Inside Burma

Top-ranking Karen rebels are gearing up for an assembly in southeastern Burma this week, where a fractured leadership will discuss their future role in the nation’s main ethnic coalition and the possibility of uniting Karen rebels under a single military alliance.

UNICEF has launched “Birth Registration Week” in Myanmar from October 20-24 to highlight the need for families to make sure they obtain birth certificates for their newborns.

The Burmese government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC)—the body in charge of negotiating with Burma’s armed ethnic groups—has suggested setting up a joint liaison body with the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) to prevent further hostilities in Shan State in the wake of renewed clashes between the Shan armed group and government forces.

An official from Burma’s Motion Picture and Video Censor Board, a body under the Ministry of Information, defended the government’s decision to reintroduce censorship for direct-to-video films, claiming the old rules are necessary because many recent movies have portrayed behaviour that runs counter to Burmese culture.

The main opposition in Myanmar, also known as Burma, says it welcomes the announcement of general elections for late next year.

The Myanmar Journalists Network (MJN) met with Information Minister Ye Htut on Tuesday to discuss their concerns about the rising number of legal actions lodged by the Burmese government against media employees.

Paintings of various styles, themes and colours form a patchwork-like carpet on the floor of Melissa Carlson’s flat in Mid-Levels. For all their differences, the works have one thing in common – all had been censored or banned from public display in Myanmar. (more…)

The parents of the two suspects in the Koh Tao murder case will get their Thai visas today and will fly to Thailand tomorrow, U Tin Htoo Aung, chairman of the Rakhine National Network told Mizzima on October 21. (more…)

Input from Chin nationals from across Myanmar will be canvassed to update the Chin Special Division Act of 1948, according to Salai Cei Beik Thong, programme director of the Orchid Foundation. (more…)

The wife of a local journalist said that he has been detained by the Burma Army while reporting in Mon State on the  recent fighting between government forces and Karen rebels. She alleged that he has been custody of the army for several weeks and called for his immediate release. (more…)

Activists met with Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday to submit research on negative impacts of the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a currently stalled mega industrial and transport project jointly developed by the governments of Burma and Thailand. (more…)

An unregistered minority-focused newspaper was ordered to shut down in northwestern Burma’s Chin State last week, the second such forced closure within a month. (more…)

Confusion has emerged over the ownership structure of popular free-to-air channel MRTV-4. The network’s private investors have failed to clarify comments from a senior Ministry of Information official who insisted it has been wholly private since its establishment in 2006. (more…)

Cramped courts hidden down back alleys with half-trained staff – that was the picture of the nation’s judiciary that emerged from a frank exchange of views in Nay Pyi Taw recently. (more…)

Civil society representatives met last week in Yangon to discuss a range of issues central to the transition to democracy, and to the country’s future. These included legal reform, human rights, the voluntary NGO registration law, media law and the national education bill. A common theme in the discussion was the government’s failure to listen to the public’s views when considering laws meant to advance the transition. (more…)

Human rights activists in Myanmar have criticized President U Thein Sein’s request to block submission of a human rights report by the European Union to the United Nations General Assembly during his participation in the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, Italy. (more…)

Three Karen women’s rights groups have urged various Karen rebel groups to overcome their differences and unify militarily and politically in order to better represent the interests of the Karen people in southeastern Burma. (more…)

A landmine exploded outside a school in Kachin State on Saturday, injuring three people including two young students. No casualties have been reported. (more…)

Government troops have agreed to retreat from some areas near the upper Salween River, during an emergency meeting with ethnic Shan rebels on Saturday. (more…)

The October 16 trial of activist Htin Kyaw has been postponed until October 20 because he was too weak to attend Kyauktada Township Court following an 11-day hunger strike at Insein Prison, said his lawyer Robert San Aung. (more…)

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