BURMA BULLETIN

A month-in-review of events in Burma
A L T E R N A T I V E A S E A N N E T W O R K O N B U R M A

campaigns,

advocacy

&

capacity-building

for

human

rights

&

democracy

Issue 52

April 2011

• China, the US, and the EU chart their paths to the regime: China offers money and good relations; the EU extends sanctions but eases visa bans on 24 regime officials; the US maintains sanctions but attempts to elevate dialogue with the nomination of a Special Representative to Burma. • Increased fighting in Karen and Shan States shows that the situation in ethnic areas remains highly unstable. • Desertions continue to hit Tatmadaw battalions, including Border Guard Force units. The announcement that food rations for family members of the Tatmadaw will stop is expected to add to discontent among the troops. • Just four days after the new regime takes office, the political prisoners’ count goes up by one after the arrested of an NLD-supported activist. • The NLD remains at the forefront of pro-democracy initiatives, including a 30-day petition drive. The regime reacts by warning all registered political parties not to contact unlawful organizations. • Six months after cyclone Giri hit Arakan State, the situation remains dire. In addition, the regime continues to restrict access to affected communities. • Burmese migrant workers and refugees throughout the region remain vulnerable to arrest, abuse, exploitation, and deportation. • The regime tightens gas rationing, fueling the black market. KEY STORY China, EU, and US chart their paths to the regime

IN THIS ISSUE KEY STORY
1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 China, EU, US and the regime China: Money & good relations US: Sanctions & engagement EU: Sanctions extended Conflict in ethnic areas Tatmadaw hit by desertions Than Shwe still in the loop Thein Sein’s Advisory Board Pro-democracy campaigns Cyclone Giri six months on

INSIDE BURMA

HUMAN RIGHTS
5 New regime’s first arrest 5 Internet freedom curtailed 6 US human rights reports

DISPLACEMENT
7 Refugees detained, deported 7 Migrant workers abused

INTERNATIONAL
8 Regime wants ASEAN Chair

ECONOMY
8 Gas rationing tightened 8 OTHER BURMA NEWS 10 REPORTS
_____________________________________ Receive the Burma Bulletin monthly! email publications@altsean.org Online copies are available for download at www.altsean.org

China, the EU, and the US each had their own response to the recent installation of Burma’s new regime. China was the first country to send a high-ranking representative to meet with new regime officials and came with money in hand. The EU extended economic sanctions for one year but eased its visa ban and asset freeze on some regime officials. The US reiterated that sanctions would stay but also attempted to promote dialogue with the regime by nominating Derek Mitchell as the US Special Representative for Burma.

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China: Money and good relations On 2 April, a Chinese delegation led by China’s top political advisor Jia Qinglin arrived in Burma.1 Jia was the first prominent foreign official to visit Burma after the dissolution of the SPDC on 30 March. Jia met with numerous high-level regime officials and met with President Thein Sein on 4 April.2 Thein Sein reassured Jia that Burma would maintain friendly relations with China and implement major economic cooperation projects.3 China was also able to ink deals for more investment opportunities. On 4 April, China and the regime signed five business agreements that included: • A credit agreement between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, which involved a 30 billion yuan (US$4.6 billion) soft loan to Burma.4 • A production-sharing contract for copper mining between China’s NORINCO and the regime’s Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings.5 • An agreement to extend an MoU to build a petroleum refining plant in Burma.6 In a separate meeting, on 27 April China and regime officials signed an MoU in Naypyidaw to jointly construct a rail link between Muse in Northern Shan State and Kyaukphyu in Arakan State.7 US: Sanctions and engagement US officials continued to prod the regime to implement tangible reforms. • 6 April: US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said that the US would maintain sanctions against Burma’s regime while attempting to engage its new leadership.8 • 8 April: US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner said that the Obama administration was still very concerned by the continued detention of more than 2,000 political prisoners and the restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD.9 • 11 April: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yun urged the regime to release all political prisoners. Yun also urged the regime to guarantee Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s security and legitimize the NLD and other ethnic parties that did not participate in the elections.10 • 14 April: US President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Derek Mitchell as the US Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, with the rank of Ambassador.11 • 25 April: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yun said that Burma’s regime was wrong in thinking they would not gain from engaging the US.12 EU: Sanctions extended, visa ban and asset freeze eased On 12 April, as part of the annual review of its Burma policy, the Council of the European Union renewed economic sanctions for a period of twelve months but suspended the visa ban and asset freeze on 24 regime officials.13 The Council also reiterated its call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners, and called for inclusive dialogue with opposition groups outside the Parliament, including the NLD and various ethnic groups.14

1 NLM (03 Apr 11) Member of Standing Committee of Political Bureau of Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chairman of 11th National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference begins goodwill visit to Myanmar 2 DPA (04 Apr 11) Myanmar's new president meets Chinese delegate first 3 Irrawaddy (05 Arp 11) China Discusses Border Security with Thein Sein 4 Irrawaddy (05 Arp 11) China Discusses Border Security with Thein Sein 5 AP (05 Apr 11) High-ranking Chinese Communist official 1st VIP guest of new Myanmar president 6 Mizzima News (06 Apr 11) Burma, China agree to build petroleum refining plant in Burma 7 Xinhua (27 Apr 11) China, Myanmar sign MoU on rail transport project 8 AFP (06 Apr 11) US keeps Myanmar sanctions, worry at China arrests 9 Irrawaddy (11 Apr 11) Burma Has a 'Long Way to Go': US 10 AP (11 Apr 11) US urges Myanmar to free political prisoners 11 PTI (14 Apr 11) Obama appoints Special Representative on Burma 12 AP (25 Apr 11) Myanmar urged to engage with US 13 Council of the European Union (12 Apr 11) Council Decision 2011/239/CFSP; 14 3082nd FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting (12 Apr 11) Council conclusions on Burma/Myanmar

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INSIDE BURMA Conflict in ethnic areas escalates In April, reports of increased fighting in Karen and Shan States showed that the situation in ethnic areas remained highly unstable. In Karen State, fighting between regime troops and ethnic armed opposition groups intensified:
• 23 April: Forces from DKBA Brigade 5 clashed with Tatmadaw soldiers from LIB 212 in

Kamamaung, Hlaingbwe Township.15 • 24 April: Troops from DKBA Brigade 5 engaged in heavy fighting with Tatmadaw soldiers from LIB 543 in Kyainnseikyi Township. Nineteen Tatmadaw soldiers and one villager were killed in the fighting.16 • 25 April: Joint forces from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and DKBA Brigade 5 clashed with Tatmadaw soldiers from LIB 371 in Kyainnseikyi Township.17 DKBA troops clashed again with Tatmadaw soldiers in Kamamaung, Hlaingbwe Township.18 In Shan State, the ongoing conflict between the regime and ethnic armed opposition groups spread to ten townships.19 Significant developments included:
• 1 April: Shan State Army - South (SSA-S) leader Yawd Serk announced SSA-S troops joined Shan • •

• • •

State Army - North (SSA-N) soldiers in fighting against the Tatmadaw in Mongmit Township.20 6 April: SSA-N forces clashed with Tatmadaw troops in Monghsu Township.21 11 April: Regime officials met with SSA-N Brigade 1 representatives in Hsipaw Township, Northern Shan State, and demanded the group pull out all of its troops active in Hsipaw, Kyaukme, Namhsan, and Mongmit Townships.22 12 April: Forces from SSA-S Brigade 36 killed five Tatmadaw soldiers in an ambush in Tangyan Township.23 16-17 April: Forces from SSA-N Brigade 1 killed 10 Tatmadaw soldiers in clashes with Tatmadaw troops from LIBs 513 and 542 in Tangyan Township.24 19 April: Tatmadaw troops from IB 43 burned 70 homes in seven villages in Mong Pieng Township, Eastern Shan State, because they believed the residents provided support to the SSA-S.25

Tatmadaw hit by desertions, food ration cuts Desertion continued to hit Tatmadaw battalions, including Border Guard Forces (BGF) units. In addition, the announcement that food rations for family members will stop is expected to add to discontent among Tatmadaw troops. On 28 April, it was reported that some Tatmadaw battalions would stop providing food rations to family members of rank-and-file soldiers beginning in May. Food rations will be replaced by a 1,000 kyat (US$1.50) monthly allowance.26
• 2 April: Two Tatmadaw soldiers deserted from IB 233 based in Buthidaung, Northern Arakan

State.27 • Mid-April: Six Tatmadaw soldiers from IB 152 based in Nansang Township, Southern Shan State, defected to the SSA-S.28
15 16

Irrawaddy (25 Apr 11) Three Reportedly Killed in Internal BGF Clash Mizzima News (25 Apr 11) Fighting erupts between government’s troops and breakaway DKBA; DVB (26 Apr 11) Border force defects, attacks Burma unit; Irrawaddy (26 Apr 11) Karen Groups Join Forces on the Frontline 17 DVB (26 Apr 11) Border force defects, attacks Burma unit 18 DVB (26 Apr 11) Border force defects, attacks Burma unit 19 Irrawaddy (08 Apr 11) Conflict in Shan State Spreading 20 SHAN (06 Apr 11) Shan rebels on offensive defense 21 SHAN (06 Apr 11) Shan rebels on offensive defense 22 SHAN (18 Apr 11) Junta holds talk with Shan army while offensive continues 23 SHAN (22 Apr 11) Junta army has women porters lead the way in war zone 24 SHAN (20 Apr 11) Burma Army soldiers fleeing from battlefields in Shan state 25 SHAN (27 Apr 11) 7 villages in Shan East burnt down by Burma Army soldiers 26 Irrawaddy (28 Apr 11) Army Families Face Ration Cuts 27 Narinjara News (12 Apr 11) Two Soldiers AWOL from Burma Army Shot Dead 28 SHAN (20 Apr 11) Burma Army soldiers fleeing from battlefields in Shan state

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• 17-19 April: Ten Tatmadaw soldiers from LIBs 513 and 542 defected following clashes with forces

from the SSA-North Brigade 1 in Tangyan Township, Northern Shan State.29 • 21 April: An undetermined number of soldiers from BGF 1016 based in Myawaddy, Karen State, defected to the KNLA Brigade 7.30 • 22 April: About 30 soldiers from BGF 1012 attacked troops from another BGF unit in Myainggyingu, Karen State, killing three soldiers.31 The BGF 1012 soldiers subsequently defected to the KNLA Brigade 5.32 Than Shwe still in the loop On 4 April, regime officials said that former SPDC Chairman Sr Gen Than Shwe and Vice Sr Gen Maung Aye had retired from the military but would continue to “give some advice when the government asks for it.”33 Ministry of Defense sources revealed that the War Office in Naypyidaw continued to send reports to Than Shwe even after he stepped down as Commander-in-Chief.34 In addition, Ministry of Defense officials Maj Gen Nay Win, Brig Gen Soe Shein, and Col Myint Kyi remained assigned to Than Shwe as personal assistants.35 Thein Sein appoints Advisory Board On 19 April, the regime’s Gazette announced the appointment of President Thein Sein’s Advisory Board.36 The board is made up of three committees (political, economic, and legal) with each committee having three members.37
Thein Sein’s Advisory Board Committee Members Ko Ko Hlaing Political Ye Tint Nay Zin Latt Myint Economic Sett Aung Tin Hla Bo A former police Colonel, he is the former Director of the SPDC Ministry of Home Affairs’ International Relations Department, Joint-Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Working Committee on Trafficking in Persons, and heading of the Financial Intelligence Unit. He has also directed the regime’s Transnational Organized Crime unit and served as a member of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control. A former professor of economics at Rangoon University, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Economics Department, and head of the UN ESCAP’s Research Department.
38

Additional info A retired military officer, he worked with the Research Department at the War Office. He is also a consultant for the Ministry of Information’s News and Periodicals Enterprise.

Sit Aye Legal Khin Myo Myint (F) Than Kyaw

Pro-democracy campaigns In April, the NLD remained at the forefront of pro-democracy initiatives.
• 5 April: NLD Deputy Chairman Tin Oo sent a letter to President Thein Sein that urged him to

promote respect for the rule of law in Burma. In particular, Tin Oo called on Thein Sein to use his executive powers to ensure that justice is dispensed through fair and open court proceedings.39

29 30

SHAN (20 Apr 11) Burma Army soldiers fleeing from battlefields in Shan state Irrawaddy (25 Apr 11) Three Reportedly Killed in Internal BGF Clash 31 Irrawaddy (25 Apr 11) Three Reportedly Killed in Internal BGF Clash; DVB (26 Apr 11) Border force defects, attacks Burma unit 32 Irrawaddy (26 Apr 11) Karen Groups Join Forces on the Frontline 33 AFP (04 Apr 11) Than Shwe steps into the shadows 34 Irrawaddy (07 Apr 11) Than Shwe Continues to Control Burma's Military 35 Irrawaddy (07 Apr 11) Than Shwe Continues to Control Burma's Military 36 AP (27 Apr 11) Myanmar leader enlists Suu Kyi friend as adviser 37 Irrawaddy (27 Apr 11) Thein Sein Appoints Presidential Advisors 38 Irrawaddy (27 Apr 11) Thein Sein Appoints Presidential Advisors; DVB (28 Apr 11) Presidential ‘advisors’ raise eyebrows

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• 17 April: Pro-democracy activists with the NLD-sponsored Burmese Democracy Network (BDN)

launched a 30-day petition campaign.40 The petition, addressed to President Thein Sein, calls on the regime to: immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners; declare an immediate ceasefire between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed opposition groups; resolve political conflict through dialogue; and create conditions that enable refugees to safely return to Burma.41

At the same time, the regime attempted to politically isolate the NLD. On 5 April, the Election Commission issued a warning to all registered political parties to remind them not to contact unlawful organizations.42 According to Article 12 of the Political Parties Registration Law, parties can be dissolved if they “contact or abet” “unlawful” organizations or their members. Cyclone Giri six months on Six months after cyclone Giri hit Arakan State [See October 2010 Burma Bulletin], the situation remained dire for cyclone survivors. In addition, the regime continued to restrict access to affected communities. In early April, regime authorities in Myebon Township, Arakan State, denied Rakhine National Progressive Party (RNPP) elected MPs Pe Than and Maung Nyo access to cyclone-hit areas.43 On 26 April, a report released by the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Burma said that aid was still needed with regard to shelter, food security, and livelihoods.44 As the rainy season approached, the shelter situation was particularly concerning. According to the report, about 72% of the damaged houses had not yet been rebuilt or repaired.45 The regime also failed to include the reconstruction of monastic schools in its aid program for cyclone affected areas.46 HUMAN RIGHTS New regime’s first political prisoner Just four days after the new regime took office, the political prisoners’ count went up by one. On 3 April, Special Branch police in Rangoon arrested Nay Myo Zin, a volunteer with the NLD-supported blood donation group, while on his way to donate blood at a hospital in Thingangyun Township.47 Internet freedom curtailed On 18 April, Freedom House released “Freedom on the Net 2011,” a report that assessed internet freedom in 37 countries around the world.48 Burma ranked second to last among the countries surveyed.49 The report’s key findings with regard to Burma included:50

39 NLD (26 Apr 11) NLD issued a statement regarding the Rule of Law; Irrawaddy (26 Apr 11) NLD Calls on New Govt to Respect Law; Irrawaddy (26 Apr 11) NLD Calls on New Govt to Respect Law 40 NLD (17 Apr 11) Signature Campaign; Irrawaddy (18 Apr 11) Burmese Pro-Democracy Activists Launch Petition Drive; DVB (19 Apr 11) Activists target president with campaign; Mizzima News (22 Apr 11) Weekly appeal letters to be sent to President Thein Sein 41 NLD (17 Apr 11) Signature Campaignl Irrawaddy (18 Apr 11) Burmese Pro-Democracy Activists Launch Petition Drive; NLD (22 Apr 11) Signature Campaign accelerated 42 DVB (20 Apr 11) Politicians warned against ‘unlawful’ contacts; Irrawaddy (19 Apr 11) Election Commission Warns Burmese Parties 43 DVB (22 Apr 11) MPs blocked from cyclone victims; Narinjara News (26 Apr 11) Arakanese MP Asks Permission for Public Meeting 44 UNIC Yangon (26 Apr 11) Cyclone GIRI 6 months on - Situation, achievements and challenges 45 UNIC Yangon (26 Apr 11) Cyclone GIRI 6 months on - Situation, achievements and challenges 46 UNIC Yangon (26 Apr 11) Cyclone GIRI 6 months on - Situation, achievements and challenges 47 Mizzima News (04 Apr 11) Blood donation group volunteer arrested in Rangoon; DVB (05 Apr 11) Ex-army captain arrested, interrogated 48 Irrawaddy (19 Apr 11) Freedom House: Internet in Burma is 'Not Free'; Mizzima News (20 Apr 11) In Burma: Big Brother controls the Internet 49 Irrawaddy (19 Apr 11) Freedom House: Internet in Burma is 'Not Free'; Mizzima News (20 Apr 11) In Burma: Big Brother controls the Internet 50 Freedom House (18 Apr 11) Freedom on the Net 2011

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• Internet access did not grow because of the “prohibitively expensive” price of internet connections. • The regime controlled the flow of information on the internet through total shutdowns and temporary reductions in bandwidth. • The regime blocked access to online communications services and social networks such as Yahoo! Mail, MSN Mail, YouTube, Blogspot, Facebook, and Twitter. • The regime blocked websites run by Burmese political and media organizations as well as websites that are critical of the regime and its activities. • The regime sentenced many activists to lengthy prison on alleged charges of violating Information and Communication Technology-related laws. Meanwhile, the regime stepped up surveillance of internet cafés. On 4 April, regime authorities in Rangoon’s Kyauktada, North Okkalapa, and Tamwe Townships raided internet cafés to ensure they complied with the recent ban on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication services.51 [See March 2011 Burma Bulletin] US human rights reports In April, Washington released two reports that underscored the regime’s poor human rights record. On 8 April, the US State Department released its annual report on human rights worldwide.52 The report’s findings with regard to Burma included:53 • The regime’s security forces committed extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, disappearances, rape, and torture. • The Tatmadaw continued its attacks on ethnic nationalities which resulted in deaths, forced relocation, and other serious abuses against civilians. • The regime arbitrarily detained and imprisoned activists. • Political prisoners were kept in “harsh and life-threatening conditions.” • The regime used mass organizations to harass and abuse pro-democracy activists. • The regime routinely restricted freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement. • Forced labor, child labor, recruitment of child soldiers, discrimination against women, and trafficking in persons also continued. • The regime took no significant actions to prosecute or punish those responsible for human rights abuses. On 28 April, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual survey on global religious freedom for 2010.54 The USCIRF report said that religious freedom violations affected every religious group in Burma.55 According to the report, the SPDC engaged in severe violations of the freedom of religion and belief including: the arrest, mistreatment, and harassment of Buddhist monks who participated in the Saffron Revolution or were suspected of antiregime activities; the severe repression and forced relocation of Rohingya; and the relocation and destruction of Christian religious sites.56 The USCIRF recommended that Burma continue to be designated as “Country of Particular Concern (CPC).” The US State Department has designated Burma as a CPC since 1999.57 DISPLACEMENT Burmese migrant workers and refugees throughout the region remained vulnerable to arrest, abuse, exploitation, and deportation.
51 52

Irrawaddy (07 Apr 11) Burmese Authorities Crack Down on VoIP Calls AFP (11 Apr 11) Myanmar has lots to do on rights: US; VOA (15 Apr 11) Burma's Human Rights in 2010; Jakarta Globe (09 Apr 11) US Govt Lashes Burma, Encourages Indonesia on Human Rights; Irrawaddy (11 Apr 11) Burma Has a 'Long Way to Go': US 53 US Department of State (08 Apr 11) 2010 Human Rights Report: Burma 54 Irrawaddy (28 Apr 11) Burma Severely Restricts Religion, Says US Commission 55 USCIRF (28 Apr 11) Annual Report 2011 56 USCIRF (28 Apr 11) Annual Report 2011 57 USCIRF (28 Apr 11) Annual Report 2011

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Refugees detained and deported • 11 April: Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) personnel in Teknaf arrested six Rohingya at the Whaikong checkpoint and forced them back to Burma.58 • 11 April: Bangladeshi police detained eight Rohingya in Bandarban District on charges of illegal entry into Bangladesh.59 • 12 April: BGB personnel arrested 25 Rohingya at Shapuri Dip, Teknaf, and pushed them back to Burma.60 • 17 April: BGB personnel arrested 17 Rohingya at Shapuri Dip, Teknaf, and pushed them back to Burma.61 • 17-18 April: During three separate raids in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police and RELA thugs arrested an unknown number of Chin refugees. The officials told refugees who did not have the UNHCR registration cards that they had to pay between 300 and 500 ringgit (US$100-170) if they wanted to be freed.62 • 21 April: Malaysian police arrested more than 100 undocumented Burmese refugees in a raid in Puchong Town near Kuala Lumpur.63 • 23 April: BGB personnel arrested 45 Rohingya at the Whaikong checkpoint on charges of illegal entry into Bangladesh and forced them back to Burma.64 • 24 April: Bangladeshi police arrested 16 Rohingya in Dhaka as they were attempting to travel to Saudi Arabia using fake Bangladeshi passports.65 In a devastating blow to the possible improvement in conditions for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, on 30 April it was reported that the Bangladeshi government had rejected a UN poverty reduction project in Cox’s Bazaar District because Dhaka alleged that the plan mainly targeted the rehabilitation of Rohingya refugees in the country.66 Migrant workers abused • 4 April: A total of 109 immigration detainees, 85 of whom were Burmese, escaped from an overcrowded detention center in Lenggeng, Malaysia, after a riot broke out.67 Food shortages along with cramped living conditions were the main causes for the riot.68 • 9 April: Indian police evicted over 20 Chin families from their homes in Champhai District, Mizoram State, and told them to leave the state.69 • 15 April: Indian police arrested and detained 13 Burmese while they were celebrating the Burmese water festival in Aizawl, Mizoram State.70 • 19 April: Thai anti-human trafficking police freed more than 60 Burmese migrant workers who were kept prisoner and forced to work in a garment factory in Bangkok.71 • 29 April: Indian police arrested a total of 61 Chin migrants in three separate instances in Aizawl, Mizoram State.72 Against this backdrop, there was one positive development for Burmese migrants in Thailand. On 27 April, it was reported that the Thai Cabinet had issued an order to reopen the registration process for
Kaladan News (15 Apr 11) Six Rohingya forced back to Burma Kaladan News (15 Apr 11) Eight Rohingya sent to Bangladeshi jail 60 Kaladan News (14 Apr 11) BGB arrests 25 Rohingya at Bangladesh border 61 Kaladan News (19 Apr 11) 17 more Rohingya forced back to Burma 62 Chinland Guardian (20 Apr 11) Arrested Refugees Demanded Money for Release in Malaysia 63 Chinland Guardian (22 Apr 11) Over 100 Burmese Refugees Rounded up in Malaysia 64 Kaladan News (25 Apr 11) 45 Rohingya arrested at border 65 Narinjara News (24 Apr 11) 16 Burmese Citizens Arrested in Bangladesh; Daily Star (25 Apr 11) 16 Myanmar citizens held in city 66 Kaladan News (30 Apr 11) Bangladesh disallows 33-million dollar UN Rohingya project 67 Malay Mail (06 Apr 11) Poor conditions led to rioting 68 Chinland Guardian (06 Apr 11) Over 100 Detainees Escaped After Riot in Malaysian Detention Centre 69 Khonumthung News (22 Apr 11) Twenty Chin families rendered homeless in Mizoram 70 Khonumthung News (16 Apr 11) Thirteen Burmese arrested during water festival in India 71 Irrawaddy (20 Apr 11) Police Raid Frees 60 Burmese Slaves 72 Khonumthung News (30 Apr 11) Forty Chin migrants arrested in Mizoram
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migrant workers who had failed to meet the February deadline. In accordance with the new guidelines, immigrant workers would be allowed to bring their children, under 15, who would obtain one-year permits to stay in Thailand.73 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Regime pushes for 2014 ASEAN Chair On 18 April, ASEAN Sec-Gen Surin Pitsuwan said that the regime’s desire to hold the ASEAN Chair in 2014 may well be determined by whether the US will accept such a move.74 On 19 April, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the Obama administration would be unwilling to work with ASEAN with Burma as its Chair given the regime’s poor track record on human rights and democracy.75 ECONOMY Gas rationing fuels black market In a protracted display of mismanagement of economic affairs, in April the regime imposed a more restrictive policy on gas rationing. The regime’s program of gas rationing, which began in March, [See March 2010 Burma Bulletin] became more restrictive in April. The overall impact led to long lines at the pump and ample supplies of fuel on the black market. On 24 April, private gas stations began limiting customers to two gallons per customer per day. The previous rationing system allowed consumers to purchase up to five gallons of gas per day at private fuel stations.76 The black market price of gasoline was under 5,000 kyat (US $6.00) before the gas stations put the two gallon limit in place. The price then rose to 5,600 kyat ($6.70) before dropping back in 5,000 kyat range and but continues to be unstable.77 OTHER BURMA NEWS IN APRIL
1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 One hundred and forty-three families of model villagers arrive in Maungdaw, Arakan State. Regime launches a new daily newspaper called Myawaddy. Na Sa Ka personnel from Area 7 in Maungdaw Township, Arakan State, detain and torture a 63-year-old local Rohingya accused of murdering a Na Sa Ka collaborator. Air Kanbawza launches its maiden flight. Four regime officials attend the AIPA conference in Cambodia. A Free Burma Ranger relief worker dies of injuries sustained from a landmine explosion in Karenni State. Border Guards of Bangladesh arrest a Bangladeshi woman at the Dum Dum Meah checkpoint in Teknaf and seize 400 amphetamine tablets. News Watch weekly journal reports that the regime said that Burmese water festival revelers can face up to a month in prison for “wearing dress that is contrary to Myanmar culture.” Police in Maungdaw, Arakan State, torture a 30-year-old local woman accused of drug trafficking. NLD Central Executive Committee meets at the party headquarters in Rangoon. Two trucks collide in Samut Sakorn Province, Thailand, killing at least nine Burmese migrant workers and injuring 50. Karen National Union issues a statement that urges the regime to “end the violence against civilians and to hold a serious political dialogue” with ethnic armed opposition groups. Regime military authorities in Mansi Township, Kachin State, arrest a local Kachin Independence Organization official after he entered in a regime-controlled area. A group of 10 opposition political parties, including the Democratic Party (Myanmar), the National Democratic Force, and five ethnic parties release a statement that calls for a general amnesty for political prisoners and a political solution to conflicts in ethnic areas.

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Mizzima News (27 Apr 11) Thailand reopens registration for illegal migrant workers Asahi Shimbun (20 Apr 11) Myanmar hopes to chair ASEAN in 2014 Irrawaddy (20 Apr 11) US Pushes Asean to Reject Burma 76 Mizzima News (26 Apr 11) Drivers in Rangoon unhappy about petrol rationing 77 Irrawaddy (29 Apr 11) Gas Limits Lead to Unstable Black Market Prices

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5 6 6 8 9 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 14 15 19 22 23 23 25 26 26 26 27 27 27

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Thai NGO Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development says that at least 10,000 Burmese migrants are suffering from financial hardship and food shortages due to serious flooding in the area. A 19-member EU delegation visits the refugee camps at Kutupalong and Nayapara in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Hla Myint and Phone Zaw Han are appointed mayors of Rangoon and Mandalay respectively. US Senator Richard Lugar introduces legislation that would ask President Obama to present Congress with a report on the military ties between Burma and North Korea. Regime’s Ministry of Culture issue a ban on reciting Thangyat [traditional verse usually sung as a form of joke] and singing songs that “undermine the dignity of persons directly or indirectly.” Regime FM Wunna Maung Lwin meets with Singapore FM George Yeo in Bangkok. Philippine’s FM Albert del Rosario urges regime FM Wunna Maung Lwin to free the more than 2,000 political prisoners. Thailand’s National Security Council discusses the eventual closure of Burmese refugee camps. Ceasefire group National Democratic Alliance Army withdraws its troops from the area along the Yawng River southeast of Mongyawng, Eastern Shan State. Tatmadaw troops in Tangyan Township, Northern Shan State, forcibly recruit 19 local villagers, including 17 women, for portering. The ITUC and the ETUC call on the EU to support the holding of a UN Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma. Vital Voices Global Partnership awards Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the Global Trailblazer Award as “Voice of the Decade.” Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva says that Thailand will only consider repatriating Burmese refugees when their safety is guaranteed. Na Sa Ka personnel in Maungdaw Township, Arakan State, gang rape three local women, aged 22, 25 and 40. Border Guards of Bangladesh arrest three Bangladeshi drug traffickers and seize 13,373 amphetamine tablets from a fishing boat entering Bangladesh territory from Burma. Union Solidarity and Development Party marks the birthday of North Korea’s late dictator Kim Il-sung. Na Sa Ka personnel in Maungdaw, Arakan State, arrest two men traveling to Bangladesh and seize 19,800 amphetamine tablets. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attends celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Free Funeral Service Society’s foundation and donates US$15,000 to the organization. Regime’s Air Force Chief Lt Gen Myat Hein begins a six-day official visit to Bangladesh. US Assistant Secretary of State of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell says Washington’s efforts in the past 18 months to engage Burma’s regime have failed. State-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar reports that regime authorities in Rangoon have banned plastic bags starting from 22 April. National Democratic Alliance Army withdraws its troops from the Pong Hiet base in Mongyawng Township, Eastern Shan State. Regime Air Force Commander Lt Gen Myat Hein meets with Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and discusses military cooperation. NLD begins a three-day training workshop for 38 farmers from Arakan State and Irrawaddy, Pegu, and Rangoon Divisions. Thai police and Burma’s regime authorities meet in Mae Sot, Thailand, to discuss a crackdown on Burmese dissidents operating in the Thai-Burma border town. Shan Nationals Democratic Party, All Mon Region Democratic Party, Rakhine National Progressive Party, Chin National Party, and Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party issue a joint statement that urges the regime to release all political prisoners. Tatmadaw troops fire a mortar shell into a an area controlled by the Kachin Independent Army Battalion 14 in the Hukawng Valley, Tanai Township, Kachin State. Tatmadaw troops from LIB 573 take over the National Democratic Alliance Army’s Wan Kho base in Mongyawng Township, Eastern Shan State. World’s Children’s Prize names Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Honorary Adult Friend of the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child. Two Indian coastguard ships go to Burma to take part in four days of joint exercises with regime naval forces. Tatmadaw Northeastern Region and Triangle Region Commands order the United Wa State Army and the National Democratic Alliance Army to withdraw their troops from bases outside designated territories by 30 April.

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REPORTS ON BURMA RELEASED IN APRIL
“Human Rights Violations in Burma’s 2010 Elections”, Network for Human Rights Documentation - Burma (ND-Burma) http://nd-burma.org/reports/item/download/59.html “Freedom on the Net 2011”, Freedom House http://www.freedomhouse.org/images/File/FotN/FOTN2011.pdf “2010 Human Rights Report: Burma”, US Department of State http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/160450.pdf “Annual Report 2011”, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) http://www.uscirf.gov/images/book%20with%20cover%20for%20web.pdf “Myanmar: Chin Humanitarian Update March 2011”, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/retrieveattachments?openagent&shortid=ASAZ8FQJD6&file=Full_Report.pdf “Myanmar: Earthquake in Shan State Situation Report No. 6”, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/retrieveattachments?openagent&shortid=VVOS8FTP4W&file=Full_report.pdf “Bangladesh: The Silent Crisis”, Refugees International (RI) http://www.refugeesinternational.org/sites/default/files/041911_Bangladesh_The_Silent.pdf “Cyclone GIRI 6 months on - Situation, achievements and challenges”, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Yangon http://unic.un.org/imucms/userfiles/yangon/file/GIRI%206%20M%20On%20v3.pdf

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