[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Civil Society for Burma

Dear Friends,

Civil Society of Burma was successfully fromed on December 1997 with
fromer ABSDF members and Burmese who want to see the establishment of
democratic government in Burma.  Our web site is up.  The address is: 




                           CIVIL SOCIETY FOR BURMA

President					Htun Aung Gyaw

General Secretary				Soe Nyunt

Treasurer					Kyaw Zin

General Auditor				Ei Ei May

Organizing Committee Secretary 		Nay Hlaing Oo

Board Members:
	Victor Aw 	(Chairperson, New York Chapter)

	Khin Maw  	(Chairperson, California Chapter)

	Maung Maung Soe (Chairperson, Indiana Chapter)

	Ye Tun 	(Chairperson, North Carolina Chapter)

Advisory Board

Dr. John Badgley 
Burmese Expert, retired Curator, Cornell 	University

Dr. Josef Silverstein 
Burmese Expert, retired Professor, Rutger University

Dr. Tun Kyaw Nyein 	
Professor, North Carolina Central University 


Htun Aung Gyaw
428, Winthrop Drive, Ithaca, N.Y 14850
Tel/Fax: (607) 266-8942, E-Mail: hag2@xxxxxxxxxxx

Victor Aw	
2265 East 18th St., Brooklyn, New York, N.Y 11229
Tel/Fax: (718) 615-1812, E-Mail: uainwann@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Civil Society is that realm of organized social life that 
is voluntary,self  generating,(largely) self supporting, 
autonomous from the state and bound by a legal order or a 
set of shared rules.  In this context, citizens act 
collectively in a public sphere to express their interests, 
passions, and ideas, exchange information, achieve mutual 
goals, make  demands on the state and hold state offices.

	Civil Society protects the rights of the various 
social, political, and economical organizations under 
democratic regimes and helps to promote and encourage
the formation of democratic institutions under authoritarian 
regimes.  There is abundant evidence in history and 
contemporary societies to support our belief that Civil 
Society and the vigorous associational skills it fosters are 
the bedrock of democracy.

	Civil Society in the western sense has no equivalent 
in the Burmese lexicon. Yet there was free and voluntary 
associational life in Burma both during the colonial period
and again during the brief democratic interlude, albeit 
centered around religion and politics. Unfortunately, four 
decades of authoritarian rule has wiped out all vestiges of

	Civil Society as it existed in the Burmese society.  
Regimentation and the pervasive use of a state-sponsored 
network of spies and informers undermined the trust and 
bonds of social fabric.

 	It is our belief that promotion of the concept of 
Civil Society and development of associational skills among 
the citizenry is a sine qua non to successful democratization
in Burma.

	CSB seeks to foster and promote the understanding of 
the concept of Civil Society and facilitate the enhancement 
of associational skills among overseas and inland Burmese


	CSB will help all Burmese pro-democracy groups in any 
way possible.  Among the different  pro-democracy groups, CSB  
will attempt to foster mutual understanding and unity.  This 
will be accomplished by exploring common ground for cooperation
and promoting family spirit and loving kindness for the 
foundation of a stable society.


To establish a Burmese Refugee Center in New York City and a 
joint office in Bangkok, Thailand for providing educational 
and orientational services to Burmese refugees waiting for 
departure to host countries. To assists those Burmese refugees 
whose applications for resettlement in third countries have been 

To campaign for the Student Union in Burma and assist student 
activists, political prisoners and their families whose health 
conditions are deteriorating and need medical assistance.

To establish a publication system for informing the Burmese 
communities inside and outside Burma about Burma's present 
situation and engage them in the political, economical and 
social matters of Burma.


 Condemned by the United Nations and other international 
bodies as one ofthe most repressive regimes in the world, 
the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has
intensified its assault on democracy activists and ethnic 
minorities. Offensives by the Burmese military against 
ethnic Karenni, Karen, and Shan have resulted in an 
increased flow of refugees into neighboring countries.
	New refugees arriving into both Thailand and 
Bangladesh prompted Refugee International missions to 
these countries in 1996. Based on information received 
December 30th 1997, thousands of refugees living in the 
seven border districts of the northern province are to 
bemoved to four major camps deeper inside Thailand for 
security reasons. Mae Hong Son governor Phakdi Chomphuming 
said on December 29th 1997 that the province had recently 
been given 1.5 million baht from the Defence Ministry to 
evacuate some 30,000 refugees from areas prone to attacks.
	The evacuation follows a series of attacks by 
members of the renegade Democratic Karen Buddhist Army 
(DKBA) and illegal logging activities in Salween Wildlife 
Sanctuary. The province has sought help from the Third Army 
Region to deploy extra troops along the border to ensure 
the safety of the people living there. United Nation High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also designated a 
new category of Burmese refugees the "Border Case", 
which involves placing refugees in unsafe border areas 
instead of the UNHCR recognized Burmese student safe camp. 
Most CSB members have personal experience as refugees, 
and they are willing to help the Burmese refugees and 
willing to solve the problems between Burmese and Thai 

Concerning the student refugees under the military regime's 
socialist educational system, students did not get an 
internationally competitive education even though they 
were university graduates.  Because they did not get a 
proper education they did not become qualified for a 
profession. As a result, when they left Burma for foreign 
countries, they were only able to get "under the table" jobs.  
Worse than this, many of the refugee students who had fled 
to the jungle never finished their formal education. Because 
Burma was an isolated system for many years, it is difficult 
for the young people to deal with foreigners. When students 
arrive in the USA they need help with orientation, language 
training, professional skill training, moral support and at
the very least a warm welcome by having someone who listens
to them.

Moreover, the overseas Burmese people living in the USA 
face their own problems owing to many factors such as 
cultural diversity, lack of language proficiency and lack 
of information. CSB gives community assistance in various 
ways such as residence application, educational assistance, 
employment counseling, and social problem solving. CSB will 
assist overseas Burmese to integrate into the countries 
granting their residency.

The Open Society Institute (OSI) has awarded some 
scholarships, but most students and activists
from the border do not fulfill the requirements of the OSI. 
Many OSI scholarships have been awarded to educated people 
who left Burma for the USA holding Burmese passports, so OSI 
is only of marginal value for refugee students and activists. 
CSB believes that it is necessary to give scholarships to 
every Burmese citizen except to those who openly endorse the 
military rule. CSB will assist OSI in identifying those 
students wanting higher education and in facilitating the 
grant application process, because most students have little 
experience in this area. CSB members have more expertise in 
these areas, we want to contribute our service to activists 
in the US and in the border areas.


To promote the emergence of strong Civil Society inside Burma
To establish a Burmese Refugee Center in the USA and a joint 
office in Thailand to assist Burmese refugees for departure 
to host countries.
To solve the problems between Burmese and Thai communities.
To find and assist those students who could qualify for OSI 
To establish the structure for solving the social problems of 
refugees who have resettled in host countries.
To encourage the foreign and domestic NGOs to work inside 


CSB is headed U Htun Aung Gyaw (President). He holds a Master 
of Arts degree in Asian Studies from Cornell University and 
a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Rangoon Arts and 
Science University, Burma. He was a prominent student leader 
in 1974-75. Also Htun was a political prisoner from 1975-80, 
and former Chairman and a founder of All Burma Students'
Democratic Front(ABSDF). He has many followers in Burma and 
in the USA. Assisting Htun is U Soe Nyunt, in running CSB. 
He was a student leader and a Vice Chairman of the 1974 U 
Thant uprising. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from Rangoon 
Institute of Economics. He was elected as the Chairman of
ABSDF Wankha camp. He also served as the Chairman of Student 
Safe camp in Ratchburi province in Thailand. Additionally, 
former ABSDF members and activists work as volunteers for CSB

"Under military rule, Civil Society has diminished in
Burma. I strongly believe that a Civil Society is 
crucial not only for achieving democracy in Burma but 
also to maintain it."

          - Htun Aung Gyaw