Weekly Wrap-up, No.647 (5-11 October 2013)

Tips to peace brokers: How ‘frank and cordial’ were you?

Think Piece
On Burma’s Asean chair
  • The chairmanship is an honor the government hasn’t earned. (Matthew Smith, Fortify Rights)
  • Burma’s leaders cannot yet solve their own domestic problems. It is questionable how they can take the regional leadership role. (Yan Myo, political analyst)
  • Now that the Asean leadership has fallen into their laps, they may think they don’t have to do more. (Panitan Wattanayagorn, specialist at Chulalongkorn University)
AP, 9 October 2013

The KIO leaders did not refuse to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement. They said they would find a way to sign it.

Hla Maung Shwe, special adviser to Myanmar Peace Center (MPC), 9 October 2013, Irrawaddy

Worse place for women than Burma
More than half of Pakistan girls are not educated. It also has the world’s second lowest rate of female employment in the world, according to the World Economic Forum Gender Parity Report, lower even than Saudi Arabia.

New York Times/ Bangkok Post, 10 October 2013

The World
10 October 2013

Malala Yousafzai, 16, wins EU’s annual human rights award, beating fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. (Reuters)

International Relations
8 October 2013
President Thein Sein leaves for Brunei to take over the 2014 alternate chair. (Xinhua)

8 October 2010
Burma is yet to be one of 167 nations that have signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that recognizes the right of peaceful assembly. (KIC)

10 October 2013

President Thein Sein accepts the gavel of Asean. (New York Times)

Thai-Burma Relations
7 October 2013
Border trade between Mae Sot-Myawaddy soared to 44 billion baht ($ 1.46 billion), up 25% from 35 billion) last year, according Customs office in Tak. (NNT)

8 October 2013

Thai energy minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal says Thailand will be buying about 10,000 MW more of electricity from Myanmar: 7,000 MW from Mai Tong (Mongton) Hydropower Plant and 2,000-3,000 MW from Dawei Coalpower plant. Myanmar needs about 12 years to construct the Mai Tong venture. (Bernama)

Politics/ Inside Burma
7 October 2013
President Thein Sein announces a body to promote education standards will be formed immediately to draft action plans for educational reforms. He calls for experts to discuss their views openly. (Eleven)

10 October 2013
Over 95% of 400 people interviewed across 3 townships in Hpa-an district on 6 October want the constitution to be amended in order to reduce the military’s role in politics, says NLD’s Karen state chairperson Nan Khin Htwe Myint. Shan State chairperson Khin Moe Moe says she will also be conducting a survey in 13 districts. (DVB)

Ethnic Affairs
1 October 2013
2 soldiers from Karen National Union (KNU) Brigade 2, based in Toungoo district, arrested by the Burma Army’s IB 440. They were collecting tax from passing traders. (KIC)

8 October 2013
Negotiations in Myitkyina between KIO and UPWC. Topics: Development since May and formation of peace monitoring group. National Democratic Force (NDF) representative sees there is a good trend in the making. (DVB)

8 October 2013
U Aung Min, following today’s talks, says he expects KIO leaders to join the national ceasefire in November. KIO says it will hold a meeting with top leaders of other groups in Laiza likely at the end of this month. U Aung Min has agreed with the plan, says Shan spokesman. (Irrawaddy)

10 October 2013
New Mon State Army’s base in Thanbyuzayat forcibly removed by Burma Army for its advanced military training school last week. NMSP has lodged complaints with state government. (IMNA)

10 October 2013

KIO and UPWC conclude 3 day talks, agreeing to lay foundation for political dialogue, reopen roads, establish joint monitoring committee and develop plan for return of IDPs. The KIO has not ruled out signing the nationwide ceasefire, but they have to work out “their exact policy”, according to peace broker Lamai Gum Ja. (DVB)

11 October 2013
The alternative constitutional draft could come out at the end of next month (November), says Hkun Okker, leader of the UNFC constitution drafting team. (Irrawaddy)

Shans/ Shan State
29 September 2013
Institute for International Development (IID) has been awarded a German government development agency (GIZ) funded project to strengthen capacity of the Leading Body, local administration and civil society in the Danu Self-Administered Zone in Shan State and assist with formulation of a Regional Development Plan. (Press Release)

4-5 October 2013

Wa spokesman Aung Myint says they have made agreement to take census in 2014. The government will form six teams and provide necessary trainings and required facilities to them. It also discusses recruiting labor force from mainland Burma. (Mizzima)

4-5 October 2013
Naypyitaw delegation meets Xiao Minliang, Vice Chairman of Wa “State”, in Panghsang. Discussion topics include:
  • Nationwide ceasefire signing
  • Citizenship scrutiny cards
  • 2014 census
  • Appointment of municipal staff
  • Job creation strategies for Wa
Wa maybe attend the ceasefire ceremony but not to sign it, says Aung Kyaw Zaw. (Eleven)

Economy/ Business
8 October 2013
The World Bank has revised its 2013 economic forecast for Myanmar up from 6.5% to 6.8% following a record setting $ 4 billion in the 2012-13 fiscal year from gas exports, surpassing $ 3.5 billion last year. (Myanmar Times)

Human Rights
4 October 2013
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chairman Dr Akihiko Tanaka says JICA will contribute $ 910 million to aid the growth of internal infrastructure, including rural and social development. (Development)

8 October 2013

Burma announces plan to free 56 more political prisoners. About 135 remain and another 232 facing trials, says Bo Kyi of AAPP. (VOA)

9 October 2013

UN human rights expert Tomas Ojea Quintana says release of political prisoners must be unconditional. The Code of Criminal Procedure enables attachment of conditions to the discharge of prisoners, such as the imposition of the remaining sentence if the President judges that a condition of release has been broken. (UN News Center)

10 October 2013
Burma removes 1,010 doctors from its blacklist, according to Myo Win Aung, ministry director at the President’s Office. (Irrawaddy)

10 October 2013
NLD spokesman Nyan Win, 70, says he has been fined 1,000 kyat ($1) for claiming that a thin layer of wax had been put over check boxes for candidates of his party during the 2012 by-elections. Marks made on the wax could later be rubbed off to cancel the vote. (AFP)

11 October 2013
Recent winners of 16 onshore energy blocks are required to perform environmental impact assessments (EIA) before final approval, according to an energy ministry official. They include:
  • Italy’s Eni
  • Malaysia’s Petronus
  • Pakistan’s PVT
  • India’s ONGC Videsh
  • Canada’s Pacific Hunt


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