Jaw Gun’s arrest for being a part of the Peace Day Protest and the effectiveness of the “Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession” bill (keep reading here) isn’t the only thing being held on trial; seven Burmese police officers have been called- and failed to show up- to hearings of their torture and sexual humiliation of two Kachin men held in police cells in Myitkyina from June 15-26 as part of currently over 70 Kachin refugees held in jail for suspected involvement with the KIA. (Read More)
Farmers had planned to sue the Chinese company that evicted them from their homes to build the Myitsone Dam, having never compensated them for their destroyed land and property and leaving them without shelter, food, or water or work and increased levels of disease and depression. [x] On 10 October they held a protest of more than 100 “farmers and locals symbolically planting about a thousand toddy palm trees in the area, and holding a theater show to publicize their plight” in the Sae Tae village cemetery, the performance titled “Calls from the Spirits of our Ancestors”. It included “a short drama; painting their faces black and wearing torn rags, they acted out a scene whereby they had risen from the graves, shouting their grievances about the injustice that local landowners had suffered, and urging the authorities to put a stop to the copper mining project”. In the meantime, a case representative of 26 villages have been sent to Sarlingyi police station. Keep Reading.
At the same time, a 1000 farmers of the Letpadaung area of Monywa, Sagaing Division have planned to sue the owners of a copper mine on Monday for “using force and intimidation against protesters demanding the shutdown of the project… The farmers said that despite their repeated calls on the owners of the mine to stop dumping waste on their fields, the company’s only response has been to threaten and insult them.” There’s other bits to the issue, as well as one company threatening to sue 16 protesters for “defamation”. Keep reading.
“A US diplomat says the US favors a “regional approach” to the Rohingya crisis—but points the finger squarely at Burma and Bangladesh.” (See here) I don’t even know why they get a say, honestly. We’re well aware of what we need to do. How about the US does something about the involvement of US companies in Burma and their practices of human and labour abuse and their desire to take Burma’s resources? No, obviously that doesn’t matter, even when said involvement directly effects and worsens conditions for ethnic people like the Rohingya.
Buddhist Rakhine women and monks set out to protest the government decision to allow the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to open an aid office in Arakan State. The OIC has stated, however, that the food and shelter provided is not solely for the Rohingya Muslims but for Buddhist and Muslim Burmese alike. The protests, then, are simply part of the extension of anti-Rohingya sentiments that run around the company doe to the government’s declaration that Rohinya are all “illegal immigrants” and not Burmese, despite their having lived there for centuries. Read More.
The curfew in Rakhine has been eased though, “from 7 pm to 5 am to a six-hour period between 10 pm and 4 am”, perhaps to signal the return to stability in the region since violent clashes between locals a few months ago. Locals have mixed feelings about these changes, unsure about how this may affect their safety. Keep Reading.
“An alliance of 10 political parties, including five ethnic parties, plans to raise the issue of federalism in Parliament.” It’s supposed to somewhat follow the system in the U.S. They also plan to amend the 2008 Constitution, and particular changes there may allow Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president come election time, as she is not currently able to do because of her family’s involvement with the UK. Read More.
And calls for education reform have been growing in Burma, with over 200 activists from over 40 organizations holding a forum and producing a draft outline for necessary changes to improve the education system. They insist that ethnic groups ought to have a say in what gets taught, as well as improving critical thinking to help move the country forward, but note that increasing funding for education would be the biggest issue that needs addressing if they are going to be able to make any real changes. Keep Reading.