Weekly Wrap-up, No.645 (21-27 September 2013)


Tips for all: To be happy and not to be unhappy, make a choice!

Think Piece
Peace will not be realized only by negotiations between the armed groups and the government. The voice of the people in conflict zones must also be taken into consideration.

Min Ko Naing, 88 Generation Students, 21 September 2013, at the Shan-Kayah-Mon Forum

The signing of the Additional Protocol on 17 September is but the first of three steps in the process of opening up Burma’s nuclear secrets, and diplomatic bureaucracy, could add many more years before Burma even begins to comply:
  • The second step is to ratify the President’s signature in the legislatures
  • Then Burma must put in place an internal administrative structure to poll all stakeholders who have any nuclear materials or activities and then produce declarative reports for IAEA to investigate and verify. This process can take many years unless Burma unilaterally cuts the red tape itself.
Naypyitaw meanwhile is saying they have no activities or sites to declare.

Democratic Voice of Burma, 22 September 2013

Buddhist extremism against Muslims is sweeping through Sri Lanka and Myanmar:
In Sri Lanka, it is the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)
In Myanmar, it is the 969 movement

The World Outline, 24 September 2013

If we do not change the constitution, we cannot say our country is really a democracy. If we hold an election with an unfair constitution, the result will also be unfair.

Aung San Suu Kyi, speaking on the 25th anniversary of the NLD founding, 27 September 2013

The World
25 September 2013

Speaking at the UN in New York, Malala Yousafzia, the Pakistani girl who was shot by a Taliban gunman last October, calls for books not guns, and teachers not soldiers. (AFP)

International Relations
20 September 2013
40 activists of Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) from North Bengal have gone to Myanmar through the Assam border for arms and explosive-making training, according to state intelligence branch. (Hindustan Times, Kolkata)

22 September 2013
Official sources say Burma has approved UNESCO’s peace education project in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships in Rakhine state, as a means of fostering mutual respect for cultural diversity. 350 teachers will be trained in peace education. The project is supported by Belgium government. (Xinhua)

24 September 2013
World Bank approves $ 140 million interest-free loan for a powerplant project in Burma. (AFP)

25 September 2013
NK News reports Burma continues to enjoy furtive defense relationship with North Korea by using front companies and false flags to ship military cargo from Pyongyang to Rangoon. It quotes official dispatch dated 23 June by Than Tun, general director of the military-run firm Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEH) backing Pyongyang in its fight against US “imperialists.” (DVB)

26 September 2013
The Elders, a group of former world leaders formed by Nelson Mandela in 2007, at the end of 3-day visit, appeals for end to impunity in Rakhine. It is led by ex-President Jimmy Carter. (AFP)

26 September 2013

Burma government has not endorsed the UN declaration to end sexual violence in conflict zones which was signed by 113 member countries this week. “If they sign, they will have to follow up on a lot of cases in the country,” says Tin Tin Nyo of Women’s League of Burma. (Irrawaddy)

27 September 2013
Joint delegation from US state and treasury departments concludes visit to Burma, where they have met American companies and reviewed impact of easing US sanctions over the past year. It will be a long and involved review process to change Washington’s Specially Designated Nationals Lists of individuals, groups and entities subject to economic sanctions, according to Sarah Hutchison, US embassy spokeswoman. (Irrawaddy)

Thai-Burma Relations
17 September 2013

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing informs Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok he guarantees the country’s “political stability and urge Thai businessmen to do business in Myanmar.” (Eleven)

21 September 2013
Thai trawler fired upon in disputed waters and seized by Burmese navy near Ranong-Kawsawng. The incident comes about despite warming in ties between Naypyitaw and Bangkok, says Thai navy spokesman. (Bangkok Post)

22 September 2013

Thaksin Shinawatra “runs into” and chats with Aung San Suu Kyi visiting Singapore Grand Prix. (Bangkok Post)

22-26 September 2013
Speaker Shwe Mann visits Thailand as a guest of the kingdom’s National Assembly Speaker, Somsak Kiatsuranond. (Irrawaddy)

23 September 2013

Shan State Chief Minister Sao Aung Myat agrees to cooperate with Thai entrepreneurs to upgrade Kengtung-Taunggyi road during a meeting with Thai delegates led by Chiangmai governor. He also allows Thai Airways to operate direct flights to Kengtung. Both sides also discuss 7 point MoU to link Kengtung and Chiangmai, sister cities founded by King Mangrai in the 13th century. (Eleven)

25 September 2013
Myanmar military chief’s claim that Thai-Myanmar relations are their most cordial in history is misleading at best:
  • Continued flood of drugs
  • No steps taken against billionaire traffickers
  • Continued flow of stateless persons from Myanmar
(Bangkok Post)

27 September 2013
The first tripartite meeting with Japan attending as a potential third partner in the Dawei development project held in Rangoon. (Bangkok Post)

Politics/ Inside Burma
17 September 2013
Anti-Corruption Law, approved by National Assembly, signed by President Thein Sein. (RFA)

22 September 2013
If the 2008 constitution is not amended, sustainable peace cannot be restored, the NLD statement read out by Nang Khin Htwe Myint, CEC member, at the Taunggyi Trust Building for Peace seminar. (Eleven)

27 September 2013
Speaking on 25th anniversary of the NLD’s founding, Aung San Suu Kyi notes that “civilian groups are not in touch with the Tatmadaw” and extends “hand of friendship and peace” to the Burmese military. (Irrawaddy/DVB)

Ethnic Affairs
14 September 2013
Emergency meeting held by United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) resolves not to accept Naypyitaw offer for nationwide ceasefire signing. All members except for the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) attend it. (KIC)

17 September 2013
The Shan-Kayah-Mon forum, applied on 24 August for permission for convening, approved by government just 4 days ahead of its opening. (SHAN)

19 September 2013
The Myanmar government will commit itself to political dialogue only on the occasion of the nationwide ceasefire signing, according to Hla Maung Shwe, senior advisor to Myanmar Peace Center. (Eleven)

21 September 2013

Speaking at the seminar in Taunggyi, Minister Aung Min says a national dialogue will be held in early 2014. Two stages: agreements on nationwide ceasefire and on framework for political dialogue are needed to successfully hold it. A total of 16 armed groups will be invited. (Xinhua)

21-23 September 2013

Shan-Kayah-Mon Trustbuilding for Peace forum attended by a total of 331 individuals including representatives of 21 parties, 15 armed groups and 3 civic groups. 31 observers attend, including members of the government. They call for:
  • Nationwide ceasefire
  • Abolition of laws that do not meet democratic standards, including the Unlawful Associations Act
  • Genuine federal union
  • Convention representing all national races based on Panglong spirit
  • Amendment to the constitution.

24 September 2013

U Aye Tha Aung, a member of the drafting committee of a new constitution, says it will be completed by late October and finalized in November. It will not be submitted to the Parliament but at a national conference which will probably take place in a foreign country. (Mizzima)

26 September 2013

Hla Maung Shwe of Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) says peace talks with KIO will resume on 8-10 October. Technical teams from both sides will meet on 2-3 October. (Mizzima)

Shans/ Shan State
26 September 2013
A study released by NGOs today say more than half of all male sex workers in Chiangmai are from Shan State. There are also some who are ethnic Chin and Karen. Among Thai respondents, there are highland tribes such as Lisu, Lahu and Akha. (Irrawaddy)

27 September 2013

Sao Yawdserk, leader of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) says he is writing a letter to Vice Senior General Soe Win to settle the ongoing problem of conflict between the two sides in a peaceful way. Since the ceasefire has been signed, the two have already fought 133 clashes, including 8 between 13-24 September. (SHAN)

Economy/ Business
11 September 2013
The Kyaukphyu-Kunming railway might be completed in 2015. It will include a 95 mile long new railway (Minbu-Badan-Kyaukphyu). When completed it will be linked to Minbu, Magwe, Mandalay, Lashio and Muse. Plan for crossborder railway between Muse and Jiegao has also been established. (Yunnan Information)

20 September 2013

Central Bank chairman Kyaw Kyaw Maung, at a press conference in Naypyitaw, confirms claims that government as well as private clients are holding foreign reserves in oversees bank account. He says the amount is $ 7.6 billion and not $ 1 billion as being reported. (Irrawaddy)

Human Rights
23 September 2013
Women’s Forum held in Rangoon by Women’s League of Burma (WLB) and Women Organizations Network (WON), alls for a complete rewrite of the 2008 constitution. (DVB)

23 September 2013
Burmese language journal of Human Rights and Democracy, launched in May, is showing strong sales, rising from 1,000 copies to 2,000 this month, according to director Zaw Oo. It receives funding from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). (Irrawaddy)

21 September 2013
300 people join colorful International Day of Peace rally through the city of Rangoon. No one prosecuted, unlike last September when 11 people were charged in connection with the rally. (AFP)

23 September 2013
Printing of International Herald begins in Rangoon. (Irrawaddy)

21 September 2013
Phoemphong Chavalit, deputy ONCB (Office of Narcotics Control Board) chief says the ONCB wants establishment of an Asean drug enforcement agency to deal with drugs. Most drugs are brought into Thailand from production sites in Myanmar and Laos. (Bangkok Post)

24 September 2013
4-day 34th Asean Senior Officials Meeting on Drug Matters (ASOD) held in Naypyitaw. Police chief Maj Gen Zaw Win tells opening ceremony Burma is combating the problem through two-pronged approach: reduction of demand and supply. Pseudoephedrine has been 6 years high and most of the trafficking are from the Indian border. (Xinhua)

21 September 2013
Relief and Victims Care (RVC) Committee of parliament chairman Khin Shwe donates relief aid worth K 187.4 million ($ 187,400) for IDPs to town elders in Myitkyina. (Eleven)

23 September 2013
Shan State Army (SSA) North attacked by Burma Army in Mong Yen tract, Namtu township. The first attack was launched on 17 September, after the SSA notified the Tatmadaw of its movement from Wanhai HQ, according to SSA spokesman. (SHAN)


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