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|28-09-2010, 07:47 PM||#1526 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Statement on 3rd Anniversary of Saffron Revolution Led by Monks
Tuesday, 28 September
On 26 September, three years will have passed since Burma’s military regime began its bloody crackdown on the Saffron Revolution. The spirit of the monk-led Saffron Revolution that moved hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, particularly young generation of Burma to hold protests throughout the country and inspired hundreds of solidarity events around the globe.
The bloody repression of the Saffron Revolution and the ongoing military offensive against ethnic nationalities in Eastern Burma provide compelling evidence of how the military regime uses its armed forces to oppress the people of Burma. At the same time that millions suffer from malnutrition in the country, the junta has continued to purchase arms and other military supplies from China, Russia, and India.
Ongoing military offensive and human rights violations including serious international crimes, especially in eastern part of Burma, continued unabated. The number of political prisoners continue to increase. Two hundred and fifty five monks continue to languish in Burma's prisons, accounting for more then 10% of the 2183 political prisoners. Rev. U Gambira who led the saffron revolution is serving his 63 years imprisonment.
Today, the Republic of Ireland became the 11th country to voice support for a United Nations Commission of Inquiry to investigate serious international crimes in Burma, as proposed by UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Myanmar (Burma) Tomas Ojea Quintana. The creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry is imperative in Burma where military regime commits systematic and widespread human rights violations against its own people particularly non-Burman ethnic communities. Since1996, military regime burned down 3500 ethnic villages, raped thousands of ethnic women and young girls, and forcefully displaced over 500,000 people from their homes, subjecting them to enslavement, threat of landmines and extreme deprivation including starvation.
The demands of the monks made during the Saffron Revolution are still valid, i.e.:
1. The military regime must apologize to the Buddhist monks and seek forgiveness for violations committed against monks peacefully acting on behalf of the people,
2. To immediately lower the prices of all basic commodities such as rice and cooking oil,
3. To release all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Su Kyi and all political prisoners,
4. To begin dialogue with democratic forces in order to solve the problems of the people and to have national reconciliation.
We, Forum for Democracy in Burma repeats the calls of the Ten Alliances for democracy and ethnic rights in Burma regarding the creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the military regime. We believe that it will be a first important step towards justice and accountability in Burma where the generals have granted themselves blanket impunity in the 2008 constitution. The constitution was adopted in coercion by the regime immediately after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta region and caused widespread devastation to the people.
The regime’s dissolution of five main political parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD) and continued pressure against ethnic minority particularly cease-fire groups to transform so-called Border Guard Forces (BGF) have proven that it is not interested in engaging in a political dialogue. Therefore, we, Forum for Democracy in Burma, urge the international community to denounce and refuse to recognize the results of the November 7 elections. Additionally, we call on the international community to continue their unambiguous support for all those in Burma who strive for democracy, peace, and freedom.
"Keeping quiet while monks and other peaceful protesters are murdered and jailed is not evidence of constructive engagement." - Arvind Ganesan, Human Rights Watch.
"I think...I think it's in my basement. Let me go upstairs and check" - M.C. Escher
|12-11-2010, 08:12 PM||#1527 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Depayin and The Driver
12 November 2010
Kyaw Soe Lin, Suu Kyi's driver during the Depayin massacre
It was May 2003 and a young law student named Kyaw Soe Lin was on a very special mission. As an organiser and legal aid for the National League for Democracy, he had been given the job of driving Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her tour of the country. And as the stretch of detention that began in the bloody aftermath of this event comes to an end, DVB spoke exclusively to the driver at a house in Mandalay.
Suu Kyi had only been free for about a year when she set off from Rangoon. Her tour with other NLD members, including party secretary U Tin Oo, would take in the hoards of disenfranchised voters who had backed her and her party in such numbers 13 years prior.
The trip began in mid-April and the first stop was Monywa. As it progressed, the convoy received minor harassment from stone-throwing thugs and other intimidating behaviour.
But as it drove from Moegaw in Sagaing division back to Mandalay on 29 May, the first signs of real trouble came. What followed was a political crime of terrible proportions and a harrowing indictment of the newly-victorious Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
On 29 May, Kyaw Soe Lin recalls that the convoy came under attack from stones and catapults, with a number of NLD members left injured. Despite this, it continued and made it to Mandalay. The next day the party headed to Depayin district, and as they passed through the small village of Kyiwa, up ahead in the road were two monks who stopped the convoy, asking if Suu Kyi could address a gathering.
“I told Aunty [Aung San Suu Kyi] that we shouldn’t stop as we usually get harassed around dusk time. But the monks said they have been waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi since the evening before and requested that she give them a speech and greet them. They were two elderly monks sitting and waiting, so Aunty said we should stop for them.”
The two monks turned out to be imposters, and as the car stopped for Suu Kyi to consider the proposal, the wrath of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a civilian proxy of the military, was turned upon the convoy.
That day some 70 NLD members were killed by thugs from the party who last week committed perhaps the greatest fraud the country has known.
“When we stopped the convoy, [NLD] youth securities surrounded our car…and we were informed by the NLD members who protected our rear that a mob, including fake monks armed with sticks and other melee weapons, were approaching us in four or five buses,” said Kyaw Soe Lin.
“Then we heard they were attacking our convey and the villagers waiting for us. Then they came to us and started beating people up – some villagers and our members at the scene fought back. But Aunty told them not to retaliate. The attackers, clad in monk robes, arrived at our car carrying sticks and blades. They were all wearing white armbands. They started beating – their way of attack wasn’t actually chaotic but quite tactical/”
As they came under attack, Kyaw Soe Lin pleaded with the mob, protesting that The Lady was in the car. This made no difference, and, he suspects, probably only encouraged the mob, whom it is thought were trying to assassinate the Nobel laureate. And if it weren’t for Kyaw Soe Lin, it could have been that Daw Suu’s fate would have mirrored that of her father, General Aung San. He was gunned down in a political assassination in Rangoon in 1948, shortly after gaining independence for Burma.
“They carried on attacking the car and beat to death the youths [NLD members] protecting it,” he said, eyes twitching with the tension of the heinous memory. “Some just collapsed right on the spot.
“My anger then exploded and I was going to run over the attackers with the car. I stomped on the lever three times and reversed the car. The attackers had slipped a wooden stick into the car – I didn’t know when they did it. The stick was jamming the steering mechanism so that the car would flip when driven forward and it would look just like an accident. So I reversed the car and the wooden stick broke. It was stuck between a wheel and another part.
“As I reversed, they broke the windows on my side and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s side, and also on the side where Ko Htun Zaw Zaw was sitting next to me. They also broke the car’s headlights and the back mirrors were shredded to pieces. The car’s body was also smashed up.”
He tells the story in the gloom of a rainy Mandalay evening, lights flickering above. “I reversed but then I saw our youth members and the students who came with us all lying on the ground and I was worried that I’d run them over too. So I drove away to avoid them. We went a bit forward in the car and saw that three other trucks were blocking the road. I told Aunty there was something wrong with the car and drove towards them without turning away. The trucks looked like six-wheel Hino trucks.
“I pulled onto the side of the road when we were really close to those cars and slipped past them, only to reach to the area the attackers had designated as the “kill zone”. There were about 30 trucks with their headlights shining behind the attackers, who were armed with sticks.”
“There were about 200 or 300 people dressed in USDA uniforms holding posters. The attackers were so many.
“As our car got near there, they watched us in surprise. There were [NLD security] clinging onto the sides of our car and I worried that the attackers might pull them off if they got near us. So I pretended I was going to run into the crowd and they scattered away. Then I pulled the car back up onto the road and kept on driving. Then we saw there were road blocks set up all the way across the road. I knew that we all, including Aunty, would die if we didn’t leave there, so I kept on driving.”
As he drove through the mob, objects were hurled at the car, smashing more of the remaining windows and hitting him. But he drove on.
“Aunty asked me if I was okay. I said I was fine and kept on driving; if I stopped at the blockage, they’d beat us to death. So I ran over it and found that there was another layer of trucks blocking the way about four to five feet after the blockage. There was a gap left between the cars and I drove through there – luckily the car fitted right in the space. Then there was a line of policemen with their guns pointed at the car. I went through them but didn’t hit anyone, as they jumped to the side. As I drove on, I saw people with guns that looked like soldiers. Aunty said we should only stop when we reach Depayin.”
But Kyaw Soe Lin was lost, and having never been to Depayin before, didn’t know the route. Soon he stopped in a forest to try and mend the vehicle, which was packed with fellow NLD members, including The Lady. After making improvised repairs, he drove on and came to the town of Yea-U. But as he entered the town, security personnel stopped the vehicle and asked who was in the car. They were told to wait, and about half an hour later a large number of military personnel arrived.
“They came out carrying guns and surrounded us. About 15 minutes later, an army official – apparently a battalion commander – arrived and put a gun to my temple and asked us to go with them. Aunty nodded us to go, so we did. We were taken to Yea-U jail.
“We got there around 9pm and saw people apparently giving witness accounts of the incident. They were all wearing the same armbands worn by the attackers. Aunty told the police and intelligence officials there that she would cooperate with them if they promised to abide by legal procedures; otherwise they would just kill us all if they wanted. They promised to abide by the law and took Aunty with them.
“I was held for two days at the Yea-U detention centre”; two days in which the authorities intentionally denied Kyaw Soe Lin and his comrades food, only giving them water. After two days he was transferred to Shwebo prison and thrown in with the common criminals. He said that he was given worse food than the thieves and rapists who were now his co-habitants.
Soon he was on the move again – hooded and shackled, he was driven to a plane and flown to Hkamti.
“When we reached Hkamti, we were not fed. In the evening, they took away the egg and good rice given us from Shwebo jail, saying that they would feed us in the evening. They gave us a handful of un-husked rice with rotting fish paste which some people could not eat. Some people vomited.”
They were kept there and soon the interrogation began. They were told to say that the people in the villages who had welcomed them had been the ones who attacked the convoy. This, needless to say, they refused because, as Kyaw Soe Lin points out, the tour was officially sanctioned. “We took this trip in harmony with them [the authorities]. For this reason, if they beat us, let them do it; if they killed us, we have to die, she said to us. Because of that, we did not say what they wanted us to say.”
On refusal of their demands to cover up the violent political intimidation, the authorities began the torture, “stripped naked and candle wax dropped all over the body,” he recounts. “They forced us to sit on our haunches and one after another, kicked us like a football. The face was kicked too. And as soon as they entered the detention centre, they punch your face with fists. This is not a special detention centre’s interrogation – they carried out the torture because I drove Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s car. I was deliberately tortured.”
He continues in harrowing detail: “They had drunk before interrogating us. They stank of alcohol as they tortured us. And having tortured us, they went away again. Then they threatened us – they said they will electrify us; will keep us in the pouring rain. Not me alone, but all of those with me were beaten up. The sounds of ‘I am scared’ and smashing – I heard these. It wasn’t that painful when I was beaten up; it was more painful in my heart when [other people] were beaten.”
The appalling conditions were also part of the punishment. “My detention cell was slightly higher than standing height. On the floor, because it is rainy season, water was above knee-level. You can’t sleep, can’t sit. They handcuffed us behind our back from the day we arrived, and it lasted this way for exactly a month, day and night. They also came to interrogate at midnight and in the morning, and for the whole day.”
His detention was ‘only’ six months as there was no crime. This was not a judicial detention in any sense of the word; they couldn’t even conjure a vague law to detain the members of the convoy.
But like so many prisoners of conscience, Kyaw Soe Lin’s troubles did not end with his release. “When I came out of the prison, I resumed my studies. But they were following from behind relentlessly when I attended classes. Then I told one intelligence agent that we were doing nothing bad, nothing improper. ‘You released me because I am innocent. As it is so, I do not like the way you are stalking me now’, I said. Only then did they stop following me from behind. There was some stalking but no other harassment.”
He adds that it took him years longer than a normal law student to receive his licence to practice.
And so as Suu Kyi is finally released after more than seven years under house arrest, the immense injustice that she is fighting is almost visible on the troubled face of one of the closest witnesses to the harrowing events that put her back in detention in 2003, Kyaw Soe Lin.
And as the authorities – perhaps in an effort to divert attention from their fraudulent election and to appease a rightfully sceptical international community – release their most famous prisoner, that reconciliation and justice will be hard to find where impunity springs eternal from the hands of the military to its chosen minions.
“All those beaten up were imprisoned, but for those who carried out the beating, not one. No one knows who was behind the attack. And in the prison, we were beaten up for one reason or another. It was a deliberate way to torture. It is not like interrogation, just torture.”
|31-01-2011, 04:56 PM||#1528 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Suu Kyi launches website
Rangoon - Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi this weekend launched a website to consolidate international links and speed up "democratic union" in her military-led country.
"A good communication system is essential to our endeavour to set up a people's network for democracy that will span the whole world," Suu Kyi said in a statement posted online Monday.
By moving the message of her National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party online, "I believe we shall be able to achieve our goal of a democratic union at a faster pace," she said.
The statement was co-signed by NLD vice chairman Tin Oo.
The website, http://www.nldburma.org, was made possible when authorities allowed Suu Kyi internet access on November 21.
The NLD is Burma's main opposition party. It won the 1990 general election by a landslide, but has been blocked from power by the ruling junta for the past 20 years, with most of its leadership thrown in jail.
The NLD boycotted the November election in response to new regulations that would have required it to drop its leader Suu Kyi as a member. As a consequence of the boycott, it lost its party status.
|01-02-2011, 05:59 PM||#1530 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
NLD website created by anonymous source
Monday, 31 January 2011
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was reportedly pleased with the creation of a National League for Democracy (NLD) party website by an unidentified third party outside of Burma.
A greeting message sent by Aung San Suu Kyi was posted on the Internet website which was inaugurated on Sunday evening.
‘I am very pleased indeed that there is now a web page that will make the policies and activities of the National League for Democracy known around the globe’, she wrote. ‘A good communication system is essential in our endeavour to set up a people's network for democracy that will span the whole world.’
‘By communicating through the web page, with strong supporters of our cause, as well as with those who want to know more about our movement for democracy and about the NLD, I believe we will be able to achieve our goal of a democratic union at a faster pace’, she said.
NLD officials noted that the NLD itself had no role in backing or creating the website. The identity of the developer of the website is not known.
Party Information Department In-charge Ohn Kyaing told Mizzima that the NLD had no contact with the webmaster of the website and the party could not have such a website itself in light of many laws and restrictions in Burma.
‘There are many general limitations inside Burma’, he said, ‘both technical, financial and legal constraints’.
The website address is www.nldburma.org. It posts information in both English and Burmese. There are website sections devoted to organisation, media and press releases, social welfare, education, health, international affairs, law and ethnic affairs.
NLD Vice Chairman Tin Oo also welcomed the creation of the website.
“We welcome the opening of a web page dedicated to promoting the interest of the NLD”, said a message signed by Tin Oo.
The organisation section lists state and division party branches, youth and women and the Committee Representing People’s Parliament. The media and press release section contains past press releases, interviews, articles and media related information.
In the social welfare section are listings for emergency help, political prisoners and other information. Under health is information about HIV/AIDs programs. Under international affairs information about the United Nations, Asean, India/China, North America and Europe is provided. The webiste also includes video clips and a photo gallery of NLD activities.
Ohn Kyaing said, ‘All of the press releases are those that have already been released. If we did this website from Burma, all of us would be arrested. We cannot release even a newsletter from our office’.
|16-01-2012, 06:43 PM||#1531 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Monks’ boycott of govt remains: Gambira
16 January 2012
A young monk collects alms in Rangoon. Influential monk leader Ashin Gambira said the religious boycott of the government remains in place
The recent political prisoner amnesty and ceasefire agreement with Karen rebels is not sufficient proof of the Burmese government’s democratic intentions, according to released monk leader Ashin Gambira, who said the religious boycott of government officials enacted during the September 2007 uprising remains in force.
Gambira has been quick to temper the hype that surrounded last Friday’s amnesty that included other prominent dissidents, including Min Ko Naing and Shan leader Khun Tun Oo. Following his sentencing in 2008, the 32-year-old was severely tortured.
“The government has transformed its external appearance into a civilian one but their efforts to implement democracy are still rather weak, while many cases of human rights violations continue,” he told DVB.
Asked whether he had any words for President Thein Sein, who was prime minister under the junta that jailed Gambira three years ago, he said the boycott had not been lifted.
“He [Thein Sein] is one of the members of the group our boycott was aimed at. [The government] will have to apologise to the monks three times in order for the Pattaneikkujanakan [boycott] to be revoked.”
He added that the demands that triggered the 2007 uprising, namely that the government drop fuel prices, were still in place. Days before the amnesty, it was announced that fuel and electricity prices would hike, in some cases two-fold in order to meet a budget deficit, although campaigners were quick to point out the large sums of money the government makes from selling off the country’s vast energy reserves.
In all nearly 300 political prisoners were released on Friday, as well as number of former intelligence and customs officials purged by Than Shwe, who ruled Burma until March last year. While the amnesty was met with celebrations, observers have been quick to point out its shortcomings, namely the conditions attached to releases, and the fact that around 1,000 political prisoners remain behind bars.
Monk Ashin Wirathu, who was eight years into a 25-year jail term when he released from Mandalay’s Obo Prison last Friday, said the government’s decision to free leaders of various groups, such as the All Burma Monks’ Association and 88 Generation Students, whilst keeping lower-ranking members behind bars might sow discord.
He listed a number of monks that remain in prison. “This makes me think that there is intention [on behalf of the government] to cause dissension following the releases.”
The US followed the amnesty and ceasefire with an announcement that it would appoint an ambassador to Burma for the first time since Burmese troops gunned down around 3,000 pro-democracy protestors in 1988. Visiting US senator Mitch McConnell told reporters after meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi today that while the move was promising, more needed to be done.
|02-02-2012, 03:32 PM||#1532 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Rangoon ceremony for freed monks blocked
2 February 2012
Buddhist monks encircle the grounds of the newly-renovated Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon
A ceremony in Rangoon to reordinate nearly 40 monks released from prison in the January amnesty has been blocked by a government-backed monastic committee on the grounds that it had a “political agenda”.
The event was due to take place on 4 February at a monastery in Mayangon township, but a phone call from the head of Rangoon division’s Sangha Maha Nayaka quickly put a stop to that.
“At first, the township’s administrators turned up and tried to stop the event, and the [monastery’s] abbot told them they were in no position to block a merit-making event for monks,” said Ko Ko Lay, who organised the ceremony.
“It appears they took it to the Sangha Maha Nayaka, and the committee has banned the event, claiming that it had a political agenda.”
Prominent figures lined up for the event included released student leader Min Ko Naing and Shan leader Khun Htun Oo. They were among nearly 300 political prisoners released in the 13 January amnesty.
But despite an apparently opening political environment in Burma, many remain concerned at the government’s treatment of monks. The country’s monastic community is seen as power political force, and the government’s unease at their continued influence is exemplified by the 48 monks who still remain behind bars.
According to data compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners–Burma (AAPP), the majority of these were charged under Act 5j, which penalises those deemed “to affect the morality or conduct of the public or a group of people in a way that would undermine the security of the Union or the restoration of law and order”.
Earlier this month a prominent Burmese monk, Ashin Pyinya Thiha, who has links to the political opposition, was evicted from his Rangoon monastery. His growing profile had irked the government in Burma, which considered the Sardu monastery as something of an organising hub for the opposition.
The order for the eviction came from the same Rangoon wing of the Sangha Maha Nayaka committee that blocked this weekend’s event.
Monks continue to hold substantial political clout in Burma, despite regular intimidation by authorities. A group of monks who in November last year protested in Mandalay are now reportedly under “village arrest” in Thaphyay Aye in Sagaing division, signifying ongoing unease within the government about the degree of influence they have over Burmese.
|19-02-2012, 07:02 PM||#1533 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Sunday, February 19, 2012.NAY PYI TAW, 18 Feb- The authorities concerned are taking legal steps to bring U Gambhira to trial. U Gambhira who was released from the prison on 13 January by amnesty and rejoined the religious order the same day without request will have to face the charges of squatting in Magin Monastery in Thingangyun Township which is sealed by the government in accordance with laws without permission, and forcing the locks of Sasana Theikpan Monastery and Sasana Gonyi Monastery in Kyaukhetgyi Pagoda in Bahan Township.
U Gambhira not only committs offences but also insults national-level Sangha organization after his release from prison
Legal actions to be taken in consideration of religion, Sasana and purity of Sasana as Dhamma action no more works
Concerning the abovementioned cases, Sayadaws of State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee summoned U Gambhira for three times in vain and thus Yangon Region Police Force took him to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee on Kaba Aye Hill in Mayangon Township on 10 February. SSMNC Chairman Dr Bhaddanta Kumara Bhivamsa ordered U Gambhira to follow the admonition of the SSMNC Sayadaws and U Gambhira gave a written guarantee of following the Sayadaws’ advice to the letter, agreeing to receive punitive actions either by Sangha organization law or existing laws in case of violation of his assurance.
U Gambhira though gave the guarantee requested the Sayadaws to let him present 10-point letter to the SSMNC on behalf of the whole Sangha members. In his letter, U Gambhira revealed his objection to the phrase“committing offences without permission” in the notice of the SSMNC to him, to ordering Shwenyawa monk U Pinnya Sila to leave Sadhu Buddha Tekkatho Monastery within one month, and denouncing of SSMNC for doing nothing for release of 43 monks included in 415 prisoners.
Moreover, although SSMNC Syadaws asked him to rejoin religious order in line with code of conduct for Buddhist monks, U Gambhira replied that it has no concern with a monk like him and he wouldn’t request to let him rejoin the religious order.
His response was seen as a slap in the face of the SSMNC Sayadaws, offensively blackening their reputation. His actions are an insult to educational prestige, moral prestige and probity prestige of the SSMNC, disrupting code of conduct for members of Sangha. Furthermore, neglecting of his words such as “objection, denouncement” to the national-level Sangha organization constituted with 47 venerable monks will make monks and person with dark attitude to be too daring to commit the similar cases.
So, the SSMNC Sayadaws felt heartaches and wished for legal actions as Dhamma actions is no more possible.
Punitive actions will be taken against U Gambhira (a) Candobhasa (a) Nyi Nyi Lwin, 33 who, under complete political spell, has repeatedly broken Buddhist monks code of conduct and laws that every citizen need to abide by, in consideration of religion, Sasana and purity of Sasana.
New Light of Myanmar @ Myanmar.com
|01-05-2012, 04:52 PM||#1534 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Saffron Crackdown Commander in Parliament Stirs Outrage
April 30, 2012
A pair of photographs, allegedly of Col Aung Kyaw, showing him in 2007 and on April 23, 2012.
A week after the National League for Democracy (NLD) declined to take its seats in Parliament over an oath promising to safeguard the military-drafted Constitution, another controversy is emerging over the appointment to the legislature of a commander believed to have played a key role in crushing the 2007 Saffron Revolution.
The oath issue has now been set aside, thanks to the NLD’s decision on Monday to end its objections in response to appeals from party supporters, but the appointment of a colonel who allegedly ordered his troops to fire on protesting monks in 2007—variously identified as Aung Kyaw or Hla Myint Soe—could cause renewed tension.
The colonel, from Pegu-based Light Infantry Division (LID) 77, entered Parliament last week to replace one of 59 appointees who were reassigned as part of a reshuffle. Under Burma’s 2008 Constitution, 25 percent of seats in the legislature are reserved for armed forces appointees.
In an edited image widely circulating among Burmese Facebook users, the colonel is seen in one photograph speaking into a walkie-talkie, allegedly during the operation to crush monk-led protests in September 2007, and in another receiving his ID card as he prepared to enter Parliament last Monday.
In both photos, he is wearing the same uniform. The only difference is that in the more recent photo, he has an additional star on his shoulder, indicating his promotion from lieutenant-colonel to colonel.
Many Facebook users, convinced that both photos show the same man, and that he was involved in a deadly crackdown believed to have claimed at least 30 lives, have expressed outrage.
Readers of The Irrawaddy’s Burmese-language website, which has published an article on the photos, have voiced similar sentiments.
“Criminals who killed and beat the Monks are now at Parliament,” wrote one reader who identified himself as Ko Phone.
|19-05-2012, 06:15 PM||#1536 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Suu Kyi to address Parliament in UK
May 19 2012
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is to make a historic address to both Houses of Parliament as she ventures out of her country for the first time in more than two decades.
The rare honour was announced as David Cameron prepared to brief G8 leaders, meeting in Camp David, after his visit to Burma last month when he extended the invitation for her to come to the UK.
At the time, Ms Suu Kyi, who had previously been unwilling to leave for fear the country's military rulers would not let her return, was cautious about accepting, replying simply "perhaps". However Downing Street has now confirmed that she will be making a week-long visit commencing on June 18, which will include her address to MPs and peers at Westminster.
It is likely to be an emotional trip for Ms Suu Kyi - who has not been outside Burma since returning in 1988 - giving her the chance to be reunited with her sons and grandchildren whom she barely knows.
Since his visit, in the wake of elections which saw Ms Suu Kyi and other opposition supporters elected to the Burmese parliament, Mr Cameron has championed the suspension of international sanctions against the military regime, arguing the move towards democracy should be rewarded.
Mr Cameron was urging the other G8 leaders to make a strong political commitment to ensure the opening up of aid and trade benefits for all the Burmese people rather than a select few. He will make clear, that as the world's biggest bilateral aid donor to Burma, the UK has no plans to provide aid direct to the Burmese government until further progress on reform is made.
He will call for the creation of a commission for responsible investment in Burma that would establish principles that all businesses would be encouraged to sign up to when trading with or investing there.
The new body could bring together representatives from the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, international companies and key figures who campaign on human rights and business.
"For decades Burma has suffered under a brutal dictatorship. It is desperately poor. But it doesn't have to be this way," a No 10 spokesman said.
"There is a government there now that has started to take steps on the road to reform. The G8 needs to encourage that process so that we don't lose the opportunity for change in Burma. We need to make sure that every pound of aid, every dollar of investment is spent for the benefit of the Burmese people."
|09-07-2012, 07:25 PM||#1537 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Suu Kyi Makes Parliamentary Debut
July 9, 2012
NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives for the morning session of Parliament on Monday.
(PHOTO: THE IRRAWADDY)
Lower House parliamentarian and chairman of Burma’s opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi attended the morning session of Parliament in Naypyidaw on Monday, her first appearance at a parliamentary session since she was sworn in two months ago.
The fourth parliamentary session began last week and included other NLD MPs who were elected in by-elections in April. However, Suu Kyi requested a three-day break citing a need to rest following a tour to Europe last month.
Her presence at the morning session was welcomed by one of the Lower House’s military appointees, Brig-Gen Wai Lin, who told The Irrawaddy that “it is good that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is now attending Parliament. We very much welcome her.”
But Wai Lin would not comment on whether the military delegates will be supportive of the bills which the NLD said it will propose.
Suu Kyi said that today [Monday] was her first chance to observe the parliament, and that neither she nor other NLD representatives would submit any bills or proposals yet.
Speaking to reporters during the lunch break, Suu Kyi responded to a question about the vice-presidential position which is due to be named on Tuesday. “The person who is appointed vice-president should be someone who will work for national reconciliation,” she said of the post vacated recently by Tin Aung Myint Oo.
MPs are required to submit proposed bills for discussion in advance of the meeting. Phyu Phyu Thin, the Lower House MP for Rangoon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt constituency, said, “We NLD parliamentarians have not yet decided what to propose, but we will be meeting soon to decide.”
NLD leader Suu Kyi visited her constituency in Kawhmu last week, saying she wanted to assess her constituents’ needs before entering a parliamentary meeting. She then traveled to Naypyidaw on Sunday.
Suu Kyi won the April 1 by-election for Kawhmu constituency in Rangoon. She and her party’s 42 representatives were sworn in to Parliament on May 2 despite some controversy over the wording of the parliamentary oath.
|27-09-2012, 07:57 PM||#1538 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Monks Mark Uprising with Ceremonies, Protests
September 27, 2012
Protesters march in New Delhi, India, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Saffron Revolution on Sept. 26, 2012.
(Photo: Zarni Mann / The Irrawaddy)
Buddhist monks in Burma and in exile vowed on Wednesday to continue pushing the Burmese authorities to apologize for a crackdown on massive protests five years ago and to release all monks still behind bars.
At ceremonies in Rangoon and Mandalay to mark the anniversary of the crushing of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, monks and their supporters called on Burma’s new military-backed government to redress injustices committed by the former junta against members of the Buddhist clergy.
“Most of us will continue our boycott until we get their apology,” said Ashin Thawbita, the spokesperson for the organizing committee behind a ceremony at Mandalay’s Myawaddy Mingyi Monastery.
The boycott—a form of excommunication that involves refusing offerings of alms from those who have committed offenses against the Sangha, or community of monks—was part of the September 2007 uprising, which came after earlier protests over dramatic fuel price hikes in August were brutally suppressed.
However, Ashin Thawbita emphasized that the gathering in Mandalay, which was attended by more than 1,000 monks, was aimed at creating a network to work together for peace, religious affairs and children’s education, not reviving the 2007 uprising.
“We are trying our best not to allow another Saffron Revolution to happen,” he said.
More than 300 monks and activists held a similar event at Magwe Monastery in Rangoon’s East Dagon Township on the same day.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, exiled Burmese monks and activists marched down the city’s Janta Manta Road calling for the release of imprisoned monks and other political prisoners.
“We will never forget this day or our fellow monks who are still behind bars. We want the government to release them and all other political prisoners as soon as possible without any conditions,” said Ashin Pannajota, who is based in the Indian capital.
Some of the protesters also held signs calling for an end to ethnic conflict in Burma.
“Enough is enough. If President Thein Sein’s government really wants democracy, the civil war must stop. Both sides must resolve their differences through dialogue,” said Ashin Pannajota.
The Saffron Revolution started on Sept. 5 with a small protest by monks in Pakokku, Magway Division, who were later beaten by local police. This sparked nationwide protests that grew to the hundreds of thousands at their peak.
The protests, which were the largest the country had seen in more than two decades, ended when security forces cracked down on Sept. 26, killing at least 31 people and raiding monasteries to arrest hundreds of monks.
Among the casualties was Japanese reporter Kenji Nagai, who was shot at point blank range as soldiers charged unarmed protesters.
|01-01-2013, 10:44 AM||#1539 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Govt Appeals to Monks to Lift Boycott
December 31, 2012
On a hot evening in early September, a dark blue Toyota Double Cab parked outside a temple in Mandalay. It was there to pick up a monk who five years earlier had played a major role in issuing an excommunication order on members of the military and their families.
The order, which marked the beginning of the 2007 Saffron Revolution against Myanmar’s then ruling junta, was imposed after a crackdown on a small monk-led protest in Pakokku, Magway Region, in early September 2007. That incident led to much larger demonstrations around the country that were also suppressed by force, creating a lasting fissure between two of Myanmar’s most powerful institutions: the military and the monastic community.
The monk in Mandalay was taken to a hotel on 80th Street, where in a room on the third floor he met four people who turned out to be senior government officials seeking an end to the monks’ patam nikkuijana kamma, or formal refusal to accept alms.
This secret meeting led to subsequent talks, where the monks stated their demands, including a full apology and the reinstatement of monks removed from their monasteries for taking part in the protests. No deal has yet been reached, but if successful, the negotiations could bring closure to one of the most acrimonious episodes in recent Myanmar history.
|06-03-2013, 04:59 PM||#1540 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Myanmar's opposition leader (center, green blouse) and other MPs sit on the 17th day of the 6th session of the Union Parliament in Naypyitaw. (Photo: NLD)
Suu Kyi calls for trust in efforts to build economy
|27-04-2013, 03:49 PM||#1541 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Burma to Allow Suu Kyi’s Presidential Bid, Aung Min Tells US Audience
Friday, April 26, 2013
Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, second from left, walks up the steps to Burma’s Parliament with fellow National League for Democracy lawmakers in January.
(Photo: Yeni / The Irrawaddy)
A top government official has said Burma will amend its Constitution to allow democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to run in the next presidential election.
Aung Min, a minister from the President’s Office, reportedly made the statement while visiting the United States to receive a peace award on Monday from the International Crisis Group on behalf of President Thein Sein.
He told members of the Burmese community in the United States that Burma’s government would amend the much-criticized 2008 Constitution to allow Suu Kyi to become a presidential candidate in 2015, the US-based Radio Free Asia reported in its Burmese edition.
However, the minister’s claim was not supported by leaders of President Thein Sein’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
Htay Oo, a vice chairman of the former junta-backed USDP, told The Irrawaddy that his party had no plans to amend the Constitution at this stage.
“Our party has not considered yet to review the Constitution,” he said. “We cannot do it even if we wish to do it.”
Suu Kyi, who became a lawmaker last year after 15 years under house arrest by the former military regime, is currently prohibited from running for president because she has foreign children.
Win Tin, a leading member of Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, said he heard that some chapters of the Constitution would be amended but warned that the USDP retained a heavy presence in Parliament and that the military’s role in politics would not disappear.
“Even with a constitutional amendment, it will be very hard for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to be elected as president,” he said, referring to the opposition leader with a title of respect. “Her rival groups in Parliament will try hard to prevent her from becoming president. And she needs to get huge support from both the lower and upper [houses] of Parliament to become vice president or president.”
Last month, Parliament announced that it would form a committee of law experts and intellectuals to review the Constitution to bring it in line with the broader reform process.
Two senior members of the USDP, Aye Myint and Thein Zaw, made the proposal to establish the committee. They are considered confidants of Shwe Mann, a former general who is speaker of Parliament’s Lower House.
Since then, political analysts have speculated that the constitutional review would focus on the question of whether to allow Suu Kyi to run for president or vice president.
The committee is expected to begin discussing the Constitutional review in July.
The 2008 Constitution disqualifies Burmese nationals from running for president or vice president if they have family members who are foreign citizens or hold foreign citizenship.
Chapter III, Article 59 (f), of the Constitution states: “He himself [the president or vice president], one of his parents, his spouse, one of his legitimate children or their spouses shall not owe allegiance to a foreign power, nor be the subject of a foreign power or the citizen of a foreign country. They shall not be persons entitled to enjoy the rights and privileges of a subject of a foreign government or citizen of a foreign country.”
Suu Kyi married Michael Aris, the late British scholar, in 1971, and gave birth to her eldest son, Alexander, the following year in London. Her younger son, Kim, was born in 1977. Both of her sons have UK citizenship.
Last edited by Mid : 27-04-2013 at 04:21 PM. Reason: formatting
|27-04-2013, 05:21 PM||#1543 (permalink)|
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|21-05-2013, 08:02 PM||#1544 (permalink)|
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Military will always have a political role: Thein Sein
Monday, 20 May 2013
Myanmar’s military has a proud history and will continue to play a major role in the country, President Thein Sein said in an interview with the Washington Post on Sunday ahead of a meeting with his US counterpart at the White House.
The army “will always have a special place” in government, Thein Sein is quoted as saying, and he dismissed allegations that the military participated in recent communal violence against the country’s Muslim community.
“In the lengthy interview, Thein Sein made little attempt to promote a picture of vigorous reform in [Myanmar], or to sell himself as the pivotal leader who will turn the former prison state into a democracy,” the Washington Post said.
The US government recently lifted most economic sanctions on Myanmar but left in place restrictions on specific individuals and business leaders seen as close to the former military junta.
|07-09-2013, 08:43 PM||#1545 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Recalling Monk Beatings That Sparked the Saffron Revolution
Friday, September 6, 2013
An illustration by cartoonist Harn Lay depicts the beatings of protesting monks by soldiers on Sept. 5, 2007, in Pakkoku.
RANGOON — Six years ago, soldiers and government-backed thugs beat up and injured three Buddhist monks in the central Burmese town of Pakokku. The incident became a catalyst for the monk-led, nationwide protests in September 2007 that were later called the Saffron Revolution.
The popular gatherings were the largest pro-democracy demonstrations that Burma had seen in two decades. The movement lasted for weeks until the then military junta ordered a violent crackdown.
Several monks from Pakokku town, located in northern Magwe Division, recalled the events of Sept. 5-6, 2007, in interviews with The Irrawaddy on Friday.
Popular discontent had started growing the month before, after the government cut fuel subsidies on Aug. 15, 2007, causing a rapid rise in commodity prices. During small demonstrations against the decision, 13 prominent activists including Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Min Zeya and Ko Jimmy were arrested.
U Latkhana, a monk from Pakkoku, said hundreds of monks in Pakokku organized a peaceful march in on Sept. 5, 2007 to show their support for the detained activists and demonstrators.
“On September 5, monks were coming out from their monasteries and began walking and chanting on the main road in Pakkoku. Then their way was blocked by the army. Soldiers shouted that we should not proceed,” he said.
“Some of the monks were trapped [between groups of soldiers]. Suddenly, monks at the front ran back and said that some monks were being beaten. Later we learned that three monks had been tied up and beaten with the butt of a rifle and by some thugs with bamboo rods,” U Latkhana recalled.
The beating of the three protesting monks, who were tied to lamppost while they were hit in the face, enraged the monks in Pakkoku, a town that functions as an important religious center where about a third of the population are monks.
The worst-injured victim, who suffered cuts to his face that required five stiches, said he was reluctant to discuss the painful incident. “It’s been a long time. I just do not want to talk about that. I only can say that I’ve forgiven them and trying to forget what I suffered,” said the monk, who declined to be named.
On Sept. 6, 2007, policemen and local officials came to Ashae Taike Monastery in Pakkoku urging the monks to end their protests — without offering an apology for the beating. Angered, dozens of young monks burned three cars in which the officials arrived, while others prevented the officials and policemen from leaving.
Soon, word of the beatings had spread among Burma’s approximately 400,000 monks and the Sangha demanded an official government apology by Sept. 17.
When the deadline passed without an apology thousands of monks took to streets in Rangoon, Mandalay and other cities and town across Burma. The movement grew in the following days and laymen walked behind them in support. The monks also refused to perform any Buddhist rituals for government officials, army officers and their families.
On Sept. 26, a crackdown began on the demonstrations and the army opened fire on the unarmed protesters. Many protesters, including monks, were beaten and arrested, while several monasteries were raided and forced to shut down.
Dozens of people are believed to have died in the crackdown, although there are no confirmed figures. The government put the death toll at 13, the UN human rights envoy on Burma at the time said 31 people had died, while Democratic Voice of Burma reported that 138 people had been killed.
Only in the last two years have the Burmese people seen a government response to their demands for democracy, with the end of military rule, the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the introduction of a range of political reforms under President Thein Sein.
The monks who were involved in the Pakkoku protests and the Saffron Revolution say they remain angry about the state-sponsored violence against the demonstrating monks and laymen in 2007.
“I could not forget what happened back then. For me, I do not accept the offerings from the government until now,” said U Latkhana. “It is a bitter memory for us. But to look on the optimistic side, what was happened in 2007 September became one of the reasons for the changes in the country. Because of what we suffered, the international community get understand our situation better and began to apply pressure.”
One of the Saffron Revolution’s leading monks, Ashin Issariya, from Magwe Division’s Yenan Chaung town, said, “For me, I’m just looking forward but will never forget the past. There are things that we gained and we lost during the uprising. But I view it as a sacrifice to go forward towards democracy.”
The monks said they are critically following the democratic reforms introduced under President Thein Sein’s nominally-civilian government, which for the most part consists of former military officers. They said they are far from satisfied with the progress made so far.
“The changes in the government are just changes [by former junta leaders] from uniforms to civilian clothing. So, we have to move forward to get the genuine changes,” said U Latkhana.
Ashin Issariya said, “People need to emphasis on amending the 2008 Constitution because it plays the vital in forming democracy in the country.”
Last edited by Mid : 07-09-2013 at 08:51 PM.
|27-09-2013, 04:55 AM||#1546 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Sixth ‘Saffron Revolution’ commemoration in Mandalay
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
The commemoration ceremony of the sixth anniversary of the 'Saffron Revolution' will be held at the Kattakkone Monastery in Mandalay, on September 26.
File picture of monks protesting against the military junta in Myanmar during the ‘Saffron Revolution’ of 2007.
The monks will urge the government to return seized farmlands to the original owners at the ceremony, said Sayadaw U Kaviya, the Abbot of the monastery.
“We will urge the government to amend the Constitution and return seized farmlands to the farmers”, said Sayadaw U Kaviya.
He added, “The Saffron Revolution took place seven days after I was released from prison. When I heard the monks’ prayers I became tearful. I could feel what they felt.”
The organizing committee of the ceremony has been formed with five Buddhist monks, according to Sayadaw U Kaviya.
In Mandalay, Sayadaw U Kaviya is popularly known as Galoneni Sayadaw. He was imprisoned by the military junta for taking a leading role in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.
During the Saffron Revolution in 2007, monks in Mandalay together with students protested against the military junta. Therefore, students’ unions will take participation in the ceremony, according to 88-generation student Nyi Nyi Kyaw.
“The main participants will be Buddhist monks, followed by students. It will not be an ordinary ceremony. We will issue a statement expressing ‘political essence’”, he said.
The term 'Saffron Revolution' has been derived from the Buddhist monks who led the mass anti-junta uprising in their saffron colored robes, in September 2007.
|02-11-2013, 01:11 AM||#1547 (permalink)|
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Aung San Suu Kyi: complicity with tyranny
Aung San Suu Kyi is the international face of Burma and a global icon of courage, endurance and moral authority. But as Guy Horton reports from Burma, she is now actively colluding with the Burmese military's violent campaigns against minority ethnic and religious groups.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
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