Saturday, November 10, 2007

DASSK met with her colleagues,3 officers of NLD

It is reported on DVB that on Nov9 afternoon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with
3 officials of NLD, U Aung Shwe, U Lwin and U Nyunt Wai.
NLD spokesman stated that they discussed on the topics and date DASSK would dialogue with the government in detail.
NLD is also trying to include the cases of Ethnic minorities in the topics to be discussed.

The spokesman also said DASSK said that the first meeting with the Government's minister U Aung Kyi was inviting.
Though we all know the government is trying to stretch the time and dilute international attention, there still might be a chance this dialogue really could work.
We sitll have yet to see the UN security council's reaction on Mr.Gambari's report also.

Rangoon Residents See Flicker of Hope in Burma

Source: Agence France-Presse via

Residents in Myanmar's main city Yangon are divided over the prospects for change after a meeting between opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and an official of the junta which has ruled for the past 45 years.

Many in Yangon, which was at the heart of recent anti-junta protests, also expressed optimism over the signs and were hopeful that the military rulers would heed her offer to hold talks.

"It's a good tactic to pursue the military government," said one 40-year-old man, who like most people in Myanmar wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the subject.

"If the government doesn't accept her offer.. it would be their responsibility."

One monk who joined the protest said he believed the generals were only trying to appease the international community, and did not really have the political will for dialogue.

"Basically if they were honest enough, the process should not be very long like this," said the monk, who said he was concerned the junta would drag the process out.

For the full report, please click here.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Likely To Be Released Soon

Source: Mizzima News

In a sign of progress, Burma's democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years, will be released soon, a party spokesperson said on Saturday.

Myint Thein, spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD), told Mizzima today that the detained party leader will soon be release and conditions to kick-start a dialogue process are taking shape.

"Currently the situation is good. She [Daw Aung San Suu Kyi] is in good health. She is not yet released but will be released soon," said Myint Thein.

Citing the possibility of the government tapping his telephone, Myint Thein said, "As you know the condition of my phone, please understand that I cannot say anything too loud at the moment."

For the full report, please click here.

Briefing by Amnesty International

Source: Amnesty International

Amnesty International has released a brief entitled " MYANMAR- Briefing Paper: No Return to "Normal""

In the briefing, Amnesty International detailed evidence of killings, tortures, and arrests of peaceful protesters.

In the statement, Amnesty International urges the Myanmar authorities to:
· account for those killed by providing the names of the victims and the cause of their deaths to the Special Rapporteur and the general public.
· allow the Special Rapporteur access to all crematoria and their records, as an initial step toward a full-scale independent investigation into reports of secret cremations by state authorities.
· carry out independent, impartial and prompt investigations into all deaths in custody.
· ensure that those responsible for unlawful killings are brought to justice.

For the full brief, please click here.

US Seeks Global Pressure After Burma Junta Rebuffs Reforms

Source: Agence France- Presse via Yahoo News

The United States on Thursday asked the international community to step up pressure on Myanmar's ruling military generals after they appear to have rebuffed a UN push for genuine national reconciliation.

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari's latest mission to Myanmar to push for democratic reforms met with little success, as the generals ruled out a three-way meeting with arrested democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Gambari also left Myanmar Friday without meeting with military junta chief Senior General Than Shwe or getting any assurances of freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi or other jailed politicians and activists.

For the full report, please click here.

UN Rights Expert Due in Burma as Groups Demand Prisoner Release

Source: Channel News Asia

UN human rights expert Paulo Sergio Pinheiro was due Sunday to start his first visit to Myanmar in four years as rights groups demanded the ruling military government release all political prisoners.

The Brazilian rights expert earlier this week welcomed the generals' invitation as a "positive indication" of their desire to cooperate during his November 11-15 visit, which comes amid apparent signs of progress on establishing dialogue between the military government and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Rights groups said Pinheiro's visit was a chance to push the generals on reforms and demanded the release of all political prisoners.

Amnesty International wrote Friday to Myanmar's authorities with a briefing paper outlining "grave and ongoing human rights violations" committed since the start of the clampdown, which sparked international outrage.

Amnesty estimated 700 political prisoners were still in detention, including 91 detained during the recent protests, and accused the authorities of the enforced disappearance of at least 72 people.

For the full report, please click here.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Front Page News in Burma

Source: Associated Press

Detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi received rare front-page billing Saturday in Myanmar's state-controlled press, which said the ruling military junta was "putting energy" into democratic reforms demanded by the international community.

The regime's tightly controlled newspapers published a photograph of Suu Kyi and Aung Kyi, smiling and shaking hands at a government guest house - an indication the government was keen to publicize the meeting even though it has not commented on what was discussed.

For the full report, please click here.

Public Stops Worship of Junta's Abbott

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

DVB Friday reported that once-famous Kya Khat Wine Sayadaw of Pegu, has lost the respect of many of his devotees for siding openly with the junta.

Residents told DVB that many have stopped offering alms to the monks of the monastery during the morning alms rounds, and patrons of the monastery has also stopped making cash contributions.

"In the past, almost everyone used to make offerings during the morning alms rounds. But now, only the fanatics continue to support the monastery. The Abbott used to be much respected throughout the state, but his actions have alienated the public. There used to be monthly donations in terms of cash and food, and a medical fund. They have all been stopped."

"The Abbott doesn't seem to care, because he has more than 3000 lakh (1 lakh ~ 68 USD) in the coffers. He said something to that effect during one of the prayer sessions; that it didn't matter if he was left with just one worthy disciple."

The source added that many of the monks residing in the monastery have left as a result of the Abbott's anti-foreign media propaganda.

"One of the frequent visitors to the monastery told us that before every meal, the monks are made to repeat phrases that condemn the foreign media. The people living near the monastery said many of the monks have left at the end of Buddhist Lent because they were unhappy over such incidents. The number of monks have been reduced to just over 300."

The resident also told DVB that town council members and USDC members were made to attend the light festival celebrations in the monastery as the devotees, who used to turn up in large numbers for such events, boycotted the event.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

To read our earlier reports on Kya Khat Wine Sayadaw, please follow these links:
1. Rasputin of Burma Identified
2. Junta's Strategy: Use Soldiers as Scapegoats to Exterminate Monks and Students

Pilgrims to Show ID Cards At Entrance of Shwe Dagon

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

The Management Committee of Shwe Dagon Pagoda put up notices on Friday that all pilgrims must bring their identification cards in order to be allowed entry.

Security was also especially tight at the Eastern gate, and thorough checks are being conducted on monks, said an eye witness.

"There is a large notice at the entrance. I have yet to see any civilians being checked, but all monks have to go through security. If a monk does not have his identification card, he is not allowed to go up. Security is very tight, especially on Tuesdays."

The source added that it was disturbing to see security forces on the grounds of the pagoda.

For the original articles in Burmese, please click here.

UN: Push Burma for Real Reform

Source: Human Rights Watch News

The United Nations Security Council should redouble efforts to prod Burma’s generals into starting a genuine political dialogue and ending human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today.
Burma’s military leaders have stonewalled visiting UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari, making Security Council support for the upcoming visit of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Paulo Pinhiero, all the more urgent. The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has yet to release political prisoners and protestors, end military rule, or even hold serious discussions with the political opposition.

“The military government has engaged in public relations stunts like allowing Gambari to be photographed with Aung San Suu Kyi, but it has failed to make a single meaningful move on national reconciliation or human rights protections,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government is clearly just trying to buy time in hopes that the world will turn its attention elsewhere. The UN must not accept this.”

For the full report, please click here.

DASSK and NLD Members Hold Discussion Prior to Meeting with Junta

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

U Nyan Win, a spokesman for National League for Democracy, Friday said that a meeting was held between 3 NLD members and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, from about 130 to 230pm at a government guest house. The discussion focussed on the four conditions that the junta imposed in order to stage two-party dialogue, said U Nyan Win. In addition, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with junta-appointed liaison minister, Aung Kyi, twice Friday afternoon.

DVB finds out more about details of the meetings and the future of the country in an interview with U Nyan Win.

UNW: Daw Aung San Su Kyi met with three members of the NLD this afternoon from about 1pm at a building in the compound of the government guest residence. The members are namely, Chairman U Aung Shwe, Secretary General U Lwin, and U Nyunt Wai. The meeting lasted for about two hours. They addressed the role and the direction of NLD in bringing about national reconciliation, in detail.

DVB: Could you share the details?
UNW: The discussion was mainly about the conditions, or requirements, imposed by junta. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has earlier decided to discuss these four conditions with NLD members before making any comments. The outcome of this discussion will influence her communication with the liaison minister.

DVB: Among the four conditions, there are conditions beyond Daw Aung San Su Kyi's control. So if you are going to make some compromises, what will be the compromise?
UNW: This has been discussed in the meeting. However, I'm unable to tell you now as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself has yet to speak out.

DVB: We received information that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also met with the liaison minister? Were you (NLD members) in that meeting as well?
UNW: No. It was a separate meeting. We think it was after our meeting with her.

DVB: Do you have any information on what was discussed during that meeting?
UNW: No.

DVB: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi released a statement through UN Envoy, Mr Gambari. How does NLD feel about the contents of the statement?
UNW: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has explained the contents to the members, and on our part, we agree with what she had said.

DVB: In the statement, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that it is crucial for everyone, including the ethic groups, to be united. So can we presume that issues relating to ethinic minorities will be also be taken into consideration in the dialogue? From an early point?
UNW: We plan to incorporate the concerns of ethnic groups in our dialogue. We have drawn up some plans regarding the issues currently facing ethnic groups. We will inform the public when these plans have been put into action.

DVB: Many of the political parties representing ethnic groups have been made to disband. So, at this point in time, among ethnic leaders, whom do you hope to include in the dialogue?
UNW: We will propose to include those who are true representative of their peoples. In addition, we will hold discussions with foreign-based groups and we intend to take their suggestions and concerns seriously.

DVB: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has said earlier that negotiations should be got over with and real dialogue should start as soon as possible. What is your opinion on the current situation?
UNW: We believe that junta is serious about holding dialogue with us, and so we will carry on in order to achieve our objective.

DVB: During the second trip of Mr Gambari, the response from junta has been lukewarm. Analysts are also suspicious over the real intention of junta. What is your view?
UNW: Our meeting only focussed on important issues. We will not condemn nor start a verbal war with the other party. We will continue doing our job; what is to be done.

More Action Needed Over Burma: MPs tell ASEAN

Source: Agence France-Presse

The ASEAN bloc should engage in more action and less talk to help bring about democratic change in military-ruled Burma, the region's legislators and non-government groups said Friday.

Delegates at a forum organised by the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Democracy in Burma were told that the 10-nation grouping should recognise it has the economic clout to pressure Myanmar rather than just lamenting it has limited influence there.

"ASEAN members must make some serious decisions... ASEAN can no longer be used by the military junta as cover for their economic incompetence and brutal political oppression," Singapore legislator Charles Chong told the forum.

"If ASEAN, after 40 years of existence, cannot muster the political will to work together and with the UN in order to resolve this urgent matter, then ASEAN is fundamentally at risk."

For the full report, please click here.

Awzar Thi: The Generals' Mythical Compromise

Source: UPI Asia Online

While hundreds of persons remain detained or are missing in the aftermath of the uprising that gripped Burma in September, and new sporadic protests emerge, its national newspapers have consisted of the usual phalanx of army officers forcing their largesse onto Buddhist monks and attending an all-important performing arts festival.

For the full article, please click here.

Burmese Military Intelligence Chief Meets Ceasefire Groups

Source: Mizzima News

The Burmese military junta seems to be stepping up efforts to further tame armed ethnic groups in northern parts of the country. Major General Ye Myint, chief of the Burmese Military Affairs Security (MAS), has met with leaders of seven ethnic armed groups based along the Sino-Burmese border since October, sources said.

The groups have agreed and abided to ceasefires with the Burmese Military for several years now. It is believed that the Burmese military's long term goal is to convince the opposing ethnic groups of a voluntary disarmament.

For the full report, please click here.

Yeni: How to save Burma’s future generations?

Source: Irrawaddy News via Burmanet

Traditionally, the Burmese people have believed that society rests on three highly regarded institutions: “Students,” “Monks” and “Soldiers.” All three groups fought for Burma’s independence from the British colonial power and the Japanese occupation. All three had a dream to build a new nation.

For the full report, please click here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

U.N. Envoy to Burma 'Sorely' Disappoints U.S.

Source: The New York Sun

The results of Ibrahim Gambari's latest attempt to engage the Burmese military leadership in diplomacy "sorely disappointed" the White House and pro-democracy activists, and some say the U.N. envoy to Burma instead may have given ammunition to Security Council members opposed to punitive measures against the junta.

For the full report, please click here.

Vietnam Urges Bumese Junta to Work with U.N.

Source: Reuters

Vietnam urged Myanmar's ruling junta on Thursday to work with the United Nations special envoy to resolve the crisis in the beleaguered Southeast Asian country.

Speaking on the eve of a visit by Burma's newly appointed prime minister, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung told a news briefing:

"We hope that Myanmar will cooperate with the United Nations, especially with the special envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General, to find a suitable and satisfactory solution to the situation in line with interests of national reconciliation."

For the full report, please click here.

Indonesia Urges Burmato Speed Up Reforms

Source: Reuters

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged Myanmar on Thursday to speed up democratic reform, saying the military leadership needed to be "flexible and creative".

For the full report, please click here.

Protest Highlights Oil Giants Burma's Ties

Source: The Morning Star via Burmanet

Human rights campaigners staged a symbolic “die-in” outside transnational oil giant Total’s London office in Wednesday over the company’s ties to the Myanmar military dictatorship.

The protest, part of a worldwide day of action targeted at the French-based company, saw demonstrators in Cavendish Square dressed in blood-soaked bandages holding placards reading: “Total out of Burma.”

The die-in was held on the same day as Total’s third-quarter profits rose 29 per cent thanks to record oil prices and increased production.

For the full report, please click here.

Connie Levett: Burma's junta plays the game, but always to win

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

When the new British ambassador went to Naypyidaw, the remote Burmese capital, to present his diplomatic credentials in mid-2006, he reportedly thought the meeting with Senior General Than Shwe went well. He found out otherwise, when he returned to Rangoon to read a very personal attack in the government-backed press, naming him and accusing him of violating diplomatic procedure by making contact with the main opposition group.

This stage-managed game of diplomatic cat and mouse is one the Burmese generals know well and will happily play all day: appear to be conciliatory, lull the visitor and then snap back.

For the full article, please click here.

UN Says Path to Substantive Dialogue Opened in Burma

Source: VOA News

United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari says a path to dialogue between detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's military leaders was opened during his six-day visit to the country.

Gambari wrapped up his visit to Burma Thursday after meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi at a state guest house in Rangoon.

Meanwhile, the government has criticized the envoy's call for U.N.-brokered talks with Aung San Suu Kyi and accused the world body of interference.

A Burmese official was quoted by state media as saying that Burma would not bow to outside pressure.

For the full report, please click here.

U.N. Says Progress Made in Burma Talks

Source: Associated Press

The United Nations said today its envoy made progress during his six-day mission in Burma to promote a dialogue between the military government and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The claim came despite signs that the mission of U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari did not go well, including his failure to be received by the junta chief, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, and the military government's rejection of Gambari's proposal of a three-way meeting involving a junta member, Suu Kyi and himself.

However, the government has invited Gambari to return to Burma, and he expects to do so in the next few weeks.

UN Under Fire for 'Failure' in Burma

Source: The Australian

PRO-DEMOCRACY leaders have lambasted the UN's "ineffective" human rights mission to Burma and its "failure" to protect persecuted monks and dissidents who have fled across the Thai border.

Nay Tin Myint, a prominent National League for Democracy leader, was a key figure in the 1988 student uprisings against the government. He spent 15 years in prison before escaping to Thailand just before September's anti-junta protests.

Now designated a "terrorist" and an "enemy of the Burmese people" in junta newspapers, he said the UN mission to Burma was "just not effective".

"Gambari should meet many, many opposition leaders, and the many monks who demonstrated, but (General) Than Shwe did not allow him," he said. "The UN Security Council should issue a strong resolution to the Burmese military.

For the full report, please click here.

Andrew Higgins: How Buddhism Became Force for Political Activism

After evening prayers on Sept. 18, the abbot of a small monastery in Myanmar's largest city convened the roughly 30 Buddhist monks in his charge. The bonds between secular and religious authority had broken, the abbot said. Then he gave the monks his blessing to take to the streets in protest.

That meeting, one of many held in monasteries across Myanmar in mid-September, helped turn a sputtering campaign of dissent led by secular democracy activists into a mass movement led by Buddhist clergy. The country formerly known as Burma erupted in the biggest wave of antigovernment demonstrations in nearly 20 years.

For the full report, please click here.

Junta 'Punishes' Two Commanders Who Defy Orders to Shoot

Source: Mizzima News via Burmanet News

The Burmese Military junta’s appointment of two of its commanders as deputy ministers on Wednesday is not to be understood as a promotion but rather a punishment for defying orders to crack down on monk-led protests in September, analyst said.

Brigade General Win Myint is up for the post of Deputy Minister of Electric Power No.2 and Brigade General Tin Tun Aung for Deputy Minister of Labor, the state-owned The New Light of Myanmar reported today.

“They (Win Myint and Tin Tun Aung) were kicked upstairs to become deputy ministers as punishment for not strictly listening and responding to Than Shwe’s order to shoot in Rangoon and Mandalay respectively ,” said Win Min, a Burmese civil-military analyst based in Chiang Mai.

For the full report, please click here.

Official: Myanmar gov't to continue to make democratic reform

Source: People's Daily Online

The Myanmar government will continue to carry out democratic reform under its seven-step roadmap and strive for national reconsolidation in cooperation with the United Nations Secretariat, said official media Friday.

According to the New Light of Myanmar, Myanmar Liaison Minister U Aung Kyi is due to meet detained political party leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon for the second time later on Friday since the first on Oct 25.

For the full report, please click here.

Burma Junta to Allow Suu Kyi to Meet Fellow Party Executives

Source: The China Post

Myanmar's military government has announced that it will allow detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet fellow executives of her party Friday, the first such meeting in more than three years.

The announcement, made on the state radio and television evening news, came just hours after U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Myanmar, with the world body saying he had made progress in his six-day mission to promote a dialogue between the ruling junta and Suu Kyi.

For the full report, please click here.

Daw Aung San Su Kyi's Statement

Source: Associated Press via Burmanet

Following is the text of the statement by Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, released Thursday by U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

“I wish to thank all those who have stood by my side all this time, both inside and outside my country. I am also grateful to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his unwavering support for the cause of national reconciliation, democracy and human rights in my country."

“I welcome the appointment on 8 October of Minister Aung Kyi as Minister for Relations. Our first meeting on 25 October was constructive and I look forward to further regular discussions. I expect that this phase of preliminary consultations will conclude soon so that a meaningful and timebound dialogue with the SPDC leadership can start as early as possible."

For the full report, please click here.

Burmese Leader Meets with Party

Source: International Herald Tribune

Burma's pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with members of her party Thursday for the first time in three years amid early signs that the country's political deadlock may be easing.

News agencies reported that she also met with Aung Kyi, the general appointed as a liaison by Myanmar's military government.

The meetings come a day after Aung San Suu Kyi said she was ready to cooperate with the government.

"In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the government in order to make this process of dialogue a success," Aung San Suu Kyi said in a statement read in Singapore by the United Nations special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari.

For the full report, please click here.

Internet Service Restored But Access Slow

Source: Mizzima/IFEX

Internet service has been restored in Burma but access is at a snail's pace. The service, which has been sporadic since the September protests, is again accessible, but Internet surfers in Burma said they are forced to wait hours before they are able to send an e-mail.

For the full report, please click here.

UN in Burma: A History of Failed Efforts

Source: Bangkok Post

Efforts in recent years by the United Nations to achieve reconciliation between the ruling military and pro-democracy forces in Burma have been punctuated by frustration and failure.

Bangkok Post lists failed attempts by UN to engage the junta in chronological order.

For the full report, please click here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Small 'Panty' Demonstration Held in Rangoon; Anti-junta Pamphlets, Posters Distributed

Source: Irrawaddy News

About 40 people held a brief "panty" protest in downtown Rangoon on Thursday, holding pictures of junta Snr-Gen Than Shwe covered by panties, according to an 88 Generation Students member.

The demonstration took place on Bo Aung Kyaw Street in the commercial district of the city, a witness said.

“When security forces arrived, the protesters had already gone,” he told The Irrawaddy.

For the full report, please click here.

ASEAN Not to Impose Sanction on Burma

Source: Xinhua

Indonesia on Thursday confirmed that ASEAN countries would not impose sanction against Burma, Indonesian Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said here.

The spokesman told a press conference after a meeting of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo at the presidential palace.

During the meeting, they discussed the issue of Myanmar and the preparation of the ASEAN Summit in Singapore in the middle of this month, Dino said.

"There is no tradition of sanction in ASEAN. So far, there have been almost no applying of sanction on ASEAN member countries. For this mater (Burma issue), ASEAN will not impose sanction," he said.

For the full report, please click here.

Bertil Lintner: China no sure bet on Myanmar

Source: Asia Times

United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari's latest trip to Myanmar wholly failed to yield any results in pushing the ruling junta towards conciliation with the country's democratic opposition. With the UN's impotence, the international community will now look even more towards China to nudge the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) towards democratic change.

There is a widespread perception that only China has the diplomatic leverage over Myanmar's generals to force them to the negotiating table to discuss the future of the country with the political opposition. Yet it is still implausible that authoritarian China, despite its recent moves in places like Africa to improve its standing as a responsible global power, will any time soon champion democracy in a neighboring country of such strategic import.

For the full article, please click here.

UN Special Envoy Ends Second Burma mission

Source: Big News Network

UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Rangoon Thursday afternoon winding up his six-day Myanmar mission, the second for him, said the UN Information Center in Rangoon.

For the full report, please click here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

EU Appoints Special Envoy for Burma

Source: Kuwait News Agency

European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana, has appointed Piero Fassino from Italy as EU Special Envoy for Burma/Myanmar.

Fassino, an MP and former Italian Minister of Justice, will coordinate the European Union's efforts to bring about positive change in Burma/Myanmar, said a statement released by Solanas office Wednesday.

"This appointment underlines the importance that the EU attaches to democratic change, reconciliation, the improvement of the human rights situation and development in Burma/Myanmar," it said.

Fassino will work in close coordination with Ibrahim Gambari, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar.

Simon Tisdall: Anger fading over Burma

Source: The Guardian

Only six weeks after Burma's generals brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests, international outrage is fading and, with it, political and diplomatic pressure for change. Campaigners say the unrelieved plight of the Burmese people is again in danger of being forgotten. In some ways, repression has actually grown worse. Theirs was the "saffron revolution" that never was.

For the full article, please click here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

UN Envoy to Meet Ethnic Leaders But Military Chief Elusive

Source: Channel News Asia

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari is due to meet representatives from Myanmar's many ethnic groups but officials said there were so far no plans for a meeting with the military leader.

For the full report, please click here.

Xujun Eberlein: Beijing Olympic Boycott Over Burma Will Only Alienate Chinese People

Source: New America Media

After the bloody crackdown on protestors in Burma, human rights activists, pundits and politicians the world over called for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics – pointing out the Chinese government’s “special relationship” to the Burmese junta. But commentator Xuxun Eberlein says the Chinese government is not one to interfere in other countries' affairs, and maybe America should follow their lead.

For the full article, please click here.

UN Envoy Meets Red Cross Delegates


The U.N.'s special envoy to Myanmar held talks Monday with representatives of the International Red Cross and some of the country's ethnic minority groups, but has so far failed to meet the leader of the ruling junta, officials said.

Security, meanwhile, was eased outside detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's home ahead of a possible meeting between her and the U.N. envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, according to diplomats who asked not to be named because they did not wish to openly breach protocol.

Gambari has sought access to all parties involved in his effort to end Myanmar's political crisis and promote democratic reform.

Details of Gambari's talks with Red Cross and ethnic minority representatives in Naypyitaw, the new remote capital north of Yangon, were not immediately available, said officials who were aware of the meetings but insisted on anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press.

For the full report, please click here.

Ban Ki-moon ‘Disappointed’ by Burma’s Attempt To End UN Official’ Service

Source: UN News Centre

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed disappointment over Burma’s decision to call for an end to the service of the highest-ranking United Nations official in the South-East Asian nation.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a letter to the world body that it does not want UN Resident Coordinator Charles Petrie to continue his work in the country.

The letter, which was signed by the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, cited a statement released by the UN Country Team – headed by Mr. Petrie – on 24 October which referred to socio-economic issues in Burma.

For the full report, please click here.

US Seeking Concrete Results From UN Envoy in Burma

US Assistant Secretary of State Kristen Silverberg said Washington wanted something positive to emerge from the UN Envoy's mission to Burma.

"We'll evaluate Mr. Gambari's mission based on whether it produces concrete results, in particular we're looking for direct dialogue between the government and the democracy activists and the ethnic minority groups," Silverberg told reporters in Bangkok.

"And we're also looking for progress on political prisoners."

"So our benchmarks for success have to do with whether we see the government making real steps toward a peaceful transition to democratic, inclusive rule," said Silverberg, who was in Bangkok to discuss Burma with Thai officials.

For the full report, please click here.

India Bends Over for Burma's Generals

Source: Asia Times

India has finalized a multi-million dollar project with Myanmar aimed at boosting the economy of its underdeveloped and strife-torn northeast region. Loose ends of the project have been tied up and a deal sealed with the generals, even as sections of the international community call for sanctions against Myanmar's military rulers.

For the full report, please click here.

Group Fears For Burmese Activists' Safety

Source: Seattle Post Intelligencer

Pro-democracy activists fleeing Burma in the wake of a military crackdown have no legal protection and are targets of exploitation once they reach Thailand, a U.S. advocacy group said Monday.

An unknown number of students, Buddhist monks and veteran activists, including several protest leaders, have fled Yangon and other parts of Burma to the Thai frontier. Many say they were about to be arrested along with the thousands of others who were seized off the streets by the military.

"They are subject to constant harassment, bribery, exploitation. They are forced to live in limbo, lacking any status in Thailand," said Eileen Shields-West, member of a 12-person team from Refugees International that returned from the Thai-Myanmar border.

The group spent four days interviewing refugees at frontier camps and "safe houses" run by Burmese activist exile groups trying to assist the new arrivals from the isolated Southeast Asian nation.

For the full report, please click here.

Burma Army Chief to Skip Regional Meeting This Month

Source: The China Post

Burma's army commander will not attend a meeting of the region's army chiefs later this month because he needs to monitor the ongoing crisis at home, senior Thai military officials said Monday.

Army commanders from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations will gather in Thailand from Nov. 19-22.

Gen. Maung Aye, the Myanmar army chief, "has his own reason for not attending the meeting and it is not appropriate for me to reveal the reason," Thai army commander, Gen. Anupong Paojinda, told a news conference. He was expected to be represented by another high-ranking army official.

For the full report, please click here.

Burma: Junta Leader Expected To Snub UN Envoy On Reform Mission

Source: The Straits Times

Gambari had extensive discussions with Aung Kyi on "an agreed upon framework for meaningful dialogue" between Suu Kyi and the military, the U.N. said in a statement. It gave no details of the framework, but said Gambari expected the initial steps would lead to an "acceleration of national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy and the full respect for human rights."

The statement was reminiscent of previous optimistic U.N. predictions which to date have produced no change in Burma.

For the full report, please click here.

Singapore Stresses Concern Over Burma's Situation

Source: The Straits Times

Singapore has stressed its concern over the situation in Burma and how the developments there have affected the people of the country.

As Burma is part of the Asean family, the developments there will have broad ramifications for Asean and also the region, said Chi Chiew Sum, Special Assistant to Foreign Minister George Yeo, in a letter Sunday (4 Nov) addressed to a group of veteran Burmese dissidents.

It was in response to a call by the 88 Generation Students' group, which had urged Asean to suspend Burma's military regime from the regional bloc if the junta continues to refuse international demands for reform.

In a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Yeo last Thursday (1 Nov), leaders of the group urged Asean to push the junta into talks with the opposition.

For the full report, please click here.

U.N. Struggles To Broker Talks In Burma

Source: Associated Press via CBS News

Despite UN-Government Rift, Envoy Ibrahim Gambari Continues To Urge Political Reform

A U.N. envoy hoping to broker talks on political reform in Myanmar conferred with two Cabinet ministers Sunday but was unlikely to meet the junta's top leader because of its rift with the United Nations, diplomats said.

Envoy Ibrahim Gambari was on the second day of a mission to urge political reform and spur talks between the ruling generals and their pro-democracy opponents. It was his second visit since the junta violently suppressed anti-government demonstrations in September.

The envoy met with Nyan Win, the foreign minister, and Aung Kyi, the labor minister who also was appointed last month as the government liaison to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the diplomats said.

Burmese Gems, Timber Find Other Markets as US Increases Sanctions

Source: Irrawaddy News

While the US enforces additional economic sanctions against Burma on gems and timber trade, highly prized forest lumber continues to move across the border into China, say reports from Kachin State.
Chinese traders in Ruili and Nong Dao are paying high prices of between US $1,200 and $1,400 per ton for teak and another tropical hardwood called Tarmalan, as illegal logging continues unabated under military eyes, said the Thailand based NGO Kachin News Group.

“Illegal loggers have to give at least 6,000,000 kyat [about $4,615] per truck carrying five to seven tons of Tarmalan to bribe the junta authorities in transporting the timber from the areas it is originating to the border trade centers,” the KNG said.

This news will dismay promoters of proposed new legislation being considered by the US Congress to target the junta’s lucrative income from timber and gems.

For the full report, please click here.

UN Restarts Talks to Persuade Burma's Junta on Reforms

Source: International Herald Tribune

The United Nations on Saturday began its latest mission to persuade Myanmar's military government to reconcile with its democratic dissidents. But the visit by the United Nations special envoy is already being strained by the junta's order to expel the top United Nations official in the country.

Ibrahim Gambari, the special envoy, did not make public his full itinerary but a United Nations statement said he planned to meet with "as many relevant interlocutors as possible."

Gambari's visit is his second since the military government's deadly crackdown in September on protests led by monks and students.

Immediately after arriving in Yangon on Saturday, Gambari met for an hour with Charles Petrie, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator who on Friday was ordered to leave the country because of a statement his office issued that effectively linked Myanmar's poverty with mismanagement by the government.

For the full report, please click here.

Re: Signed Petitions; A letter from Civil Servants

Source: Ko Htike

Translated by: Burmese Bloggers w/o Borders

The signed petitions, which the military junta (SPDC) provided to UN representative, Mr. Gambari, were obtained from the civil servants and civilians.

We thought long and hard about this matter that we are about to say in this letter. We have to reveal it as otherwise; we will feel guilty for being untruthful towards our country and fellow Burmese people.

We want to inform you about our actions that were carried out against our own will on a certain day which ended up as being the saddest day for us.

We are attending the technical institute of education for professional engineers which is under xxx Ministry in Burma.

We are students-cum-civil servants on xxxx Ministry’s payroll (or rather, on the payroll of Burma and its people). Being considered as civil servants, we sometimes have to undertake orders against our own will and without being able to consider the consequences that our actions may have on our country and fellow citizens.

We don’t resist in carrying out their orders because we are worried that our parents and relatives will be implicated and the military junta will take action against them if we don’t follow their orders. We have to sign agreements stating that if we have not completed our assigned duties OR if we have not compensated back the necessary amount for our bonds, the Ministry under the junta can take any action against us.

Despite being aware of all this, we still must say out what is needed to be said.

Before 4th October 2007, we were forced through our department heads to sign petitions stating that we support SPDC, we do not want western countries to interfere in our country’s affairs, we just want to have peace in our country and study peacefully, and we do not want any unrest in our country. After that, we were asked to send in the petitions to UN. However, we fully understand the true situations in Burma and none of us signed the petitions.

In the meantime, though all of us wanted to sign the petitions in internet urging UN to help Burma, none of us dared to take any action.

When we asked other full-time students from other universities, they told us that they were also asked to sign such petitions. When none of the students agreed to sign, the officials issued threats of not allowing students to sit for exams. At that point, some students unwillingly gave in and signed.

Then, on 4th October 2007, our Head of University summoned all the students into the convocation hall and persuaded us to sign by saying “Don’t you love your country? If you love your country, you must sign”. Though none of us wanted to sign, we eventually relented as we were worried that our Head of University might get into trouble and she tearfully implored us to sign. On top of that, we were also worried about our future and our families’ future.

However, when we signed, we only stated the following without any mention of support for SPDC:

(1) As we love our country and people, we would like to have peace in our country.

(2) We would like to have a chance to study peacefully.

We are certain that all the petitions unwillingly signed by students and civil servants in Burma will be presented to UN’s special representative, Mr. Gambari who will be in Burma to negotiate for a genuine political dialogue.

That is why we would like to inform the world about our true situation through various media to UN representative, UN, and other important organizations that are supporting the freedom of Burma, before Mr. Gambari leaves Burma. We hope that all of you will give us support. Please inform Mr. Gambari that all the signed petitions presented by SPDC were obtained through forceful means on students and civil servants in Burma. Our true wish is for UN to interfere in Burma’s affairs so that we can move forward for our country’s freedom.

In this letter, we have stated nothing but the truth. As such, may Burma obtain freedom and peace in the shortest amount of time without much bloodshed.

A Group of Responsible Citizens

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Campaign: Amnesty International - Release Peaceful Protesters

Source: Amnesty International

Amnesty International is spearheading a campaign to get Burma's junta to release the imprisoned protesters.

You can copy and paste this sample letter into an e-mail or a document to print out. If you are planning to write your own appeal please read our letter writing guide.

Please send appeals to:

Foreign Minister Nyan Win
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Union of Myanmar

Fax: +95 1 222 950 OR +95 1 221 719


Dear Minister

I am deeply concerned by the reports that thousands of monks and other peaceful protesters, including well-known activists Htay Kywe, Mie Mie, Aung Thu, Aung Gyi and Zaw Htet Ko Ko have been detained.

I strongly urge the Myanmar authorities to release them and those connected to them immediately and unconditionally, unless they are to be charged with recognizably criminal offences. I call on the authorities to ensure that, while they remain in custody, all the detainees are held only in official places of detention, and are given immediate access to lawyers, their families and any medical treatment they may require. I also call on the authorities to ensure that the detainees are not subjected to torture or any other ill-treatment.

I also call on the authorities to release all long-standing prisoners of conscience, including Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD, senior political representatives of the ethnic minorities and members of student activist groups and to reveal the identity and location of all detainees, guarantee their wellbeing and allow immediate access to them.

I call on the authorities to ensure that all people in Myanmar are able to peacefully exercise the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly without fear of harassment, intimidation or arbitrary detention, in line with international human rights standards.

Yours Sincerely

Let Amnesty International know if you have taken this action. Click here.

Richard Bernstein: Burma's Junta Prevails in The Age of Information

Source: International Herald Tribune

Richard Bernstein talks about how junta managed to reduce the flow of information out of Burma to a trickle, thereby effectively preventing the world from staying focussed on the crisis in Burma.

For the full report, please click here.

UN Special Envoy Meets Burmese Ministers in New Capital

Source: Xinhua

Visiting United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari met Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win and Labour Minister U Aung Kyi in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw Sunday, according to official sources.

U Aung Kyi, who is also liaison minister, was recently tasked by the government to get in touch with Aung San Suu Kyi, detained leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The sources did not disclose details about the meetings.

For the full report, please click here.

Monks in Mogoke Stage Peaceful Protest

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

Mogoke, Mandalay State: About 100 monks staged a peaceful protest on Saturday, said residents of Mogoke. The public supported the monks in their march, with some on motorcycles acting as escorts, while thousands stood by the side of the road and clapped.

The protest started at about 1pm. At about 3 pm, police and military troops set up road blocks, and requested the monks to stop the protest.

The resident monks have earlier stage similar protests in September before the crackdown. Residents are said to be especially encouraged by the decision of the monks to take to the streets again.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

Aung Zaw: Keeping up the Momentum on Burma

Source: Irrawaddy News

Aung Zaw, a student activist during the infamous 1988 uprising, says that now is the best chance and best time for change in Burma.

For the full article, please click here.

NLD Concerned over Petrie Expulsion

Source: Irrawady News

The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, is concerned that the Burmese military government’s expulsion of the top UN official in the country could seriously impact the political process mediated by the governing world body, said an NLD spokesperson.

U Nyan Win, a spokesperson for the NLD, told The Irrawaddy on Sunday that the junta’s decision to throw the UN Resident Coordinator in Burma, Charles Petrie, out of the country showed the regime is still intolerant of criticism.

For the full report, please click here.

UN Envoy Seeks Talks Between Burmese Military, Opponents

Source: Agence France-Presse via Inquirer.Net

UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari was in Myanmar's bunker-like new capital Sunday hoping to nudge the country's ruling generals into reconciliation talks with their pro-democracy opponents.

Gambari arrived Saturday for his second visit since the junta violently suppressed anti-government demonstrations in September. The day before his arrival in Yangon, the isolated Southeast Asian nation's largest city, the junta announced it planned to expel the top UN diplomat in the country, adding an extra hurdle to the envoy's already difficult mission.

After a brief stopover in Yangon, Gambari flew to Naypyitaw to meet with senior leaders, Myanmar government officials said, requesting anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to the media.

It was not known which leaders would meet him in Naypyitaw, 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Yangon, where the generals have established a new capital in a remote area nestled in mountain jungles, or whether he would later be allowed to visit detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon.

For the full report, please click here.

UN Restarts Talks to Persuade Burma's Junta on Reforms

Source: International Herald Tribune

The United Nations on Saturday began its latest mission to persuade Myanmar's military government to reconcile with its democratic dissidents. But the visit by the United Nations special envoy is already being strained by the junta's order to expel the top United Nations official in the country.

Ibrahim Gambari, the special envoy, did not make public his full itinerary but a United Nations statement said he planned to meet with "as many relevant interlocutors as possible."

Gambari's visit is his second since the military government's deadly crackdown in September on protests led by monks and students.

For the full report, click here.

Hong Kong Airline Begins Flights to Burma

Source: Associated Press

A Hong Kong-based airline will begin regular flights to Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, a state-run newspaper said Sunday.

The inaugural flight of Hong Kong Express Airways, a Boeing 737-800 with 27 passengers on board, landed at Yangon International Airport Saturday, according to The Mirror.

The report said the airline will fly the Hong Kong-Yangon route every Tuesday and Friday.

Airlines with regular service to Yangon include Thai Airways International, China Airlines, Indian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and several domestic carriers.

Cynthia Boaz: Burma's Uprising: People Power, Not Political Puppetry


In the past month, amid the flurry of reports and commentary in international media about the events in Burma, a disturbing theme has emerged among some media commentators. Ranging from the Asia Times and the South China Morning Post to a collection of skeptical Western bloggers, they make the claim that various Washington DC-based agencies and a few key political actors are actually pulling the strings in the Burmese uprising. The rationale behind this "foreign interference," as it has been termed by both the Burmese and Chinese governments, has been given as (take your pick): interests in oil and/or gas reserves, heroin, methamphetamines, geopolitical advantage, and power projection by the United States. While I am among the first to question the motives of the American administration when it comes to foreign policy, I find these claims absurdly cynical to the point of being delusional.

For the full article, please click here.

Burma Must End Human Rights Abuses: HRW

Source: Times of India

The UN special envoy to Myanmar should demand that the military government commit itself to a quick transition towards a civilian rule through negotiations with opposition parties and civil society, a US-based human rights watchdog said on Friday.

It is important that this visit gets to the heart of the matter, the need to end continued "draconian military rule and systematic human rights abuses," Human Rights Watch's (HRW) Asia Director Brad Adams said.

For the full report, please click here.

Gambari in Burma amid Row Over Top U.N. official

Source: Reuters

United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari returned to army-ruled Myanmar on Saturday as a row over the junta's move to kick out the U.N.'s top resident diplomat overshadowed his mission to coax the generals to reform.

He emphasized immediately U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's backing of country chief Charles Petrie, told by the regime he was no longer welcome after highlighting a deepening economic crisis that fuelled mass protests crushed by the army.

"Mr Gambari conveyed the Secretary-General's support for the Country Team and the Resident Coordinator and the important work they continue to do to improve the socioeconomic and humanitarian situation," the U.N. office in Yangon said in a statement.

For the full story, please click here.

U.S. Slams Burma's expulsion of diplomat

Source: United Press International

The expulsion of a U.N. diplomat by officials in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been condemned by the United States.

The Independent said Saturday a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council called the expulsion of Myanmar's human rights representative "outrageous" and an open insult to the international group.

"This outrageous action ... is an insult to the United Nations and the international community," NSC spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Friday.

For the full story, please click here.

United Nations envoy meets with top U.N. Official in Burma, Whom Regime Has Said It Wants Out

Source: Union Tribune

The United Nations envoy to Burma opened his second visit in recent weeks by meeting Saturday with the top U.N. diplomat in the country, whom the regime just said it wanted to expel.

Myanmar's military leaders gave foreign and U.N. diplomats a note Friday that said they would not continue U.N. Resident Coordinator Charles Petrie's assignment in the country. That was seen as a response to Petrie saying last month that the junta's failure to meet the economic and humanitarian needs of its people caused September's mass pro-democracy protests, which were violently put down by the government.

U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari saw Petrie after his arrival, according to a U.N. statement, and flew to the remote new capital of Naypyitaw, where government officials said he met with senior leaders of the junta. He was expected to address junta's announcement that it would expel Petrie.

For the full report, please click here.

U Gambira and Ashin Naraka: Cry Beloved Burma

This article has been previously published in various newspapers around the world.

As monks, we believe in alleviating suffering wherever we see it, as part of the vows we have taken. We could not ignore our people’s suffering. We formed the Sangha Coalition when we saw that the country’s monks were united.

Religious orders of monks have been the face of Burma ever since Buddhism was introduced here more than 1,000 years ago. For a monk to involve himself in politics or to hold a political post is contrary to the ethical code of Theravada Buddhism. But in Burma today, this spiritual philosophy, rooted in compassion and non-violence, has assumed unexpected dimensions of defiance and recalcitrance, as monks challenge the hegemony of the military junta that rules our country.

We are both Burmese Buddhist monks — a leader of the All Burma Sangha Coalition that led the recent protests, and a scholar teaching in the United States. One of us is in hiding today, because Burma’s military government met the peaceful protests of our Buddhist brothers and sisters with violence and brutality.

Many monks and nuns have been abused and beaten, and thousands who have been arrested endure continued brutality. More than 1,000 are missing, and many are presumed dead.

A few weeks ago, Burma’s monks began to march and pray and spread loving kindness in an effort to solve our nation’s problems peacefully. Burma is a country rich in natural resources, but its people are poor. When the government suddenly and capriciously increased the price of fuel by as much as 500% overnight, everyone was affected — and made even more desperate.

As monks, we believe in alleviating suffering wherever we see it, as part of the vows we have taken. We could not ignore our people’s suffering. We formed the Sangha Coalition when we saw that the country’s monks were united.

Those of us who are studying and teaching abroad share this unity, and have rallied to the support of those of us in Burma. And it is not only the monks who are united. When we started our peaceful marches for change, students, youth, intellectuals, and ordinary people joined us in the streets, in the rain.

We thought that we could appeal to some, if not all, of the generals — Buddhists themselves — who control our country to join us in trying to right the many ills befalling Burma. At first, we tried to show our displeasure with military rule by refusing to receive alms from them. We turned our begging bowls upside down as a gesture of our feelings. We have not lost our loving kindness towards ordinary soldiers, nor even towards the leaders who ordered them to brutalise their own people, but we wanted to urge them to change while there was still time.

We know that some people in the army and organisations close to the regime have been reluctant to use violence against the monks. We want to tell the people who are violent towards their own countrymen to stop and think whether their actions are in accordance with the dharma, whether they are acting for the good of Burma’s people. Some of the soldiers who were ordered to beat us and to stop us from marching actually refused to do so, because they understood the truth of what we were doing.

We hoped to create a way out for the military leaders, a way to start a real dialogue with the people’s leaders and the leaders of ethnic groups, for the unity of the nation. But that hope was short-lived. The regime is now hunting down those who participated in the demonstrations and committing unspeakable acts of violence.

They have attacked monasteries and arrested monks and nuns by force. Guards are everywhere, on all the streets, around the pagodas and residential areas. Wounded demonstrators are reported to have been buried alive in mass graves, and there are confirmed reports of bodies washing ashore in the waterways near Yangon (Rangoon). The regime is brutalising the Burmese people, and lying to the world about its actions.

Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, a representative of the military, recently told UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari that the marchers in the streets were “bogus monks.” But we are genuine, and thousands of us — from Rangoon, Mandalay, Pegu, Arakan, Magwe, and Sagaing — demonstrated for peace.

Some have said that the uprising in Burma is over. That is what the junta wants the world to think. But we believe that the protests represent the beginning of the end of military rule in our country. The generals who ordered the crackdown are assaulting not only Burma’s people, but also their own hearts, souls, and spiritual beliefs. The monks are the preservers of dharma; by attacking them, the generals attack Buddhism itself.

We know that the international community is trying to help us, but we need that help to be more effective. We thank the many people and organisations abroad who are helping us regain the rights denied to us for more than 40 years. But we also appeal to the international community to make its actions practical and effective.

The military government will do anything to remain in power, and their violent acts must be exposed to the world. They may control the streets and monasteries, but they will never be able to control our hearts and our determination.

U Gambira is the pseudonym of one of the leaders of the All Burma Sangha Coalition; Ashin Nayaka is founder of the Buddhist Missionary Society and a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University

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