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Shan State Earthquake Relief Project

As many of you are already aware, a large earthquake (6.8 magnitude) occurred last Thursday evening in eastern Shan State. The quake was strong enough that we could feel it at our library in Chiang Mai. Luckily, there were no deaths and no major damage here in Chiang Mai. However, the number of casualties in Shan State is believed to be more than 200. A number of townships suffered widespread destruction, and hundreds — possibly thousands — of villagers were injured and have lost their homes.

The emergency response from the ‘government’ in Burma has been very slow and characteristically paranoid. Burma’s leaders are more concerned with limiting access to to journalists and relief workers than making sure the people who need help receive it quickly. Similar to the regime’s response after Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the government is requesting that international organizations only donate directly to the central government, but as we have learned in the past, it is unwise to trust the regime to deliver donated aid fully and efficiently.

Here at The Best Friend, we are working quickly to implement an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise money for organizations that have direct access to the affected areas in Shan State, and can help the people inside: the Shan State Earthquake Relief Project […]

March 31, 2011  •  By The Best Friend  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Shan State Earthquake Victims in Need of Urgent Relief Effort

On 24 March, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Loimwe, Shan State, causing many deaths and significant destruction to homes and buildings in the area. Affected communities are in great need of humanitarian assistance as they begin to address the damage and rebuild their lives. It is imperative that Burma’s regime and local authorities facilitate the delivery of timely and unimpeded relief in a transparent manner.

As of 27 March, state-run media was reporting the official death toll from the quake as 74. However, eyewitness reports suggested that more than 150 people were killed. Many of the casualties are from Tarlay, where almost every building was damaged and many collapsed. The quake destroyed at least 240 buildings, including houses and monasteries […]

March 28, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Burma’s Military Regime Refuses to Address Human Rights Abuses at UN Human Rights Council

Last week, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, held an interactive dialogue with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) following the submission of his progress report to the United Nations General Assembly. Quintana painted a stark picture of Burma’s human rights situation, including the deprivation of social, economic, and cultural rights. Burma’s military regime representatives were once again unwilling to face facts and address widespread human rights violations, credible allegations of crimes against humanity, and criticisms of current political reforms […]

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

Quintana’s Report Illustrates Military Regime’s Failure to Promote and Protect Human Rights; Calls for Commission of Inquiry into Abuses

On 7 March 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, submitted his progress report to the UN General Assembly. The information in the report reinforces Quintana’s recent assertion that “[d]espite the promise of a transition [in Burma], the human rights situation remains grave.”

The report notes that 2,189 prisoners of conscience remain in detention in Burma as of January 2011. Freedom of expression is still curtailed. Armed conflict between the military regime and ethnic armed resistance groups has continued since the November 2010 elections, and tensions remain high. Quintana notes that reports of ceasefire groups re-arming in anticipation of resumption of armed conflict. Rohingyas continue to flee persecution.

Burma’s military regime flatly denies abuses and refuses to take the necessary steps to promote and protect the basic human rights of Burma’s citizens […]

March 14, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Women In Burma Need International Support

By Zoya Phan

An outside observer of Burmese politics might assume women in Burma have made progress towards equality in a way that hasn’t happened in many countries.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the general secretary of the National League for Democracy, for example, leads the democracy movement, and she’s one of the most admired politicians in the world […]

March 8, 2011  •  By Burma Campaign UK  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

Philippinas March in Solidarity with the Women of Burma

The women of Free Burma Coalition Philippines (FBC-Phils) held a rally to mark International Women’s Day, standing in unity with all the other women around the world in expressing their commitment to end injustice, impunity and all forms of violence against women.

FBC-Phils drew attention to the women of Burma who continue to suffer from all forms of abuses perpetrated by a brutal military government that is unelected and unwanted by their own people. The ruling military junta of Burma systematically uses rape as a weapon of war, victimizing women and children of different ethnicities all over the country […]

March 8, 2011  •  By Free Burma Coalition - Philippines  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Burma’s Military Regime Entrenches Rule Through New Budget and Laws

Despite promises of change, the SPDC is delivering only more of the same. During Burma’s alleged transition to civilian rule, the SPDC has refused to cede power even to their military-dominated government […]

March 7, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , ,  •  Read more ➤

Asian Countries Place Business Interests Before ‘Grave’ Human Rights Situation in Burma

This week, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, provided a succinct description of human rights in Burma’s post-election environment: “Despite the promise of a transition [in Burma], the human rights situation remains grave.” Meanwhile, the investment situation remains lucrative, with countries and companies pumping billions of dollars into ongoing and new projects. By placing business interests over human interests, the military regime and countries in the region continue to fail to advance and protect human rights in Burma […]

February 28, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Ethnic Armed Groups Form New Alliance

Twelve ethnic armed groups in Burma have agreed to operate together as the Union Nationalities Federal Council (Union of Burma) during four days of meetings on the Thai-Burma border. The military regime has repeatedly ignored the grievances and aspirations of ethnic communities for political, social, and economic equality and […]

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

There’s a New Parliament, but the SPDC is Still in Charge

Despite the inauguration of parliament on 31 January 2011, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) remains firmly in control of Burma’s political landscape. In the lead up to the official transfer of power, which will reportedly occur on 15 March 2011, current and former SPDC members continue to shape Burma’s political future to ensure the military’s dominant position in all levels of the future government.[…]

February 14, 2011  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤