Weekly Wrap-up, No.638 (3-9 August 2013)

Tips to the ethnic leaders: If we cannot trust politicians, who else can we?

Think Piece
According to a 2004 diplomatic cable sent from US embassy in Rangoon published by Wikileaks, “Major Thein Sein served as commander of Light Infantry Division (LID) 55. In that capacity, he distinguished himself, as did Soe Win, in the crackdown against the 1988 uprising.”

Democratic Voice of Burma, 7 August 2013

The World
4 August 2013
A small bomb explodes at Ekayama temple in West Jakarta as people are praying inside, slightly injuring 3 people. (Reuters)

8 August 2013

Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. (Agencies)

International Relations
7 August 2013
The United States renew a ban on import of gems from Burma. (Mizzima)

Thai-Burma Relations
8 August 2013

Dr Cynthia Maung of Mae Tao Clinic said negotiations have been ongoing to re-buy the land sold by Phra Kittisak Kittisobhano to a Chiangmai police officer. (Bangkok Post)

8 August 2013
Anti-riot police called to restore order in Phang-nga where 261 Rohingya migrants broke out of their detention cells demanding to be released to perform a prayer to celebrate the end of Ramadan. (Bangkok Post)

9 August 2013
Shan community groups in Chiangmai issue statement expressing concern for 500 Shan refugees in Chiangmai’s Wiang Haeng district who have been approached by Burmese police and military commanders for their return to Burma. None has expressed a desire to return as the security situation has not improved. Any plans to repatriate them must be fully transparent, comply with international standards guaranteeing safety and dignity, and repatriation must be voluntary, it says. (Press Release)

Politics/ Inside Burma
4 August 2013

Former student leader Moe Thee Zun receives a hero’s welcome on his arrival at Rangoon airport. (DVB)

5 August 2013
All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) signs ceasefire agreement. (Irrawaddy) It is the 14th ceasefire group - Editor

6 August 2013

2,000 people commemorate the Four 8s Democracy Movement in grand fashion for the first time in Rangoon. (Irrawaddy)

8 August 2013
Official media quotes presidential announcement saying 3 more advisers have been appointed:
  • Dr Aung Tun Thet    economic adviser
  • Dr Zaw Oo        economic adviser
  • U Nyan Naung Win    legal adviser
In May 2011, he formed a 9 member advisory board. One has retired: U Ye Tint. (Xinhua)

Ethnic Affairs
3 August 2013
U Aung Min, during a lecture at Rangoon’s UMFCCI, says 10 billion kyat provided by the government is not enough. After peace is achieved:
  • 100,000 troops and 446,000 IDPs will return
  • Each returnee will receive only a 100,000 kyat (a month’s expense)
(Eleven Media Group)

4 August 2013
New Mon State Army (NMSP)’s Nai Tala Nyi, meets MPC’s Hla Maung Shwe in Moulmein. The NMSP will follow the UNFC policy, according to Nai Hongsa Bonkhaine. (IMNA)

6 August 2013
Speaker Shwe Mann hosts meeting with lawmakers to consider amendments to protect ethnic rights and promote a more federal system. Two possible options: rewriting of the constitution and amendment. Several lawmakers say the second option would likely be easier. (Irrawaddy)

7 August 2013
Speaking at a discussion entitled “Ethnic Issues, Internal Peace and the Future Union” held by the 8888 anniversary ceremony organizers, Minister U Aung Min says planned political dialogue must include all: 135 ethnic peoples, armed groups, government, parliament, parties and civic organizations. (Eleven Media Group)

8 August 2013
Civil society groups commemorating 8888 uprisings call for establishment of a democratic federal state. The 2008 constitution does not guarantee it, reads the statement. (DVB)

9 August 2013
Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) holds emergency commanders’ meeting to respond to serious violations of ceasefire by the government:
  • Non-withdrawal of LID 55 troops from KNPP areas
  • Land confiscation and construction of #14 military training school in Pruhso township

Shans/ Shan State
4 August 2013
Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) holds public consultation attended by 15,000 from 30 villages in Namkham township. (Phophtaw)

7 August 2013

Hkun Htun Oo, SNLD leader, says it is better to write a new constitution with the participation of the people, as it might take a long time to amend it. (Irrawaddy)

8 August 2013
Despite denials by Beijing and Wa, the United Wa State Army seems to have at least two helicopters for transportation, not gunships. (Irrawaddy)

9 August 2013

Oriental, the first hotel built by Mme. Sai Leun (Peng Xinchun) in Mongla, went into flames, 14:00-17:00. Fire brigades from across the border brought in to extinguish it. Authorities are still trying to find the cause of the fire. (SHAN)

Human Rights
5 August 2013
A group of journalists plaster walls with stickers calling for the government to allow more press freedom. The Interim Press Council has also submitted its own separate Press Bill to Parliament. (Irrawaddy)

5 August 2013
A Rangoon township court sentences Myint Aung, owner of Cherry Restaurant, 8 years in prison for raping a 15 year old girl. (Irrawaddy)

7 August 2013
Statement from UNICEF says Burma Army has released 68 children and young people. (Reuters)

7 August 2013

Minister Aung Min signs memorandum pledging support for campaign to free political prisoners. It follows nationwide address by the president on 1 August pledging to release them all before the end of the year. (Mizzima)


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