KAOWAO NEWS NO. 109
Newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma
April 17 - May 4, 2006
poverty in displaced village on Thai Burma border
migrants die in Andaman Sea at border crossing
hope for survival, migrants waiting to enter Thailand
Teleglobe to pull out of Burma: a Call on World Press
Burmese asylum seekers show up for registration
of Mon refugees increasing daily in Malaysia
SONGKRAN: Buddhist Water Festival in USA
Authorities order relocation of private homes in Burmese
Probability: Wooing China and India (By Nehginpao
Child poverty in displaced village on
Thai Burma border
(Kaowao: May 4, 2006)
Sangkhalaburi -- Over a hundred displaced children have
no access to education or health services and live well
below the poverty line near to a Thai village, according
to a social worker who provides assistance to the needy
Their official status in Thailand precludes travel
outside of the village in which many of the families
have no chance to support themselves.
Nai Chan, a villager from Sangkhalaburi, who visits the
stateless people said most of them hail from Wae Kwao
village in Yebyu Township. There are about 80 men and 60
women plus their children. “The children wear worn and
dirty clothing, while their parents have difficulty
finding jobs to put food on the table,” he added.
The displaced villagers built small huts near Ga-Ee Mong
Thai village on the way to Halockhanee refugee camp and
are taken care of by the Karen Abbot of the Buddhist
Some women ready to give birth are unable to go to the
local Changlook Christian Hospital or the Sangkhalaburi
clinic due to not having identity papers to present to
the authorities and have to give birth solo.
The whole population of 202 people, comprised of 49
households, originally fled from southern Mon State and
Northern Tenasserim Division over the past years after
their houses was destroyed by the Burma Army who accused
them of supporting a Mon guerrilla group led by Nai
Hloin and Nai Bin.
Hundreds of local villagers from Pauk Pinkwin (Wae
Kwao), Ma Kyi and Hoay Kyar villages fled to the Thai
Burma border during a military operation to wipe out the
Mon insurgent groups, many homes were destroyed by Burma
Army in 2004.
Nai Hla, a villager of 60 who wants to go home, said,
“We have no money to pay traffickers to go into Thailand
for work and there is no work around here. The Burma
Army took all our belongings, our rice, and then burned
down our houses. Many of us were tortured and
arrested. They accused us of helping the Mon armed
20 migrants die in Andaman Sea at border crossing
(Kaowao: May 2, 2006)
It is feared that 20 migrant workers from southern Burma
drowned while they tried to cross the Thai Burma border
near Ranong, southern Thailand.
A local source reported that the migrant workers came
from Lamine city, southern Mon State and were swept away
with the force of the rising tide while trying to escape
the Thai Navy Police about 10 p.m. in the evening.
The victims who recently left their homes to work in
Thailand were brought over by a boat from the opposite
side, the southernmost city in Burma, Kawthaung. The
boat owner, Nai Win Aung who spotted the Thai navy on
patrol let the passengers off to wade through the
shallow water to the Thai mainland; the migrant workers
were soon caught when the tide rose. Among the 20
people who perished were three children according to a
local witness who talked to Kaowao under the condition
The Thai search and rescue team who later monitored the
incident by helicopter saved another 17 people and
charged them with illegal entry into the Kingdom.
“It is tragic but it happens this time of year. Human
traffickers and migrants are unprepared for the journey,
they just hope for the best when they set off through
the rivers and jungle to go to Thailand,” Nai Myaing a
resident from Ranong said.
“Many hundreds of Mon migrants face danger while making
the journey and need to be informed from the moment they
leave about crossing bodies of water, every year several
drown in rivers not knowing how to swim. Especially
vulnerable are women and young children who are led into
difficult situations that threatens their safety, there
is a social expectation among migrants that
underestimate dangerous situations in terms of safety,”
said Aleta Cooper working with a Burmese NGO.
Hundreds of Mon, escaping abject poverty and human
rights abuses by the Burmese military, gathered recently
at Thanbyu Zayat city in central Mon State waiting to
enter Thailand before the start of the rainy season.
Many migrants head to Thailand where many thousands work
for survival wages in the fishing, construction,
tourism, and agriculture industries.
Last hope for survival, migrants waiting
to enter Thailand
(Kaowao: May 2, 2006)
Recognized as being one of Southeast Asia’s largest
undocumented migration groups, hundreds of Mon migrants
from southern Burma are gathering on the outskirts of
Zubbu city in central Mon state planning to escape
abject poverty and human rights abuses.
Huge crowds gathered in the city over the past few days
and are waiting to make their journey ahead of the rainy
season and the scourge of malaria that comes with it,
according to an eyewitness report from the area.
“The rainy season will start soon so many cross the
border before the motor road closes. Even now, the
passengers have to pull the truck all the way to Three
Pagoda Pass because of the rain,” said a passenger from
Mudon, in Mon State.
Most are Mon nationals from southern Burma heading
across the border to Ranong, southern Thailand on the
Andaman Sea where many thousands of Mon and Burmese
migrants work for survival wages in the construction,
tourism, and agriculture industries. Others will find
work on large rubber plantations in Hadyai, Surat and
Phuket Provinces that are seen everywhere in southern
Thailand and which represents the largest cash crop in
the region and the security of a good wage.
A town resident, Nai Ein told a Kaowao reporter that the
Burmese local authorities will this time turn a blind
eye to the human trafficking law as ordered by the SPDC.
“The low wages and sky rocketing prices is driving
people to migrant to Thailand, especially after the
government increased civil servant salaries,” he
For many of the young men and women, it will be their
first time crossing the border. Some are following their
partners who returned home before the Songkran New Year
and are dreaming of sending money back home. Most are
illiterate with 4 years of formal schooling and have
little awareness of the dangers crossing the border or
knowledge of HIV and other diseases.
The exchange rate at the border towns differs from place
to place depending on the flow of migrant workers. In
Ranong, the exchange rate of 37.5-38 Kyat is equal to 1
Baht and in the Three Pagodas Pass the rate is from 39
or 39.5 Kyat to 1 Baht.
A Mon villager at the Three Pagodas Pass estimates that
two hundred people pass the border daily. The migrants
wait along the border to enter the Kingdom where they
negotiate a deal with local traffickers who work in
cahoots with the Thais to get them across the border and
into Thailand without being detected by the Thai police.
It is at this point where they may encounter dangerous
and unscrupulous individuals. Four migrants were shot
and killed last week while crossing.
Nai Agga from the Maesot border town reported it is
difficult to estimate how many people pass the border,
but he figures the migrants pay the local traffickers
from 7,000 to 15,000 Baht to enter the Kingdom. Those
who pay 15,000 Baht get a special bus, and those who pay
7,000 Baht are hidden in big trucks, while others slog
through the jungles and rivers to avoid police
checkpoints. There are no official estimates, but
Burmese migrants leaving Burma over the past decade
number in the millions, many have chosen to stay in
Thailand and neighbouring countries to live a secure
Teleglobe to pull out of Burma: a Call on World Press
(Canadian Friends of Burma)
(Ottawa, April 3, 2006) -- On the occasion of World
Press Freedom Day, Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB)
is calling on a Canadian internet and telecommunication
company, Teleglobe, to withdraw its internet
service operations from Burma, for intolerable
restrictions on the basic human right of freedom of
Montreal-based Teleglobe, which provides internet and
telecommunication services in more than 36 countries,
started its operations in Burma at the end of 2005. The
Burmese military government thoroughly controls all
media and telecommunication in Burma and internet access
to outside world is severely restricted.
Burma is one of the most restrictive regimes of internet
control on this earth and punishments are unreasonably
“The presence of Teleglobe in Burma, with its modern
technology and infrastructures, paves the way for the
effective and systematic control over internet and other
media freedoms there,” said Tin Maung Htoo, coordinator
of Canadian Friends of Burma.
CFOB opposes any foreign business that benefits the
ruling military junta in Burma. Internet security
provided by Hong Kong-based SS8 Networks Inc. and
internet filtering system known as Fortinet
Fortiguard on the infrastructures and services
provided by Teleglobe, clearly open up for a modern form
of “Police State” in Burma. CFOB regards this kind of
business operation as “collusion” on the restriction of
freedom in Burma.
CFOB also notes that Teleglobe was acquired in Feb.,
2006 by an India company, Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL)
Limited. Nevertheless, CFOB will continue to pressure
the company to pull out of Burma until and unless media
freedom and freedom of _expression are recognized in
Burma. CFOB will also try to draw more Canadian public
attention on complicity of Teleglobe in unacceptable
restriction of freedom of _expression in Burma.
For more info contact: Tin Maung Htoo at (519) 860-4745,
or Jameel Madhany at (613) 884-8015Email:
A few Burmese asylum seekers show up for registration
(Kaowao: May 1, 2006)
Only a few Burmese asylum seekers showed up to renew
their registration for refugee status at the local
office in Sangkhalaburi, Karnchanaburi Province on the
Local sources reported that during the renewal process
for recognition of UNHCR status, about 130 applicants
contacted the authorities for an interview. The renewal
dates started April 25 to 27, 2006 and was administered
by Thai officials. “Many probably fear arrest if they
show up,” one observer noted.
In 2004, 274 people in this area were granted
Non-Indochinese or NI refugee registration papers to
enter the refugee camp set up by the Thai government.
“It has been a long wait, the situation isn’t secure
here anymore on the border, I now have chance to move to
another country where my children can attend school,”
said a relieved Nai Htow from Pa-an township who escaped
forced labour back home 5 years ago. They are expecting
to enter the camp and resettle in a third country in the
The UNHCR officer who oversaw the process was really
surprised to see only a few people came to apply for the
refugee status, said Nai Myint an asylum seeker from
Waeng Ka village.
“The waiting process is too long, the people can’t wait
that long, they have no other means of survival and have
to move on to find work so they can eat, this area is
too small, they have to move on to Bangkok or Mahachai
where they can find work,” he added.
Several former Hongsawatoi Restoration Party members led
by Colonel Pan Nyunt had applied for political asylum at
the office 2 years ago. The HRP split from the New Mon
State Party in 2002 and fought against the military
regime, but their base camps were mortared in a military
offensive in southern Mon State and Northern Tenasserim
region when the Burmese military launched its sweeping
operations looking for the insurgents. As a result, many
of HRP soldiers deserted to the border for protection.
Some were recognized by the UNHCR.
Provisional Administration Board comprised of eight Thai
authorities and one official from the UNHCR who cannot
speak Burmese or Mon monitored the refugee registration.
The source reported that those who failed to contact the
office at this specific date would fail to receive an
interview in the refugee process.
Most of the asylum seekers are Mon, Karen, Tavoyan and
Burman from rural areas in Burma and have fled from
forced voluntary labour for the Burmese government and
human rights abuses by the Burmese military over the
past two years.
Number of Mon refugees increasing daily
(Kaowao: April 30, 2006)
The influx of Mon asylum seekers in Malaysia has
increased since the closure of UNHCR office in Bangkok,
according to Mon Refugee Centre.
Several Mons are looking for help in applying for
refugee status at the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Kualur Lumpur but their
chances of securing the status is minimal given
Malaysia’s restrictive protection environment regarding
refugees, says a social worker from the Mon Refugee
Center, Nai Lawee Chan.
However, Mon refugees with the help of local NGOs formed
the Mon Refugee Centre, a small office to coordinate
with the newly established protection network underway
in Malaysia, which is to address and recognize the
problem of incoming refugees, while the center is unable
to secure refugee status they are able to provide advice
and assistance in looking for work and medical care, as
well as providing shelter, food, and clothing.
In terms of seeking protection, many Mon asylum seekers
claim that the UNHCR officials have only accepted a few
refugees who have medical notes from local doctors which
entitles them for a further interview toward either
securing temporary resident or refugee status.
A Mon youth Ong Chem Tala, who fled Burma by boat
fearing arrest of local militia in An Khae, Thanbyu
Zayat in Mon State, was recently recognized as a refugee
after a long waiting process. Malaysian police arrested
him after he held a protest in front of the Burmese
Embassy and the UNHCR officials conducted an interview
with him in prison.
Nai Roy Mon from Beelu Kyun Island, a social worker who
now stays at the MRC office added that several thousand
villagers, mostly from southern Mon State, have fled
their homeland to escape massive repression by the
Burmese military by land and sea. Many of them chose
Malaysia for a better life instead of Thailand but they
are stuck there due to the still insecure situation of
“It is unfortunate that our Buddhist communities don’t
help each other, while other Muslim and Christian groups
are working tirelessly at lobbying for the non-Buddhist
refugees,” says Soiha Raejae who fled from his village
in northern Ye after the local authorities looked to him
as a scapegoat in the murder of a village headman, Nai
Since human rights violations continue in Mon State,
many have fled to Malaysia as illegal immigrants. Many
work and live under miserable conditions; they have no
contact with any officials and know nothing about the
UNHCR. They have no idea how to apply for refugee
status and are not informed by advocacy groups like the
Red Cross or Refugee International,” said, Nai Minnyan,
a Mon community leader from Gorge Town, Penang.
Some Mons in Kuala Lumpur having been granted refugee
status have left for third countries, yet many thousands
remain hiding in Malaysia and live a hand to mouth
existence sneaking out to work as illegal migrant
labourers to buy food and clothing.
The UNHCR in Malaysia granted Rohingyas from Burma
refugee status granting them temporary status in 2004,
thus allowing freedom of movement around the country.
Chin Refugee Committee (CRC) reported, there are about
12,000 Chin living in Malaysia, of which more than 9,000
are registered with the CRC. More than 2,500 Chin have
applied for registration as asylum seekers with the
UNHCR and have been provided with documentation that
identifies them to Malaysian authorities.
Refugees International recommends that the UNHCR
continue its work protecting and assisting refugees in
Malaysia and is speeding up the registration process for
refugees and asylum seekers, especially in outlying
areas where refugees are mostly unregistered.
The Mons for centuries had a long tradition of trade
with Malaysia and have traveled back and forth between
the two countries. Several thousand Mons are hiding or
working in Malaysia after being forced out of their
homeland due to human rights abuse and the dismal
employment prospects in Burma.
SONGKRAN: Buddhist Water Festival in USA
(Kun Yekha: April 17, 2006)
For the sake of culture unity and religious activity,
Mons in Fort Wayne, Indiana happily celebrated their
second Mon Songkran water festival in commemoration of
the New Year.
"Songkran" is a word from one of the world’s oldest
languages, Sanskrit, meaning to "move into" and refers
to the orbit of the sun moving into Aries. It marks the
end of the 12-month cycle and the beginning of the new
solar year and is celebrated by most Buddhists as
Songkran. In Burma, it is special time to get together
with family and friends in the homeland and a festive
way to cool down in 40-degree heat during water
splashing, the major event during the festival that
continues for 3 days in Burma and Thailand.
The underlying significance of Songkran is the process
of cleansing and purification - the purging of all ills,
misfortune and evil - starting the New Year afresh with
all that is good and pure. Water, which has played a
huge role in South and Southeast Asian cultures for
centuries, is symbolic of the cleaning process and
On the first day, April 15th, various activities were
undertaken for funfair such as running with round bamboo
trays, biting cakes, tug a war, sports competitions, and
dancing. In the morning, merit-making rituals were
performed and offerings were made to the Buddhist monks.
Mind-cleaning and personal cleansing were also part of
this "renewal" process. In the evening, young girls and
children swathed in traditional customs burst forth with
energy dancing to Mon music accompanied by applause from
the audience watching the show.
On the second day, Songkran rice was served to the
devotees and the many guests who came to participate in
the special event. Buddha images and monks were bathed
with fragrance water in a gesture of respect after
receiving the five precepts, the rules of the practicing
Buddhist to follow the right path to enlightenment,
while they recited some verses to the rhythm of cymbals.
Later in the afternoon, the young people splashed water
on each other to the sound of drum beating, followed by
a lottery in which winners won Mon Buddhist calendars.
Authorities order relocation of private
homes in Burmese border town
(Banyol Kin/ IMNA: April 27, 2006)
People in parts of Three Pagoda Pass town are being
displaced to make way for the implementation of town
development projects. Dozens of private houses were
destroyed and local Thai military authorities relocated
people on the Thai-Burmese border town recently.
More than 70 private house owners, near the police
station in Three Pagoda Pass town have been ordered to
move to Thaung Wine, northeast of town. Local
authorities at a meeting yesterday decided the
relocation programme, an official said.
“I think it is positive and good for us because we will
own 40/60 feet wide land,” said Mi Mu Zaw, a member of a
One local official, who asked not to be named, told IMNA
that at the meeting authorities also agreed to provide
compensation for 47 families who have house registration
With their old houses destroyed, the people cannot move
to a new place because they don't know where to live as
authorities did not measure the land for them, according
to an eyewitness.
Some are living in temporary shelters at their old place
and some are staying at friends' homes, he said.
Burma’s Probability: Wooing China and India
By Nehginpao Kipgen
April 26, 2006
As Burma strategists and political planners are pooling
in the ballroom, varying thoughts and approaches are
excogitated. Noting that multifarious engagements can
help evolve a durable solution, there is an urgency of
the critical importance of the two Asian giants – China
and India – intrinsically demanding and inseparable to
the impetus of a realistic democratization process in
Burma. However, this emphasis does not convey that the
pivotal roles of Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), European Union (EU), United States (US), and
the United Nations (UN) are underrated. Analyzing the
precarious politics of Burma, the writer is reflecting
strategies that are probable to engendering amicable
In line with their esteem for democratic values, the
ideals and principles of democracy are seen embedded
inherently in the politics of the United States of
America and the United Kingdom governments among others.
Conversely, People’s Republic of China (PRC) is
emphatically projecting its communism to be efficacious
governance than other administrative systems. This is a
question that often raises the eyebrows of some
observers and politicians: “if communism does better
than democracy.” Let us inject a comparative study to
suffice the dilemmatic spectrum of the two.
China’s communism is neither a replica of Burma’s
military junta nor the democracy of its traditional
rival India. Nonetheless, the shadow of a single party
dominated communism is not ulterior to the standing
image of Burma’s military dictatorial regime.
Administration is convenient and decision-making is
easier in a communist government. Though marred by human
rights abuses and religious persecutions similar to
Burma, China proves to be thriving economically and
militarily than India. On the other hand, India, which
is the world’s largest democracy, is basically a country
of public opinions. Checks and balances at the three
branches of government – legislative, executive and
judiciary squarely matter in all administrative units.
Although legislative changes and constitutional
amendments may be seldom, if happens, they are
representatives' mandate, which is an essential practice
in a democratic institution.
China toward Burma
The steady emergence of PRC economically and militarily
has immensely effected changes both regionally and
globally. While the western world is propagating for the
spread and burgeoning of democracy around the world,
China is exuding its result-oriented communist ethos.
There is no doubt about the implications of China on
other countries with its myriad imports and exports.
Burma’s markets and households are overwhelmed with
cheap but impressive Chinese products ranging from
essential commodities to bulky merchandized goods. China
has succeeded in ingraining its cultural and financial
influences on Burma. Many of the wealth-to-do families
and businesses have rested on the shoulders of the
Chinese community. In other words, China has proven
itself to be one of the biggest Burma’s trading
beneficiaries and partners thereby entailing to be one
of its strategic ally.
Sanctions from western countries, particularly the EU
and US on Burma, are yet another incremental mileage for
China. While Burma is largely seen cornered and isolated
by the international community, China extends its soft
hands to the hierarchy of the regime by offering variant
incentives. This cemented diplomatic cordiality serves
as one hardest substance to penetrate the periphery of
the ruling regime. The hardening of this rigidity is
augmented by the renewed Burma-Russia relationship. Both
China and Russia status as permanent members at the
United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is even a greater
challenge when it comes to dealing with Burma.
India toward Burma
Had China not been aggressively advancing in the region,
India might have taken a different road map toward the
perplexed Burma. While seeing China as a traditional
rival and potential threat to its territorial integrity,
India cold-shoulders to the hue and cry for a democratic
change in Burma. Economic interest is another important
factor. The world’s biggest institutions of communism
and democracy are on hot pursuit for regional influence
and international presence. This is one of the reasons
why Indian politicians and decision makers seemingly
have contradicting statements when they are in the
opposition camp and once ascended to power. The bottom
line here is that national interests and security
matters most for individual countries.
Moreover, the racial diversity of India also has a
tremendous weight in shaping its foreign policies.
Majority of the people in the eight sister states of the
northeast India are racially of mongoloid stock of
people, different from majority of the Indian
population. A sense of being foreign to Indian mainland
and an alleged step-motherly treatment from the Indian
government to people of these states have resonated with
insurgency campaigns ranging from statehood demand to
secession. Curbing the activities of these insurgents,
many have bases in the soil of Burma, necessitates their
cooperation. In reciprocation, India needs to extend a
good will gesture to appease the Burmese military
leaders. This may also pertains to the launching of
India’s “Look East” policy.
Despite the low ebb enthusiasm, India appears to be more
considerate and concerned over the Burmese democratic
struggle than China. Thousands of both registered and
unregistered refugees from Burma are allowed to settle
in the country through the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees’ New Delhi office and some
local Non-Governmental Organizations. Privileges and
opportunities given to the Burmese community in India by
the government is by and large less significant than
those of the Tibetans, yet this is one evident example
construed to be India’s discreet solidarity to the
Burmese democratic struggle. In the calculations of many
world political analysts, these actions are apparently
too little to help resolve the decades’ old Burmese
Different political strategists may conceptualize on how
to bring forth a genuine democracy in different
perspectives. Here, “genuine democracy” connotes a type
of democracy that can mutually be acceptable to all
sections of the peoples of Burma. Probable solutions to
the ongoing political imbroglio in Burma, according to
the writer, may be achieved primarily in two different
ways – Intervention and Popular Uprising.
In resolving any political conflict involving two
opposite groups, the intervention of a third party is
one of the most viable solutions. Noticing the different
levels of interventions such as diplomatic intervention,
economic sanctions, and military intervention, let us
study if these interventions are probable solutions for
Burma. Diplomatic intervention and economic sanctions
have been unevenly used in the past 10 plus years by the
international community, particularly by the EU, US and
the UN. These actions unequivocally brought immense
impacts on both the populace and the ruling military
regime. Had these engagements been concerted efforts
involving Burma’s neighboring countries – particularly
China and India, juggernaut changes could have happened.
With the recalcitrant nature of Burma’s military leaders
and appeasement diplomacies of some of the deciding
countries on their side, no pragmatic transformation has
been visualized till date. While many tend to see the EU
and US for tougher actions including military
intervention, its reality is far from near. Imminent
dangers posed by countries such as Iran, North Korea and
the unabated Middle-East crisis overshadow problems in
the Southeast Asian country like Burma.
The 2005 informal briefing on Burma at the UNSC, which
was the culmination of Burmese democratic movement for
the year, was words that ended without enforcement.
China and Russia stance on the ground that “Burma is not
a threat to international peace and security,” which is
the basic objective for forming the United Nations, has
stalled the Security Council’s unprecedented maneuver.
In yet another encouraging sign, ASEAN, while sidelining
its traditional non-interference policy on member
country, reached agreement to push for the speedy
democratization process. However, this initiative turned
out to be only a rhetoric remarks when the ASEAN special
envoy, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar,
visiting Burma in March 2006, had to cut short his
three-day trip by one day and returned home empty-handed
without even meeting Aung San Suu Kyi. Albar's visit
followed a trip by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono to Rangoon only to signaled Jakarta's growing
interest in engaging with the junta-led administration.
These failures further dashed a hope for the regional
bloc’s anticipated engagement.
At this juncture, the feasibility of one intervention
could be a formal discussion of Burma’s issues at the
UNSC with binding resolutions. To achieve this
objective, cooperation from lobbyists and advocates
including the Burmese activists and members of the
Security Council is necessary. If any binding agreement
can be reached, non-compliance on the part of the
Burmese military regime will be moved in accordance with
the resolutions. Any intransigent reaction on Burma
could even entail sending of UN peace keeping forces.
When talking about Burma politics, the 1988 democracy
uprising, popularly known as the 8888 uprising, cannot
remain untouched. This was the turning point of a
democratic struggle permeating beyond international
borders. The 1990 country-wide general election and the
birth of umpteen political parties thereafter are the
consequences of this historic popular uprising. Had not
the 8888 uprising happened, the international awareness
of Burma’s issues could have been in the shadow of the
A noble cause to rise up for another popular uprising is
not an easy question to answer. The massive loss of
lives and properties, the horrendous massacre and
incarceration of several brave demonstrators by the
military personnel have tremendously demoralized the
nerves of many in the country where justice does not
prevail. Despite all these cumbersome tasks and
bemoaning scenario, Burma’s political turmoil and the
continued rampant human rights abuses speak far
exceedingly. Some international observers express
reservations on the probability of a mass uprising.
However, glimpsing at transitional governments around
the world, changes generally come from within. This does
not simplify that movements in exile should abandon its
trend of moving forward. When movements from both within
and outside the country are at its melting point,
people’s power will prevail.
Finally, support and cooperation from the international
community is an ever demanding diplomacy. Coordination
of pro-democracy campaigns from within and outside Burma
is at its prominence to effect changes in the country.
When the western world, particularly the United States
government and like-minded countries, is exerting its
pressure at the United Nations Security Council,
advocates and lobbyists around the world should impress
other international players to accentuate the move. It
now evidently appears that exploring amicable solutions
to the Burmese myriad problems with the preclusion of
its two neighbors – China and India is a hard nut to
crack. Umpteen engagements from the western nations are
found to be effective to a certain extent, yet a
proactive cooperation of these two Asia heavy weights is
a paramount importance.
The writer is the General Secretary of the US based Kuki
International Forum (KIF) and a researcher on the rise
of political conflicts in modern Burma (1947-2004). He
can be reached at
On Kanbawza Win’s “The Bulldog and the ASEAN”
As a "once been economist" and "a born
again--- substitute any label”, I thank Kaowao News" for
the opinions/analysis of Kanbawza Win’s “The Bulldog and
the ASEAN”. There are "protagonists" and
"apologists" either for democracy and/ or dictatorship
The struggle for Democracy continues, and reports from
places, within and outside Burma (Myanmar), one can,
if living outside Burma can access. Who represents
whom, who has been delegated to and by whom,
to represent the people of Burma (Myanmar). To me, we
can only try as concerned persons, to offer opinions and
analysis based on our experience and perception, in the
hope that leaders and states men/women would come to a
point of political reconciliation.
The end game to me is first --- survival, then security
of life/livelihood, whether it is the individual, or the
group he belongs or identifies at the moment in
On “Federal Constitution Seminar held in Kawthoolei”
Thanks for the briefing about a future federal union.
Out of interest, how did the delegates determine the
territorial boundaries for each state within this
Best wishes for the New Year!
The FCDCC's draft has indicated about the principles in
determining the territorial boundaries of the
constituent states. It was in the provision for
formation of new states. The Draft will be distributed
widely in 2 months time for feed back and input from
the grassroots communities, political parties and all
spectrum of Burman and non- Burman Ethnic societies of
Basically, there will be 8 states as was historically
accepted at Pang Long in 1947 namely: -
1. Araken State
2. Burman State
3. Chin State
4. Kachin State
5. Karen State
6. Karenni State (Kayah)
7. Mon State and
8. Shan State
Since change is needed based on the desire and
aspirations of the grassroots communities of
multi-ethnics societies of Burma and the Burman
themselves, space has been provided for flexibility to
meet the change.
- Burman themselves could create more than one state if
they so desire.
- Ethnically mixed areas of present 7 divisions, any
division such as Sagaing, Tennesarim, Pago and Irrawady,
etcetera could decide whether they would like to create
a mixed state for themselves to be a constituent state
of the new federal union.
Changes could be made in accordance with the provision
of the constitution (draft) which provides consultation,
initiation by the local communities calling for a
formation of a state, parliamentary enquiry made and
decided by a referendum and then promulgated into law.
These are all aimed at Unity in Diversity or
non-disintegration of the federal union,
self-determination, democracy and equality based on the
principle that people of Burma are SOVEREIGN.
I think some more thoughts should be given on this
principle of "People are Sovereign" and practically
empowering the people all the time. Not just the right
to select and vote at election time and give all the
legislative powers (sovereignty) to the MPs those were
nominated by the political parties (Global mainstream
constitutions where political party elite's powers were
I think the fourth institution, peoples' institution,
should be invented to pass the line of mainstream
constitutions. That still has to be considered by the
FCDCC drafters. Recent Thailand's political events are
to be a case study to avoid repeating it in future Union
It was smoothing to read the FCDCC's statement with
regard to the recently concluded seminar. I, once, asked
a veteran politician and a member of FCDCC advisory
board on the modus operandi of choosing delegates for
the seminar. He assured that he would bring the issue to
the attention of the masterminds at the summit. I
haven't heard yet if his words were put into action. My
primary concern was how inclusive are we in this exiled
Although the impact of this initiative remains to be
seen, I sincerely appreciate every individual for your
altruistic endeavors. I am looking forward to reading
the outcome of the painstaking deliberation.
On “Dilemma in funding Burmese NGOs”
It is a great idea for pointing out the NGO business and
the professionals spreading around the border. While
our focus is working against the SPDC, we should also
view ourselves and find out about our weak point. Money
is not very much needed for our movement but how to use
it more affectively is also a good plan.
The scathing criticism by Cham Toik and Saimon against
NGOs concerning the allocations of fund provided by
Canadian government for Burmese Democratic movement do
not pinpoint the actual defect of misappropriation. How
a tragic it is to embroil ourselves back in the old
tactic of BSPP even among the new generation whenever we
are meeting with Mr. Money. If we are not free from
unethical war of envy left over by BSPP, how can we
build the house of democracy in Union of Burma? We have
a very proud history of thirty young men fighting
against the British legions and successfully shouldered
our sovereignty back to Burma in 1948. Now we are
thousand of comrades marching only in name of democracy
but trampling one another in the stampede among
We all Burmese are still very sick from BSPP and SPDC
virus and badly need one medicine to cure- that is
Compromise, Compromise, and Compromise.
Ko Ko San
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