October 2005


It will take more than the arrest of one drug lord to convince the world that Burma has kicked its habit Something is cooking in the Burmese sector of the Golden Triangle, but the verdict is still out on what any of it means for the future of the country’s opium politics and insurgencies.
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Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, and other Communist party leaders have argued convincingly that they need to address China’s severe environmental and social challenges as well as simply promoting economic growth. Desertification, water pollution and urban smog make the idea of greening China both laudable and long overdue.
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October 29
United Nations: The outgoing U.N. envoy for Myanmar said Friday he is pessimistic that a longtime diplomatic standoff with the military junta will get any better if the West continues its tough approach.
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Bangkok: Ignoring warnings of “far-reaching and extremely serious consequences”, Myanmar’s military rulers have told the International Labor Organization (ILO) the country will be quitting the United Nations organization.
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It’s hard to feel good about a person described as an absconder, an insurgent and an opium-smuggling terrorist–unless the group doing the name calling is the military junta that runs Burma (Myanmar) and the person being defamed is Dr. Cynthia Maung. Since 1988, Maung has been building and running a thriving medical clinic on the treacherous Thailand-Burma border, providing badly needed health care for 70,000 people a year and facing down one of the most oppressive dictatorships in the world to do it.
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October 29
A recent meeting of the Shan State Army ‘North’ leaders had resolved to attend the constitutional convention to be held by Burma’s generals before the end of the year, according to ceasefire sources.
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October 27
A veteran Burmese politician advised all opposition groups within, without Burma including the National League for Democracy (NLD), to actively seek the ‘sympathy’ of neighbouring government of China as soon as possible.
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A new armed opposition group in Kachin State has created internal and external divisions within the region as the currently unnamed fledgling organization attempts to deal with Rangoon.
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Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy called on the UN Security Council on Monday to consider urgently the human rights and political situation in Burma and support the report prepared by former Czech president Vaclav Havel and retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
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October 29
Yangon: Myanmar’s military government on Saturday said it would resume a key meeting to draft a constitution, the first step on the country’s self-set path to democracy, state radio and television reported.
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November 4: Gen. Maung Aye appears to be the big winner from Burma’s recent leadership changes, but analysts cannot agree on whether or not the army chief’s victory over long-time rival Gen. Khin Nyunt will lead to policy changes.
Some believe Khin Nyunt’s tentative steps toward democracy and national reconciliation will be now be abandoned, while others think that Maung Aye could belie his “hardliner” tag and take these processes further. Still
others reckon that the power struggle is about economics and personality rather than ideology, and that when the dust settles there will be very little real change.
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Published October 27
To the General Assembly
The Commission on Human Rights invited me in 2000 to take up the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. I accepted the appointment with optimism and openness to work in the mandate pragmatically, inspired by my dear friend Sergio Vieira de Mello:
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Bangkok: Those who are hoping that the “Myanmar issue” will be high on the agenda at the Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur this December are likely to be disappointed. Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the meeting’s focus will be on economic issues and the integration of Asean. There will be no discussion on specific issues or human rights. In other words, the leaders will stick to Asean’s long-held policy of non-interference – which some critics say are outdated – at the summit.
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Published October 27
Military rulers are driving Myanmar into further isolation and the world community, particularly neighboring states, must help find a constructive way out of the impasse, a UN rights official said Thursday.
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Facing the continuous smuggling of fertilizer to neighboring countries, Bangladesh has decided to seal off 13 river routes to stop the crime and apprehend smugglers.
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French Total has awarded German turbine-maker Siemens an order for two gas turbine compressor trains to be installed on a new platform in the Yadana gas field in the Andaman Sea offshore Myanmar.
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British Ambassador Vicky Bowman held talks with Interior Minister Maj-Gen Maung Oo and Police Chief Khin Yi on Tuesday, in which she pressed the issue of human rights and discussed the continuing absence of security outside foreign embassies.
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The first Burmese victim of forced labour ever to sue the authorities and win has been jailed for defamation, in what campaigners say is a blatant act of revenge.
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Myanmar remains free from bird flu, with no cases reported so far in the country in the wake of renewed outbreak of the disease worldwide, a livestock official told Xinhua Friday.
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Published October 27
Burma has recently promulgated the anti-human trafficking law. Which in effect means women under 25 cannot cross the border between Burma’s Tachilek and Thailand’s Maesai without special authorization.
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