Friday, February 19th, 2010

“Despite anticipation of landmark elections this year, I have not received any indication that the military government is willing to release all prisoners of conscience…Without full participation of the people including the 2200 prisoners of conscience and the environment that allows the parties to engage in the range of electoral activities, the elections to be held will not be credible.” – Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur

Yangon – A UN envoy said Friday he “deeply regretted” that Myanmar’s ruling junta had refused to let him meet democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and called for her immediate release ahead of elections this year. (more…)

Yangon – A Myanmar prison court sentenced a Buddhist abbot to seven years in prison, an opposition source said Friday, as a UN rights envoy wrapped up a visit to the military-ruled nation. (more…)

Kutu Palong – Hundreds of children flock at the site of a stranger in the Kutu Palong makeshift camp in southeastern Bangladesh, near the border with Burma. Some are wearing salvaged clothes; mostly, they are naked. “Hello, how are you?” they shout, repeating the one phrase they have picked up from the few aid workers that have gained permission from the Bangladesh authorities to enter the unregistered camp. (more…)

Rohingya refugees who fled oppression in their native Myanmar are facing similar abuse at the hands of Bangladeshi authorities, who rights groups say are trying to drive them out of the country. (more…)

Jorge A. Bustamante, a UN expert on the human rights of migrants has expressed concern about the millions of migrants in Thailand who face deportation if they have not registered biographical data by the end of the month to governments in their nations of origin. (more…)

For the third time in two months, Bao Youxiang, leader of the United Wa State  Army, has rejected the invitation by junta chief negotiator Lt-Gen Ye Myint for a meeting in the Shan State North capital Lashio, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border. (more…)

Bangkok—A flurry of privatizations of key state enterprises in Myanmar is raising speculation about whether the country’s military regime is planning more market reform or simply trying to cash out before an election expected later this year. (more…)

Dhaka – Bangladesh’s dream of a road connection with Burma has remained unrealized for nearly a decade due primarily to problems finding funding for construction. The current Bangladesh government, however, is keen to build the road to Burma to further strengthen regional cooperation among the South Asian nations, report official sources. (more…)

Cases of A/H1N1 swine flu have been reported in Naypyidaw, the Burmese capital, following a similar outbreak in Rangoon earlier this month, according to sources in the former capital. (more…)

The junta will delay and rig its proposed election once international observers are out of the way
No country in the world today spends more time hatching new political ploys, on a day to day basis, to fool the world, as much as the current military regime in Burma. The recent release of senior leader U Tin Oo, of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), was good news amid a more opaque political situation. The opposition senior has spent too long since 2003 under house arrest, along with the NLD’s figurehead and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. It is strange that, every time the junta releases a prisoner, it becomes headline news around the world. In the case of Tin Oo, he should not have been under house arrest in the first place. (more…)

The release from house arrest of the 83-year-old co-founder and Deputy Chairman of Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD), Tin Oo, has failed to impress the international community or the Burmese opposition, who view it as a calculated act of regime “magnanimity.” (more…)