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8-8-88 Burma Protests and Bike for Burma Report

Awyame | 17.08.2008 21:16 | Anti-militarism | Repression | Social Struggles | London

Friday 8th August marked the 20th Anniversary of the 8-8-88 Burma democracy uprising in which at least 3,000 unarmed Burmese protesters were murdered by the Burmese junta. In London the Burmese unveiled a glass memorial at the peace park near the Imperial War museum, held a protest for political prisoners at the Burmese Embassy and in the evening had an exhibition on Burmese political prisoners at the School of Oriental and African Studies. The following day the new generation of Burmese students and exiled activists held a Bike for Burma event around London to remember 8-8-88 and ask people not to forget Burma.

A Burmese monk unveils the glass memorial
A Burmese monk unveils the glass memorial

20th Anniversary 8-8-88 Glass Memorial
20th Anniversary 8-8-88 Glass Memorial

A Burmese activist shows photos from 8-8-88
A Burmese activist shows photos from 8-8-88

Protest at London Burmese Embassy
Protest at London Burmese Embassy

A former Burmese political prisoner demonstrates
A former Burmese political prisoner demonstrates

Protest at London Burmese Embassy
Protest at London Burmese Embassy

Protest at London Burmese Embassy
Protest at London Burmese Embassy

Some of the political prisoners that died in prison
Some of the political prisoners that died in prison

August 9th Bike for Burma event
August 9th Bike for Burma event

August 13th French Total Oil out of Burma protest
August 13th French Total Oil out of Burma protest

August 13th French Total Oil out of Burma protest
August 13th French Total Oil out of Burma protest

August 13th French Total Oil out of Burma protest
August 13th French Total Oil out of Burma protest

At the Tibetan Peace Park, near the Imperial War Museum the Burmese unveiled a glass monument to mark the 20th anniversary of the regime’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations which took place in 1988. Thousands of Burmese were murdered by the regime on August 8th in a pro-democracy crackdown known in Burma as “8-8-88". It had been consecrated earlier at 8.08am by Buddhist monks at their Colindale Monastery, but the peace park, together with the display of many Burmese red flags made a touching and beautiful setting.

The monument was hand-made by Burmese activists, consisting of a glass display of many photographs from the 8-8-88 uprising, a border representing the 8's, and three flags of the 88 student movement (grouped into underground, political and an armed group working with the Karen resistance) now joined by a flag of the 2007 Buddhist monk uprising.

It will not be kept at the peace park, but is intended to be moved between the Burmese communities in the UK and eventually to Burma itself once Burma has thrown off the shackles of the oppressive regime.

At 1pm the Burmese and solidarity groups held a demonstration for political prisoners to remember 8-8-88 at the Burmese Embassy 19A, Charles St. The event was organised by the Burmese Democracy Movement Association, with support from Burma Campaign UK, Amnesty International UK and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The street was completely blocked by more than 200 protesters. It was great to see so many supporters with many placards and red Burmese flags on display and particularly impressive since events were also going on at the Chinese Embassy marking the start of the Olympics.

One of the Burmese political prisoners demonstrated from a barred cage during the event.

Mark Farmaner of Burma Campaign UK explained that there had been 36 UN envoy visits to Burma and that Burma human rights advocacy groups around the world were not going to accept mere meetings of UN envoys with the Burma junta as signs of progress by the UN, as has often been reported in the media. Only real progress, such as the release of political prisoners should be judged as a success for UN diplomacy. In the past year the number of political prisoners has risen from 1300 to currently over 2,000 underscoring the great failure of the UN, that can't even get Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi freed despite the widespread international support for her.

In the evening an exhibition on political prisoners in Burma was held at the School of Oriental and African Studies. The 8-8-88 glass memorial was brought to the event. There were three rooms showing photos of political prisoners, the prisons and explaining the torture and stress positions they had been subjected to. It was especially meaningful as there were 5 former Burmese political prisoners on hand to explain the pictures, that had served long prison sentences in Burma, including many years of solitary confinement.

One of the former political prisoners, Htein Lin an artist had used the constrained limitations of his cell, where a cup, a plate, scraps of plastic and a cigarette lighter were recycled as printing materials in lieu of brushes to make paintings on old cotton rags instead of canvas. He continues to use these limitations in his art today and his works can be see at The Coningsby Gallery - see future events below. Even the tiny scraps of newspaper around prison cigarettes were avidly read by prisoners, desperate for any reading materials and news of the outside world.

It was also explained how the prisons had faked prisoner visits with international human rights observers, using impostors to pretend to be known political prisoners and meeting with the international observers. One of the former political prisoners had even met the international observer years later and explained how the visit had been faked. He'd been ill in a prison hospital, made to sleep all the time on the floor, whilst a hospital bed had been temporarily produced for the impostor to meet the observer. The political prisoner neither got to meet the observer or rest in the hospital bed. Years later when he was freed and exiled from Burma, he met the observer who remembered his name but of course not his face. Human rights observers visiting Burmese prisons, should use photographs and take finger prints of those they meet for verification to deter the usual dirty tricks by the junta authorities.

Events to remember 8-8-88 were also held in the US in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Houston.

Whilst most Burmese political events in London are organised by the older 88 Generation of Burmese students on 9th August, the new generation of Burmese students and activists organised a Bike for Burma event in London. It was attended by 40-50 cyclists who cycled around London with "Don't Forget Burma" tea shirts. The weather was bad towards the end, but it couldn't dampen the spirits of the new generation of Burmese activists who were determined to work for a better future for Burma.

After helping with placards and support for the 8th August week's protests, activists were back in action with the Wednesday protests at Baker Street French Total oil petrol station on 13th August and earlier that day at the Burmese Embassy and 33 Cavendish Square (Total Holdings UK office). There were roadworks at the Total Station making rather a mess, but the 5 protestors still manage to hold up banners for the passing vehicles and hand out leaflets to passers-by. Some of whom we were pleased to learn already supported us and were even on our emailing list. French Total Oil has collaborated with the brutal military junta since the mid 1990's, sponsoring the oppressive regime with 500 million dollars a year in payments from the Yadana gas pipeline, that arms and equips the brutal juntas war against the Burmese people and ethnic minorities.

Total and Burma

A detailed report on Total Oil's involvement in Burma, written by Burma Campaign UK, can be downloaded at

Total is in a joint venture with the dictatorship in the Yadana gas project in southern Burma. [1]

The gas project funds the junta with hundreds of millions of dollars a year and represents a major source of foreign currency for the regime to buy weapons and finance the army.

Burma has the world's worst health care [2], the most corruption [3] and the most child soldiers [4].

You can email TOTAL right now to tell them that you think they should leave Burma via

Burma Campaign UK on Facebook

Get Total out of Burma on Facebook ( Facebook group)









- 5 Year-Old Schoolgirl Gang-Raped And Mutilated by Burmese Soldiers
- 200 Join Protest At Burmese Embassy, London
- New Burma Campaign UK Facebook page just launched

8) RECENT BURMA NEWS: (see - read links for the full versions of stories)

- Human Rights Watch: No Improvement in Burma's Human Rights Since 1988 'Massacre'
- 20th Anniversary of 8-8-88 uprising protesters missing in Burma
- Peaceful demonstrations in Arakan marking 8-8-88 lead to arrests
- Junta police arrest opposition party executive in Burma
- Suu Suu Nwe and Hanny Oo appear before court
- Rape wrecking communities in Darfur and Myanmar
- Indonesia recognises 1990's Burmese MPs and invites five to Indonesia's Independence Day celebration
- Htoo trading leaves Bogalay workers unpaid
- UN admits loss of about 1.56 million dollars of cyclone aid in Burma
- U Win Tin tells UN’s Quintana of rights abuses
- U Gambira raises monks’ issues with UN rights envoy
- UN Human Rights Envoy Cancels Press Conference
- Monks and nuns banned from receiving visitors
- Monks given two-year prison term
- Fuel price protestors face new charges
- Daw Suu’s lawyer prepares appeal after meeting
- Sittwe activists remember Arakan rice massacre
- Villagers’ livelihoods threatened by fishing permit scheme
- Burmese Army Collecting Rice by Force without any compensation to village farmers
- Karen Martyrs’ Day Marked by Calls for Unity
- Shan ceasefire group meet ends without public statement
- Former ceasefire group to form political party for 2010 election
- Burmese woman journalist awarded 'Courage in Journalism' prize
- BDR and Nasaka Hold Flag Meeting in Maungdaw
- 3 Nasaka Deserters Arrive in Bangladesh
- Rats devastate farms in Sagaing division
- HRDP to hire out help to farmers
- BME club head accused of drug trafficking
- Myanmar arrests 385 drug traffickers in July: state media


Wednesday August 20th

[Note: A 72 hour London Tube strike is currently planned to start at noon on August 20th on Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, we hope to avoid using these lines but please be aware if travelling towards these events]

Meet at Burma Embassy for regular Burmese protest
12:00-1pm Wednesday August 20th
Myanmar/Burma Embassy 19A, Charles St, London W1J 5DX.
Tube: Green Park | Map:

Total London HQ, 33 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PW
1:30-2:30pm Wednesday August 20th
Tube: Oxford Circus | Map:

Southfields Total Station
5.00pm - 7.00pm Wednesday August 20th
Protest at Southfields Total Station, 262 Wimbledon Park Road, London SW19 6NL
Tube: Southfields (District Line). Map:

August 18th

Bridport Carnival street collection for Burma appeal and stall.
Email: lynlidiard AT

18th August - 23rd August 2008-08-17
Htein Lin: Recycled
Art exhibition by a Burmese artist and former political prisoner
The Coningsby Gallery
30 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RJ

Bank Holiday Monday 25th August

Music Concert & Burmese food in London (Fundraiser for Cyclone Nargis Victims)
(Zaw Paing, Chit Thu Wai, Tin Zar Maw, Kyar Pauk & Samba Dancers)
Date: 25 August, 2008 (Bank holiday Monday)
Time: 17:00 to midnight
More information: Temptation 2
Venue: Clapham Grand, 21-25 St. Johns Hill, Clapham Junction, SW11 1TT

Check Burmese Democracy Movement Association for any further events or changes to events:

Burma Fundraising events in Bridport, Dorset
For more information on any of these events email: lynlidiard AT
These events are raising money for:
Burma Campaign UK
Children on the Edge
Save The Children (Burma Sector)

September 13th
Awareness and fundraising stall Bridport high street
Email: lynlidiard AT

September 15th
Screening of 'Burma's Secret War' - A film about the oppression of the Burmese people by it's own government.
Followed by a speaker working as nurse on Thai/Burmese border.
At the Palace cinema , South Street Bridport.
Email: lynlidiard AT
Youtube copy of 'Burma's Secret War"

A coming together For Burma' - An evening of prayer and meditation for peace. led by a visiting monk-Ajahn from Hartridge monastery and vicar of the United Reform Church East St Bridport. Possible Burmese speaker at end of event.
Bring a symbol of peace.
Email: lynlidiard AT

September 19th
A concert at Bridport Art Centre for the people of Burma.
7.45pm (doors open 7.15pm)
Folky jazz with the BJ band and Red Dirt followed by folk music from Dave Ferrard (an up and coming musician from Edinburgh
Email: lynlidiard AT

Check Burmese Democracy Movement Association and Burma Campaign UK for any further events or changes to events:


Burma Campaign UK has a web page on the crisis, with donation links to
major charities helping victims of the cyclone eg.
Christian Aid, Oxfam, The Red Cross, Islamic Relief and CAFOD.

On 2 May 2008 Cyclone Nargis ripped across the coast of Myanmar (also known as Burma), bringing misery and devastation to tens of thousands of people. The DEC has raised £15 Million to date to help survivors of this disaster, but there is still more to do.
* Donate online Now: Myanmar (Burma).
* Send a Cheque made payable to 'DEC Myanmar Cyclone' to: DEC Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Appeal, PO BOX 232, Melksham, SN12 6WF
* Download a Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Donation by post form
* Go to any Post Office quoting Freepay number: 1643


Make sure you've signed:

MTV and Burma Campaign UK's Global Campaign to "Free Aung San Suu Kyi" (
Please take action today for Suu Kyi and all of Burma's political prisoners. Email the regime and tell them why they must free all Burma's political prisoners.

- Downing Street petition to ask Prime Minister to support 1990 Elections result and urge International Community not to follow junta's 2010 Election plan (new petition launched in June 2008)
- Urge immediate medical care for Min Ko Naing (Email campaign launched 29th April 2008)
- The Burma Campaign UK e-action to TOTAL:
- Ipetition Boycott Total Petrol Stations to support Burma (started June 2008):
- The global pledge (Boycott of Total Oil and Chevron and all their subsidiaries)
- Don't Forget Burma - send a photo message to the regime:


Burma Campaign UK's video channel on YouTube:

- New to Burma? Watch these videos for a brief introduction
- This is Burma Music - U2, REM, Damien Rice, KT Tunstall...
- This is Burma: News and Documentaries - including Burma's Secret War
and Inside The Crackdown

The Real Disaster in Burma' - new animated film narrated by Ricky Gervais
23 Jun 2008

"Burma's Secret War"

Burma Campaign UK's Zoya Phan talks about French Total Oil (In French/En francais)
Zoya Phan's story: (her father Pado Mahn Sha was assassinated by junta thugs in February 2008)

Many Photos of UK Burmese cultural and political events (toastyoneuk is a member of

Total Oil Out of Burma demos: (totaloutnow's photos)


For more information on Total Oil and Burma, reports of actions and dates or future events see

A detailed report on Total Oil's involvement in Burma, written by Burma
Campaign UK, can be downloaded at

Get TOTAL OIL out of Burma group on Facebook:

Burma Campaign UK on Facebook (this replaces the old group page as of August 2008)

The Burma Campaign UK has campaigned for human rights and democracy in Burma since 1991. Support our work at:


"Insuring Repression - Exposing how the insurance industry supports Burma’s dictators" July 2008

Forced Migration Issue 30 April 2008, is about Burma's displaced people.
[FMR is the in-house journal of the Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. FMR is distributed to relief and development NGOs, human rights agencies, Red Cross/Crescent offices, UNHCR, OCHA, UNDP, UNICEF and other UN agencies, bilateral donors, refugee camps, research institutes, foreign and interior ministries and university, national and public libraries]

Earth Rights have updated their report on Chevron's involvement in the Yadana Gas pipeline:
Report "The Human Cost of Energy" April 2008

Growing up under militarisation: Comprehensive Karen Human Rights Group report looks at the abuse and agency of children


- 5 Year-Old Schoolgirl Gang-Raped And Mutilated by Burmese Soldiers
- 200 Join Protest At Burmese Embassy, London
- New Burma Campaign UK Facebook page just launched

15 Year-Old Schoolgirl Gang-Raped And Mutilated by Burmese Soldiers
15 Aug 2008

Burma Campaign UK sources have confirmed that Burmese Army soldiers have gang-raped and mutilated a 15 year old schoolgirl in Kachin State Burma. No action has been taken by the Burmese authorities to investigate and arrest those involved.

The incident took place on 27th July 2008 near Nam Sai Village, Bamaw District, Kachin State, northern Burma. The schoolgirl, Nhkum Hkawn Din, was attacked and killed on her way to bring rice to her brother, who was working on a paddy field on the family farm. Her family only realised that Hkaw Din was missing after her brother came back from the farm and asked his parents where she was. They searched for her all evening and reported her missing at 9pm.

After a three-day search her naked and mutilated body was found 200 meters from an army checkpoint. They first found her clothes, and then her slippers together with the basket that she carried on that day. A local witness testified that they had seen Burmese Army soldiers follow Hkaw Din on her way to the paddy field. After her body was found other witnesses testified that they had seen soldiers leave that area after the time she had disappeared.

According to the family members, she had been raped, and brutally tortured and mutilated. Injuries included:

1) Her skull was crushed beyond recognition.
2) Her eyes were gouged out.
3) Her throat was cut.
4) She had a stab wound on her right rib cage.
5) All her facial features were obliterated.
6) She has been stabbed in the stomach
7) After the rape, she was further violated with knives

Locals and family members believe they know which soldiers were involved in the attack, but local authorities have refused to take action.

Rape is systematically used as a weapon of war against ethnic minorities in Burma, more than a thousand cases have been documented. There is also a culture of impunity, where no action is taken against soldiers who rape. In early 2007 four schoolgirls in Kachin state were arrested, charged with prostitution and imprisoned after being gang-raped by Burmese Army soldiers. After the case received international attention the regime said it would take action against the soldiers involved, but at least one of the rapists remains in the army and at liberty.

On June 19th The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1820 noting that rape and sexual violence can be described as a crime against humanity. The Women’s League of Burma has called for Burma’s generals to be taken to the International Criminal Court over the systematic use of rape by the Burmese Army.

“This is a horrific attack and should remind governments and the United Nations of the true nature of this regime,” said Nang Seng, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “Local people are very angry that these rapes happen again and again and no action is taken. There is no justice or rule of law in Burma. People are hoping that the United Nations will take up this case and demand action is taken.”

Last week the UN Human Rights Envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana gave an upbeat report following his first trip to Burma, following in the footsteps of previous envoys who also fell for regime propaganda about their commitment to human rights.

For more information, or pictures relating to the attack, contact Nang Seng or Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, on 44(0)20 7324 4710

200 Join Protest At Burmese Embassy, London
08 Aug 2008

More than 200 people joined a demonstration outside the Burmese Embassy in London. The protest was so large that the entire street had to be closed to traffic.

The 8th August is the 20th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of pro-democracy protestors. Today’s protest commemorated the massacre, and focussed on the demand for the release of Burma’s 2,000 political prisoners.

“From today we will be stepping up our campaign for the release of political prisoners,” said Wai Hnin, political prisoner campaigner at Burma Campaign UK”. Wai Hnin’s father, Mya Aye, is currently being held in Insein jail. “When UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari visits Burma in a few days he will be judged on the progress he makes on the release of political prisoners.”

Estimates of those killed 20 years ago today and in the subsequent crackdown range from 3,000-10,000. The regime also suppressed peaceful pro-democracy uprisings in 1996 and 2007. Despite the brutality of the regime it has been able to maintain its grip on power thanks to billions of dollars of trade and investment from around the world, despite calls by Burma’s democrats for targeted economic sanctions.

New Burma Campaign UK Facebook page just launched

The situation in Burma is more serious than ever.

Today we received a horrific report of the Burmese army soldiers gang raping a women and then beheading her in northern Burma. They then dumped her body in the jungle.

Yesterday two MPs from Aung San Suu Kyi's democracy party were arrested simply for writing a letter.

And we've also just received reports, smuggled out of Burma, that the regime is denying medicine to political prisoners who are ill.

This is everyday life in Burma. It has been going on for twenty years. We can't let it go on for another twenty.

You can make a difference. Stay in touch with our campaign, and find out what you can do now:

8) RECENT BURMA NEWS: (see - read links for the full versions of stories)

- Human Rights Watch: No Improvement in Burma's Human Rights Since 1988 'Massacre'
- 20th Anniversary of 8-8-88 uprising protesters missing in Burma
- Peaceful demonstrations in Arakan marking 8-8-88 lead to arrests
- Junta police arrest opposition party executive in Burma
- Suu Suu Nwe and Hanny Oo appear before court
- Rape wrecking communities in Darfur and Myanmar
- Indonesia recognises 1990's Burmese MPs and invites five to Indonesia's Independence Day celebration
- Htoo trading leaves Bogalay workers unpaid
- UN admits loss of about 1.56 million dollars of cyclone aid in Burma
- U Win Tin tells UN’s Quintana of rights abuses
- U Gambira raises monks’ issues with UN rights envoy
- UN Human Rights Envoy Cancels Press Conference
- Monks and nuns banned from receiving visitors
- Monks given two-year prison term
- Fuel price protestors face new charges
- Daw Suu’s lawyer prepares appeal after meeting
- Sittwe activists remember Arakan rice massacre
- Villagers’ livelihoods threatened by fishing permit scheme
- Burmese Army Collecting Rice by Force without any compensation to village farmers
- Karen Martyrs’ Day Marked by Calls for Unity
- Shan ceasefire group meet ends without public statement
- Former ceasefire group to form political party for 2010 election
- Burmese woman journalist awarded 'Courage in Journalism' prize
- BDR and Nasaka Hold Flag Meeting in Maungdaw
- 3 Nasaka Deserters Arrive in Bangladesh
- Rats devastate farms in Sagaing division
- HRDP to hire out help to farmers
- BME club head accused of drug trafficking
- Myanmar arrests 385 drug traffickers in July: state media

Human Rights Watch: No Improvement in Burma's Human Rights Since 1988 'Massacre'

A prominent human rights group is alleging that the Burmese government has made no moves to improve human rights over the past 20 years.

20th Anniversary of 8-8-88 uprising protesters missing in Burma

Five detainees who were arrested on the 20th anniversary of the 8-8-88 uprising in Taungup are currently missing, as family members do not know where they are being detained by the authority, said one family member.

A source from the NLD youth wing in Taungup said over the phone that the authority has detained the five demonstrators at Sakhaka 5, the military Operation Command, based in Taungup.

A youth said, "We are preparing to send a letter to high officials here to request their release immediately. If no, we will be carrying out our plan to demand our colleagues' release."

The five missing detainees are Ko Moe Nay Soe, Ko Than Lwin, Ma Ni Ni May Myint, Ko Khin Maung Maung, and Ko Maung Maung Thet. They were arrested by the police on 8 August while they were marching in the streets of Taungup in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 8-8-88 uprising in Burma.

[Notes: The authorities have released about 43 other youths associated with this protest. It is very difficult for the families of those still detained to make enquiries without fear of arrest for themselves]

Peaceful demonstrations in Arakan marking 8-8-88 lead to arrests

Kyaukpyu, Arakan: Silent protest marches marked the 20th anniversary of the brutally crushed '8-8-88' democracy uprising in most towns of Arakan State in Taunggup, Kyaukpyu, Rambree and Akyab on August 8, said a local elder from Kyaukpyu.

Burma's military regime arrested 21 activists near Nackmoaw village some distance from Taungup, when they were coming peacefully to the main town of Taungup for a silent protest march, he added.

Thein Naing, a senior member of the opposition National League for Democracy, (NLD) in northwest state of Arakan, said they were released after questioning and had to sign an undertaking. He also confirmed that five men who played a leading role are still in custody and their fate is unknown.

Similarly, in Kyaukpyu, two army trucks with army personnel from the light Infantry Battalion, (LIB) 34 foiled and dispersed those who are in a silent protest march near the fire bridge junction at about 8 am. No body was arrested, said an activist, who was in the group.

In Rambree, Maung Aye Thein, a teacher of a State Middle School No. 1 and U Thumana, an abbot from Rambree Taung Kyaunn monastery were detained, said a student from Rambree.

About 40 activists demonstrated against the Burmese military junta on the 20th anniversary of the 8-8-88 nationwide uprising in Burma, he added.

Arm personnel dispersed activists who were gathering to demonstrate on the 20th anniversary at Paragyi, the largest temple in Akyab, said an eyewitness.

Monks from several monasteries gathered in the morning inside Paragyi temple to march along the streets against the junta, but they were unable to carry out their plan after army personnel moved in to the temple. There is no information on whether it is taking action against the monks who were preparing to stage the demonstration in Sittwe on August 8, sources said.

Junta police arrest opposition party executive in Burma

YANGON, Myanmar -Police in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state arrested a member of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party Tuesday, a party official said.

“Nyi Pu was taken from his home early Tuesday morning,” said Thein Naing, a senior official of the National League of Democracy in Rakhine.

Nyi Pu’s arrest came four days after the anniversary of 1988 pro-democracy protests that were violently suppressed by the military. The only public demonstration known to have taken place in Myanmar to mark the occasion Friday took place in Rakhine.

Nyi Pu is the chairman of the Taunggok branch of the NLD party. Authorities detained 48 demonstrators who took part in Friday’s peaceful march through the township, but released all but five the same day.

Taunggok and other parts of Rakhine state are hotbeds of anti-government sentiment. Buddhist monks in the area joined pro-democracy rallies that swelled into nationwide protests last September.

At least 31 people were killed in the country’s largest city, Yangon, when the military crushed last year’s protests, sparking global outrage. Rakhine has hosted some of the bigger pro-democracy protests held in Myanmar in the past year, while most of the country remains subdued.

Authorities also arrested prominent human rights activist Myint Aye, who has been arrested and imprisoned at least five times in the past 20 years.

No reason was given for the arrest on Friday.

The Aug. 8, 1988 protests brought down long-time dictator Ne Win, but a new group of generals replaced him and brutally crushed demonstrations in September, killing an estimated 3,000 people.

The protests propelled Suu Kyi, daughter of independence hero Aung San, into the political limelight, and led to the founding of her National League for Democracy to challenge army rule.

Elections were held in 1990, but the military refused to recognize the NLD’s landslide victory. Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, has spent more than 12 of the past 19 years in detention and is currently under house arrest in Yangon.

Suu Suu Nwe and Hanny Oo appear before court

Suu Suu Nwe is in Insein prison and facing trial at Rangoon's West District Court. It has been two weeks since family members were last permitted to meet with her.

"She appeared before the court yesterday and was again remanded. Only the lawyers were allowed to enter the courtroom. We've not met with her for two weeks. Why didn't the authorities allow us to meet with her? There was no official announcement of such a ban. However, she is reportedly no longer being held in solitary confinement," her elder sister Htay Htay Kyi said.

"We are worried about her health as she is suffering from a heart ailment. She will have anxiety when she is not allowed to meet with us. The authorities are giving trouble not only to prisoners but also to their family members," she added.

Suu Suu Nwe, a member of the opposition party National League for Democracy, was banned from meeting with family members and receiving food parcels from the 2nd to 15th of last month for allegedly violating prison rules.

She was arrested on the 14th of November 2007 while hanging an anti-government banner in front of Mya Yeik Nyo Hotel in Rangoon. She was later charged under sections 143 and 147 (unlawful assembly), 505 (b) (inducing crime against public tranquillity) and 124(a) (disaffection towards State) of the Criminal Code.

Yesterday the court also examined prosecution witnesses in another political case, that of Hanny Oo

The government has accused final year law student Hanny Oo (21) of being the mastermind behind a protest against a fuel price hike and subsequent rising commodity prices which was staged in front of Yuzana Plaza in Rangoon in September 2007.

She has been charged under sections 124 (a) (disaffection towards State), 505 (b) (inducing crime against public tranquillity) and 143 and 145 (unlawful assembly) of the Criminal Code. Additionally she is confronted with a charge related to section 6 of the Registration of Organizations Act.

Family members of Hanny Oo said they felt very sorry when they heard a prison inmate was assaulted by prison authorities for her failure to tell Hanny Oo not to wear a black dress to court.

"Hanny Oo was not allowed to wear the black dress and ordered to change clothes. They again ordered her to change when her next dress included a bit of black yarn. Prison staff Tin Tin Maw then slapped an inmate who was guarding the door while Hanny Oo was changing dress for not telling her not to dress in black. She felt very sorry to see that. They impose restrictions even on dress. She feels this is an attempt by prison authorities to sow dissension among prison inmates," commented one of her family members.

Rape wrecking communities in Darfur and Myanmar

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Rape is increasingly being used as a tool of war in ethnic conflicts in Darfur and Myanmar, wrecking families and communities, two women Nobel peace laureates warned Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, in the ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Burmese military junta in eastern Burma, rape is being used as a tool of war, as it is in Darfur,” Williams said, using Myanmar’s former name Burma.

“The obvious purpose, in my view, is to destroy the fabric of the community. If the women are raped, they are obviously shamed in the eyes of their community. Often times the husbands divorce the women, who are left alone,” she said.

In Myanmar, rights groups charge the soldiers from the country’s ruling military junta raped women in ethnic minority areas in an apparent bid to punish populations suspected of supporting insurgency groups.

Williams said a sister of a rape victim from Myanmar she spoke to in Thailand along the border with the military-run country was eager to complete her education so that she could return to help her people.

“This young woman was going to stand up and struggle for her sister, for her community, showing again the resilience in the face of such brutality which amazes me,” she said.

Indonesia recognises 1990's Burmese MPs and invites five to Indonesia's Independence Day celebration

New Delhi - In an act of recognition, Indonesia has invited five Burmese Members of Parliament elected in 1990, to its 63rd Independence Day celebrations to be held on August 15.

"We welcome the invitation and we are happy and proud that the government of Indonesia is extending its invitation to us," said Dr. Tint Swe, an invited Burmese MP, who is based in New Delhi.

The invitation is an act of recognition of Burmese MPs, who have been denied by Burma's military regime from convening the parliament despite being popularly elected by the people to represent them, he said.

"We feel that the invitation by the largest ASEAN democracy, Indonesia is a recognition of the 1990 election results, which is very important," said Tint Swe, who now serves as the Minister for the Prime Minister's Office of the Burmese government in exile, the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB).

Besides Dr. Tint Swe, four other MPs - Teddy Buri, Thein Oo, Win Hlaing, and Dr. Sann Aung – have been invited by HR Agung Laksono, Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, to attend the country's independence day ceremony.

The Burmese MPs said, as much as Indonesia recognizes them in respect of the popular choice of the Burmese people, they would like to see the legislators from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations do the same and support the Burmese peoples' struggle for democracy.

The Burmese MPs said, after attending the Indonesian Independence Day celebrations, they would fly to Singapore to meet leaders of the Asian Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and urge them to stop allowing the Burmese junta to send fake MPs to represent the group.

Tint Swe said, they will challenge the legitimacy of the Burmese government's representatives to the AIPA, and urge the group to allow them in place of the junta's representatives.

"There are no legally elected MPs from Burma, so we should be there instead of them because we are elected MPs," Tint Swe said.

Htoo trading leaves Bogalay workers unpaid

Aug 14, 2008 (DVB)–Bogalay residents have complained that the Htoo trading company, which was engaged in redevelopment projects in the area, has pulled out after two months without paying local workers for their labour.

Htoo trading is owned by Tay Za, a Burmese tycoon with close links to the ruling junta.

Residents said the company had stopped the project because it was not profitable.

"The Htoo trading used labour from daily paid workers in Bogalay to rebuild houses destroyed by the cyclone," a resident said.

"But after two months, they decided the project was not going to make profit and they abandoned it without settling payments for the labour."

The Bogalay resident said the workers had agreed a price for their labour at the outset of the project.

"They owed some people up to about 4-500,000 kyat – it's not a small amount of money,” he said.

“Carpenters in our town worked for Htoo trading after agreeing a payment of around 5000 kyat a day and now they are waiting for them to come back."

Htoo trading used Bogalay workers to build houses in the Kyein Chaung Gyi village area, which were sold to locals for 1.5 million kyat to be paid in instalments.

UN admits loss of about 1.56 million dollars of cyclone aid in Burma

Thursday, 14 August 2008 20:38

New Delhi - The United Nations on Thursday admitted that over the past three months about USD 1.56 million of aid money for victims of Cyclone Nargis has been lost to Burma's distorted foreign exchange mechanism.

Daniel Baker, the UN humanitarian Coordinator in Burma in press statement said, "The loss in value due to foreign exchange for the Cyclone Nargis international humanitarian aid during the last three months has been about USD 1.56 million."

"We are not getting the full value of dollars donated for emergency relief, and donors are extremely worried and keen to see that this issue is resolved," Baker added.

Baker's remarks in the statement came weeks after the UN Humanitarian Chief John Holmes, after his second visit to Burma in late July, said there is a 'significant problem' in the exchange mechanism and that the UN has lost an estimated USD 10 million of aid money.

Holmes told reporters that he had raised the concern of the international community with the Burmese government on the foreign exchange regulations and urged it to resolve it.

Sources said the Burmese military regime has been lining their pockets with aid money through a twisted foreign exchange mechanism.

While aid money transferred to Burma are received in hard currency, the Banks, run by the government remits the money in Foreign Exchange Certificate (FECs), which it treats as equivalent to the US dollar.

But in the market, FEC is valued at Kyat 870, while US dollar is valued at 1170 Kyat.

On Friday, according to the statement, the Burmese Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Soe Tha met members of the TCG to resolve the problem of the exchange mechanism.

During the meeting, which included the UN Resident Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator, the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and TCG Chairman Kyaw Thu and an ASEAN representative, Dr. Puji Pujiono, Soe Tha said the Burmese government has an alternative to solve the problem.

"We do have alternative ways for the international humanitarian community, including international NGOs, to bring in dollars and to get the full dollar value of their assistance" Soe Tha told the meeting.

Soe Tha said the UN agencies could avoid loss from the FEC by employing dollar-to-dollar direct bank transfers to the vendors when purchasing humanitarian goods and services.

"It will then be up to the vendors to manage their dollar accounts," he added.

The Burmese minister also confirmed that the vendors will have no obligation to convert the dollars into FECs or local currency neither will there be an obligation for the international humanitarian community to commission particular vendors.

But the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, the principal bank in Burma that is used by several aid agencies to transfer aid money, on Thursday told Mizzima that they are continuing to give customers in FEC while withdrawing their money which are transferred abroad.

"We treat the FEC as equivalent to the US dollar and give customers the same amount. But we deduct 10 per cent from the amount as tax," the official, who did not wished to be named told Mizzima.

Bishow Parajuli, the UN Resident Coordinator and TCG member, welcoming the Burmese government's effort, said, "This mechanism would hopefully help us to address the bulk of the problem very quickly, and we appreciate that the government has been willing to work with us on a solution."

However, critics said the UN has long known of the discrepancy in the Burmese foreign exchange mechanism even before the international community rushed in to the country to help victims of Cyclone Nargis.

An observer in Rangoon said the UN fully knows of the twisted foreign exchange system that the Burmese government has been using but it chooses to remain silent.

The source at the MFTB said, there is no reason for the UN not to know about the loss of at least 10 to 15 per cent on every dollar transferred to Burma.

U Win Tin tells UN’s Quintana of rights abuses

Aug 13, 2008 (DVB)–Long-term political prisoner U Win Tin condemned the Burmese government’s treatment of political prisoners in a meeting with the United Nations rights envoy, according to U Win Tin’s friend U Maung Maung Khin.

Veteran journalist U Win Tin met Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, for 45 minutes on 4 August, U Maung Maung Khin said.

"Apparently, he also informed Mr Quintana about the inmates who were kept in prison after they had served their prison terms and were due for release and that it was a violation of human rights to treat them this way," U Maung Maung Khin said.

"He said he had been in prison for 19 years of his 20-year sentence and that he was designated a criminal inmate by authorities instead of being called a political inmate and had not had a day reduced from his term – he said that was a violation of his rights," U Maung Maung Khin said.

"He said his political stance – which calls firmly for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners and the convening of a parliamentary meeting – had not changed yet," he said.

U Gambira raises monks’ issues with UN rights envoy

Aug 14, 2008 (DVB)–All-Burmese Monks’ Alliance leader U Gambira raised the issue of the imprisonment and disrobing of monks by the Burmese regime in a meeting with United Nations human rights rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana.

U Gambira’s sister Ma Khin Thu Htay said her brother had spent 20 minutes with the special rapporteur during his visit to Burma last week.

"He said the meeting took place at night time and they had a lot of privacy, but U Gambira didn't get to tell him about all the important things, only general things – such as about 200 monks being thrown into prison and then disrobed," Khin Thu Htay said.

"He told Mr Quintana that he was being detained in prison without a court hearing or remand. He wanted to tell him a lot but there wasn't much time," she said.

"Mr Quintana promised him he would do his best."

U Gambira has been in detention in Insein prison since he was arrested by government authorities in Magwe division's Sintgaing township on 4 November 2007 for his role in instigating public protests in September.

UN Human Rights Envoy Cancels Press Conference

The new UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Burma cancelled a press conference in Bangkok on Wednesday, a sign that his first trip to Burma yielded little practical results, say activists.

Tomas Ojea Quintana arrived in Rangoon on August 3 on his mission to Burma and scheduled a press conference after he left Burma on August 7. No reason was given for the cancellation of the press conference.

During his trip in Burma, Quintana was not allowed to visit detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest. He was allowed short talks of about 10 minutes each with members of the National League of Democracy and Labour Minister Aung Kyi, the government’s liaison coordinator with Suu Kyi.

Earlier, Quintana told the media he had received "good signs" that the Burmese junta accepted the need for his mandate to investigate widespread claims of human rights abuses in the country.

However, members of human rights groups said the special envoy may have cancelled the press conference because he achieved little progress in brief discussions with the military regime during his four-day visit to Rangoon.

“He probably cancelled his meeting with the press because he lacked real information about human right violations in Burma that he can share it with the public,” said Maung Maung Lay, a member of Rangoon-based Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP).

A few days after Quintana left the country, Burmese authorities seized prominent human rights activist Myint Aye of the HRDP and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

NLD spokesperson Nyan Win confirmed that Nyi Pu, chairman of the NLD Taunggok branch in Arakan State, and Dr Tin Min Htut, an elected member of parliament from Panthanaw constituency in Irrawaddy Division, were arrested on Tuesday morning. No reason for their arrests was given.

Recently, Nyi Pu and Dr Tin Min Htut had signed a public letter, along with other NLD members, to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging the UN to reject the junta’s constitution as illegitimate.

Monks and nuns banned from receiving visitors

Aug 13, 2008 (DVB)–About 15 monks and nuns imprisoned in Insein in connection with last September’s public demonstrations have had family visits suspended, according to a family member of a political inmate in the prison.

The monks and nuns, from North Okkalapa's Thitsa Tharaphu monastery, were sentenced to prison terms after last year's Saffron Revolution on charges of bringing the Sasana into disrepute.

"They are malnourished due to poor-quality and insufficient food in the prison – also, they are not allowed to have visitors but there is no one to come and visit them anyway," the family member said.

"About five monks are just lying on the floor as they have become too weak."

One of the monks, abbot U Arnanda, is 70 years old, and the family member said there were also some elderly nuns in the group.

Insein prison authorities were unavailable for comment today.

Monks given two-year prison term

Aug 13, 2008 (DVB)–Nine monks arrested by authorities at Rangoon railway station last month have been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment each on charges of bringing the Sasana into disrepute.

According to family members of political inmates in Insein prison, the monks were sentenced shortly after their arrests on 15 July.

"Authorities detained the monks for gathering at the railway station but did not give any other reasons," he said.

"All the monks remained unidentified – no one knows their names, where they were from and who their lay supporters were."

The nine monks were arrested while waiting at the railway station to return to their monasteries for a retreat to mark Buddhist lent, according to a witness.

Fuel price protestors face new charges

Aug 13, 2008 (DVB)–Eight students and human rights activists arrested during protests against fuel price hikes last year have had five further charges added to their original charge of sedition, said their family members.

Along with the possible three-year sentence for sedition, this means the defendants could now face up to 11 and a half years’ imprisonment each.

Ko Myo Thant went on a hunger strike in March to protest against violations of inmates’ rights in Insein prison.

Daw Suu’s lawyer prepares appeal after meeting

Aug 14, 2008 (DVB)–U Kyi Win, the lawyer for detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has said he is preparing an appeal against her house arrest after meeting with her on 8 August.

U Kyi Win said he had not been informed of the meeting in advance but only knew it would happen when the special police arrived at his house to pick him up.

"They said Daw Suu’s request to meet with her lawyer had been approved by senior authorities and I went with them," U Kyi Win said.

"Daw Suu asked me about the legality of the Emergency Act for the protection of the state from destructive elements under which she has been kept under house arrest," he said.

"She told me to ‘take the necessary steps according to the law, if the [junta’s] case is not strong enough legally’. That was what she said, although she didn't use the word 'appeal'."

U Kyi Win said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had also questioned the legality of the extension of her house arrest for more than five years.

U Kyi Win said he and U Nyan Win of the National League for Democracy were now preparing an appeal letter which will be checked by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi before being submitted to the military leaders in Naypyidaw.

"If I said now that there is no hope that Daw Suu could be released as a result of this appeal, it would be an insult to the appealing party,” U Kyi Win said.

“So we will keep our hopes up and believe [that this is a possibility] and the rest will depend on the authorities who will make the decision."

Sittwe activists remember Arakan rice massacre

Aug 14, 2008 (DVB)–At least one person was arrested in Sittwe on the 41st anniversary of the Arakan rice massacre on 13 August when activists ran amok with a spray-paint campaign, said local residents.

U Saw Hla Aung, who was one of the leaders of the 1967 rice riot when over 300 people were killed in the government's brutal crackdown, was arrested at his house yesterday, according to one Sittwe resident.

"He was arrested by the police at his house in Mikhin ward – people think the authorities arrested him as a security measure taken to prevent political events from happening on the day," said the resident.

“Some activists put up posters and sprayed graffiti on walls – the messages were reminding us not to forget what happened on 13 August," he said.

"When that happened, I was only a second-year university student. Rice stores had been running low in the country since May – it was difficult to buy rice and university hostels could only feed us half the usual meal."

The resident said anti-government sentiment over the rice shortages had sparked the unrest.

"But it wasn't actually because we couldn't produce enough rice, but it was because the government did not calculate well and they decided to not to reduce the amount of rice exported to foreign countries," the resident said.

"The rice riots began in Sittwe after the public decided they would raid rice mills in the region and take what they could," he said.

"But they were shot by soldiers on their way to the rice mills and about 300 people died."

Villagers’ livelihoods threatened by fishing permit scheme

Aug 14, 2008 (DVB)–A new scheme by local authorities in Lappadan township in Tharwaddy province, Bago division, to put fishing permits up for auction has left local villagers unable to support themselves.

Residents of Beelin village group make their living by cutting wood or farming during the winter and summer months and by fishing in the rainy season.

But village Peace and Development Council chairman U Tin Soe has decided that locals will no longer be able to fish freely in village creeks, but has instead introduced fishing permits, to be sold at auction.

A local resident said the decision had put the livelihoods of about 300 locals in jeopardy.

“Now it’s like only people who can afford money can catch fish in the area, but the locals can’t do any other work, as this is all they know how to do,” the resident said.

“At first they were surviving on boiled rice, but they have done that for two weeks and now they are running out of rice to boil,” he said.

“These villagers grew up under the strict rules of the military government, so they don’t really know how to respond to this, and they are afraid they might come under pressure if they complain,” he went on.

“Local village authorities don’t have the power to sell off fishing access to local creeks, it’s illegal.”

Local authorities were unavailable for comment

Burmese Army Collecting Rice by Force without any compensation to village farmers

August 2008 - The Burmese Army has begun to collect paddy forcibly from farmers as of early this month in Natchung village tract in Kalay Township, Sagaing Division in Burma. Needless to say there is no compensation.

The forcible collection of paddy is for army rations for the Light Infantry Battalion (89) stationed in Kalay town. Farmers in Natchung village tract include those in Chunggwa, NatMyaung and Natchung villages. They were forced to provide two tins of paddy (one tin equal to around 43 Kg) for every acre of land.

The quantum of paddy the farmers were forced to provide the army depended on the measurement of land farmers own.

“They (army) started collecting paddy since the beginning of this month. The military authorities said it was mandatory,” a farmer in Natchung village tract said.

Army trucks of the LIB (89) came from Kalay town and transported the paddy piled up in the vicinity of Natchung village council office.

Locals in Tamu town also said that the army based in Kalay also collected paddy from farmers in Tamu and Khanpat areas in Sagaing Division.

Last year, the army from the same battalion collected paddy from farmers in Natchung village tract but it paid half the price of paddy it took and provided chemical fertilizers to the farmers, a farmer in Kalay added.

This year there is no compensation from the army for the exploited farmers.

“The army did not provide any compensation or chemical fertilizers for the paddy they collected from us,” a villager in Kalay complained.

Karen Martyrs’ Day Marked by Calls for Unity

As Karen people around the world observed Karen Martyrs’ Day on Tuesday, leaders of Burma’s largest and longest-running ethnic resistance movement called for unity among their people.

David Htaw, a spokesperson for the Karen National Union (KNU), used the occasion, which commemorates the assassination of KNU founding president Saw Ba U Gyi and eight of his colleagues 58 years ago, to highlight the dangers of disunity.

“If we look at the assassinations of our President Ba U Gyi and our General Secretary Padoh Mahn Sha, we can see that they were the result of plots by the Burmese government and some opportunists to divide our Karen people,” he said.

Mahn Sha was shot to death at his home in the Thai border town of Mae Sot on February 14, 2008. His murder by two Karen gunmen, believed to have been sent by a breakaway group that has joined forces with Burma’s military regime, shocked the Karen community.

David Htaw also pointed to the formation of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA)—the largest Karen splinter group—in 1995 as further evidence of the Burmese regime’s divide-and-rule tactics.

The KNU, one of the oldest surviving rebel groups in Southeast Asia, has been struggling for autonomy since 1949. Although it has taken part in peace talks with the Burmese junta on several occasions, it has never signed a ceasefire agreement.

In 2004, Gen Bo Mya, the former KNU chairman, visited Rangoon for peace talks with then Prime Minister Khin Nyunt. The resulting “gentlemen’s agreement” technically stayed in force until Bo Mya’s death in December 2006, even after Burmese military offensives in the early part of the year forced an estimated 30,000 Karen villagers to flee.

The KNU broke off all communications with the junta in February 2007, when Brig-Gen Htain Maung, the former head of KNU Brigade 7, and some 300 KNU soldiers defected to the Burmese army. Since then, the KNU hasn’t resumed talks with the Burmese generals.

Zoya Phan, the international coordinator for Burma Campaign UK, also attributed the failure of the Karen to achieve their political goals in part to their lack of unity. But she also blamed the Burmese regime for perpetuating the decades-old conflict.

“The Burmese generals don’t want to solve the conflict in Burma through political dialogue. They are stubborn. So peace hasn’t yet prevailed in our country,” said Zoya Phan, who is also the daughter of slain KNU leader Mahn Sha.

She added that the Karen people should continue to firmly follow the four guiding principles of Saw Ba U Gyi. These principles are: There shall be no surrender; the recognition of the Karen State must be complete; we shall retain our arms; and we shall decide our own political destiny.

Meanwhile, Eh Htoo, joint secretary of the Karen Youth Organization, said the Karen struggle has taken so long because Karen people are uninterested in politics and do not participate enough in the political movement.

“Our Karen people have very little knowledge about politics,” said Eh Htoo. “Some who live in the mountains never have a chance to study. Even some leaders have insufficient knowledge about politics.”

Educated Karen youth, including those who study abroad, should participate in the political movement and help Karen people to reach their goal, said Eh Htoo.

Zipporah Sein, general secretary of the Karen Women’s Organization, said Karen women also needed to be encouraged to play a more prominent role in political decision making.

“We have to finish the work of our heroes who sacrificed their lives. It is our duty and every Karen is responsible for the freedom of Karen people. More Karen women should participate in politics as well,” said Zipporah Sein.

“In order to achieve our aim, it is very important for Karen people to realize that they are Karen nationals and speed up the movement for peace by working together,” she added.

Shan ceasefire group meet ends without public statement

The ceasefire Shan State Army (SSA) North’s almost a month long meeting ended last Monday, 4 August, without issuing any public statement, according to sources from northern Shan State.

“Some important decisions were reached,” said an officer close to the deputy leader of the SSA-North, Col Gaifa. “However, I’m not privileged to say anything right now. The timing is just not right.”

The normally media shy group had swiftly responded when the BBC Burmese section had reported on 29 July that the SSA-North had decided to contest the 2010 elections by saying “no decision has been reached yet.”

The officer however acknowledged that among the topics discussed at the SSA North headquarters at Hseng Keow, Hsipaw township, included the demand by the Burma Army for its senior leaders to retire and form a political party, among others.

Mizzima News reported on 14 July that the regime is planning to make announcement this month for all political parties to register for 2010 elections.

“The SSA North certainly cannot make any careless announcement right now,” commented a former SSA officer who resides in Chiangmai. “Anything it says is bound to offend somebody, if not the Burma Army, it’ll be the Chinese. If not the Chinese, then its own constituency, which means the people and the rank and file.”

The group also appears to banking on China’s opposition to any resurgence of conflict along its borders. “We understand that Beijing has let it be known that it is against any outbreak of hostilities, be it during Olympics or after,” said the SSA-North officer.

Adjoining China’s Yunnan province are areas more or less under the sway of the following ceasefire armies: National Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K), Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Shan State Army (SSA) North, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (Kokang), United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (Mongla). Except for the Kachins, none of them has yet to respond to the regime’s demand to form political parties to stand for the 2010 elections.

Notes: The Burmese junta is currently pressuring ethnic groups that have ceasefires to disarm and join the 2010 elections. The elders are expected to resign their posts and form political parties, whilst the armed groups are absorbed into the Burmese army and used to attack other ethnic groups that have not yet surrendered to the Burmese army. Even the ceasefire groups that have been bullied into agreements by the Burmese army are well aware that they will have no future once they disarm, so they are being forced to disarm at gun point by the Burmese army. The Burmese Army is likely to pick off these groups one by one.

Former ceasefire group to form political party for 2010 election

Shan Nationalities Peoples’ Liberation Organization (SNPLO), a ceasefire group in southern Shan State that recently surrendered on 3 August under the pressure from the Burmese military has decided to form a state-based party to enter the 2010 elections, according to a source from anti-junta PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO).

By Hseng Khio Fah
12 August 2008

A group of 125 strong former SNPLO led by Soe Aung Lwin and Sein Shwe will form a political party, but the party’s name has not been chosen so far, according to Joihto from PNLO's Political and Organization Department.

“However, we don’t think the party will get a chance to win even though it is allowed to contest in the elections. Everything will be under the military control,” he commented.

The group was forced to surrender and lay down all weapons by Deputy Commander of Eastern Region Command and Vice chairman of Shan State South Peace and Development Council, Brig-Gen Chit Oo and Military Affairs Security (MAS) officer, Major Win Bo.

The said officers led Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 426 and Infantry Battalion (IB) 250 to surround the SNPLO’s headquarters at Nawng Htao, Hsihseng township. Altogether 62 weapons of SNPLO were taken, Joihto told SHAN. “Had the group refused to comply, they would have been shot.”

The Burmese military has since been stationed at Nawng Htao.

It is also reportedly planning to set up a new military camp and a police station at the former SNPLO headquarters.

The SNPLO was formed in 1968. In 1994 it concluded a ceasefire agreement with Rangoon. In 2007, one of its factions led by Chit Maung surrendered to the Burmese military and another faction led by KhunTi Sawng returned to the struggle changing its name to PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO). The third faction led by Maj Hseng Fa surrendered last month.

Out of a ceasefire groups in Shan State, 3 have surrendered so far: Shan State National Army (SSNA) and Palaung State Liberation Army (PSLA) in 2005 and SNPLO this year. The remaining ceasefire groups are Kokang, Wa, Mongla, Shan State Army (SSA) North, Kachin Defense Army and PaO National Army (PNA).

Burmese woman journalist awarded 'Courage in Journalism' prize

New Delhi - A Burmese woman journalist, Aye Aye Win, has been named recipient of the International Women's Media Foundation's 2008 "Courage in Journalism" award, for her outstanding reportage on Burma under the hawk's eye of its military rulers.

Aye Aye Win (54) was selected for the award for her courageous reporting of events in Burma including the monk-led protests in September 2007, the foundation said in a statement released on Thursday.

"I am overjoyed by the award as it is recognition of my work," Aye Aye Win told Mizzima over telephone.

"But it does not mean that I did something extraordinary. All my other colleagues as well as other journalists did a good job reporting the Burma situation," she added.

Aye Aye Win, a correspondent of the Associated Press, worked under constant surveillance by the authorities and her house is periodically staked out by plainclothes police or military intelligence agents. Her telephone is also often tapped, the foundation said.

Aye Aye Win also accompanied pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on her political tour around the country in 2003 until she was physically barred from proceeding.

She also closely followed details of the arrests of activists and members of the National League for Democracy by visiting their family members to verify the arrests despite being watched by the secret police.

During the September 2007 protests, Aye Aye Win walked the streets to get first hand reports of the unfolding events, while soldiers were firing at marchers and beating up innocent bystanders, the foundation said.

BDR and Nasaka Hold Flag Meeting in Maungdaw

Maungdaw: A flag meeting between border authorities from neighboring countries Burma and Bangladesh was held on Saturday at the western Burmese town Maungdaw, according to a report of Nasaka.

Personnel from Bangladesh Rifles and Burma's Nasaka attended the meeting as representatives of their respective countries.

At the meeting, the two sides discussed many border issues, including trade, human trafficking, smuggling, and border security.

According to the Nasaka report, Nasaka officials handed over three Bangladeshi fishermen to BDR officials during the meeting.

The fishermen were abducted by Burmese border forces from the Naff River three months and held for ransom. Bangladesh authorities requested their release several times on the grounds that the fishermen had committed no crimes.

3 Nasaka Deserters Arrive in Bangladesh

Dhaka: Three men arrived on Friday in Bangladesh after deserting their posts with Nasaka, the infamous border security force based in western Burma.

The three were identified as Thwe Naing, Private No. TA 360757, Zaw Myo Tun, Private No. 360756, and Aung Than Win, Private No. 353584. They were serving at Nasaka headquarters in Kyi Kan Byint in Maungdaw.

Ko Zaw Myo Tun said, "We were tortured by officials in Nasaka and the officials also urged us to oppress the local people. We do not want to oppress people, so we deserted from Nasaka."

The three men are now sheltering in Bangladesh and are preparing to apply as refugees with the UNHCR office there.

"We are preparing to seek safety as refugees with UNHCR if we have the chance, because we are worried about our security here," he said.

Rats devastate farms in Sagaing division

August 12, 2008 - Rats have started devouring crops in Sagaing division in Burma, heralding famine. Crops in farmlands in some villages in Tamu Township close to the Indo-Burma border are being devastated by rodents since early July.

Bamboo flowering began on the Indo-Burma border in late 2006 leading to the multiplication of rats in the region. The rats gradually invaded the farmlands and destroyed crops.

As a result along the Indo-Burma border areas, people heavily dependant on cultivation are facing shortage of food.

In Chin state, there are around 100,000 people facing food shortage and around 1000 fled to India, according to the Chin Famine Emergency Relief Committee, a relief group comprising Chin social activists based in Mizoram state, northeast India.

The Burmese regime said that they have provided rat poison and around one thousand rice bags to the affected areas in Chin state.

Yet, the locals from the affected areas in Chin state denied that they had received aid from local authorities.

Instead, the military authorities allegedly seized rice bags that the Catholic Church had sent to overcome the food crisis, according to the Chin Human Right Organization. – KHONUMTHUNG.

HRDP to hire out help to farmers

Aug 12, 2008 (DVB)–The Human Rights Defenders and Promoters network is planning to hire out its services to assist farmers and use the proceeds to fund local education and health facilities.

U Maung Maung Lay, an HRDP network member, said the group was planning to help farmers with the winter crop.

"We will start our work for the winter crop within the next month and a half, but before that we will have to move our tillers first to the new locations," he said.

"But this time it won't be like after Nargis anymore – we will charge farmers for each acre of farmland we help to cultivate at reasonable rates."

Maung Maung Lay said HRDP did not stand to benefit financially from the arrangement, but would channel the funds back into development work.

"Then after we have finished the work, we will pay for labour and fuel from that money, and we will use the rest to build a school or a clinic in the region," he said.

"The HRDP will not take a penny of that money."

The HRDP previously provided assistance to local farmers in Bogalay, Labutta, Ngaputaw, Thingangon, Kanyingu and Mawkyun villages, helping to cultivate nearly 500 acres of farmlands with three tillers.

Notes: Activists Myo Min and Myint Aye of the 'Human Rights Defenders and Promoters' (HRDP), were arrested on August 6 and 8th 2008 respectively from their homes in Kyi Myin Dine township in Rangoon. See

BME club head accused of drug trafficking

Bangkok : A close aide of a Wa ethnic leader was sent to Insein prison last week, according to reliable sources.

Thet Naing, in his forties, the Managing Director of the BME1 night club was arrested in Bangkok by the Thai police and handed over to the Burmese police a few weeks ago.

The Keng Tung court in Shan State issued summons to the henchman of the economic in-charge of the United Wa State Army or Special Region No.2. Thai security personnel cooperated with the arrest.

The BME night club is known for the availability of synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy and Methamphetamine. The arrest may be linked to the on going trial of business tycoon Maung Weik for his involvement in drug distribution and consumption, a Mizzima under-cover correspondent in Rangoon said.

Aung Zaw Ye Myint, the son of an influential former head of the Special Bureau of Operation Gen. Ye Myint and Maung Weik used to go to BME 1 night club on University Avenue, Bahan Township near the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's residence.

"The BME 1 has special rooms for VIPs, especially for siblings of generals and their girl friends, movie stars and glamourous models, " an insider in the night club revealed to Mizzima.

"Thet Naing, a Chinese Muslim was a nobody until he met Aik Hauk of UWSA and his club started distributing drugs free of cost initially and later started selling it," he said.

Aik Hauk, the son-in-law of UWSA leader Bao You-Xiang, owns several properties in Burma's largest commercial city and former capital including two night clubs in Rangoon i.e BME1 and BME2. The latter is part of the Yangon International hotel in Ahlone Street in Dagon Township.

Since 29 May 2003, UWSA has been labelled as a narcotics-trafficking organization by the United States government and it said to be the largest drug-producing organization in Southeast Asia.

Aung Zaw Ye Myint and Maung Weik once even fought each other at BME1 night club and authorities ordered it to be shut down temporarily after the former filed a case in the police station. Eyewitness said both of them were under the influence of drugs.

Operations were launched against the drug ring leader Maung Weik, a Malaysian national and four other Burmese. They were charged with distribution of drugs and violation of the immigration act and are now facing trial.

Several film stars, singers and models were investigated but all of them were released on parole. However, Aung Zaw Ye Myint, notorious for abusing his father's influence, among friends and businessmen was sent to a rehabilitation centre.

Thet Naing, a resident of Sakawar Street in Dagon Township fled to Hong Kong along with a close colleague Phoe Htay after the police arrested Aung Zaw Ye Myint and Maung Weik in May, said home ministry sources.

Phoe Htay the former dealer of "Without car" – motorcars, which were illegally imported without registration numbers in Mandalay sought refuge in Rangoon when authorities cracked down against cars smugglers.

Meanwhile, the authorities have warned the night-club-going children of high-ranking generals not to hang out after 9 p.m. saying any body who violates and breaks the rule of law during this restricted period will not be protected by the authorities.;_ylt=AkMhC2E8iogQwJuiKNHDzJatubgA

Myanmar arrests 385 drug traffickers in July: state media

Myanmar arrested 385 drug traffickers last month, state media said Wednesday, as the world's second-largest opium producer sought to show it was cracking down on the narcotics trade.

The United Nations anti-drugs body has said opium production in Myanmar shot up 46 percent from 2006 to 2007, but the military-ruled nation continues to insist that it is on track to be drugs-free by 2014.

But after a few years of steep decline, opium production in Myanmar has risen once again.

A UN Office on Drugs and Crime report last year blamed high-level collusion and corruption for the rise, while activists across the border in Thailand say the crop substitution programmes for poor farmers have not been successful.

The military-ruled nation, meanwhile, has become a hub for methamphetamine production, with convoys of high-tech trucks ferrying chemicals and mobile laboratories under the cover of Myanmar's dense jungle, experts says.

[Notes: The junta arrests small people involved in drugs trafficking, for showing off to the media while the junta's major business cronies are heavily involved in industrial scale methamphetamine production. Opium production in Afghanistan is far greater than Burma, but Burma is heavily involved in methamphetamine production, including some ethnic minority ceasefire groups.]

[1] Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's democracy leader, has said that "Total is the biggest supporter of the military regime in Burma." For more information about Total Oil's investment in Burma see the Burma Campaign UK website:

[2] The World Health Organization's ranking
of the world's health systems:

[3] Burma joins Somalia in 179th place as the most corrupt countries in the world according to Transparency International 2007 index rankings:

[4] Human Rights Watch report on Child Soldiers in Burma:

- e-mail: totaloutofburma [at] gmail (dot) com
- Homepage:

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