Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cameron's claim on Spitfire trove ignites a British battle in Burma

Sadung Ginra, Myen Hpyen Dap Ni Nga Ai Bum Sen Post Hpe KIA Bai Lu La.

Published on Saturday, 28 April 2012 10:19
Written by KNET
2012 ning April (27) ya jahpawt hkying (4:30)am aten kaw nna hkying (5:00)am aten laman, Myen Hpyen Dap Hk.L.Y (58) hte BGF Dap ni nga ai Sadung ginra Bum Sen Post hpe KIA Masat (3) Dap Dung na hpyen hpung ni hkan gasat la lu ai lam chye lu ai.

(27-4-2012) ya shani Myitkyina kaw nna Chihpwi maga, Myen Hpyen Dap, Tat Ma (33, 66) na hpyen hpung ni htu shang wa ai shiga na ai majaw, Pang Wa hte Kanpaiti mare hkan na Mung mare masha hte hpaga la ni hkrit nna Miwa hkran Htin Chung maga hprawng yen mat ai lam chye lu ai.

Burma’s war against Kachin rebels must stop for reform sake

By Apr 28, 2012 12:12AM UTC
While President Thein Sein government has been declaring publicly that it will not change it reform-course to backward direction, Burma Army has been constantly deploying more battalions in areas held by Kachin Independence Army, military-wing of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). It looks like Burma Army has a plan to launch a wide-ranging war.

According to Kachinland News, Fighting has increased significantly for the past few weeks though the two sides met in Ruili for talks last month. Kachin peace delegation and Burmese government have a preliminary agreement to reduce troops in conflict areas during Ruili meeting.

But Burmese Army violated the 1994 truce and overran the KIO controlled territory which was previously agreed by both sides. KIO has time and again asked Burmese government to pull out its troops to prove seriousness and reliability for future peace meetings.

As of 26 April, heavy fighting occurred near Laiza as Kachin armed forces made an effort to block attempts by the Burma army which distributed reinforcements and supplies to strategic positions so as to menace the KIO’s Laiza HQ. Reports from the ground indicate that fighting was particularly fierce at Laja Yang, less than three miles from Laiza, Kachin News Group said.

An official in Laiza told the Kachin News Group that the Burma army is continuing efforts to reinforce all government positions within a 10 mile radius of Laiza. Burma Army’s military buildup comes into view as a footing for a final full-scale offensive.

According to KIO officials, on 26 April, mortar shells fired by Burma’s armed forces killed two children and injured two adults during skirmishing in central Kachin State. The deaths occurred at Kone Law village, located about half way between Bhamo (Manmaw) and the KIO’s Laiza headquarters, on the Bhamo-Myitkyina road.

The scenario illustrates that while Burmese government is saying rhetorical peace plan, its armed forces have been advancing to crush the KIO’s military base. It means the government has no genuine purpose to begin political negotiations though it managed to strike insubstantial peace deals with other ethnic rebel groups including KNU, SSA, NMSP and KNPP.

Heavy fighting continues close to Laiza. There was an armed conflict on April 22, between KIA’s 5th Brigade soldiers and Burmese Army’s 388th LIR in Laja Yang, just about 12 miles from Laiza. Quoting local sources Kachinland News reported that at least 2 Burmese soldiers were killed and another two wounded in this battle.

Moreover, heavy battles took place between KIA’s mobile battalion and Burmese Army’s 105th LIB and a combined force of about 400 soldiers from 383rd LIR, 386th LIR and 389th LIR near Na Hpaw, KIA’s former headquarter, on April 22. It was a long fight for about 5 hours beginning 3:25 pm.

Burmese soldiers were on their way to reinforce Na Hpaw position when they were ambushed by KIA’s mobile battalion.

Burma Army provided food rations and military equipment to its Na Hpaw frontline-base by air for no less than 7 times on April 22, referring local sources Kachinland News reported.

The government’s peacemaking team and KIO peace delegation announced a joint-statement on 10 March after peace talks for the third time at Jingcheng Hotel in Shweli, China.

The joint-statement said as follow:
(1) The two sides have satisfied the peace talks between the Union level peace-making group of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and KIO’s central delegation.
(2) The peace talks have seen progress and the two sides could build trust during the meetings.
(3) The peace talks will continue through political means.
(4) The two sides believe that military tensions would be decreased as a result of the peace talks.
(5) The two sides will continue to discuss the issues related to the outposts in conflict areas until the two sides reach an agreement and will carry on the agreement after setting dates.

However, KIO has rejected an offer to meet in Myitkyina for a fourth round of peace talks, Mizzima News said.

The KIO could not meet in Myitkyina at this time, its spokesman La Nang said, since the government has been escalating its military measures in the area. Government’s reinforced its troops around the KIO’s Laiza headquarters, and looks like to be preparing an all-out offensive on KIO outposts.

La Nang said the government recently airlifted military supplies and reinforcements to their Na Phaw outpost linking the KIO’s old headquarters in Pajau and Laiza.

A 17-year-old truce between Burmese Government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Burma’s second largest rebel groups, broke down on 9 June 2011 sending nearly nearly 100,000 refugees plus IDPs along the Sino-Burma border adjacent to Kachin rebels’ area due to harsh military offensives launched by Burma Army.

If the unfair war in Kachin State will not stop, majority people may not recognize the so-called democratic reform run by the quasi-civilian government of Burma.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

U.S. Policy Toward Burma

U.S. Policy Toward Burma


Kurt M. Campbell
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Statement Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

Washington, DC

April 25, 2012


Mr. Chairman, Mr. Faleomavaega, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you very much for inviting me here today to testify about U.S. policy toward Burma and the remarkable developments that have been unfolding in the country. Many Members of this Committee and in the Congress have been key proponents of human rights and democracy in Burma over the past two decades, and I am sure you all are following events with as much hope and interest as we do at the State Department.
I last testified before the Committee on Burma in late 2009, just as we embarked on a new policy of principled engagement. Between 2009 and mid-2011, I was the first to acknowledge that engagement with Burma was a profound disappointment. We expected that it would be a long and slow process but the apparent failure to make progress was nevertheless disheartening.

As some have said, “That was then, this is now.” Following the formation of a new government in March 2011, positive changes have emerged ranging from the release of political prisoners, to new legislation expanding the rights of political and civic association, and a nascent process toward ceasefires with several ethnic armed groups. Secretary Clinton has become actively involved, including her historic visit to Burma in December 2011, where she met senior Burmese government officials including President Thein Sein and opposition democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been an inspiration to many around the world, including the Secretary, for her steadfast efforts to bring a more free and prosperous life to her people. She also met with a variety of civil society and ethnic minority representatives.

Because of the President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s far-sighted leadership and the hard work of our first Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, the Burmese government has engaged with the United States in candid and constructive exchanges, leading toward concrete progress on our core concerns over the past nine months.

In both its words and actions, Burmese officials have demonstrated increasing signs of interest in political, economic, and social development, and national reconciliation. Although we assess this nascent opening as real and significant, we also believe it is fragile and reversible – as Secretary Clinton said on April 4, “the future in Burma is neither clear nor certain” —and therefore, we need to carefully calibrate our approach to encourage continued progress. Additionally, the impact of Burma’s reform efforts has not extended far beyond the capital and major cities. This is particularly true in ethnic minority areas: Fighting continues in Kachin State, coupled with reports of severe human rights violations. In Rakhine State systematic discrimination and denial of human rights against ethnic Rohingya remains deplorable. Overall, the legacy of five decades of military rule --repressive laws, a pervasive security apparatus, a corrupt judiciary, and media censorship -- is still all too present.

The initial reforms are only the beginning of a sustained process and commitment required to bring Burma back into the international community and toward more representative and responsive democratic governance.

Political Reforms

The election of Aung San Suu Kyi and 42 other NLD members is the most recent and dramatic example of the political opening underway in Burma, a culmination of several reforms that together constitute an important step in the country’s democratization and national reconciliation process.

Overall, the NLD won 43 of the 44 seats it contested, losing one seat to the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party. Though contesting in all 45 constituencies, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party won only a single seat. Less than 7 percent of all seats in Burma’s bicameral legislature were at stake, but the participation and victory of the NLD could give Aung San Suu Kyi a role and voice in government for the first time in the country’s history. The new parliament convened on Monday, April 23, but NLD members including Aung San Suu Kyi have not yet taken their seats due to concerns about the Parliamentary oath. We hope the government and the NLD will work toward a mutually satisfactory resolution of this issue soon to enable the NLD to take their newly won seats and begin this new era in Burma’s politics.

In the run-up to the by-elections, we consistently emphasized that the results needed to be free and fair and reflect the will of the Burmese people. We also underscored the importance of an inclusive and open electoral process from the campaign phase to the announcement of results. While not perfect, the by-elections were a significant step forward in comparison to the 2010 elections, which we and others in the international community strongly condemned as neither free nor fair. In advance of the by-election, the Burmese government’s amendment of certain election-related laws enabled the NLD, which authorities had dissolved in 2010, to register and participate. The campaign process was more inclusive than in the past with the NLD and 16 other parties participating.

A few days before the April 1 vote, the government invited a number of international representatives and foreign media from ASEAN, ASEAN dialogue partners including the United States and the European Union, and the United Nations to witness the polling. We asked representatives from the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute to be present, and the Burmese government invited several U.S. journalists to cover the elections. Poll watchers had access to polling stations to survey the voting and the vote count. While they reported some irregularities, including questions with voter lists and security of ballot boxes, overall, the election demonstrated a smooth and peaceful voting process. In addition to the formal diplomatic observation tour coordinated by the Burmese government, authorities also permitted U.S. embassy officers and diplomatic colleagues to informally watch voting activities on election-day. The Government of Burma did not, however, establish an adequate framework and allow sufficient access for election monitoring or observation to be conducted according to international standards.

Ahead of the vote, several problematic process issues arose. Before the elections, the government cancelled polling in three constituencies in Kachin State, citing security concerns. We also monitored closely credible allegations of election-related irregularities. Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD raised concerns publically and privately about inaccurate voter registration lists, reports of irregularities with advance voting procedures, and local intimidation, including a violent attack at a campaign event in the Naypyitaw district, in which an NLD supporter was injured. We assess that these incidents, while troubling, did not appear to reflect a government-directed effort to skew the outcome of the elections. Although the by-elections marked an improvement from the 2010 elections and a step forward in Burma’s reform process, we note that much work remains to be done as we look forward toward the next general election in 2015.

In addition to the parliamentary by-elections, we are encouraged by several other notable political reforms in Burma, including progress on some of our longstanding human rights concerns. The Burmese government released over 500 political prisoners in October 2011 and January 2012 amnesties. These releases included the most prominent civic leaders and pro-democracy and ethnic minority prisoners of conscience. Many of these individuals had been imprisoned for over 20 years.

The Burmese government has also made progress toward preliminary ceasefire agreements with several ethnic armed groups including the Chin National Front (January 2012), the New Mon State Party (February 2012), the United Wa State Army (September 2011), and the Shan State Army-North (January 2012). For the first time in 63 years, the Burmese government and the Karen National Union (KNU) entered into a preliminary ceasefire agreement in January 2012, and began follow-up peace discussions the week of April 4 on a host of political issues at the heart of Burma’s longest running internal conflict. Earlier this month, KNU representatives from Thailand traveled to Rangoon and Naypyitaw for landmark meetings with President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi, and several government ministers.

These efforts to halt the fighting are important initial steps, but must be followed by genuine dialogue and negotiations to address the long standing political and economic grievances of ethnic minority populations in Burma including issues of cultural autonomy, natural resources, and power-sharing with the ethnic Burman-dominated central government. Fighting continues in Burma’s Kachin State despite periodic ceasefire talks.

The Burmese government has also pursued important legislative initiatives in support of political reform. Parliament passed and President Thein Sein has signed an International Labor Organization-endorsed labor law allowing workers to form labor unions and protecting freedom of association. The government has revised other legislation to define, prohibit, and criminalize forced labor in Burma, and authorities signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Labor Organization in March to take proactive strides to eliminate all forms of forced labor in Burma by 2015. In addition, Parliament passed and President Thein Sein signed a new law in December 2011 to protect the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble.

The Burmese government has also taken a variety of measures to relax media censorship. When I first visited Burma in 2009, I met with Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest at the time. When Burma’s state media reported on my visit, it tried to erase any trace of my encounter with her. They literally airbrushed her out of published photographs of my visit. Today, Aung San Suu Kyi’s image, her political activities, and her meetings with world leaders are widely covered in local and even in state media. While most news is still subject to censorship, restrictions have been eased on television and the internet, including on exile news sites. The Burmese government has recently provided access for a range of foreign journalists for the first time including from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. The government has also started to host its first press conferences and engage with civil society on the topic of press and media freedoms.

Economic Reforms

In addition to the notable political reforms I have highlighted, the Burmese government is proceeding with a strong program of economic reforms. After decades of mismanagement, Burma has become the poorest country in Southeast Asia with approximately one-third of its population living in poverty.

In January, for the first time, the Burmese government agreed that International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff could publish a detailed summary of the conclusions of their 2011 Article IV consultation with the IMF. This year, the IMF consultation addresses issues and challenges facing Burma as it transitions to a more market-based economy, including needed reforms related to the exchange rate regime, trade policy, monetary policy, and fiscal policy. A summary was not only posted on the IMF web site, but was also published, in the Burmese language, in Burma’s state-owned newspaper. We have called on the Burmese authorities to release the full text of the Article IV Staff Report, and we hope that they do so.

A primary distortion in Burma’s economy has been the use of multiple exchange rates. Burma’s multiple exchange rate system is highly inefficient, limits access to foreign goods to all except well connected entities, and creates opportunities for corruption. On April 2, Burma’s Central Bank aligned the official exchange rate close to the prevailing parallel rate, an important first step reforming the exchange rate regime. The Central Bank is now posting the official daily rate on its website and allowing the exchange rate to move in line with market forces. There will be teething problems as Burma’s financial sector adjusts to this important reform, but it is a necessary first step for a broader agenda of economic reforms that we hope will improve the responsiveness of the government to the needs of the people.

In addition to exchange rate reform, the Burmese government has discussed the country’s budget in Parliament for the first time. Members of Parliament and the government discussed budget allocations and in March published an approved budget in a state-run newspaper. Budget allocations for the military remain grossly disproportionate, however, at 16.5 percent of the total budget. Allocations for health and education were 3.25 percent and 6.26 percent of the total budget, quite low by regional standards. At the same time, however, Burma reduced the relative share of its military budget in its FY 2012 budget, and allocations for health and education quadrupled and doubled respectively. Authorities have also eased some import and export requirements and drafted a new Foreign Investment Bill.

As businesses consider investing in Burma, it will be critically important to actively promote a strong corporate social responsibility ethic through active engagement with our regional and like-minded partners as well as with the Burmese government and local communities. We will also engage the Burmese government to apply non-discrimination principles and to create a “level playing field” for foreign investors. Moving forward, we believe that by addressing these investment-related concerns, the private sector, including many U.S. companies, will be able to play a positive role in contributing to justice, development, and reform in Burma.

U.S. Response

Over the past year, we have carefully responded to evidence of change in Burma with increased outreach and concrete actions. As I noted above, the President’s decision to ask Secretary Clinton to visit to Burma in late 2011 marked a turning point in our engagement policy, sending a strong signal of support to reformers both inside and outside of government, while never mincing words about our continuing concerns.

During her visit, Secretary Clinton clearly articulated our commitment to partnering with and supporting Burma on the path of reform and committed to a strategy of matching “action-for-action.” Since his appointment in August 2011 as the first U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell has played a key role in driving this effort. He has traveled to Burma, along with numerous other senior State Department officials, nearly on a monthly basis, engaging officials in Naypyitaw and consulting with key leaders of civil society, including Aung San Suu Kyi, ethnic minority groups, and the pro-democracy opposition to further catalyze concrete action on our core concerns.

The actions we have undertaken thus far have been measured and meaningful. During Secretary Clinton’s visit to Burma, we announced that we would resume cooperation on counternarcotics and operations to recover missing U.S. personnel from World War II, which the Burmese government suspended in 2004. We also pledged our support for assessment missions and technical assistance by international financial institutions and pursued a temporary waiver of trafficking in persons sanctions to fulfill this commitment. Following the substantial release of over 250 political prisoners in January, we responded with an announcement regarding our intention to upgrade diplomatic ties to exchange ambassadors.

More recently, we have announced additional U.S. actions. On April 4, Secretary Clinton announced five key steps that the United States would take to respond to Burma’s parliamentary by-elections and the progress that they signified. We announced our intention to re-establish a USAID mission at our Embassy in Rangoon, lend U.S. support for a normal UNDP country program, authorize funds to be sent by private U.S. entities to Burma for nonprofit activities, facilitate travel to the United States for select Burmese officials and parliamentarians, and begin a process to ease the bans on the exportation of U.S. financial services and new investment. Since that announcement, the Treasury Department has issued a general license authorizing certain financial transactions in support of humanitarian, religious, and other not-for-profit activities in Burma, including projects for government accountability, conflict resolution, and civil society development.

In terms of easing the bans on the export of U.S. financial services and new investment for commercial activities, we plan to proceed in a careful manner. We will also work closely with the U.S. Department of the Treasury to reexamine and refresh the Specially Designated Nationals list.
We have taken important steps on the assistance front as well, which my colleague from USAID, Assistant Administrator Nisha Biswal, will address. I will say, however, that in the immediate term, the State Department has announced new activities for microfinance and health, particularly in ethnic minority areas, based on our consultations with civil society in Burma. Special Representative Mitchell launched an interagency scoping mission to Burma to assess opportunities and obstacles to Burma’s transition and to align U.S. assistance efforts in a manner that promotes the overall reform process, directly benefits the people of Burma, and alleviates poverty, particularly in Burma’s rural areas.

We continue to emphasize that much work remains to be done in Burma and that easing sanctions will remain a step-by-step process. We have pursued a carefully calibrated posture, retaining as much flexibility as possible should reforms slow or reverse, while pressing the Burmese government for further progress in key areas.

We have serious and continuing concerns with respect to human rights, democracy, and nonproliferation, and our policy continues to blend both pressure and engagement to encourage progress in all areas. While we recognized the momentous release of prisoners last January, we continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and the removal of conditions on those released. The State Department’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor estimates at least several hundred prisoners of conscience are still behind bars. Through an upcoming human rights dialogue, we will engage officials on developing a credible, transparent, and inclusive process to identify remaining political prisoners of conscience, seek access to prisons for international organizations, and press for the immediate release of all political prisoners unconditionally. We have also spotlighted our concerns regarding remaining political prisoners in human rights resolutions at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, which we have supported or co-sponsored.

In every interaction with the Burmese government, at every level, we are also urging the immediate halt to hostilities in Burma’s ethnic minority areas, particularly in Kachin State, where fighting has continued at varying levels of intensity since the ceasefire lapsed in June 2011. We have consistently urged unfettered access for United Nations and humanitarian agencies to Burma’s conflict zones. This access is crucial so that the international community can assess needs and attempt to assist tens of thousands who have been displaced as a result of the fighting. While the Burmese government has recently allowed limited access to UN agencies to deliver assistance to certain areas of Kachin State, we are pressing for regular and sustained access to all areas, including those controlled by the Kachin Independence Army, to provide humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs). In March, the United States contributed $1.5 million in assistance to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support IDPs in Kachin State.

We also remain concerned by serious human rights violations against the ethnic minority Rohingya people who are denied citizenship and human rights, such as freedom of movement and freedom to marry, among other rights all people should be able to exercise. We will urge the Burmese government, including through a human rights dialogue, to pursue mechanisms for accountability for the human rights violations that have occurred as a result of fighting and discrimination in ethnic areas. We will also continue to spotlight continued abuses in Burma at the United Nations and other multilateral and regional forums including ASEAN.

While we are pleased that the NLD, Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party, has been allowed to re-register and participate in the political process, the degree to which reforms are genuine and irreversible will be reflected in the amount of political space the opposition parties will have and the amount of dissent the government will tolerate in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to monitor the democratization process carefully, including the issue concerning the parliamentary oath, and urge the Burmese government to take steps, in terms of both policy and legislative reform, to promote greater civic openness and support for a vibrant civil society and more free media.
Much more needs to be done on the legal and institutional front for the government to definitively break with its legacy of the past. Dozens of oppressive, arbitrary, and unfair laws used to convict political prisoners remain on the books and new laws need to be effectively implemented to make a true difference in the lives of the people.

In addition to continuing human rights and democracy concerns, we remain troubled by Burma’s military trade with North Korea. This is a top national security priority, and we will continue to press the government on this issue. We are collaborating closely with the EU, ASEAN, and other key regional partners including South Korea, Japan, and Australia to stress to Burma the importance of full compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 and to underscore to senior Burmese officials the seriousness of this matter and its potential to impede progress in improving our bilateral ties.

We will also continue to urge the Burmese government for greater transparency on nonproliferation. We were encouraged by public assurances from senior officials, such as Lower House Speaker of Parliament Thura Shwe Mann in January 2012, that Burma has no intention of pursuing a nuclear weapons program and is committed to full compliance of all its international nonproliferation obligations. We have encouraged the Government of Burma to signal its commitment through concrete actions such as signing and ratifying the IAEA Additional Protocol, updating its Small Quantities Protocol and improving cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.


As we look forward, there is a great store of goodwill within the international community to re-engage Burma, re-build its capacity, and re-connect with the Burmese people, should the reform process continue. Though the challenges that lie ahead are daunting, the efforts of the resilient and diverse people of Burma are as inspiring as ever.

Let me finally take a moment to acknowledge the leadership of Congress in promoting change in Burma. So many members of Congress have demonstrated consistent and personal commitment over many years to democratic reform, human rights, and the welfare of the Burmese people – and many of you have traveled to the region in recent months to see for yourselves conditions on the ground and meet with the reformers themselves. We are grateful for your efforts, and we look forward to consulting closely with you as we continue to support a brighter future for Burma.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sadung Jinghpaw Hpyen Yen Masha ni a Kraw Madai Nsen

Tinang a Mungdan hta tinang simsa hkra nlu nga ai, Sutsu ai Mungdan e Matsan Chyren-re nga ra hkra zingri zingrat dip gamyet shagyeng tawn ai hpe naw matut sharang nga na kun? lu ai laknak hta hpai..mai byin ai mahkrun hte tinang hta rawng nga ai machye machyang hte dai Mung Maden Myen Hpyen hpe Jinghpaw Wunpawng Mungdan kaw na gasat gawt kau na gaw ya nan rai nga sai.

Myen Hpyen ni gap sat kau ai Jinghpaw Jawngma, Hpaula Htu(8 ning)

August 20, 2011 Saranum hte rau jawngma ni laika hti nga ma yang, Northern Command npu na dap rai nga ai, Hk.L.Y(269) ni a Laknak kaba (Amyawk) hte si hkrum mat wa sai Manje, Mangawng Mare na Jawngma Hpaula Htu(8 ning) gaw kalang lata dai shara kaw nan si mat ai rai nna, Saranum hte kaga jawngma lahkawng gaw hkala nba byin hkrum ma ai.

Gara prat du hkra, hpa baw hka ngu naw sharang nga na ga ai rai ta? ?????

Burma exiles urge US go slow on easing sanctions

Canada's Policy on Burma

Government of Canada

Canada welcomes recent positive developments in Burma. Canada will continue to work with allies and partners in the international community, and will continue to support those Burmese working inside and outside Burma, to promote human rights, fundamental freedoms and a transition to genuine democracy.

On April 24, 2012, Canada eased its economic sanctions against Burma. Most prohibitions of the 2007 Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations (the “Burma Regulations”) were removed, including those pertaining to exports, imports, financial services and investment. Burma has also been removed from the Area Control List, meaning that exports to Burma of goods and technology that are not included on the Export Control List (ECL) will no longer require an export permit issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act.

However, the amended Burma Regulations still include sanctions against certain listed individuals and entities and forbid trade in arms and related material along with related technical and financial assistance. More information is available on our web page on Canada’s economic sanctions against Burma.

Canada will continue to closely monitor the situation in Burma and review its policy accordingly. Canada continues to urge the Burmese authorities to unconditionally release all remaining political prisoners, and to work with members of the democratic opposition and ethnic groups to find sustainable solutions to conflicts, including the ongoing conflict in Kachin state. Canadian officials will continue to use every available opportunity to discuss issues of concern with the Burmese authorities.

Canada’s Official Development Assistance to Burma has been suspended since 1988. However, through whole of government efforts, Canada is working to strengthen democratic forces and civil society, as well as addressing the humanitarian needs of those who have sought refuge outside of Burma. This work is being undertaken inside Burma and on its borders with neighbouring countries.

- Through a CIDA program of $15.9 million over five years, Canada provides assistance to support Burmese refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons through organizations operating in border countries (Thailand, Bangladesh, India and China) and delivered through Canadian NGOs. This is in addition to an earlier contribution of $12.4 million over the previous five years.

With contributions of more than $1.1 million over five years to independent media and other groups, the Democracy Envelope of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Glyn Berry Program for Peace and Security has increased the knowledge and capacity of democratic actors and the people of Burma.

- Through initiatives of the Embassy of Canada in Bangkok, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is supporting projects to strengthen and partner with civil society.

- The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for Burma-related projects in Thailand supports small scale, community-led projects relating to Burma ($120,000 in 2010-2011). It focuses on projects related to human rights, good governance and democratic development.

- In 2011, CIDA contributed $2.35 million in humanitarian assistance to United Nations agencies in support of their work in Burma. Of this amount, $2 million was provided in support of the World Food Programme’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, and $350,000 was provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

- Following the devastation caused by Cyclone Giri in October 2010, CIDA responded with $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to support emergency responses by Save the Children Canada and Médecins Sans Frontières Canada. This contribution allowed the provision of basic health care services to the disaster-affected population and the distribution of emergency shelter material and essential non-food items to families who lost their homes in the cyclone.

- In response to the humanitarian needs of the people of Burma following Cyclone Nargis in 2008, CIDA contributed over $25 million to relief efforts through Canadian and international partners. Ordinary Canadians, concerned about the plight of people affected by the cyclone, contributed an additional $11.6 million to these efforts.

- Since 2006, over 5,000 refugees from Burma have been resettled to Canada. April 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cameron and Suu Kyi want sanctions suspended

British PM, along with Myanmar's opposition leader, calls for suspension of economic sanctions during visit to country.

Last Modified: 13 Apr 2012 20:04
Al Jazeera

David Cameron and Myanmar's opposition leader have called for the suspension of economic sanctions against the South Asian nation after holding landmark talks.

The British prime minister met Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday at her lakeside home where she was held under house arrest for 22 years by the country's military government.

"If we really want to see the chance of greater freedom and democracy in Burma, we should respond when they take action," Cameron said.

"For the sake of a country that has been crying out for freedom after decades of dictatorship, and that is crying out for a stronger economy after so much grinding poverty, it must be worth taking that risk."

Cameron said an arms embargo against Myanmar should remain but it was right to suspend, but not lift, remaining sanctions.

The visit was the first by a British prime minister in decades and comes amid thawing relations between the once-pariah state and Western nations.

Earlier, Cameron met Thein Sein, Myanmar's reformist president, who took over from Than Shwe, the general who was was in charge as Suu Kyi and other political prisoners' rights were violated.

The European Union is due this month to review its sanctions in response to political and economic reforms undertaken by the civilian government that came to office a year ago when the military government partially ceded power.

Quoting a source from Cameron's office, the Reuters news agency said it was unlikely all EU sanctions against Myanmar would be lifted.

"We will want that decision on the 23rd of April to be the right balance that recognises the great progress that's been made ... versus not taking our foot too much off the pedal and going backwards," the source added.

Britain, Myanmar's former colonial ruler, has traditionally stuck to sanctions because of human rights concerns and its shift is likely to clear the way for a suspension of the measures later this month.

'Thein Sein genuine'

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate whose support is seen as crucial for any easing of the sanctions, including those imposed by the US, also called for a suspension of the measures.

"This would strengthen the hands of the reformers - not just the suspension but the fact that there is always a possibility of sanctions coming back again if the reforms are not allowed to proceed smoothly," she said.

"We still have a long way to go but we believe that we can get there. I believe that Thein Sein is genuine about democratic reforms."

Cameron said people should be "under no illusion about what a long way there is to go", and said Myanmar's leaders want to demonstrate that moves towards democracy were "irreversible".

The fact that Myanmar has been "largely unexploited in terms of business opportunities" is part of what is driving a steady stream of foreign dignitaries, including Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and her British counterpart, William Hague, to the nation, Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from neighbouring Thailand, said.

Myanmar's military rulers ceded power to a quasi-civilian government following a November 2010 election marred by opposition complaints of rigging, and won by a party set up by the military.

"In a world where there are many dark and depressing chapters of history being written there is a potential chapter of light," Cameron said ahead of his visit.

"Of course we should be sceptical, of course we should be questioning."

The new government has released hundreds of political prisoners and introduced a wave off reforms including loosening media controls, allowing trade unions and protests, talks with ethnic minority rebels and sweeping economic changes.

In parliamentary by-elections earlier this month, Suu Kyi was elected to Myanmar's parliament after decades as a prisoner.

The last election she won under her NLD party in 1990 was not recognised by the military government.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

ပိတ္ဆို႔မႈ ႐ုပ္သိမ္းဖို႔ထက္ ဆိုင္းငံ့သင့္ဟု ၿဗိတိန္ဝန္ႀကီးခ်ဳပ္ေျပာ

David Cameron's messages for Burma and the world follow historic meetings

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

KNO: Letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron

Myanmar’s forgotten ethnic conflict

Lifting sanctions on Burma’s regime would be a mistake

By Tom Andrews, Published: April 8
The writer, a former U.S. representative from Maine, is president of United to End Genocide.

Last Sunday international election monitors and media outlets reported a remarkable event in Burma. Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — who spent years under house arrest, and sometimes in prison, fighting for democracy and justice — was elected to parliament. All week, calls have grown for all economic sanctions and international pressure on the Burmese regime to be lifted.

Heeding these calls would be a serious mistake.

I and a colleague spent election day in Kachin state, in the northernmost part of Burma, also known as Myanmar. Bullets, not ballots, are the currency there. International observers and reporters are not welcome. After crossing the border from China under the cloak of darkness, and making our way over bone-crushing roads, we saw why.

Tens of thousands of Kachins, a long-repressed ethnic minority, have been forced from their homes into crowded makeshift camps as more and more Burmese troops march into an area rich in natural resources. Despite President Thein Sein’s promise to pull back the military in December, the opposite is happening in Kachin, where the escalation of troops, weapons and brutality continues unabated.

I met several dozen Kachin who had just escaped from their village, leaving behind their homes, crops and livestock. Some had walked for four days with only enough food for their children, carrying all that remained of their belongings on their backs.

They fled to makeshift camps that lack adequate food, sanitation and health care. We saw children with obvious respiratory illness and skin disease. The government’s unwillingness to allow food or humanitarian aid into these areas recently gave way to international pressure. We saw five United Nations trucks delivering food. Still, relief workers told us it was only a small fraction of what was needed. A child coming down with what would otherwise be a highly treatable illness can die under these conditions. We attended the funeral of one such child — an 11-month-old who died after contracting diarrhea. The family asked that we stay as honored guests so that we, and the outside world, would know.

A farmer described being apprehended when he, his wife and father-in-law were harvesting corn. They were forced to carry the corn to a military encampment but attempted to escape. His wife was caught and he has not seen her since. A Baptist minister, father of seven, was apprehended after he tried to sneak back to his village. His wife, speaking with a toddler afoot and an infant on her back, sobbed as she said she had no idea what had become of him.

We made our way to an outpost of Kachin Independence Army soldiers, just beyond the range of the Burmese military’s mortars. If we went further, we were told, our car would almost certainly become a target. As we spoke a pickup truck appeared carrying two elderly women. They had abandoned their homes and village that morning. Their crops had been destroyed, they told us, and their cattle killed. They escaped carrying what they could on their backs.

Without question, Aung San Suu Kyi’s election to the Burmese parliament is a remarkable achievement. But what I have seen this week reminds me that it is only part of the story. The other part, hidden in the mountains and valleys of Kachin state and in villages of other ethnic minorities, is vastly different. It is one that Burma’s military-dominated government does not want you to see.

It is reasonable for the United States and the international community to recognize what progress has been made in Burma with measured, prudent (and reversible) rewards. But relaxing all sanctions and international pressure on this regime would be a serious mistake.

Progress did not occur in Burma because military leaders suddenly realized that they had erred. It came about precisely because of international pressure. To remove this pressure at a time when the Burmese government escalates its brutality against a long-suffering people would be unconscionable and should be unacceptable to the United States.

The Obama administration and Congress should recognize the progress in Burma. But they should not do so by condemning tens of thousands of innocent people to the mercy of a military government entirely freed from the pressure of sanctions.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

BBC:Kachin plight reveals Burma's patchy progress

US eases some restrictions on Burma

Published April 04, 2012
| Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is easing some travel and financial restrictions on Burma following historic elections that saw opposition gains in parliament in the formerly military-run Southeast Asian nation.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Wednesday that Washington would allow senior Burma officials to visit the U.S. and allow the export of financial services to reward the country for embracing democratic reform. She also said Washington would open an office of the Agency for International Development in the country.

Clinton had previously said the U.S. would respond positively to progress in the country. Over the weekend, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi , a former political prisoner, won a seat in parliament in elections that saw her party make big gains in the legislature.