Day long Wisdom of Mindfulness Retreat. Mahasi Yangon

Day long Wisdom of Mindfulness Retreat. Mahasi Yangon
Insight Meditation in Myanmar for English Speaking Yogis

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Day long Wisdom of Mindfulness Retreat. Mahasi Yangon - Insight Meditation in Myanmar for English Speaking Yogis


Day long Wisdom of Mindfulness Retreat. Mahasi Yangon
Insight Meditation in Myanmar for English Speaking Yogis

Sunday, Jan 26 from 8:30 am to 6 pm
Mahasi Yeiktha Meditation Centre
16 Sasana Yeiktha Rd, Bahan, Yangon

To attend file out the online form below. 150 people max.

http://www.worlddharma.com/day-long-wisdom-of-mindfulness-meditation-retreat/

Arrive to office inside gate by 8 am.
Alan Clements will greet and explain
Dress in white tops/ shirts & longyis for men and women.
Chairs provided.
Bring a meditation cushion if desired.
Thin floor cushions provided.

Noon meal is offered freely, vegetarian & traditional food.

Ven Tejinda —a Senior meditation Teacher will give instructions and Dhamma talk. Alan Clements, a former monk at Mahasi, will assist.

Please fill out the application
at the link below and we’ll confirm your space shortly. Although once you send in the form you are in — so please ONLY register if you are CERTAIN to attend as much is required to accommodate each person such as quantity of food etc etc. Thank you for respecting this request. BE SURE you want to be one of 150 yogis meditating together for the day. Metta πŸ™❤️

http://www.worlddharma.com/day-long-wisdom-of-mindfulness-meditation-retreat/
_______________________________________

FIFTH ANNUAL WISDOM OF MINDFULNESS RETREAT
JANUARY 31 TO FEBRUARY 9, 2020

This historic event marks an unprecedented opportunity for English speaking yogis to practice mindfulness meditation where the world-wide mass lay meditation movement began in 1949.

The retreat is available by online application (below)
Led by the Head Sayadaw (Meditation Teacher)
Assisted by Alan Clements

Daily dhamma talks in English by the Head Sayadaw
Daily meditation interviews with the Head Sayadaw
Daily (optional) Q & A & discussions with Alan Clements

Private rooms with washrooms
Vegetarian or traditional meals

Details and online retreat registration…
http://wisdomofmindfulness.org/

Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/806202829890049/

Friday, January 10, 2020

FBR: New Rangers Baptized and Zau Seng Honored at Ranger Training Camp


New Rangers Baptized and Zau Seng Honored at Ranger Training Camp

10 January 2020

Karen State, Burma

The newly baptized rangers
The newly baptized rangers

As Free Burma Ranger training came to an end and the new Rangers prepared to leave camp and head out on the first mission, four of them asked to be baptized. Their stories are below. As they prepared to start a new life of following Jesus, we also wanted to remember a life lost: Zau Seng, our Kachin videographer who was killed on a mission in Syria in November. And so, as graduation ceremonies ended, Rangers and instructors walked down to the riverside for two ceremonies, one of joy and hope, and one of remembrance.

On Nov. 3, 2019, in Syria, Zau Seng, our Kachin videographer and assistant medic, was killed when the team position was hit by a Turkish munition. He died instantly in the attack and his death was a great loss for his family, the Kachin people, the Rangers, and many more around the world. We held a cremation ceremony in Syria, and he was honored by the people there, who considered him one of their own. We also wanted to remember him here, at this camp he loved and where he spent so much time as both a student and an instructor.

Scattering Zau's ashes into the camp river
Scattering Zau’s ashes into the camp river
Honoring Zau Seng at the camp river
Honoring Zau Seng at the camp river

At the riverside, we prayed, his fellow Kachin rangers sang a Kachin song, and we spread his ashes in the river that he loved. Around camp, we've hung photos of our times with him and we renamed our large classroom Zau Seng Memorial Hall. We still mourn his loss but know he is in a better place with Jesus. 

After honoring Zau, four Rangers – one staff member and three new students – were baptized into a new life of walking with Jesus. Below, they briefly tell their reasons for deciding to be baptized.

Sein Hla

Sein Hla
Sein Hla

Sein Hla, a 25-year-old Chin Ranger from Chin State, grew up in a Christian family and had wanted to be baptized for a long time. He came to camp because he knew the Ranger way was built on godly principles and based on love, the same love he has for helping his people.

But, a couple months before arriving at camp, Sein Hla was in a bad motorcycle accident. His head and face were seriously lacerated and he had to receive many stitches. He shared how, without God's help, he wouldn't have healed enough to attend training or have the opportunity to be baptized at camp.

"There are many people who know the Bible a lot but haven't experienced the blessing of God. When you are facing many problems, just call on God. Then you will know he is real. Jesus is the best. He is the best of everything on this earth. You can rely on him," he said.  

Bah Shwe

Bah Shwe
Bah Shwe

Bah Shwe, a 20-year-old Chin Ranger who grew up in a Christian family, came to camp with a desire to help his people in Chin State. Heavy fighting between the Burma Army and Arakan Army continues to disrupt daily life for him and others, with many villagers afraid to farm or travel because of landmines.

He chose to be baptized at camp because there is no baptism system in his home village and so few opportunities to be baptized. Usually, the pastor just prays over those who want to be baptized. At camp, though, Bah Shwe heard about the opportunity for a water baptism and knew he wanted to be baptized in the river there.

Aung Zaw

Aung Zaw
Aung Zaw

Aung Zaw is a 25-year-old Naga Ranger who came to training because he wants to help his Naga people. 

His decision to be baptized came from knowing Jesus is real. He shared how every time he has traveled to dangerous places, Jesus has kept him safe and he has traveled without any problems. For Aung Zaw, being baptized was a way for him to show his commitment to following and walking with Jesus. He wanted to encourage others to do the same because Jesus is the truth.

Ray Khin

Ray Khin
Ray Khin

Ray Khin, a 30-year-old medic from Karen State, comes from an animist family but has known for a long time that he wanted to be baptized. 

"I wanted to be baptized when I grew up. I told my parents… I don't know how to explain this but in my heart, I felt a touch that I need to be baptized and follow Jesus," he said.

"To follow Jesus is free for everyone. You only have to believe. You can pray everywhere you go, no matter where you are. With animist belief, every time, I have to go back to my home village and do something. So, I feel like when you believe in Jesus you are free – you can pray and worship him any time, anywhere."

Please join us in thanking God for the new life he gives and for these Rangers who have given their lives to him.

Thank you and God bless you,

Dave Eubank, family, and the Free Burma Rangers

Kachin rangers singing a Kachin song
Kachin rangers singing a Kachin song
The Zau Seng Memorial Hall at Tha U Wah Camp
The Zau Seng Memorial Hall at Tha U Wah Camp
The rangers with friends and guests at the ceremony
The rangers with friends and guests at the ceremony

Love one another
Unite for freedom, justice and peace
Forgive and do not hate each other
Pray with faith, Act with courage
Never surrender

The Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, Sudan, Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under oppression. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive attacks.

For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org

© 2019 Free Burma Rangers | Contact FBR

To unsubscribe from this email list, please respond to this email with the word REMOVE in the subject line, or send email to mailadmin@freeburmarangers.org.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

FBR: Burma Army Seizes Year’s Food Supply from Villagers in Eastern Burma and Clashes Erupt as Burma Army Advances in Violation of Ceasefire


Burma Army Seizes Year’s Food Supply from Villagers in Eastern Burma and Clashes Erupt as Burma Army Advances in Violation of Ceasefire

28 December 2019

Bago Division, Burma

The rice, with cooking oil and fish paste on top, taken by the Burma Army.
The rice, with cooking oil and fish paste on top, taken by the Burma Army.

On 21 Dec. 2019, Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 39 seized 150 sacks of rice from four villagers in Saw Mee Lu (east of Kyaukkyi) Bago Division. The order to seize the supplies came from Major Myo Ko Ko, the deputy battalion commander for IB 39.

The next day, the village tract leader wrote a letter to the liaison office and sent a copy to Karen army units in the area. The letter explained that the Burma Army had taken the food and kept it at their camp all day and night. Even if the Burma Army decided to return the food, the villagers would not take it for fear it would have been poisoned. The letter also asked for the Karen leaders to arrange food for the families.

The letter written by the village tract leader
The letter written by the village tract leader
More of the letter
More of the letter

The villagers had traveled from the Muthe area to Kyaukkyi to buy a year's worth of food supply, which included rice, cooking oil, and fish paste, for their families after their own crops were destroyed by rats. They had then hired a driver to take them back to the Muthe area.

The Burma Army soldiers stopped the group and seized the food without explanation but released the villagers and truck driver. Locals in the area believe the stop-and-seize matches statements made by the Burma Army on Dec. 9 which blocked civilian travel and included instructions to immediately shoot anyone, day or night, seen traveling on the Kyaukkyi-Pa Kaw Hta road.

Clashes Erupt As Burma Army Advances in Violation of the National Ceasefire Agreement

At 8:50 a.m. on Dec. 26 a clash happened between Karen soldiers and Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 350 at Thwe Boe Plaw, one of the Burma Army camps built earlier this year. Another clash happened at 11:30 a.m. with LIB 350 after they arrived at Pa Kaw Hta.

The same day, Burma Army IB 75 arrived at Ee Tha Plaw, a Burma Army Camp. IB 75, along with LIB 350, came to the Muthe area to reinforce IB 57 and LIBs 589 and 590, bringing the Burma Army battalion count to seven units in the Muthe area.

Karen Leaders and Burma Army Officials Meet in Kyuakkyi

On Dec. 27, Karen leaders and Burma Army officials met at the liaison’s office in Kyaukkyi to discuss the road construction. The groups determined they needed further discussion about troop repositioning in the area and where troops can or cannot go under the National Ceasefire Agreement. They also agreed that they needed to talk to the local population to hear what they do or do not want in relation to the Kyaukkyi-Pa Kaw Hta road construction. A plan was made to meet again on 10 Jan. 2020.

Burma Army Division Commander Myo Win, Operation Commander Nya Zaw Oo, and Colonel Kyaw Soe Moe were three of the Burma Army officials who attended the meeting. Col. Kyaw Soe Moe served as the TOC 2 commander last year.

Additional Information

During the night on Dec. 27, LIB 350 fired indiscriminately around the Pa Kaw Hta area to clear the area.

LIB 598 is now at Maw Law, a hill beside the road in question at the border between Bago Division and Karen State.

Burma Army officials (in solid green) and Karen leaders (in camo) who attended the meeting
Burma Army officials (in solid green) and Karen leaders who attended the meeting
The letter explaining what was discussed at the Dec. 27 meeting.
The letter explaining what was discussed at the Dec. 27 meeting

Love one another
Unite for freedom, justice and peace
Forgive and do not hate each other
Pray with faith, Act with courage
Never surrender

The Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, Sudan, Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under oppression. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive attacks.

For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org

© 2019 Free Burma Rangers | Contact FBR

To unsubscribe from this email list, please respond to this email with the word REMOVE in the subject line, or send email to mailadmin@freeburmarangers.org.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Joint Statement: US Karen Community and Inclusive Development International Publish Open Letter Urging New Belgium Brewing Employees to Stand for Human Rights and Vote No to Kirin

                                                                                                                     

Dear friends and colleagues,

 

Please see below a joint statement from the Karen Organization of America, Karen Community of North Carolina and Asheville-based Inclusive Development International calling on New Belgium employees to oppose Kirin's continuing business partnership with the criminal Burmese military. New Belgium Brewing announced their sale to Kirin's fully-owned subsidiary, Lion Little World Beverages, that is jointly owned by a Myanmar military conglomerate. Please also see the open letter to the New Belgium employees by the organizations here. Apologies for any cross-posting.

 

 

In solidarity,

 

 

Progressive Voice
info@progressive-voice.org

_______________________________________

 

 

US Karen Community and Inclusive Development International Publish Open Letter Urging New Belgium Brewing Employees to Stand for Human Rights and Vote No to Kirin

 

10 December 2019

 

By Karen Organization of America, Karen Community of North Carolina and Inclusive Development International

 

On November 19, 2019, New Belgium Brewing announced their sale to Kirin's fully-owned subsidiary, Lion Little World Beverages, subject to an employee vote. The Karen Organization of America, Karen Community of North Carolina and Asheville-based Inclusive Development International (IDI) are deeply concerned that if the sale is approved, New Belgium will be joining a company that includes a subsidiary that is jointly owned by a Burmese military conglomerate. We call on New Belgium employees to oppose Kirin's continuing business partnership with the criminal Burmese military. To reach out, we have published a letter urging employee shareholders to support human rights and justice by voting no to Kirin's takeover of New Belgium Brewing.

 

The Burmese state and its key actors have committed genocide against the Rohingya and crimes against humanity against other ethnic minorities. These crimes are enabled by the Burmese military's business interests, including their USD$960 million partnership with Kirin. As a subsidiary of Kirin, New Belgium would become part of a key financial network empowering the Burmese army to continue committing genocide and crimes against humanity.

 

Legal mechanisms to bring perpetrators of genocide to justice begin in the International Court of Justice on December 10. International accountability may include the investigation of financial supporters of the Burmese army, including Kirin. Kirin's subsidiary with the Burmese army, Myanmar Brewery, is already subject to sanctions in Canada, which could carry business risks for Kirin and New Belgium Brewing.

 

By operating breweries in Burmese with the military, Kirin are propping up a genocidal regime and normalizing their conduct. We support calls for all businesses to divest from the Burmese military and for sanctions against military businesses, including Kirin's Myanmar Brewery. In our letter to employees, we urge New Belgium employees to be a "force for good", add their voice to support action for justice and human rights, and reject Kirin's takeover of New Belgium Brewing.

 

For media inquiries, contact:

  • Eh Nay Thaw, Advocacy Director of Karen Organization of America: +1 502-472-1479
  • Inclusive Development International: info@inclusivedevelopment.net


Download this statement HERE.

View the open letter to New Belgium employees HERE.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

About Progressive Voice

 

Progressive Voice is a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 the same day that Progressive Voice was formally established. For further information, please see our press release "Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice."

 

    
 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

α€žα€α€„်းထုတ်ပြα€”်ချα€€် - α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ို ပိုα€™ိုα€€ောင်းα€™ွα€”်α€…ွာ α€™ြှင့်တင်α€›ေးα€”ှင့် α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်α€›ေးထတွα€€် α€œွတ်α€œα€•်ပြီး ထိα€›ောα€€်α€žော ထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းα€–ြα€…်α€œာα€…ေα€›α€”် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံထမျိုးα€žားα€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထား ပြα€”်α€œα€Š်α€žွေးα€žα€…်α€œောင်းα€›α€™α€Š်

α€žα€α€„်းထုတ်ပြα€”်ချα€€်

α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ို ပိုα€™ိုα€€ောင်းα€™ွα€”်α€…ွာ α€™ြှင့်တင်α€›ေးα€”ှင့် α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်α€›ေး ထတွα€€် α€œွတ်α€œα€•်ပြီး ထိα€›ောα€€်α€žော ထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းα€–ြα€…်α€œာα€…ေα€›α€”် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံ ထမျိုးα€žားα€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထား ပြα€”်α€œα€Š်α€žွေးα€žα€…်α€œောင်းα€›α€™α€Š်

၂၀၁၉ ခုα€”ှα€…် α€’ီဇင်α€˜ာα€œ ၉ α€›α€€်

 

ထရပ်α€˜α€€်ထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းပေါင်း ၂၀ α€–ွဲ့α€™ှ ထုတ်ပြα€”်α€žα€Š်။

 

        [α€›α€”်α€€ုα€”် – ၂၀၁၉ ခုα€”ှα€…် α€’ီဇင်α€˜ာα€œ ၉ α€›α€€်α€”ေ့] α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံထမျိုးα€žား α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ော်α€™α€›ှင် (MNHRC) တွင် α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်α€™ျားα€žα€Š် α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး ထခြေခံα€žောစဉ်းα€…ားချα€€် ကင်းα€™ဲ့ α€”ေခြင်းα€”ှင့် MNHRC α€₯ပဒေတွင် α€–ွဲ့α€…α€Š်းα€α€Š်ဆောα€€်ပုံပိုင်းဆိုင်α€›ာ ပြα€Ώα€”ာα€™ျား α€›ှိα€”ေခြင်းတို့α€€ြောင့် ထိα€›ောα€€်α€™ှုα€™α€›ှိα€žα€Š့်ထပြင် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€…α€…်တပ်α€€ိုα€œα€Š်း ထကာထကွα€š်ပေးα€”ေα€žα€Š့် ထဖွဲ့တစ်ခုα€žα€–ွα€š် α€–ြα€…်α€”ေα€žα€Š်α€Ÿု ထရပ်α€˜α€€်α€œူထုထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်း (၂၀) α€–ွဲ့α€™ှ α€šα€”ေ့ထုတ်ပြα€”်α€œိုα€€်α€žα€Š့် ထစီရင်ခံα€…ာα€‘α€žα€…် တစ်α€…ောင်တွင် ဆိုထားပါα€žα€Š်။ α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံα€›ှိ ပြα€Š်α€žူα€œူထုထားα€œုံးထတွα€€် ပိုα€™ိုα€€ောင်းα€™ွα€”်α€žော α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး ထားပေးα€™ြှင့်တင်α€”ိုင်α€›α€”်α€”ှင့် α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်α€”ိုင်α€›α€”်ထတွα€€် MNHRC ထား ပြုပြင်ပြောင်းα€œဲα€™ှုα€™ျားα€œုပ်ဆောင်α€›α€”် ထစီရင်ခံα€…ာတွင် တောင်းဆိုထားα€žα€Š်။ ကထစီရင်ခံα€…ာα€€ို α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€”ေ့မတိုင်α€™ီ ၂၀၁၉  ခုα€”ှα€…် α€’ီဇင်α€˜ာα€œ ၉  α€›α€€်α€”ေ့တွင် ထုတ်ပြα€”်ခြင်းα€–ြα€…်α€žα€Š်။

 

        "ထပြောα€œျှော့ပြီး α€‘α€œုပ်ပိုα€œုပ်ပါ" α€‘α€™α€Š်α€›ှိ ထစီရင်ခံα€…ာထဲတွင် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံ၌ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး α€€ာα€€ွα€š် α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်α€žူα€™ျား α€€ာα€€ွα€š်ခြင်းα€”ှင့် ထရပ်α€˜α€€်α€œူα€™ှုထဝန်းထဝိုင်း α€€ျဉ်းα€™ြောင်းα€œာခြင်း ထခင်းထကျင်းတွင် MNHRC ၏ α€…ွα€™်းဆောင်α€›α€Š်ထား ဆန်းα€…α€…်α€žုံးα€žα€•်ထားပါα€žα€Š်။

 

        "α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးချိုးα€–ောα€€်α€™ှုတွေ α€™ျားα€œာတဲ့ထချိα€”်α€™ှာ ထထူးα€žα€–ြင့် ပြα€Š်တွင်းα€…α€…်α€–ြα€…်α€”ေတဲ့ တိုင်းရင်းα€žားα€’ေα€žα€ွေα€™ှာ α€–ြα€…်α€”ေတဲ့ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးချိုးα€–ောα€€်α€™ှုတွေα€€ို MNHRC α€€ α€€ိုင်တွα€š် α€œိုတဲ့ဆန္α€’α€™α€›ှိတာ α€’ါα€™ှα€™α€Ÿုတ် α€™α€€ိုင်တွα€š်α€”ိုင်တာတွေ α€–ြα€…်α€”ေα€α€š်။ ထထူးα€žα€–ြင့် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€…α€…်တပ်α€€ α€€ျူးα€œွα€”်ထားတဲ့ ထမှုတွေဆိုရင် MNHRC α€€ α€€ိုင်တွα€š်α€œိုတဲ့ဆန္α€’α€™α€›ှိα€˜ူး။" α€Ÿု Generation Wave ထဖွဲ့α€™ှ α€€ိုα€˜ိုα€˜ိုကပြောα€žα€Š်။ "α€œα€€်α€›ှိα€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်တွေα€›ဲ့ α€žα€€်တမ်းα€€α€€ုα€”်α€žွားပြီ။ α€žူတို့α€€ို ထတွေ့ထကြုံα€›ှိပြီး α€–ြောင့်မတ်တဲ့ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€žα€™ားတွေα€”ဲ့ ထစားထိုးပြီးတော့ ထခုα€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်α€€ို α€žွေးα€žα€…်α€œောင်းα€”ိုင်α€–ို့ α€žα€™္α€™α€α€€α€œုပ်α€–ို့ ထချိα€”်တန်ပြီ။" α€Ÿုα€œα€Š်း α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€™ြှင့်တင် α€žူα€™ျားထဖွဲ့α€™ှ α€€ိုထောင်ဇော်ဦးα€€ ထပ်α€–ြα€Š့်ပြောα€€ြားα€žα€Š်။ α€œα€€်α€›ှိ α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်α€™ျား၏ α€žα€€်တမ်းα€™ှာ ၂၀၁၉ ခုα€”ှα€…် α€…α€€်တင်α€˜ာα€œα€€α€α€Š်းα€€ α€€ုα€”်ဆုံးα€žွားခဲ့ပြီα€–ြα€…်α€žော်ငြားα€œα€Š်း α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင် ထဖွဲ့ဝင်α€‘α€žα€…် α€›ွေးချα€š်α€›ေးα€”ှင့်ပတ်α€žα€€်၍ တရားဝင်ထုတ်ပြα€”်α€€ြေα€Šာ α€‘α€žိပေးခြင်း တစ်α€…ုံတစ်α€›ာ α€™ျှမတွေ့α€›α€žေးပေ။

 

        α€šα€ုထစီရင်ခံα€…ာတွင် α‚α€ααˆ ခုα€”ှα€…်ထတွင်းα€€ α€–ြα€…်ပွားခဲ့α€žော α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ိα€…္စရပ်α€™ျားα€€ို ခြုံငုံα€žုံးα€žα€•်ထားပြီး ၂၀၁၉ ခုα€”ှα€…် ထစောပိုင်းα€€ာα€œα€ွင် α€–ြα€…်ပွားခဲ့α€žα€Š့် ထဓိα€€α€–ြα€…်ရပ်α€™ျားα€€ိုα€œα€Š်း α€‘α€Š့်α€žွင်းα€›ေးα€žားထားပါα€žα€Š်။ ကထထဲတွင် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€…α€…်တပ်α€™ှ ထရပ်α€žားα€™ျားထပေါ် ခြိα€™်းခြောα€€်α€™ှု၊ α€žα€်α€–ြတ်α€™ှု၊ α€–α€™်းဆီးα€™ှု၊ α€…ိတ်ထင်α€žα€œို α€–α€™်းဆီးချုပ်α€”ှောင်α€™ှုα€”ှင့် α€Šှဉ်းပန်းα€”ှိပ်α€…α€€်α€™ှုα€™ျားα€€ို α€™ီးα€™ောင်းထိုး ပြထားပြီး ထမျိုးα€žားα€’ီα€™ိုα€€α€›ေα€…ီထဖွဲ့ချုပ်ထစိုးα€› α€œα€€်ထက်၌ α€”ိုင်ငံα€›ေးထကျဉ်းα€žားဦးα€›ေ တိုးα€™ြင့် α€œာα€™ှုα€€ိုα€œα€Š်း ထောα€€်ပြထားα€žα€Š်။ α€šα€ုထစီရင်ခံα€…ာ၌ ထထင်ကရထမှု (၂) α€™ှုα€–ြα€…်α€žော α€›ိုα€€်တာ α€žα€α€„်းထောα€€်α€”ှα€…်ဦးထပေါ် တရားα€…ီရင်α€™ှုα€”ှင့် α‚α€ααˆ ခုα€”ှα€…် α€™ေα€œα€ွင် α€–ြα€…်ပွားခဲ့α€žော α€œူα€„α€š် ငြိα€™်းချα€™်းα€›ေးα€œှုပ်α€›ှားα€™ှု ဆန္ဒပြပွဲα€™ျားα€€ြောင့် (၄၇) ဦး ထဖမ်းခံα€›α€™ှုတို့α€€ို ထောα€€်ပြα€›ာတွင် MNHRC α€žα€Š် α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€…α€…်တပ်α€”ှင့် α€œုံခြုံα€›ေးတပ်α€–ွဲ့α€™ျားα€€ို ရင်ဆိုင်၍ α€žα€α€„်းထောα€€်α€™ျား၊ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်α€žူα€™ျားα€”ှင့် တက်α€€ြွα€œှုပ်α€›ှားα€žူα€™ျားထား α€œူα€žိα€›ှင်α€€ြား α€€ာα€€ွα€š်ဆောင်α€›ွα€€် ပေးα€›α€”် ပျα€€်α€€ွα€€်ခဲ့ခြင်းတို့α€€ို α€™ီးα€™ောင်းထိုးα€–ော်ပြထားα€žα€Š်။ ထို့ထပြင် α€žံချပ်ထိုးတင်ဆက်α€–ျော်α€–ြေ α€™ှုα€€ြောင့် α€™α€€ြာα€žေးα€™ီα€€ α€‘α€œုပ်α€€ြα€™်းα€”ှင့်ထောင်ဒဏ် ချα€™ှတ်ခံခဲ့α€›α€žα€Š့် α€’ေါင်းတို့α€™ျိုးဆက် ထဖွဲ့ဝင် α€™ျား ထမှုα€€ိုα€œα€Š်း ကထစီရင်ခံα€…ာတွင် ဆွေးα€”ွေးတင်ပြထားပါα€žα€Š်။

 

        "MNHRC ထနေα€”ဲ့ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ိα€…္စတိုင်းα€€ို ထိထိα€›ောα€€်α€›ောα€€် α€€ိုင်တွα€š်α€”ိုင်α€–ို့ဆိုရင် ပထမα€₯ီးဆုံး α€œα€€်α€›ှိα€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်တွေထစား α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ို α€α€€α€š်α€œေးα€…ားα€œိုα€€်α€”ာတဲ့ α€žူတွေα€”ဲ့ ပြောင်းα€œဲα€–ို့α€œိုပါα€α€š်။ α€’ုတိα€šα€‘α€”ေα€”ဲ့α€€ α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်α€›ဲ့α€œုပ်ပိုင်ခွင့်α€€ို ချဲ့ထွင်α€”ိုင်α€–ို့ α€₯ပဒေ ပြင်α€›α€™α€š်။" α€Ÿု α€‘α€žံထဖွဲ့α€™ှ α€™ောင်ဆောင်းခ ကပြောα€žα€Š်။ "α€₯ပဒေα€…ိုးα€™ိုးα€›ေး ထကြိα€™်α€€ြိα€™်ထခါခါ ပျα€€်ပြားα€”ေတဲ့ထတွα€€် α€€ျမတို့α€Ÿာ α€™ြα€”်α€™ာပြα€Š်α€žူထားα€œုံးα€›ဲ့ ထခွင့်ထရေးတွေ ထားပေးα€™ြှင့်တင်α€›ုံတင် α€™α€€α€˜ဲ α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်တဲ့ထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းတစ်ခု တထားα€œိုထပ်α€”ေပြီ။" α€Ÿု ထနာဂတ်α€‘α€œα€„်းတန်း ဆုံα€™ှတ်ထဖွဲ့α€™ှ α€™α€žα€€်α€žα€€်ထောင်α€€ ဆိုα€žα€Š်။

 

        α€šα€ုထစီရင်ခံα€…ာ၌ α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံα€›ှိ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€™ြှင့်တင်ခြင်းα€”ှင့် ပတ်α€žα€€်၍ MNHRC ၏ α€…ွα€™်းဆောင်α€›α€Š်ထား α€žုံးα€žα€•်ဆန်းα€…α€…်α€›ာတွင်  ၎င်းα€™ှ တိုးတက်α€™ှုတချို့ α€œုပ်ဆောင်ထားα€žα€Š်α€€ို တွေ့α€›ှိရပါα€žα€Š်။ α€₯ပမာထားα€–ြင့် MNHRC α€™ှ တချို့α€žော ထရပ်α€˜α€€် α€œူထုထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းα€™ျားα€”ှင့် ပူးပေါင်းဆောင်α€›ွα€€်α€™ှု α€œုပ်ဆောင်α€œာခြင်းα€”ှင့် ထကျဉ်းထောင်α€™ျားα€žို့ α€žွားα€›ောα€€်α€…α€…်ဆေးခြင်း တို့α€–ြα€…်ပြီး ထဓိကထားα€–ြင့်α€™ူ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး ထားပေးα€™ြှင့်တင်α€™ှုထပိုင်းတွင် ပိုα€™ိုα€‘α€œေးပေးထားα€žα€Š် α€€ို တွေ့α€›ှိα€›α€žα€Š်။ MNHRC ထနေα€–ြင့် α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€…ောင့်α€›ှောα€€်α€›ေး α€œုပ်ပိုင်ခွင့်တာဝန် ထမ်းဆောင်α€›ာ ၌ ထဓိα€€α€‘α€Ÿα€”့်ထတားတစ်ခုα€™ှာ α€šα€α€„်α€…α€…်ထာဏာα€›ှင်ထစိုးα€›α€”ှင့် α€”ီးစပ်α€”ေဆဲα€–ြα€…်α€žα€Š့် α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင် ထဖွဲ့ဝင်α€™ျား၏ α€”ောα€€်α€€ြောင်းα€›ာဇဝင်α€”ှင့် α€œα€€်α€›ှိα€…ိတ်α€”ေα€…ိတ်ထားတို့ပင် α€–ြα€…်α€žα€Š်။

 

      "ထခြေခံα€™ူα€œ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးတွေα€€ို α€”ားα€œα€Š်α€™ှုα€œα€Š်း α€™α€›ှိခဲ့α€˜ူး။ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€”ဲ့ပတ်α€žα€€်ပြီး α€œα€Š်း α€”ောα€€်ခံα€žα€™ိုင်းα€€ြောင်း α€™α€€ောင်းခဲ့တဲ့ α€…α€…်တပ်α€”ဲ့ α€”ီးစပ်α€”ေတဲ့α€œူတွေ၊ ထရာα€›ှိα€Ÿောင်းတွေ ပါα€”ေတဲ့ α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်တွေα€€ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€”ဲ့ ပတ်α€žα€€်ပြီးတော့ ထိထိα€›ောα€€်α€›ောα€€် α€€ာα€€ွα€š်ပေးα€™α€š်ဆိုတာ α€˜α€š်α€œိုα€œုပ် α€–ြα€…်α€”ိုင်တော့α€™ှာα€œဲ။" α€Ÿု The Seagull ထဖွဲ့α€™ှ α€™α€…ုချα€…်α€€ ပြောα€žα€Š်။။ α€›ှေ့ပြေးα€‘α€žံထဖွဲ့α€™ှ Rin Fujimatsu α€€α€œα€Š်း "HRD တွေ၊ တက်α€€ြွα€œှုပ်α€›ှားα€žူတွေ၊ α€€ျူးα€œွα€”်ခံα€›α€žူတွေα€”ဲ့ α€›ှင်α€žα€”်α€œွတ်α€™ြောα€€် α€œာα€žူတွေထတွα€€် ခါတိုင်းထက်ပိုပြီး α€™α€Ÿာα€™ိတ် α€œိုထပ်α€”ေတဲ့ထချိα€”်α€™ှာ MNHRC α€€ ဆိုးα€›ွားα€œွα€”်းတဲ့ပြα€…်α€™ှုတွေα€€ို α€–ုံးα€€ာပေးα€–ို့ထတွα€€် α€œုပ်α€”ေα€α€š်။" α€Ÿုပြောα€žα€Š်။

 

        α€€α€‘α€…ီရင်ခံα€…ာα€€ိုပူးတွဲα€›ေးα€žားခဲ့α€žော ထရပ်α€˜α€€်α€œူထုထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်း (၂၀) α€–ွဲ့α€™ှ MNHRC ၏ α€œွတ်α€œα€•်α€™ှု α€”ှင့် ထိα€›ောα€€်α€™ှုတို့ တိုးတက်α€…ေα€›α€”်ထတွα€€် α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်α€₯ပဒေပြုပြင်ပြောင်းα€œဲα€›ေးဆိုင်α€›ာ ပြင်ဆင်ချα€€်α€™ျား ထဆိုပြုα€›α€”်ထတွα€€်α€œα€Š်း α€™ြα€”်α€™ာထစိုးရထား ထကြံပြုတိုα€€်တွα€”်းခဲ့α€žα€Š်။ ထို့ထပြင် α€šα€„်းထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းα€™ျားα€™ှ α€žα€™္မတ ထနေα€–ြင့် α€€ော်α€™α€›ှင်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်α€™ျားခန့်ထပ်α€›ာတွင် ပွင့်α€œα€„်းα€™ြင်α€žာα€žα€Š့် α€œုပ်ငန်းစဉ်α€–ြင့် တရားα€›ေးα€œα€™်းα€€ြောင်း ထတိုင်း α€œိုα€€်α€”ာပြီး α€›ွေးချα€š်α€›ေးα€˜ုတ်ထဖွဲ့ဝင်α€™ျားα€€ို α€œူထများα€žိα€›ှိα€…ေα€›α€”် α€€ြေα€Šာα€›α€™α€Š်α€Ÿုα€œα€Š်း ထကြံပြု တိုα€€်တွα€”်းα€œိုα€€်α€žα€Š်။

 

ထပ်α€™ံα€žိα€›ှိα€œိုပါα€€ ဆက်α€žွα€š်α€›α€”်

  • α€€ိုထောင်ဇော်ဦး၊ α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€™ြှင့်တင်α€žူα€™ျားထဖွဲ့၊ +၉၅ (ဝ) ၉၄ ၂၁၀ ၃၉၄၉၃၊ 2012hrdpnetworks@gmail.com
  • α€€ိုα€˜ိုα€˜ို၊ α€™ျိုးဆက်α€œှိုင်းထဖွဲ့၊ +၉၅ (ဝ) ၉၄ ၂၁၀ αˆα‡α‰α‰α‚၊ bobo@generationwave.org
  • α€™ောင်ဆောင်းခ၊ α€‘α€žံ – α€œွတ်α€œα€•်α€…ွာထုတ်α€–ော်ပြောဆိုခွင့်α€œှုပ်α€›ှားα€™ှုထဖွဲ့၊ +၉၅ (ဝ) ၉၇ ၇၃၉ ၃၇၂၇၃၊ saungkhasithu@gmail.com
  • α€™α€…ုချα€…်၊ The Seagull:Human Rights, Peace & Development ထဖွဲ့၊ +၉၅ (၀) ၉၇ αˆα„α‡ ၅၅၆၅၊ theseagull@gmail.com
  • Rin Fujimatsu၊ α€›ှေ့ပြေးα€‘α€žံထဖွဲ့၊ +၉၅ (ဝ) ၉၇ α†αˆαƒ α‚α…α‚αˆα…၊ rin@progressive-voice.org

 

α€‘α€š်α€’ီတာ့α€™ှတ်α€…ု –

ကထစီရင်ခံα€…ာα€žα€Š် ထာα€›ှα€’ေα€žα€‘α€™ျိုးα€žားα€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€Œာα€”α€™ျား α€–ွဲ့α€…α€Š်းα€α€Š်ထောင်ခြင်းα€”ှင့် α€…ွα€™်းဆောင်α€›α€Š် α€™ျားထပေါ် α€žုံးα€žα€•်တင်ပြထားα€žα€Š့် ထာα€›ှα€’ေα€žα€‘α€™ျိုးα€žား α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€Œာα€”α€™ျားဆိုင်α€›ာ ထစိုးα€›α€™α€Ÿုတ်α€žော ထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်းα€™ျားα€€ွα€”်α€›α€€် (ANNI) ၏ ၂၀၁၉ ခုα€”ှα€…် ထစီရင်ခံα€…ာα€™ှ α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံα€”ှင့် ပတ်α€žα€€်α€žောထခန်း α€–ြα€…်α€žα€Š်။ ANNI ထစီရင်ခံα€…ာထပြα€Š့်ထစုံα€€ို ပေးထားα€žောα€œα€„့်ခ်၌ α€›ှာα€–ွေဖတ်α€›ှုα€”ိုင်ပါα€žα€Š်။ https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=29979&nhri=1

 

α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€”ိုင်ငံဆိုင်α€›ာထခန်းα€–ြα€…်α€žα€Š့် ကထစီရင်ခံα€…ာα€€ို α€›ေးα€žားထုတ်ဝေα€žူα€™ျားα€™ှာ –

  • ကချင်ထမျိုးα€žα€™ီးα€‘α€…α€Š်းထရုံး-ထိုင်းα€”ိုင်ငံ (KWAT)
  • ကရင်α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးထဖွဲ့ (KHRG)
  • ကရင်α€”ီα€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးထဖွဲ့ (KnHRG)
  • α€…α€…်α€™ှα€”်α€žော ပြα€Š်α€žူ့α€€ျေးα€€ျွα€”်ထဖွဲ့ (GPS)
  • တထာင်းထမျိုးα€žα€™ီးထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်း (TWO)
  • α€’ီα€™ိုα€€α€›ေα€…ီα€–ွံ့α€–ြိုးတိုးတက်α€›ေး α€œှုပ်α€›ှားဆောင်α€›ွα€€်α€™ှုα€€ော်မတီ (ACDD)
  • α€™ျိုးဆက်α€œှိုင်း (GW)
  • α€™ွα€”်ပြα€Š်α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေးα€–ောင်α€’ေးα€›ှင်း (HURFOM)
  • α€™ြα€”်α€™ာ့ထရေးα€œေ့α€œာα€žူα€™ျားထဖွဲ့ (BM)
  • α€›α€”်α€€ုα€”်α€…ောင့်α€€ြα€Š့်α€›ေးထဖွဲ့ (Yangon Watch)
  • α€›ှေ့ပြေးα€‘α€žံထဖွဲ့ (PV)
  • α€œောα€€α€‘α€œα€„်း α€œူα€™ှုα€–ွံ့α€–ြိုးα€›ေးထဖွဲ့α€‘α€…α€Š်း (Loka Ahlinn)
  • α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး α€€ာα€€ွα€š်α€™ြှင့်တင်α€žူα€™ျားထဖွဲ့ (HRDP)
  • α€œူ့ထခွင့်ထရေး α€•α€Šာပေးα€žူα€™ျားα€€ွα€”်α€›α€€် (HREN)
  • ထနာဂတ်α€‘α€œα€„်းတန်းဆုံα€™ှတ် (FLC)
  • α€‘α€žံ – α€œွတ်α€œα€•်α€…ွာထုတ်α€–ော်ပြောဆိုခွင့်α€œှုပ်α€›ှားα€™ှုထဖွဲ့ (Athan)
  • Metta Campaign – Mandalay
  • Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
  • Synergy (Social Harmony Organization)
  • The Seagull:Human Rights, Peace & Development တို့α€–ြα€…်ပါα€žα€Š်။

α€žα€α€„်းထုတ်ပြα€”်ချα€€်α€€ို α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€˜ာα€žာα€–ြင့် α€€α€”ေα€›ာတွင် α€›α€šူα€”ိုင်α€žα€Š်။

ထစီရင်ခံα€…ာထပြα€Š့်ထစုံα€€ို α€™ြα€”်α€™ာα€˜ာα€žာα€–ြင့် α€€α€”ေα€›ာတွင် α€›α€šူα€”ိုင်α€žα€Š်။

 

Press Release

Myanmar: Reinvigorate the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission to be an Independent and Effective Institution for the Better Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

 

9 December 2019

 

By 2၀ Civil Society Organizations

 

[Yangon – 9 December 2019] The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) is hampered by two interlinked issues, the lack of human rights mindset of the commissioners and structural issues at the heart of the MNHRC Law, contributing to an institution that is beholden to the Myanmar military said 20 civil society organizations in a new report released today. The report calls for the reform of the MNHRC so that it can better protect and promote human rights for all people in Myanmar. It is being released the day before Human Rights Day.

 

Titled "Myanmar: A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please", the report offers analysis on the performance of the MNHRC in the context of protection of human rights defenders and shrinking civil society space in Myanmar.

 

"While human rights violations are on the rise, particularly in ethnic areas where civil war is ongoing, the MNHRC remains unable and/or unwilling to address human rights violations, especially those committed by the Myanmar military," stated Ko Bo Bo of Generation Wave. "The term of the current commissioners has already expired. It is high time that the President acts now to reinvigorate the commission by replacing them with experienced and principled human rights figures through a transparent and participatory selection process," stated Ko Aung Zaw Oo of Association for Human Rights Defenders and Promoters. The term of the current commissioners of the MNHRC ended in September 2019, yet there have been no formal announcements made in regard to the selection of new commissioners.

 

The report offers a brief overview of several human rights cases covering the period of 2018 with key events from the first few months of 2019. It highlights the increasing threats, killings, arrests, arbitrary detention and torture of civilians by the Myanmar military, while pointing to the rising number of political prisoners under the National League for Democracy government.  The report highlights two emblematic cases – the trial of the two Reuters journalists and the youth peace movement demonstrations in May 2018 that resulted in at least 47 arrests – where the MNHRC has failed to act and publicly defend journalists, human rights defenders and activists in the face of the Myanmar military and its security forces. The report also discusses the case filed against members of the Peacock Generation who have recently been sentenced to jail with hard labor for their satirical performance.

 

"In order for the MNHRC to effectively handle human rights issues, the current commissioners must first be replaced with people who genuinely respect and exercise human rights. Secondly, the law must be amended in order to expand its mandate," stated Maung Saungkha of Athan. "As the rule of law fails us time and time again, we are in desperate need of an institution that not only promotes but protects the human rights of all people in Myanmar," said Ma Thet Thet Aung of Future Light Center.

 

The report analyzes the MNHRC's performance in protecting and promoting human rights in Myanmar and finds that while the MNHRC has made some improvements – such as cooperating with certain civil society organizations and making prison inspections – it has largely focused on promotion of human rights. One of the main obstacles facing the MNHRC in fulfilling its protection mandate is the background and current mindset of its commissioners as they remain close the previous military regime.

 

"How can we have Commissioners that can effectively promote and protect human rights when the MNHRC is comprised of people who lack understanding in fundamental human rights, and have either formerly served in or have close ties to the military, which negatively impacts their reputation," said Ma Suu Chit of The Seagull. In addition, Rin Fujimatsu of Progressive Voice stated, "More than ever, human rights defenders, activists, victims and survivors need an ally rather than a commission that acts to window-dress grave crimes."

 

The 20 civil society organizations who authored the report strongly recommend the Myanmar government to propose amendments on reform of the MNHRC Law in order for the body to increase its independence and effectiveness. The organizations further recommend that the President appoint commissioners through a transparent process following due process, with a requirement to make public all members of the Selection Board.

 

For more information, please contact:

Editor's note:

This report is the Myanmar chapter of the 2019 ANNI report on the Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions. The full ANNI report can be found here: https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=29979&nhri=1

 

The authors of this report are:

  • Action Committee for Democracy Development
  • Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  • Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
  • Burma Monitor (Research and Monitoring)
  • Future Light Center
  • Generation Wave
  • Genuine People's Servants
  • Human Rights Educator's Network
  • Human Rights Foundation of Monland
  • Kachin Women's Association Thailand
  • Karen Human Rights Group
  • Karenni Human Rights Group
  • Loka Ahlinn (Social Development Network)
  • Metta Campaign – Mandalay
  • Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
  • Progressive Voice
  • Synergy (Social Harmony Organization)
  • Ta'ang Women's Organization
  • The Seagull:Human Rights, Peace & Development
  • Yangon Watch

 

Download this press release in English HERE.

Download the report in English HERE.

 

About Progressive Voice

 

Progressive Voice is a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 the same day that Progressive Voice was formally established. For further information, please see our press release "Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice."

 

    
 

Weekly Highlights: For the Few and Not the Many?

    

For the Few and Not the Many?

Ethnic Salon protesting against Pearl farming companies in the Myeik Archipelago in southern Myanmar's Thanintharyi region. Credit: Eleven Media Group

 

 

With the international community focussed on the moves towards international accountability, it is important not to overlook the profound changes that economic liberalization has had in Myanmar[1] in the past few years. This liberalization has catalyzed a flood of exploitative investment and harmful development projects that prioritize profit above any other concerns. The source of investment may change, but the concerns of local communities remain consistent - loss of livelihoods, land confiscations, lack of consultation or consent, environmental destruction, and a loss of identity, culture and tradition, especially among non-Bamar ethnic communities.

 

One recent example is the proposed expansion of industrial pearl farming in the Myeik Archipelago - a joint venture of Myanmar and Japanese companies. Home to ethnic Salon/Moken, or sea gypsies, such an expansion would destroy their livelihoods, as the expansion is in the area which includes their traditional fishing grounds.

In Hpa-an, Karen State, high levels of chlorine and phosphate due to the operations of a cement factory and a coal fired power plant has caused fish to die off and local villagers' drinking water to become murky. The plant, which is run by the Myanmar military company, the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Company Limited (UMEHL) - which the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called to be sanctioned - switched to coal to power in the past year and is thus viewed as the cause of the latest environmental damage. This was conducted, despite local opposition.

 

In Shan State, the problems caused by the Tigyit Coal Mine, the largest coal mine in Myanmar, well documented over several years by local civil society organizations such as Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) and the Pa-Oh Youth Organization (PYO), seem destined to continue after the Government decided that the mine could continue for a further three years. Despite temporary suspension of operations in 2014, the mine has displaced villagers, contaminated drinking water and vital farmland, and caused health problems for local villagers including skin diseases. When the plant became fully operational again after its suspension in 2018, local community organizations expressed their dismay, "Now, instead of solving these problems, the authorities are planning to restart the plant, despite the fact the project is clearly a failure, due to poor management, bad decision making, and poor technology." Thus, the decision in August to extend the mine's operations exemplifies the lack of consideration that the Government has for rural populations, particularly those in ethnic areas, in their thirst for profit from filthy industries at the expense of the wellbeing of local communities.

 

Cognizant of destructive development projects, the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN) - a network of ethnic Karen community-based organizations - stated their opposition to a new World Bank-led project. The project's objective "is to improve access to basic infrastructure, services, and economic opportunities for vulnerable communities in selected conflict affected areas of Myanmar in a conflict-sensitive manner." The overarching goal, however, is to integrate each and every corner of Myanmar into global markets. For the Myanmar government, the benefit is the  extension of its control into previously inaccessible, conflict-affected areas, with capital the weapon with the furthest reach. However, Karen communities, represented through the KPSN are fully aware of this, pointing out how the project is controlled by, and managed through the Myanmar central government, currently experiencing status as a human rights pariah, thus lacking conflict sensitivity and human rights due diligence, "This World Bank project is designed and controlled by only one party to the conflict – Naypyidaw – in order to expand its unitary structures into ethnic-governed areas."

 

The cases outlined above are not going to be resolved without action to protect local communities and the natural environment. Myanmar, the 'last economic frontier' for the west, an economic priority for Japan and a vital cog in China's 'One Belt One Road' machine will only see more of the type of unscrupulous, harmful and exploitative investment for quick profit of the like seen in the Myeik Archipelago, Hpa-an and Tigyit, disregarding and neglecting the effects on people and the environment. Added to the vulnerability of the country to the unmerciful tsunami of irresponsible investment are the far-reaching tentacles that the Myanmar Military has in the many sectors of the economy including mining, construction, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, land development and others. Through the military's two main conglomerates - UMHEL mentioned above, and the Myanmar Economic Cooperation - the army finances and sustains its campaigns of terror against ethnic and religious minorities including the Rohingya, Kachin, Shan, Rakhine and many others. Doing business in Myanmar, especially in terms of natural resources and energy projects, inevitably results in partnership and/or cooperation with the Myanmar military and complicity in the crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide that it commits.

 

Turbo charged capitalism is having widespread and extremely damaging impacts on social, environmental and human rights situation and exacerbating conflict in Myanmar, regardless of where the investment is coming from. Yet the country is simply not prepared to ensure protections are in place for those vulnerable to the displacement, exploitation of natural resources, cultural damage, environmental destruction and other impacts of capitalism on speed. Added to this mix is the Myanmar military's control over major parts of the economy and it is a recipe for further disaster. Unless the Government dramatically changes course and enacts policies that promote a non-militarized economy under a federal democratic governance system, and prioritize people over a model of economic growth that is currently benefiting the few at the expense of the many, the long-term effects will be profound and potentially irreparable.

 

Lastly, as the KPSN statement articulates, "Development is not a substitute for political reform. Attempts to force through development projects without local buy-in, through meaningful consultation and political reform that gives more local control, risks entrenching political conflict and fuelling the civil war." Especially in this most critical time in which serious international crimes such as crimes against humanity and war crimes are being committed by the Myanmar military on an ongoing basis, and with the civilian government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi unable and/or unwilling to act, the responsibility falls in the hands of the international community. In this context especially, international financial institutions such as the World Bank must suspend any potentially harmful projects currently in the pipeline and the international business community must divest from the military companies, cut financial ties with military-owned businesses, take responsibility for the harmful impacts already affecting communities and disclose to the public the information of their decisions to take a stand on human rights and humanity. Public disclosure of human rights due diligence policies doesn't prove anything unless actions are taken. Myanmar people deserve nothing less.

 

_____________________

[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term 'Myanmar' in acknowledgment that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of 'Myanmar' rather than 'Burma' without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten.

 

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About Progressive Voice

 

Progressive Voice is a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 the same day that Progressive Voice was formally established. For further information, please see our press release "Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice."

     


International Campaign for Freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma