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Activists Demand Real Change in Burma Rather than the Regime’s “Charm Offensive”

In September 2007, the world witnessed Burma regime’s violent crackdown on the thousands of monks and people from Burma peacefully demonstrating for change in Burma. Four years later, 2,000 political prisoners including 222 monks remain behind bars. Those responsible for the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in 2007 are still in power behind a democratic façade thanks to the sham elections in 2010. They continue to run the country with impunity, free to continue committing serious human rights violations, especially in ethnic areas.

To remember those who sacrificed their lives for their country and to remind the world to keep an eye on what’s happening in Burma, as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi asked this week, groups inside Burma and around the world are hosting events calling on the international community to maintain pressure on Burma’s regime until it carries out genuine democratic transition, beginning with the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and bringing an end to impunity for human rights abusers […]

September 26, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Heightened Expectations and Hopes for Real Change in Burma Can Only be Realized with Coordinated International Pressure

Derek Mitchell, the United States (US) Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, made his first visit to Burma from September 9-14. Throughout his visit Ambassador Mitchell consistently expressed his belief that now is a time of opportunity for Burma. He stated in a press conference before leaving the country that “[a]mong both the international community and the Burmese people, it is clear from my visit that there are heightened expectations and hopes that change, real change, may be on the horizon.” However, Amb. Mitchell recognized that while there is opportunity for change, the human rights situation in the country is clearly still problematic. He stated of his meeting that “I was frank about the many questions the US – and others – continue to have about implementation and follow-through on these stated goals…I raised concerns regarding the detention of approximately 2,000 political prisoners, continued hostilities in ethnic minority areas accompanied by reports of serious human rights violations, including against women and children.” […]

September 19, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

Demonstrations for Real Change in Burma Continue Despite Regime’s “Charm Offensive”

In a continuation of its recent attempts at improving its public image, Burma’s regime officially established a national human rights commission (NHRC) on 5 September. The commission was formed “with a view to promoting and safeguarding fundamental rights of citizens described in the constitution”. Given that the NHRC will be headed by retired ambassadors Win Mra and Kyaw Tint Swe, who have previously denied well documented human rights abuses committed by the military regime, it is hard to believe that the commission will actually take measures to end the commission of crimes against the people of Burma. Additionally, given that the commission is explicitly based upon the 2008 constitution, which enshrines impunity for military and civilian leaders, its ability to provide justice and accountability is inherently limited […]

September 12, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

Action Alert: Commemoration of the 4th Anniversary of the Saffron Revolution

The anniversary of the Saffron Revolution is approaching. It will take place a few days before United Nations’ Member States gather in New York to discuss the UN General Assembly Resolution on the situation of Human Rights in Burma. It is therefore a unique opportunity to send a strong message. The international community must understand that “We Want Real Change, Not Public Relations Games”.

ေရႊဝါေရာင္ေတာ္လွန္ေရး ႏွစ္ပတ္လည္ေန႕ ေရာက္ရွိဖို႕ နီးကပ္လာျပီ ျဖစ္သည္။ ယခုတစ္ၾကိမ္ ႏွစ္ပတ္လည္ေန႕သည္ ကုလသမဂၢအဖြဲ႕ဝင္ႏိုင္ငံမ်ားက နယူးေယာက္တြင္စုေဝးကာ ျမန္မာျပည္လူ႕အခြင္အေရး အေျခအေနႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္သည့္ အေထြေထြညီလာခံ ဆံုးျဖတ္ခ်က္မ်ားအေပၚ ေဆြးေႏြးမႈမျပဳလုပ္မီ ရက္အနည္းငယ္တြင္ က်ေရာက္မည္ ျဖစ္သည္။ ထို႕ေၾကာင့္ ထိုအခ်ိန္သည္ ထိေရာက္ေသာသတင္းစကားတစ္ခုကို ေပးပို႕သင့္သည့္ အခ်ိန္ေကာင္း တစ္ခုပင္ျဖစ္သည္။ “ကၽြႏု္ပ္တို႕လိုခ်င္တာ လူထုဆက္ဆံေရး လွည့္ကြက္ေတြမဟုတ္၊ စစ္မွန္တဲ့ေျပာင္းလဲမႈျဖစ္တယ္။” ဆိုတာကို ႏိုင္ငံတကာအသိုင္းအဝန္း နားလည္ေစရန္ျဖစ္သည္ […]

September 9, 2011  •  Read more ➤

BURMA: Third Party Mediation Crucial to Burma’s Peace Talks

By Sai Wansai, General Secretary of the exiled Shan Democratic Union

It has been a few weeks now, since the 18th August announcement by Naypyitaw inviting “national race armed groups wishing to make peace” to peace talks. So far, Naypyidaw has used its concerned state governments to contact various armed ethnic groups to make its peace overture known, through letters and also verbal communication. The positions of the non-Burman ethnic armed groups and the Naypyidaw seem incompatible or one would say “not communicating on the same wave length” […]

September 6, 2011  •  By Sai Wansai  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Potential Exists for Dialogue Towards Nationwide Ceasefire but Concrete Action Needed

On 31 August Burma’s parliament approved the creation of a peace committee aimed at ending the conflict that has been going on for decades in Burma’s ethnic states. The committee has been named the “Committee for Eternal Stability and Peace in the Union of Burma” and will have a mission to mediate between the regime and ethnic armed groups currently engaged in conflict with the regime. The committee members have not yet been identified but Dr. Aye Maung, chairman of Rakhine Nationalities Development Party and a member of parliament, suggested that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should serve on the committee. However, at this point “it was not clear whether Suu Kyi will be allowed to participate in the committee or even whether Suu Kyi herself wanted to join or not.” […]

September 5, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Quintana Sees Through Burma Regime’s Public Relations Tricks

Throughout the course of the past few weeks the regime has put a great deal of effort into burnishing its image, taking a number of steps aimed at appearing to be responsive to international demands for democratic change. Sadly, most of these steps are simply window dressing and have not reduced the incidences of human rights abuses in Burma.

One action the regime has taken that is designed to improve its reputation internationally is the very public meeting between President Thein Sein and opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. But all talks between Daw Suu and the regime have focused on avoiding “conflicting views” rather than engaging in the genuine dialogue necessary for national reconciliation. Similarly, the second session of parliament opened this past week as part of the regime’s campaign to appear as if it has transitioned to civilian government. Given that 76% of the seats are held by MPs from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, this parliament is still little more than a rubber stamp for the military regime […]

August 29, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Burma Regime Demonstrates Continued Lack of Interest in Genuine National Reconciliation

Over the course of the past week the military regime has made several statements suggesting that it wishes to begin the national reconciliation process with ethnic armed groups and opposition activists. Unfortunately, none of these overtures can be considered genuine.

On 17 August, President Thein Sein gave a speech in which he invited any of the ethnic armed groups currently engaged in conflict with the Burma Army to “hold talks with respective [regional] governments if they really favour peace.” But by issuing the invitation only for groups to talk individually with regional government, the regime clearly signaled its intention to continue its policy of only piecemeal talks and agreements, part of its divide and rule strategy […]

August 22, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics

Ethnic people of Burma are having a hard time. Burma Army soldiers are targeting women in Kachin and Shan State for rape. Villagers are used as forced labour. Development projects mean forced relocation and slave labour. Half a million ethnic people are displaced in eastern Burma. Village schools have been burnt, healthcare is non-existent, farmlands are destroyed and more than two million Burmese have left to become economic migrants in Thailand. On top of all this, Thailand is now talking about closing the refugee camps and returning 144,000 people to an unsafe future back in Burma – landmines, little work and mass displacement […]

August 22, 2011  •  By Naw Htoo Paw  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Diverse Groups Raise Concerns About Development Projects on the Irrawaddy River

On 12 August, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with the regime’s minister of social welfare, relief, and resettlement, Aung Kyi, in Rangoon for the second time in less than a month. After the meeting the two issued a joint statement noting that they had agreed to cooperate and “to work in reciprocal basis by avoiding the contradicting attitudes.” However, it is clear that Daw Suu intends to continue to operate independently on behalf of the people of Burma, even where doing so contradicts the position of the regime. Just two days after the 12 August meeting Daw Suu defied the regime, traveling outside of Rangoon to meet supporters in Pegu and neighbouring Thanatpin despite the regime’s warning that such a trip could trigger “riots.”

Additionally, the day before her meeting with Aung Kyi, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi issued a letter expressing her opinion on one of the most contentious issues currently facing Burma, the issue of development projects, in particular dams along the Irrawaddy River […]

August 15, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤