KAOWAO NEWS NO. 94
Newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma
MORE MIGRANTS ENTER
UNPO MEET MEMBERS FROM
VILLAGERS FORCED TO PORTER
RUBBER TRADERS BUY UP PLANTATIONS AFTER CHANGE IN EXPORT RULES
DETAINED MON COMMUNITY LEADER RELEASED
JUNTA WAGING SECRET WAR AGAINST WA
NMSP: WILL MAINTAIN ARMED STRUGGLE
HEAVY RAINS CAUSE VILLAGERS TO EVACUATE IN
FAREWELL TO ARMS: KANBAWZA WIN
We invite comments and
suggestions on improvements to Kaowao newsletter.
With your help, we hope that Kaowao News will
continue to grow to serve better the needs of those seeking social justice in
Thank you for sending this information (“Villagers Forced to Porter”) to me - it is very concerning - is the Canadian Gov't being made aware of this current deteriorating situation?
Thanks. I will be always with you.
Theinmaung Chamau (Chin)
MORE MIGRANTS ENTER
-- Propelled by oppression and poverty, people from
“I have witnessed many Burmese enter
Some local people reported groups of migrants crossing
The migrants walk for about one day from the
community leader said that crossing the border at this time is not difficult
for migrants compared to last May and June when many migrant workers flocked to
‘One migrant died on the river last month while trying to cross the river,’ a witness from Sangkhlaburi said. They believe the dead body had been floating on the water for about one week before the police rescued it.
‘The migrant is from
UNPO MEET MEMBERS FROM
by Zahan Ong, Kaowao:
During the meeting with the Mon Unity League’s leader
Nai Sunthorn Sripanngern in
Nai Sunthorn Sripanngern, General Secretary of Mon Unity League, commented that "The UNPO should cooperate with UN bodies such as UNDP and WHO in order to raise the living and health standard of voiceless people of its members around the world. Most of UNPO member peoples are under the rule of another race and marked by oppression, discrimination and so on"
The task of the UNPO is to assist its members in advancing their interests effectively through nonviolent means, including diplomacy, the use of the United Nations and other international procedures for the protection of human rights, the development of public opinion and other action-oriented strategies, and the exploration of legal options available in defending their rights.
The 7th UNPO General Assembly was held in
UNPO was founded in 1991 with the principles for:
equal rights of self-determination for all nations and peoples; adherence to
internationally accepted human rights standards; adherence to the principles of
democracy; promotion of nonviolence and rejection of terrorism and protection
of natural environment. Its head office is in
The Mon became a UNPO member in 1996 through the Mon Unity League.
VILLAGERS FORCED TO PORTER
Residents are being forced to porter on a weekly basis as human shields, while women are forced to guard the village against Mon rebels during the night time in the remote areas of southern Ye, Mon state.
Members of a Mon family who recently arrived to a Mon Refugees camp on the border said, “We must porter three or four times per month, or pay three thousand Kyats for a replacement if we cannot go at that time.”
Nai Win, who last week arrived to the camp
with his family, said that he must walk ahead of the Burmese soldiers
and carry ammunition and other supplies. The last time he portered was on
'Last month, I and some other women were forced
to guard the village at night time because there were fewer men in the
village,' she added. Most of the men in her village, consisting of about 100
households, had gone on to
The families spent three days trekking through thick forest and crossing heavy mountain streams to get to the border area to escape the portering.
Seven other villagers fled from the village,
some went to the Mon Internally Displaced People camps in the area
controlled by the NMSP in Tenessarim
division. Some families have been split up in which different
members of the family have left to go to the refugee camp or cross the
border to go work in
The SPDC local Battalion LIB No. 31 led by captain Myint Kyaw collects taxes from 2000 and 3000 Kyats per month from every household. Another type of military tax is farm tax in which 500 Kyats per month which will allow the farmers from to to work on their farm and plantation.
'If we enter our village after six pm, we have to stay out all night, some villagers were tortured for breaking this rule and were made to pay an extra fine,' Win said.
'There are many kinds of torturing, one is putting a bamboo stick from the chest to knee and making the victim roll on it to force food from the stomach after making them eat a lot of rice,' his friend from the camp said.
'Forced labor has been going on daily in order to prepare the military motor road,' he further added.
Sporadic conflict has occurred in the area from fighting between the splinter Mon armed groups, Hongsawatoi Restoration Party and the SPDC. The families, however, said there is no fighting at present in the area, but feel they were discriminated for being an ethnic minority. Some were also accused of being relatives of Mon guerillas and were threatened by having their homes and belongings destroyed by the Burmese military.
Most of the Mon people from this area cannot speak or read Burmese, which often invites abuse by the SPDC soldiers who target them.
RUBBER TRADERS BUY UP PLANTATIONS AFTER CHANGE IN EXPORT RULES
Independent Mon News Agency:
Companies trading in rubber are setting up partnerships with plantation owners in Mon state, since the Burmese government issued new regulations requiring that rubber exported to other countries must be from plantations owned by the exporter.
The traders have made deals with plantation owners which allow them to claim ownership of the land on which the rubber is grown. These agreements are then reported to the authorities so that the trading companies can send the rubber compound sheets produced abroad, according to Nai Toe Myint, a representative of a rubber export company in Ye township.
The regulations have tightened
up since last year, Toe Myint said. "Our
company now has plans to grow rubber on a thousand acres in
“If we get a permit, we will have to plant rubber trees on the land within three years," Toe Myint said. The same regulation applies to owners of virgin land who do not sell to the trading companies. The new regulations have led to a rush take up land and set up rubber plantations in Yebyu township.
Even though they do want to
get involved in plantation work, the exporters are being driven by orders for
"The more rubber we can
export, the better it is for the government, which collects a 10% tax on rubber
exports," said Nai Toe Myint. In Mon state
there are four companies which engage in exporting rubber compound sheets to
DETAINED MON COMMUNITY LEADER RELEASED
(Independent Mon News Agency:
Chairman of the Mon Literature and
Nai Sein Aye, 55 years old, was arrested on July 8, by Col. Khin Maung Zee, from No. 4 Military Training School, in Thanpyuzayat prison for over one-month. The commander accused him of being an activist who had planned an uprising against the regime, the SPDC.
The military commander Col. Khin Maung Zee had tried
many times to bring Nai Sein Aye’s case in
But the Township judge, Daw Win Win Htay rejected three times that he was not involved in any activities against the state and decided not to unfairly judge him. She further reported to the upper authorities that she would retire from her duties following intensive pressure.
Nai Sein Aye case was
brought from the
Nai Sein Aye organized various community activities and had applied to local military authorities to register his committee as an official organization in mid-2004.
However, his committee was denied registration by the town authorities on May 4 and he and his members were forced to sign an agreement that they would not to be involved in any activities as ordered by the Thanpyuzayat Town Peace and Development Council secretary U Pyi Aung Moe.
He and his committee were also warned that if they organized meetings or formed a group that collected money, they would be arrested and detained under the law act no. 5A (forming an illegal organization) and be imprisoned for 5-7 years in prison with hard labor.
Sein Aye-led MLCC has been working for community
development; he started the
Meanwhile, the activities of the Mon Literature and Culture Committee, especially concerning Mon language and culture has been restricted since his arrest.
JUNTA WAGING SECRET WAR AGAINST WA
Herald Agency for News:
"Everything points out to an undercover warfare against the United Wa State Army" said a long-time resident on the Tachilek-Maesai border:
* Politically, the Wa's political ally, the Shan State Peace Council, has been shattered following the arrest of its leader Gen Hso Ten in February thereby leaving the Wa politically vulnerable
* Militarily, the Burma Army has, for more than a
year, been deploying its troops in
* Financially, the UWSA is also admittedly reeling under the strain caused by Rangoon's seemingly accidental measures, such as the closures of Asia Wealth Bank, Mayflower Bank (where Wa leader Bao Youxiang was reported to hold 43% shares) and Myanmar Universal Bank (where the Wa's "remote control" Wei Hsuehkang was said to be enjoying substantial holdings) and the crackdown on unlicensed cars, the bulk of which were reportedly owned by the Wa and its business company, Hongpang."
All the 42 names on the list of the Special Investigation Bureau that arrived in Tachilek on Tuesday (22 August) are associates of U Tar Wai (who has been arrested) and Wei himself, I was told," said a source close to the official circle.
None of the sources asked by S.H.A.N. however has seen any Wa car seized by the authorities. "Maybe the handover is being done quietly," said one, "since the Hongpang office is just next door to Light Infantry Battalion 331 post. Of course, it is not the Wa way to give up anything without orders from their superiors."
The deadline for submission of all unregistered vehicles is tomorrow, Friday 26 August.
Meanwhile, Wa officers in Mongton, opposite Chiangmai, are reportedly becoming uneasy about more Burma Army units stationing around their bases.
"We've asked Panghsang several times what we should do about it," complained a frustrated lieutenant colonel. "But our leaders are still keeping us in suspense."
58th Anniversary of Mon Resistance Day
NMSP: WILL continue THE ARMED STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
According to a statement issued on the 58th
anniversary of Mon Resistance Day, the
The New Mon State Party (NMSP) declared they would continue to hold their arms until their demands for freedom are met.
The New Mon State Party issued a statement in which they said: ‘If the SPDC forces the cease-fire parties to lay down their arms, the NMSP will choose other options to defend their people.’
They statement further confirmed that they [NMSP] are committed to setting out on the table a common purpose of living and working together with the Burmese government, but if their demands of self determination are ignored, which includes the right to teach the Mon language to their children for example, ‘they will find other means to achieve the freedom once enjoyed by their people over 250 years ago.’
A veteran Mon politician said that, ‘the NMSP’s statement is stronger than in previous years,’ further adding that, ‘they are giving a clear message to the people that they are not going to yield to pressure following rumors that they were giving in.’
Sources close to the NMSP say the junta is demanding
them to hold a political dialogue to solve the political crisis in
President of New Mon State Party, General Htaw Mon
also issued a statement commenting on the significance of the armed resistance day
in recognition of all the ethnic nationalities’ struggle for self-determination
and a federal union in
Mon Resistance Day commemorates the beginning of the
armed struggle against the Burmese government in 1948. When the British
granted independence to
The armed resistance movement began in 1948 when a
group of young Mon patriots led by Nai Pan Tha seized
arms from the police station at Zar Tha Pyin village near
Mon Resistance Day celebrations were held today in different locations around NMSP’s strong hold area near the Thai Burma border and overseas locations where hundreds of Mon refugees have resettled.
HEAVY RAINS CAUSE VILLAGERS TO EVACUATE IN
Heavy monsoon rains have flooded out hundreds of
villages and transportations routes along the Jine
and Zami rivers between Mon and
'Villages and motor roads have been submerged under floodwaters from the heavy rains and the overflowing river,' said a local Mon woman to Kaowao reporter yesterday.
“My house is completely under water. About a
quarter of village homes of over 500 are also under
water,” the elderly woman from southern
For over two weeks rain has fallen steadily almost everyday leading to the heavy flooding. A combination of a poor drainage system and the heavy downpours has forced villagers to evacuate from their homes.
Townships affected are Pha Ann, Kaw Kareik of Karen State and Kyaik Mayaw in
‘Heavy rains have also been reported in
The heavy downpours have caused the Zami and
‘We travel by boat to get around,’ the trader said. ‘We see only water not land, the roads and the whole area is under water.’
Another Mon woman from the area said the flooding is
not usual, transportation is only by motorboat; many
families have packed up everything into motorboats and are
moving to higher grounds. 'The passengers from
After the water recedes, the motor roads, water supplies, and villages in the area will be heavily damaged from the flooding and there is concern over the outbreak of flood related diseases that will affect the vulnerable, the children and the elderly. Waterborne diseases include dengue fever, diarrhea, and dysentery.
It is not known how the Burmese government will
respond to the heavy flooding in the area and there has been no news
on cases of deaths resulting from the flooding. The monsoon rains arrive in
May and last until October in
Counsel to the ethnic nationalities
FAREWELL TO ARMS
(By Kanbawza Win)
The news that more than 20,000 Karenni internally displaced persons based in Mae Hong Son, on the Thai side of the Burma border, are in the process of registering with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to resettle in the Third countries, hit me under the belt. I cannot comprehend how these Karenni will communicate and maintain their culture with each other, save through the Internet and telephone, when the first batch of 500 or more will be settled in Finland, top of the world and New Zealand bottom of the world. Even if it is confined to Internet communication, I have never seen a Karenni (Kayah) Font, Kayaw (Pa Raé) of Kayan (Padaung long neck) Font and they will be compelled to use English as the medium of language. In other words their dialects, culture and people will soon be in the category of the vanishing tribes. The whole population of Karenni is only about half a million and to relocate nearly half of the population to a third countries means that the regime's ethnic cleansing policy, with the help (wittingly or unwittingly) of the international community is cent percent successful. Congratulations.
Call me a hypocrite,
originating from Prae Pro village of Hsu Byaung township, near Htu Chaung (stream), now residing in the niceties of the West
and yet am against the resettlement of my kit and kin? It is very reasonable
that they will have to think about their future especially that of their
children (Saw Augustino speaks to
From the perception of the Thai authorities is that the Burmese ethnic refugees residing in the Thai-Burma border can be categorize into three types, those who are sure of persecution once they go back to Burma will be allowed to migrate to Third countries with the help of UNHCR, while those who are not so much on the lime light will be push back to Burma and face the ethnic cleansing and persecution like the rest of the population. But those who are not in any of the two categories will be given a Thai Hill People card (a sort of a second class citizen) to stay in their respective district and eventually be assimilated into Thai society and in this way it will solve the refugee problem. Obviously more economic pie is waiting as a reward from the Junta.
The changing of the fair name
of the country
The term "ethnic cleansing” come from the Serbian/Croatian phrase etničko čišćenje meaning forcibly removing a particular ethnic group and is indistinguishable from forced emigration, deportation or genocide of an ethnic group. If homicide is the murder of a person, genocide is the murder of an ethnicity for the extinction of any human group sharing a genetic or ancestral affinity. Ethnic cleansing is as old as history itself. It can be found in any continent. The expulsion of the Acadians from the ancestral land in Nova Scotia by the Canadians. The numerous relocation of the Red Indians (aborigines) from their traditional areas to remote reservation of the US. The expulsion of the Turkish Muslim in the Balkans or the holocaust of the Jewish population in Europe during the Second World War Very lately of the expulsion of the East Timor population by the Indonesians. Slaughter of the Tibetans by the Chinese. The massacre of the Tutsi by the Hutus in Berundi or better known as Rwanda Genocide and the list goes on.
The main purpose of ethnic
cleansing is to remove the conditions for potential and actual opposition,
whether political, terrorist, guerrilla or military, by physically removing any
potentially or actually hostile ethnic communities as a way of ensuring that
total control can be asserted over an area as what the Karen Christians are
facing now in the border areas. As a tactic, ethnic cleansing has a number of
significant advantages and disadvantages. It enables a force to eliminate civilian
support for resistance by eliminating the civilians — in a reversal of Mao
Zedong`s dictum that guerrillas among a civilian population are fish in water,
it drains the water. It’s often accompanied by efforts to eradicate all
physical traces of the expelled ethnic group, such as by the destruction of
cultural artifacts (e.g. destruction of Kengtung Haw), religious sites and
physical records. Like it or not, ethnic cleansing is not only practice by the
Burmese Junta in leiu with the various Thai administration but almost every
where. Last week Uzi Cohen, a member of
Ariel Sharon's right-wing party and a deputy mayor of the town of Raanana, proposed massive ethnic cleansing of the non Jews
in Palestine-Israel as the final solution of the Arab Israeli conflict, and
surprisingly there was widespread support in Israel even though few are willing
to speak about it publicly. Future ethnic cleansing is in store and more will
be seen in
There is little doubt that
Myanmar/Burman are bent on ethnic cleansing for
national solidarity under the smokescreen of preventing the disintegration of
The modern political history
in all, the historical development of
communities and the pro democracy movement up to this day have been unable to
forge any meaningful alliance or a united front. The post-independence
story of the country can be characterized by an excruciatingly long series of
failures to build lasting political alliances among opposition groups,
non-violent and armed, ethnic nationalities and the
The 1996, the Junta's National Convention came to a halt not because the National League for Democracy walked out or got kicked out of it by the Junta but because the Wa pressed for autonomous statehood of their own. This demography and stratification are working against the interests of the politically and culturally sophisticated Shan peoples. Several non Tai/Shan tribes such as Pa O, Lisu, Lahu, Palaung, Danu, Inthar, Yin Ni, Yin Net, Yin Gyar, Ei Kaw etc harbor some sort of resentment toward the Shan who have 'big brother' mentality toward other non-Shan minorities within the Shan State as even now the Shan Democratic Union scarcely have non Shan, as its executive member and there is very little hope that they will accept a person who cannot speak a Tai dialect.
U Nu's armed revolution in the early 1970's collapsed completely because of distrust, mistrust and prejudices of the ethnic nationalities. Following the 8888 movement over 10,000 young Burmese from urban areas fled to the KNU-controlled areas to join armed groups and subsequently set up the All Burma Students' Democratic Front, they were viewed with deep mistrust by the ethnic groups, who shared the Burmese's belief that the military rule was bad for the country, for ethnic groups, etc. and treated them as a Burman group just fighting the Burman dominated Junta accordingly.
In early 1990s the new
political and economic realities forced the Kachin Independence Army led by the
late Breng Seng to leave
the ethnic alliance of armed anti-Rangoon groups which dotted throughout the
country's non-mainstream territories and states, the KIA was condemned by their
former comrades, but remained within the ethnic alliance. Hence it is no wonder
Again, some ethnic leaders seem more interested in autonomy and
the freedom for their community to be free from domination, while others appear
to look forward to gaining opportunities to play their role in national life,
which they believe the tyranny of the majority may prevent just as effectively
as the tyranny of the military. Among different ethnic communities there are
many agreement and disagreement but there is a shared view that each ethnic
group has a distinct ethnic identity and can be represented only by somebody of
that ethnic group. For the majority
it is a fact that Burman-dominated administrations since 1948, when
independence was gain from
the other hand the
A Way Out
choice for the ethnic nationalities of
Making a research on the old Chin and Kachin soldiers who are now living abroad and asking them of why they fought toot and nail to defend Rangoon and the Union during 1949/50, when the Karen were about to overwhelm Burma? They replied because the Burmese has swindled them but the most important factor is because they discovered that Karen is more racist than the Burman. Concerning this matter probably the ABSDF veterans of 1988/89 knew more about it.
Declaring the independence of Shan State, not only reveal the selfishness of its leaders as they want a way out only for themselves only, leaving the other ethnic groups at the mercy of the Burmese army but also reinforced the Balkanization theory and convinced the neighboring countries to support the Junta is the only power that can prevent the ethnic cauldron falling on to them. It strengthens the Balkanization theory and gives the wrong message to the international community and play into the Junta's hands. The intention of these epic examples, are not to heap the blame on them but to draw a valuable lessons, so that they may be more shrewd, sophisticated and wiser in the next move.
The ethnic leaders seem to forget where they stand. Their noble cause remaining alive is partly due to the new technology, the Internet, but mainly due to the dedicated NGOs who sympathize their plight and highlighted in the international media. Facts are brutal. There is no third way. If they chose to be friends with the pro Burmese democracy forces, then they must know who are the good Burman and who are the extremist. Until and unless they are close to them, they will not be able to distinguish the good from the bad. Perhaps they should read some of Mao Zedong's writing "that the enemy of my enemy is my friend." We should also understand that to repel this ethnic cleansing policy, we could not rely on morality alone. Morally, we may be hundred percent rights citing the historical records and the current suffering of the people. But this alone is not enough. We must also know that morality is the weakest link among other options for a friendly force to come to our rescue. We will have to plan for other attractive options.
steps have to be taken for ethnic unity first before approaching the pro
democracy groups. We cannot afford to be racist any more and adopt a hate
theory that all
most important factor is the difference in gene or what in Burmese we say, as Be
Sa. The majority of the ethnic nationalities of
has been proven to the ethnic nationalities, that the racist practice and the
hate theories are not beneficial. We must change our ways and to do that we
must reconcile ourselves before we move on to national reconciliation. The
leaders should take their own initiation and innovation, in their respective
camps and community as deem fit. This is the opportune moment. The Burmese in
Diaspora have tasted what is the feeling of the minority in the majority of the
Caucasian, in as much as we ethnic feel among the majority Burmese. Seeking
asylum in the Third countries, they have discovered as how hard is to survive
to maintain their culture and language and that most of the second generations
could rarely speak Burmese while their grand children will rarely know of where
Many ethnic leaders profess to be Christian but it is doubtful whether they really know the concept of Christianity that men are created equal and that love appears more than 500 times in the Scripture. Love their neighbors as themselves (Galatians ) and Burman/Myanmar is our neighbor. At least an attempt must be made to be friends with the pro democracy forces in Diaspora. We can start by just simple steps as inviting the carefully selected few to come and stay in their community for a fortnight or two and ask them to teach Burmese language to their children. Encourage them to talk about their visions. Tell them about your shared values and your utopia. It is far better to construct bridges of understanding than on misconception, suspicion and hate. Time is running out. If we cling to our obstinacy we might as well say," Farewell to Arms."
The views express here are solely the opinion of the author. (Kaowao's Editor)
KAOWAO NEWS GROUP
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
+ 66 7 169-0971 (
+ 1- 403 - 248 2027 (
Newsgroup is committed to social justice, peace, and democracy in
reporters, writers, and overseas volunteers are dedicated members of the Mon
activist community based in
Our motto is working together for lasting peace and change.