Press Release

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) urges the European Union (EU) to maintain the current level of sanctions on Burma until the Government of Burma takes further steps to demonstrate its commitment to peace, political reform, and respect for human rights.


Landmines in Myanmar’s southeastern Kayin and Kayah states and Bago division, and in the northern Shan and Kachin states, threaten the return of more than 450,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). (more…)

The government should investigate responsibility for the violence in Meiktila and the failure of the police to stop wanton killings and the burning of entire neighborhoods. Burma’s government should have learned the lessons of recent sectarian clashes in Arakan State and moved quickly to bolster the capacity of the police to contain violence and protect lives and property. (more…)

The Burmese government is systematically restricting humanitarian aid and imposing discriminatory policies on Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State. The government should permit unfettered access to humanitarian agencies to provide assistance to Muslim populations, end segregated areas, and put forward a plan for those displaced to return to their homes. (more…)

Draft legislation designed to govern the media in Burma threatens to reverse fragile press freedom gains recently achieved under President Thein Sein’s democratic reform program, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. (more…)

A new report by the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) details widespread civilian casualties from recent Burma Army offensives in Kachin areas and urges international pressure to end military aggression against the Kachin people. (more…)

1. One misconception about the use of torture in Myanmar is that it has been a form of human rights abuse most commonly associated with the cases of political prisoners, and therefore in the current period we should expect the incidence of torture to diminish as political conditions change. This misconception is in part because of the heavy concentration of human rights documentation on Myanmar over the years on political detainees, to the omission of ordinary criminal detainees. However, the Asian Legal Resource Centre has long brought to the attention of the Human Rights Council and its predecessor that torture in Myanmar is not confined to any particular type of case but rather is systemic and ongoing. Furthermore, the types of torture practiced in ordinary criminal cases in Myanmar are not mere slapping and beating, which people in the country take for granted when they are detained by police or other officials, but are also extremely savage and highly professional. (more…)

The Burmese government’s decision to form a committee to review political prisoner cases is a step in the right direction but the review needs to have a much wider reach, Amnesty International has said. (more…)

Despite moves towards political reform, children continue to be recruited and used as soldiers by armed forces and armed groups in Myanmar, a report published by Child Soldiers International said today. (more…)

Reporters Without Borders is today releasing a report entitled “The Burmese Spring” about the rapid progress that freedom of information has made in Burma, but also about the limits of this progress and the dangers it faces. (more…)

Myanmar must take all possible steps to avoid civilian casualties in Kachin state, Amnesty International said after three people were killed in air strikes which were reportedly carried out by the armed forces in the region. (more…)

Authorities in Burma should drop charges against activists who participated in peaceful protests against government policies, Human Rights Watch said today. Nine peace activists now face criminal charges for demonstrating in Rangoon without a permit on September 21, 2012, International Peace Day. Anti-mining protesters and land rights activists elsewhere in Burma have also been subject to intimidation and prosecution. (more…)

Six months after inter-communal violence broke out in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, some 115,000 displaced people are still living in challenging conditions. “UNHCR has distributed relief supplies to nearly two-thirds of the affected communities but the needs are still massive,” spokesman Adrian Edwards said on Friday. (more…)

For Immediate Release:

Monywa Cooper Mine Project is a joint venture between business communities of China and Myanmar that will bring benefits to both sides. Issues such as relocation, compensation, environmental protection and profit sharing regarding this project were jointly settled through negotiations by the two sides and meet Myanmar’s laws and regulations. We hope all levels of Myanmar society can create a favorable environment for the project’s smooth operation based on respect for laws and regulations of Myanmar. (more…)

In the latest turn of events in the struggle against the Letpadaung copper mining project in upper Burma, about which the Asian Human Rights Commission has been campaigning since mid-2012, the government has issued an announcement ordering that demonstrators abandon their protest sites or face criminal action. In an attempt to make its order look less like those of old and more like one responsive to parliamentary processes, the government has dressed the order up with the pretext that a special state-level commission will visit the area to investigate whether or not the project should go ahead but that, “The commission will not be able to look into the project as usual if the project activities are suspended. The commission will be able to independently investigate and correctly assess the project only when it is running as usual” (Press Release No. 7/2012). So that the project run “as usual”, the logic goes, the protestors must first all leave. (more…)

For Immediate Release
Monday, November 19, 2012
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320 (more…)

Stephen Greene
Acting Media Relations Director
sgreene [at] phrusa [dot] org
Tel: 617-301-4210
Cell: 617-510-3417
Cambridge, MA – 11/16/2012 (more…)

Myanmar’s leaders continue to demonstrate that they have the political will and the vision to move the country decisively away from its authoritarian past, but the road to democracy is proving hard. President Thein Sein has declared the changes irreversible and worked to build a durable partnership with the opposition. While the process remains incomplete, political prisoners have been released, blacklists trimmed, freedom of assembly laws implemented, and media censorship abolished. But widespread ethnic violence in Rakhine State, targeting principally the Rohingya Muslim minority, has cast a dark cloud over the reform process and any further rupturing of intercommunal relations could threaten national stability. Elsewhere, social tensions are rising as more freedom allows local conflicts to resurface. A ceasefire in Kachin State remains elusive. Political leaders have conflicting views about how power should be shared under the constitution as well as after the 2015 election. Moral leadership is required now to calm tensions and new compromises will be needed if divisive confrontation is to be avoided. (more…)

The Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) released a report today called “Pipeline Nightmare” that illustrates how the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline project, which will transport oil and gas across Burma to China, has resulted in the confiscation of people’s lands, forced labor, and increased military presence along the pipeline, affecting thousands of people. (more…)

Much has been made in recent times of the continued use in Burma of antiquated and anti-human rights laws from the country’s decades of military rule, as well as from the colonial era. While legislators discuss the amendment or revocation of some laws, and the issue is debated in the public domain, much less is said of the superstructure of military-introduced administrative orders that officials around the country continue to employ in their day-to-day activities, invariably in order to circumscribe or deny human rights. (more…)

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