Monday, January 21, 2019

Mae Tao Clinic Wishes You a Happy New Year 2019!

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Meet Our First Newborn Baby in 2019 HERE

The year 2019 


is special for Mae Tao Clinic as it marks our 30-year anniversary. Since 1989, we have been dedicated to provide meaningful care for those in need along the Thai-Burma border. The year 2018 presented us with many challenges in health care, education and protection, that we have managed to overcome with help from supporters and friends.
Luckily, we were also able to celebrate major achievements in 2018, since Dr Cynthia Maung, as representative of Mae Tao Clinic, was awarded 3 honourable prizes: the Roux Prize, the Human Rights Prize from the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand and UNDP's N-Peace Untold Stories Award. These awards are important acknowledgements that our work for the vulnerable and displaced people from Burma is indispensable.


Every new year comes with both hope and challenges and we are sincerely grateful for your support that keeps us motivated to provide the best possible care to our community.   

You can engage with us to support these essential services.

End of 2018, 41 trainees completed their 8-months Maternal and Child Health training. They have gained theoretical knowledge and practical skills on antenatal care, safe delivery, neonatal care and early childhood development; and are now ready to provide essential care to their respective communities in Eastern Burma.  See more photos
Copyright © 2019 maetaoclinic, All rights reserved.
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

FBR: New Year’s in Tha Da Der: New Rangers Complete First Program

New Year’s in Tha Da Der: New Rangers Complete First Program

21 January 2019

Karen State, Burma

The final good-bye at the end of the program.
The final good-bye at the end of the program.

Dear friends,

Happy New Year! Thank you for your prayers and support for our work in Burma, Kurdistan, Sudan, Syria and Iraq.

In Burma, more than 200 rangers, 140 of whom are newly-trained, celebrated the beginning of 2019 in northern Karen State at the beginning of their first mission. After traveling by foot from the training camp to the village of Tha Da Der, the rangers got to work putting their freshly-learned skills into action. Teams could be seen setting up their solar panels in the rice paddies and slinging their hammocks in bamboo clusters near the small village, which has been burned three times by the Burma Army, most recently in 2012. Having just completed the grueling final field exercise last week, the rangers enjoyed their first real-world mission: a reconnaissance of Maw Pu Burma Army camp, a GLC program, and a medical clinic serving the people of Tha Da Der and four other nearby villages.

The reconnaissance was first: security personnel from each team moved out from Tha Da Der early Monday morning to spend the day observing Maw Pu Camp, a small Burma Army outpost staffed by approximately 50 soldiers. The rangers navigated to three waypoints using handheld GPS devices, bringing them to observation points 100, 250, and 600 meters away from the camp. There, they used their high-zoom cameras and binoculars to observe the camp, and made sketches diagramming the layout and key features of the outpost. Due to the uncertain nature of the ceasefire in Karen State, the rangers were careful to move quickly and quietly to avoid detection. The rangers spent about three hours rotating between the observation points, then regrouped and debriefed the mission. The purpose of the reconnaissance is to monitor the activity of the Burma Army, report any human rights and ceasefire violations and show the Burma Army is still occupying the land by force.

Maw Pu camp from a distance.
Maw Pu camp from a distance.
Bunker system in Maw Pu camp.
Bunker system in Maw Pu camp.

Afterwards, there was a post-mission prayer and debriefing, and the rangers delivered a SALUTE (Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, Equipment) report. The group then exfiltrated back to Tha Da Der, albeit with a single ominous occurrence. A remote-controlled drone, believed to be operated by the Burma Army, was spotted by several rangers following the group back to the village, leading FBR leadership to believe that the reconnaissance was detected by the Burma Army soldiers at the outpost. No further activity was noted, but the rangers will be on high alert and in need of prayers for safety as they move from Tha Da Der to go on missions to various parts of Burma.

The Good Life Club program started the new year with a bang, beginning with the Run for Relief, a 5km race across muddy rice paddies on January 1. Rangers had their video cameras rolling as young Karen villagers galloped around the course in an assortment of flip flops, skirts, and soccer jerseys. Prizes were awarded to the top finishers, followed by the GLC leaders officially kicking off the festivities for the day. Over 300 kids participated. The rangers led the GLCers through singing and dancing, skits, healthcare lessons and games, and handed out shirts, GLC bracelets and other prizes.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and fun was had by all.

GLC leaders teach the kids new songs.
GLC leaders teach the kids new songs.
An advanced Ranger leads the younger kids out on their race.
An advanced Ranger leads the younger kids out on their race.
A GLC team leader prays before breaking for lunch snacks.
A GLC team leader prays before breaking for lunch snacks.

Also on Tuesday, ranger medics as well as visiting FBR doctors held a medical clinic for local people afflicted by a variety of ailments. They triaged patients, recorded their symptoms, and administered medical care and medicine. Over 100 patients were seen by the FBR medical personnel.

At the end of the day, one FBR guest was baptized in the Yunzalin River, 45 minutes’ walk away from the program site. During graduation at Tah U Wah Training Camp, five others had been baptized.

We thank you for your continued support and are praying for all of you, as well as for the continued improvement in the situations in Burma, Syria, Kurdistan, and anywhere else where injustice affects and displaces people. Happy new year and never surrender!

God bless you,

The Free Burma Rangers in Karen State, Burma


A new medic treats patient at the field clinic during the program.
A new medic treats a patient at the field clinic during the program.
A young boy with a burned foot comes for treatment after the program.
A young boy with a burned foot comes for treatment after the program.
Kids in new GLC shirts check out the 2019 Day of Prayer magazine.
Kids in new GLC shirts check out the 2019 Day of Prayer magazine.
The start of the Tha Da Der Run for Relief - taking off across wet rice paddies.
The start of the Tha Da Der Run for Relief – taking off across wet rice paddies.
Riding in with the flags at the end of the program.
Riding in with the flags at the end of the program.
Burma Army soldier with his weapon.
Burma Army soldier with his weapon.

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, 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 the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.

For more information, please visit

© 2017 Free Burma Rangers | Contact FBR

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Weekly Highlights: Another Year, Another Crisis in Rakhine


Another Year, Another Crisis in Rakhine

A Myanmar border guard policeman guards a police outpost in Buthidaung township, amid a surge of violence in western Myanmar's Rakhine state, Jan. 7, 2019. Photo credit: AFP



Rakhine State has lurched into another crisis over the last few weeks, as attacks by the Arakan Army (AA) on border guard police posts, reveal the deep, structural problems and resentment that many ethnic Rakhine people have towards the Bamar-centric statebuilding project of government and the Myanmar[1] military. The coming weeks will reveal the extent of the military retaliation, and many can only hope that it will not be to the same scale as the violence inflicted on Rohingya communities in late 2017, as a similar attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Border Guard Posts provoked a wave of violence that a UN Fact-Finding Mission determined was genocide. As ever, it is civilians who are suffering, with reports of the Myanmar military using local villagers as human shields, as they seek to respond to the latest dent on peace process that is clearly failing.


Attacks launched on Myanmar Independence Day, 4 January, 2019 by the AA on four Police Guard Posts in Buthidaung Township resulted in 13 policemen killed and a further nine injured. The attack came as conflict between the AA and the Myanmar military had steadily increased throughout December 2018, with thousands displaced as a result. The AA has justified the targeting of police outposts because of the assistance that the local police force had been giving the military during their operation, such as using police bases to launch attacks.


The response of the Government included a clumsy attempt to link the AA with the ARSA, which many ethnic Rakhine have a deep seated resentment for. An emergency meeting was convened the same afternoon of the attacks, attended by the Myanmar military Commander-in -chief, Min Aung Hlaing, President Win Myint and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in which the military were instructed to increase operations and to "crush the terrorists" according to the President's spokesperson, Zaw Htay.


Rakhine State has been convulsed by tension in the lead-up to the dramatic events on Independence Day. Attempted political assassinations, armed conflict, threats, and human rights abuses inflicted upon the local population were the backdrop to the latest violence. As ever, it is civilians who have suffered the most. A statement by the UN's humanitarian agency on 7 January, 2019 stated that 4,500 people remained displaced, hiding "in monasteries and other communal spaces" as troop movements continued. In December, reports of the Myanmar military seeking out AA soldiers caused the entire village of Yae Gaung Chaung to leave and seek shelter in a monastery. Furthermore, the military and police forced people from a nearby village to lead them to Yae Gaung Chaung, with two villagers made to stay close to each of the five higher ranking officers, effectively as human shields. The AA  also claims to have evidence of the Myanmar military breaching the Geneva Conventions, including the aforementioned use of human shields, as well as firing into civilian areas and the arbitrary arrests.


The whole situation blows massive holes in the peace process which is currently stalled already extremely fractured. The announcement of a four month halt in military operations in northern Myanmar in December, while lauded for its potential effects in Kachin and Shan States which have seen the worst of the fighting in recent years, does not bode well for Rakhine State. The Myanmar military has a history of divide and rule, making ceasefires with some ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) while launching military attacks on other EAOs. There is a definite possibility that the motivations for the suspension of operations in the north is to prepare for a massive military operation to attempt to wipe out the AA, which is gaining legitimacy and territory throughout Rakhine State.


The near future is therefore extremely worrying. Rakhine State has already been ravaged by military clearance operations, with the Rohingya communities bearing the brunt of what has been labelled ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The Rakhine must be fearing the worst. Furthermore, while debates about the legitimacy of the violence employed by the AA may continue, one thing is clear. Ethnic grievances, such as that of the Rakhine and other minorities in Rakhine State, are very real. The Myanmar military must compromise on its unfeasible 6-point peace agenda that includes adherence to the deeply flawed and undemocratic 2008 Constitution, while also declaring a unilateral nationwide ceasefire that includes Rakhine State. Meanwhile, the government must engage in an inclusive peace process that reviews and amends the current approach which has the flawed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement as its foundation.


The peace process has faltered and unless genuine moves forward to achieve political settlement that will guarantee ethnic equality, federal democracy and self-determination are made, a deep trust deficit will remain, leading to further divides and hostilities, rendering peace a distant dream.


[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.






Myanmar's Latest Whitewash

By Progressive Voice



United States: Ensure U.N. Security Council Refers Myanmar to the ICC

By 23 Rohingya organizations and Fortify Rights

Myanmar: Reuters Journalists' Rejected Appeal Perpetuates an Appalling Injustice

By Amnesty International


Myanmar: Yangon Court Upholds Conviction of Reuters Journalists

By Article 19


Burma Security Forces Must Respect the Human Rights of Rakhine Villagers

By Burma Human Rights Network


Buddhist Mob in Rakhine State Attacked Christians Celebrating Christmas

By Burma Human Rights Network


Myanmar: Disband Panel on Crimes Against Rohingya

By Human Rights Watch


Human Rights Now Calls on Myanmar Authorities to Overturn the Convictions of Three Activists Speaking Out for the Protection of Civilians in the Kachin Conflict

By Human Rights Now


SEAPA Urges Gov't to Reverse Conviction of Reuters Journalists

By Southeast Asian Press Alliance


သံလြင္ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးဥယ်ာဥ္သတ္မွတ္တည္ေထာင္ျခင္း ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကျငာခ်က္

By Salween Peace Park


Statement on the Declaration of the Salween Peace Park's Establishment

By Salween Peace Park

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