Saturday, December 27, 2008

UN secretary-general must visit Burma to begin the end-game

Bangkok Post

The United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seems to be waiting for a miracle before he will visit Burma. Like a scientist afraid of his own experiment, he aims to plot the result before he begins the process. For months now he has been ducking and weaving around increasingly vocal calls for him to visit this failed state with its military despots in charge, and to bring the full weight of the global community to bear on the many and on-going human rights violations occurring there. He seeks, he says, an assurance there will be an outcome. This is an untenable position, overly cautious by far for such a critical situation as Burma.

The UN is willing to allow the Burmese military junta to ride roughshod over international standards of human rights, political practice, economic sustainability and foreign relations.

The global body is allowing the regime to push on towards a sham election in 2010, which will inevitably bolster their power and defer the development of democracy in Burma.

While the shortcomings of the UN indicate a global system that is failing Burma, the UN is not alone.

Regionally, a virtual free-for-all has erupted as investors from China, Russia, Korea, Thailand and elsewhere rush into Burma. A resources and energy assets boom has given the military regime an opportunity to open the flood-gates. Sanctions in place in the US and the EU have ensured Burma's neighbours have few serious competitors, or watchdogs.

The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, as the legitimate and mandated de jure government in Burma has outlined a step-by-step plan for more focussed and successful engagement with Burma.

The first vital and unavoidable step would be for Mr Ban to visit the country as soon as possible. This would be an opportunity to present and embody the international community's concern over widespread human rights violations and the volatile actions of the country's rulers.

Second, the UN Special Envoy, Ibrahim Gambari must go to Burma again to meet officials and establish infrastructure to:

a) ensure the release of all political prisoners;

b) facilitate open negotiations between Aung San Suu Kyi and the SPDC;

c) to set up a permanent liaison office in Burma to pursue the direct intentions of the Secretary-General; and

d) to bring solutions to Burma's economic crisis.

Third, a process on on-going engagement needs to be rolled out. The generals need to be obliged to meet and engage appropriately with the UN Special Envoy and must grant all relevant UN officers unlimited access throughout the country.

Fourth, the UN should kick-off a process of national reconciliation, capitalising on the work already done by the NCGUB in this direction. This process must be inclusive of all opposition parties, the military and all ethnic groups. This must take place before the proposed elections in 2010 to head-off the usual ruses of the generals to exploit international goodwill, to marginalise authentic opposition voices in Burma and to ensure the irrevocably flawed 2010 election can never take place.

Fifth, all such processes need to have the full-backing of the UN and have their agenda set by the UN. This needs the backing of the UN member states, who must stand up and act on Burma more than they are, and should be a priority as the run-in to the 2010 election looms closer.

Sixth, this process has to be fully open, the dialogue made public and the results known to all, so as to ensure full accountability and the good governance of the initiative.

These are concrete steps, not idle thoughts. Such a programme will have the means of bringing progress to Burma. The international community understands these mechanisms and can work within them. Yet, there is inaction; a sense the rhetoric is there to knit a veil for international leaders.

Recently, Mr Ban said the actions of the junta are "abhorrent and unacceptable" and called for "bold action" on the generals' part to move towards democracy. But, the words will sink quickly without being forcefully backed by Mr Ban himself.

This is not the time to be overly fastidious in the interests of protocol or Realpolitik, or to protect the perceived dignity of the secretary-general's office. Our people are in grave danger. They and the world will forgive Mr Ban should he try hard and fall short. History will look more harshly on not trying at all.

As Mr Ban considers the moment, Burma drifts further and further away.

Thaung Htun is the United Nations representative for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma.

READ MORE---> UN secretary-general must visit Burma to begin the end-game...

Myanmar stabbed to death

BUKIT MERTAJAM : A foreigner, believed to be a Myanmar, was killed when he put up a fight with an armed robber in Taman Sembilang, Seberang Jaya, on Wednesday.

In the 11pm incident, the unidentified man, in his 30s, was riding a motorcycle which he had borrowed from a friend when he was approached by two men on another motorcycle.

It was learnt that the robbers tried to force him to pull over but he sped off instead. They then blocked the man's path in Solok Sembilang and attacked him.

In the ensuing scuffle, the Myanmar was stabbed on the chest and died on the spot. (JEG: Amazing, at 11pm, no witnesses as they are asking for information, how one earth this story went public, did the deceased spoke from the other side? how did they managed to know 'the robbers forced the deceased to pull over, there was sort of scuffle and stabbed on the chest and "died" on the spot, there is a rego number but no name, amazing accuracy to tell facts when there is no witnesses yet)

One of the robbers took off with the victim's motorcycle, bearing the registration number PGM 1025.

The man's body was sent to Seberang Jaya Hospital and the Myanmar consulate office has been notified.

Those with any information on the case are urged to contact the nearest police station at once.


READ MORE---> Myanmar stabbed to death...

Canada-based Party Linked to Controversial Businessman

The Irrawaddy News

Burmese exiles were surprised to learn through an Internet newsgroup recently that the former chairman of the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) has joined a new political party linked to a Canada-based businessman accused in the past of laundering drug profits for the United Wa State Army (UWSA).

According to widely read email messages circulating among Burmese exiles, former ABSDF chairman Htun Aung Gyaw recently joined the United Democratic Party of Myanmar (UDP), founded in Vancouver, Canada.

In response to the rumors, which include allegations that Htun Aung Gyaw, who is currently living in the United States, received US $50,000 to join the UDP, the party issued a statement saying that discussions between party leaders and the former ABSDF chairman were still at the “confidence-building” stage.

But the reports have raised further questions about the UDP itself. Burmese exiles living in Canada and the US say they don’t know what the party’s objectives are, and many wonder about the motives of the man seen as the driving force behind the party.

According to Burmese opposition sources in Canada, the UDP has no chanirman, but is led by well-known Burmese businessman Kyaw Myint, a.k.a. Michael Hu Hwa.

Kyaw Myint’s company, NAH Development Group Inc, is involved in “energy, mineral, agriculture, building materials, finance and real estate industries,” according to its Web site, The site also provides a contact address in Vancouver.

A former colonel in the UWSA—a group named by the US State Department as “the world’s largest armed narcotics-trafficking organization”—Kyaw Myint is a familiar name in Burmese business circles.

After the UWSA reached a ceasefire agreement with Burma’s ruling military junta in 1991, Kyaw Myint became the head of Myanmar Kyone Yeom Group, a Rangoon-based company with extensive interests in construction, mining, real estate and forestry.

In an article published by the now-defunct Asiaweek magazine in January 1998, Myanmar Kyone Yeom was accused of acting as a “money-washing machine” for the UWSA.

According to an article published in Jane’s Intelligence Review in November 1998, the company was blacklisted by the Burmese regime because “Michael Hu Hwa (a.k.a. Colonel Kyaw Myint), who claimed to be a deputy minister of finance for the UWSA, openly and brazenly flouted Burmese business laws and regulations.”

Soon after, the company was shut down and Kyaw Myint was imprisoned. He did not stay in prison for long, however, as he received help from some influential intelligence officers.

Kyaw Myint left Burma and appeared in Bangkok in 1999. From there, he relocated to the United States and then Canada—a move reportedly arranged by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

He later set up United Democratic Party of Myanmar and began to recruit young activists, who received stipends and allowances, according to exiled Burmese sources in Vancouver. Kyaw Myint also reportedly financed some Burma-related conferences in Canada.

READ MORE---> Canada-based Party Linked to Controversial Businessman...

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