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Take Action! Petition Calling on Companies to Respect Human Rights of Workers

Mr. Charles Hector, a well-known human rights activist and lawyer in Malaysia, has been highlighting the human rights violations against 31 migrant workers from Burma who have been working with Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn Bhd in Malaysia. He is now being sued by the company for RM10 million (US$3.3 million).

မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံရွိ လူသိမ်ားေသာ လူ႕အခြင့္အေရး တက္ၾကြလႈပ္ရွားသူ ေရွ႕ေန မစၥတာ ခ်ားလ္စ္ဟတ္တာ (Mr. Charles Hector) သည္ မေလးရွားႏိုင္ငံရွိ Asahi Kosei (M) Sdn Bhd တြင္ အလုပ္လုပ္ကိုင္ေနၾကေသာ ျမန္မာေရႊ႕ေျပာင္းအလုပ္သမား ၃၁ ေယာက္အား အဆိုပါကုမၸဏီမွ လူ႕အခြင့္အေရး ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္ေနမႈမ်ားအေပၚ မီေမာင္းထိုး ေဖၚျပခဲ့သည္။ မစၥတာခ်ားလ္စ္ကို Asahi Kosei ကုမၸဏီမွ မေလးရွားရင္ဂစ္ ၁၀ သန္း (အေမရိကန္ေဒၚလာ ၃.၃ သန္း) ေလ်ာ္ေၾကးေပးေဆာင္ရန္ တရားစြဲဆိုထားသည္ […]

May 31, 2011  •  By In Defense of Charles Hector  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Depayin Massacre Remembered Amid UN Special Rapporteur’s Call for Commission of Inquiry

During a press conference held in Bangkok on 23 May 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, said that the continued treatment and conditions of ethnic groups in the country’s border areas were seriously restricting the government’s intended transition to democracy. He called, once again, for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate serious human rights violations, stating that this could be a step towards national reconciliation. On this trip, Quintana focused on the issue of economic, social and cultural rights, specifically referencing the lack of opportunities in education and employment for young people. Quintana’s statement came at the end of a fact-finding mission that was mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to assess any progress in Burma since the 2010 elections in its ‘intended’ transition to democracy. Information gathered through this mission will be used to inform Quintana’s report to the General Assembly later in 2010 […]

May 30, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

False Amnesty for Political Prisoners in Burma

On 16 May 2011, the military regime under order number 28/2011 provided ‘amnesty’ to prisoners in Burma, by either converting death sentences to life imprisonment or reducing prison terms by one year. Under this order, only 47 political prisoners have been released, as there remained less than one year on their sentences. This ‘mass amnesty’ will make little or no difference to over 2,000 political prisoners who have been sentenced for as many as 106 years, under vague domestic laws that criminalize peaceful political dissent. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has named this the worst prisoner amnesty in Burma’s history.

The number of political prisoners has doubled since the Saffron Revolution in September 2007. Members of the current political prisoner population include monks, media, activists, leaders from the 88 Generation student group and other students, former Members of Parliament, National League for Democracy (NLD) members and ethnic leaders. Human rights groups have documented the poor conditions of detention including psychological and physical torture, deprivation of food, lack of health care, sexual offences, poor or no hygiene and remote incarcerations to impose family separation. Since 1990, 146 political prisoners have died in detention in Burma due to malnutrition, maltreatment and inadequate medical care. This week, 22 political prisoners began a strike to demand an improvement to these conditions […]

May 23, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

100 Days of Parliament: Many Promises, Little Changes

The first 100 days of a new Parliament can be a defining moment for a burgeoning democracy, with respect for democratic principles, openness and transparency forming the foundation of a successful democratic government. 11 May 2011 saw the first 100 days of Parliament in Burma, but the new nominally civilian government had little to show for itself.

Burma’s Parliament represents a degree of structural change, but due to measures imposed on non-military backed MPs, these MPs have been restricted from performing their responsibilities. They have faced mounting challenges in parliament, with the Speakers in both the National and People’s Assembly blocking 87% of proposals submitted, most notably a proposal concerning national reconciliation. Laws enacted in November have granted MPs freedom of speech, providing their words do not endanger national security or the unity of the country; questions put forward by MPs must not affect international relations or undermine the “interests” of the State and its citizens […]

May 16, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

“People-Oriented” ASEAN Undermines Civil Society Efforts at Regional Conference

The theme of this year’s ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum 2011 (ACSC/APF) was, as it turned out, ironically “Claiming a People-Centered ASEAN for a Just Global Community.” Despite the determined efforts of civil society groups throughout the region, as the events of the week transpired it was clear that the ASEAN leaders had re-claimed ASEAN for itself, rather than the people.

Beginning with an inspiring keynote video message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that received a standing ovation from regional civil society, the week ended with a shocking undermining of civil society, with ASEAN leaders actively controlling what should have been an open and transparent opportunity for dialogue between the leaders of ASEAN and the people […]

May 9, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Message to ASEAN Civil Society at ACSC/APF 2011

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addresses civil society and people’s movements at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia […]

May 3, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

Burma Representatives Attend Regional Civil Society Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia

This coming week, eighteen representatives from Burma’s independent civil society will be participating in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum 2011 (ACSC/APF) and associated events in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is an important venue for Burma advocates to raise concerns about the human rights violations and the lack of genuine democratization, and to call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take concrete action on Burma.[…]

May 2, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

Potential Camp Closures in Thailand Put Refugees from Burma at Risk

In early April 2011, authorities in Thailand announced their intention to close nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border, which would send more than 140,000 refugees back to Burma. That includes 100,000 refugees from Burma who have been officially registered and an estimated 53,000 who have not. This decision has received heavy criticism from local and international human rights groups. The Thai authorities have not indicated when they intend to repatriate the refugees.

The announcement of camp closures comes only 6 months after the fraudulent elections in Burma and the formation of a new parliament composed predominantly of former military officers and those sympathetic to the regime. Since the elections, there has been no opening of political space, conflict in Eastern Burma has intensified and human rights abuses continue throughout the country. Any suggestion that refugees and asylum seekers along the Thai-Burma border could be safely returned to their country in the near future is a complete unreality […]

April 25, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Ramifications of Recent UN Actions for Burma

The United Nations Security Council has recently intervened in internal conflicts in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), stressing the urgent need to protect civilians at risk. In only a matter of weeks, the UN Security Council has invoked the responsibility to protect twice, requiring the international community to intervene when a country fails to protect its own citizens. Does this suggest that the pattern of Security Council intervention in internal conflict is changing? Could this thinking translate into protection for civilian populations in other countries such as Burma? […]

April 21, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

President’s Inaugural Speech Fails to Inspire Hope in Burma’s New “Democracy”

On 30 March, Senior General Than Shwe officially dissolved the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to transfer authority to the nominally civilian parliament elected during the flawed November 2010 elections. However, the dissolution of the infamous SPDC has not led to the change that many inside and outside Burma had hoped to see.

“The now disbanded SPDC and the current government is one and the same. The military regime is transferring power to none other than themselves – how is that democratic progress?” stated Naing Aung, Secretary-General of the Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB) […]

April 4, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤