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Burma apr11 Issues and Concerns Vol 7-ALTSEAN

Burma apr11 Issues and Concerns Vol 7-ALTSEAN

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Published by Jutta Pflueg
april 2011 Issues and Concerns Vol 7-ALTSEAN
april 2011 Issues and Concerns Vol 7-ALTSEAN

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Published by: Jutta Pflueg on Apr 26, 2011
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04/26/2011

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April 2011
BURMA ISSUES & CONCERNS VOL.7
LOCKED IN,TIED UP:
BURMA’SDISCIPLINED DEMOCRACY
Λ
L T S E
Λ
N
B U R M A
 
Issues & Concerns Vol. 7: Locked in, tied up: Burma’s disciplined democracy
1
CONTENTS
2 WARDROBE CHANGE DOES NOTBRING DEMOCRACY4 SPDC STILL IN POWER
4
 
Than Shwe calls the shots4
 
New laws stregthen military power5
 
New Parliament: MPs under “housearrest”5
 
Restrictions dominate parliamentaryproceedings6 Political Parties Registration Law stillthreatens parties and MPs6
 
Parliamentary debate a sham6
 
Parliamentary committees to controllegislative activity
10
 
THEIN SEIN: THAN SHWE’S “YESMAN” BECOMES PRESIDENT
12
 
Vice-President # 1: Tin Aungmyint Oo12
 
Vice-President # 2: Mauk Kham akaMaung Ohn
14
 
THE CABINET: 100% ARE MEN, 86%ARE MILITARY MEN18
 
AT THE LOCAL LEVEL: ETHNICNATIONALITIESUNDERREPRESENTED
19 Key Positions at Division and State Level
23
 
PARLIAMENT WHO’S WHO:STRONGMEN, DRUG LORDS, ANDCRONIES
23
 
The generals’ new clothes27
 
Drug lords and regime cronies elected
29
 
ETHNIC NATIONALITY AREAS:CONFLICT ESCALATES
29
 
Karen State: Conflict rages30
 
Shan State: Attacks on multiple fronts30
 
Kachin State: Ceasefire broken,militarization increased31
 
Chin State: Hostilities flare up31
 
Mon State: Ceasefire on shaky ground31
 
New ethnic military alliance formed
33
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: THECRACKDOWN CONTINUES
33
 
Media persons face harassment andimprisonment33
 
Internet monitoring, phone buggingstepped up33
 
Censorship intensifies
35
 
POLITICAL PRISONERS: MORE THAN2,000 STILL DETAINED
35
 
No amnesty for political prisoners35
 
Detention conditions remain abysmal
37
 
FLEEING BURMA’S ‘DEMOCRACY’:MORE REFUGEES AND IDPS
37
 
UN says Burma is a regional burden37
 
More Rohingya take to the sea37
 
New arrivals at Thai-Burma bordercamps37
 
SPDC Army offensives fuel internaldisplacement
39
 
BURMA’S ECONOMY: A BOON FORMILITARY, CRONIES, & FOREIGNINVESTORS
39
 
Prices rise on political uncertainty39
 
Military spending still top priority40
 
Thousands strike in Rangoon40
 
Students protest40
 
Burma has the world’s sixth least freeeconomy40
 
Regime cronies acquire state properties40
 
SEZs line the cronies’ pockets41
 
Tavoy projects threaten local livelihoodsand exploit workers41
 
China’s looting of Burma continues
44
 
NLD & DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI:STILL KEY POLITICAL PLAYERS
44
 
NLD, Daw Suu step up political activities44
 
NLD outlines economic policy45
 
Daw Suu 360
50
 
ANATOMY OF THE NEW REGIME
 
Issues & Concerns Vol. 7: Locked in, tied up: Burma’s disciplined democracy
2
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:WARDROBE CHANGE DOES NOT BRING DEMOCRACY
On 30 March 2011, the military regime’s long-running play ‘roadmap to democracy’ concludedalmost eight years after its release. In the military stronghold of Naypyidaw, President-electThein Sein was sworn in along with Vice-Presidents Tin Aung Myint Oo and Mauk Kham and 30new cabinet ministers. The ceremony also marked the dissolution of the State Peace andDevelopment Council (SPDC). “Peace and Development Council” offices across Burma wererenamed as “General Administrative Departments.” Twenty-six out of the new cabinet’s 30ministers are either retired SPDC military officials or former junta ministers. Beyond the changefrom military uniforms to Burmese traditional dress, which has been described by the regime as a“transfer of power to a civilian government”, nothing has changed in Burma as a result of the 7November election and the convening of a Parliament dominated by former high-ranking SPDCofficials.The roadmap sequel, “discipline-flourishing democracy” has been scripted to legalize andperpetuate the SPDC’s infamous malgovernance and oppression. “Retired” SPDC Chairman SrGen Than Shwe ensured he would continue to dominate Burma’s politics by naming himself theleader of a newly-created State Supreme Council. Even before Parliament convened, Than Shweissued a series of laws that were designed to shackle the Parliament and make it a hostage of themilitary. When Parliament met in late January, the proceedings took place under tight control.SPDC-imposed procedures for parliamentary proceedings stifled debate and severely restrictedmedia coverage.The situation in ethnic nationality areas has deteriorated since the November election. In KarenState, SPDC Army forces and a breakaway faction of the DKBA have been engaged in ongoingfighting. The conflict has caused hundreds of civilians to flee to Thailand. SPDC Army forcesalso brought increased pressure against ceasefire groups, in particular the Kachin IndependenceArmy (KIA) in Kachin State and the Shan State Army – North (SSA-N) and the United Wa StateArmy (UWSA) in Shan State. The regime is clearly preparing to launch major offensives againstall of these groups, which rejected the SPDC’s Border Guard Force scheme. The situation is grimfor communities living in conflict areas, as the military prepares to step up its notorious ‘fourcuts’ campaign. The ‘four cuts’ strategy that targets civilians in an attempt to undermineresistance forces is one of the main causes of serious international crimes in ethnic areas.There has been no improvement of the human rights situation in Burma. More than 2,000political prisoners languish in Burma’s jails under harsh detention conditions and inadequateaccess to treatment for serious health conditions. Freedom of information and freedom of speechare severely restricted. Recently, the regime sentenced reporter Sithu Zeya to eight years in prisonfor taking photos in Rangoon when there were a series of deadly bomb blasts on 15 April 2010.In February, a SPDC Court sentenced DVB reporter Maung Maung Zeya to 13 years in prisonunder the Electronics Act and the Unlawful Association Act. Following the release of Daw AungSan Suu Kyi, the SPDC Censorship Board restricted coverage of Daw Suu’s release and hersubsequent activities. In mid-November, it was reported that SPDC authorities ordered internetcafe owners in Rangoon to install CCTV cameras to monitor internet users. In March, the SPDC-controlled Myanmar Post and Telecommunications ordered all internet cafés across Burma tostop providing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication services.As for Burma’s economy, the sham transition to civilian rule has been marked by a mass sell-off of state-owned properties to regime cronies. The widening gap between salaries for civil servants

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