Weekly Diary, No.633 (1-21 June 2013)

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Think Piece
We are a military that adheres not only to civil and to martial laws and regulations, but also to the Geneva Convention. Since we train our Tatmadaw men to acknowledge and adhere to the Geneva Convention, our Tatmadaw has never committed any war crimes and soldiers (who committed punishable acts) have had effective actions taken against them, according to military regulations.

Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief, speech given on Amred Forces Day, 27 March 2013, quoted by Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), April-May 2013 report

They are growing poppy, not because they are bad, but because households simply do not have enough food to eat.

Jason Eligh, Burma manager of UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 13 June 2013, Irrawaddy

The World
3 June 2013
67 countries out of 193 UN member states sign Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). (AP)

3 June 2013
Buddhist zealots stoking hatred against non-Buddhists are led by Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force, BBS). The group says democracy and pluralism are hurting the Sinhalese Buddhists. (Bangkok Post)

12 June 2013
Revelations this week by NSA contractor Edward Snowden of a programme called Prism to sift data from US web companies has raised fears of a close relationship between the companies and the NSA among government and security officials in parts of Asia. (Reuters)

International Relations
3 June 2013
Signing of UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Myanmar not among signatories. (The Nation)

3 June 2013
Hundreds of Rakhine Buddhists have fled to Burma since 4 October from Bangladesh, according to a Buddhist monk in Maungdaw. (Mizzima)

6 June 2013
About 1,000 Burmese nationals in Malaysia have been detained since 30 May when 3 Burmese workers were killed in multiple clashes. (Irrawaddy)

5 June 2013
Malaysian police says there has been 4 killings in recent days suspected to be linked to religious tensions between Muslims and Buddhists. (Daily Star)

5-7 June 2013

World Economic Forum on East Asia, with over 1,000 participants from 55 countries, held in Myanmar capital. (Agencies)

12 June 2013
EU re-admits Burma to its trade preference scheme after it was withdrawn in 1997 due to concerns over forced labor. (AFP)

18 June 2013
ILO in Geneva adopts a resolution for lifting of all remaining sanctions on Myanmar imposed in 1999 and 2000. Some were lifted in June 2012. (Agencies)

Thai-Burma Relations
28 May 2013

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing receives Knight Grand Cross in Bangkok, one of Thailand’s highest honors. (New Light of Myanmar)

4 June 2013
Thai foreign ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol says worried that more will come if they accept the 2,000 Rohingyas detained in the kingdom, no third country is ready to take them. (AFP)

11 June 2013
Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing receives delegation led by Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief Surasak Rounroengrom in Rangoon. (New Light of Myanmar)

19 June 2013
Burma’s FM Wunna Maung Lwin turns down his Thai counterpart’s request earlier this month for the loan of one of its 8 white elephants to mark 65 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year. (DPA)

21 June 2013
While Aung San Suu Kyi turned 68 on 19 June, today’s Yingluck Shinawatra’s turn. She is 46. (SHAN)

Politics/ Inside Burma
6 June 2013
Speaking to an audience of foreign business executives, Aung San Suu Kyi says she wants to be President. (New York Times)

9 June 2013

Aung San Suu Kyi, speaking in Pyin Oo Lwin, says she does “not believe” that 92.4% of the population voted for the 2008 constitution. The referendum was held in 278 out of 325 townships nationwide. The government later announced more than 20 million of the 22 million eligible voters had cast “Yes” ballots. (Mizzima)

Ethnic Affairs
3 June 2013
PaO People’s Militia Force, formerly PaO National Army, holds press conference denying 57 members of NLD were forced to resign from the party at gunpoint on 16 May. Col Khun La says the said members are at the press conference and take questions from journalists. But local says they are village leaders not NLD members. (DVB)

5 June 2013
In order to pre-empt the PR system, non-Burman parties are planning to form an all-ethnic party, dubbed Federal Union Party (FUP) at the upcoming meeting on 11-12 June, says White Tiger Party leader Sai Ai Pao. To prevent original parties from dissolution, new younger members will set up the FUP. (DVB)

6 June 2013

Union minister Soe Thane, during a debate with Aung San Suu Kyi, staged by the BBC at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Naypyitaw, says Burma is considering adopting the federal system in Germany as a possible model.
Historian Than Myint U says the country needs to build a more inclusive identity that transcends ethnic differences. (Irrawaddy)

8 June 2013
Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) says it has not been able to implement the 5 point agreement signed last year. It alleges that state authorities have not cooperated. ALP members have freedom of movement but the state government has not permitted them to fully engage in development activities as agreed. (Narinjara)

14 June 2013
Karen National Union (KNU) delegation led by Chairman Mutu Sayphoe arrives in Rangoon for further peace talks. (SHAN)

17 June 2013
Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) and Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) merge to form Arakan National Party (ANP). (Narinjara)

8-18 June 2013
Lower House Speaker visits US. State-owned newspapers quote him as saying federalism means power-sharing and living in unity, and not separation, as assumed by some people. The military coup in 1962 cited federalism for the takeover. (Eleven Media Group)

18 June 2013
Meeting between leaders of United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) and Suu Kyi agrees to work together to amend the 2008 constitution. (Irrawaddy)

19 June 2013

David O’ Sullivan, chief operating officer of the European External Action Service, after two days of meetings with Burmese officials in Napyitaw, says the government intends to hold a major conference in July to sign a nationwide ceasefire, accompanied by the beginnings of political dialogue. The conference is expected to engage in a debate about a move towards “a slightly more decentralized system” “allowing a greater degree of autonomy,” he adds. “The word ‘federal’ is perhaps a loaded word.” (Irrawaddy)

20 June 2013
Official media quotes Minister for President’s Office U Aung Min saying the government will invite UN chief Ban Ki-moon, among eminent persons at home and abroad, to witness the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement. (Global Times)

19 June 2013
American diplomat Erin Webster-Main and members of parliament present at union-level peace talks between Naypyitaw and Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) in Loikaw. Military affairs discussed in a closed door meeting. Business projects, drug eradication and humanitarian aid to IDPs believed to be on the agenda. (Irrawaddy)

Shans/ Shan State
1-2 June 2013
Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) leader Lt-Gen Yawd Serk meets visitors from Shan State to ask for their suggestions before his scheduled first meeting with President Thein Sein on 10 June. (SHAN)

8 June 2013

969 poster in Taunggyi. (M-media)

8-9 June 2013
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) holds 6th meeting in Taunggyi. Statement issued afterward includes: recognition of 14 states/regions, demand for annulment of Unlawful Association Act, and opposition to PR system in the upcoming elections. (SHAN)

12 June 2013
Locals near Inlay lake have gone hiding after officials issued arrest warrants last week following a demonstration where the farmers ploughed land confiscated by a controversial hotel project. (DVB)

13 June 2013
Burma Army units withdraw from Mongkhid, where the Wa are planning to set up a village and a rubber plantation after several days stand off. It is not known what agreement has been reached. (SHAN)

RCSS visits Naypyitaw

9 June 2013         Lt-Gen Yawdserk leads 22-person delegation to Naypyitaw.
10 June 2013      Yawdserk received by President Thein Sein. He also holds meeting with government ministers. Dinner party hosted by Vice President Sai Mawk Kham
11 June 2013      Shan delegation discusses census and drug issues with Naypyitaw officials. Dinner Party attended by Vice Senior Gen Soe Win
12 June 2013      Departure for Rangoon. “Summit” with 3 other Shan groups: SSPP, SNLD and SNDP
13 June 2013      Meeting followed by press conference with Jason Eligh, UNODC country representative. Closed door meeting with ambassadors
14 June 2013      Meeting with political parties, civil society organizations and Myanmar Peace Center (MPC)
15 June 2013        Meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi
16 June 2013        Departure for Mandalay
17 June 2013        Public meeting in Kyaukme
18 June 2013        Arrival in Taunggyi

Economy/ Business
3 June 2013
26% of Burma’s populace has access to power and foreign companies are set to help develop the country’s inadequate power generating capacity. (Bangkok Post)

4 June 2013
Chinese investment in Burma has fallen sharply over the past year: Chinese companies invested $ 407 million in the country in the fiscal year through 31 March, down from $ 4.35 billion and $ 8.37 billion in the previous two years. Still China remains Burma’s largest trading partner. (Wall Street Journal)

4 June 2013
Coke and Unilever announce they will invest a total of nearly $ 1 billion in Burma over the next decade. (Wall Street Journal)

5 June 2013
Burma announces Norway-funded master plan to boost tourism, according to Asian Development Bank. As many as 7.5 million will visit Burma annually by 2020, says the bank. (Irrawaddy)

6 June 2013
Microsoft Corp establishes partnership with Myanmar Information Technology as the central supplier for all of its products in the emerging market. (Wall Street Journal)

Human Rights
2 June 2013
70 farmers whose land were confiscated by the Burma Army, given permission to work on their farmlands. (KIC)

3 June 2013
Saw Lwin Oo, Karen seminar spokesman, says international aid has decreased to as much as half for communities at risk in Karen State. (KIC)

3 June 2013

Presidential spokesman Yet Htut says the two-child policy was not announced by the central government. But it will examine the ban as the population in two townships is much higher than in other regions causing social and economic problems. (AFP)

4 June 2013
Petition with signatures from more than 3,600 refugees in Mae La camp refusing to participate in a profiling survey delivered to UNHCR Spokesperson Vivian Tan. They claim the questionnaire solicits answers that favor repatriation. (DVB)

4 June 2013
President Thein Sein, speaking in a radio address, promises all prisoners of conscience will be free soon. (AFP)

5 June 2013
Kachin report, “Pushed to the Brink”, launched today, says Kachin women have been tricked, drugged, raped and sold to Chinese men or families as brides or banded laborers for as much as $ 6,500 per person. There are over 100,000 displaced over the past two years by war. (Statement by KWAT)

5 June 2013

Thousands join rally in Sittwe supporting single wife and two-child policy for Muslims. (Narinjara)

6 June 2013
De Zaw Tun for Sanpya General Hospital in Rangoon’s Thingangyun, says public hospitals have since early this year offering free medicine to poor patients. (Irrawaddy)

7 June 2013
Up to 140,000 people remain displaced a year after violence in Arakan, UNHCR says today. (UN News Center)

8 June 2013
Eleven Media Group attacked by a group called Blink Hacker Group (BHG). This is the third such cyber attack on it. (Eleven Media Group)

10 June 2013
Thai news agency The Nation Channel reports UNHCR officials meeting Burmese authorities in Pa-an to discuss plans repatriating more than 140,000 refugees. The Burmese government’s desire is to repatriate them but the UN refugee agency has yet to promote the program, according to UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan. (Irrawaddy)

12 June 2013

Ne Win, a Muslim man who set a woman on fire an Lashio triggering a series of riots last month, sentenced to 26 years in prison, according to Xinhua. (Mizzima)

14-15 June 2013
Two day meeting in Hmawbi, Rangoon Region, of more than 200 monks. Topics include solution of the crisis through the Buddha’s teachings, peaceful living for all citizens and education, among others. (Eleven Media Group)

16 June 2013
155 prisoners of conscience evaluated by government-backed scrutiny committee and their names forwarded to the President’s office, according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. (DVB)

19 June 2013
International land rights group Displacement Solutions warns repatriation of refugees is likely to hit a snag on disagreements over ownership of lands abandoned by the refugees and occupied by the military and associated businesses. (DVB)

19 June 2013
Tin Tut, chairman of Farmland Investigation Commission, says the panel has submitted an interim report to President Thein Sein with a list of “urgent” recommendations. (Mizzima)

6 June 2013
Two hydropower projects on the Chindwin have been abandoned, according to New Indian Express. (Irrawaddy)

12 June 2013

The oil-gas pipeline construction inside the country is finished, but the Chinese portion, over 1,600 km long, will be delayed for another 2-3 months, according to U Than Htay, energy minister. (Reuters)

3 June 2013
292 Thai women have been charged with drug smuggling offenses in 35 countries since 2010, including 50 in Taiwan, followed by 49 in Brazil and 21 in China. (Bangkok Post)

17 June 2013
Radio Free Asia reports arrest of Tamu township police chief Hla Win and Kalay district police chief Naing Zaw Tun. National police team had seized more than 20 unlicensed vehicles brought in from India and a load of Indian-produced medicine used to extract pseudo ephedrine. (Irrawaddy)

21 June 2013

Shwe Nu, 46, arrested in Bangkok on 2 June, deported a suspected meth trafficker to Burma, where he faces arrest warrant issued last year. (The Nation)

5 June 2013
2 Shan State Army (SSA) North liaison officers, Sai Kawng and Sai Sang Tawng, Namtu township shot by Burma Army. The former dies on the spot. The latter is taken by the army. (SHAN)

8 June 2013
New clashes since 11 May agreement was signed take place in Lashio township, where the Shan State Army’s 851st Battalion on Loipek range is attacked by a joint force of the Burma Army. The SSA suffers 3 injured, says its spokesman Sai La. (SHAN)

14 June 2013
Clashes in Mongkoe, Muse township, between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burma Army backed by Kutkhai People’s Militia Force (PMF) of Khun Myat. (KNG)

19 June 2013
Two hour clash between Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) rebels and Burma Army’s IB 145 in Kutkhai township. TNLA claims 4 fatal casualties on the Burmese side. (Irrawaddy)

15 June 2013

Nai Rotsa, Vice Chairman of New Mon State Party (NMSP), 67, passes away, 5 months after learning he had cancer. His funeral is on 21 June. (MNA)


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