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Posts Tagged ‘Burma Partnership’ (399 found)

Update on Progress of Response by Myanmar Civil Society Organizations on Draft Association Law

On 27 July 2013, draft Association Law prepared by Public Affair Management Committee (PAMC) of the People Assembly was published with a notice for the public to study and comment before it is submitted to the parliament for discussion. On 31 July, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from Yangon and Mandalay held workshops in their own […]

August 4, 2013  •  By Delegation of CSO Representatives to Naypyidaw on Draft Association Law  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Shwe Gas Pipeline, A Sign of Things to Come

Shwe Pipeline by VOAOn 28 July, Burma’s Ministers of Energy, the Vice President, the Ambassador of China and a representative from South Korea started the Shwe Oil and Gas Pipeline. It was reported that when the “torches flamed in the sky of Namkham Measuring Station of [Burma]-China Gas Pipeline, a storm of applause and cheers broke out on the ceremony site and Namkham Metering Station.” This image is disturbing: representatives from China, international business and the government of Burma cheered the flames, but no such excitement was felt among the local communities or representatives from social or environmental groups in ethnic areas.

The dual pipelines will travel almost 800km, beginning in Arakan State, passing through Magway and Mandalay Regions and exiting Burma through Northern Shan State. They will cross through various ethnic nationality areas as well as diverse ecosystems, from jungles to mountain ranges.

The pipelines will also traverse ongoing ethnic conflict areas. As recently as April, an international security consultant advised against opening the pipeline due to its path through conflict areas, and warned of the potential for catastrophe […]

July 29, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Parliament Must Delay Deliberation on the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) Law will be discussed in the Upper House of Parliament on Monday 29 July 2013. The draft legislation was published in the state-run newspaper The Mirror on 7 July 2013, giving less than one month for civil society and the public to provide recommendations […]

July 26, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership and Human Rights Education Institute of Burma  •  Tags: , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Thein Sein’s Words Must be Followed by Action

AVAAZ Rohingya stunt London 15 July 2013 © Anna Roberts Burma Campaign UKPresident Thein Sein completed his first visit to the UK and France on 18 July with more promises of reform and was prematurely rewarded with trade and investment discussions, military cooperation and a gloss of legitimacy. Although Prime Minister David Cameron, President François Hollande, as well President Thein Sein, paid lip-service to reform and human rights, this does not disguise the reality of a dire human rights situation, the stalled peace process, and the empty promises of reform that characterize Burma today.

One of the promises that Thein Sein made was that all political prisoners would be released by the end of the year. It has been over two years since Thein Sein assumed the office of President, and the amount of times that world leaders have pushed him on this issue has been countless. Yet there remain hundreds of people languishing in jail for their political activism, while the number of new political prisoners is increasing. On the very day that Thein Sein made this statement, a 74 year-old Rohingya human rights activist in Arakan State was arbitrarily arrested and detained. Just a few days later on 18 July, Daw Bawk Ja, a Kachin human rights activist and member of the National Democratic Force, was unlawfully detained on politically motivated charges […]

July 22, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Child Soldiers Still Systematically Used in Burma

FILE PHOTO OF A CHILD SOLDIER IN MYANMAR.Last 7 July, the Burma Army demobilized 42 child soldiers, bringing the total to 108 discharged in the past 12 months. Although it is unclear exactly how many remain in its ranks, some estimates put the figure at 5,000. Thus, 108 represents just a fraction of the child soldiers employed by the Burma Army to engage in fighting and provide support to the wars being waged in ethnic areas.

It has been over one year since the Burma government signed an action plan with the UN to end recruitment and use of children in the armed forces by December 2013. The results, as Joe Becker of Human Rights Watch points out, are pitiful, “One year into the Burma-UN action plan, the Burmese military has failed to meet even the basic indicators of progress.” A host of restrictions on access for the UN Task Force employed to implement this action plan have rendered that agreement almost worthless, as the army continues to use and recruit children for war. On four occasions, the UN Task Force was denied access to military sites believed to house child soldiers. Furthermore, the Burma Army refuses to grant access to the Border Guard Forces (BGF), an arm of the military that operates in many ethnic areas. There is no program within the BGF to identify and release child soldiers, nor to end recruitment. The BGF is under the direct command of the Burma Army and any measures towards solving this issue must include these forces […]

July 15, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: ,  •  Read more ➤

Upper Burma Court Sentences Three Human Rights Defenders to Long-Term Imprisonment; Guards Intimidate Lawyer

Aung Soe, Soe Thu and Maung SanOn 8 July, Shwebo Township court handed out additional sentences to U Aung Soe, U Maung San and Ko Soe Thu, increasing their prison terms to respectively 11 years and six months and two years and six months. The three human rights defenders were previously detained, held incommunicado and sentenced in unfair trials for their opposition to the Letpadaung Copper Mine […]

July 10, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership and Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma  •  Tags: , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Upper House of Parliament Must Reject the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law

Press protest 24 Aug 2012 by Jpaing - IrrawaddyOn 4 July, the Lower House of Parliament approved the controversial Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law despite strong opposition and criticism by the interim Myanmar Press Council, local media and freedom of expression watchdogs.

The Ministry of Information introduced the draft law in Parliament last March, a week after the Press Council released its own draft Media Law. This came as a surprise as the Ministry’s draft was written in secrecy, presented to the Parliament before any consultation took place and happened despite an earlier agreement that the Press Council would be in charge of drafting the new media legislation.

As a reaction to this clear attempt by the Ministry to bar the Council’s legislation from being presented to the Parliament, local and international media loudly opposed the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law. The Committee to Protect Journalists said, “If passed in its current form, the draft law will essentially replace Burma’s old censorship regime with a similarly repressive new one.” Article 19 called for the draft law to be withdrawn or rejected by the Parliament “as it would be a major step backwards for freedom of expression and freedom of the media, restoring prior censorship and full governmental control over the press” […]

July 8, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

“National Race Protection Law” Protects No One

Buddhist Monks at Convention Rangoon 27 June 2013 by ReutersAt a convention of over 1,500 monks from around the country in Rangoon on 27 June, senior Buddhist monks said that they endorse a draft law that would place restrictions on marriages between Buddhist women and non-Buddhist men, ostensibly “to protect our race and religion.”

The proposed “national race protection law” states that non-Buddhist men wishing to marry a Buddhist woman would have to convert to her religion. They must also obtain permission from the woman’s parents and local authorities before marrying or risk 10 years in jail.

The proposed bill is in clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states in Article 16(1) that, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.”

The bill also violates the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) […]

July 1, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Profiling Survey Stokes Refugee Fears

Mae La refugee camp by Burma LinkLast Thursday, 20 June, marked World Refugee Day and events were held highlighting the plight of refugees throughout the world, including a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organized event held at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Rangoon. According to the UNHCR, there are around 650,000 displaced people in Burma and around 150,000 refugees on the Thailand-Burma border, many of whom were born there. Yet as the discourse from the government of Burma and the international community is moving towards repatriation for those on the border, anxiety is building with refugees worrying that they will be forced to return to a place where they will live in fear of conflict, will have no livelihood opportunities, and no land to call home.

In recent weeks, a survey initiated by the Thai government and the UNHCR, and implemented by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, an organization under Thai royal patronage, is being carried out, profiling refugees in Mae La camp. The survey has been heavily criticised as having insufficient input from refugees, and being designed to favour repatriation, and is thus stoking the refugees’ anxiety. The rationale behind the profiling is based on the UNHCR’s “preparation” for return, in that when the conditions for refugee return are right, relevant stakeholders will be sufficiently prepared to assist in a durable return to Burma. According to the UNHCR, “The profiling process will be a fully consultative and participatory process, where the refugees will be involved in every step. The questionnaire will be designed through consultations with the refugees.” Yet the reality of refugees’ participation in the process has been flawed and many refugees feel that the survey reflects a strong preference for return to Burma as the only viable solution, as opposed to staying in Thailand or resettling to a third country […]

June 24, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Human Rights Defenders Under Attack in Burma’s Democratic Transition

Warning to be shot in Letpadaung April 2013 © Han Win AungThis week, seven protesters were jailed, four villagers arrested and two social activists detained for protesting against the relocation of local communities in different areas of Burma. These events all took place in a broader context of judicial harassment and arrest of activists, especially those supporting farmers against land confiscation.

On 12 June, seven protesters were jailed, including three for one year and three months, for demonstrating without permission. The case started in August 2012 when U Sein Aung, U Aye Thein and U Win Swe Myint were arrested without warrant after staging a peaceful demonstration against streets vendors’ relocation in Mandalay. The three were charged under article 505 (b) of the Penal Code and Section 18 of the Peaceful Demonstration and Gathering Act. They were denied bail and spent 177 days in prison including two days in solitary confinement.

Earlier this week, around 100 police officers entered Kan Bae village around Inle Lake and arrested four villagers without warrant. The arrests come after locals, whose lands were confiscated due to a hotel zoning project, plowed the lands seized by the hotel developers. Following the arrests, locals fled the village in fear of further police intervention […]

June 17, 2013  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤