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Posts Tagged ‘Burma Partnership’

Justice for the Killing of Journalist by Burma Army Must be Found

20 Oct 2014 By Asian TribuneNews of the murder of a journalist by the Burma Army while being held in custody should send shockwaves across the country and beyond, but sadly it is not much of a surprise for those who are aware of the abusive nature of the most powerful institution in Burma. What will transpire next will be a clear indicator of the Government’s will to pursue justice and end the impunity that the Burma Army has enjoyed for so long. Not many are optimistic.

Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Ko Par Gyi, was a freelance journalist covering the recent clashes in eastern Burma between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the Burma Army and its’ proxy Border Guard Force (BGF). After visiting Kyaikmayaw, Mon State, the scene of heavy clashes in September 2014, Ko Par Gyi went missing. His wife, Ma Than Dar, began to search for him and held a press conference on 21 October in Rangoon stating that he was being held in custody by the Burma Army and demanded his immediate release. Just a few days later, a statement was issued to the Myanmar Press Council (Interim) by an aide to commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Min Aung Hlaing, that detailed Ko Par Gyi’s death while in custody. The statement claims that Ko Par Gyi was a captain for the Klohtoobaw Karen Organization (KKO), the political wing of the DKBA, and was shot dead while trying to escape. The DKBA has denied that Ko Par Gyi was indeed a member of their organization [...]

October 28, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Read more >>

Over 650 Myanmar/Burma Civil Society Actors Speak Out on the Reality of the Transition

15 October 2014 Photo By Burma PartnershipThe forum titled, “Civil Societies’ Review on Myanmar/Burma’s Transition Process: Prospects for 2015 and Beyond”, held on 15 – 17 October 2014 at the Myanmar Christian Fellowship of the Blind Center in Rangoon, brought together over 650 representatives from 257 organizations and networks from across the country and border areas to discuss and strategize a wide range of key issues currently facing Burma in the context of the recent economic and political reforms since 2011. This is the first forum of this scale to assess the reform and the wide range of problems currently facing Burma.

Despite the hailed “transition to democracy,” exalted particularly by the international community, civil society organizations (CSOs) spoke of the decades old challenges that remain unresolved, the stagnation of the reform process, and new emerging issues, in addition to the need for meaningful inclusion of the voices of civil society, democratic opposition forces, ethnic peoples, women and youth in the reform process.

The forum addressed six core issues; (1) law reform, (2) peace and conflict, (3) media, hate speech and communal violence, (4) Parliament, Government and accountability, (5) economic reform and foreign direct investment, and (6) the international community’s role and involvement, which were discussed under six panel discussions and six workshops. The forum produced a statement that gave concrete recommendations from civil society groups to the Burma Government, United Nations, international governments and international non-governmental organizations (lNGOs) [...]

October 21, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Read more >>

“Winds of Change” Blow a Gale of Human Rights Abuses

29 September 2014 Photo By Shannon Stapleton ReutersBurma’s Foreign Minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, gave a glowing report on the progress towards democracy and respect for human rights in Burma at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) yet given the deteriorating human rights situation on the ground, it is difficult not to view his words as a North Korean-esque sting in the tail.
Wunna Maung Lwin specifically requested that Burma be taken off the agenda of the Human Rights Council as well as the Third Committee of the UNGA, citing that “all major concerns related to human rights have been addressed to a larger extent in the new Myanmar.” Yet on closer inspection, this statement is preposterous, with the realities on the ground providing a striking contrast to these words.

Remarking on the peace process, the government is apparently “serious in its commitment” to making this work. The problem is that the government and the Burma Army say and do different things. As the government is making promises to ethnic armed groups, the Burma Army is still launching offensives in Kachin State and northern Shan State. Even with groups that have a ceasefire, the Burma Army continues its aggression, as seen in Kyeithi Township, Shan State over the weekend where it attacked Shan State Army – North positions yet again. Around 300 villagers have been forced to flee in this township alone in recent months due to attacks. This is emblematic of the current state of the peace process, where too much attention has been placed on the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement. Yet as recent clashes indicate, a ceasefire simply isn’t enough to rein in the Burma Army, and this state of affairs remains volatile, as the recent briefing paper produced by Burma Partnership explains [...]

October 7, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Read more >>

Two New Briefers: The State of Burma’s Peace Process and Shrinking Space for Civil Society in Burma

Burma Partnership has produced two new briefing papers in connection with Burma-related advocacy at the current 69th session of the UN General Assembly [...]

October 7, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , | Read more >>

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Continues Failing to Deliver

Burma PartnershipA report authored by Burma Partnership and Equality Myanmar was launched on 25 September 2014 in Rangoon revealing the continuing ineffectiveness of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) as well as the lack of independence from the government. The report was launched on the same day that a reshuffle of the members of MNHRC was announced by the government, which came as a complete surprise to civil society organizations due to the lack of consultation.

Released at the Myanmar Journalists Network in Rangoon, Burma: All the President’s Men, contributed to the annual Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) Report on the Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia (2014). The report analyzes the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law 2014 enacted in March this year (enabling law) that institutionalizes the mandate of the MNHRC. The report finds that the law does not guarantee independence from the government and in particular, the president’s office. In contravention of international standards on national human rights institutions, namely the Paris Principles, the selection process does not adequately consult with civil society. As the report points out, “It is up to the selection board to come up with procedures for short-listing candidates, yet the enabling law itself should set out the process/procedure for selection, with consultations with civil society.” The members of the MNHRC are actually chosen by a selection board of ten, five of which are from the government or are government-affiliated. The enabling law states that two members of this board are to come from civil society organizations and a further two are to be MP, yet there is no transparency regarding the procedures under which the two MPs are chosen. Additionally, the chosen civil society members to the selection board are restricted to registered civil society only, thus excluding many outspoken and critical political and human rights groups who feel they cannot register under the current climate [...]

September 30, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Read more >>

New Report Exposes the Continued Ineffectiveness of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Today, the 2014 report on the performance of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC), All the President’s Men, was released at the Myanmar Journalists Network in Rangoon. Co-authored by Burma Partnership and Equality Myanmar, the report, which contributed to the annual report [...]

September 25, 2014 | Tags: , , , , | Read more >>

သမၼတ၏ ဘက္ေတာ္သားမ်ားသာ ျဖစ္ၾကသည္ (All the President’s Men)

In the last year, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission enabling law was passed, finally institutionalizing its mandate that will begin in 2015. The human rights situation in Burma certainly needs any instrument possible, with continuing abuses by the Burma Army, violations [...]

September 25, 2014 | Tags: , , , | Read more >>

Invitation: Briefing for the Launch of 2014 Report on the Performance of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Invitation: Briefing for the Launch of 2014 Report on the Performance of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission 24 September 2014 Dear Friends and Leaders, You are cordially invited to a meeting for a briefing on the performance of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) 2014 report, co-authored by Burma Partnership and Equality Myanmar. The […]

September 24, 2014 | Tags: , , | Read more >>

Media Advisory: Press Briefing – Launch of 2014 Report on the Performance of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Press Briefing: Launch of 2014 Report on the Performance of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

The 2014 report on the performance of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC), co-authored by Burma Partnership and Equality Myanmar, will be launched at Myanmar Journalist Network office on Thursday, 25 September 2014. The reported contributed to and was published in the 2014 ANNI Report on Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia which was recently released in Taiwan and covers the developments that took place over the course of 2013 and significant events in the first quarter of 2014 [...]

September 23, 2014 | Tags: , | Read more >>

Karen Civil Society Rallies Around Japan’s Harmful Plans for Eastern Burma

13 September 2014 Photo By KwekaluJapan’s lofty development plans for eastern Burma were very publicly rejected by the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN) at a press conference in Rangoon, citing lack of consultation with communities and the potential for such plans to fuel conflict. Based on a blueprint for extensive development projects produced by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the overseas development arm of the Japanese government, 28 Karen civil society organizations that form the KPSN, released a report to outline their concerns and recommendations. JICA’s blueprint, in which its main goal is to support the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), contains four main components; economic corridors, free trade zones and industrial estates, industrial clusters, and urban development. The Japanese government has been working closely with both the Union level and State level Burmese Government in the development of this plan.

For Karen civil society, however, there are many concerns, as outlined in the report released on 9 September. Although the blueprint aims to “promote peace through development,” JICA has not conducted a conflict analysis on what is an extremely complicated and fragile context. In fact the plans could serve to exacerbate conflict by facilitating land confiscation, one of the loci of tension in the ceasefire process. Also, improving transport and road access to areas traditionally held by ethnic armed groups such as the Karen National Union (KNU), allows easy access for Burma Army soldiers to the heart of Karen areas. We must not forget the abusive nature of the Burma Army that has been terrorizing civilians for decades and continues to do so, despite a ceasefire in place. Will exposing more communities, who are already vulnerable to abuses, to the unreformed Burma Army really aid peace [...]

September 16, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Read more >>
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