Tag Archives: Myanmar

U.S. calls for probe of reports of Myanmar military atrocities

WASHINGTON The United States on Thursday referred to as for a credible, independent investigation by Myanmar’s government of reports of military atrocities in the country’s Shan State, saying they had been reprehensible, if true.

A rights group, the Shan Human Rights Foundation, accused Myanmar’s army last week of bombing schools and Buddhist temples, firing on civilians and rape in an offensive against ethnic rebels in eastern Myanmar that has uprooted a lot more than ten,000 individuals.

“We are concerned by reports of Burmese military atrocities, including allegations of indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations and infrastructure, rape, and other acts of sexual violence,” mentioned Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Division.

“These allegations, if true, are reprehensible, and we urge the Government of Burma to undertake a credible, independent investigation into these allegations, and to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.”

Last month, the senior U.S. diplomat for Asia, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, was in Myanmar, which is also identified as Burma. He met Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and urged the military to exercising restraint and to perform to promote peace and reconciliation in conflict places. 

Myanmar has fought ethnic groups in its borderlands off and on for decades, causing huge displacement inside the nation and forcing hundreds of thousands to seek refuge across the border in Thailand.

In October, a military-backed civilian government that replaced a military junta in 2010 signed a ceasefire with eight armed ethnic groups. But the deal fell brief of its nationwide billing, with seven of the 15 invited groups declining to sign, including the Shan State Army-North and the Kachin Independence Army.

After 2010, the country embarked on U.S.-backed reforms toward elections that were held last month. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won in a landslide, but her celebration has but to take power.

According to activists in Shan state, the army has shelled six villages, shot and injured three individuals, and fired on 17 villagers who are now missing, because Oct. six.

The Shan Human Rights Foundation stated it had documented eight circumstances of sexual violence since April 2015, which includes a 32-year-old lady gang-raped by ten soldiers on Nov. five although her husband was tied up under their farm hut in Ke See township.

The Myanmar government has not responded to requests for comment about the fighting in Shan state.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom Editing by Dan Grebler)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Myanmar military releases 53 underage recruits: U.N.

YANGON Myanmar’s military released 53 youngsters and young folks from service on Monday as part of an effort to rid its ranks of underage soldiers, the United Nations mentioned.

Human rights groups have long accused Myanmar’s military, recognized as the Tatmadaw, of abuses such as using child soldiers, forcibly recruiting conscripts and confiscating land.

Because the military handed energy to a semi-civilian government in 2011, it has taken some methods to professionalise the armed forces, including the release of soldiers recruited whilst under the age of 18.

“Today’s release is the outcome of continued efforts of the Government of Myanmar and the Tatmadaw to place an end to the harmful practice of recruiting and making use of youngsters,” said Renata Lok-Dessallien, the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, in a statement.

“I am delighted to see these children and young folks returning to their properties and families. We are hopeful that institutional checks that have been place in spot and continued efforts will make certain that recruitment of kids will exist no a lot more.”

The military has released 146 underage recruits this year and 699 considering that it signed a joint action plan with the U.N. in 2012 to finish the use of young children in the military.

The U.N. it had no estimate for the quantity of underage soldiers in Myanmar. Specialists believe Myanmar’s military to be among 300,000 and 350,000 robust, but the military does not release information on its size.

Lok-Dessallien also named on armed ethnic groups to cease recruiting youngster soldiers.

The U.N. Secretary-General has listed seven such groups as getting “persistent perpetrators” in the recruitment and use of young children in their operations.

They contain the strong Kachin Independence Army, which controls massive swathes of Myanmar’s northern Kachin State, and the United Wa State Army (UWSA). Operating on the Myanmar-China border, the UWSA is regarded as the biggest and ideal equipped of Myanmar’s armed ethnic groups.

The announcement of the release comes amid fighting between the military and ethnic groups in the eastern Shan State, as effectively as in Kachin.

Activists from Shan State last week accused the military of bombing schools and Buddhist temples, firing on civilians and raping girls in the course of its recent offensives.

The U.N. Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that up to six,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Shan and yet another 1,200, which includes 500 children, in Kachin.

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin Editing by Simon Webb and Sanjeev Miglani)

Agen Sabung Ayam

Landslide in Myanmar Kills at Least 60

YANGON, Myanmar â?? A landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed up to 70 people and left more than 100 missing, most of them villagers sifting through a huge mountain of tailings and waste, a community leader and businessman said Sunday.

The collapse occurred Saturday afternoon in Kachin state, said Brang Seng, a jade businessman, describing rows of bodies pulled from the debris.

“There were more than 70,” he said. “This is awfully bad.”

More than 100 others were missing, said Lamai Gum Ja, a community leader who also has interests in the mining business.

Myanmar only recently started moving from a half-century of dictatorship to democracy. Hpakant, the epicenter of the country’s jade boom, remains desperately poor, with bumpy dirt roads and constant electricity blackouts.

The region bordering China is home to some of the world’s highest quality jade, bringing in billions of dollars a year, though researchers say most of that money goes to individuals and companies tied to Myanmar’s former military rulers.

Informal miners risk and often lose their lives digging through scraps of the giant mines.

“Large companies, many of them owned by families of former generals, army companies, cronies and drug lords are making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year through their plunder of Hpakant,” said Mike Davis of Global Witness, a group that investigates the misuse of revenue from natural resources.

He said that “scores of people at a time are buried alive in landslides.”

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Agen Sabung Ayam – Following Myanmar Election, Handful of Signs of a Much better Life for Muslims

Agen Sabung Ayam

YANGON, Myanmar — A handful of months ahead of the general election right here, the military-backed government struck hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the voter rolls. To be reinstated, they would have to prove their citizenship, but with out utilizing their government-issued ID cards, which the government had voided.

It was only the latest indignity heaped on the country’s numerous million Muslims, who face discrimination and have been subjected to murderous campaigns by radical Buddhists. Some Muslim members of Parliament have been barred from operating for re-election.

In the northwest, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim group, have been denied citizenship rights and are confined to bleak villages and camps.

As Myanmar’s democracy movement prepares to take power right after a landslide election victory last week, Muslims right here wonder whether their lives will increase beneath the new government, led by the National League for Democracy.

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Not likely, according to comments from N.L.D. officials.

“We have other priorities,” said U Win Htein, a senior celebration leader. “Peace, the peaceful transition of energy, economic development and constitutional reform.”

Referring to the Rohingya, he used language comparable to that employed by the present, military-backed government, saying that they were largely illegal immigrants who must be “returned” to Bangladesh.

“We’ll deal with the matter based on law and order and human rights,” Mr. Win Htein mentioned, “but we have to deal with the Bangladesh government simply because practically all of them came from there.”

The election on Nov. 8 has been extensively celebrated as a breakthrough for the nascent democracy here. But it was a bittersweet moment for Myanmar’s increasingly embattled Muslims, a lot of of whom had place their faith in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace laureate, national democracy icon and leader of the National League for Democracy.

Authorities mentioned they anticipated no drastic modifications in government policies toward Muslims, but they held out hope that at least factors would not grow to be worse. Although the N.L.D. leaders created no campaign promises to end discrimination against Muslims, analysts said, they did not go out of their way to attack them.

“I feel a lot of Muslims believed confident, the N.L.D. and Suu Kyi haven’t vocally supported us, but they’re a lot far better than the other guys,” mentioned David Scott Mathieson, a Myanmar specialist at Human Rights Watch. “That’s an added governance burden on Suu Kyi that she has to address — we may not help full Muslim participation, but we will make sure that you will be treated as citizens, and there will be no further discrimination throughout her government’s term. She’s got an overwhelming mandate to do that.”

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized abroad for not speaking up for the Rohingya, whose life is grim enough that thousands fled on smugglers’ ships in the spring, setting off a regionwide crisis right after other countries initially turned the boats back, leaving the migrants to starve at sea. But her reticence is de rigueur in a country exactly where anti-Muslim hatred runs high and any hint of conciliation is noticed as political suicide.

Neither her party nor the military-aligned governing celebration fielded any Muslim candidates, viewing them as a liability. When the new Parliament is seated in late January, the body will have no Muslim members for the very first time because the country’s independence in 1948.

One Muslim candidate who, soon after appealing twice to the election commission, was permitted to run for Parliament, quit the N.L.D., which he had joined at its founding in 1988.

The candidate, U Yan Naing, mentioned party members had organized a religiously motivated protest against him in the town of Myaung Mya, where he oversaw the party’s election committee. He stated he raised his issues in many letters to Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi but received no response.

“It was discrimination,” he mentioned. “This so-referred to as democratic party. I was very disappointed.”

Instead, he ran on the ticket of a little, predominantly Muslim celebration, with a simple aim: providing Muslims a voice in Parliament.

He was trounced by the N.L.D. In a district that was 40 % Muslim, Mr. Yan Naing took just 1 % of the vote. The N.L.D. candidate received 80 %.

“Even the Muslims didn’t vote for us,” he said. “Daw Suu is quite influential more than the Muslims, too.”

Indeed, Muslims voted overwhelmingly for the N.L.D., according to analysts and interviews with Muslim voters.

“They didn’t say something to win our help,” stated Khin Mar Cho, 48, as she coated melon slices in batter to fry them at her roadside stall in a neighborhood with a massive Muslim population. “But most of us voted for the N.L.D. anyway. We hope for a modify.”

Mr. Win Htein, the N.L.D. leader, acknowledged that his celebration chose not to have any Muslim candidates run, due to the fact that would have offered ammunition to the radical Buddhists, considered a powerful political force here. The Patriotic Association of Myanmar, a radical anti-Muslim group run by Buddhist monks, had currently accused Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of being too soft on Muslims.

“They mentioned that if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wins, then she would allow our country to be overrun with the Muslims,” Mr. Win Htein said. But he insisted that his party treated all religions equally.

If there was a vibrant spot in this election for Myanmar’s Muslims, it might have been the failure of the radical Buddhist movement to sway the election in favor of the governing party, which its leaders had backed.

Authorities, even so, mentioned, the movement was unlikely to disappear as a political force. “Sadly I consider it might rear its head once again,” Mr. Mathieson of Human Rights Watch said.

One particular of its primary leaders, Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk, vowed that the movement would continue and that it would closely watch the new government for efforts to roll back laws that his group had championed, including those passed this year to enforce monogamy and restrict religious conversion, interfaith marriage and the frequency of childbirth. These laws, which do not specifically mention Muslims, are understood to have been aimed at them.

“We will shield the race and religion laws as best we can,” Ashin Wirathu said. “We will by no means let anyone destroy them.”

Nevertheless, in the context of Myanmar’s long struggle toward democracy, many Muslims said they believed that a government led by a celebration that promised a return to the rule of law was at least a move in the right path.

“There has been so much racial and religious incitement,” stated U Aung Kyaw Tun, a Muslim who is a graphic designer in Yangon and who voted for the N.L.D. “If there is rule of law, it will decrease the tension.”

Like other Muslims who voted for the party, he utilized the word “hope” to explain why. No matter whether that expectation is justified remains to be noticed.

“The truth that members of the Muslim population are nevertheless holding out hope in the N.L.D., regardless of the N.L.D.’s silence and inaction to date — especially on the abuses against Rohingya — is in some way indicative of the desperation,” stated Matthew Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights, a human rights group that focuses on Myanmar. “But it is a contagious hope, and it is a hope that we share.”

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