Archive for the ‘Democracy’ category

Say Apple – An Apple, Mango – A Mango, Monkey – A Monkey, don’t make a monk – Thief!

November 2, 2009

(First published on burmareview.org on 30th October 2009)

By: Vijay ‘Bidrohi’

A curious student, hungry for knowledge, asked his teacher a very difficult question – “how to follow Gandhi’s philosophy in current materialistic world to serve humanity”? After a little pause & thought, the teacher replied, it is very simple, start saying – apple – an apple, mango – a mango, monkey – a monkey but don’t make a monk & spiritual person like –Holy Dalai Lama – a thief!

Then equally difficult student asked, if I have to say – a Dragon – a Rabbit, a Monkey – a Parrot, a Mango – an Apple, a Chimpanzee – a Fox, a lovely tender Rose – a Stone, what I would do? The teacher replied – “become an Ambassador or join diplomatic service” or “membership of ruling political party of walled kingdom”. Then, the curious student unsatisfied with the answers of his master asked again – “diplomatic services of which country”? The teacher quickly replied – Ambassadorship of any country will work, art of contemporary diplomacy is very scientific. It can make very simple thing appear complicated and complicated thing appear very simple. Student little confused with the answers, asked again – how come political party of walled kingdom figures into this? The teacher replied – ‘don’t you see my loved one, that, sometime, detention & house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi loved by the people of pagoda kingdom becomes an international problem for walled kingdom and sometimes an internal one! Student satisfied with answers, thanked his master, left him & walked towards countryside to spread the message singing – “Say apple – an apple, mango – a mango, monkey – a monkey, don’t make a monk thief…don’t make a monk thief…don’t make a monk thief…o…o…o…Great Holy Dalai Lama accept my salute!”

 

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Burma Review back on Web: burmareview.com is now burmareview.org

September 23, 2008

Burma Review is back on web at blogger.com / Google facilities as – burmareview.org / burmareview.blogspot.com web site. The journey of Burma Review was started on 5th of December 2006 at wordpress.com as burmareview.wordpress.com and later

shifted to the domain name: burmareview.com (which has been now taken by the other interested group to destroy the purpose of the concerned domain name, so now please don’t visit burmareview.com, the story of losing domain name on word press would be explained on other occasions, the forces behind it could be well understood) The old posts of Burma Review will remain available at bumareview.wordpress.com

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Human Rights Watch: UN should Impose Arms Embargo on Burma

December 5, 2007

Press Release: Human Rights Watch, December 5, 2007 

Human Rights Watch, in its press release issued today, has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Burma in response to the Burmese military government’s continued recruitment of children for its national army. Human Rights Watch further stressed that, Burma’s ruling military regimes claim to redress the problem of child recruitments are wholly insufficient.    

The press release has been issued addressed to the tomorrow’s meeting of the UN Security Council’s working group on children and armed conflict, which is scheduled to discuss the recent report submitted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, that has found well documented “grave violations” against children in Burma, including patterns of underage military recruitment.     

According to the Press Release issued today by HRW, the UN secretary-general has issued five reports since 2002 citing Burma’s national army, the Tatmadaw, for violating international law prohibiting the use of child soldiers. The reports have also cited several non-state armed groups in Burma for recruiting children, including armed opposition groups. 

Burma’s army has recruited thousands of children to fill its ranks,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council needs to show Burma’s generals that they cannot get away with such horrendous practices.” The Security Council’s working group on children and armed conflict must now consider what action the Security Council should take in response to the secretary-general’s new report on violations in Burma. In past resolutions on children and armed conflict, the Security Council has stated that it will consider targeted measures including embargoes on arms and other military assistance – in cases where governments and armed groups fail to end their use of child soldiers.    

It is important to note that, in a report released in October, Human Rights Watch documented how children as young as 10 are recruited by force into Burma’s army. At recruitment centers, officers falsify documents to register new recruits as age 18, even if they are clearly underage. Former soldiers reported that in many training camps, children made up more than 30 percent of new recruits.  After putting children through military training, the Burmese army uses them in combat against ethnic armed opposition groups, and sometimes to participate in human rights abuses against civilians. Children who try to escape are typically beaten, re-recruited, or imprisoned.     

The army’s forced recruitment is designed to fill personnel shortages as a result of both increased desertion rates and army expansion. This expansion includes new units established to utilize arms purchased from China, India, Russia, and Ukraine. Under Burma’s national law, the recruitment of anyone below age 18 is prohibited. The recruitment and use of child soldiers below the age of 15 is considered a war crime under international law.     

In 2004, the military government, known as the State Peace and Development Council, established a high-level committee to prevent the recruitment of underage soldiers. Human Rights Watch’s investigation found that the committee had taken little action to end child recruitment, and instead repeatedly denied outside reports of child soldier use by government forces. There is no independent oversight of this committee, nor is there monitoring of recruitment centers or access to military bases throughout Burma’s hinterland, where many child soldiers are deployed.     

In addition, Human Rights Watch advocate for Children’s right – Mr. Jo Becker has pointed that the, “The Security Council should not be fooled by Burma’s repeated promises to address the army’s use of child soldiers,” and stressed that, “Nothing short of an arms embargo is likely to make Burma’s military government end all recruitment and use of children.”    

Non-state armed groups in Burma also use child soldiers, though practices vary widely. Some groups actively recruit and use children in armed conflict, while others, including the Karenni Army and Karen National Liberation Army, have taken steps to end the recruitment of children into their forces. In its report, Human Rights Watch noted that cooperation by the Karenni Army and its efforts since 2002 to end the use of child soldiers had eradicated the practice, and recommended the armed group be removed from the UN secretary-general’s list of parties using child soldiers.     

Mr. Jo Becker further said that, “Burma’s diplomatic supporters in the Security Council, China and Russia, are also its main arms suppliers. These countries sell weapons to Burma with scant regard for the impact on the civilian population.”      

(The End)   

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Time has come for UN to act firmly on Burma

December 4, 2007

Burma’s ruling military junta officially known as State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), bolstered by the recent successful trip of the two ASEAN member nations – Cambodia and Vietnam of their Seven-step road map of democracy organized a Press Conference (No. 2/2007) yesterday, which has been published in today’s official media – The New Light of Myanmar;  once again reiterated that, they believed August-September 2007 people’s revolution “were the results of timely conspiracies of  western powers and anti-government groups inside and outside the country as well as at the border.”  Most interesting part of today’s published press conference is related with the news of fine contradictions of Junta appointed Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s liaison minister for Labour’s – U Aung Kyi’s statement with the statement of Information Minister – Brigadier General Mr. Kyaw Hsan’s statement in the same news report published on page number ten. While answering to the question of Nikei Newspaper correspondent, that, “Is there prospect of the negotiation between NLD led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the government or is there any progress for the negotiation?”, the Information Minister replied that, “Before thinking about the prospect of the negotiation, we should see the progress in the meetings of Minister U Aung Kyi and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi first. Regarding the negotiation, the Government issued the announcement No 1/2007. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not yet responded to the announcement. The announcement No 1/2007 is the basic for all,” proving that the media reported three meetings of liaison minister’s talks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not resulted in any positive outcome and progress.        

It is important to note that, earlier Burma’s ruling military junta had announced on 4th of October 2007 through their announcement No. 1/2007 (published on 5th of October of the New Light of Myanmar) that, “If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi declares to give up exerting efforts for Confrontation, Utter Devastation, and Imposing All Kinds of Sanctions including Economic Sanction against Myanmar then the Senior General – Mr. Than Shwe will personally meet her.” 

However, it is noteworthy that till now only one statement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been published in the world press through the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy of Burma – Mr. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari issued at Singapore on 8th of November 2007, in which she clearly welcomed, “the appointment on 8th of October of Minister Aung Kyi as minister for relations,” and said that, “Our first meeting on 25th October was constructive and look forward to further regular discussions. I expect that this phase of preliminary consultations will conclude soon so that a meaningful and time bound dialogue with the SPDC leadership can start as early as possible.”  She further reiterated in her 8th of November statement that, “In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the government in order to make this process of dialogue a success and welcome the necessary good offices role of the United Nations to help facilitate our efforts in this regard.”

However, today’s published statement by the Information Minister indicates and proves that, Junta’s intention of negotiation is nothing but fooling the world community, UN and ASEAN member nations, whereas Daw Aung San Suu Kyi seriously wants to cooperate with the military junta towards genuine democratic transformation.       

In the same news report published today, when Reuter’s news Agency correspondent – U Aung Hla Tun asked liaison Minister for Labour – Mr. U Aung Kyi, that, “Is there time frame for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to respond to the announcement No 1/2007 as she has not yet responded to the announcement? Can we expect that she will respond to the announcement? I want to know the progress of the meetings between U Aung Kyi and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”, the liaison minister replied that, “I met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for three times. We have made progress at the meetings. The first meeting was aimed at gaining understanding between us. The second meeting was to discuss frameworks for the future. The third meeting was to discuss the facts that should be included in the framework. We will release information related to the meetings when necessary. Regarding the time frame, we will continue to hold meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We need to consider “what” to discuss and “why”. We are choosing “What” and “Why”. So, we will take “Where”, “How” and “When” into consideration in the future”, indicating the whole structure of negotiations is an attempt  of buying time to go-ahead with their planned seven-step roadmap of democracy and well designed move to suppress the democratic forces led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.     

If after two months of the appointment of liaison minister, Daw Suu Kyi is not allowed freely to meet world press and still suffering under house arrest and SPDC is still wavering on “What”, “Why”, Where, “How”, and “When”, then the time has ripped now to act sternly on Burma with firm hands by the United Nations and ASEAN?       

(Note: For reader’s clear understanding of the issue, please find below the announcement No. 1/2007 as well as the statement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi released on 8th of November by the UN Special Envoy of Burma at Singapore on 8th of November 2007) 

   

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DOCUMENT No. 1: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Statement released at Singapore by the UN special envoy – Mr. Ibrahim Gambari on 8th of November 2007.  

As you know, I have just completed a mission to Myanmar from 3 to 8 November, where I met today with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In my capacity as Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for Myanmar. I was authorized by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to make the following statement on her behalf:  

  1. I wish to thank all those who have stood by my side all this time, both inside and outside my country. I am also grateful to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his unwavering support for the cause of national reconciliation, democracy and human rights in my country.

  2. I welcome the appointment on 8th of October of Minister Aung Kyi as minister for relations. Our first meeting on 25th October was constructive and look forward to further regular discussions. I expect that this phase of preliminary consultations will conclude soon so that a meaningful and time bound dialogue with the SPDC leadership can start as early as possible.

  3. In the interest of the nation, I stand ready to cooperate with the government in order to make this process of dialogue a success and welcome the necessary good offices role of the United Nations to help facilitate our efforts in this regard.

  4. In full awareness of the essential role of political parties in democratic societies, in deep appreciation of the sacrifices of the members of my party and in my position as General Secretary, I will be guided by the policies and wishes of the National League for Democracy. However, in this time of vital need for democratic solidarity and national unity, it is my duty to give constant and serious considerations to the interests and opinions of as broad a range of political organization and forces as possible, in particular those of our ethnic nationality races.

  5. To that end, I am committed to pursue the path of dialogue constructively and invite the government and all relevant parties to join me in this spirit.

  6. I believe that stability, prosperity and democracy for my country, living at peace with itself and with full respect for human rights, offers the best prospect for my country to fully contribute to the development and stability of the region in close partnership with its neighbors and fellow ASEAN members and to play a positive role as a respected member of the international community.

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DOCUMENT No. 2: SPDC’s Announcement No. 1/2007 issued on 4th of October 2007 published on 5th of October 2007 in the New Light of Myanmar:   

The Government of the Union of MyanmarAnnouncement No. 1/20078th Waning Day of Tawthalin, 1369 ME

(4th October 2007)  

1. In the Union of Myanmar, the Government and the people are striving hand in hand to build up a new democratic nation. 

2. However, starting from 28th August 2007, there occurred demonstrations of some monks. The demands made by the demonstrators in the beginning were only to bring down commodity prices but later the demands made by them were nothing to do with monks and it was found to be the wishes of a political party and other organizations aspiring to create unrest. Unrests occurred due to the attempts of those who want to grab power through short-cut and that of some foreign nations to destabilize the nation. 

3. The unrests are now totally under control by authorities for ensuring stability and the rule of law, with the cooperation of Sanghas and people who do not want any unrest. 

4. Due to lopsided broadcasts by some international media, some member nations of the United Nations Organization were worried about Myanmar’s situation and the UN Secretary-General sent his Special Envoy Mr Ibrahim Agboola Gambari to Myanmar to make urgent investigation and submit a report. 

5. Myanmar is grateful to some member nations of the UN for their understanding upon Myanmar’s situation and their principled stances. 

6. Mr Gambari arrived Myanmar on 29th September. He witnessed the situation has returned to normalcy and he had an opportunity to pay a courtesy call on State Peace and Development Council Chairman Senior General Than Shwe. Mr Gambari also had opportunities to meet with those worthy to be met for enquiring the situation. 

7. At the courtesy call, State Peace and Development Council Chairman Senior General Than Shwe mentioned Mr Gambari that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been exerting efforts for Confrontation, Utter Devastation, and Imposing All Kinds of Sanctions including Economic Sanction against Myanmar. If she declares to give them up, the Senior General will personally meet her. 

8. At present, the people of various States and Divisions all over the country are convening mass rallies to support the National Convention and welcome the forthcoming Constitution as well as to denounce recent unrests. 

9. Hence, the Government, with the support and in response to confidence and aspiration of the people, will continue to build up the nation into a discipline flourishing genuine democratic one in accordance with the seven-step Road Map.  

By order,

(Signed)Thant Shin

ColonelSecretary

The Government of the Union of Myanmar    

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