Friday, October 9, 2009

Burma constitution ‘provides impunity’ for abuses

Oct 9, 2009 (DVB)–Burma’s redrafted 2008 constitution provides impunity for human rights abuses and should not be the bedrock for elections next year, a damning report has claimed.

Many of the provisions of the constitution suggest that “instead of being a true catalyst for lasting change, it further entrenches the military within the government and the associated culture of impunity,” the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) said.

Its report, Impunity Prolonged: Burma and its Constitution, says that within the constitution, the regime has granted itself impunity for sexual violence, forced labor and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Burma, it says, is “one of the most difficult challenges in the world in relation to making progress toward combating impunity.”

Khin Omar, coordinator of the Thailand-based Burma Partnership, said the constitution will “force military rule on Burma forever”.

“[It is] the most problematic element as to whether we move further toward being a failed state or whether we move towards national reconciliation,” she said.

The report says that “officers and troops systematically use rape and other forms of sexual abuse as a strategy of war.”

It then cites a clause within the constitution stating that: “No proceeding shall be instituted against the said Councils (the military) or any member thereof or any member of the Government, in respect to any act done in the execution of their respective duties.”

Burma expert Robert H Taylor told DVB however that “No one has proven that [rape] is public policy,” adding that “we don’t know how the military deals with instances of rape”.

He cited anonymous sources that claim the government has action against people accused of assault and rape, but added that the constitution “has its problems, but which doesn’t?”

In a sign that the regime responds to international pressure, the report cited an agreement between the junta and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to address forced labour and child soldiers.

The 2008 constitution was ratified in the weeks following cyclone Nargis last May, in which 140,000 people were killed and millions of acres of land destroyed. Despite the cyclone, the government claimed a 99 percent turnout, with 92.4 percent voting in favour.

A report released last year by Hong Kong-based constitutional expert, Professor Yash Ghai, said that “the cynicism with which the regime held the referendum and manipulated the results was on a par with the cynicism and coercion by which the draft was prepared”.

The ICTJ have called on the international community to withhold support for elections in Burma next year. Khin Omar echoed the calls, and said that a constitutional review must take place before the elections do.

Reporting by Joseph Allchin
Burma Newscasts - Burma constitution ‘provides impunity’ for abuses

READ MORE---> Burma constitution ‘provides impunity’ for abuses...

Junta said to be supplying chemical mortars to army

by Mungpi

New Delhi (Mizzima) - In what seems to be a sinister design, the Burmese military junta, while reinforcing its troops in Shan state for a massive offensive against ethnic ceasefire groups, is supplying its army with mortars laced with chemical ingredients, sources said.

According to the Thailand-based ethnic Kachin News Group (KNG), the junta’s troops since last month have been stockpiling a strange type of mortar shell, marked with red, yellow and green colours.

“We have our source in the army. Our source tells us that the army is bringing in these mortars, which are made of chemicals. But they have been strictly told not to use it without orders from higher ups,” said Naw Din, Editor of the KNG, quoting a military source.

Naw Din said, the mortars, according to an insider, were imported from North Korea and have a deadly chemical impact, once fired.

“When the mortars are fired, it contaminates the air and causes people to faint, results in bleeding of the nose, causes breathing difficulties and blurs the eye sight,” Naw Din said.

He added the army source told him that at least two military trucks carrying these mortars were sent to the Burmese Army’s No.1 Nyaung Pin military base on the mountain top near Mongkoe in Northeast Shan State, in early September.

While the supply and possible use of chemical mortars by the junta’s troops cannot be independently verified, sources on the Sino-Burma border said Burmese troops are being heavily reinforced.

Following the Kokang incident in late August, the Burmese junta has been directing its army to borders of the territory of the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the strongest armed faction among the ceasefire groups, and Mongla areas, where the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) is based.

Sein Kyi, Assistant Editor of the Thailand-based Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN), said the junta while increasingly pressurizing the ethnic ceasefire groups to accept its proposal of transforming to the ‘Border Guard Force’ through negotiations and meetings, is also increasing its military presence in northern and eastern Shan state.

“In recent weeks, the Burmese military commanders have proposed meeting lower ranking officials of the UWSA, in order to split the group. But UWSA officials rejected the plan saying they should contact their headquarters,” Sein Kyi said.

In the meantime, Sein Kyi said, the junta is also reinforcing its bases with more troops, and stockpiling supplies, in what looks like a preparation for a massive offensive.

“I don’t have any updates on the possibilities of stockpiling chemical mortars, but earlier about a year or two ago, I had been told by our sources inside the military that they have chemical mortars made in North Korea,” Sein Kyi added.

While he said he did not know of the recent supplies of chemical mortars, he did not rule out the possibility.

“It would be very deadly if these mortars are used. It would impact not only soldiers but all the people, villagers and civilians alike,” he added.

With the Burmese military junta setting the deadline for ethnic ceasefire groups to respond to their proposal of transforming into Border Guard Force to October, sources said, fighting is likely to break out soon.

But with about a 20,000 armed force, the UWSA is unlikely to submit to the junta and a clash between the two could end in a bloodbath.

“The junta will attack the UWSA and other groups sooner or later, but we don’t know how and whether they will launch a direct military campaign or not. They might also rely on other tactics as they did in the Kokang incident,” Sein Kyi said.

But sources said, the junta is likely to look for Chinese signals and it would largely depend on China whether the junta would launch a direct military campaign because the Wa are largely seen as being backed by the Chinese.

Burma Newscasts - Junta said to be supplying chemical mortars to army

Friday, 09 October 2009 21:48

READ MORE---> Junta said to be supplying chemical mortars to army...

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too