Save Burma

ျပည္သူေတြဆီမွာ လြတ္လပ္မႈနဲ႔ တန္းတူညီမွ်မႈ အရင္ဆံုး ရွိေနမွ ဒီမိုိကေရစီ စံႏႈန္းရွိတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

Posts Tagged ‘Than Shwe

Burma’s Nuclear Mystery

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A mysterious silence surrounds the Obama administration’s failure to disclose the extent of Burma’s nuclear threat as required under US law

Burma’s Nuclear Mystery

By Scott Johnson  Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Allegations of Burma’s nuclear ambitions hit the newswires on June 3rd with a report by a former U.N. nuclear expert claiming the military regime is seeking to develop an atomic bomb.

Commissioned by the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the report clearly raised the stakes about this newest threat to international security and peace, which previously had been recognized only within intelligence circles and Burma’s pro-democracy movement. In response, US Senator Jim Webb even cancelled his planned trip to the Burmese capital where he was due to meet the generals in charge. Thus it’s clear the nuclear allegations are serious and yet there has long been a deafening silence about Burma’s nuclear ambitions.

In 2008 an Act of Congress was promulgated in the United States requiring the US State Department to disclose findings on Burma’s nuclear capabilities. The initial date for this mandatory annual disclosure was January 2009, and at this stage there should have been two such reports. To date, though, the Administration has been silent. The law in question is the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008. Its intent is to promote human rights, and it includes sanctions and embargoes on such things as halting gemstone profits to Burma’s repressive dictatorship. The law also includes measures supporting democratic reforms and humanitarian needs for the people of Burma.

More specifically, however, in Section 10 of the Act there is a requirement that the State Department publicly report to Congress about Burma’ military programs and suppliers, including their “weapons of mass destruction and related materials, capabilities, and technology, including nuclear, chemical, or dual use capabilities.” This requirement extends to the ominous task of listing the countries that provide such aid to Burma and that such be reported by none other than the US Secretary of State.

Yet it’s as if the JADE Act never existed. All is silent from Secretary Clinton, President Obama, the State Department, Congress and most everyone else in Washington. Those concerned with US law and nuclear proliferation have seemingly gone into hibernation.

Well, not all however, there are some pro-democracy groups – “Dictator Watch” for one, that has been publishing evidence of Burma’s nuclear ambitions for years. Their latest move was in April 2010, months before the DVB report was released, when they filed a freedom of information act application (FOIA) to the US State Department. The application specifically demanded why Section 10 of the JADE Act is being ignored.

I spoke to Roland Watson, the director of Dictator Watch, about this action and he provided a chilling description of Burma’s nuclear ambition. He also congratulated the Democratic Voice of Burma for getting their report in the public eye, for he believes Burma’s nuclear proliferation has been ignored far too long. He believes international action is needed to curtail Burma’s plans as it poses a multiple threat to international security. The regime is not only trying to acquire nuclear weapons; there is good evidence that it is selling refined uranium (yellow cake) to North Korea and perhaps even Iran. Watson’s organisation has conducted extensive research on the Burma nuclear issue, and has accumulated intelligence from ten different sources. These include Burmese military defectors who were trained in Russia on nuclear and related military technologies. The key to unlock the mysterious silence on the JADE Act is intricately linked to Burma’s dealings with North Korea, Russia, China and Iran.

Watson states that the Burmese military rulers first expressed an interest in becoming a nuclear power in the 1960s but that things escalated in 2001 when the regime, then under the dubious name SLORC, “struck a deal with Russia to buy a reactor.” The Burmese regime, now called the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), was due in 2010 to have already completed this reactor. Hard evidence of this is lacking, though, but the deal with Moscow has long been public and ever since the SPDC has been sending military officers to Russia for training. The SPDC refers to this training as their State Scholar Program and Watson reports they have “sent anywhere from 3000 to 5000 officers to Russia, where they’ve been studying sciences related to tunnelling, aviation, ships, missiles, and all sorts of military related technologies.” These studies include nuclear sciences.

Dictator Watch has had access to information from two defectors of the SPDC’s State Scholar Program who had exposure to the nuclear program. These defectors reported that the SPDC is pursuing uranium enrichment, and also that it has acquired equipment for “plutonium activation,” from North Korea. The two sources of fissionable material for an atomic weapon are highly enriched uranium, and plutonium that is produced as a reactor by-product. It appears that Burma is following both tracks towards developing a bomb.

Watson provided a summary of Burma’s nuclear evidence. “First, Burma has uranium deposits and they have long admitted it themselves.” The SPDC in fact published such on their own Ministry of Energy website, identifying numerous sites. He reiterated that not only have commercially viable uranium deposits been found and are being mined, but that they are “being milled into yellow cake and offered for sale on the black market to anybody willing to pay the price.” Indeed, Watson said “Dictator Watch has information about such sale attempts.”

The international customers for Burma’s yellow cake include North Korea and some intelligence sources suggest Iran as well. It is believed that the large quantity of yellow cake that Iran purchased from South Africa in the 1970s has run out. Iran’s enrichment program is substantial, and growing, and Tehran clearly needs to secure new uranium supplies.

Burma’s links to Iran and North Korea are extremely troubling, and it was in 2009 that a publicized incident occurred between the US Navy and a North Korean vessel – a known weapons carrier called the Kang Nam I. This North Korean ship was reportedly carrying advanced weaponry (possibly nuclear technology) destined for Burma and a US Destroyer was dispatched to interdict it. The Kang Nam I eventually turned back to North Korea with cargo intact. Watson reports, however, that the ship had already gone to Burma at least once, possibly two times previously and unloaded its cargo at Rangoon – at night. On one of those occasions the Kang Nam I continued on to Iran. In 2008 the United States through diplomatic requests to India also blocked a cargo flight from North Korea from flying to Iran after it stopped in Burma.

It is further believed that the interdicted Kang Nam I shipment from 2009 was successfully delivered to Rangoon port in April 2010.

Dictator Watch has evidence that North Korea has long been selling Burma an array of weaponry, including missiles and nuclear technology. The weapons include Scud missiles (short range ballistic missiles), and the SPDC is reportedly pointing them towards military bases in Thailand.

With all this nuclear and weapons skulduggery going on it’s a wonder why Burma hasn’t been brought before the United Nations Security Council. For Watson the threat is clear, “If you have uranium mining, milling and then bartering of yellow cake to North Korea and Iran you have a significant threat to international security and peace, including divergent rogue trafficking of yellow cake to terrorists.” However, China and Russia are permanent members of the Security Council and have historically protected the SPDC from international repercussions. On Beijing’s role Watson laments, “The Chinese are the godfathers of Kim Jong Ill and Than Shwe and on an issue as big as this they couldn’t work together if China didn’t say ok.”

One thing seems clear, the world does not need another rogue nuclear state, especially one with a human rights record as brutal as Burma’s. As for the long silence on Burma’s nuclear mystery, the DVB report and Senator Webb’s cancelled visit suggest it may be unravelling. The JADE Act has been ignored however, and thus only time will tell if Dictator Watch’s FOIA filing too will be brushed aside.

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/25055

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 7, 2010 at 3:47 am

Part 2: International Tribunal (Japan) on Crimes against Women of Burma

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Part (2)

Live Broadcast

Video link — (a) http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/7927783

Video link — (b) http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/7926784

Source – Burma Campaign (Japan)

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

လြတ္ေျမာက္ေရးအတြက္ သင့္စကားလံုးမ်ားကို ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္သန္းေရႊ သိပါေစ

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ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္နဲ႔တကြ ႏိုင္ငံေရး အက်ဥ္းသမားမ်ားအားလံုး လြတ္ေျမာက္ေရးအတြက္ ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္သန္းေရႊထံ စာေရးပို႔ၿပီး ေတာင္းဆိုရာတြင္ သင္သည္လည္း တဦးတေယာက္အျဖစ္ႏွင့္ ပံ့ပိုး ပါဝင္ႏိုင္ပါသည္။

ေအာက္ပါလင့္ခ္ကို ႏွိပ္ပါ။

http://www.amnestyusa.org/words/

Use Your Words

Dear Senior General Than Shwe:

I write to you out of deep concern at the guilty verdict of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi on August 11, 2009. She should have never been arrested in the first place for her work to protect human rights in Myanmar.

I urge your government to demonstrate Myanmar’s commitment to human rights by ordering her immediate and unconditional release.

The sentencing of political prisoners is an affront to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which your government is obliged to uphold as a member of the United Nations. That is why I am also calling on you to free the more than 2,100 prisoners of conscience being detained right now in Myanmar.

I will remain vigilant in my calls for human rights.

Sincerely,
Your First and Last Name
Your Country

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 29, 2009 at 7:16 am

UN special envoy Gambari quits Burma job

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UN special envoy Gambari quits Burma job

by Mungpi

Thursday, 03 December 2009 20:23

New Delhi (Mizzima) – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday announced that Ibrahim Gambari would stop being the special envoy to military-ruled Burma and a replacement will be sought.

Marie Okabe, deputy spokesperson for Ban, at a press briefing in New York, told reporters that Ban has communicated  his intention to appoint Gambari as Joint Special Representative of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, and he would find a replacement for him as the special envoy to Burma.

Gambari will replace Rodolphe Adada and would begin his mission to eastern Sudan in January 1, 2010, Okabe said.

Though the Nigerian diplomat will be shifted from his mission to Burma, Okabe said, “The Secretary-General would continue his good offices role on Myanmar and would seek a replacement for Gambari.”

Gambari was appointed the special envoy to Burma in 2006 by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with the task of facilitating a political dialogue between the military junta and opposition groups including ethnic minorities as part of a larger process of national reconciliation in the Southeast Asian nation.

However, critics said Gambari, who had visited Burma eight times during his tenure as the special envoy, failed to achieve his principle objective of facilitating a dialogue between the junta and the opposition.

Win Tin, a senior member of Burma’s opposition party – the National League for Democracy – told Mizzima on Thursday that Gambari had been used by the ruling junta, – the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

“I would say he [Gambari] has failed in his mission. But that’s not to disregard his efforts and that is because the junta has had no intention to change,” Win Tin said.

While expressing his appreciation for the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s good offices, Win Tin said, to solve Burma’s problems requires a unified stand by the international community.

Win Tin said, Gambari, as the special envoy to Burma had achieved two things – a significant statement made by Aung San Suu Kyi on her responsibility to consider ethnic minorities and Than Shwe’s stern pre-conditions made for holding direct talks with Aung San Suu Kyi.

In November 2007, the opposition leader released a statement through the visiting UN envoy, stating that she is seriously considering the interest of ethnic nationalities and also said she had been given the mandate by ethnic nationalities to represent them.

Win Tin said it was a significant statement made by the Nobel Peace Laureate and thanked Gambari for being a useful channel to release the statement.

In yet another of Gambari’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation, following the junta’s brutal crackdown on monk-led protesters in September 2007, the junta supremo Than Shwe told him that he is willing to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi if she stops advocating confrontation, utter devastation, economic sanctions and isolation.

According to the veteran politician and journalist, who spent 19 years in prison for his political beliefs, Gambari has made himself useful for Aung San Suu Kyi and Than Shwe in expressing their stands through him.

“I think these two statements are the only thing he was able to get out of his mission to Burma. And that’s because he had been manipulated,” Win Tin added.

But the NLD would like to express its appreciation for the interest and efforts he took for Burma, Win Tin said, adding that he would like to urge Gambari to advice his successor, if there is one, not to follow in his footsteps.

http://www.mizzima.com/news/world/3113-un-special-envoy-gambari-quits-burma-job-.html

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm

A Burma Policy for India

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A Burma Policy for India

Prime Minister Singh can support democracy and engage the regime, too.

By BENEDICT ROGERS

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh had a largely successful summit with President Barack Obama last week. There is, however, one issue which remains cause for concern: India’s Burma policy.

India has a particular historical responsibility for Burma, in part because in colonial times the two countries were ruled by the British as one. Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained leader of Burma’s opposition party, went to school in New Delhi, for instance, where she became childhood friends with Jawaharlal Nehru’s grandchildren. Past Indian governments have honored this link: During the 1998 prodemocracy protests, Rajiv Gandhi’s government expressed support for Ms. Suu Kyi.

India’s policy has shifted in recent years, thanks to concerns about the need to counterbalance China’s influence and a wish to increase trade. In 2004, Burma agreed to sell India some 80% of the power generated from a dam in Sagaing Division in return for Indian construction assistance. India also sought a military alliance with the regime, including an agreement to provide arms and military training to the Burmese army, in the hopes of getting help in crushing insurgents in northeastern India.

On balance the expected benefits have not materialized. In 2006, the Burmese regime awarded China a huge natural gas contract, even though India had offered a higher bid and Burma’s generals had earlier promised the deal to India. Meanwhile, Burma’s assistance in fighting Indian insurgents has been minimal, and the arms India sold have instead been used to suppress Burma’s own people. The energy projects resulted in land confiscation, the displacement of thousands of people, and accompanying human-rights violations including rape, torture and forced labor.

India is mistaken if it believes it can really compete with China’s influence in Burma. China’s annual bilateral trade with Burma is already one-and-a-half times India’s, and Beijing has become one of the regime’s closest friends. It is very likely that as Burma’s regime starts to engage with the U.S. and continues to depend on China for protection, India will find itself squeezed out.

India has also remained silent on Burma’s human-rights violations in a bid to curry favor with the regime. India joined Belarus, China, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe last month in voting against a resolution on Burma’s human-rights abuses at the United Nations General Assembly.

It is not too late for India to revise its position and develop its own distinctive Burma policy supportive of democracy. Mr. Singh and his government could raise concerns more robustly with the regime; support Burma resolutions at the U.N.; seek regular meetings with Ms. Suu Kyi; and press the regime to review the new constitution and engage in meaningful dialogue with all political parties ahead of next year’s elections. On the military front, an immediate and complete end to the provision of arms and military training to Burma’s regime would be welcome. India might also be consider permitting international humanitarian aid cross-border to victims of famine and severe poverty in western Burma, and funding Burma’s civil-society groups.

A senior official in India’s Ministry of External Affairs told me recently that “our hearts are still with the democracy movement in Burma, but our heads are with the generals.” India needs to combine head and heart and realize that in the long-run it is in its own national interest to promote democracy in Burma.

Mr. Rogers, East Asia team leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide in London, is author of “Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant,” forthcoming from Silkworm Books.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703499404574564913674717216.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 2, 2009 at 12:17 am

Selection time precedes election time

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Selection time precedes election time

Published: 28/11/2009 at 09:18 AM
Online news: Opinion
Although Burma’s military regime has announced no election law nor declared the date of the poll it plans to hold in 2010, preparations appear to have begun in Naypyidaw. Informed sources suggest that potential candidates for president, vice-president, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and defence minister have been chosen.
Presidential material: General Thura Shwe Mann.

The current list may yet be modified before the election and some potential candidates on the list could be removed. All depends on the regime’s leader Senior General Than Shwe, who still calls the shots.

Gen Than Shwe, who is in his late 70s, and his No.2 man Deputy Snr Gen Maung Aye, who is only slightly younger, will retire soon after the election. Informed sources said that they are building lavish new homes in Naypyidaw for their retirement.

However, before vacating the throne, Gen Than Shwe will make sure that he and his family can live in safely, leaving his trusted officers in high positions to ensure security.

Gen Than Shwe has reportedly already endorsed the junta’s No.3 man, Gen Thura Shwe Mann, joint chief-of-staff in the armed forces, to become president of post-election Burma.

According to sources close to the military elite, Gen Shwe Mann, 62, will be nominated by the representatives of the military in the future Senate and House, to be formed after the planned 2010 election.

The military will receive 25% of the seats at the village, township, state, regional and district levels in the new governing body, according to the 2008 constitution.

There will be three nominees for the presidency _ one from the Amyotha Hluttawa (Nationalities Parliament or Senate), one from the members of the Pyithu Hluttaw (People’s Assembly or House) and one from the militlary contigent of the two Hluttaws. The Senate and the House will then vote to choose the president.

Gen Shwe Mann, a protege of Gen Than Shwe, has a reputation of being down to earth and a good listener, but he has yet to show his teeth on a broad range of social, economic and political issues. His vision of Burma’s future is unknown.

However, Gen Shwe Mann increasingly oversees regular meetings on political and security affairs with high-ranking military officials in Rangoon and Naypyidaw _ perhaps a further sign that Gen Than Shwe will take a back seat after the election.

Gen Shwe Mann and his wife are close to the strongman’s family on a personal level, undertaking shopping trips together to Singapore.

Recently, Gen Shwe Mann was the subject of extensive news coverage focusing on his secret mission to North Korea in November.

According to the constitution, one of the duties of the new president will be to head the National Defence and Security Council, which has the power to declare a state of emergency and nullify the constitution.

Gen Than Shwe’s choice for one of the two proposed vice presidents, according to  informed sources, is Maj Gen Htay Oo, the minister of agriculture and irrigation and a key leader of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), the junta-backed mass organisation.

Maj Gen Htay Oo recently visited Japan _ displaying, according to military sources, all the qualities of a politician rather than an army officer.

The choice of the second vice president is likely to fall to an ethnic leader.

It’s worth recalling that Burma’s first and second presidents were from the Shan and Karen ethnic minorities.

Analysts ponder the question of who will become commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Gen Than Shwe currently holds Burma’s most powerful position in the armed forces and analysts say he will hand this position over only to his most trusted ally.

There appear to be plenty of subordinates who could fill the shoes.

They include Lt Gen Hla Htay Win, Maj Gen Ko Ko, Maj Gen Tin Ngwe and Maj Gen Kyaw Swe. All are close to Gen Than Shwe and Deputy Snr Gen Gen Maung Aye, the current army chief and deputy to Gen Than Shwe.

Maj Gen Tin Ngwe, who is commander of central command, is said by analysts to be the front-runner for the post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He recently accompanied Gen Than Shwe when he made an official visit to Sri Lanka.

Born in Nyaung-Oo, in the central heartland of Burma, Maj Gen Tin Ngwe attended the Defence Services Academy Intake 22, together with Kyaw Swe, later serving as G-1 in the defence ministry. He is known to be loyal to Gen Than Shwe and Gen Shwe Mann.

According to the new constitution, the commander-in-chief will control the ministries of defence, border affairs and home affairs, exercising wide executive powers.

Analysts also tip Lt Gen Myint Swe, a Than Shwe protege, as a possible candidate for the post of defence minister. He attended the 15th intake of the Defence Services Academy in 1971 and is currently commander of the Bureau of Special Operations 5.

Lt Gen Myint Swe became commanding officer of Light Infantry Division 11, overseeing security in Rangoon, and later served as commander of Southwest Military Region in Bassein, Irrawaddy Division, before moving in the late 1990s to the defence ministry, where he worked directly under Gen Than Shwe and Gen Maung Aye.

This seems to be Gen Than Shwe’s “rest in peace” selection plan for 2010. If he executes it smoothly, he will avoid the fate of such top men as Gen Khin Nyunt and the late dictator Gen Ne Win, both of whom ended up under house arrest.

Analysts say Gen Than Shwe wants to make sure the 2010 election provides him and his family with a safe exit strategy. That entails leaving his trusted aides at the helm _ and that means the country will continue to be to run by the military.

Aung Zaw is founder and editor of The Irrawaddy magazine. <www.irrawaddy.org>

Relate Search: Gen Than Shwe, Pyithu Hluttaw, Amyotha Hluttawa

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm

World focus on Burma (19-11-2009)

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Obama’s Asia Trip: Too Focused on Common Ground?

TIME – Michael Scherer

In the meeting with the Burmese, for instance, the President spoke out on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who lives under house arrest. …

Private oil wells seized for Chinese company

Democratic Voice of Burma –

Nov 19, 2009 (DVB)–Private oil wells and farmland in western Burma have been seized by government authorities to ready for exploration by a Chinese oil …

Myanmar refugees still flood the borders

Mission Network NEws (press release) –

Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders says, “There are currently over 150000 refugees that have come into Thailand from Burma. …

Searching For That Glimmer Of Hope: Plight Of Refugee Children

Bernama – Mohd Ariff -‎

… who came to Malaysia about 25 years ago looking for a safe haven to escape from religious persecution in their home country, Burma (now Myanmar). …

UN Body Postpones Action on Burma’s Maritime Claim

Narinjara News –

“Consequently, further action on Myanmar’s claim on the outer limits of the continental shelf remains suspended,” said the foreign ministry in its statement …

Journalist faces 10 years’ jail for video of orphans

New Zealand Herald – Peter Popham

Photo / AP If a shocking documentary about the fate of Myanmar’s cyclone orphans wins a video-journalism award in London tomorrow, it will be some time …

Burma and a Lifetime of Human Rights Advocacy

UCLA Asia Institute –

In this capacity, he works tirelessly for the release and return to power of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. …

Chinese Dissidents Barred From Meeting With Obama

Scoop.co.nz (press release) –

… ASEAN leaders of joining forces to challenge Burma and call for the release of all political prisoners, including the democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, …

Burma – Fish farming

Meattradenewsdaily (blog) – ‎

Fifteen fisheries officials from the Department of Fisheries and Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) will depart on a month-long study tour to Vietnam that

Will Myanmar junta chief meet the lady? — Nirmal Ghosh

The Malaysian Insider – ‎

The senior general is trying to engineer a potential milestone in modern Myanmar’s history — ensuring that army-backed parties win next year’s election …

Conflicts and Interests

Back Stage – Simi Horwitz

Their next stop is Myanmar, formally known as Burma, where it will collaborate with a local theater company. Thanks to globalization and the Internet, …

Corruption Index Today, Election Tomorrow, Aid Revamp the Day After?

Brookings Institution – ‎

… including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Myanmar (Burma), Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela, Haiti, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. …

Myanmar warned of wind, but not the water

Globe and Mail – Laura MacInnis

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) expert Dieter Schiessl told journalists that authorities in the former Burma began issuing forecasts of strong winds …

Around the world in a single day

Stillwater Gazette –

… Germany, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Holland, Myanmar (Burma), Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, France, Lebanon, Mongolia, Finland, Mexico and Nicaragua. …

Special Report: Dalpino on the US-ASEAN Summit

Asia Security Initiative News &amp; Blog (blog) – Catharin Dalpino – ‎

ASEAN leaders welcomed the shift in US policy for Burma that allowed engagement with the government – personified at the meeting by the participation of …

 

India/USA: Open Letter to Barak Obama Ahead of his Visit to India

Amnesty International USA – ‎

… the Burmese authorities to end serious and systematic human rights violations and to release over 2100 political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi. …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 19, 2009 at 2:18 am