Saturday, 18 April 2015
Home Tamil Affairs International Affairs Editorial Opinion Feature Culture & Community Interviews
Latest Entries:
US hails dramatic change in Burma as Kachin complain of atrocities
Tamil Guardian 11 October 2011 Print ArticleE-mail ArticleFeedback On Article
   

Recent developments in Burma have been cautiously welcomed by western diplomats, while NGO’s accuse the Burmese government of war crimes.

Burma has seen a shift in policy since the first elections in 20 years and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in November last year.

Talks between the Nobel Peace laureate and the government are thought to be behind positive steps taken by the government to address concerns of the Burmese population.

Internet restrictions have been lifted and the government allowed UN special rapporteur on Human Rights, Tomas Quintana, to visit after banning him for over a year for proposing a UN commission of inquiry into human rights violations.

Shwe Mann, speaker of Burma’s lower house of parliament is reported to have told Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Espen Baarth Eide on Friday that the regime will release more than 1,200 political prisoners ‘within days’.

Kurt Campbell, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs has cautiously welcomed the positive moves by the regime and promised that concrete steps would be matched by the US. However he made clear that the US would want to see real progress on human rights issues before anything substantial is offered by Washington and its European allies.

Last month the government surprisingly suspended a project on a controversial dam to be built at the source of the Irrawady. The dam was being developed by the state Myanmar Ministry of Electric Power, the privately-owned Asia World Company of Burma and the China Power Investment Corporation.

China has threatened legal action and demanded an explanation, but the concerns of the thousands of ethnic Kachin villagers who have either already been displaced or will be forced to leave their homes, seem to have found sympathy with the regime.

The President said in a letter to parliament, “the government is elected by the people and has to respect the people’s will”.

The developments suggest that recent overtures are as much about gaining the trust of the Burmese population as they are a shift away from China’s stranglehold on the country.

Any hopes of improving the crippled Burmese economy rely on the lifting of sanctions by the West, which have been in place for over 10 years.

Meanwhile however, the Burmese military is continuing its brutal war with Kachin and Shan separatists after a ceasefire broke down in June this year.

Representatives of a Kachin Women’s NGO, based in Thailand have urged the UN to take a stand on the atrocities committed by the Burmese forces.

Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (Kwat) spokesperson Hkawng Seng Pan told Mizzima that a recent report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon downplayed the ethnic conflict between Burma and the Kachin Independence Organisation.

“The Myanmar army is committing violent human rights abuses, including rape, murder and forced labour in places where it is fighting against the KIO. Ban Ki-moon and the UN must speak out about what is happening so the killing stops.” she told reporters.

Kwat released their own report on Friday, documenting abuses committed in the three months since the latest outbreak of violence.

Hkawng Seng Pan also noted the recent change in rhetoric by the Burmese regime but said while the government may have changed their tone recently, the actions of the country’s armed forces have not.

She told Mizzima: “You can see clearly how the Burmese government is working; the Army is fighting and killing ethnic people while Thein Sein is speaking about human rights to a Parliament full of generals and former military officers.”

Over 300,000 people are thought to have been killed in ethnic violence since independence in 1948.

 
Share on Facebook Print ArticlePrint Article E-mail ArticleE-mail Article Feedback On ArticleFeedback On Article
 
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Growth in Sri Lanka unsustainable due to structural barriers to competitive markets says World Bank
A report by the World Bank on South East Asia, noting structural barriers to competitiveness in Sri Lanka, predicted a decline in Sri Lanka's growth to 6. [more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Ranil was only ‘joking’ when he spoke of shooting Indian fishermen – Chandrika

Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga has defended Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for his comments last month, in which he justified the shooting of fishermen from Tamil Nadu. [more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Resettling IDPs find homes in North-East Sri Lanka looted and damaged
Internally Displaced People who were allowed to resettle in their original homes in the Valikamam found their homes destroyed by vandal upon return. Families returned to their houses, [more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Sri Lankan army camps on released land blocks resettlement says TNA MP

Army camps built on land that has been reportedly released by the Sri Lankan government has left displaced Tamils unable to resettle in their native villages, said Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson and MP Suresh Premachandran. [more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
We will not give in to Indian pressure – minister

The State Finance Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution was unrealistic and India could not compel the government to implement it. [more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
UN resolutions could have been avoided – SL cabinet spokesperson

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said if former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had established an inquiry similar to the South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’, [more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Intimidation of Tamil journalists continues under new Sri Lankan govt says TNA MP
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, S Sritharan, condemned the ongoing intimidation of Tamil journalists by Sri Lankan police, despite promises of good governance by the new government. [more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
SriLankan Airlines to increase flights to Chennai

SriLankan Airlines announced today it will increase flights to Chennai.

In a statement, the airline said it would add a fourth daily flight to the capital of Tamil Nadu. [more]


Print Editions

 
 

Contact Tamil Guardian
www.tamilguardian.com