KAO WAO NEWS No. 59
An electronic newsletter for social
justice and freedom in
CIVILIANS USED AS HUMAN SHIELDS DURING OFFENSIVE
ARMY OPENS FIRE ON KAREN NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
CEASE-FIRE: THE ART OF DISILLUSION IN
HUMAN RIGHTS ALARM OVER BLOODY DRUGS CRACKDOWN
DEMOCRACY OR FEDERALISM IN
MRC HOLDS 10TH CONFERENCE
MON CANADIAN PREPARE
KAREN NEW YEAR IN
FROM THE FIRST TO SECOND
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serve better the needs of those seeking social justice in
I would like to ask if you could
put stories or tales told by our ancestors.
When I was young, I listened to the tales told by the elderly
Kao Wao Editor,
I like the content and format of your article “Should we forget the past? By Lawi Weng”. The answer is definitely NO. But we should learn from the past while maintaining and strengthening what was good. What do we want to leave to our children and posterity?
Richard Aung Myint
On Obstacles to Information
Communication Technologies in
This is a wonderful presentation and there are many laws that prohibit and criminal actions against culture, but with no definition. All laws need to be scrutinised and these sections at least removed, if the law is worthy of keeping at all.
An excerpt from the charter of legal reform article in BLC journal that I prepared, "Three areas of law described in the following provide a sketch of a model that is used to frame laws. These three areas are all commonplace areas in modern life and in a nation that wants to operate a market economy.”
The Television and Video Act of the same year 1996 is based on the same premise and "prohibits and bans decadent video tapes which will undermine
respect for diversity of culture and tradition, which in turn fosters resentment by those not from the dominant cultural and traditional background.
Another common and popular source of public information is via the internet, a medium made illegal in the first instance, with some permissive categories of persons. In July 1999 a training workshop on the internet was, we understand, organized or supported by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where General Khin Nyunt presided. This was a good development. However the introduction of the internet is very restricted and whilst some have email access it is all through a government server. In itself this is not a bad thing, if the government is facilitating communications by the provision of infrastructure. However, it is not just that. Foreign missions will tell you that their email is intercepted and ostensibly read by the SPDC authorities, probably the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) headed up by General Khin Nyunt. The regulations for internet users were issued by the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) in 1999 and they are as vague and prohibitive as provisions in the Computer Science and Television and Video Law.8"
Janelle A Saffin (
CIVILIAN USED AS HUMAN SHIELDS DURING OFFENSIVE
(Based on IMNA report:
Ye – The Burmese army abducted
local civilians for human shields during a military operation against
guerrillas in southern
Local sources reported, the Pa-An based Regiment No. 22 of Southeast Military Command took civilians and forced them to march in front of the BA during their offensive. 19 villagers including Buddhist monks and village headmen were arrested for interrogation and 7 people remained in army custody during military operations in the rural area.
Since the area is defined as the black area, the BA restricts movements of civilians to block off alleged support for the rebels and villagers were prohibited from going out at night from to .
According to a refugee who recently arrived at the Thai-Burma border, over 40 civilians were arrested and 5 villagers were killed during the brutal military operation.
A 25 year old son of Nai Pe from Hangan village was killed near due to the curfew imposed by the army; and on December 23, Nai Kao Chan (19 years old) from Yang Dong village was shot to death in his farm near the village.
On December 20, a former medic of the New Mon State Party Nai Norn Ong and other member Nai A-zan were taken from their houses and killed by the army after investigation. Another victim Nai Zit (age 40), a hunter from Hangan village, was also being shot and killed.
Local villagers were forcibly recruited to clear the bush, weed and walk in front of the army and to shout out whenever they were to come across armed opposition groups.
The front line operation office of about a thousand troops was led by Colonel Nyi Nyi Swe and stationed at Khawzar village, southern Ye township since in early December.
the New Mon State Party reached a cease-fire with the ruling military junta in
1995, a former NMSP member Nai Hloin
split from the Party and resumes fighting against the BA in the rural areas of
After closure of two main banks: May Flower and Asia Wealth, people who hold black money in these banks can easily withdraw their money by giving bribes to the government departments.
According to the Mon business community, those who have money can also settle business companies and withdraw cash by cooperating with registered business companies and making deals with the government departments.
A Mon businessman said many companies belong to drug dealers withdraw their money after paying 20% of the total cash withdrawn.
The businessman confirmed that the regime has its hand in the money laundering business for drug dealers and illegal business communities by transferring some ‘black money’ in the government departments, which supplies the State budget.
After the set amount of money is bribed, the drug lords and illegal business communities use their remaining money to buy assets, real estate and properties.
The Mon civilians in the rural communities save money within the community and revered monks’ bank accounts. Recently, the banks were crowded with Buddhist monks who have arguments with the bank authorities to withdraw their money.
Two main banks, the May Flower
and Asia Wealth are well known for operating businesses from the drug trade
since the meeting of Asia Development Bank (ADB), which was held in
Fighting continues despite cease-fire deal
BURMESE ARMY OPEN FIRE ON KAREN NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
According to sources from the Thailand Burma border, Karen New Year celebration was disrupted when the Burmese Army launched an attack during traditional festivities despite an informal truce with the military junta.
The source reported the Karen
National Union was unable to decide the venue for a truce meeting amid
continuous clashes at KNLA's Brigade 6, Duplaya region in
The attack occurred on December 22 during the New Year ceremony attended by 40,000 villagers at Waw Dan Village on the bank of Aung Tharaw River about 10 miles from Kawkareik, the ceremony planned for the 23 December was cancelled.
A KNU commander said two schools combined to celebrate the Karen New Year's Eve ceremony marking the harvesting of a new crop. The KNU fighters provided security telling people to stay calm and systematically dispersed the crowd shortly after the attack; no one was injured.
The Karen New Year has become a popular festival in recent years gaining wide support from the local Karen community who enthusiastically attend the celebration every year in larger numbers.
The SPDC troops have also attacked KNU fighters in regions along the Thai-Burma border. Villages were burnt to the ground and newly harvested paddy crops were torched in the 2nd and 6th Brigade regions.
The SPDC troops, posed as army deserters, came and attacked the KNU 7th Brigade which was responsible for security during the Karen New Year Day ceremony in which KNU leader Gen Saw Bo Mya himself attended. Two SPDC soldiers were killed.
A KNU Commander Major Nerdah Mya said that the Karen fighters were put off by the unprovoked attacks but said his men were ‘staying cool’.
The so-called cease-fire process has nothing
CEASE-FIRE: THE ART OF DISILLUSION IN
(By C Guinard;
Despite numerous cease-fire agreements reached since 1994 between the
If we want to address these issues, a deeper analysis of one cease-fire agreement negotiated by the ruling military government State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is needed. The worst disillusionment from a cease-fire agreement may have resulted from the one negotiated by the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the
Nai Shwe Kyin formed the NMSP and its armed wing, the Mon National Liberation Army (MNLA) in July 1958. Operating in southern
Weakened, the NMSP also faced growing political pressure
from Thai officials willing to invest in
After several inconclusive rounds of talks, the NMSP finally agreed to a cease-fire in 1995, admitting that the organisation was no longer able to guarantee the safety of its own people. Forced labour had dramatically increased in the area and Mon IDPs living in the relocated camps were harassed daily. At that time, the NMSP and Mon people thought that the cease-fire could open a way for a forthcoming political settlement that recognised the rights of Mon people and encouraged development programs. The cease-fire agreement was only made orally and nothing was signed between the parties. The NMSP was allowed to keep its arms and some territory. But, the group had to cede large tracts of land as part of the agreement where the MNLA was located before. Only 20 permanent Mon areas were delimitated. Within one year, the NMSP gradually handed over eight of them, including two strategic outposts in Tavoy district, where the Yadana pipeline was planned to cross to
If we want to address the root causes of this failed settlement, several factors must be analysed.
Firstly, a valid cease-fire is an agreement that organises cessation of any kind of military activities at a precise time in a given place. It is an initial confidence-building measure agreed on between the parties. It needs to be agreed on under the monitoring of a neutral mediator and written down and signed by both parties. This never happened during the Mon negotiation. Disarmament is also a fundamental step that must be followed. The SPDC offered the NMSP to “Exchange Arms for Peace” without ever asking for those arms to be given back. How can peace be guaranteed when soldiers retain their weapons and uniforms? How can fighting not resume in such a “militarised” state? Disappointed by the result of the Mon cease-fire, many former NMSP soldiers broke away and formed splinter groups such as the Monland Restoration Army. It was a fragile and fake peace.
The environment surrounding the Mon cease-fire agreement was totally biased, unbalanced and violent. The NMSP and Mon people faced growing pressure from both
Those who have access to internet
can easily enjoy music from
The Band was first founded by two musician brothers, Moe Nyunt and Thiri Nyunt in the summer of 1998 and later on expanded with other ethnic friends Paul Lahpai (Kachin), Soe Moe Oo (Karen) and Ko Maung Win.
The source said the "
The founders Moe and Thiri have over twenty years of experience as professional
musicians and played for “The Dynamites Band” in
Visit http://www.salweenriverband.com for more information
HUMAN RIGHTS ALARM OVER BLOODY DRUGS CRACKDOWN
(By Amy Kazmin / Financial Times:
Although much of Thai poppy cultivation was wiped out decades ago, Chiang Rai remains an important hub for the narcotics trade - a key trafficking route for drugs from neighbouring
But the violence of the anti-drugs crusade and the government's apparent encouragement of the killings have raised alarm about human rights and the rule of law in this young, still fragile democracy.
More than 2,600 people were
killed in three months across
"The war on drugs is a Pandora's box," said Sunai Pasuk, of the Bangkok-based civil liberties group Forum Asia. "What has been unleashed by the administration is the culture of impunity and the culture of fear. It has seriously restricted the ability of civil society to disagree with government policy."
When Mr Thaksin announced a three-month drive to wipe out the narcotics trade in February, he was armed with a blacklist of 66,000 people accused by police, local officials, village headmen and neighbours of peddling or using drugs - though the allegations had not been proven in court.
The premier said drug dealers belonged either in jail or at "the temple" - where Thais take the dead for Buddhist ceremonies before cremation. Provincial governors were ordered to get 75 per cent of dealers off the streets, or risk losing their jobs. Effigies of drug dealers were cursed and burned in public ceremonies, as police used "an iron fist" against suspected traffickers.
In the ensuing bloodbath suspects were often shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen. "The justice system was destroyed," said Senator Tuenjai Deetes, who represents Chiang Rai. "Justice means you have a process to see whether someone has acted against the law or not. Here, the government official or police judged immediately, 'you are doing drugs, you must be killed'."
As the death toll mounted, Mr Thaksin blamed the carnage on drug dealers killing each other, or "bandits killing bandits". But local human rights activists and Amnesty International said that inflammatory public declarations from top leaders had incited violence and created a permissive environment for unfettered killings by police and others.
A Thai Senate committee found "the government used rhetoric and ceremony to make people hate each other, to destroy the human dignity of suspected drug dealers, and incite people to handle the drug problem with violence and without mercy". Yet, as thousands of drug suspects were hauled off to jail or rehabilitation, opinion polls showed strong public support for the crackdown.
Mr Thaksin shrugged off the criticism and declared on May 1 that "90 per cent of the drug trade had been eliminated", although "mopping-up operations", including fresh killings, have continued.
Twice vehicles carrying groups of minority people have been ambushed and all those inside slaughtered. Many others fled their homes, while a prominent female hill tribe activist, who had organised a large minority rights demonstration, was seized, interrogated about alleged drug trafficking links and later went into exile.
For all the concern about the
violence, the supply of narcotics in
Mr Thaksin recently warned neighbouring
countries - most methamphetamines sold in
Looking beyond the drugs war, with elections coming next year, activists fear the "drug dealer" label may be used to taint, or eliminate, government opponents or critics at the grassroots level. "The government has used the war on drugs to test the level of public approval and tolerance for all these controversial tactics," said Forum Asia's Mr Sunai.
"It turned out very well in their eyes. From now on, if you are a troublemaker and you disagree with the government, you can easily find your name on a blacklist."
Essay of the Year
DEMOCRACY OR FEDERALISM IN
(By Banya Hongsar)
The ruling military regimes consistently
accuse the non-Burman ethnic leaders as attempting “cession” or “State Plot” to
the government for years. The Union of Burma (
Democracy and federalism in the context of the social and political environments are both debated over and over by Burmese experts for whom the pen is mightier than the sword publishing valuable documents for further study seeking justice, equality, and fairness at home.
There is no doubt that the Burmese people want “democracy”; but “federalism” is questioned by some. When it comes to the rights for ethnic non-Burman people (including native people), the ruling military elite always refuse to bring the matter to the bargaining table.
Since the 1990s Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, a charisma leader with the full support of the Burmese population,
told the general public that they have the duty to participate in the struggle
but little action has taken place. Her countless speeches and various messages
clearly mention that
There are many who serve the ruling military and fear losing their jobs and extra benefits if they boycott military interests. Organizations formed by military leaders including the Union Solidarity and Development Association scurry for the interests of the ruling elite at all costs. The general public is made powerless and live in fear being banned to organize action to promote civil society and political rights.
The rural community has no access to information while the urban community is banned to publish independent news and promote a free media. The National League for Democracy has challenged the military rules through non-violent means but the ruling junta acts with violence. The 30th May Depeyin massacre is the best example for an approval.
Federalism is the core agenda for non-Burman ethnic nationalities while they all sought that “democracy” and “federalism” is a one coin that cannot separate into two pieces. The ruling Rangoon Generals control the non-Burman Seven States based under the “Union Constitution” written in 1947, but no single state obtains “Executive Power” by stakeholders from the leaders of non-Burman ethnic nationalities.
When the ruling junta claims only the “Armed Forces” can serve the best interests of the nation, leaders of non-Burman reject such a position proposing to form instead a Federal nation, which was drawn up in the 1950s. The outcome, (51) democratic leaders, including the Burman were either killed, detained, exiled, and forced to flee their country in fear of persecution. The country fell into civil war: thousands were killed, millions displaced and detained in countless numbers by the military rulers. Currently, there are over twenty non-Burman ethnic political organizations both home and in the liberated areas whose leaders adhere to the origin principle put forth in the “Panglong Accord” in 1947. However, senior leaders of State Peace and Development Council refuse to discuss any agenda that contains “Federalism” or “Self-autonomy” or “Self-determination” for the Seven States. Armed organizations are urged to totally surrender to the military government then live under “legal fold”.
“Based on Panglong,
would be that federation in
Regarding power sharing to non-Burman nationalities, it becomes an obstacle among ruling Burman leaders. Former governments between 1950-1960 under the civilian government led by U Nu failed to accommodate the on going political crisis within Burman who stands on Left and Right Wings factions but against each other. During General Ne Win’s rule (1962-1988), he again adopted zero tolerance policy towards non-Burman nationalities.
Current Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of SPDC, shows no interest to resolve the crisis rather politically oppresses his political opponents with any costs. The state owned media and state propaganda team scares the general public as “federalism” is an evil and it is unacceptable proposal to keep territorial integrity. In deed, the ruling General never learns how to live peacefully among people in the country including Burman to Burman. The General sticks on “Power come from the gun” theory adopted by former Military Bosses.
To be put a blunt tone, the
ruling General has very narrow sights in politics and social society function
because they themselves lockout on the darkness for over forty years. Hence,
To stick in mind, Burmese
community is valued itself as a Buddhist dominated society for over two thousands
years whose proud themselves as “civilized nation” but those who claim to be
Buddhist failed to preserve “Five Principles” [not to kill, lie, rape, steal
and intoxication]. It is to be clarified whether the ruling Generals and its
followers are genuinely Buddhist fellowmen because they have mistreated
Buddhist monks. Their members of USDA robed yellow clothes as bogus monks then
attacked civilian led by democratic community. Moreover, the worse case is two
nuns who protest against the mismanagement of the government were jailed in
Over the year, hundreds of
thousands human rights violation stories including rape, forced labor, land
confiscation and illegal tax collection have recorded by both national and
international organizations but the ruling Generals refused to admit for any
acts of violation by government troops.
Currently, there are over 1,300 political prisoners including women and
young students where they are denied to freely spoke to national and internal
human rights defenders. The
The ruling military leaders made local
people to live in fear; poor condition then forced them to find employment in
government service for survival. They at least find a good opportunity to be
armed private personal in the military.
Pro-regime received more advantages than pro-democratic force. There is interested intensive package for new
soldiers and other military institutions for new generations. Senior military
officials live at a first class on social status while civilian intellectuals
are paid no respect by the State. The
MRC HOLDS 10TH CONFERENCE
According to the MRC source, activities and financial reports of year 2003 were evaluated and new leaders were elected by secret votes. The conference reelected Pon Nya Mon as Chairman and Rev. Dhamma Deanna as Patron member. Ong Htow Mon was elected as Secretary General while Kun Yekhha and Nai Thet Lwin were selected to lead Information Committee and Literature and Culture Committee.
The MRC has become the biggest
Mon community in the overseas and built a Buddhist temple in
The Mon Women Organization of USA
was recently formed at the Mon Buddhist temple last month.
MON CANADIAN PREPARE
Mon Buddhist Temple Calgary held
a "New Year’s Opening Meeing" on
The religious meeting was opened by worshiping to Lord Buddha and welcoming messages leaders of MBTC.
Reports of fiscal year 2003 and future plans were discussed; the group has collected over 5,000 Canadian $ from members and fund raising event.
A founding member of the Mon
Community of Canada Nai Einda
Monnya who traveled from
On December 25, the Mon Cultural
Society (MCS) also held its AGM in
Past activities and finance reported. Three panels on women affairs, MCS constitution, solidarity and networking were divided into 3 different groups and actively discussed for the future tasks. The meeting also unanimously agreed to change its name from Mon Cultural Society to Mon Canadian Society.
The Mon Community in
KAREN NEW YEAR IN
The Karen New Year 2743 was
joyfully celebrated in
According to the source from the
Canadian Karen Community more than 300 people attended the event held in
“Not only people from
The programs included singing the Karen National Anthem, reading message from the Karen National Union (KNU), speeches by leaders and a raffle draw. The Karen traditional Don Dance, Bamboo Dance and Harvesting Dance were entertained to the audience and varieties of Karen, Shan and Mon songs were performed.
FROM THE FIRST TO SECOND
(By Kanbawza Win in
Hence, the grass root level activist in co-operation with the Canadian friends initiated this humble ceremony. The theme of “From the first to second independence” which is the words of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was chosen not only to highlight our cause but also to honour her, who is still under house arrest up to this day.
A simple Buddhist Memorial Service ceremony to give merit and recollect those compatriots who had made a supreme sacrifice for autonomy, democracy and the prevalence of human rights in Burma. They especially remember the latest episode of Depayin, where the military instigated thugs attempted to murder the only Burmese Nobel laureate and pro democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Buddhist ceremony was followed by a short candle light service (Christian ceremony) led by Assistant Pastor Soe Kyaw Thu.
A keynote speech was given by Dr Chao Tzang Yaunghwe,
(Eugene Thaike) the de facto leader of the
Burmese Diaspora. It was his father Sao Shwe Thaike, the first President of modern
Messages from Amnesty
International, Canada Asia Pacific Resource Network, Vancouver
Burma Round Table Conferences were read as it is the first time Burmese
Independent Day ceremony ever held in
Obviously the other group, which favours the status quo for their ulterior motive
would either stay away from this occasion or try their level best to disrupt
this inspirational, happy and joyous occasion.
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