China.
...more in Mizzima - Burma Campaign UK -
Volunteer support network for political prisoners launched.
Technology lets us peer inside the Burmese cage, but not unlock its door To talk via video link to Aung San Suu Kyi was inspiring. Yet liberation is unlikely for Burma if its neighbours will not act.
Producer Julie LeBrocquy and co-director Annie Sundberg on smuggling footage out of Burma, 'reverse pirating' their own film and telling the story of Myo Myint, a former soldier turned peace activist. ...more in The Guardian - BBC - Yearning to Breathe Free - Sheffield Doc/Fest - Eye for Film
"The Lady" : Aung San Suu Kyi's tragic love and incredible life come to the big screen.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the recently released Burmese dissident, has become an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression and human rights violations in Myanmar.
The 65-year-old has spent most of the last 20 years in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to military-ruled Burma.
In 1991, one year after her party, the National League for Democracy, won an overwhelming victory in an election the junta later nullified, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Now she talks to Al Jazeera about the country's future, the need for change, and why she believes that national reconciliation is the road Myanmar has to take to get the country out of the present state of economic stagnation and political unfreedom.
She speaks about democracy, development, a strong civil society, and the humanitarian situation in Myanmar - and how change and progress could be achieved.
To put the challenges facing Myanmar into global context we are joined by a distinguished panel of experts:
Helping us facilitate the dialogue is Maung Zarni, a Burmese dissident and an academic research fellow at the London School of Economis. His first-hand knowledge of Burma allows him to share his insights of armed conflicts, resistance, and the Burmese military.
Mary Kaldor is professor and co-director of Gobal Governance. She has written extensively on global civil society, how ordinary people organise to change the way their countries and global institutions are run.
Timothy Garton Ash is a historian, political commentator and regular colomnist for the UK newspaper The Guardian. He is professor of European studies at Oxford University. His main interest is civil resistance and the role of Europe and the old West in an increasingly western world. In 2000, Aung San Suu Kyi invited Professor Garton Ash to Burma to speak to members of her party, the National League for Democracy, about transitions to democracies.
...more in Al Jazeera - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma
Suu Kyi Pays Tribute to Her Mother
When Aung San Suu Kyi, accompanied by her son, met with more than 70 family members of Burma's political prisoners at a Monday afternoon ceremony offering alms to monks, seeing the recently released pro-democracy leader reunited with her son provided encouragement to the group, said family members of prisoners.
“I feel very happy for Suu Kyi and her son, and I hope that soon I can also meet with my own daughter and grandchild,” said Su Su Kyi, the mother of 88 Generation Students member Thet Thet Aung, who is serving a 65-year prison term in Myingyan Prison, 396 miles from Rangoon, for her involvement in the 88 Generation Students movement.
Thet Thet Aung's husband, Chit Ko Lay, also a member of the pro-democracy group, was sentenced to 11 years and is serving his term in Pakkoku prison.
“I felt happy when I met with Suu Kyi and her son. It was like meeting with my own family,” said the mother of Dee Nyein Lin, who was charged with taking part in anti-government demonstrations and establishing an illegal organization and is serving a 15-year, six-month sentence in Hkamti Prison, Sagaing Division.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma
Suu Kyi among top 100 most influencial thinkers in the world
On Saturday, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with a senior UN official and said she hopes the talks will be the first of many with the world body to solve the country's problems.
Suu Kyi met for more than an hour with Vijay Nambiar, chief of staff for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy to the military-controlled country.
Nambiar also planned to meet with government leaders during his weekend visit to Burma.
Suu Kyi told reporters in brief comments at her lakeside home that the talks were “very valuable.”
“But one meeting is not enough. I hope this is the first of many meetings. I think we may need many and frequent meetings to sort out all the problems we are facing,” she said.
Since her release on Nov. 13 from more than seven years of continuous house arrest, Suu Kyi has been busy talking with diplomats, politicians and international agencies.
The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has made it clear she plans to pursue her goal of a democratic Burma but has been careful not to verbally challenge the ruling junta.
Nambiar planned to hold talks with the foreign minister and secretary-general of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, according to diplomatic sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
Suu Kyi “believes that the visit could be conducive to Burma's political development,” her spokesman, Nyan Win, said before the meeting. “Although the United Nations has its limitations in implementing its tasks, we respect the role of the UN.”
...more in Mizzima - The Irriwaddy - Voice of America - Al Jazeera / And in the web Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pages
Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, freed from house arrest 10 days ago, was reunited with her younger son on Tuesday after about 11 years apart.
Kim Aris aka Htein Lin, 33, who lives in Britain, arrived on a flight from Bangkok to Rangoon airport, where his 65-year-old mother was waiting to meet him. She was freed on 13 November after more than seven consecutive years in detention.
“I’m very glad and I’m very happy,” Suu Kyi told an AFP reporter who witnessed the reunion.
On greeting his smiling mother, Aris immediately took off his outer shirt to show her symbols of the National League for Democracy (NLD), her political party, tattooed on his arm, the reporter witnessed.
Aris had arrived in the Thai capital a few days ahead of his mother’s release but faced a prolonged wait for a visa to the military-ruled country, where Suu Kyi had been locked up for 15 of the past 21 years.
During her detention in her lakeside home in Rangoon, Suu Kyi had no telephone or Internet access and only limited contact with the outside world. It has been about a decade since she last saw Aris or her elder son Alexander.
The daughter of Burma’s assassinated independence hero General Aung San was released less than a week after an election dismissed by many as a sham for cementing the military regime’s decades-long grip on power.
When her freedom was granted, crowds of jubilant supporters gathered outside her home to glimpse the charismatic dissident, seen by many as the best hope for democratic change after almost five decades of army rule.
Her long struggle for her country has come at a high personal cost. Her husband, a British academic, died in 1999, and in the final stages of his battle with cancer the junta refused him a visa to see his wife.
Many believe that if she were to leave Burma the ruling generals would never allow her to return.
Her sons collected the Nobel peace prize on behalf of their mother in 1991, but have otherwise tended to avoid the media spotlight.
Aris had an “emotional” telephone conversation with his mother on the evening of her release, according to the British embassy in Bangkok.
Suu Kyi swept the NLD to victory in 1990 elections but was never allowed to take power. Her party was disbanded after boycotting this month’s poll, in response to rules that seemed to bar their leader from participating.
The decision to boycott deeply split the opposition movement, which Suu Kyi now faces the task of reuniting.
Burma’s Supreme Court has refused to hear her lawsuit against the junta for dissolving the party ahead of the election, an official said on Monday. The dictatorship has also suspended newspapers for reporting on Aung San Suu Kyi...
...more in the Democratic Voice of Burma - BBC - France 24 - Herald Sun - The Globe and Mail - India Times - The Huffington Post - The Irrawaddy - Al Jazeera
Burma's pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to Irrawaddy editor Aung Zaw soon after her release from house arrest on Nov. 13. In this exclusive interview, she discussed her position on the military regime, her future political activities and her views on the political situation in Burma after the Nov. 7 election. She also emphasized the need for her supporters to continue working towards the goal of achieving democracy, and urged young Burmese in particular to remain actively engaged in politics.
Question: You are now free after seven years of house arrest. Over the past few days, you've had a chance to speak to the people and see the outside world. What do you think has changed?
Answer: The first thing I noticed was that there were many more young people in the crowd that welcomed me. Many of them were using cell phones. They were taking photographs with their phones, which I had never experienced before. There was no such thing ten years ago, but it has become quite widespread these days. I think there are more communication lines than before. It is important.
I don't see much significant change in the city. Perhaps that's because I haven't been to many parts of the city, since I am not the kind of person who is always on the street. There is not much difference.
...Q: Some say your release is just a matter of transferring you from a smaller prison to a bigger one. Do you feel that way?
A: I don't see it that way. I always consider myself free because my mind is free. With my own ideology and beliefs, I am walking on the path that I have chosen. I have never felt that I wasn't free. Even when I was officially released, I felt the same—I didn't feel that I was not free before. Of course, I now have much more work to do. I have been able to see and feel the changes in person. In fact, my inner mind remains the same.
...Q: Soon after your release, you said you wanted to meet with the leaders of the military regime to help bring about national reconciliation in the country. However, the junta leaders don't seem to want to talk to you. Since you first entered Burmese politics in 1988, the regime has repeatedly stated that it has never wanted your presence. It has been 22 years now. Why do you think they still don't want to speak with you, even though you have offered dialogue with them on numerous occasions.
A: I think we have a different understanding of the main purpose of dialogue and its real meaning and essence. In my opinion, dialogue is not a debate to make one side lose and the other win. One side says what it wants, and so does the other. If there are disagreements, a negotiation should be carried out. Dialogue must be a win-win situation for both parties. I have said this to them before, but they don't seem to understand it. I am not sure if they don't understand it or if they don't believe it. Perhaps its because in the military, there is no such thing as a negotiated settlement.
This is something I really need to give a lot of thought to.
Q: They are not in office anymore. Neither is Gen Khin Nyunt. Some are serving lengthy prison terms. What do think about them? Did you think that they were the ones who might be able to bridge the gap between you and the military? Do you plan to see them again?
A: I think they did the best they could. Whenever I spoke with them, I always noticed that they raised good points. That's why I never thought that I was always right. But there were things that made me feel a bit frustrated. Perhaps they felt the same about me.
Q: I heard they became very respectful toward you. How did you feel about that?
A: They treated me well. Whenever I meet with officers responsible for my security these days, they treat me well, too. I don't know what they are thinking in their minds, but from what I can tell from my side, they have treated me well and I am thankful to them. I also want to be friends with them. As I told the people in front of my party's office on Sunday, I want [the military leaders] to treat everybody the way they treat me.
Q: Do you think that in the future you will have a chance to go to Naypyidaw and meet Snr-Gen Than Shwe?
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's favourite song by thargyi74
“Lead, Kindly Light.”
A: I don't think that way. I think of how I am going to make it happen. I am not sure if you have heard that Gandhi was very fond of a Christian hymn, even though he was a follower of Hinduism. The name of the song is “Lead, Kindly Light.” It says, “I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.” Gandhi believed that, and so do I. I will do my best to walk, step by step. If I am on the right track, I will reach the right place. I don't want to try to imagine something very distant. For me, hope is the desire to try. I believe I can only hope for something if I have tried to achieve it. I will continue to make an effort with this belief in mind.
...Q: We have heard that there are some in the military who support you and the democracy movement. What is your message to army officers and their families and others in the military who want to see change?
A: If they want change, they have to make it happen. As I said earlier, I don't believe in just imagining how things might be better. If we expect something, we must strive to achieve it.
...Q: Before the election was held, some members of the international community, particularly in Europe, said that taking part in it was the only option for the opposition. Now that it is over, however, those who backed the election have been embarrassed by the way it was carried out by the regime. What would you like to say to these people?
A: Live and learn. [Laughs]
Q: The international community has welcomed your release. The US government has said it will continue its existing policy on Burma, combining sanctions and engagement. What kind of pressure do you think the international community should exercise on the Burmese regime, and what kind of relationship should it have with the junta? What would you like to say to China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)?
A: I want Asean and China to have close relations with us. I want them to know that we are not people they can't deal with. I think the fact that sanctions remain in effect is related to what you said earlier—the new political landscape. I think they are waiting to see if this really is a new landscape or not.
Q: The exiled Burmese community is becoming larger and larger. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese have left their country illegally, most of them from the younger generation. You have often spoken about the importance of education and helping the young to realize their potential. What are your plans for young people living inside and outside the country? What is your message to them?
A: The reason I want to have contact with young people living outside Burma is to promote the importance of education. They—especially those living in Western countries—have many more educational opportunities than young people living in Burma. That's why I want them to have contact with each other. I don't want young people living overseas to forget those remaining inside. I don't think they will forget. Many of them have been involved in blogging and other Internet-related activities, so I don't think they have forgotten the situation inside their country. I think they will believe in their strength and continue to stand for their people.
...read the complete interview in The Irrawaddy
Read also : Indian state revokes exile order for 34 jailed Burmese : India West Bengal State revoked on November 11 its order to deport to Burma 34 Arakanese and Karen rebels being held at a Kolkata prison, one of their representatives said.
The joint secretary of the state’s Home Ministry had issued the order in the middle of last month.
“Now this order has been revoked,” Dr. Tint Swe, a representative of the 34 Burmese, said. Tint Swe was elected in 1990 as a National League for Democracy member of parliament and has been living in New Delhi since December that year, after fleeing a junta crackdown on NLD members and others of the pro-democracy movement.
Mandalay Blast Adds to Fears for Suu Kyi's Security
John Simpson on Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi: John Simpson experiences Burma's new "democracy"; dodging secret police through the streets of Rangoon after interviewing Aung San Suu Kyi for the BBC
Read also: Clinton Sends Personal Letter to Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi's younger son granted Burma visa
Newly released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visits a hospice for HIV sufferers. She is appealing to the public for basic needs.
Newly-freed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visited an HIV hospice in a Yangon suburb on Wednesday.
According to UN figures, an estimated 270-thousand Burmese are HIV-positive and most who need treatment are not receiving it.
Anti-retroviral drugs cost between 30 and 40 U.S. dollars per month, which is beyond the means of ordinary Burmese people.
An average monthly salary in Burma is 50 U.S. Dollars.
Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, has established a camp for HIV victims, housing 70 patients.
During her visit to the camp, Suu Kyi offered encouragement and appealed for public support.
[Aung San Suu Kyi, Pro-democracy Leader]: "We need money for drugs, we need money for food, we need money for more housing. So I'd be very, very grateful if you could do something about that."
Patients were very moved by Suu Kyi's visit.
[HIV Patient]: "I want to cry because I'm so happy today."
Facing sanctions and widely derided for its decades of military junta rule, Burma receives little aid from the international community.
Donors give less per head to Burma than any other poor country in the world.
Aung San Suu Kyi visits HIV and AIDs sufferers from DVBTV English on Vimeo....more in The Irrawaddy - NTD TV - Al Jazeera - Democratic Voice of Burma - Mizzima - The Guardian - France 24 - Die Zeit - MSNBC - BBC
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from seven year’s house arrest on November 13. Mizzima’s managing editor Sein Win spoke to her by phone four days later to receive her comments on India’s policy on Burma, using the internet and social weblogs, ethnic issues, the intrusion of John Yettaw, youth issues and women’s rights.
Journalist: Firstly, I’d like to ask you about India. What do you think Indian people can do for Burmese people and the establishment of democracy in Burma?
Suu Kyi: I think Indian citizens should learn more about Burma. Burma and India closely co-operated in fighting for independence. But currently, I think Indian citizens don’t know too much about Burma. Trying to know about Burma would clearly be the first step.
J: How can India’s government and parliament help Burma? What would you like to say?
Suu Kyi: This question is related to the previous one. India is a democratic country, so, as the citizens of a democratic country, if Indian people are active in supporting the establishment of democracy in Burma, India’s government will not ignore Burma. So, I want to say that Indian citizens should clearly learn more about Burma’s democracy movement as a first step. They should provide more support.
J: India says Burma is influenced by China. Another thing is that some say Burma should take steps towards democracy on the basis of a gradual evolution. What is your opinion regarding these issues?
Suu Kyi: This way of thinking merely concerns the relationship between China and India, not Burma’s democracy. So, we need to differentiate between the people who are thinking about the Sino-Indian relationship and the people who are seeking to establish democracy in Burma. Regarding the idea that Burma should approach democracy on the basis of gradual evolution, that’s an issue that must be decided only by us, the Burmese people.
J: It is said that civil war has raged in Burma for more than 60 years. And some Western governments also said Burma’s movement towards democracy should be carried out on the basis of gradual evolution. What are your thoughts on these stances?
Suu Kyi: People need to discuss that hypothesis using concrete facts. They say Burma should take gradual steps towards democracy because of continuing ethnic conflicts. On the other hand, we can say the reverse … that the continuing ethnic conflicts are the result of the lack of genuine democracy in Burma. So, it depends on the person. But, what we should think is how the current situations affect the people and what should we do for the sake of the people.
...J: I heard you and your son spoke on the phone. Did he obtain a visa to enter Burma?
Suu Kyi : The authorities have not told him whether they will issue a visa or not. So all we can do is wait.
J: As a mother out of contact with her sons, how do you cope with that situation?
Suu Kyi : There are many people whose situations are worse than ours. For my sons, they can live in a country that has human rights. They don’t need to worry about the cost of living. Some children don’t have enough food. Some children are homeless. Their parents cannot help them. So I don’t have the heart to say that my situation is stressful.
J: Many people are deeply concerned for your safety. Do you think someone may harm you?
Suu Kyi: In the past I was harmed so there is no guarantee that they will not harm me. But I should not be worried sick about it. I should not act under the feeling of insecurity. Anyway, both young people and old people take care of me. They want to protect me as much as they can. They are trying too hard to ensure my safety.
J: Many young people came to listen to your speech. What do you want to tell them and women and what do you want to do for them?
Suu Kyi: I want them to utilise that collective strength effectively. I want them to use those strengths both for the country and for their own sake, correctly and systematically. I want to help them to keep the right balance between promoting their own welfare and promoting the welfare of the nation.
J: Does ‘using strength correctly’ mean they should participate in politics?
Suu Kyi: No, I don’t mean that. I just want their strength not to be wasted. If they use their strength just for their own sake, it will not be effective for them in the long run as no one can enjoy a good life in an unpleasant environment. And I think social affairs and politics cannot be separated and every citizen should have high spirits. When I was a child, I was taught general maxims. People can be trained to have high moral values.
J: In recent days, fighting between the junta and ethnic armed groups broke out. What are your thoughts over those tensions? How should we deal with ethnic unrest?
Suu Kyi: As I said earlier, we don’t have the custom to solve political problems by engaging in constructive political dialogue or by using non-violent methods. I want our people to develop that custom. That’s why I choose to use the principle of non-violence. We must create a custom in which we solve the problems through political dialogue and non-violence. That’s not easy. It’ll be difficult sometimes. So, we must try to establish that custom to end the conflicts.
J: Today [Tuesday], we’ve heard you’ve proposed a second Panglong Conference through the use of modern communications technology. You’ve also expressed a wish to use Twitter. I’m sure our readers are very interested when you’ll be online.
Suu Kyi: I’ve got an application form to apply for internet installation. But one of the rules … to obtain a permit to gain internet access says I must not be involved in politics. Nevertheless, I’ll apply for the permit, but I’ll fill in the form saying that I’ll participate in politics. I cannot obey that rule. But I will apply for the permit and fill in the correct information on the form.
...J: What would you like to say to Mizzima reporters?
Suu Kyi: The roles of journalists are very important … Journalists can influence the country. So I want journalists to use that influence for the welfare of the people. Some journalists are trying to secure scoops and get dramatic news. That’s also fine, but they also need to do so for the welfare of the nation. I think I said after I was released from house arrest that I’d found that communications technology was playing a very important role in this era. Most people have mobile phones. So, please don’t forget that information is very important and journalists are in powerful positions. I want to request that all journalists do good things for the people … with spiritual awareness.
...read the complete interview in Mizzima - more in Democratic Voice of Burma
Watch the interview of Aung San Suu Kyi with CNN
As Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to celebrate her 65th birthday tomorrow, confined in the house in which she has spent most of the past two decades, a confidante of the Burmese opposition leader has made a simple but passionate appeal to those in the West to use their freedom to help his country achieve the same.
In a hand-written letter smuggled out of Burma and passed to The Independent, U Win Tin writes: "I want to repeat and echo her own words – 'please use your liberty to promote ours'. I want to add more to it. Please bring more and more liberty to us, to our country, Burma. We are starving for it and we are waiting for someone or some institutions or some countries to bring it to us."
The plea from Ms Suu Kyi's friend and senior political ally, who himself spent almost 20 years in solitary confinement, comes at a desperately difficult time for the opponents of Burma's military junta.
...Analysts say that in the aftermath of the 2007 democracy protests – when tens of thousands of people took to the streets – the military authorities have made a concerted effort to marginalise the Nobel laureate, both physically and politically. Before the authorities had allowed the NLD and its largely frail and ageing membership to splutter on, although hundreds of its younger political activists, monks and dissidents were jailed. Now, it has been prevented from operating as a political party.
Amid this, the junta has claimed the elections due to be held this year will mark a crucial staging point in Burma's journey to full democracy. It is a claim that has been met with derision by most independent observers.
Just yesterday, The Elders, a group of global leaders called together by Nelson Mandela, used the occasion of Ms Suu Kyi's birthday to denounce the planned election. "National processes in Burma have been usurped by the military government – they do not serve the people. The elections due later this year will not be any different," said Desmond Tutu, chairman of the group.
Gordon Brown told The Independent last night: "The reason I wrote to both Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela as my final two letters as Prime Minister, was to send a message around the world that as long as [she] is not free then we cannot talk about a free world. And as long as [Mr Mandela's] dream of universal education and eradicating poverty is unrealised, then there is no justice. It is our duty, whatever position we are in, to fight for Aung San Suu Kyi to be free, and democracy to prevail."
Despite the junta's efforts to isolate her, experts say Ms Suu Kyi remains the sole person who could perhaps unite Burma. "She remains a powerful icon and, if she were free and there were free presidential elections tomorrow, there's no doubt in my mind that she would win," said author Bertil Lintner.
Aung Din, who also spent time in Burma's jails as a dissident and now heads the US Campaign for Burma, was even more forceful. "The junta are not able to remove the image of 'The Lady' from the hearts of the people. The more the people of Burma see and suffer abuses and injustices by the generals, the more they expect her to save their country".
Ms Suu Kyi – who rose to become leader of Burma's political opposition following massive democracy demonstrations in 1988 that were crushed with the loss of up to 6,000 lives – has been repeatedly jailed and detained by the authorities. Her first imprisonment followed an election in 1990 which the NLD won by a landslide but the military refused to acknowledge. Her current term of detention dates from 2003.
...more information in The Independent - The Guardian - Al Jazeera - France 24 - El País - El Mundo - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima
And in the following websites: The Elders - Free Burma Campaign (USA) - Free Burma (UK) - Foreing Office News in Burma - Amnesty International - Human Rights Watch - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's pages - Democratic Voice of Burma - Burma Democratic Concern
Read the articles: 'Caught in camera: Burmas political prisoners' - 'Before duty called: pictures show Aung San Suu Kyi as a wife and mother'
Burma's democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released from house arrest in Rangoon on Saturday evening, welcomed enthusiastically by a wide public still angry and disappointed by the results of Sunday's election.
“Long live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” cheered several thousands of her supporters near her house on University Avenue in Rangoon, in welcoming their leader, who has continued to inspire Burma's oppressed people with her non-violent democratic struggle against the rogue regime throughout the past two decades.
“I can't describe how happy I am. I am so happy. She is our savior because she is the only one who can do what's best for the country,” said an old man who had waited near her house for news of the release since early this morning.
Several of her supporters waiting near her house were seen breaking into tears of happiness when they heard the news of her release. Some also waved to the Burmese soldiers who left the compound, which has been a prison for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 15 years of the past 21 years.
Her release came five days after the country's military regime held an election on Sunday marred by reports of widespread vote rigging. The junta's proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), was officially credited with winning 80 percent of parliamentary seats, despite strong popular opposition.
“She will draw huge crowds and receive strong public support as she did when she was last freed,” said Tin Oo, Suu Kyi's deputy and the vice-chairman of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
The NLD was officially disbanded after failing to register for the controversial election, which it boycotted on the grounds that it was held under undemocratic conditions. Although the party leaders continued to carry out party activities and gatherings, the junta has not yet outlawed it as an unlawful organization.
It remains uncertain how much freedom the regime would grant her even though she was supposed to be unconditionally released.
“The junta will surely attempt to restrict her movements so that she cannot reach out to the public and ethnic minority groups,” said Suu Kyi's lawyer, Nyan Win. “But she will not accept such restrictions.”
“The release shows that the government is quite confident of its control of the country because there is a lot of public resentment against vote fraud, which has been clearly exposed,” said Aung Naing Oo, a Burmese political analyst based in Thailand.
“She was released because her sentence has legally expired, but in countries like Burma that does not matter as much as the realities on the ground,” he added. “The current military rule continues and the rulers can still use several laws to detain her again.”
The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been released twice before during the 15 years of the past 21 years that she has spent under house arrest.
...The daughter of Burma's independence hero Aung San is expected not only to reconsolidate her party but also to reach out to a splinter group that formed a new party to contest the election, which the NLD refused to participate in, as well as other opposition groups that took part in the polls.
The leaders of the breakaway party, the National Democratic Front (NDF), said that they are willing to cooperate with Suu Kyi, but are uncertain if she will be willing to talk to them.
“Since we are former colleagues, we believe she will offer to talk with us,” said Dr. Than Nyein, the leader of the NDF, which was roundly defeated by the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which allegedly benefited from widespread vote rigging.
Suu Kyi will also have to renew her efforts to find some way to deal with Burma's ruling generals. During the past 20 years, Suu Kyi has unsuccessfully called for dialogue with the military junta in an attempt to break the country's political deadlock.
...more information in The Irrawaddy - Al Jazeera - Mizzima - BBC - The Guardian - Democratic Voice of Burma - El País - El Mundo - France 24 - Le Figaro - La Repubblica - Die Zeit - Público - ABC - MSNBC - Huffington Post - The Independent
'I am not free until the people are free'
Myanmar pro-democracy leader, Suu Kyi, signals readiness to work with "any democratic forces" in first speech after being freed.
Burma's Suu Kyi tells her fellow citizens not to give up hope
Suu Kyi 'ready for talks' to resolve Burma's problems
The Depayin massacre (2003) /
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was widely expected to be released at 4 p.m. Friday, just five days after the country's military regime held an election marred by reports of widespread vote rigging.
...Co-founder of National League for Democracy says impasse in negotiations with Burmese junta means pro-democracy leader will spend extra night under house arrest.
...Aung San Suu Kyi is understood to be demanding an unconditional release, but the regime is attempting to restrict her ability to travel around the country and limit her freedom to meet supporters.
At dusk in Rangoon, U Win Tin, the co-founder of her now-banned National League for Democracy (NLD) party, appeared at the military roadblock outside the gates of her house, where hundreds of supporters had gathered.
He said Aung San Suu Kyi had been told she "could go this day", but that it was likely it would be one more night before she emerged in public because of an impasse in negotiations.
The NLD supporters assembled amid a series of reports and rumours that the 65-year-old's release was imminent and would happen today, a day before the official end of the term of her current house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyer, U Nyan Win, has previously said she will not accept conditions such as not being allowed to travel freely around Burma.
...Suu Kyi, 65, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years, signed a letter recognizing her freedom around 12 p.m. Friday, according to reporters and National League for Democracy (NLD) members waiting in front of her lakeside house on University Avenue in Rangoon.
Her lawyer, Nyan Win, did not confirm the news, but said, “Daw Suu will hold a press conference at the party's [NLD] headquarters in Rangoon once she is freed.”
Nyan Win earlier said that Suu Kyi would not accept a conditional release and that her detention could no longer be extended since her sentence is due to expire at 7 p.m. Saturday.
As news of her possible imminent release spread, at least 500 of her local supporters gathered at the NLD headquarters in Rangoon, and many supporters from other parts of the country began traveling to the former capital, Rangoon sources said.
“She will resume active politics and make organizing tours throughout the country,” Nyan Win said.
This would, however, raise the possibility of a new round of confrontations between Suu Kyi and the country's military leaders. When last freed from house arrest in 2002, she subsequently faced a 2003 assassination attempt during a tour of the country.
In Aug. 2009, Suu Kyi's current period of detention was extended by 18 months over a bizarre incident in which an American swam uninvited to her lakeside home. Due to the election law subsequently issued by the regime, the extension made it impossible for her to participate in last Sunday's election, Burma's first in 20 years.
Suu Kyi's NLD—which was officially disbanded for failing to register for this year's controversial election—boycotted the election, saying it was held under undemocratic conditions. In the 1990 election, the NLD won an overwhelming majority of the vote, but the junta officially nullified the results.
...more in The Irrawaddy - El Mundo - El País - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - France 24 - La Repubblica - Die Zeit - BBC - The Guardian - The Independent - The Telegraph - Al Jazeera - El Confidencial - Democracy Now
Read also : Suu Kyi's Release Will Raise Hope and Expectation
Suu Kyi, vent'anni di lotta e quindici di reclusione
Aung San Suu Kyi, la paciencia como arma política.
Also in the webs of : Burma Democratic Concern - Free Suu Kyi - WORLD SUMMIT OF NOBEL PEACE LAURATES - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's pages - Amnesty International
Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will focus on international relations if she is released from house arrest, according to sources close to the National League for Democracy (NLD).
“She is expected to be released in the evening of November 12,” said the source on condition of anonymity. “After her release, she will mainly focus on diplomatic relations with foreign countries, both regional and around the world.”
Her release from an 18-month extension of detention expires Saturday. according to her lawyer Nyan Win.
Suu Kyi said that the country's problems over the past years associated with the junta have been well-founded, according to the source. This time, her politics will be to expand her relations within the international community and to bring democracy to Burma, he said.
...Now aged 65, Suu Kyi entered the political arena in Burma when she was 43. She has since struggled relentlessly for democratic change in the country. She has been detained under house arrest three times and has spent no less than 15 years in detention. After her release, she has no immediate plans to travel across the country, said the source.
News agency Reuters recently quoted her lawyer Nyan Win as saying that she will not accept any conditions imposed on her freedom after she is released.
...Observers said that the voter turnout was low in Sundays' general election, mainly due to two factors: Suu Kyi's call for the election boycott; and massive fraud by the junta in collecting advance votes before election day.
Meanwhile Kim Aris, 33, the youngest son of Suu Kyi, has applied for a visa to enter Burma. He last saw his mother more than 10 years ago.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - Die Zeit - La Repubblica - France 24
At least 10,000 people seek refuge in Thailand as government troops clash with Karen fighters a day after crucial polls.
Fighting between Myanmar government troops and ethnic fighters has sent at least 10,000 people fleeing into Thailand a day after the military-led nation held a much-criticised election.
Clashes were reported on Monday at key points on the border with Thailand, leaving at least three people dead and 10 others wounded on both sides of the frontier.
The clashes follow a demonstration by the fighters over Sunday's general election, Myanmar's first in 20 years, as well as attempts to force ethnic minority troops to join a border guard force - which would put them under state control.
A simmering civil war has wracked parts of Myanmar since independence in 1948 and observers say the state's determination to crush ethnic anti-government fighters appeared to have increased in the lead up to the election.
In the heaviest fighting, Karen fighters reportedly seized a police station and post office on Sunday in the Myanmar border town of Myawaddy.
Sporadic gun and mortar fire continued into Monday afternoon.
...more in Al Jazeera - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Guardian - Democracy Now - BBC - France 24 - El País - El Mundo - La Repubblica - Die Zeit - And in the web of Karen Human Rights Group - Mae Tao Clinic
By 10 a.m. On Sunday, a ghostly silence had descended on the polling stations in Rangoon. Local media estimated that voter turnout was low for the first general election in 20 years.
Despite having four million eligible voters in the former capital, no queues of more than 100 people were seen at polling stations in the early morning. But in other cities, such as Pegu, there were reports of as many as 1,000 voters showing up at a
Even so, the voters who decided to go to the polling stations were faced with fraud and intimidation in different parts of the country, according to major opposition parties.
“The polling station officials themselves ticked the “Lion” symbol of the junta's party on behalf of the voters,” said 32-year-old Khin Maung Than, a candidate for the National Democratic Force (NDF), referring to the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
He was competing for a parliamentary seat in Kyaukse Township in Mandalay Division against the Burmese Minister of Science and Technology U Thaung, a top USDP candidate who is one of the most trusted subordinates of junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe and is believed to be overseeing the alleged nuclear weapons program.
“The voters were threatened with jail sentences if they chose to vote for the NDF,” said Khin Maung Than, adding that the public in Than Shwe's native town were so fearful of these threats that they were believed to be voting for the USDP.
“There is little or no chance of my winning here. But we showed that we dared to compete with them,” he said.
The NDF party chairman, Dr. Than Nyein, in Rangoon also said that he has received reports of voters being intimidated into voting for the USDP in at least 10 locations, including Thingangyun, Thaketa and Kayan townships in Rangoon, Thabeikkyin Township in Mandalay and Kamma Township in Magwe Division.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Al Jaazera - The Guardian - BBC - El País - El Mundo - Mizzima - France 24 - Le Figaro - La Repubblica - Die Zeit - Democratic Voice of Burma
Read also :
National League for Democracy won’t perish
Electoral Irregularities Rampant
Junta held storm victims’ aid as ransom for votes
People Reject Junta, But Dictatorship Wins Anyway
Burma -renamed Myanmar by the dictatorship- is holding fake elections after 20 years when Aung San Suu Kyi won by 90% of the votes but the dictatorship emprisoned her since
....more in Al Jazeera - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Independent - France 24 - El País - El Mundo - BBC
And in the following webs: Free Aung San Suu Kyi - UK Campaign for Democracy in Burma - USA campaign for Democracy in Burma - Info Birmanie - Amnesty International - Human Rights Watch - Democratic Government in Exile - Assistance Association of Political Prisoners
Read also Burma's Democratic Charade
In his extraordinary first interview, on the eve of elections, a former major in the secretive regime tells of chaos at the core of the state's weapons programme.
A senior missile scientist who defected from Burma after leaking secrets about the junta's suspected nuclear programme has revealed how senior generals were personally involved in plans to develop a weapons system.
In his first in-depth newspaper interview since defecting seven months ago, Sai Thein Win, a major in the Burmese army, said he attended four presentations where the nation's nuclear ambitions were revealed. He gives a rare insight into the shambolic, demoralising conditions imposed on scientists, and reflects on the consequences of his flight on the family he has left behind. The interview was conducted just days before Burma holds its first elections for 20 years, which have been condemned as rigged by rights groups and the international community.
Sai Thein Win now lives in a small flat on the outskirts of a large European city. There is no name on the door and the curtains are closed. The location of his home can not be revealed because he fears that Burma's generals will send someone to try to kill him. "I'm not really here," he said. His room is sparsely decorated, with a table, a computer and a large, sharp dagger.
...more in The Independent
The administration of US President Barack Obama has decided to throw its crucial support behind moves to establish a special UN commission to investigate alleged war crimes perpetrated by the military rulers of Burma.
In what represents a marked rollback of one of President Obama's most controversial foreign policy initiatives, US officials said Washington would now back the war crimes investigation, as urged earlier this year by the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Burma. Washington is also said to be considering tightening sanctions against the junta.
The decision represents a reversal of an initiative announced last year to try to develop closer diplomatic ties with Burma by establishing regular meetings involving a senior US official.
...Mark Farmaner, of the Burma Campaign UK, also supported the move but said it was essential the EU made a similar declaration. "The EU must end its silence on crimes against humanity in Burma, and publicly support a UN inquiry," he said.
Pro-democracy and human rights groups have urged the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the regime and establish a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity.
They fear a humanitarian crisis may develop along the border with Thailand, where the Burmese military has been fighting ethnic Karens, pushing thousands of refugees across the border. Karen National Union fighters have been battling for half a century for greater autonomy from Burma's central government.
The establishment of an independent tribunal to investigate war crimes is no small undertaking and has as much to do with geopolitics as with any offences that may have been committed. Many activists opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq have campaigned for Tony Blair and former US president George Bush to be charged with war crimes. In the case of Burma, five nations have so far supported an investigation. France is said to be one of several countries in the EU, along with Germany, Austria and Italy, that support a softer stance.
In March, the UN special rapporteur for Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, issued a report that was highly critical of the country's human rights situation. Urging an investigation, he said there was evidence of mass killing, torture, forced displacement and rape.
The decision by the Obama administration followed a review of longstanding US policy towards Burma. Officials said they believed a policy of sanctions had, by itself, failed to bring about improvements in democracy and human rights.
...more in The Independent - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Al Jazeera
Two years ago the world watched in dismay as Myanmar's military junta brutally crushed the so-called Saffron Revolution. It was the only show of mass opposition to have occurred inside the country in almost 20 years.
Filmmaker Hazel Chandler entered the country undercover for People & Power to find out how Myanmar's people are fairing, and to investigate disturbing claims that the regime may be trying to develop nuclear weapons.
...Fresh claims that Burma is trying to acquire the know-how and material to build a nuclear weapon, based on information provided by a former army officer, are published today, renewing concern about the extent of the junta's military ambitions.
Unrealistic experiments and crude engineering suggest that success may be beyond Burma's reach, say researchers for an opposition Burmese media group. They base their claims on information provided by Sai Thein Win, a former major in the Burmese army, who is said to have been trained in Russia in missile technology. He has since defected from Burma.
"The intent is clear and that is a very disturbing matter for international agreements," said the researchers, Robert Kelley and Ali Fowle, of the Democratic Voice of Burma. "Burma is trying to build pieces of a nuclear programme, specifically a nuclear reactor to make plutonium and a uranium enrichment programme".
A report, Burma's Nuclear Ambitions, is being broadcast on the Arabic satellite television channel al-Jazeera today. "What we have uncovered is the very beginnings of a nuclear weapons programme," Evan Williams, the programme's reporter, said last night.
...more information in Al Jazeera - BBC - The Guardian - Democratic Voice of Burma - Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - The Independent
Former National League for Democracy grouping to form new party to contest fake elections: Former National League for Democracy party central committee members and other members are set to form a new political party, the National Democratic Force, to contest this year’s election, a party spokesman said.
Former NLD central committee members Khin Maung Swe, Dr. Than Nyein, Dr. Win Naing, Thein Nyunt, Thein Hla Oo, Soe Win, Than Win and 21 other party members reached the decision at a meeting in Rangoon today.
“A group that shared the goal of forming a political party reached a common position today. We shall officially release this news within three days”, party former central executive committee and information chief Khin Maung Swe said.
The new party will be called the National Democratic Force, he said.
... “We are not in opposition to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said. “We just wish to continue our political activities. If we don't do this, we won't be able to achieve anything.”
The NLD will automatically cease to exist at midnight on Thursday as that is the deadline for all existing political parties in Burma to register under the junta's election laws. In March, the party and its detained leader Suu Kyi decided against the party registering under what it called “unjust and unfair” election laws.
...Dr. Than Nyein said the objectives of the new party were to fulfil the promise made to Burmese people in 1990 to establish a democratic country; maintain the strength of NLD party members for the voters who wished to vote for the party; and carry out political work under a legal framework.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - France 24
Myanmar's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) is set to be dissolved after the party decided not re-register for the country's "first general elections" in two decades, to protest for it being a cover up operation to keep power with the military autocracy wich has been terrorising the burmanese people for the last 60 years.
The party, led by detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said it chose not to meet the May 6 registration deadline in protest against newly implemented "undemocratic" election laws.
The NLD said the upcoming vote was designed to keep the current government in power, and it pledged to carry on with its campaign even if the party "may cease to exist under law".
Al Jazeera's Aela Callan reports from the northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai, where she met exiled members of the party. [May 6, 2010]
The National League for Democracy and other leading Parties Stay Away from fake Election this year:
Nineteen political parties to date have submitted applications to the Union Election Commission to take part in the Burmese general election later this year. However, most of the leading parties from the previous election, in 1990, have said they will not compete.
Of the 19 political parties that have registered, 16 are new parties, while only three are existing parties—the Mro or Khami National Solidarity Organization (MKNSO); the National Unity Party (NUP); and the Union Karen League (UKL).
The seven other existing parties—including Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD)— have either not registered to date or have announced that they will not compete in the election due to the recent election law and the 2008 Constitution, both of which are regarded by observers as serving only to entrench military rule in Burma.
The notable exception is the NUP, formerly known as the Burma Socialist Programme Party, led by late dictator Gen Ne Win. In the 1990 election, the NUP came fourth with 10 seats and to date is the only major party to register.
...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - BBC - The Guardian - The Independent - France 24
Ko Mya Aye, a pro-democracy activist imprisoned in Myanmar, is in urgent need of medical treatment for a heart condition. The authorities have so far failed to provide the treatment he requires. He is being held in Taungyi prison, Shan state, in northern Myanmar, far from emergency medical treatment facilities, and hundreds of kilometres from his family.
...Secretary stands in solidarity with Burmese political prisoner Ko Mya Aye
Foreign Secretary William Hague added his support to Amnesty International's campaign for the release of Burma's 2,100 political prisoners on 20 October.
The Foreign Secretary chose to highlight the case of Ko Mya Aye, aged 44, who is a leading member of the 88 Generation Students Group, an organisation synonymous with the long struggle for democracy in military-ruled Burma.
Ko Mya Aye is serving his second spell in detention having previously been imprisoned between 1989 and 1996 for taking part in the 1988 uprisings. Following the Saffron Revolution in 2007, Ko Mya Aye was re-arrested and sentenced to 65 years in prison. Reports suggest he has been tortured and is in poor health.
On hearing the details of Ko Mya Aye's imprisonment, the Foreign Secretary said:
"The continued detention of Ko Mya Aye and of more than 2,100 other political prisoners in Burma is deplorable. I urge the military regime to release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and respect the human rights of Burma's people."
Many of these prisoners are held in detention in locations far from their families in harsh conditions. It is not uncommon for some political prisoners to receive draconian sentences as long as 65 years.
...more information and to support political prisoners in Burma please visit: UK Foreign Office website - BBC - Democracy for Burma - Facebook - Amnesty International - Burma Campaign UK
Aung San Suu Kyi, a leaking roof, and the [idiot] brother who won't let her fix it: In the time she has spent detained in her crumbling Rangoon home, the Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has endured isolation, frustration and grief.
Jailed or detained for nearly 14 of the last 20 years, she has watched helplessly as the military regime that runs Burma has killed or incarcerated her supporters and conjured up new reasons to keep her away from ordinary people. The tireless efforts of her dedicated lawyers to free her have always been in vain.
But tomorrow her lawyers will return to court for one of their strangest cases yet, when they appeal against an injunction that has stopped Ms Suu Kyi carrying out repair work to her increasingly dilapidated two-storey house. What makes the case all the more remarkable is that the man seeking to stop the Nobel Laureate from fixing her leaking roof is her estranged brother who lives in the US.
Speaking last night from Rangoon, one of the democracy campaigner's lawyers, U Kyi Win, confirmed: "First of all her brother went to the mayor and got a temporary order to stop the repair to the roof. We have to go tomorrow [to argue against it] and we already have our objections."
Few casual followers of Ms Suu Kyi and her decades-long struggle for democracy in a country ruled by a fist of iron would even know she had a brother, let alone one who is apparently being used by the junta to try to undermine her. But the unlikely tussle between brother and sister has been going on for many years and, say analysts, is part of the broader, continuing struggle between the military junta and Ms Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD).
The dispute between Ms Suu Kyi and Aung San Oo, her elder brother and only surviving sibling, dates back to 1988 when their mother, Khin Kyi, living at the white, colonial-style building located in Rangoon's University Avenue, suffered a stroke. As the health of their mother, the wife of Burma's independence leader Aung San and a woman who served as Burma's ambassador to India and Nepal, worsened, Ms Suu Kyi returned to Burma from her home in Oxford to care for her.
Nine months later her mother suffered a second stroke and died in late December, by which time the country's fledgling democracy movement had already mounted fierce challenges to the government, in which up to 6,000 democracy activists had been killed.
Ms Suu Kyi, who had first encountered the protesting students when they brought wounded comrades for treatment at the hospital where she was caring for her mother, was swept up in the struggle. She began addressing huge crowds, and was quickly acclaimed the legitimate heir to her father as the champion of Burmese freedom.
According to her lawyer, Mr San Oo said that she could continue to live in the family home for as long as she wanted, only stipulating that if she sold it, he would receive half the proceeds. Nothing more was heard of the matter until 2000 when Ms Suu Kyi's brother, who by this time had taken US citizenship and emigrated to California with his Burmese wife, launched a legal action in the Rangoon High Court for the house to be divided. On that occasion, Ms Suu Kyi's lawyers were successful and defeated the action but the following year, her brother, who is an an engineer, filed suit again. The matter is still pending.
In the meantime, Ms Suu Kyi, whose most recent spell of house arrest has seen her confined almost completely incommunicado since 2003 after her convoy was attacked and dozens of her supporters killed, has sought to have repairs carried out to the property. Last December, the authorities granted permission, given that the house was in an increasingly dangerous state, but lawyers for her brother obtained an injunction, citing his claim on the property. "The whole house will be drenched if it rains," another of Ms Suu Kyi's lawyers told reporters after meeting with his client late last year. "But she did not grumble about her situation."
The behaviour of the 64-year-old democracy leader's brother has upset many of her supporters. In a move with great resonance in devout Burma, a group of Buddhist monks involved in the September 2007 democracy demonstrations that brought hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets of Burma's cities, this week announced that they had "ex-communicated" Mr San Oo, banning him from making the offerings that, in the view of Theravada Buddhists, allow lay people to gain the merit that leads to Nirvana.
The announcement by the Burma Monks Organisation that it is enforcing a religious sanction known as pattani kuzanakan against Mr San Oo and his wife renders them outcasts. In 2007, groups of monks enforced a similar boycott on senior members of Burma's military regime and ordered all monks to refuse to accept alms from them. The group said they had sent a message to Mr San Oo demanding that he drop his legal action by 31 January. As he had not responded they had decided to go ahead with the ex-communication.
...more in The Independent - Mizzima - Irrawaddy - The Washington Post - Times Asia
Suu Kyi happy that Tin Oo is back from prison and with the reorganisation of the National League for Democracy (NLD): Detained pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said she is happy that recently-freed deputy leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), U Tin Oo, has resumed party duties and talked about his political convictions to the media. Suu Kyi made the remark on Wednesday during a meeting with two of her lawyers to discuss party issues and the legal case over her house repairs, which have been halted due to legal objections. “Daw Suu said she is pleased to hear U Tin Oo regularly comes to the NLD office to supervise party activities and talk to the media,” said her lawyer, Nyan Win. “She wants me to send that message to U Tin Oo.” In a two-hour meeting at her house, Suu Kyi also said she wants to meet both Tin Oo and all the Central Executive Committee (CEC) members of the NLD. After his release from nearly seven years of prison and house arrest on Feb.13, Tin Oo, 82, told reporters he was "very hopeful" that Suu Kyi would also be released soon, noting that in 1995 he was released from prison shortly before Suu Kyi herself was set free. Suu Kyi and her lawyers also discussed how to pursue the legal case over the objections to her house repairs. One of Suu Kyi's distant relatives advertised in the state-run newspapers in 2009 that he is entitled to part of the land where Suu Kyi's house stands because Suu Kyi's late mother allegedly gave it to him before she died. In January 2010, Suu Kyi's brother, Aung San Oo, who lives in the United States, also sent an objection letter over her house repairs. “We discussed a response letter to be submitted to the Rangoon municipality with Daw Suu, and we will send the letter tomorrow,” Nyan Win said. Suu Kyi started repairing her dilapidated house in December 2009 but was forced to halt the work following the legal objections. Suu Kyi is serving her latest 18-month term of house arrest, which is due to expire in November. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima
UN Envoy “regrets” not being let meeting Suu Kyi:
UN Human Rights Envoy to Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana expressed “regret” that he was not given the opportunity to meet with Burma's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as he concluded a five-day visit to the country.
At a press conference at Rangoon's international airport, he said that it will be difficult to hold free and fair elections in Burma and that he saw no signs that Burma's more than 2,100 political prisoners will be released.
Quintana concluded his five-day visit to the Southeast Asian Nation to study the human rights situation ahead of the election later this year. He reportedly waited for the regime's last-minute response to his request for a meeting with the detained pro-democracy leader, but the request was not granted. Neither was he permitted to meet with Suu Kyi on his previous visits to the country.
In a move seen by observers as a slap in the face to the visiting human rights envoy, on Wednesday the regime's Insein Prison Special Court sentenced a Buddhist monk to seven years in prison on three charges, including unlawful association. Four other dissidents were sentenced to jail terms on Monday, the day Quintana arrived in Burma.
On the final day of his trip, Quintana had talks with Foreign Minister Nyan Win, and other key government officials, including liaison minister Aung Kyi and attorney-general Aye Maung and chief justice Aung Toe in Naypyidaw, but he did not meet regime chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe. ...more in The Irriwaddy - Mizzima
Defense counsels optimistic of Suu Kyi’s release: Lawyers of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed optimism of her acquittal after the Supreme Court on Monday heard their final arguments on the petition against the extended sentenced of their client. Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal team on Monday argued that the extended sentence is unlawful as it is based on provisions of the 1974 constitution, which is no longer in effect. The Burmese pro-democracy leader was sentenced to 18 months house arrest by a district court which found her guilty of violating her previous detention law by allowing an American to stay at her lakeside house for two nights in early May of last year. Kyi Win, a member of the defense team, said provisions of the 1974 constitution cannot be used as a basis for charges against his client as they were been nullified by current junta leader Senior General Than Shwe when he signed the 2008 constitution. “We have on our side Senior General Than Shwe’s signature on the 2008 constitution. We are very hopeful. And we also believe that the court will uphold the rule of law,” Kyi Win added. “We have a strong legal standpoint. So, in a strict legal sense, Aung San Suu Kyi has to be released,” expressed Nyan Win, another member of the defense team. While final arguments for the appeal have been heard, a decision could take as long as two weeks to reach, according to the defense counsels. The appeal also seeks the release of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party mates, Khin Khin Win and her daughter Win Ma Ma, who live with her as her sole companions. In August, Rangoon’s Northern District court handed down a three-year sentence to Aung San Suu Kyi and her two live-in party mates for allowing an American to stay at her house for two nights. But a special order issued by Senior General Than Shwe halved the sentence and allowed her to serve the time at her home. While the defense team argues that the sentence is unlawful as it is based on 1975 law, which in turn is based on the now defunct 1974 constitution, the prosecution contends that although the 1974 constitution is no longer in use, provisions of 1975 laws are still in effect. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - BBC
"...los piensan que la religión nada tiene que ver
con la política no comprenden ni la religion ni la política"
"Debes ser el cambio que deseas ver en el mundo."
["Be the change you want to see in the world"]
"Por favor emplee su libertad para promover la nuestra"
"Until all our political prisoners are free, none of us can say that Burma is now truly on the road towards democratic change"
'I am not free until the people are free'
Dra. Aung San Suu Kyi
[presidente electa de Birmania in 1989 -90% votos- prisionera de la dictadura desde entonces.]
“I’ve a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land! On the road to Mandalay . . .”
Rudyard Kipling [favorite quote about Aung San Suu Kyi by Dr Michael Aris]
"Aung San Suu Kyi is more beloved than ever among ordinary Burmese and the world views her as one of the great heroes of our time"
Burma junta official meets Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has met a government minister in Rangoon in the third such meeting since the beginning of October. Her meeting with labour minister Aung Kyi lasted 45 minutes but no details of what they discussed have been released. Ms Suu Kyi has been detained for 14 of the last 20 years and her latest term of house arrest was extended earlier this year. This means she will not be able to run in elections due to be held next year. The Burmese government appears to be more open to dealing with the international community - high level American representatives have visited the country to meet senior generals and opposition leaders to push President Barack Obama's policy of engagement. The European Union also recently expressed a wish to work more closely with the ruling generals. Amid all these talks Ms Suu Kyi has been opening up her own dialogue. This meeting is the third with labour minister Aung Kyi, the government's liaison officer, and follows a letter Ms Suu Kyi wrote to the country's leader General Than Shwe, asking to meet him and to work more closely with the state. She has recently been studying international sanctions imposed on Burma. They would be part of any deal to release political prisoners - Ms Suu Kyi is just one of more than 2,000 being held. It is thought the government is keen to ensure the election is seen to be legitimate, even if there are serious concerns over whether they will be free or fair. ...more in BBC - Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - France 24
US Calls for Dialogue between a free Suu Kyi and Burma Junta: The Obama Administration said that it is hopeful recent developments in Burma would lead to dialogue between the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese military junta. “We are aware of this letter that she [Suu Kyi] has written to the senior general, and we hope that this will be the beginning of a dialogue that will lead to her release,” the State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, told reporters at a daily news briefing on Thursday in Washington, DC. The detained Burmese opposition leader wrote that she is ready to cooperate with Burma’s ruling junta in discussions on how to end the economic sanctions applied against the country by the US, the European Union and other countries. Suu Kyi’s letter to junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe was released by her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), on Tuesday. She had been under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years. The release of Suu Kyi along with other political prisoners and a dialogue between the military junta and opposition leaders is the top priority of the Obama administration, Kelly said. After months of review, the Obama administration in September announced a new policy on Burma which includes dialogue and economic sanctions. Since then there have been two rounds of US-Burma talks. US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both called for a resumption of dialogue, the release of Suu Kyi and the restoration of democracy in the country. “We have started a new, very focused dialogue with the government of Burma. This has been a dialogue that, as I say, is focused on the need for Burma to open up its political system for more debate and discussion,” Kelly said in response to a question. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Guardian - CNN - BBC - MSNBC - The Telegraph - France 24
Suu Kyi, elected president of Burma, and USA envoy Campbell Hold Two-hour Meeting:
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with a delegation led by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell at Inya Lake Hotel in Rangoon for two hours today, according to US officials. US Embassy officials in Rangoon said the meeting started 11:40 am local time at the hotel and ended at 1:40 pm. Earlier today, the visiting US delegation met with Burmese Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein before flying to Rangoon for talks with Suu Kyi. An official with the US Embassy in Rangoon, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Irrawaddy that the meeting between Thein Sein and Campbell proceeded as scheduled. Campbell will hold a press conference at Rangoon International Airport at 6:30 pm local time. Campbell’s meeting with Thein Sein was the first between a senior US official and a Burmese prime minister in more than a decade. At last month’s summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Thein Sein told his Asean counterparts that Suu Kyi has a role to play in the national reconciliation process. Shortly after his arrival in Rangoon on Wednesday morning, Campbell was scheduled to meet Suu Kyi at the city’s Inya Lake Hotel. Following the meeting with Suu Kyi, the US delegation will meet with ethnic and opposition leaders on Wednesday afternoon. NLD spokesman Nyan Win said six of the nine members of the party’s central executive committee, including Win Tin and Khin Maung Swe, would meet with the US delegation at the party’s headquarter. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Huffington Post - Bangkok Post - The Guardian - Al Jazeera - Reuters - The Age
A United, Collective Voice: Canadian Ambassador Ron Hoffmann recently was posted to Bangkok to represent his country’s interests in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. Ambassador Hoffmann has served abroad in The Hague, Johannesburg, Beijing and London. His last posting was as ambassador to Afghanistan.
Question: How much of a priority will Burma be for you?
Answer: I arrived in Bangkok with clear directions to engage actively on Burma. I intend to pursue an active dialogue with the fullest range of stakeholders involved— in Canada, in Thailand and in Burma, to communicate Canadian values and to understand and closely track evolving developments.
Q: Your last posting was in Afghanistan, a country high on Canada’s foreign policy agenda. How high is Burma on that agenda? What level of attention do you think Burma warrants from Canada and the international community?
A: You’re right that I just left the role of ambassador for Canada’s highest political, development and military priority in the world, but I also know that this new set of relationships remains important to my country and carries with it some profound challenges and complexities. Canada’s foreign minister, the Honorable Lawrence Cannon, during his speech to the UN General Assembly in September, reaffirmed the pre-eminence of human rights, democratic development and the rule of law as priorities for Canada, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his strong personal support for these values to me on a recent visit to Afghanistan. I believe Burma will be a major pre-occupation in the period ahead for any country that adheres to these principles.
Q: In late 2007, after the “Saffron Revolution,” Canada imposed tougher sanctions on Burma. Do you think that sanctions have been effective in influencing the Burmese regime? Under what conditions would Canada lift its sanctions?
A: Canada believes that its robust sanctions regime is not only of major symbolic importance, but it has also had some tangible impact in reducing Burma’s access to investments and trading partners. For these reasons, coupled with the lack of progress on human rights and democratic development thus far, Canada intends to keep its sanctions in place for the foreseeable future. But we, like others, are also acutely aware that our tough stance on sanctions alone has not made the kind of difference we had hoped. The frustrating and sad reality is that countries like China and India, in particular, are investing heavily in Burma and undermining much of the effect sanctions could have.
...more in The Irrawaddy - CNN - Mizzima
Detained elected president of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, is unhappy about restrictions on the visitors she is allowed under house arrest, including members of her legal team and an architect needed to help repair her dilapidated lakeside home: Nyan Win, one of her lawyers, said after meeting with her Thursday that she complained that the ruling military junta is infringing upon her rights. Her complaint comes as the regime prepares for elections next year and seeks more recognition from the international community. The United States had isolated the junta with political and economic sanctions, but the Obama administration decided recently to step up engagement as a way of promoting reforms. Suu Kyi "has asked us to send a letter to the authorities to allow all four lawyers to meet her at once and to meet the architect," said Nyan Win, who along with fellow lawyer Kyi Wynn met with her to discuss an appeal of her most recent sentence of house arrest. "She said this is her personal right and authorities had no right to limit them," he said. Suu Kyi said she would prefer to listen to the views of more lawyers and that she needs an architect to help repair the two-story house where she is confined, Nyan Win said. The terms of Suu Kyi's current detention are less strict than her previous term of house arrest, when the only outsiders she was allowed to see were her doctor and, occasionally, visiting UN envoys. Under an eight-point set of rules, Suu Kyi can now receive visitors with prior permission from the junta, has the right to medical treatment by doctors and nurses, and is allowed to see state-controlled newspapers and magazines and state-run television. She recently met with several foreign ambassadors stationed in Burma. ...more in The Irrawaddy - The Australian - Mizzima - CNN
A US delegation led by two senior officials will meet Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi the first week of November: The US delegation will also meet authorities of the Dictatorship and other executive members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) next week, a spokesperson for the party confirmed. The US State Department reported on Friday that Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and his deputy, Scot Marciel, will be in Burma on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet Burmese junta officials, detained Nobel laureate Suu Kyi and ethnic leaders. “Our executive committee members have already prepared what to discuss when they come. We were told that they will meet us on Nov. 4 at our headquarters,” party spokesman Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy on Saturday, adding that arrangements for the meeting were made by the US embassy in Rangoon. According to Nyan Win, the US officials will hold a separate meeting with Suu Kyi. Another NLD source said that the delegation had requested permission from the Burmese regime to meet with Suu Kyi in her home instead of in a government guest house, where she usually meets with diplomats. It will be the first visit to Burma by a senior delegation from the US State Department in more than a decade. The last senior US official to travel to the country was Madeleine Albright, who visited in 1995 when she was the US ambassador to the United Nations. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Associated Press
Suu Kyi Discusses Sanctions with Diplomats: Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked the three Western diplomats she met in Rangoon on Friday what the aims were of the economic sanctions their countries imposed on Burma, according to an NLD spokesman. The three diplomats were Australia’s charge d’ affaires, Simon Starr, together with the Britain ambassador, Andrew Heyn, and the US deputy head of mission. They held talks with Suu Kyi at a state guesthouse near Suu Kyi’s home for one hour. Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi asked the three Western diplomats she met in Rangoon on Friday what the aims were of the economic sanctions their countries imposed on Burma, according to an NLD spokesman. The three diplomats were Australia’s charge d’ affaires, Simon Starr, together with the Britain ambassador, Andrew Heyn, and the US deputy head of mission. They held talks with Suu Kyi at a state guesthouse near Suu Kyi’s home for one hour. ... In September, Suu Kyi sent a letter to Snr-Gen Than Shwe seeking permission to meet Western and Australian ambassadors to discuss a possible end to sanctions. After the letter, the ruling junta twice allowed her to meet with Aung Kyi, the Burmese junta’s “Minister of Relations.”. The latest meeting was on Wednesday. Rumors are spreading in Rangoon that Than Shwe might meet with Suu Kyi and many, including some NLD leaders, hoped the two would hold a meeting. Asked, Nyan Win said, “It is best if Snr-Gen Than Shwe and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi hold talks.” The rest of NLD’s central committee members who met with the diplomats were Khin Maung Swe, Hla Pe, Soe Myint, Lun Tin and Than Tun. Some Burmese officials were also introduced during the meeting between Suu Kyi and the diplomats, according to the Australian embassy in Rangoon. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement on Friday calling the talks a “constructive meeting” that may lay the groundwork for further contact. The Australian government said it sees the move as a positive step by the both the Burmese authorities and Suu Kyi. Australia is willing to contribute in ways that assist further dialogue and progress toward national reconciliation, democratic reform, and the long-term security and stability of Burma, according to the embassy statement. During the meeting, Australia’s representative conveyed a message from his prime minister which expressed the support of his government and the people of Australia for Suu Kyi and her struggle for democracy in Burma. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - BBC - The Guardian - The Telegraph
A Burmese court has rejected an appeal by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her extended detention, officials say.
Ms Suu Kyi was found guilty in August of violating the terms of her house arrest after a US man swam uninvited to her lakeside home.
She was sentenced to 18 months' further house arrest, which will keep her out of elections scheduled for next year.
Ms Suu Kyi has already spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention.
"The appeal was rejected but we will take it to the high court," her lawyer, Nyan Win, said after the hearing.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the country's last elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power.
Observers believe Burma's military authorities want to keep the pro-democracy leader in detention until after polls scheduled for next year.
The court ruling comes days after the US said it would pursue greater engagement with Burma's generals in a bid to advance democratic reform there.
...more in BBC - The Telegraph - The Guardian -
The evil partnership of Burma's and North Korea's dictatorship:
Aung San Suu Kyi defence opens as international pressure intensifies over trial:
The first defence witnesses are expected to be called in the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, as diplomatic pressure on the military junta intensifies. Mrs Suu Kyi faces five years imprisonment on what are widely seen as trumped up charges relating to the intrusion of an uninvited American man at the villa where she has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest. She denies breaching the terms of her house arrest. The trial is being held mostly in secret inside Rangoon's notorious Insein prison. Meanwhile, European and Asian foreign ministers will meet in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi today for an economic conference where the trial is expected to put Burma on the agenda, although the latest North Korean nuclear test is likely to grab the most attention. Observers agree that Western economic sanctions mean Western governments have little leverage over the Burmese junta and the Europeans hope that Asian countries, who trade with Burma, can put pressure for Mrs Suu Kyi's release. "I will meet various Asian authorities who are the only ones capable of influencing the junta because we have done everything we can," said Rama Yade, France's human rights minister, who is travelling to the region. It may be because of that diplomacy that the Burmese regime lashed out on Sunday against regional criticism issued earlier last week. ...more in The Telegraph - Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - Al Jazeera - El Mundo - CBS News - CNN - France 24 - Democratic Voice of Burma
Burmese Army on Internal Alert as news from Suu Kyi’s trial buzzes around the barracks: The generals who run Burma don't encourage their subordinates to pay attention to the political affairs of the country. So when soldiers start huddling around radios listening to news of the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, the generals start to panic. According to military sources who spoke to The Irrawaddy recently, commanders around the country have been alerted this week by Naypyidaw to keep a close watch on armed personnel and their families. The military head office reportedly issued a communiqué to all battalion commanders earlier this week ordering them to “strictly control” the activities of all personnel and their family members and warn them not to take part in any anti-government demonstrations that might occur in the near future. Family members are currently not allowed to go outside the military compounds where they live, said the sources. Only armed soldiers on duty are allowed outside the barracks. “It seems that Than Shwe is worried that his troops and their families may be Daw Suu sympathizers,” said a military source in Rangoon. ...more in The Irrawaddy - BBC - The Guardian - France 24 - Al Jazeera
European countries to pressurize Burma to withdraw Suu Kyi’s trial:
European countries have said they will urge China and Asian countries to pressurize the Burmese military junta to withdraw the case against pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, according to reports.
The European countries, during the 11th EU-China meeting on Trade and Politics, which is set to begin on Wednesday, said they would urge China to put pressure on the Burmese military junta, to stop the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, AP reported. The meeting will be attended by Chinese premier Wen Jia Bao.
Moreover, the EU will also urge the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to pressurize Burma’s ruling junta to stop the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, during their meeting, next week at Hanoi.
...Who is John W. Yettaw [the man who provided this pretext for the dictator of Burma against Dr Suu Kyi?
According to his family members, Yettaw is still in debt for the expenses he incurred from his first trip to Burma in 2008. Before leaving his home in Falcon, Missouri, Yettaw told his wife, Betty Yettaw, that he planned to visit Asia for a book he is writing, according to an Associated Press story. Betty Yettaw said she was surprise after hearing that her husband had swam nearly two kilometers across Inya Lake in Rangoon, because he suffers from asthma and diabetes. Publications and blogs which are closely associated with Burmese authorities of information ministry, such as tharkinwe.com and myanmarnargis.org, posted photos of Yettaw, but there have been no photographs showing the spot where he was arrested by Burmese police. One conspiracy theory on a Burmese opposition blog, www.niknayman-niknayman.co.cc, contends that Yettaw in fact walked into Suu Kyi’s compound after a taxi driver dropped him in front of Suu Kyi’s home. The blog alleges that Yettaw walked into the compound after he showed a red card to the guards in front of the democracy leader’s house. ...more in Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - The Times - Le Monde - Le Figaro - BBC - El Mundo
Shame on China, India and ASEAN group as they keep silent over Suu Kyi’s trial:
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G8 urges release of Aung San Suu Kyi: The world’s major industrial countries, known as the G8, has called for the immediate release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi saying her continued detention would undermine the credibility of the junta’s proposed general elections in 2010. Members of the G8 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and United States – in a joint statement from its summit in Italy said they welcomed the UN Secretary General’s visit to Burma. But the group in a statement reiterated their “call on the Government of Myanmar [Burma] to release all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose continued detention would undermine the credibility of elections planned for 2010.” The statement said the group also shares the World Body Chief’s view that the Burmese Government has lost an important opportunity to respond to the concerns of the international community by refusing Ban Ki-moon a meeting with detained Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The group urged that the Burmese junta implement a fully inclusive process of dialogue and national reconciliation, which will lead to transparent, fair and democratic multiparty elections in 2010. But the group pledged that they “remain prepared to respond positively to substantive political progress undertaken by Myanmar [Burma].” The G8 statement was immediately welcomed by a campaign group, the Burma Campaign UK, saying the statement has brought the issue of Burma’s political prisoners high up on the international agenda. “It is particularly good to have Russia saying these things, as they strongly defend the dictatorship. However, words must be turned into action. We’d like to see the G8 supporting a global arms embargo on Burma,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, in a statement on Friday. ..more in Mizzima
Sadness over the world as the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi resumes: Along the shores of artificial Inya Lake, the empty compound of Aung San Suu Kyi lies within plain sight as couples stroll the path. Her home also is a curious attraction to onlookers from a hotel a minute's walk away. But it is her absence from it that has been on people's minds lately in and around Rangoon—a hub of commerce and scholarship and the epicenter of anti-government sentiment—with the trial of the pro-democracy leader set to resume Friday. The failure of visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to gain a meeting with the opposition leader last weekend or win her release seems to have only intensified widespread feelings of gloom and frustration, though only brief interviews were possible without raising suspicions in this police state. The trial of Suu Kyi, who turned 64 in the city's Insein Prison last month, had been postponed during the UN chief's visit. There had been some hope that intervention by the international community might have avoided the continuation of the Nobel Prize laureate's trial. She faces trumped-up charges that resulted from a bizarre incident involving an American who swam to her home across the artificial lake, a popular place for leisurely walks and sailing. "I will never see real democracy flourish in Myanmar [Burma]. Not in my lifetime. We live in a hopeless situation where even the UN secretary-general fails to nudge the stubborn regime," said U Hla Shwe, a 72-year old retired lawyer. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Guardian - France 24 - Le Figaro
The stupid secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, under fire for praising Burma dictatorship: The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, faced a barrage of criticism tonight for apparently praising the Burmese junta without winning any concessions over human rights or a move towards democracy. Ban was under pressure to produce concrete results from his two-day mission to Burma, which was criticised as providing an endorsement to the Burmese leadership just as it is staging a trial of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The high-stakes visit to Burma comes at a critical time for Ban, whose low-key approach to his job has been criticised as ineffectual. He came under further fire on arrival in Naypyidaw, the regime's headquarters, when he told the head of the junta, General Than Shwe: "I appreciate your commitment to moving your country forward." "That is absolute nonsense," said Brad Adams, a Burma specialist at Human Rights Watch. "It's just what we implored him not to say, to make these diplomatic gaffes. Than Shwe has steadily moved his country backwards." British officials were also furious at the remarks. They had urged Ban not to visit Burma, and risk handing the junta a propaganda prize with his visit, without first ensuring he would gain concessions in the form of the release of political prisoners and steps towards genuine democracy. "Only agreement to release all political prisoners [and] start a genuine dialogue with the opposition and ethnic groups will give any credibility to the elections in 2010," Gordon Brown said in an article in the US online magazine The Huffington Post. According to No 10, Brown calls Ban at least twice a week to discuss Burma. ... more in The Guardian
UN Secretary visits Burma to urge dictatorship to free elected president Aung San Suu Kyi: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon assured reporters on Tuesday during a Tokyo stopover on his way to Burma that he will urge the Burmese military junta to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, when he visits the country this week. Speaking after talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, he said he was aware of concerns about his July 3-4 visit coinciding with the trial of Suu Kyi, the main opposition leader, who has been under house arrest for a total of more than 13 years. The UN Information Center in Rangoon said on Wednesday that it could not provide any details about Ban Ki-moon’s Burma schedule. Suu Kyi, 64, is on trial in Rangoon on a charge of breaking the terms of her house arrest. “It may be the case that the trial may happen during my visit in [Burma]. I am very much conscious of that. At the same time, to find the most appropriate timing has been a challenge for me, too,” Ban told reporters. "I try to use this visit as an opportunity to raise in the strongest possible terms and convey the concerns of the international community of the United Nations to the highest authorities of the [Burmese] government," he added. “We have received no notification yet from the Burmese authorities regarding a meeting with Ban Ki-moon.” said Ohn Kyaing, a member of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday. Ban said he would press the Burmese government to carry out a range of political reforms. "I consider that three of the most important issues for [Burma] cannot be left unaddressed at this juncture," Ban told reporters. “The first [is the] release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi." “This is the commitment and concerns and aspiration of the international community. I am going to convey this strongly to Snr-Gen Than Shwe and other leaders,” he said. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Democratic Voice of Burma - The Guardian - BBC - The Independent - The Telegraph - France 24 - The Times - CNN - Le Figaro - Le Monde - Al Jazeera
Dictatorship's Ploy To Keep Aung San Suu Kyi Under Arrest Widely Condemned: The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) is appalled by the machinations of the Burmese military regime aimed at extending the detention of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on the basis of trumped up charges. The Burmese junta is using an uninvited visit to her residence by an American citizen -- John William Yettaw -- who swam across Inya Lake near Aung San Suu Kyi's home, as a basis of the democracy leader's further detention. She was last heard of being escorted by police to a Special Court inside Insein Prison "to face charges" over the intrusion by the American. Her personal physician Dr Tin Myo Win and her two female companions at home are also expected to appear in court in connection with the case. Aung San Suu Kyi's current period of house arrest is due to end later this month. Aung San Suu Kyi's residence was already a fortress, heavily guarded by armed personnel at the time of the intrusion and if anyone is to be charged it should be the junta for failing to provide security to the Nobel Laureate under its charge. The junta has not made any public statement about the case but blogs set up by the junta's Ministry of Information has been claiming that Aung San Suu Kyi can face up to three years imprisonment under Article 22 of the 1975 State Protection Law for breaching the restriction order. This is clearly the military's reaction to a decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which found earlier this year that her current detention violates international and Burmese law. Prime Minister Dr Sein Win said, "It is nothing more than a political ploy to hoodwink the international community so that they can keep Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under lock and key while the military maneuvers its way to election victory in 2010. This is an outrage and should not be acceptable anywhere." “It is time to stop the generals,” he continued. “The international community must act immediately if the generals decide to continue persecuting Aung San Suu Kyi. “Lest we forget, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is Burma's democracy icon and only hope for long-lasting peace in the country.” ...more in The National Coalition Government of Burma - Al Jazeera - BBC - France 24 - MSNBC - UN News Centre - The Australian
A sycophant man 'intruded' Aung San Suu Kyi's house which is guarded permanently by dictatorship: Burmese security forces arrested an American after he supposedly swam across a lake and penetrated a security cordon to visit the house where Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained democracy leader, is incarcerated. The man, whose motives are unknown, is one of very few foreigners to see Ms Suu Kyi under the house arrest to which she has been confined for 13 years. The way in which the Burmese junta responds to the intrusion will be an indicator of its attitude towards its famous prisoner as it prepares for elections next year that have already been denounced as fraudulent by its opponents. More than 20 police entered Ms Suu Kyi’s compound yesterday after the arrest of the man on Wednesday as he returned from what appears to have been a two-day stay in the large, decaying house on University Avenue in Rangoon. Police and barricades block the front of the house, but it backs on to Inya Lake, a large body of water surrounded by a park in the centre of the former Burmese capital. The part of the lake close to Ms Suu Kyi’s house is off limits to swimmers and usually patrolled from land and water but it was penetrated by a man named by the Burmese state media as John Yeattaw, 53. No other details about him had emerged last night, and the US Embassy in Rangoon would do no more than confirm that it had seen the news of an arrest and that its consular officers were in touch with the Burmese authorities. The newspaper reports said that Mr Yeattaw was arrested while swimming back across the lake to a spot close to the US embassy compound, a distance of several hundred metres. He was said to have entered Burma on a tourist visa and, in an echo of the well known Milk Tray chocolate advertisement, made his crossing at the dead of night with a black haversack strapped to his back containing his passport, pliers, a camera, two $100 notes and some local currency. The incident comes at a tense and uncertain time in relations between Ms Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won an overwhelming election victory in 1990, and the junta, which refused to honour the result. The Government has drawn up a new Constitution and plans to hold elections based upon it next year. Its provisions all but guarantee continuing military domination of the country. Few independent observers expect a fair vote. There is speculation that the Government may choose to release Ms Suu Kyi, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, in order to give the election an appearance of fairness. ...more in The Times - France 24 - The Independent - El País
Myanmar Arrests 2 Opposition Politicians for Praying for Release of Political Prisoners: Two members of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's political party were arrested and charged with insulting religion after they prayed for the release of political prisoners, a party spokesman said Friday. National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win said authorities arrested Chit Pe, the party's deputy chairman, and party member Aung Saw Wei in Twante on Tuesday. Both took part in a prayer service for the release of political prisoners which was held at a pagoda in the township, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Yangon. Nyan Win said the two were charged with insulting religion, which carries a possible two-year jail sentence. ...published in ABC News
Burma first internet oppressor: A leading media watchdog has dubbed Burma as the worst internet oppressor in the world and the worst place to be a blogger today. The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a report “10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger” that the Burmese military junta severely restricts Internet access and imprison people for posting critical material. At least two bloggers are now in prison, comedian Zarganar or Maung Thura and Nay Phone Latt. The first is serving a 35-year prison term and the latter has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. CPJ referred to OpenNetInitative that Burma has the capability to monitor e-mail and other communication methods and to block users from viewing websites of dissidents. ...published in Mizzima
UN Failed Mission: Dictator Than Shwe didn’t even pretend to be sick this time. He simply relayed the message that he was too busy to meet the UN Special Envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari, a man who had come to the country to advocate political reconciliation. Instead, Than Shwe passed his time in Naypyidaw meeting and accepting credentials from the newly appointed Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian ambassadors. In fact, it was a politically astute move on the junta leader’s part to snub Gambari. Than Shwe doesn’t need to fret about what the UN envoy thinks. Nor does he try to create a good impression. He can roll out any number of military clones to meet and greet visiting envoys and VIPs. Gambari may well go home pleased, in fact, that he was able to press flesh with so many cabinet ministers on this visit. He will probably sleep well in the belief that he had done his bit for Burma. It was Than Shwe’s henchman, Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein, who took over the reigns of the negotiations this week during the seventh round of diplomatic visits by the special envoy. He bluntly told Gambari that if the UN wants to see stability in Burma, then it should see to it that sanctions on the country are lifted. Gambari reportedly asked Thein Sein to release more political prisoners, to consider a dialogue with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and to make the military-guided political process inclusive for all. In fact, he all but read out the same message he had delivered in the past. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Human Rights Watch - Mizzima - Washington Post
Burmese blogger in running - Ashin Mattacara - to win "Best Asian Blog": The Weblog of a veteran Burmese Buddhist monk, Ashin Mattacara, which contains writings on Burma, has been selected among the finalists for the 'Best Asian Bolg' Award for 2008. The Weblog, (www.ashinmettacara.org), has garnered 870 votes in an online poll conducted since November of last year, currently ranking it second among votes received by finalists. Ashin Mattacara, age 27, went to Sri Lanka to study Buddhist religious studies and created his Weblog in 2004, focusing on religious writings. But the Weblog took a decisive turn in September 2007, when Buddhist monks led mass demonstrations in Burma, with the site increasingly filled with political writings on Burma. "The September event made me angry, sorry and disappointed, so I decided to write and publish political issues on my blog," Ashin Mettacara told Mizzima, adding that his blog also contains other information on Burma. In the wake of the public protests in September 2007, several Internet savvy Burmese youth, both inside Burma and around the world, created websites and blogs and filled them with information on the protests and the subsequent crackdown by the military. Ashin Mettaraca's blog was among the outstanding blogs that provided much needed information on the protests to Burmese as well as to the international community. "I wanted to tell the whole world about the situation of Burma. That is the main reason for creating this blog," Ashin Mettacara said. Like Ashin Mettacara, several young Burmese bloggers played an important role in bringing out information on the September 2007 protests as well as the humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of deadly Cyclone Nargis in early May 2008. For this reason, Burma's military rulers have hunted down bloggers and others involved in the dissemination of information and sentenced them to long prison terms. Popular comedian and film director Zargarnar was last year arrested and sentenced to 59 years of imprisonment for providing information and giving interviews to media groups. Similarly, a young blogger, Nay Phone Latt, who is also a youth member of detained Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Nyi's National League for Democracy party, was also arrested and sentenced to more than 20 years of imprisonment for posting writings of Burmese youth on his Weblog. ...more in Mizzima - AshinMettacara blog
Award winner documental at the Sundace Festival 2009
Armed with pocket-sized video cameras, a tenacious band of Burmese reporters face down death to expose the repressive regime controlling their country. In 2007, after decades of self-imposed silence, Burma became headline news across the globe when peaceful Buddhist monks led a massive rebellion. More than 100,000 people took to the streets protesting a cruel dictatorship that has held the country hostage for more than 40 years. Foreign news crews were banned, the Internet was shut down, and Burma was closed to the outside world. So how did we witness these events? Enter the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), aka the Burma VJs. Compiled from the shaky handheld footage of the DVB, acclaimed filmmaker Anders Ostergaard’s Burma VJ pulls us into the heat of the moment as the VJs themselves become the target of the Burmese government. Their tactical leader, code-named Joshua, oversees operations from a safe hiding place in Thailand. Via clandestine phone calls, Joshua dispenses his posse of video warriors, who covertly film the abuses in their country, then smuggle their footage across the border into Thailand. Joshua ships the footage to Norway, where it is broadcast back to Burma and the world via satellite. Burma VJ plays like a thriller, all the more scary because it is true. ...more in Sundace Festival - Frontline - Independent Film
Reporters Sans Frontieres releases petition to free Burmese bloggers: A Media Watch group Reporters Without Border (RSF) has released a petition for the freedom of two well known Burmese bloggers, who were sentenced to long prison terms, by Burma's ruling junta. The Paris-based RSF, in its petition, called for the release of blogger Nay Phone Latt and popular comedian and blogger Zarganar, who were sentenced to long prison terms last year. RSF urged the international community especially the United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is slated to visit military-ruled Burma this weekend, to pay close attention to the issue. Nay Phone Latt was arrested on 29 January 2008, and popular Burmese comedian Zarganar was arrested on June 2008 from his residence for being involved in cyclone relief work in the Irrawaddy delta. "They did nothing to deserve the punishment and must be freed," RSF said in the petition. While Nay Phone Latt was charged under crime against public tranquility, the video act and the electronic law, Zarganar was charged with similar cases and was sentenced to 59 years in jail term in November. Beside sentencing them to long prison terms, the junta also sent Nay Phone Latt to a remote prison in Pha-an, Karen state and Zarganar to Myitkyina in Kachin state. Family members said they were barred from meeting them since the first week of January and hoped to get a chance to visit them next month. "My last visit to Thura [Zarganar] was in January but the authorities did not allow me to talk face to face with him and I came back home. Some jail staff told me that, authorities had stopped visits by family members. But they did not tell me how long this would last," Ma Nyein, sister-in-law of Zarganar, told Mizzima. ...more in Mizzima
More Burmese 'boat people' rescued after being cast out of Thailand: Survivors say 22 migrants from Burma's Rohingya Muslim minority died at sea. Fishermen have rescued another 198 starving Burmese "boat people" after their vessel, which had no engine, was towed out to sea by Thai security forces and cast adrift, an Indonesian naval officer said today. Survivors packed on board the fragile wooden boat, which was spotted drifting near Aceh, off the northern coast of Sumatra, said they had been in the open sea for about three weeks, during which 22 of the migrants from Burma's Rohingya Muslim minority had died. Some of those on board – including a 13-year-old boy – were in a critical condition when they were discovered late yesterday. At least 56 were treated at Idirayeuk hospital for severe dehydration, while the rest were being cared for at the town's district office. The Rohingya said they were part of a group of 1,000 migrants who had been working illegally in Thailand when they were detained last month, put into eight or nine boats and towed out to sea. The latest incident isthe second case of a boatloadof Rohingya migrants to be picked up off Aceh in less than a month, allegedly after being cast adrift with little food and water by the Thai military. On 7 January 193 people were discovered near Indonesia's Sanbang island. Indonesia's foreign ministry insists they will be deported to Burma as they are economic migrants, despite their fears of persecution. Others have washed up on India's Andaman islands , but more than 330 are missing, feared drowned. Under intense international pressure, the Thai prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, promised to investigate the scandal. But he gave the task to the very unit accused of the abuses, the controversial Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc). ...more in The Guardian - Mizzima - The Irrawaddy - France 24 - The Times
The Chin People of Burma: Unsafe in Burma, Unprotected in India: In this 93-page report, Human Rights Watch documents a wide range of human rights abuses carried out by the Burmese army and government officials. The abuses include forced labor, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, religious repression and other restrictions on fundamental freedoms. In Mizoram state, India, Chin people remain at risk of discrimination and abuse by local Mizo groups and local authorities, and of being forced back across the border into Burma. ...read the report by Human Rights Watch
Zargarnar, Nay Phone Latt awarded 'Cyber-Dissident' Award: Despite being put away for years by the Burmese military junta, famous comedian and film director Zargarnar and blogger Nay Phone Latt were in international news on Thursday after being named winners of the 'Cyber-Dissident' award by the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Border (RSF). Both Zargarnar and Nay Phone Latt were given the award for their courageous activities to cull information from Burma, despite the ruling junta's severe repression during the September monk-led 2007 protests and in the wake of the deadly Cyclone Nargis, the RSF said. The military rulers, who have had a stranglehold on power since 1988, have sentenced Zargarnar to 59 years in prison, while Nay Phone Latt has been jailed for 20 ½ years. The junta on Wednesday night banished the popular comedian, who used his artistic talents to criticize the regime's activities. He was transferred to Keng Tong prison in eastern Shan State. "We don't know how to feel at this juncture, because he has been transferred to a remote prison in Keng Tong. We are only thinking of how to reach there. I will inform him about the award when I meet him," a family member of Zargarnar (alias) Thura told Mizzima. Along with a memento, the Burmese comedian and blogger will receive a cash prize of Euro 2500, equivalent to nearly 4 million Burmese kyat. It is to be handed over by the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi during a ceremony in Paris on Thursday. ...more in Mizzima
Noviembre / November
Blogger jailed for 20 years in Burma: Burma has jailed a blogger for 20 years and handed down even longer sentences to other activists who criticised the regime. Nay Phone Latt, 28, was among five pro-democracy activists jailed on Monday. A former member of the detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, he was sentenced along with a poet, Saw Wai, who is accused of penning a secret anti-junta message in one of his works. Military censors in Burma - also known as Myanmar - launched an investigation in January after a poem by Saw Wai appeared in a newspaper. The work read like a love letter, but the first character in each word spelt "Senior General Than Shwe is power crazy". Fourteen Burmese democracy activists have meanwhile been handed 65 year jail terms in Rangoon. Mostly in their 30s, they were arrested last year for their role in leading the "saffron revolution", in which Buddhist monks and thousands of ordinary Burmese protesters called for an end to 45 years of military dictatorship. The trials took place behind closed doors in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison. Nyunt Nyunt Oo, the mother of 31-year-old Pandeik Tun who was among those jailed, said: "No family members or defence lawyers were present at the trial." According to United Nations estimates, 31 people were killed when the army brutally suppressed the saffron revolution and 74 are still missing. Many of the activists jailed have long experience of the atrocious prison conditions in Burma. They are all members of a leading opposition group known as the 88 Generation Students, which led protests against the military junta in 1988. ...more in The Telegraph - BBC - Committee to Protect Bloggers - Reporters without Borders - The Irrawaddy - Democratic Voice of Burma - Mizzima
Au cœur de la répression birmane [Crackdown in the heart of Burma]:
L'Association for International Broadcasting a récompensé France 24 pour son approche multimédia de l'information et le reportage "Au cœur de la répression birmane" réalisé par Cyril Payen, Paul Rush et Solomon Kane. Très rares ont été les journalistes étrangers qui ont pu parvenir à s’infiltrer en Birmanie pour y être témoin, de l’intérieur, des révoltes de l’automne 2007. Regardez le reportage de notre correspondant Cyril Payen réalisé avec Paul Rush et Solomon Kane, et diffusé dans le magazine Reporters, consacré aux grandes enquêtes. Notre couverture des évènements a été primée le 12 novembre 2008 par l'Association for International Broadcasting à Londres. Réagissez à ce reportage en cliquant sur le lien ci-dessous. Rangoun. La rue gronde. Les Birmans sont en colère. Malgré la peur du régime et le souvenir de la répression de 1988 qui avaient fait 3000 morts, les Birmans ont osé descendre dans la rue. Un caméraman proche des réseaux clandestins vient d’arriver en ville. Il va vivre en direct cette journée folle et tragique. Voyage au cœur de la répression à Rangoun et dans des régions interdites où la propagande est la seule vérité. Pour la première fois en vingt ans, le drapeau du Paon Combattant, symbole de la lutte pro démocratique, flotte dans une rue birmane. Les slogans se multiplient à mesure que le cortège grossit. Leurs revendications ? Plus de transparence, des dirigeants honnêtes et surtout ne plus avoir peur. Les cris fusent. Une répression brutale vient de commencer. ...plus dans France 24
El Premio internacional Cataluña reconoce la lucha por los derechos humanos de dos birmanas, la Dr. Aun San Suu Kyi y la Dr. Cynthia Maung. Ellas reclaman acción eficaz de la comunidad de países demócratas: El Premi Internacional Catalunya, otorgado por la Generalitat, ha recaído en las activistas birmanas a favor de la democracia y de los derechos humanos Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, galardonada con el Nobel de la Paz en 1991, y Cynthia Maung, conocida popularmente como la "madre Teresa de Birmania", que dirige en la frontera tailandesa una clínica con diversos servicios asistenciales, entre los que figura una casa para acoger huérfanos y niños abandonados. Suu Kyi, legitima presidenta de Birmania, sufre detención desde hace 13 años por la dictadura. Por ello no podrá asistir hoy a la entrega del premio, dotado con 100.000 euros y una escultura de Antoni Tàpies, porque se encuentra bajo arresto domiciliario, impuesto en 2003 por la junta militar que rige su país. En su nombre lo recogerá su compatriota Zoya Phan [hija del líder birmano Mahn Sha, asesinado en febrero de este año en su refugio de Thailandia] de manos del presidente del Gobierno catalán, José Montilla, en un ceremonia que se celebrará en el Palau de la Generalitat. Ambas reclamaron ayer en una conferencia de prensa el apoyo y una ayuda más contundente de la comunidad internacional, especialmente de la Unión Europea y de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU), para hacer frente a la dictadura que padece su país. De ahí que pidieran que se apliquen sanciones a la junta militar birmana. ... más en El País - El Mundo
September / Setiembre
Lágrimas por la fallida Revolución del Azafrán: Human Rights Watch denuncia que las autoridades continúan reprimiendo a la población. David Jiménez, único periodista español en Rangún, cuenta lo que vivió hace un año. Los monjes han regresado a sus monasterios, los presos políticos siguen en sus celdas y los generales disfrutan impunes del saqueo del país desde sus mansiones. Por un momento, hace ahora un año, los birmanos creyeron que todo podría cambiar y que la dictadura eterna de Rangún podía ser tumbada.
Salieron a la calle, se enfrentaron a la Junta y desafiaron el miedo que les había paralizado durante décadas. La Revolución del Azafrán, sin embargo, estaba condenada a no serlo.
Los primeros días de manifestaciones pasaron desapercibidos para el mundo durante el mes de agosto y gran parte de septiembre de 2007. Unos cuantos monjes protestando contra el mayor y más brutal Ejército del sureste asiático, ¿qué podían hacer?
Pedí un visado en la embajada birmana por si acaso, convencido de que no me lo darían. Pero mientras uno a uno mis colegas eran rechazados en la ventanilla consular birmana en Bangkok, el funcionario de turno me devolvió el pasaporte con un visado de entrada. Tuve que mirarlo varias veces para asegurarme de que no se trataba de un error.
Un taxi aguardaba en la puerta con mi equipaje, sorteamos los interminables atascos de Bangkok y llegué justo a tiempo de coger el último vuelo del día a Rangún. Mientras volaba, los soldados habían iniciado la represión y los primeros cuerpos tiroteados yacían en las calles.
Atrás habían quedado dos décadas de terror, desde que en 1988 la Junta militar había aplastado el anterior intento de liberación de los birmanos con la masacre de cientos de estudiantes, cerrando el país, arruinando su economía y vetando la educación de las nuevas generaciones (las universidades fueron cerradas).
No reconocí a la Birmania a la que regresaba. La gente te recibía en las calles entre vítores, insultaba abiertamente a los generales y portaba fotografías de Aung San, el héroe de la independencia nacional y padre de la líder de la oposición Aung San Suu Kyi. Y el miedo, pensé, ¿qué había sido de él? Armados sin nada más que el coraje, con la paciencia agotada y la sensación de no tener mucho más que perder después de haber sido sumidos en la pobreza por una camarilla de líderes ineptos y corruptos, los birmanos marchaban por las calles, rezaban ante sus pagodas y seguían con fidelidad ciega a sus monjes. Ellos eran, a sus ojos, la única autoridad moral que podía hacer frente a la fuerza de las armas. A la mañana siguiente, el 27 de septiembre, escuché desde la habitación del Hotel Traders unos cánticos casi inaudibles. Me asomé a la ventana y vi a un pequeño grupo de manifestantes frente a la Pagoda Sule. Cuando bajé a su encuentro ya eran varias docenas, después cientos y una hora después varios millares. Se sentaron frente a los soldados y empezaron a cantar lemas budistas, llamadas a la compasión y anhelos de libertad. Se podría haber encontrado un espíritu más agresivo en las gradas de un estadio de fútbol. Y, sin embargo, era así como los birmanos querían cambiar la historia de su país: la suya iba a ser una revolución pacífica o no lo sería. ...más en El Mundo - El País
El periodista U Win Tin fue liberado después de 19 años de prisión por criticar la feroz dictadura: Mr Win Tin said: 'I will keep fighting until the emergence of democracy in this country'. El disidente, ya casi octogenario, sufrió malos tratos e infartos en la cárcel. Al periodista U Win Tin primero le cayó una sentencia de tres años por "distribuir propaganda antigubernamental" en 1989. Justo un año antes de que la Liga Nacional de la Democracia, dirigida por la Premio Nobel de la Paz, Aung San Suu Kyi, ganara unas elecciones que la junta militar que dirige Birmania con puño de hierro desde 1962 nunca reconoció. Al término de esos tres años, la Junta decidió que pasaría otros diez más en la cárcel. Y en 1996, Win Tin se llevó otros siete años más, además algunas palizas cuando se descubrió que había filtrado información a Naciones Unidas. Hoy, con 79 años, ha sido liberado junto a otros 9.000 reclusos, presos comunes en su mayoría, tras pasar 19 en la cárcel. El régimen se ensañó con él antiguo redactor jefe del diario Hanthawathi por su cercanía a Suu Kyi y sus numerosos artículos en contra de la dictadura birmana. En 2001 fue galardonado con el premio Golden Pen of Freedom Prize (Premio de la Libertad Pluma de Oro) de la Asociación Mundial de Periódicos (WAN). Reporteros Sin Fronteras y la WAN recordaron que otras ocho periodistas pemanecen encarcelados en Birmania, entre los que se encuentra el director de un semanario deportivo Zaw Thet Htwe por distribuir ayuda entre los supervivientes del ciclón "Nargis" sin autorización. Francia, que ejerce este semestre la presidencia de la Unión Europea (UE), y que concedió en 1998 a U Win Tin el Premio de Derechos Humanos de la República Francesa, también expresó su alegría por la puesta en libertad del periodista y llamó a la liberación del resto de reporteros encarcelados, a través de la secretaria de estado de Derechos Humanos, Rama Yade. ...en El País - El Mundo - The Guardian - France 24 - Le Monde - The Times - BBC - MSNBC - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Les Observateurs
Agosto / August
UN rights envoy meets monks in Myanmar and next day the dictatorship detained more people: A U.N. envoy met senior Buddhist monks Monday at the start of a mission to Myanmar, but it remained unclear if he would hold talks with junta officials and detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, diplomats said.
Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. Human Rights Council investigator for Myanmar, met early Monday with senior members of the State Sangha Organization, the body that supervises the country's monasteries and monks, said Asian diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the envoy's itinerary.
He also met leaders of other religious groups and representatives of a government-sponsored women's group, the diplomats said. They had no details of what was discussed at any of the meetings.
Quintana has also requested talks with senior government officials, representatives of ethnic groups and political parties, according to a U.N. statement Sunday. The statement did not mention Suu Kyi, the opposition figure under house arrest, but all former U.N. human rights envoys have asked for such a meeting.
Quintana's predecessor, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, was not allowed to visit the detained opposition leader when he visited in November.
...Quintana's scheduled departure Thursday comes a day before the 20th anniversary of a 1988 uprising against the military junta. The government has already beefed up security, fearing pro-democracy activists could launch anti-junta protests to coincide with the anniversary. Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a nationwide pro-democracy movement, killing as many as 3,000 people. It called elections in 1990 but refused to honor the results when Suu Kyi's party won overwhelmingly. The junta ruled mostly unchallenged until last August when thousands of Buddhist monks joined rallies against a fuel price increase. The junta cracked down on anti-government demonstrations in September by shooting and arresting protesters, killing as many as 31 people. Dissident groups put the death toll far higher. ...more in The International Herald Tribune - The Irrawaddy - BBC - The National Post - El Mundo - Examiner - Buddhist Channel
Burma's bitter remembrance of the massacre by the dictatorship of 8 August 1988: For Olympic China, 8 is lucky. But on the 20th anniversary of a massacre in Burma, it's an ideal time to break with the junta. The world's eyes are on China today, as the Olympic games begin. But as the athletes compete, our attention is divided. Media talk is not simply of sport, but of China's human rights record and murky foreign policy. Meanwhile, the people of Burma remember the massacre of thousands of pro-democracy protestors on this day 20 years ago. On August 8 1988, after months of demonstrations, the military opened fire on civilians. In a single day, several thousand were killed, and "8/8/88" became etched in blood. Twenty years on, Burma's crisis has deteriorated even further. The protests last September, and the regime's calculated denial of aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis this year, brought rare world attention. Both events illustrated the true character of the illegal military regime that has terrorised Burma for 46 years. Burma's democracy leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) overwhelmingly won the 1990 elections, remains under house arrest. Earlier this year, her detention was extended even though her sentence had expired, and the regime declared that she should be flogged. Over 2,000 political prisoners face torture in Burma's jails. Over 70,000 child soldiers have been forced into the Burmese army, and ethnic groups live with a daily diet of crimes against humanity, including rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, human minesweepers, religious persecution, torture and killings. Over 3,200 villages in eastern Burma alone have been destroyed by the army since 1996, and over a million people have been internally displaced, some forced to flee to Thailand, India, Bangladesh and further afield. Following Cyclone Nargis, Burma's junta put its callousness on full display by refusing, then restricting and diverting humanitarian aid efforts. Now the regime is accused of siphoning off millions of dollars from international relief funds. Largely unknown to the world, two further humanitarian crises are developing. In eastern Burma, hundreds of thousands are on the run in the jungle, hunted by the army, with little access to shelter, food or medicine – while in Burma's western border areas, the Chin people are facing famine. Once every 50 years, the bamboo flowers, killing the bamboo – the Chins' major source of food and building material – and causing a plague of rats, who multiply and destroy rice fields and food stocks. Over 200 villages and 100,000 people face starvation. As in the cyclone, the regime has not only failed to help, it is actively obstructing the small efforts being made to deliver relief. ...read the report by Benedic Rogers in The Guardian ...more information in the ABC - Belfast Telegraph - BBC - UN news - Human Rights Watch - Voice of America - Khonumthung News - Herald Tribune
Wife of American President Visits Burmanese Refugee Camp in Thailand: Burmese residents of a refugee camp near the Thai-Burmese border appealed on Thursday to US first lady Laura Bush to help them resettle in the West. Mrs Bush promised them to do all she could as she toured the Mae Lah camp near the Thai border town of Mae Sot. Around 40,000 refugees live in Mae Lah, the biggest refugee camp in Thailand. The refugee community gave Mrs Bush and her daughter Barbara a warm welcome, performing traditional Karen dances and showing them the camp’s schoolrooms. In one classroom, a student had written on the blackboard: “My life in refugee camp is better than Burma but I do not have opportunities to go outside of my camp.” The vice camp leader, Mahn Htun Htun, appealed directly to Mrs Bush to help more Burmese refugees resettle in the US. “We are refugees and our dream is to go back home,” he said, “We have no peace in Burma now, the possibility for us is to go to third countries.” Mrs Bush replied that the best option would be to “see a change in the Burmese government,” in which case “people could move home in safety.” She said: "Most people do not want to have to move to third countries. They would rather move to their home villages in safety and security." One Burmese refugee who has been selected, along with his family, for resettlement in the US said Washington should increase the pressure on the Burmese regime so that conditions allowing refugees to return could be created. The refugee, Saw Mardecair, thanked the US, however, for taking in large numbers of Burmese. Mahn Htun Htun drew attention to the plight of 13,000 newly-arrived refugees who, he said, lacked adequate food and shelter. Mrs Bush later visited the Mae Tao clinic, the Burmese migrant health care center founded by Dr Cynthia Maung, who said she hoped the first lady would raise in the US the humanitarian problems she had seen in the border area. “All countries in the world have to come together and work together for change in Burma,” said Dr Maung. Children welcomed Mrs. Bush to the clinic with a performance of traditional Burmese songs. ...more in The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - Le Figaro -
Amnistía exige a la Junta Militar birmana liberar a los presos políticos en Myanmar: Amnistía Internacional (AI) ha exigido a la Junta Militar de Myanmar, antigua Birmania, que libere a los más de 2.000 presos políticos que todavía retiene en sus cárcles, a algunos de ellos desde hace dos décadas. Tomar medidas más firmes que obliguen a que el régimen birmano saque de la cárcel a los activistas detenidos en las protestas pro-democracia del 8 de agosto de 1988(de las que el viernes se cumple el vigésimo aniversario), es el mensaje que AI ha enviado a la ONU. "Nada muestra mejor el carácter mezquino de la Junta Militar como el hecho de que ahora hay más prisioneros políticos que en cualquier otro momento desde aquellas manifestaciones", aseguró Benjamin Zawacki, un investigador del grupo de derechos humanos. Zawacki dijo que la ONU no debería seguir aceptando los engaños del Gobierno birmano y exigirle resultados. En 1988, más de 3.000 personas murieron por los disparos de los soldados birmanos, a los que se ordenó abrir fuego contra los civiles desarmados que pedían reformas democráticas al Gobierno. Decenas de miles fueron encarcelados, y la violencia de la represión provocó que la comunidad internacional obligara al régimen entonces, liderado por el general Ne Win, a convocar elecciones libres en 1990. En aquellos comicios, cuyos resultados no fueron reconocidos por los militares, se impuso por una aplastante mayoría de la oposición encabezada por Aung San Suu Kyi, quien fue distinguida en 1991 con el Nobel de la Paz y desde 2003 vive bajo arresto domiciliario. AI constata unos 2.050 presos políticos en Birmania, muchos de los cuales malviven en condiciones infrahumanas en la notoria prisión de Insein, al norte de Rangún, la mayor ciudad del país. Entre los prisioneros de conciencia está Win Tin, un veterano periodista de 78 años que lleva encarcelado desde 1989 y cuyo deteriorado estado de salud empeora cada día adicional que pasa en su pequeña celda. Tomás Ojea Quintana, el relator de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas para Birmania, se encuentra visitando esta semana el país, pero se desconoce si se le permitirá visitar en la cárcel a estos presos. ...más en El Mundo - France 24 - BBC - The Guardian - Le Monde - Le Figaro - The Washington Post - The Times - The Telegraph - MSNBC
EEUU condena la 'tiranía' del régimen birmano y pide libertades en China desde Bangkok: El presidente de Estados Unidos, George W. Bush, condenó este jueves en un discurso desde Bangkok la "tiranía" de la Junta Militar birmana, y pidió a China, mentora de esa dictadura, que dé libertades básicas a sus ciudadanos. Bush, quien permanecerá menos de 24 horas en Bangkok, desde donde viajará el viernes a Pekín para asistir a la inauguración de los Juegos Olímpicos, reafirmó el apoyo de EEUU a la larga lucha que la disidencia birmana lleva a cabo con la finalidad de instaurar la democracia en su país. "Perseguimos el fin de la tiranía en Birmania", dijo Bush en su discurso ante diplomáticos, funcionarios del Gobierno tailandés, y destacados empresarios. El mandatario reiteró el llamamiento de Estados Unidos a la Junta Militar presidida por el general Than Shwe, para que ponga en libertad a la líder del movimiento democrático y Nobel de la Paz, Aung San Suu Kyi, y al resto de los presos políticos. "Vamos a continuar trabajando hasta que la gente de Birmania tenga la libertad que merece", apuntó. Suu Kyi, que permanece detenida desde junio del 2003 y que ha visto recientemente cómo la Junta Militar prorrogaba su arresto domiciliario en plena crisis humanitaria tras el paso del ciclón 'Nargis', ganó al frente de la LND las elecciones legislativas celebradas en 1990, y cuyos resultados nunca han sido reconocidos por los generales que rigen Birmania desde 1962. Las Naciones Unidas y Amnistía Internacional (AI) calcula que cerca de 2.000 birmanos están encarcelados por motivos políticos, algunos desde hace más de dos décadas. ...más en El Mundo - El País - The Guardian - France 24 - BBC - Le Figaro
14 citoyens qui eurent le courage de manifester pour la libération de Suu Kyi -le jour de l´anniversaire- arrêtés depuis le 19 juin, ont été inculpés par la dictadure sans droit à aucune défense: La cruelle dictature qui oppresse Birmanie a inculpé 14 partisans de Aung San Suu Kyi, la chef de file de l'opposition birmane, qui s'étaient rassemblés pour son 63e anniversaire le 19 juin à Rangoun afin de protester contre son assignation à résidence. "Ils ont été inculpés au tribunal de la ville vendredi après-midi pour avoir troublé l'ordre public ce jour-là en scandant des slogans" devant le siège du parti de Mme Suu Kyi, la Ligue nationale pour la démocratie (LND), a indiqué une source policière. La LND, qui a accusé lundi le gouvernement de détention illégale, a indiqué qu'elle oeuvrait à la libération de ses partisans. "On m'a dit que 14 personnes ont comparu devant le tribunal de Bahan hier (vendredi, NDLR) après-midi. Nous espérons que tout va bien se passer pour eux", a déclaré le porte-parole du parti Nyan Win. Vendredi, quatre membres de la LND ont été condamnés à un an de prison pour avoir incité la population à voter "non" au référendum d'approbation d'une nouvelle Constitution organisé en mai par le régime militaire. ... Le Figaro - The Irrawaddy - Mizzima - The Guardian
La dictadura arresta a periodista deportivo que llevó ayuda a las víctimas del ciclón 'Nargis' y otros periodistas y voluntarios: Las fuerzas de seguridad de Birmania detuvieron el pasado viernes al periodista Zaw Thet Htwe por entregar comida a los damnificados por el ciclón 'Nargis' en el delta del río Irrawaddy, donde las autoridades prohíben cualquier reparto de ayuda. Zaw Thet Htwe, editor de un semanario deportivo de Rangún, fue apresado en su localidad natal de Minbu, a las afueras de la antigua capital y la mayor ciudad del país. Los soldados irrumpieron en el domicilio de madrugada y se lo llevaron esposado delante de su familia, antes de registrar la casa en busca de documentación que pruebe sus actividades "subversivas", según fuentes de su entorno. En estos momentos, está siendo interrogado en algún centro de detención de Rangún por los poderosos servicios de inteligencia birmanos, acusados de un sinfín de violaciones de los Derechos Humanos de los presos. Htwe ya fue encarcelado en 2003 por entregar informes sobre supuestos trabajos forzados en Birmania a la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), un delito de alta traición por el que fue sentenciado a cadena perpetua. Sin embargo, obtuvo la libertad a los pocos meses por la presión de la propia OIT. El arresto del periodista ocurrió una semana después de que el actor Zaganar, el cómico más famoso de la nación y un conocido opositor a la Junta Militar, fuera detenido también por repartir ayuda a las víctimas del ciclón, que ha causado al menos 134.000 muertos o desaparecidos, de acuerdo al último recuento oficial. Naciones Unidas calcula unos 2,4 millones de afectados, de los que un millón todavía no ha recibido material de emergencia. El régimen birmano sigue rechazando gran parte de la ayuda internacional que se le ofrece y pone trabas el despacho de cooperantes extranjeros al delta, pese a que el jefe de la Junta Militar, general Than Shwe, se comprometió a agilizar el proceso con el secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon. ...más El Mundo - Mizzima - The Irrawaddy
National League for Democracy party worker beaten to death during torture by dictatorship: Ko Ohn Kyaw, an Organizing Committee member of the National League for Democracy of Rangoon Division, Dawbon Township was bludgeoned to death in the Insein prison after the prison precincts caught fire when cyclone Nargis lashed Burma. Ko Ohn Kyaw was accused of organizing a jailbreak and was beaten to death during rigorous interrogation.
The Insein prison Ward No. 1 caught fire even as the cyclone raged in Rangoon on Saturday morning. The prison guards opened fire when inmates tried to escape the flames and a brawl ensued between the two sides. About 36 prisoners were shot dead while 70 were injured.
Below is an interview with Ko Nyo Ohn Myint, in-charge of Foreign Affairs NLD-Liberated Area, by Mizzima.
Q. Tell us how a NLD party worker died when the Insein prison caught fire?
A. We learnt about it when one of my colleagues made a prison visit. When the prison caught fire, the roof was ripped off. When the prisoners tried to escape from their ward, the guards opened fire and some of them died. Our party worker was one of them.
Q. How did he die? Did he receive a gunshot wound?
A. No, he was not shot dead. He was accused of organizing the jailbreak and beaten to death during interrogation.
Q. How many people died during the interrogation?
A. The prison authorities accused four prisoners of leading the jailbreak through the open roof. They were tortured during the interrogation conducted outside the jail premises. The jail authorities accused the prisoners of trying to organize a jailbreak during the devastating storm. The prison officials beat him to death. We learnt of it when the authorities informed his family.
Q. Can you tell us the age and designation of the NLD party worker?
A. He was from Dawbone Township and was a NLD Organizing Committee member. We don't know his age.
Q. When was he arrested?
A. He was arrested in connection with the 2007 September unrest. Many NLD party workers were arrested during and after the September Revolution. And then the authorities charged some of them and put them on trial. Later they were sentenced to various prison terms. Ko Ohn Kyaw was one of them. The rest were later released. ...more in Mizzima
La ayuda que se envía a Myanmar se vende en los mercados de la capital por grupos parapoliciales sostenidos por la corrupta dictadura militar:
Los acérrimos del régimen y los comerciantes se lucran del material de emergencia.
La escasez y el temor a una falta de abastecimiento ha duplicado el valor de los alimentos. Cerca de la mitad de los 53 millones de birmanos subsiste con menos de un dólar. La Junta Militar insiste en seguir distribuyendo la ayuda con su propio criterio. La ayuda internacional recibida por Birmania no llega a muchos de los afectados por el ciclón Nargis puesto que parte es decomisada por las milicias progubernamentales, para luego venderla en los mercados de la antigua capital.
A plena luz del día, varios tenderetes tienen apilados sacos de arroz con el emblema de la ONU y las siglas del WFP (Programa Mundial de Alimentos, PMA), según se pudo comprobar en Theingyi Zei, el mayor bazar de Rangún.
Otros puestos venden frutos secos y verduras en cajas que portan el sello 'Ayuda del Reino de Tailandia' debajo de grandes pegatinas con imágenes de altos jerarcas de la Junta Militar, entre ellos su máximo líder, el general Than Shwe.
Mientras decenas de cooperantes extranjeros del PMA esperan en Bangkok a que las autoridades birmanas les concedan un visado para viajar a las zonas devastadas por el ciclón, donde más se les necesita, los acérrimos del régimen y los comerciantes se lucran del material de emergencia donado por la comunidad internacional.
Preguntado por la procedencia del grano, un comerciante, de origen indio, se limita a señalar su precio: 3.000 kyat por un cuenco, equivalente a unos diez dólares al cambio oficial, algo menos de 3,5 dólares en el mercado negro y casi el doble de lo que se pagaba hasta ahora.
Antes de que el ciclón Nargis arrasara hace tres semanas el sur de Birmania, un bol de arroz, la ración diaria habitual de una familia de cinco personas, costaba 800 kyat.
Sin embargo, a los pocos días de la catástrofe, la escasez y el temor a una falta de abastecimiento duplicó su valor hasta los 1.600 kyat (1,70 dólares), pese a que cerca de la mitad de los 53 millones de birmanos subsiste con menos de un dólar al día.
Y ése es el precio del cereal de peor calidad, recogido antes del ciclón o en los cultivos de la mitad norte del país, menos fértiles que el delta del río Irrawaddy.
"El arroz extranjero es más caro porque es fresco, no se está pudriendo como el resto", explica una anciana que no quiso revelar su nombre por temor a los militantes de la Asociación para el Desarrollo y Solidaridad de la Unión (USDA), grupo paramilitar al que acusó de traficar con la ayuda humanitaria.
Algunos birmanos temen incluso más que a las fuerzas de seguridad a esta organización paramilitar auspiciada por el régimen, y que en 2003 mató a unas 70 personas en el ataque llevado a cabo al norte del país contra la Nobel de la Paz, Aung San Su Kyi y sus seguidores.
Empleada por la junta para intimidar a opositores e informar de cualquier actitud subversiva, sus 24 millones de afiliados patrullan las calles armados con porras para golpear a estudiantes, activistas y, tras las manifestaciones a favor de la democracia del pasado septiembre, también a los monjes budistas, antaño intocables.
La mujer afirma que cada mañana, miembros de la USDA aparcan en una de las entradas del bazar sus vehículos militares, de los que descargan arroz, agua potable y mantas que han incautado al personal local de las agencias de ayuda humanitaria.
"Necesitamos esa comida, pero me siento mal si la compro porque sé que otros la necesitan aún más", señala.
Desde que comenzó a llegar a cuentagotas la ayuda, las ONG aseguran que sus convoyes tienen muchas dificultades para trasladar alimentos y medicinas al delta, y denuncian que en ocasiones sus trabajadores se han visto obligados a entregar parte del cargamento al Ejército, como si de un peaje se tratara.
El Gobierno lo niega y atribuye las acusaciones a "noticias dañinas y falsas" de los medios de comunicación extranjeros, que quieren "socavar la soberanía nacional" aliados con la Liga Nacional por la Democracia, liderada por Suu Kyi.
La Junta Militar insiste en seguir distribuyendo la ayuda con su propio criterio dejando así clara su escala de prioridades.
En Rangún, apenas un par de policías vigilan dos cruces a ambos lados de Theingyi Zei, pero en el cercano y lujoso Hotel Traders, decenas de miembros de las fuerzas de seguridad, algunos de faena y otros de paisano, escudriñan con la mirada a cada extranjero que entra o sale.
A escasa distancia, 20 soldados duermen la siesta apoyados en sus cascos a la vez que unos chiquillos les lavan los uniformes en un riachuelo lleno de basura.
"Mantengamos con el Tatmadaw (Ejército) nuestra unión fuerte ante los enemigos que están dentro y fuera", proclama en letras gigantes el mensaje en birmano e inglés de la marquesina que cuelga sobre sus cabezas, recién levantada de nuevo después de que los vientos huracanados de Nargis la arrancaran de cuajo. ...más en El Mundo - El País - The Times - Le Figaro - Le Monde - The Guardian - The Independent - The Irrawaddy - France 24 - Burma News blog
Y apoye la Campaña por el respeto de los derechos humanos en Birmania
Una nueva tormenta agrava la situación para las víctimas en Myanmar: El fenómeno se desató hoy en la zona del delta del Río Irrawaddy; peligra el operativo de ayuda humanitaria para los sobrevivientes. Una fuerte tormenta tropical se desató hoy sobre el delta del Río Irrawaddy en Myanmar, y empeoró la miseria de unos 2,5 millones de sobrevivientes desamparados tras el paso del Ciclón Nargis. Si bien trascendió que el fenómeno había obstaculizado los esfuerzos de ayuda del gobierno, los generales de la ex Birmania insistieron en que el operativo funciona sin contratiempos. Sumado a esto, emitieron un decreto en los diarios locales en donde se deja ver que se tomarán acciones legales contra cualquiera que sea encontrado acumulando o vendiendo suministros de emergencia, en medio de rumores de que hay unidades militares locales que expropian camiones de comida, agua y ropa. El principal funcionario de ayuda de la Unión Europea se reunió ayer con ministros en Rangún y los instó a aceptar a los trabajadores de ayuda internacionales y a equipamientos esenciales para evitar que siga creciendo la cifra de muertos, que según la Cruz Roja podría llegar hasta 128.000. Acceso restringido a extranjeros. Anteriormente, los generales indicaron que no cederían en su posición de limitar el acceso de extranjeros al delta, temerosos de que eso pueda afectar su control sobre el poder. ...más en La Nación - El País - The Guardian - The Times - The Independent - France 24 - Le Figaro - Le Monde - Libération - The Telegraph - The Washington Post - The Irrawaddy
Una representante de "Birmania por la Paz" testigo de catástrofe causada por la dictadura de ese país al no prevenir la populación del pasaje del ciclón Nargis y al impedir que la ayuda internacional llegue a las víctimas: Concha Pinós se encontraba en Birmania el pasado 4 de mayo y padeció en su cuerpo el desastre del ciclón 'Nargis' en una de las zonas más afectadas, aunque no en el epicentro: "No lo tengo digerido", admite. La española es miembro de "Birmania por la paz", una campaña internacional, presente en 64 países, que busca concienciar al mundo de la crítica situación política y humanitaria que sufre desde hace años este país del sudeste asiático. El paso del ciclón 'Nargis' por Birmania, que ha causado la muerte de al menos 150.000 personas y ha devastado el país asiático, ha mostrado al mundo la trágica situación de un país pobre y sin libertades. Hace tiempo que en la zona se trabaja por derrocar la dictadura y devolver los derechos a los ciudadanos. Al hablar de aquel terrible momento, el discurso de la española se llena de silencios por el profundo dolor que le produce recordar lo que vivió: los campos sembrados de cuerpos, el ruido del viento contra los plásticos, los árboles arrancados, las casas del revés..."era como un mundo de juguete", relata. "Cuando lo cuento es como si volviera a vivirlo, me ha marcado totalmente y ahora mi compromiso es mayor con los birmanos", afirma una emocionada Concha. Tras el trágico día, Concha, lejos de marcharse de Birmania, consiguió llegar a una de las zonas devastadas en el delta del Irrawaddy. Se convertía así en uno de los pocos extranjeros que conseguía entrar en el país y, lo que es más importante, una de las primeras personas en sacar material gráfico del desastre. Los riesgos y peligros a los que se tiene que enfrentar Concha no son sólo algo propio de este desastre sino una situación más que habitual por las condiciones dictatoriales en las que está sumido el país. Gracias a la ayuda de los miembros de la resistencia no violenta, bordeó la frontera durante tres días, entrando y saliendo de Birmania para burlar controles y, sobre todo, evitar a las violentas guerrillas que apoyan al dictador. Sus desplazamientos fueron en todoterreno, pero también a pie, atravesando selvas en caminatas que se prolongaban hasta cinco horas. ...más en El Mundo - web Birmania por la Paz - Le Monde - The Mae Tao Clinic
Londres, París y Berlín quieren imponer la ayuda humanitaria en Myanmar, es una obligación
que la ONU no cumple paralizada por una burocracia ineficaz y muy costosa:
La Junta birmana se resiste a dejar entrar a los cooperantes y desvía las ayudas para los propios militares. La dictadura militar que gobierna Myanmar (antigua Birmania) rechaza la presión internacional para que abra el país a los cooperantes que quieren acelerar la entrega de ayuda a los damnificados por el ciclón. La frustración embarga tanto a Naciones Unidas, que ha pedido que se abra un puente aéreo o marítimo para llevar la ayuda, como a las ONG y a los Gobiernos que se han mostrado preocupados por la supervivencia del millón y medio de personas que lo han perdido todo y aguardan la asistencia apiñados en templos o a la intemperie. Alemania, Francia y Reino Unido propondrán al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU que, si es necesario, se reparta la ayuda con o sin el permiso de los militares, según afirmó ayer la secretaria de Estado francesa para los Derechos Humanos, Rama Yade. La Junta se muestra inamovible. "De momento, la nación no tiene necesidad de trabajadores humanitarios especializados", declaró el vicealmirante Soe Thein al periódico estatal Nueva Estrella de Myanmar. El mundo está sorprendido con la obstinación de los generales. A la delegación estadounidense, que viajó a bordo del primer avión norteamericano que el régimen autorizó que aterrizara en Yangon, no se le permitió salir del aeropuerto. El equipo -no tenía visado- pretendía negociar con la Junta la posibilidad de que colaborara en el reparto de la ayuda parte de la dotación de tres buques de EE UU que navegan por las cercanías.
...Diez días después del paso del devastador ciclón que asoló Myanmar y mientras crecen las advertencias sobre una catástrofe humanitaria en ese país, el secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, criticó ayer duramente a la junta militar birmana por los obstáculos que puso a la llegada de ayuda del exterior y la instó a "poner el pueblo primero". En una declaración inusualmente fuerte, Ban embistió contra la junta por su "inaceptable demora para responder" a la desesperada situación de unos dos millones de birmanos que sobrevivieron al paso del Nargis, pero cuyas vidas corren peligro por la falta de alimentos, agua potable y medicinas, y por el riesgo de epidemias. "Estamos en un momento crítico -advirtió Ban-. Si no entra ayuda extra en el país rápidamente, nos arriesgamos a enfrentar epidemias de enfermedades infecciosas que podrían provocar una crisis peor que la actual." "Pido al gobierno de Myanmar, en los términos más enérgicos, que ponga las vidas de su pueblo por delante -agregó Ban-. No se trata de política, sino de salvar vidas." ...más en El País - US Campaign for Burma - La Nación - Le Monde - The Irrawaddy
El ciclón Nargis causa más de 50.000 víctimas en Myanmar (Birmania): Hay miles de desaparecidos y decenas de miles de personas se han quedado sin hogar tras el paso de la tormenta. Es la mayor catástrofe natural en Asia desde el 'tsunami' de diciembre de 2004. La comunidad internacional comienza a movilizarse. El paso del ciclón Nargis por la Antigua Birmania, hoy Myanmar, ha dejado un trágico rastro de muerte y destrucción. Los muertos y desaparecidos se cuentan por miles y por decenas de miles los que se han quedado sin casa tras la sacudida de un fenómeno que arrasó algunas zonas del país con fuertes lluvias y vientos de hasta 240 kilómetros por hora. El Gobierno maneja un balance de 10.000 muertos y 3.000 desaparecidos. Y sólo es "provisional". El ministro birmano de Asuntos Exteriores, Nyan Win, ha informado por la televisión estatal, tras una reunión con la comunidad diplomática y a representantes de la ONU, que la cifra de víctimas mortales por el ciclón puede llegar a las 10.000 personas, sobre todo en las dos divisiones más afectadas, Irrawaddy y Yangon, ambas cercanas al delta del río Irrawaddy. la televisión estatal había dado esta mañana un balance de 4.000 muertos y cerca de 3.000 desaparecidos. Dada la dimensión de la catástrofe, la Junta birmana ha aceptado la ayuda humanitaria de la ONU. Responsables del Programa Mundial de Alimentos se han reunido hoy en Yangon con miembros del Gobierno y han obtenido una "prudente luz verde" para enviar ayuda y personal. La acción de los trabajadores de agencias humanitarias está muy limitada en Myanmar, ya que desde 2006, la Junta exige permisos de viaje y otros trámites para el personal humanitario, al tiempo que limitó el transporte de suministros y otros materiales. La ONU, Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea (UE) y otros países han ofrecido hoy su ayuda a Birmania (Myanmar) para auxiliar a las víctimas. El secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, Ban Ki-moon, ha mostrado hoy su tristeza por la pérdida de vidas y ha ratificado la disposición del organismo multilateral de ofrecer toda la ayuda necesaria. Estados Unidos, por su parte, ha abierto un fondo de ayuda a través del Programa Mundial de Alimentos y de otras agencias, mientras que fuentes de la Comunidad Europea han informado de que estaban a la espera de conocer las necesidades en Birmania para empezar a entregar asistencia. Singapur, Tailandia, India y otros países de la región y de los demás continentes también han ofrecido su solidaridad a los birmanos. ...más en El País - The Guardian - El Mundo - The Independent - The Telegraph - The Times - The Irrawaddy - France 24 - Mizzima TV - Gobierno electo de Birmania en exilio
La ONU exige a Birmania que libere a todos los presos políticos de manera incondicional: El Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas, con sede en Ginebra, ha condenado los abusos cometidos por las autoridades de Myanmar (antes Birmania) y ha pedido a la Junta Militar que detenta el poder desde 1962 que libere a todos los prisioneros políticos. En una resolución adoptada por unanimidad, los 47 países miembros "condenan enérgicamente las violaciones sistemáticas de los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales del pueblo de Myanmar (antigua Birmania). El Consejo expresa su "profunda preocupación" por la "violenta represión de las manifestaciones pacíficas de septiembre de 2007" y el hecho de que el gobierno que encabeza Than Shwe "no haya investigado esas violaciones y haya llevado a sus autores ante los tribunales". El texto llama al régimen de Myanmar a "entablar urgentemente un diálogo nacional" con todas las partes para conseguir la democratización del país. Exige al gobierno que "deje de conculcar" las libertades fundamentales y "libere inmediatamente a todos los prisioneros políticos de manera incondicional". El Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, ha criticado, en varios informes, la situación que recoge el viernes el Consejo de Derechos Humanos en su resolución. El más reciente, titulado 'Situaciones de derechos humanos que requieren la atención del Consejo', con fecha 25 de marzo, contiene las mismas conclusiones expresadas en la citada resolución, al tiempo que pide que "el proceso de redacción de la Constitución sea inclusivo, participativo y transparente, para que ésta represente ampliamente las opiniones de todo el pueblo de Myanmar". Asimismo, exige a la Junta Militar que "garantice a su pueblo las libertades fundamentales y desista de seguir impidiendo el ejercicio de estas libertades, entre otras las de expresión, de reunión y de religión o creencias". ...más en El Mundo - The Times - The Guardian - The Independent
Europa debe promover la libertad democrática en la Tierra por el ejemplo y la solidaridad activa: Hace unos días, el ministro británico de Exteriores, David Miliband, pronunció un excelente discurso en el que explicó por qué la promoción de la democracia es un asunto demasiado importante para dejarlo en manos de los neoconservadores estadounidenses. Los liberales, progresistas y socialistas británicos y europeos (que cada uno escoja su propia etiqueta) también deberían contribuir a ella. Ésas no fueron sus palabras exactas, pero el mensaje quedó claro. El mejor instante de la velada se produjo cuando un estudiante chino del Saint Hugh's College, en Oxford, donde el ministro estaba pronunciando su conferencia en honor de Aung San Suu Kyi, se levantó y dijo que a China parecen irle bastante bien las cosas, gracias, y que está experimentando avances económicos y sociales sin necesidad de democracia, así que "¿para qué molestarse?". Miliband respondió que no se trata de que los demócratas occidentales se dediquen a molestar a los demás con nuestra idea de lo que más les conviene, ni mucho menos a imponérsela. Se trata de dar una respuesta a las poblaciones que están preocupadas por la falta de democracia en sus propios países y luchan para obtenerla. Gente fastidiosa como Aung San Suu Kyi y otros activistas demócratas birmanos menos conocidos, líderes estudiantiles, autores de blogs y periodistas, todos ellos en prisión o en arresto domiciliario, cuyos nombres -Tin Oo, U Win Tin, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Nay Myo Latt, U Htin Kyaw- leyó, en una retahíla conmovedora, al acabar su discurso. Es posible que por ahora no sean más que una minoría en su país, pero son una minoría que comparte nuestros valores -valores universales, subrayó el ministro, no sólo valores occidentales-, así que debemos apoyarles. Y detrás de esa minoría valiente existe seguramente una mayoría silenciosa: según un sondeo mundial de Gallup, ocho de cada diez personas desean vivir en una democracia, una cifra que se convierte en nueve de cada diez en África. ...lea el artículo de Timothy Garton Ash traducido en El País
La corrupta y genocida dictadura de Birmania impide a la presidenta electa y líder opositora birmana, Dra. Aung San Suu Kyi, Premio Nobel de la Paz, representarse a las "elecciones" de 2010: Birmania pretende celebrar en esa fecha elecciones "libres y democráticas" eliminando los demócratas con el apoyo de la dictadura de China. La líder opositora birmana y Nobel de la Paz, Aung San Suu Kyi, no podrá presentarse a las elecciones generales anunciadas para 2010 porque su difunto marido era extranjero, según el ministro de Exteriores, el general Nyan Win. Nyan Win así lo comunicó al jefe de la diplomacia de Singapur, George Yeo, durante una reunión informal de cancilleres de la Asociación de Naciones del Sudeste Asiático celebrada en la ciudad-estado, informó el diario singapurés 'The Straits Times'. El ministro birmano precisó a Yeo que la nueva Constitución prohibirá expresamente concurrir a los comicios a quienes tengan o hayan tenido matrimonios con extranjeros o cuyos hijos dispongan de pasaportes de otro país, como sucede con los de Suu Kyi. La jefa de la Liga Nacional por la Democracia (LND), el principal partido de la oposición en Birmania, se casó en 1972 con el profesor universitario británico Michael Aris, quien murió de cáncer en 1999 lejos de su esposa, pues la Junta Militar le negó un visado para visitarla. Suu Kyi, distinguida con el premio Nobel de la Paz en 1991, se encuentra bajo arresto domiciliario desde el 2003 y ha permanecido en esta situación durante 15 de los últimos 18 años. ...más en El Mundo -
A la cárcel por difundir a Rambo: Birmania castiga la distribución de la última película de Stallone con penas de siete años. El icono de acción estadounidense es también un héroe también en Birmania. Rambo IV, última aventura del veterano de guerra protagonizado por Sylvester Stallone, basada en la infiltración del famoso soldado de ficción en ese país, se ha convertido en la película más buscada por los activistas demócratas que sueñan con ver cómo Stallone mata a soldados birmanos, sobre todo después del asesinato la semana pasada del líder de los rebeldes karen, Pado Manh Shade. Prohibida por la autoridades del país, la película retrata a los soldados birmanos como militares sádicos y depravados que persiguen a la minoría étnica karen, que a su vez es ayudada por los misioneros cristianos. La policía birmana ha amenazado a los propietarios de comercios de DVD falsos con penas de hasta siete años de cárcel si comercializan Rambo IV. Birmania (actualmente Myanmar) está gobernada por los militares desde 1962 y no celebra elecciones desde 1990, cuando el partido oficial perdió estrepitosamente ante la coalición opositora encabezada por la premio Nobel de la Paz Aung San Suu Kyi, en unos comicios cuyos resultados jamás fueron reconocidos por los generales. ...más en El País
Myanmar emplea lupas y espejos para encontrar mensajes 'censurables' en la prensa: El carácter anquilosado de la censura birmana también alcanza sus métodos. Las autoridades censoras de Myanmar se han dotado de lupas y espejos, entre otros instrumentos, para detectar posibles mensajes críticos ocultos en las publicaciones que analizan, según ha informado la revista disidente 'The Irrawaddy'. El régimen ha decidido vigilar más de cerca los textos tras la detención hace dos semanas del poeta más popular del país, Saw Wai, tras incluir en sus versos una supuesta acusación velada sobre el jefe de la Junta Militar, el general Than Shwe. Saw Wai fue detenido después de que los censores hallaran que escribió "Than Shwe enloquece con el poder" utilizando la primera palabra de cada línea de versos en uno de sus poemas. El lapsus puso en peligro el cargo del director de la Oficina de Control de Prensa, Maj Tint Swe, quien en julio de 2007 también fue responsable de no detectar un anuncio publicado por un ciudadano danés en el diario oficial 'Myanmar Times' que llamaba "asesino" al líder del régimen. "Los censores revisan una y otra vez cada página de revistas y periódicos, lo que retrasa todavía más el proceso de publicación", ha comentado a 'The Irrawaddy' un editor de Rangún. Un escritor de la mayor ciudad del país también se ha quejado de que ahora debe enviar sus manuscritos un mes antes de publicarlos, en vez de con una semana de antelación, como era habitual hasta ahora. A mediados del pasado enero, la Junta Militar ordenó el cierre temporal del 'Myanmar Times' después de que incluir un artículo no aprobado sobre el plan del régimen para subir el precio de las licencias para tener televisión por satélite hasta los 800 dólares, tres veces la renta per cápita mensual del país. Myanmar (antigua Birmania) está gobernada por los militares desde 1962 y no celebra elecciones desde 1990, cuando el partido oficial fue derrotado de forma abrumadora por la coalición opositora de la Nobel de la Paz Aung San Suu Kyi, unos comicios cuyos resultados jamás fueron reconocidos por los generales. ...más en El Mundo - The Irrawaddy - Democratic Voice of Burma - BBC
La dictadura de Birmania anuncia un "referéndum constitucional" y "elecciones"
El Gobierno militar de Myanmar (antes Birmania) efectuará un referéndum
sobre una nueva constitución en mayo de este año y elecciones multipartidistas
en el 2010, como parte de su plan para retomar la "democracia", ha anunciado
la televisión estatal.
El Gobierno anunció un plan de siete pasos en el 2003 para terminar con más de
40 años de régimen militar en la antigua Birmania, pero hasta ahora se ha rehúsado
la adopción de un calendario.
"De acuerdo con el cuarto paso de los siete establecidos en la hoja de ruta hacia
la democracia, el referéndum nacional se efectuará en mayo del 2008 para ratificar
la nueva constitución", señala el comunicado oficial.
La nueva constitución, cuyo borrador se está redactando, concluirá pronto, dijo
Se prevé que la constitución provoque la expulsión de la Premio Nobel de la Paz
y detenida Aung San Suu Kyi, al rechazar a cualquier persona casada con un extranjero,
como ella. El documento también garantizaría que los principales líderes del
Gobierno procedan del Ejército.
El esposo de Suu Kyi, el académico británico Michael Aris, murió en marzo de
El Partido Liga Nacional para la Democracia de Suu Kyi obtuvo un triunfo arrollador
en las elecciones multipartidistas celebradas en la antigua Birmania en 1990.
El Ejército, que gobierna el país desde 1962, ignoró el resultado, y la líder
pasó gran parte del período posterior a la elección detenida.
La Liga nacional para la Democracia se ha declarado "sorprendida" por el anuncio
de la junta y considera que es "todavía demasiado temprano para hablar de elecciones",
según un portavoz del partido. ...más en El Mundo - El
Si a usted le importa la libertad, la suya y la de otros, entonces comprende la importancia de la democracia: por favor escriba a Ban Ki-moon, Secretario General de la Organización de Naciones Unidas [email firstname.lastname@example.org] para que honore el mandato de la ONU coordinando una contundente presión internacional contra la Junta militar que terroriza Birmania a efectos de abrir un proceso democrático
U. WIN TIN an ethic journalist emprisioned since 1989 by the dictatorship: U Win Tin was awarded the 2001 Golden Pen of Freedom along with San San Nweh, in recognition of their outstanding services to the cause of press freedom in Burma. U Win Tin is a prominent journalist and writer who has been behind bars since 1989. He is also a member of the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Burma’s main opposition party. In October 1989, Win Tin was sentenced to three years imprisonment. He received another ten years in June 1992 and an additional seven years in March 1996, making a total of 20 years. On the third occasion, he was convicted of "secretly publishing anti-government propaganda" from inside the prison. From the infamous cell 10 of Insein prison, U Win Tin has often had to be transferred to the prison’s hospital. During his years in prison, he has had two heart attacks, a slipped disc and has undergone surgery. Now aged 76, he has lost most of his teeth because of poor conditions inside the prison. In November 2002, Win Tin was transferred to Rangoon general hospital because of heart problems. In June 2003, he was returned to his special cell in Insein prison after doctors deemed his health to be "satisfactory." Former chief editor of the newspaper Hanthawathi, author of many articles criticising the regime and close advisor of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Ky, Win Tin has refused on several occasions to sign a letter of resignation from the NLD in exchange for his release. ...more in World Association of Newspapers
"Hay que dar garantías a la junta militar para que dejen el poder": Piero Fassino (Avigliana, 1949), varias veces ministro y ex secretario general de los Demócratas de Izquierda, es el enviado especial de la Unión Europea a Myanmar (antigua Birmania), donde semanas atrás la Junta Militar reprimió con gran dureza las manifestaciones populares encabezadas por monjes budistas. Fassino, que prepara un viaje al país para antes de fin de año, considera que "hay que ofrecer garantías a los militares".
Pregunta. ¿De verdad puede hacer algo la UE en ese conflicto?
Respuesta. Es importante que la Unión Europea coopere con Naciones Unidas en este asunto. Tenemos poca influencia directa sobre Myanmar, pero tenemos fuertes relaciones comerciales con China, India, Japón y Tailandia, países fundamentales para la resolución de la crisis birmana. Hay que actuar a través de ellos. A China, sobre todo, le interesa que exista un clima sereno durante los Juegos Olímpicos de Pekín, el año próximo, y eso puede ayudar.
P. ¿Una caída de la Junta Militar podría reavivar los conflictos étnicos y llevar a una fragmentación del país?
R. Queremos democracia, pero también estabilidad. Conviene fomentar un diálogo en el que participen las minorías étnicas.
P. La Junta reprimió a sangre y fuego las recientes manifestaciones de monjes. ¿Cómo se puede inducir al diálogo a los militares?
R. Debemos buscar la reconciliación. Hay que ofrecer garantías jurídicas a los militares, asegurarles que no se les perseguirá si dejan el poder. El Ejército es básico en Myanmar y debemos conseguir que nadie, tampoco los militares, tema el futuro. La propia Aung San Suu Kyi, líder de la oposición, es hija de uno de los generales más prestigiosos del país, considerado el padre de la independencia de Birmania. Suu Kyi ha hecho una gran contribución declarándose dispuesta a dialogar con la Junta Militar, pese al larguísimo arresto domiciliario. Ahora corresponde a los militares acabar con las restricciones sobre la jefa de la oposición y liberar a los dirigentes políticos. ...lea la entrevista en El País
La ONU exige a la dictadura birmana iniciar conversaciones formales con la presidenta electa detenida Aung San Suu Kyi: El enviado especial de la ONU para Birmania, Ibrahim Gambari, instó a la Junta Militar a iniciar conversaciones formales con la líder opositora Aung San Suu Kyi, bajo arresto domiciliario desde 2003. El diplomático nigeriano señaló que para los birmanos no cabe una "marcha atrás" y aseguró que los líderes del sudeste asiático siguen apostando por la libertad de la Premio Nobel de la Paz y de los miles de presos políticos. En un receso de la cumbre del Foro Asia Oriental que se celebra en Singapur, el enviado especial de la ONU para Birmania, Ibrahim Gambari, ha pedido a la Junta Militar que abra conversaciones formales con Aung San Suu Kyi, líder del movimiento opositor. El diplomático nigeriano dijo a los periodistas que el actual diálogo entre el régimen birmano y Suu Kyi se encuentra en una "fase preliminar" que ha de concretarse en un marco de negociaciones formales lo antes posible. Tras entrevistarse con el primer ministro singapurés, Lee Hsein Loong, cuyo país ostenta este año la presidencia de la Asociación de Naciones del Sudeste de Asia (ASEAN), Gambari aseguró que la ONU seguirá moviéndose junto a la comunidad internacional en la dirección que desee el pueblo birmano. Esta previsto que Gambari, quien en Singapur se ha entrevistado de nuevo con el primer ministro birmano, general Thein Sein, inicie esta semana una gira por Vietnam, Laos y Camboya a la que seguirá otro viaje a Birmania (Myanmar) antes de fin de año. ...más en Libertad Digital
La UE confirma el endurecimiento de las sanciones contra Birmania: Los ministros de Asuntos exteriores exigen además la liberación de los presos políticos. La UE ha confirmado hoy el endurecimiento de las sanciones que pesan sobre Birmania (Myanmar) debido a "la seriedad de la situación actual", que afecta a varias personalidades a las que se les deniega el visado para entrar en Europa, se extiende a los sectores económicos del país asiático en el que no podrán invertir las empresas europeas y también la exportación por parte de éstas de equipamiento industrial, particularmente la minera. Asimismo, los ministros de Exteriores de la Unión Europea (UE) han pedido al régimen birmano que libere a los presos políticos y a los detenidos durante las últimas protestas y que ponga en marcha "medidas concretas" para una apertura democrática. Los ministros han acordado una posición común que enmienda las disposiciones ya existentes y que, en primer lugar, extiende la lista de personas sujetas a una prohibición de visado y a las que se congelarán los activos. De la misma manera se extiende el ámbito de aplicación de la prohibición de las compañías europeas de invertir en empresas estatales birmanas, de manera que ahora la restricción comprende "empresas controladas por el régimen o por personas asociadas" a él. Las medidas afectan a un total de 1.206 empresas birmanas, según fuentes comunitarias. ...más El País
La dictadura de Birmania detiene más demócratas mientras el relator
de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos se entrevista hoy con varios
La ONU envió a Pinheiro a Birmania (Myanmar) para
investigar las alegaciones sobre los abusos cometidos por la Junta Militar
en el poder durante la violenta represión de las manifestaciones a favor
de la democracia el pasado mes de septiembre.
La Junta Militar tiene encarcelados en Insein a cerca de 200 destacados políticos
de la oposición, activistas, y periodistas. Al término de su visita al presidio
y poco antes de abandonar el país, Pinheiro ha declarado a la prensa que había
podido conversar con muchos presos, entre ellos el periodista Win
Tin, de 77
años y encarcelado desde hace 18 años por escribir un artículo contrario al régimen
También Pinheiro ha hablado en la cárcel con miembros del movimiento antigubernamental
Generación 88, creado por los líderes de las protestas que encabezaron los estudiantes
en 1988, y que asumió con los monjes budistas el liderazgo de las manifestaciones
llevadas a cabo el pasado septiembre en las mayores ciudades del país.
Según las Naciones Unidas y Amnistía
Internacional (AI), cerca de 1.100 birmanos
están encarcelados por motivos políticos, la mayoría de ellos en Insein, situada
a las afueras de Rangún, y una de las prisiones del país a las que el Comité Internacional
de la Cruz Roja (CICR) tiene restringido el acceso por orden de las autoridades.
Durante la estancia de Pinheiro en Birmania, fue detenida en Rangún, la activista Su
Su Nway, galardonada el año pasado con el premio
John Humphrey de la Libertad,
y otras dos personas por distribuir panfletos con mensajes antigubernamentales.
...más en El
Visite el blog Libertad para Su Su Nway y la web del Centro Internacional de Derechos Humanos y Desarrollo Democrático que otorga el Premio John Humphrey a la Libertad - Y sostenga las campañas de Amnestía Internacional por la libertad de los prisioneros políticos en Birmania
El relator de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos llega a Birmania y visita la infame prisión Insein: En su primera visita en cuatro años, Sergio Pinheiro evaluará la situación de los detenidos tras las protestas. El representante de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos, Sergio Pinheiro, ha llegado hoy a Birmania (Myanmar) con el objetivo de visitar las prisiones del país y determinar de esta manera el número de personas muertas y detenidas ilegalmente durante la represión del Ejército birmano contra los protestantes pacifistas. Pinheiro recibió la prohibición de visitar el país hace cuatro años, y en esta oportunidad ha amenazado con abandonar Birmania si no recibe el apoyo total de la Junta. "Si no me ofrecen una cooperación total, cogeré el avión y me iré", dijo recientemente tras conocer que el Gobierno birmano le otorgaba permiso para visitar el país por cinco días. Pinheiro posee un historial de relaciones problemáticas con la Junta Militar birmana, debido a hechos como los ocurridos en marzo del 2003, cuando abandonó el país tras encontrar un micrófono oculto en una sala en la que mantenía entrevistas con presos políticos. También tuvo problemas un año más tarde, cuando acusó a la Junta de aportar "excusas absurdas" para llevar a la cárcel a sus oponentes políticos. ...más en El País - Libertad Digital
La Junta Militar autoriza que la presidenta electa y líder de la oposición, Dra. Aung San Suu Kyi, hija del fundador de Birnmania, mantenga una reunión con su partido político: La líder opositora birmana, Aung San Suu Kyi recibió hoy autorización de la Junta de Militar para mantener una reunión con miembros de la formación política que encabeza, la primera después de cuatro años de arresto domiciliario. En principio, el encuentro tendrá lugar este viernes. Con este anuncio, la Junta Militar cede a una de las mayores reivindicaciones de la oposición democrática, aunque la experiencia exige cautela pues se podría tratar de un gesto más estético que político. El reencuentro de Suu Kyi con su partido polítco fue uno de los asuntos que el enviado especial de Naciones Unidas, Ibrahim Gambari, abordó con la dirigente de la Liga Nacional por la Democracia (LND), durante la última jornada de su visita oficial a Birmania (Myanmar). Según el portavoz de la LND, Nyan Win, antes de ver a Suu Kyi en Rangún, Gambari se reunió en Napydaw, la capital administrativa y fortaleza de la Junta Militar, con el presidente del partido, Aung Shwe, y dos miembros del comité ejecutivo, U Lwin y Nyunt Mai. Antes de que la Junta Militar anunciara que permitía un encuentro entre Suu Kyi y miembros de su formación, la ONU indicó que se había progresado durante las gestiones realizadas por su representante para promover un diálogo entre la Junta Militar y la oposición. "Ahora tenemos un proceso que nos llevará hacia un diálogo sustancioso", destacó la ONU en un comunicado emitido al término de la visita oficial de seis días llevada a cabo por Gambari para mantener conversaciones con los militares y representantes de la oposición. "Las reuniones con Gambari tienen lugar porque en la LND creemos que son un importante paso para intentar alcanzar una reconciliación nacional", indicó el portavoz de la formación opositora, Nyan Win. La fase final de la ronda de contactos mantenidos por Gambari, que llegó el pasado sábado a Birmania, tuvo lugar mientras en diversas ciudades del país varios grupos antigubernamentales intentaron promover nuevas protestas mediante la distribución de panfletos. ... La fase final de la ronda de contactos mantenidos por Gambari, que llegó el pasado sábado a Birmania , tuvo lugar mientras en diversas ciudades del país varios grupos antigubernamentales intentaron promover nuevas protestas mediante la distribución de panfletos. A pesar del progreso anunciado por la ONU, Gambari ha fracasado en su intento de reunirse con el jefe de la Junta Militar, general Than Shwe, y ha recibido además una respuesta negativa a la propuesta de mantener un encuentro tripartito con Suu Kyi y el ministro de Trabajo, Aung Kyi, designado hace un mes "enlace" oficial entre la líder de la oposición y el régimen. La propuesta de Gambari fue calificada de "prematura" por la Junta Militar, mientras que por su parte la prensa estatal birmana arremetió contra la ONU, a la que acusó de interferir en los asuntos internos y de servir a los intereses de Estados Unidos. El diplomático nigeriano se entrevistó también durante su visita con varios ministros del Gobierno militar, miembros de grupos étnicos y representantes del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR). Este organismo internacional ha pedido a la Junta Militar acceso a las personas arrestadas a partir del pasado 26 de septiembre, cuando los soldados comenzaron el aplastamiento de las manifestaciones pacíficas que desafiaban a la dictadura. Desde entonces, las autoridades sostienen que murieron diez personas y casi 3.000 fueron detenidas, de las que afirman haber puesto en libertad a la gran mayoría. En cambio la disidencia calcula que en unos 200 los muertos y en más de 6.000 los detenidos. Birmania (Myanmar) está gobernada por los militares desde 1962 y no celebra elecciones parlamentarias desde 1990, cuando el partido oficial perdió de forma abrumadora ante la formación opositora de Suu Kyi. Los resultados de aquellos comicios nunca han sido aceptados por los generales. ...más en Libertad Digital - El País - El Mundo - ABC
El enviado especial de ONU llega a Birmania para misión de mediación: Es el segundo esfuerzo para crear canales de diálogo entre la Junta Militar y la oposición.-La Junta ordenó ayer la expulsión del jefe de la misión de Naciones Unidas en Birmania, Charles Petrie. ... La medida provocó hoy la protesta de Singapur, país que preside la Asociación de Naciones del Sudeste Asiático (ASEAN), organismo regional del que Birmania forma parte, y que la cuarta semana de noviembre celebrará en esa nación su Cumbre de Jefes de Estado. ...Fuentes de la ONU en Bangkok indicaron que Gambari, que llegó en un vuelo procedente de Turquía, viajará en avión a continuación a Naypyidaw, la nueva capital y la sede de la cúpula militar que gobierna con mano de hierro Birmania (Myanmar). Durante sus cinco días en el país, se espera que Gambari mantenga entrevistas con los líderes de la Junta Militar y con los más destacados miembros de la oposición, incluida la Premio Nobel de la Paz Aung San Suu Kyi, en arresto domiciliario desde 2003. ...más en El País - El Mundo - Libertad Digital
Birmania, segundo día sin Internet interrumpido por la dictadura para evitar que se conozcan las nuevas movilizaciones por la democracia: ... Los portavoces del proveedor de servicio estatal Myanmar Teleport evitaron comentar las causas de las restricciones, pero aseguraron que no tienen órdenes de restaurar el servicio y añadieron que la Junta Militar no ha informado de fechas de apertura. La medida fue tomada un día después de que cerca de un centenar de monjes se manifestara en la localidad de Pakokku, a unos 550 kilómetros al noroeste de Rangún, la primera protesta en un mes desde que las fuerzas de seguridad aplastaran las manifestaciones en favor de la democracia. De acuerdo con la disidencia birmana, la Junta Militar teme nuevas movilizaciones ante la visita al país de Ibrahim Gambari, el enviado especial de la ONU para Birmania, que llegará el próximo sábado. Según la fuente, el régimen no desea que ocurra como antes del 29 de septiembre, fecha del primer corte de internet, cuando gracias a ese servicio los medios de comunicación internacional consiguieron fotos y vídeos de los tiros, golpes y malos tratos que los soldados y los agentes antidisturbios emplearon para acallar las protestas. ...más en diario El País - El Mundo
La Junta Militar expulsa al jefe de la misión de la ONU en Birmania: Estados Unidos califica la medida de "escandalosa" e "insultante". La Junta Militar ha ordenado hoy la expulsión del jefe de Naciones Unidas en Birmania (Myanmar), Charles Petrie, en respuesta al comunicado crítico emitido el pasado octubre por la representación del organismo multilateral en ese país. Esta decisión lanza un velo de incertidumbre a la visita prevista para este fin de semana del enviado especial de la ONU, Ibrahim Gambari, quien busca promover la reconciliación. La expulsión de Petrie, quien también es coordinador de las tareas humanitarias, ha sido confirmada por el portavoz de la oficina de la ONU en Bangkok, Hak-Fan Lau. Petrie ha viajado hoy a Naypyidaw, la capital administrativa, donde ha recibido una carta del Gobierno militar en la que se le acusa de "actuar más allá de su capacidad al emitir el comunicado". "El Gobierno de la Unión de Myanmar no quiere que Petrie continúe sirviendo en Myanmar", precisó el portavoz de la oficina regional de la ONU, en un comunicado. Para el Gobierno de Estados Unidos "esta acción escandalosa es un insulto a las Naciones Unidas y a la comunidad internacional", ha declarado el portavoz norteamericano en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU, Gordon Johndroe, quien además lanzó un mensaje a la Junta para que permita la actuación de la Cruz Roja, y libere a todos los prisioneros políticos. ...más en diarios El País - El Mundo
45 años de dictadura y persecución en Birmania (Myanmar): El 24 de octubre de 2007, Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi habrá pasado 12 de los últimos 18 años detenida. Puede que sea la más conocida de todos los presos de conciencia de Myanmar, pero ciertamente no es la única.
Amnistía Internacional estima que, incluso antes de la reciente ola de represión violenta de manifestantes pacíficos, había en el país más de 1.150 presos políticos. De estos, el grupo de presos de conciencia incluía a destacados representantes políticos de las minorías étnicas, así como a miembros de la Liga Nacional para la Democracia y de grupos activistas estudiantiles.
Para marcar los 18 años de persecución que ha sufrido Aung San Suu Kyi en Myanmar, Amnistía Internacional desea destacar ante la opinión pública los casos de cuatro personas que simbolizan a todas las que se encuentran detenidas y están sufriendo persecución en el país. Éstas son la propia Aung San Suu Kyi; U Win Tin, el preso de conciencia que más años lleva encarcelado en Myanmar; U Khun Htun Oo, que está cumpliendo una condena de 93 años, y Zaw Htet Ko Ko, detenido tras participar en las recientes manifestaciones en el país. ... para más información y apoyar la democracia en Birmania visite la web de Amnistía Internacional
Cientos de monjes Budistas desafían a la dictadura militar de Birmania (Myanmar) y vuelven a manifestarse: Un centenar de budistas se manifiesta pacíficamente en la ciudad de Pakokku. Un centenar de monjes budistas han desafiado a la junta militar birmana y se han manifestado por las calles de la ciudad de Pakokku. Es la primera vez que los monjes salen a la calle desde la desactivación del movimiento popular encabezado por los monjes a finales de septiembre, reprimido a tiros y golpes por las fuerzas de seguridad. Además, se produce a pocos días de una nueva visita oficial del enviado especial de la ONU para Birmania, Ibrahim Gambari. Los monjes han comenzado su recorrido en la pagoda de Shwegu de la ciudad de Pakokku, a unos 550 kilómetros al noroeste de la capital, Rangún, y han desfilado cerca de una hora sin incidentes. Pakokku fue la ciudad donde los monjes se pusieron al frente de las manifestaciones antigubernamentales, después de que los cuerpos de seguridad golpeasen a varios bonzos que participaban un una marcha pacífica, el 5 de septiembre pasado. Con la dirección de los monjes, las marchas tomaron fuerza y llegaron a congregar a más de 300.000 personas en todo el país. ...más en diarios El País - Clarín - El Mundo
Responsables políticos de los tres grandes partidos del Reino Unido - Conservadores, Liberales y el gobierno Laborista- hablan (en inglés) y actúan (internacionalmente) en favor de la Democracia y los Derechos Humanos en Birmania: Including: The Prime Minister - Gordon Brown MP The Leader of the Opposition - David Cameron MP The Foreign Secretary - David Miliband MP The Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary - William Hague MP The Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Moore MP The Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell MP For more videos from Burma Campaign UK click here www.youtube.com/burmacampaignuk. For more details on Burma Campaign UK go to
Human Rights Watch denuncia que el Ejército birmano recluta miles de niños a los golpes: HRW afirma que niños de 10 años son 'golpeados hasta que se convierten en voluntarios'. Los pequeños son reclutados en mercados, estaciones y plazas públicas. La ONG insta al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU que imponga sanciones a Birmania La organización de defensa de los derechos humanos Human Rigths Watch (HRW) ha denunciado que las Fuerzas Armadas de Birmania (Myanmar) reclutan por la fuerza a miles de niños a través de sus agentes militares y civiles, a cambio de incentivos económicos. El informe, basado en una investigación realizada en Birmania y en los vecinos Tailandia y China, señala que el objetivo de esas redes son niños de alrededor de 10 años, que son reclutados en mercados, estaciones de autobús y otras plazas públicas. "A menudo son amenazados con arrestos si rechazan unirse al Ejército y algunos niños son golpeados hasta que aceptan ser 'voluntarios'", asegura HRW, con sede en Nueva York. En la investigación se explica que los menores elegidos cumplen un entrenamiento de 18 meses y luego son integrados en batallones dedicados a la represión en las aldeas, principalmente en aquellas donde la Junta militar obliga a los civiles a trabajar en proyectos de infraestructuras. HRW constata que se han dado casos en los que esos menores han sido golpeados o arrestados tras intentar desertar de sus respectivas unidades. ...HRW recomienda al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU que imponga sanciones a Birmania, como el embargo de la venta de armas al Ejército o restricciones de viaje a los altos cargos del Gobierno, con objeto de frenar ese reclutamiento. Pese a que el Consejo de Seguridad se ha comprometido a aplicar esas medidas, hasta la fecha no ha dado pasos en ese sentido, denuncia HRW. ...más en diario El Mundo
La ONU no sirve pero nos cuesta demasiado caro mantener los privilegios de sus dirigentes inútiles :: La ONU "deplora" la represión de Myanmar pero evita la condena por la oposición de China : El Consejo de Seguridad insta a la Junta Militar birmana a dialogar con la oposición para alcanzar la reconciliación nacional. El Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU ha deplorado con firmeza la violenta represión las manifestaciones pacíficas por parte de la Junta Militar de Myanmar, a la que ha instado a entablar un diálogo con la oposición que conduzca a la reconciliación nacional. La declaración adoptada por unanimidad por el máximo órgano de la ONU evita condenar explícitamente las acciones del régimen militar debido a la oposición de China a un texto contudente, pero incluye un llamamiento a la liberación de todos los presos políticos y detenidos. ...más en diarios El País - El Mundo
Cinco generales y 400 soldados detenidos por la dictadura de Birmania (Myanmar) por no disparar contra monjes budistas: Es una señal de la existencia de fisuras en el interior del régimen, según la fuente. Matar monjes es considerado el mayor de los pecados en la cultura birmana. Muchos funcionarios públicos no van a trabajar, como señal de disconformidad. La Junta militar controla las comunicaciones con el extranjero y a cortado las mismas, ni la Embajada de Francia puede comunicarse... La Junta Militar birmana detuvo a cinco generales y a más de 400 soldados por negarse a disparar y golpear a los monjes budistas y a otros participantes en las protestas de las últimas semanas en Rangún, informo el miércoles el rotativo indonesio 'The Jakarta Post', tras entrevistar a un alto cargo birmano que pidió el anonimato. "Cinco generales expresaron su negativa a destacar sus tropas abiertamente contra los monjes y fueron rápidamente detenidos por la Junta", dijo el oficial birmano que rechazó dar los nombres de los militares arrestados. Añadió que además fueron castigados "alrededor de 400 soldados de la División Sikai, cerca de la ciudad de Mandalay, que también bajaron sus armas frente a los monjes y les pidieron perdón al darse cuenta de que habían cometido el peor de los pecados". ...más en diario El Mundo
El 'museo de los horrores' de la feroz dictadura birmana: La Asociación de Ayuda a Presos Políticos de Birmania denuncia los abusos y torturas cometidos en las siniestras prisiones de la dictadura. Durante años, el preso Aung Kyat Do vivió con una extraña duda sobre uno de los castigos a los que sus carceleros le sometían en la prisión de Insein. Cuando los funcionarios le encadenaban al suelo de rodillas y lo exponían al duro sol de Birmania, Aung no sabía si era mejor que le cubrieran la cabeza con una capucha de tela o si era preferible que se la dejaran al sol. Ésa, dice Aung, era una de las cosas en las que gastaba 23 horas y 14 minutos de cada uno de los días que pasaba encerrado en una de las celdas de Insein. "Creo que todo lo que pasaba allí era igual de malo. Menos los 46 minutos restantes, que utilizábamos para lavarnos y para comer". Aung fue encarcelado por el régimen militar que gobierna en Myanmar (antigua Birmania) en 1988, durante una revuelta popular estudiantil similar a la que se ha vivido estos días en la antigua capital del país, Yangon. Las protestas de entonces acabaron con 3.000 muertos y miles de detenidos que fueron distribuidos por 43 prisiones. A Aung le encerraron en la temida Insein y allí pasó 17 años hasta que el jefe de la Junta Militar, Than Shwe, le liberó en una amnistía general. "Sí, me liberó él, un buen hombre, ¿verdad?", ironiza. ...Su relato es más sobrecogedor en el lugar en el que lo cuenta, el centro de la Asociación de Ayuda a Presos Políticos, una especie de museo de los horrores que muestra toda la documentación que la disidencia ha podido recabar en los últimos años. Es sólo una pequeña sala de una casa en las afueras de la ciudad tailandesa de Mae Sot, a unos cuatro kilómetros de la frontera con Myanmar, pero todos los detalles han sido cuidados para explicar cómo se las gasta el régimen. Aung señala en una maqueta de la prisión de Insein los barracones en los que estuvo encarcelado; en otra, cómo vivían hacinadas hasta ocho personas en las celdas; luego las fotos de los disidentes asesinados; las de los monjes que fueron detenidos, y las de los estudiantes abatidos. ...más en diario El País
La cloaca de la dictadura birmana :: La feroz Junta militar esconde a miles de monjes Budistas y entretiene turistícamente al timorato enviado de la ONU que visita solo 15 minutos a la Dra Aung San Suu Kyi, legítima presidenta electa de Birmania: El Gobierno militar de Myanmar decide encerrar en secreto a 4.000 religiosos arrestados durante las manifestaciones. Nadie ve lo que está pasando en Myanmar (antigua Birmania), pero las noticias siguen llegando. A pesar del esfuerzo de la Junta Militar por silenciar la represión contra los ciudadanos rebeldes y poner buena cara a la diplomacia internacional, la cadena británica BBC informó ayer, citando fuentes de grupos paramilitares financiados por el Gobierno, que unos 4.000 monjes arrestados en las manifestaciones de la semana pasada serán llevados en secreto al norte del Myanmar. Los monjes budistas que encabezaron las protestas están siendo confinados mientras tanto en un colegio y en un antiguo recinto deportivo. Algunos han dejado de comer. ...Ayer, los grupos paramilitares cercanos al régimen se dedicaban a reclutar a la gente más pobre de las ciudades para participar en una contramanifestación a favor del Gobierno a cambio de dos dólares y bajo la amenaza de tener que pagar siete si no quieren tener problemas más graves, informó ayer la radio Mizzima, un canal de periodistas birmanos que transmite desde países vecinos como Tailandia. ... Un inmenso complejo que data de la época colonial británica alberga la prisión de Insein, la más temida por los opositores birmanos. Los sobrevivientes cuentan que más de doscientos presos políticos cumplen largas penas hacinados en minúsculas celdas, oliendo sus propios excrementos y bajo la amenaza constante de la tortura. Amnistía Internacional dice que la mayoría de los internos llevan más de veinte años encarcelados en condiciones inhumanas. ... Los observadores se muestran escépticos sobre el éxito de la misión de Gambari. En su última visita a Myanmar, en mayo de 2006, también le fue permitido reunirse con Suu Kyi, pero una semana después la junta ordenó un año más de arresto domiciliario para la líder de la oposición. Por otra parte, la radio opositora La Voz Democrática de Birmania, con sede en Oslo, afirmó hoy que los recientes enfrentamientos podrían haber terminado con muchas más víctimas que en días anteriores. Algunas fuentes citadas por la emisora hablan de hasta 200 muertos. Además, según la radio continúan las redadas del Ejército en monasterios budistas de Rangún, entre ellos uno situado junto al aeropuerto internacional de la antigua capital birmana. ...más en diarios El País - El Mundo - ABC - Libertad Digital - Perfil - La Nación - Human Rights Watch
Claves de la prolongada existencia de la dictadura militar en Birmania, el narcotráfico y los negocios de los dirigentes chinos: ... A medida que se agrava la crisis en Myanmar, la mirada de la comunidad internacional se dirige hacia China, el aliado más firme de la Junta Militar birmana. En su condición de socio comercial privilegiado y de gran proveedor de armas a Yangon, Pekín se ha convertido en la clave de cualquier esfuerzo por intentar contener a la dictadura de los generales. Los intereses económicos de China, sin embargo, son también el principal obstáculo que impide impulsar acciones concretas multilaterales. La capital administrativa desde el pasado año fue construida en un agreste territorio situado a unos 400 kilómetros de Yangon por las empresas que a la sombra de la Junta Militar prosperaron gracias al negocio del narcotráfico y a la mediación en operaciones de compra de armamento para el Ejército birmano. Asia World, compañía propiedad del birmano de origen chino Lo Hsing Han (amnistiado por el régimen después de que fuera condenado a muerte por tráfico de droga) , a quién la Agencia Antidroga de Estados Unidos (DEA) y cuerpos policiales de diversos países consideran uno de los mayores narcotraficantes del sudeste de Asia, recibió del Gobierno militar la mayor parte de los contratos de construcción. Este empresario, de dudosa reputación, juega a menudo al golf en un exclusivo club militar de las afueras de Yangon, al que además de los generales, también a veces acude Khun Sa, a quién la DEA llamó e su día el "Pablo Escobar" del sudeste de Asia. Khun Sa se encuentra bajo protección de los militares desde que en 1996 pactó en secreto con la Junta Militar la entrega de su cuartel general en Hmong, y de su "ejercito" particular, integrado por unos 30.000 guerrilleros. Desde entonces, Khun Sa reside en una lujosa villa de las afueras de Yangon. Otra de las empresas birmanas que participaron en la construcción de infraestructura de defensa y civil que la Junta Militar encargó para instalarse en Napydaw, es Htoo Trading Company, la principal suministradora de material bélico del régimen. El jefe de la Junta Militar, general Than Shwe, de acuerdo a diferentes versiones, tiene predilección por esta empresa a cuyos propietarios, los hermanos Htoo, presentes en casi todas las fiestas y a banquetes privados que celebra la familia Shwe. Los Htoo tienen negocios relacionados con la hostelería y la exportación de madera de teca, jade y piedras preciosas, ha intervenido en las mayores operaciones comerciales de compra de armas llevadas a cabo por la Junta Militar desde 2002, incluida la compra de aviones de combate MiG-29 y helicópteros rusos. La producción y el tráfico de heroína en la montañosa región birmana del 'Triángulo de Oro' ha resurgido con brío desde que subió el precio de la droga, después de varios años de escasa demanda internacional. En los laboratorios clandestinos situados en la frondosa jungla del norte y noreste de Birmania, el precio de la heroína es ahora diez veces superior al de hace una década, cuando los "ejércitos"del narcotráfico optaron por buscar mayores beneficios económicos con la fabricación de anfetaminas. En tanto, el gigante petrolero Petrochina obtuvo, a principios de año, un acuerdo para la construcción de un gasoducto en las narices de India. Pekín ha aderezado el acuerdo con un proyecto de oleoducto, que iría en paralelo y facilitaría el transporte de crudo saudí a China, al evitar el estrecho de Malacca. La decisión última depende del régimen de Myanmar, al que China trata con guante de seda. ...más en Urgente 24
Monjes budistas detenidos se declaran en huelga de hambre :: Alentados por la llegada a Birmania de Ibrahim Gambari, enviado especial de la ONU, miles de opositores y monjes budistas se han vuelto a lanzar a las calles de Rangún. La respuesta de la dictadura miliar ha sido brutal: Con disparos de armas automáticas y gases lacrimógenos dispersaron con dureza a los manifestantes. Fuentes del hospital de Kyimyidine confirmaron que un niño ha muerto. En la prisión de Bamaw, treinta monjes se han declarado en huelga de hambre. Desde el inicio de las protestas a favor de la democracia, dieciséis personas han muerto, entre ellas dos extranjeras. La dictadura impide al enviado de la ONU encontrar la Premio Nobel de la Paz y Presidenta electa de Birmania Dra. Suun Kyi ....Las calles de Rangún, antigua capital de Birmania, permanecen desiertas y presentan el aspecto de un campo de batalla. Cientos de soldados, policías y paramilitares patrullan en busca de opositores. Según fuentes del hospital Kyimyidine, un niño murió y dos hombres resultaron heridos al ser alcanzados por las balas disparados por militares. Después de numerosos conatos de protesta, miles de personas -entre dos mil y diez mil según diversas fuentes de la disidencia-, fueron dispersadas a tiros y gases lacrimógenos, después de conseguir marchar juntos unos cientos de metros por la céntrica calle Comercio. Varios cientos de manifestantes se reagruparon más tarde cerca del mercado de Theingyi, pero de nuevo los cuerpos de seguridad, bastón o rifle en mano, cargaron contra ellos. Las protestas han sido alentadas por la presencia en el país de Ibrahim Gambari, representante para Birmania del secretario genera de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, para analizar la situación con miembros de la Junta Militar que gobierna el país desde hace 45 años. ...más en diarios Libertad Digital - El País - El Mundo - ABC - Perfil
Los militares birmanos aceptan la entrada del enviado de la ONU: La dictadura asesina a muchos ciudadanos, entre ellos un fotógrafo japonés, al reprimir el Ejército a tiros las protestas. ...l secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, decidió enviar el miércoles a su representante especial a Myanmar, después de que China vetase en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU la imposición de sanciones contra la Junta Militar que gobierna con mano de hierro ese país. Al ser preguntado sobre la posibilidad de que el máximo órgano de la ONU impusiera sanciones al régimen de Yangon, el representante de Pekín respondió que "las sanciones no son de ninguna ayuda a la situación tal como está allí". El viaje de Gambari se produce en medio de un creciente rechazo internacional a la respuesta violenta de la Junta Militar a las manifestaciones de monjes y civiles. Los militares decidieron el miércoles utilizar la mano dura contra los centenares de miles de personas que se manifiestan desde hace más de una semana en varias ciudades de Myanmar y, hasta el momento, han matado al menos a nueve personas, entre ellas un fotógrafo japonés (en el suelo en la imagen), identificado como Kenji Nagai, de 50 años, según el Ministerio de Exteriores de Japón. Miles de manifestantes, hasta 70.000, según algunas fuentes, han vuelto a congregarse este jueves en el centro de Yangon y han gritado consignas contra el régimen militar como "¡Venceremos, venceremos!". El presidente de EE UU, George W. Bush, ha pedido al ministro de Exteriores chino, Yang Jiechi -con el que se ha reunido este jueves-, que colabore para "llevar a Myanmar a una transición pacífica hacia la democracia". Washington ha impuesto sanciones económicas contra 14 miembros de la Junta Militar birmana, en un intento de debilitar al régimen. ...más en diario El País
China y Putin principales culpables de la cruenta dictadura
que terroriza Birmania desde hace 45 años :: Indignación en la populación
por la represión contra los religiosos :: Reanudan las protestas en Rangún
a pesar de las muertes y detenciones de monjes
Los generales que dirigen Myanmar desconfían de sus ciudadanos y del mundo. Los tres generales que encabezan la Junta Militar birmana ni siquiera confían entre sí. El aislamiento impuesto al país, uno de los más pobres del mundo pese a que posee gas, petróleo y piedras preciosas, procede en buena parte del ostracismo y el oscurantismo de unos militares que han hecho de la represión su modus operandi y de la superstición y la paranoia su código de conducta. Los analistas internacionales sostienen que el general Than Shwe, de 74 años y jefe de la junta, recela de la ambición del número dos, el general Maung Aye, de 69 años, y éste, a su vez, de sus inmediatos superior e inferior, el teniente general Soe Win, de 59 años. Los tres, sin embargo, siguen ciegamente el consejo de sus respectivos quirománticos y astrólogos. Amparados en el eufemismo del Consejo de la Paz y el Desarrollo del Estado, bajo el que se oculta uno de los regímenes más brutales del mundo, los generales hicieron oídos sordos del clamor de su pueblo y de la comunidad internacional para democratizar el país. Mientras tanto, un vídeo colgado en YouTube mostró el año pasado a la hija de Than Shwe, adornada con brillantes como garbanzos el día de su boda. ...más en diarios El País - El Mundo - Libertad Digital - ABC - Perfil - La Nación
Suu Kyi saluda emocionada la marcha de los monjes buddhistas contra la cruel dictadura que la mantiene prisionera desde hace 11 años: La líder opositora birmana, encerrada en su casa desde 2003, sale para saludar a cientos de monjes en su sexto día de protestas. ...La histórica líder opositora de Myanmar (país antes conocido como Birmania), Aung San Suu Kyi, ha salido de su casa con lágrimas en los ojos para saludar la marcha de cientos de monjes budistas que protestan por sexto día consecutivo contra la Junta Militar que dirige el país. Suu Kyi, premio Nobel de la Paz, ha pasado 11 de los últimos 18 años arrestada en su casa por su oposición a la dictadura militar. El encuentro entre monjes y Suu Kyi, que sin embargo no han podido intercambiar palabras, es el último símbolo de inconformidad contra la Junta Militar myanma, en el poder desde 1962. Unos 10.000 monjes budistas se han manifestado hoy en varias ciudades birmanas de forma pacífica para exigir disculpas al Gobierno por la agresión a varios bonzos a principios de mes, y unos 1.000 lograron concentrarse frente a la embajada de China, el principal aliado de la Junta Militar. ...más en diarios El País -
monjes budistas protestan contra la Junta Militar de Myanmar: Miles de monjes budistas continuaron ayer por tercer día sus protestas en varias ciudades de Myanmar (antigua Birmania), en un claro desafío hacia la Junta Militar que gobierna el país. Los monjes, como los que aparecen en la imagen, ayer en una calle de Yangon, protestan contra la política económica de los militates.
También exigieron disculpas al Gobierno por la violencia que ejerció la policía en Pakoku, al norte de Birmania, el pasado 5 de septiembre, al disolver una manifestación de los budistas con gases lacrimógenos. ...más en diarios El País - El Mundo
Por favor también apoye la campaña contra la brutal dictadura y en favor del respeto de los Derechos Humanos en Myanmar (ex-Burma) ... más información en Luchemos por Burma(en inglés) - y la web Info Burma (en francés)
San Suu Kyi, otra Mandela birmana:
Once años de reclusión no
han logrado doblegar la voluntad democratizadora de la Nobel de la Paz
Aung San Suu Kyi ...Su figura menuda, de sonrisa amplia y siempre con
flores en el pelo -una tradición milenaria entre las mujeres birmanas-
esconde una voluntad de acero, que uno de los regímenes más represivos
del mundo no ha logrado doblegar.
Aung San Suu Kyi, de 61 años, es el símbolo de las ansias de libertad
y democracia del pueblo birmano y el icono mundial de la resistencia civil.
El Consejo de la Paz y del Desarrollo del Estado, eufemismo bajo el que
se oculta un Gobierno militar que mantiene Myanmar -como la Junta rebautizó
Birmania en 1989- aislada del resto del planeta, volvió a prolongar el
viernes el arresto domiciliario de la disidente.
Hija del general Aung San, el héroe de la independencia de Birmania, nada hacía prever que Suu Kyi se convertiría en la Mandela de Asia. Tal vez ni siquiera ella lo imaginó cuando decidió en 1988 dejar a su marido y a sus dos hijos menores en Londres para volver a Rangún a cuidar de su madre moribunda.
Suu Kyi nunca volvió a salir de su patria y durante casi todos estos años su casa ha sido su cárcel ...Educada en India, donde su madre fue embajadora y en Oxford, esta profesora, que perfeccionó sus estudios en Japón y trabajó en la secretaría de Naciones Unidas, se sintió siempre, pese a las circunstancias, una privilegiada. Sin embargo, la líder de la LND también ha tenido que pagar un alto precio por alzarse en defensora de los sin voz. La Junta la ha tenido muchos meses sin poder siquiera hablar por teléfono con sus hijos y cuando en 1999 su marido, Michael Aris (británico), enfermó de cáncer y pretendió visitarla, no obtuvo el permiso. A ella la dejaban ir a Londres pero temió que no la dejarían volver. Aris murió sin el consuelo de su esposa. El último periodo de libertad de Aung San Suu Kyi fue entre mayo de 2002 y junio de 2003. El miedo de la Junta a que la líder de la oposición encabece una revolución pacífica que ponga fin al régimen militar llevó a los militares a hacer oídos sordos a todas las demandas de clemencia presentadas en las últimas semanas por la comunidad internacional. Desde los gobiernos al Parlamento Europeo, pasando por un grupo de senadoras estadounidenses al que se unió Laura Bush, exigieron la liberación de la disidente, aunque eran pocos los que confiaban en su magnanimidad. La Junta que ha construido una nueva capital -Naypyitaw- para mayor seguridad de la cúpula militar y que en los últimos años ha ganado ciertas batallas diplomáticas como la entrada de Myanmar en la Asociación de Naciones del Sureste Asiático y la mejora de relaciones con India, no está dispuesta a dar la más mínima oportunidad a su más temido enemigo. ...más en diario El País.
La abogada de derechos humanos y opositora al régimen dictatorial de Birmania Aung San Suu Kyi, galardonada con el premio Olof Palme 2005 por su indomable lucha por un país democrático: Recibió el Nobel de la Paz en 1991 y lleva más de 11 años bajo arresto domiciliario ...más en diario El Mundo - visite también la página dedicada a su biografía pulsándo aquí - web del Nobel Peace Center.
Time, the Generals and Aung San Suu Kyi:
by Thierry Falise
It is not difficult to understand why the generals still fear a woman they have been trying to neutralize for almost 20 years. And why they keep her locked up. A Nobel Peace Prize and six years of house arrest first raised Aung San Suu Kyi to the status of a world icon of non-violence. But soon after her first release in 1995 she was a victim of violence. And she faced a barrage of criticism claiming she was stubborn and an “arrogant British snob.” She was even accused of being a dictator within her own National League for Democracy party. To start with, these critics were fueled by the regime, but then some Western media who had previously lauded Suu Kyi lashed out at her with an irrational, almost fashionable, aggressiveness. Perhaps some criticism was legitimate, such as her hard stance on humanitarian aid to Burma, or her public snub of an International Red Cross envoy in 1999—which she later acknowledged was wrong. But much of the criticism was greatly exaggerated, invented or inspired by personal conflicts, for example the split with her former personal assistant and friend Ma Theingi. The most poisonous arrows were aimed at her late husband and their two sons. Working on the principle that “there is no smoke without fire,” the generals dragged Michael, Alexander and Kim Aris into the dirty swamp of rumors and slander. The regime engaged in nasty visa blackmail: You lie low, and we will allow your family to visit you. Sticking to her moral principles and driven by a profound sense of decency, Suu Kyi never allowed her personal life to intervene. She knew the cost, and ultimately she chose to sacrifice her immediate family for the benefit of her other, larger family, the people of Burma. Most similar icons of resistance with whom Suu Kyi can be compared are men: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa. They were all strong, hardheaded personalities who imposed their views within their own ranks with an uncompromising authority. That’s what it takes to be a leader. ...more in The Irrawaddy
Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize 1991
[Acceptance Speech delivered on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi, by her son Alexander Aris, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1991]
I stand before you here today to accept on behalf of my mother, Aung San Suu Kyi, this greatest of prizes, the Nobel Prize for Peace. Because circumstances do not permit my mother to be here in person, I will do my best to convey the sentiments I believe she would express.
Firstly, I know that she would begin by saying that she accepts the Nobel Prize for Peace not in her own name but in the name of all the people of Burma. She would say that this prize belongs not to her but to all those men, women and children who, even as I speak, continue to sacrifice their wellbeing, their freedom and their lives in pursuit of a democratic Burma. Theirs is the prize and theirs will be the eventual victory in Burma's long struggle for peace, freedom and democracy.
Speaking as her son, however, I would add that I personally believe that by her own dedication and personal sacrifice she has come to be a worthy symbol through whom the plight of all the people of Burma may be recognised. And no one must underestimate that plight.
The plight of those in the countryside and towns, living in poverty and destitution, those in prison, battered and tortured; the plight of the young people, the hope of Burma, dying of malaria in the jungles to which they have fled; that of the Buddhist monks, beaten and dishonoured. Nor should we forget the many senior and highly respected leaders besides my mother who are all incarcerated. It is on their behalf that I thank you, from my heart, for this supreme honour. The Burmese people can today hold their heads a little higher in the knowledge that in this far distant land their suffering has been heard and heeded.
We must also remember that the lonely struggle taking place in a heavily guarded compound in Rangoon is part of the much larger struggle, worldwide, for the emancipation of the human spirit from political tyranny and psychological subjection. The Prize, I feel sure, is also intended to honour all those engaged in this struggle wherever they may be. It is not without reason that today's events in Oslo fall on the International Human Rights Day, celebrated throughout the world. ...
This is the second time that my younger brother and I have accepted a great prize for my mother in Norway. Last year we travelled to Bergen to receive for her the Thorolf Rafto Prize for Human Rights, a wonderful prelude to this year's event.3 By now we have a very special feeling for the people of Norway. It is my hope that soon my mother will be able to share this feeling and to speak directly for herself instead of through me. Meanwhile this tremendous support for her and the people of Burma has served to bring together two peoples from opposite ends of the earth. I believe much will follow from the links now forged. It only remains for me to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Let us hope and pray that from today the wounds start to heal and that in the years to come the 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace will be seen as a historic step towards the achievement of true peace in Burma. The lessons of the past will not be forgotten, but it is our hope for the future that we celebrate today. ...more in the Nobel Pize website
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This Website is updated daily.
Useful informations, constructive critique and journalists wishing to cooperate are most welcome: info@Habeas-Corpus.net
Cette web est actualisée chaque jour
Des informations utiles, critiques constructives et des journalistes désirant coopérer sont bienvenus: info@Habeas-Corpus.net
English version from Babelfish.