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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 63

March 2012

• Harassment, irregularities, vote-buying, and censorship mar the lead-up to the 1 April byelections. Regime authorities including the Election Commission continue to hinder the NLD campaign. • The regime Election Commission abruptly cancels voting in all three Kachin State constituencies, disenfranchising over 200,000 voters. • At the last minute, the regime grants visas to foreign journalists and officials to observe the by-elections but deports regional election-monitoring experts. These moves impede adequate monitoring of the electoral process. • Despite peace agreements, conflict continues in Karen and Shan States. The war in Kachin state also continues. • UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana’s report says that “serious human rights concerns” remain. UN Human Rights Council passes a resolution that expresses “continued grave concern” over serious human rights violations in Burma. • The regime continues to subject media outlets to censorship and intimidation. An independent report lists Burma among the world’s ‘internet enemies.’ • US tells the regime to implement more reforms to include release of political prisoners, end attacks on ethnic nationalities, and begin national reconciliation if it wants sanctions to be lifted. • Work on the ‘suspended’ Myitsone dam project in Kachin State continues, while regime detains villagers who attempt to return to their homes near the project site. KEY STORY

IN THIS ISSUE KEY STORY
1 2 3 3 5 5 6 6 7 7 Violations of election laws Irregularities NLD activities obstructed Daw Suu campaigns Ethnic voters disenfranchised Election monitoring Parliament fails to review laws Talks with KNPP and KIO Tatmadaw violates agreements UN aid to 6% of Kachin IDPs

INSIDE BURMA

HUMAN RIGHTS
8 Ojea Quintana’s report 8 HRC resolution 8 Still no religious freedom 9 Media censored and intimidated 9 Burma remains ‘Internet enemy’ 10 Karen leader released 10 Forced labor ok until 2015 10 Land confiscation victims

INTERNATIONAL
11 US: More reforms needed 11 Malaysia: Let’s do business 11 Canadian FM’s visit

ECONOMY
12 Myitsone dam project active 12 Infrastructure projects 13 Gem sales plummet 13 Regime to float the kyat 13 OTHER BURMA NEWS 14 REPORTS
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In March, harassment, irregularities, vote-buying, and censorship marred the lead-up to the 1 April byelections. On 30 March, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that the by-elections would not be “genuinely free and fair” because of irregularities that went “beyond what is acceptable for democratic elections.”1 Threats, harassment, vote-buying, and censorship Numerous reports emerged of serious violations of the election laws. Regime authorities and USDP members continued to threaten and intimidate voters and civil servants:
1 AP (30 Mar 12) Suu Kyi cites widespread poll irregularities; AFP (30 Mar 12) Suu Kyi says Myanmar polls not completely free and fair; WSJ (30 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Raises Doubts About Vote; Reuters (30 Mar 12) Suu Kyi complains of irregularities in Myanmar election

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• 5 March: It was reported that regime authorities in Naypyidaw’s Zabuthiri Township harassed local villagers who attended the campaign rally of an NLD candidate for the People’s Assembly.2 • 6 March: It was reported that regime authorities ordered civil servants not to attend Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s rallies in Naypyidaw.3 • 13 March: It was reported that regime authorities in Lashio, Shan State, ordered local residents not to attend the NLD campaign rallies.4 • 16 March: The USDP forced local residents in Mingin Township, Sagaing Division, to attend a USDP campaign rally.5 Disturbing reports also surfaced of attacks against NLD members: • 6 March: Unknown individuals threw rocks at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s motorcade en route to Hpayagyi, near Pegu, Pegu Division, injuring two of Daw Suu’s bodyguards.6 • 18 March: Unknown assailants in Naypyidaw’s Ottharathiri Township attacked NLD candidate Min Thu with slingshots during a campaign rally, injuring one of his security guards.7 In addition, numerous incidents were reported of destruction of NLD signboards and defacing of NLD candidates’ posters in Irrawaddy and Mandalay Divisions and in Naypyidaw.8 Vote-buying by USDP officials was also reported: • 10 March: USDP officials in Rangoon’s Mayangone Township distributed campaign leaflets along with 50,000 kyat to local residents.9 • 19 March: The NLD said that the USDP in Mingin Township, Sagaing Division, donated about US$440 for a local school and promised the same amount if the party wins in the by-elections.10 The NLD also said that the USDP was engaged in vote-buying in villages in Pale Township, Sagaing Division.11 The regime also censored the political parties’ campaign messages prior to their broadcast on state radio and TV. On 10 March, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that authorities censored a passage of the NLD’s campaign message.12 The passage criticized Burma’s previous regimes for oppressing the Burmese people and failing to promote the rule of law in the country.13 An unspecified number of other parties also said that their campaign message was censored.14 Irregularities: Voter rolls unreliable; advance voting abused Widespread irregularities were reported with regard to the content of voter rolls. The NLD said that it had found errors in voter rolls in all constituencies.15 The lists contained names of individuals who were deceased, individuals no longer living in the constituency, and name repetition.16 Voter rolls had also
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AP (05 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Myanmar's capital Irrawaddy (06 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Lashes Out in Taungoo SHAN (13 Mar 12) NLD candidate: For local lions, winning is what matters 5 AFP (19 Mar 12) Suu Kyi's party complains of 'unfair treatment'; Irrawaddy (19 Mar 12) NLD Supporters Attacked in Naypyidaw 6 DVB (08 Mar 12) Suu Kyi’s convoy pelted with stone 7 Irrawaddy (19 Mar 12) NLD Supporters Attacked in Naypyidaw; DVB (20 Mar 12) Burma gets ASEAN poll monitor boost 8 Mizzima News (02 Mar 12) Problems obtaining campaign venues continue: NLD; Irrawaddy (12 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Poster Defaced at Naypyidaw NLD Office; Mizzima News (19 Mar 12) Suu Kyi questions the fairness of the Burmese election; KIC (28 Mar 12) NLD campaign team insulted in Irrawaddy Region 9 NLD (16 Mar 12) Ruling party targets NLD with slander, bribes 10 AFP (19 Mar 12) Suu Kyi's party complains of 'unfair treatment' 11 RFA (21 Mar 12) Western Election Observers Invited 12 AP (11 Mar 12) Suu Kyi poke at army banned from Myanmar state TV; AFP (10 Mar 12) Suu Kyi says Myanmar officials censored speech; RFA (09 Mar 12) Suu Kyi's Campaign Speech Censored; Mizzima News (11 Mar 12) Burmese gov’t censors Suu Kyi’s campaign speech 13 AP (11 Mar 12) Suu Kyi poke at army banned from Myanmar state TV; AFP (10 Mar 12) Suu Kyi says Myanmar officials censored speech; RFA (09 Mar 12) Suu Kyi's Campaign Speech Censored; Mizzima News (11 Mar 12) Burmese gov’t censors Suu Kyi’s campaign speech; Irrawaddy (12 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Questions Military's Thirst for Power 14 Irrawaddy (09 Mar 12) NLD Supporters Left in the Dark 15 RFA (20 Mar 12) Burma to Allow Some Election Observers 16 AP (08 Mar 12) Myanmar’s Suu Kyi charges irregular voter lists signal potential for electoral fraud; AFP (08 Mar 12) Dead people appearing on Myanmar voter rolls: Suu Kyi; VOA (08 Mar 12) Burmese Democracy Leader Warns of Potential Vote Fraud; DVB (08 Mar 12) Deceased appear on Burma voter list; SHAN (13 Mar 12) NLD candidate: For local lions, winning is what matters; Mizzima News (08 Mar 12) Complaints lodged over accuracy of Burma’s voter registration rolls; RFA (20 Mar 12) Burma

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omitted the names of eligible voters.17 In addition, reports emerged that regime authorities abused advance voting. On 17 March, regime authorities in Launglon, Tenasserim Division, told more than 70 teachers that they would have to cast advance votes in front of local officials. Regime authorities in Launglon and Kyunsu Townships, Tenasserim Division, also told about 50 local college students that they would have to cast advance votes in the presence of the rector and other college officials.18 NLD activities obstructed In March, regime authorities and the regime Election Commission continued to hinder the NLD campaign. • 1 March: The regime Election Commission denied an NLD request for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to use Thanlwin Park in Moulmein, Mon State, for her 11 March campaign rally.19 As a result, Daw Suu held the rally at a smaller ground located about 10 km from Moulmein.20 • 2 March: It was reported that the regime Election Commission denied an NLD request for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to use venues for campaign rallies in Naypyidaw’s Pobbhathiri and Zabuthiri Townships.21 As a result, the two rallies were held in open fields on the capital’s outskirts.22 • 2 March: It was reported that the regime Election Commission denied an NLD request for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to use Independence Grounds for her 5 March campaign rally in Meikhtila, Mandalay Division.23 • 13 March: It was reported that regime authorities in Lashio, Shan State, denied an NLD request for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to use a local stadium for her 17 March rally.24 As a result, Daw Suu held her rally at a nearby pagoda.25 • 24 March: Regime authorities refused an NLD request for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to use a ferry boat for her campaign trip to Mergui Township, Tenasserim Division..26 Daw Suu campaigns amid regime’s restrictions • 1 March: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made a one-day campaign trip to Kalaw Township, Shan State, where she delivered speeches in Aungban, Kalaw, and Heho.27 In Heho, Daw Suu told a crowd of about 100,000 that she wanted to see “a warmer relationship between the people and the Tatmadaw” and called on the military “to stand for democracy.”28 Daw Suu also said the NLD recognized the rights of Burma’s ethnic nationalities and wanted to see Burma become “a genuine democratic union.”29

to Allow Some Election Observers; BNI (27 Mar 12) NLD says voter list incorrect in Palae constituency; Myanmar Times (26 Mar 12) Mandalay candidates complain over voter list errors; IMNA (29 Mar 12) 10,000 Voters Error in Moulmein Constituency, Says AMDP 17 AFP (19 Mar 12) Suu Kyi's party complains of 'unfair treatment'; Reuters (19 Mar 12) Suu Kyi party complains of Myanmar ballot irregularities; RFA (21 Mar 12) Western Election Observers Invited; BNI (27 Mar 12) NLD says voter list incorrect in Palae constituency; Myanmar Times (26 Mar 12) Mandalay candidates complain over voter list errors; IMNA (29 Mar 12) 10,000 Voters Error in Moulmein Constituency, Says AMDP Irrawaddy (29 Mar 12) NLD Voters Complain of Exclusion From Register 18 Irrawaddy (19 Mar 12) NLD Supporters Attacked in Naypyidaw 19 RFA (02 Mar 12) Fresh Obstacles for NLD Campaign; IMNA (09 Mar 12) Election Commission Rejects Suu Kyi’s Campaign Locale; Irrawaddy (09 Mar 12) NLD Venue Snub for Suu Kyi Rally 20 Reuters (12 Mar 12) Analysis: Big win for Suu Kyi's party in Myanmar election? Maybe not; IMNA (09 Mar 12) Election Commission Rejects Suu Kyi’s Campaign Locale; IMNA (09 Mar 12) Location of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speech in Moulmein changed 21 RFA (02 Mar 12) Fresh Obstacles for NLD Campaign; Mizzima News (02 Mar 12) Problems obtaining campaign venues continue: NLD 22 AP (05 Mar 12) Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi woos military during campaign tour in the capital 23 RFA (02 Mar 12) Fresh Obstacles for NLD Campaign 24 SHAN (13 Mar 12) NLD candidate: For local lions, winning is what matters 25 SHAN (13 Mar 12) NLD candidate: For local lions, winning is what matters 26 AP (25 Mar 12) Ailing Suu Kyi curbs election campaign in Myanmar; DPA (25 Mar 12) Myanmar opposition leader cancels campaign trip 27 Mizzima News (02 Mar 12) Problems obtaining campaign venues continue: NLD 28 DPA (04 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Myanmar despite illness; Myanmar Times (05 Mar 12) NLD to build trust between army and people; NLD (08 Mar 12) NLD Chairperson Daw Aung San Suu Kyi' Campaign Trip to Kalaw, Aung Ban and Heho 29 Myanmar Times (05 Mar 12) NLD to build trust between army and people

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• 3 March: Despite feeling ill, Daw Suu briefly addressed a crowd of over 100,000 at a rally on the outskirts of Mandalay.30 Daw Suu said that the NLD would work to improve the healthcare system in Burma.31 • 4 March: Daw Suu campaigned in Sagaing, Sagaing Division.32 She told tens of thousands of supporters that the NLD would reach out to the military-appointed MPs in its attempt to amend the 2008 constitution.33 • 5 March: Daw Suu made campaign stops in Tada U, Natogyi, and Meikhtila Townships, Mandalay Division, and in Naypyidaw’s Dekkhinathiri and Zabuthiri Townships.34 About 30,000 supporters attended Daw Suu’s speech in Tada U Township.35 In Natogyi Township, Daw Suu called for increased public spending on education and a reform of the education system.36 A crowd of 50,000 greeted her in Meikhtila Township, where Daw Suu touched on environmental issues.37 In Dekkhinathiri Township, Daw Suu told a crowd of about 30,000 - including many civil servants - that the NLD would work to raise the living standard of farmers, workers, and civil servants.38 In Zabuthiri Township, Daw Suu gave a speech to about 2,000 people gathered at an open field.39 • 6 March: Daw Suu campaigned in Naypyidaw’s Ottharathiri and Pobbhathiri Townships and in Taungoo, Pegu Division.40 In Pobbhathiri Township, Daw Suu said the NLD wasn’t seeking any confrontation with the military and said she hoped that soldiers would attend NLD meetings in the future.41 In Taungoo, she told hundreds of supporters that restrictions imposed on the political parties’ campaign activities would “harm the entire country.”42 • 11 March: Daw Suu made a one-day campaign stop in Moulmein Township, Mon State.43 She told a crowd of over 100,000 that the NLD would work to amend the 2008 constitution and repeal repressive laws.44 • 17 March: Daw Suu campaigned in Lashio, Northern Shan State.45 In a speech attended by 20,000 people, Daw Suu said that the NLD would work for the benefit of all ethnic groups, not just the Burman majority.46 Daw Suu also called for mutually beneficial economic relations between Burma and China.47 • 22 March: Daw Suu campaigned in Kawmoo Township, Rangoon Division.48 In a speech attended by about 40,000 people, Daw Suu said the NLD would work to alleviate unemployment in the township.49 • 25 March: Despite falling ill the previous day, Daw Suu briefly addressed a crowd of 10,000 in Mergui, Tenasserim Division.50 Because of her illness, the NLD canceled Daw Suu’s campaign trip scheduled for 27-28 March in Magwe Division.51
AFP (03 Mar 12) Suu Kyi falls ill addressing huge Mandalay crowds; NYT (03 Mar 12) Myanmar Democracy Leader Falls Ill During Campaign Rally; DPA (04 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Myanmar despite illness; Mizzima News (04 Mar 12) Suu Kyi falls ill during Mandalay rally 31 AFP (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi presses on with campaign despite falling ill 32 DPA (04 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Myanmar despite illness; Mizzima News (04 Mar 12) Suu Kyi falls ill during Mandalay rally 33 AFP (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi presses on with campaign despite falling ill 34 AFP (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi canvasses on Myanmar regime's doorstep; DPA (05 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi takes election race to army's heartland; Irrawaddy (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Arrives in Naypyidaw on Campaign Tour; AAP (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi takes campaign to army's heartland 35 DPA (05 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi takes election race to army's heartland 36 Irrawaddy (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Arrives in Naypyidaw on Campaign Tour 37 DPA (05 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi takes election race to army's heartland; Irrawaddy (05 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Arrives in Naypyidaw on Campaign Tour 38 DPA (05 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi takes election race to army's heartland; Myanmar Times (12 Mar 12) NLD confident it can win in capital; Irrawaddy (06 Mar 12) Thousands Turn Out for Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw 39 AP (05 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Myanmar's capital 40 AP (06 Mar 12) Suu Kyi campaigns in Burma's capital; Mizzima News (06 Mar 12) Suu Kyi campaigns in the generals’ backyard; Irrawaddy (06 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Lashes Out in Taungoo 41 AP (05 Mar 12) Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi woos military during campaign tour in the capital; Mizzima News (06 Mar 12) Suu Kyi campaigns in the generals’ backyard; AFP (06 Mar 12) Myanmar's Suu Kyi seeks votes in regime's heartland; VOA (06 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi Reaches Out to Burmese Military 42 Irrawaddy (06 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Lashes Out in Taungoo 43 AP (11 Mar 12) Suu Kyi poke at army banned from Myanmar state TV 44 Irrawaddy (12 Mar 12) Suu Kyi Questions Military's Thirst for Power; IMNA (12 Mar 12) Daw Aung San SuuKyi’s speech in Moulmein Township heard by over 100,000 45 AFP (17 Mar 12) Suu Kyi seeks ethnic, Chinese vote in north Myanmar 46 AFP (17 Mar 12) Suu Kyi seeks ethnic, Chinese vote in north Myanmar 47 AFP (17 Mar 12) Suu Kyi seeks ethnic, Chinese vote in north Myanmar 48 Mizzima News (23 Mar 12) Suu Kyi stressing jobs in Kawhmu campaign; Time (22 Mar 12) Burma Elections: On the Campaign Trail with Aung San Suu Kyi 49 Mizzima News (23 Mar 12) Suu Kyi stressing jobs in Kawhmu campaign
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Ethnic voters disenfranchised The by-elections were originally scheduled to take place in 48 constituencies. However, on 23 March, the regime Election Commission abruptly canceled voting in all three Kachin State constituencies.52 The Commission claimed that security conditions in those areas were “not conducive to conducting a free and fair by-election.”53 The NLD as well as NDF candidate Bawk Ja and independent candidate Tu Ja questioned the Commission’s decision, saying the three constituencies were in areas not directly affected by the ongoing fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).54 The Commission’s decision disenfranchised over 200,000 Kachin voters in the by-elections.55 Election monitoring ‘too little, too late’ On 20 March, the regime announced it would invite a five-member delegation from the ASEAN Secretariat, accompanied by three media personnel, to observe the by-elections.56 The regime also invited two MPs and three media representatives from each ASEAN member state and the bloc’s dialogue partners.57 By contrast, the regime refused to allow independent foreign observers. On 20-21 March, regime authorities in Rangoon deported three representatives of the Bangkok-based regional election watchdog Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), who had proved training to local reporters and activists on election monitoring.58 Western diplomats warned that participation by their governments in the by-election observation should not be taken as a full, official observation of the electoral process.59 On 28 March, the US State Department said that the by-election monitoring would not “conform to international standards for conducting an election observation mission.”60 A Rangoon-based diplomat described the regime’s move as “better than nothing but largely symbolic.”61 Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Burma David Lipman said that what the regime was offering was not election observation but “a monitoring tour.”62 On 28 March, regime Election Commission Chairman announced that a total of 159 international observers would monitor the by-elections.63 They included observers from the ASEAN Secretariat, the EU, Japan, India, Australia, the US, Canada, and several ASEAN member states.64 The regime refused to accept two Australian MPs who had been initially nominated by Canberra to observe the polls.65
AP (25 Mar 12) Ailing Suu Kyi curbs election campaign in Myanmar; BBC (25 Mar 12) Sick Aung San Suu Kyi suspends Burmese poll campaign; AFP (25 Mar 12) Suu Kyi cancels Myanmar campaign travel 51 AP (25 Mar 12) Ailing Suu Kyi curbs election campaign in Myanmar; AFP (25 Mar 12) Suu Kyi cancels Myanmar campaign travel; DPA (25 Mar 12) Myanmar opposition leader cancels campaign trip; Reuters (25 Mar 12) "Exhausted" Suu Kyi cancels Myanmar campaign tour 52 AP (23 Mar 12) Myanmar postpones by-election in restive north; NLM (24 Mar 12) Announcement on list of constituencies postponed for by-election; BBC (23 Mar 12) Burma postpones by-elections in troubled Kachin state; AFP (23 Mar 12) Myanmar postpones voting in conflict-hit north 53 AP (23 Mar 12) Myanmar postpones by-election in restive north 54 BBC (23 Mar 12) Burma postpones by-elections in troubled Kachin state; AP (23 Mar 12) Myanmar postpones by-election in restive north; Mizzima News (26 Mar 12) Authorities cancel election in three Kachin constituencies; DVB (26 Mar 12) Polls postponed in Kachin state; Irrawaddy (26 Mar 12) NLD Seeks Election Talks with KIO 55 This estimate is based on the following data from the 2010 elections: total number of valid votes cast in Hpakant, Mogaung, and Bhamo Townships (150,833); the percentage of invalid votes in the People’s Assembly (6.94%); and the turnout for the People’s Assembly (77.26%). 56 ASEAN (20 Mar 12) Myanmar Invites ASEAN SECRETARIAT, ASEAN Member States and the Media to Observe April ByElection; VOA (20 Mar 12) Burma Invites ASEAN Observers to Witness Special Elections 57 Xinhua (23 Mar 12) Myanmar delays by-elections in 3 constituencies for security reason; FT (23 Mar 12) West points to flawed monitoring in Myanmar; AP (20 Mar 12) Myanmar to allow Southeast Asian neighbors to send observers to monitor April vote; Reuters (20 Mar 12) Myanmar invites five ASEAN observers to oversee election; RFA (20 Mar 12) Burma to Allow Some Election Observers 58 RFA (21 Mar 12) Western Election Observers Invited; Bangkok Post (22 Mar 12) Anfrel calls for Myanmar sincerity; Irrawaddy (21 Mar 12) Election Coordinator Deported from Burma; Bangkok Post (22 Mar 12) Anfrel calls for Myanmar sincerity; VOA (21 Mar 12) US Accepts Burma's Invitation to Observe April 1 Vote; DVB (22 Mar 12) Election monitor ‘asked to leave’ Burma 59 FT (23 Mar 12) West points to flawed monitoring in Myanmar 60 AFP (29 Mar 12) US to send election observers to Myanmar 61 FT (23 Mar 12) West points to flawed monitoring in Myanmar 62 FT (23 Mar 12) West points to flawed monitoring in Myanmar 63 Xinhua (28 Mar 12) Myanmar election commission promises free, fair by-elections; Irrawaddy (28 Mar 12) 159 Observers to Monitor Burma Election; RFA (28 Mar 12) Election Commission Vows Fair Vote 64 Bernama (28 Mar 12) Asean Secretariat Officials To Observe Myanmar By-election; AFP (28 Mar 12) Japan to send election observers to Myanmar; AFP (23 Mar 12) Australia to send observers to Myanmar polls; Indian Express (28 Mar 12) India sends
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The regime also granted visas to over 100 foreign journalists to cover the by-elections.66 However, the regime Election Commission said that journalists would not be allowed inside polling stations and would be prohibited from interacting with voters within 500 yards (460 meters) of polling stations.67 INSIDE BURMA Parliament fails to review oppressive laws On 23 March, the Parliament concluded its third session. As in the previous two sessions, MPs failed to initiate the process of reviewing Burma’s oppressive laws. Proceedings focused on budgetary and economic measures: • 14 March: Parliament approved the Foreign Investment Law Amendment Bill.68 The bill provides incentives for foreign investors to operate in Burma. It also provides regulations to encourage the use of Burmese labor.69 However, the bill sparked concerns that foreign investors may flood the market and put local companies and entrepreneurs out of business.70 • 16 March: National Parliament’s Speaker Khin Aung Myint canceled funding for the regime Human Rights Commission (HRC) after the Parliament’s Joint Bill Committee issued a report that said that the formation of the HRC did not “conform to the constitution and existing laws.”71 • 22 March: Parliament approved the national budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013.72 The budget provides a 57 % increase in funds for the military but only minor increases for health and education. [For details of the budget, see February 2012 Burma Bulletin] KNPP signs ‘peace agreement;’ talks with KIO ongoing In March, the regime continued to pursue ‘peace agreements’ with ethnic armed groups. Regime representatives held talks with the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). On 7 March, KNPP representatives and the regime’s State-level Peacemaking Group signed a three-point ‘initial agreement’ during talks in Loikaw, Karenni State.73 By contrast, on 8-10 March, KIO leaders and a regime delegation led by Peacemaking Group leader Aung Thaung failed to reach an agreement during talks in Ruili, China.74 The two sides disagreed over the placement of Tatmadaw bases in KIO territory and the timeline for the peace process.75 KIO leaders wanted to discuss long-term political solutions prior to the ceasefire, a course of action that the regime rejected.76

observers for Myanmar elections; Bernama (27 Mar 12) Malaysia Will Send Observers For Myanmar By-elections; Bangkok Post (29 Mar 12) Officials tell foreign media what they can and can't do; AFP (29 Mar 12) Canada to send two election observers to Myanmar; EU (28 Mar 12) The EU deploying an expert team for the by-elections in Myanmar; Bangkok Post (30 Mar 12) Close eye on Myanmar polls 65 ABC (29 Mar 12) Two Australian MPs ejected from Burma poll-watch 66 RFA (28 Mar 12) Election Commission Vows Fair Vote; Bangkok Post (29 Mar 12) Officials tell foreign media what they can and can't do; Irrawaddy (29 Mar 12) International Election Observers and Journalists Arrive in Burma; BBC (30 Mar 12) Aung San Suu Kyi: Burma election not 'free and fair' 67 RFA (28 Mar 12) Election Commission Vows Fair Vote; Myanmar Times (30 Mar 12) No media allowed near poll stations: EC 68 Mizzima News (20 Mar 12) Burmese Parliament amends foreign investment law 69 Reuters (20 Mar 12) CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Myanmar drafts new foreign investment rules 70 WSJ (25 Mar 12) Myanmar Eases Investment Laws 71 NLM (17 Mar 12) 21st day session of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw held; Myanmar Times (26 Mar 12) Hluttaw refuses human rights body budget; VOA (28 Mar 12) Burma’s Parliament Rejects Funding for Human Rights Commission; Mizzima News (27 Mar 12) Human Rights Commission not formed with Parliament’s approval 72 NLM (23 Mar 12) Pyidaungsu Hluttaw session continues for 25th day - One question replied, one bill approved, one bill discussed; Xinhua (26 Mar 12) Myanmar parliament approves numerous bills in third session 73 NLM (09 Mar 12) State level peace-making group, KNPP peace-making group sign initial agreement 74 Kachin News Group (10 Mar 12) Latest KIO-Burma talks end without peace deal; Irrawaddy (12 Mar 12) Kachin Peace Talks Fail Again 75 Kachin News Group (10 Mar 12) Latest KIO-Burma talks end without peace deal; (12 Mar 12) Myanmar government fails to sign peace pact with Kachin rebels 76 DPA (12 Mar 12) Myanmar government fails to sign peace pact with Kachin rebels

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Tatmadaw violates peace agreements In March, the regime’s continued aggression against ethnic armed groups put existing peace agreements at risk. Tatmadaw forces clashed with the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). In addition, Tatmadaw attacks against civilians and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) forces in Kachin State and Northern Shan State continued despite regime orders for a ceasefire.77 • 2 March: KIA Battalion 34 forces killed 12 Tatmadaw soldiers from IB 130 during a clash in Mantong Township, Northern Shan State.78 • 6 March: KIA forces clashed with Tatmadaw soldiers in Namtu Township, Northern Shan State.79 • 9 March: Tatmadaw forces killed one KNLA Brigade 5 soldier during an attack in Hpa-an Township, Karen State.80 • 11 March: Tatmadaw troops attacked SSA-S forces in Mongyawng Township, Eastern Shan State and Kyaukme Township, Northern Shan State.81 • 12 March: Tatmadaw soldiers from IB 123 attacked KIA forces from Battalions 36 and 38 in Muse Township, Northern Shan State.82 • 18 March: SSA-S forces killed at least three Tatmadaw soldiers during a clash in Loi Lan Fa Khio Village, Mongyawng Township, Eastern Shan State.83 • 21 March: Tatmadaw forces attacked SSA-N soldiers in Ta Hsarmpu, Monghsu Township, Shan State.84 • 23 March: Tatmadaw troops attacked an SSA-N base in Namtu Township, Northern Shan State.85 • 25 March: Tatmadaw troops attacked SSA-N soldiers south of Hsenwi Township, Northern Shan State.86 • 25 March: Tatmadaw soldiers from LIB 388 burned the homes of six villagers in Nam Sang Yang Village, Waingmaw Township, Kachin State.87 • 26 March: SSA-N forces killed five Tatmadaw soldiers from LIBs 323 and 507, and IBs 69 and 240 during a clash in Hsenwi Township, Northern Shan State.88 UN delivers aid to 6% of Kachin IDPs After four months of lobbying the regime for renewed access to IDPs in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the UN was finally allowed to make two small aid deliveries into the area.89 In late March, UN agencies made deliveries to IDPs in Waingmaw and Momauk Townships, Kachin State.90 However, the deliveries only consisted of a one month’s supply of food and miscellaneous supplies for about 3,300 people. The number of people receiving aid is only 6% of the approximately 55,000 IDPs in Kachin State.91

Kachin News Group (23 Mar 12) Burma army steps up Kachin offensive ahead of by-elections Kachin News Group (5 Mar 12) Three Burma army officers die in Shan State 79 Kachin News Group (7 Mar 12) Fighting in N.Shan state continues along Shwe pipeline route 80 KIC (16 Mar 12) Karen fighters and Burma Army soldiers killed over ceasefire breech 81 SHAN (12 Mar 12) Newsflash; Irrawaddy (14 Mar 12) Burmese Army Breaches Karen Ceasefire 82 Kachin News Group (13 Mar 12) Fighting resumes after Kachin talks falter 83 SHAN (19 Mar 12) 14th clash fought between BA, SSA 84 SHAN (23 Mar 12) Burma Army breaches ceasefire again 85 SHAN (28 Mar 12) A clash before voting in Shan State North 86 SHAN (28 Mar 12) A clash before voting in Shan State North 87 Asian Tribune (31 Mar 12) Burma Army Burns Villagers’ Homes To The Ground 88 SHAN (28 Mar 12) A clash before voting in Shan State North 89 IRIN (25 Mar 12) MYANMAR: UN convoy reaches Kachin displaced; Kachin News Group (16 Mar 12) UN still working on new aid convoy to KIO area 90 IRIN (25 Mar 12) MYANMAR: UN convoy reaches Kachin displaced; Kachin News Group (28 Mar 12) UN finally arrives in Mai Ja Yang; VOA (26 Mar 12) Burma Allows Second UN Aid Shipment to Kachin Rebel Areas 91 DVB (06 Feb 12) UN counts 55,000 displaced Kachin; IRIN (25 Mar 12) MYANMAR: UN convoy reaches Kachin displaced; Kachin News Group (28 Mar 12) UN finally arrives in Mai Ja Yang; VOA (26 Mar 12) Burma Allows Second UN Aid Shipment to Kachin Rebel Areas
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HUMAN RIGHTS Ojea Quintana’s report says serious human rights concerns remain On 12 March, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana presented his report to the UN Human Rights Council.92 According to his report “serious human rights concerns” remained, including:93 • Prisoners of conscience remained detained throughout the country. • Conditions of detention and the treatment of prisoners were still of concern. • The regime showed a lack of willingness to address his previous recommendations regarding steps to be taken towards ensuring the independence of the judiciary. • There were no indications that the regime Human Rights Commission was fully independent and compliant with the ‘Paris Principles.’ • There was a lack of progress on the review of the laws that do not comply with international human rights standards. • Tatmadaw troops in Kachin State were responsible for attacks against civilians, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement, the use of human shields, forced labor, rape of women, and the confiscation and destruction of property. • Rohingya continued to be subject to discriminatory policies, including the denial of citizenship and restrictions on their freedom of movement and marriage. UNHRC resolution says regime’s human rights abuses continue On 23 March, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution that expressed “continued grave concern” over serious human rights violations in Burma.94 It was the 23rd resolution against Burma’s regime since 1991. The resolution said that human rights abuses committed by Burma’s regime included attacks against civilians, extrajudicial killings, forced displacement, the use of human shields and forced labour, confiscation and destruction of property, and conflict-related sexual violence.95 The resolution also expressed “serious concern” over the ongoing discrimination, human rights violations, violence, displacement and economic deprivation affecting ethnic communities, including Rohingya, and religious minorities.96 In addition, the resolution expressed “deep concern” over ongoing armed conflict in ethnic areas, especially in Kachin State and Northern Shan State.97 Burma still among the world’s worst violators of religious freedom On 20 March, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2012 Annual Report..98 The report listed Burma among the world’s 15 worst violators of religious freedom.99 The report said that Christian and Muslim communities, as well as Buddhist monks suspected of engaging in anti-regime activity, faced arrest, surveillance, harassment, destruction of property as well as severe restrictions on worship and education.100 The USCIRF recommended that Burma continue to be designated as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC).101 The US State Department has designated Burma as a CPC since 1999. Meanwhile, reports continued to emerge of harassment of Buddhist monks and discrimination against Christian communities in Chin and Kachin State:
UN News Center (12 Mar 12) UN expert calls on Myanmar to take ‘active approach’ to protect human rights HRC, 19th session, Progress report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, 7 March 2012, UN Doc A/HRC/19/67 94 HRC, 19th session, The situation of human rights in Myanmar, 23 March 2012, UN Doc A/HRC/19/L.30 95 HRC, 19th session, The situation of human rights in Myanmar, 23 March 2012, UN Doc A/HRC/19/L.30 96 HRC, 19th session, The situation of human rights in Myanmar, 23 March 2012, UN Doc A/HRC/19/L.30 97 HRC, 19th session, The situation of human rights in Myanmar, 23 March 2012, UN Doc A/HRC/19/L.30 98 USCIRF (20 Mar 12) USCIRF Identifies World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators; Irrawaddy (29 Mar 12) Burma Among Worst For Religious Freedom: Report; Mizzima News (21 Mar 12) U.S. names world’s ‘worst religious freedom violators’ 99 USCIRF (20 Mar 12) USCIRF Identifies World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators; Mizzima News (21 Mar 12) U.S. names world’s ‘worst religious freedom violators’; Irrawaddy (29 Mar 12) Burma Among Worst For Religious Freedom: Repor 100 USCIRF (20 Mar 12) USCIRF Identifies World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators 101 USCIRF (20 Mar 12) USCIRF Identifies World’s Worst Religious Freedom Violators
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• 6 March: Regime authorities in Rangoon’s North Dagon Township detained Buddhist monk U Gambira for questioning in relation to his recent trip to conflict areas in Kachin State.102 Authorities released him the next day.103 It was U Gambira’s second arrest in less than three weeks. [See February 2012 Burma Bulletin]. • 10 March: Tatmadaw soldiers from LIB 140 disrupted a Christian conference attended by over 1,000 delegates in Sabawngte Village, Matupi Township, Chin State.104 • 13 March: Tatmadaw soldiers ransacked a Baptist church in Pang Mu Village, Momauk Township, Kachin State. Soldiers burned bibles, destroyed church property as well as the villagers’ belongings.105 Media censored and intimidated “The international media have […] reported that Myanmar is enjoying media freedom, but the censorship board continues to delete many stories and local journals are being sued one after another.” - Eleven Media group CEO Than Htut Aung.106 Despite the repeated announcements of imminent press freedom in Burma,107 the regime continued to subject media outlets to censorship and intimidation. • 19 March: It was reported that the regime’s Ministry of Mines had filed a lawsuit against the weekly journal The Voice.108 The Ministry accused the journal of publishing a report that alleged that several ministries - including the Ministry of Mines - misappropriated funds during the 2009-2011 financial years.109 • 22 March: The regime Censorship Board suppressed remarks made by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at a 14 March press conference and an interview with popular astrologer San Zarni Bo. Both stories were due to be published in the 26 March issue of the weekly journal Express Times.110 At the press conference, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that preventing media from telling the truth was tantamount to limiting the development of the country.111 In his interview, San Zarni Bo predicted there would be no improvement with regard to press freedom in Burma in 2012.112 • 23 March: The regime Censorship Board summoned the editor of the Rakhine Nationals Progressive Party’s (RNPP) political journal Toetakyay and reprimanded him for publishing a story in its 29 February issue that ridiculed Burma’s transition from a military to a nominally civilian regime.113 Burma remains an Internet enemy On 12 March, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) released its “Internet Enemies Report 2012.”114 The report listed Burma among the world’s 12 worst countries with regard to internet freedom.115 The report

102 RFA (07 Mar 12) Burmese Activist Monk Detained; AP (08 Mar 12) Dissident monk in Myanmar detained for questioning for 2nd time since prison release; VOA (08 Mar 12) Burmese Authorities Release Activist Monk After Second Detention; Irrawaddy (08 Mar 12) Ashin Gambira Interrogated Overnight 103 VOA (08 Mar 12) Burmese Authorities Release Activist Monk After Second Detention; Irrawaddy (08 Mar 12) Ashin Gambira Interrogated Overnight; Mizzima News (08 Mar 12) Burmese monk Ashin Gambira again detained, released 104 Chinland Guardian (20 Mar 12) Soldiers Interfered Christian Conference, Threatened MP in Chin State; Mizzima News (20 Mar 12) Burmese army soldiers disrupt Christian conference; DVB (21 Mar 12) Chin MP threatened at gunpoint by military 105 Asian Tribune (27 Mar 12) Burma Army Ransacks Church In Bhamo District; Chinland Guardian (28 Mar 12) Burma Army Soldiers Ransacked Kachin Church 106 AP (14 Mar 12) Gov't lawsuits imperil Myanmar's new press freedom 107 Asahi Shimbun (20 Mar 12) Myanmar to end censorship on newspapers; Irrawaddy (21 Mar 12) Media Law to Give '100 Percent Press Freedom' 108 Myanmar Times (19 Mar 12) Ministry files case against ‘The Voice’; Irrawaddy (20 Mar 12) Govt Ministry Files Lawsuit Over Graft Claims 109 AP (14 Mar 12) Gov't lawsuits imperil Myanmar's new press freedom; AFP (14 Mar 12) Myanmar ministry to sue journal over graft claims; Reuters (15 Mar 12) Myanmar threatens to sue journal over graft story; Irrawaddy (14 Mar 12) Burmese Ministry Vows to Sue Over Graft Allegations 110 Mizzima News (22 Mar 12) Burmese astrologer’s prediction on no press freedom proves true 111 Mizzima News (22 Mar 12) Burmese astrologer’s prediction on no press freedom proves true 112 Mizzima News (22 Mar 12) Burmese astrologer’s prediction on no press freedom proves true 113 Mizzima News (27 Mar 12) Burmese censors warn two political journals

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said Burma could be removed from the list if it abandoned censorship, released detained journalists and bloggers, dismantled the surveillance apparatus built on the national Internet platform, and repealed the Electronic Transactions Law.116 RSF has rated Burma as an ‘internet enemy’ since its first survey of internet freedom in 2006. Karen leader released after getting life sentence In March, the regime continued to manipulate Burma’s legal system to serve its own political agenda.117 On 13 March, Rangoon Northern District Court sentenced 70-year-old Karen National Union (KNU) leader Nyein Maung to life in prison on charges of treason and an additional three years under the Unlawful Association Act.118 On 19 March, regime authorities released Nyein Maung from Rangoon’s Insein prison under a presidential pardon.119 Observers believe that the court rushed the case through as quickly as possible so that the President could issue a pardon and use the release as a public relations tool in the regime’s ongoing peace talks with the KNU.120 Forced labor ok until 2015 In early March, report continued to surface of forced labor incidents in ethnic areas: • 5 March: Na Sa Ka personnel in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships, Arakan State, began forcing 300 Rohingya to do road construction work on the Maungdaw-Kyunchaung road.121 • 8 March: Tatmadaw soldiers in Thandaung Township, Karen State, forced seven local villagers to carry army rations.122 On 16 March, regime and ILO officials signed an agreement aimed at ending forced labor in Burma by 2015 in Naypyidaw.123 On 19 March, the exiled Federation of Trade Unions – Burma (FTUB) criticized the agreement and said that the deal meant that there could be forced labor for three more years in the country.124 Land confiscation/ forced relocation victims prosecuted The regime continued to prosecute villagers who suffered land confiscation and forced relocation at the hands of the authorities. • 9 March: A court in Rathidaung Township, Arakan State, began the trial of 26 local farmers accused of tending paddies and shrimp farms that were confiscated from them by the Tatmadaw’s Western Command in 1998.125 • 14-16 March: It was reported that a court sentenced six villagers from Lewe Township, Mandalay Division, to three months’ hard labor for resisting forced relocation by regime authorities.126
114 AP (12 Mar 12) Reporters Without Borders Names 'Enemies Of Internet List'; RFA (12 Mar 12) Burma Remains ‘Enemy of the Internet’; DVB (13 Mar 12) Burma still ‘enemy of the internet’; Mizzima News (13 Mar 12) Burma remains on ‘Enemies of the Internet’ list Irrawaddy (13 Mar 12) Burma Could Leave 'Internet Enemies' List Soon: RSF 115 RSF (12 Mar 12) Internet Enemies Report 2012 116 RSF (12 Mar 12) Internet Enemies Report 2012 117 AHRC (26 Mar 12) Burma: Cynical Manipulation Of Legal System Prefigures Continued Authoritarianism 118 Reuters (13 Mar 12) Myanmar court jails ethnic rebel leader for high treason; AP (13 Mar 12) Myanmar gives Karen rebel 20year term for treason; AFP (13 Mar 12) Myanmar ethnic Karen leader 'jailed for 20 years'; RFA (13 Mar 12) Karen Leader Gets Life Sentence; DVB (13 Mar 12) KNU official given life sentence; Irrawaddy (13 Mar 12) KNU's 'Papillon' Gets Life Sentence; AHRC (26 Mar 12) Burma: Cynical Manipulation Of Legal System Prefigures Continued Authoritarianism 119 AP (19 Mar 12) Myanmar activist says top Karen rebel freed; Reuters (19 Mar 12) Myanmar frees rebel leader for peace talks; BBC (19 Mar 12) Burma frees ethnic Karen rebel leader; DPA (19 Mar 12) Myanmar releases Karen rebel leader from life sentence; Irrawaddy (19 Mar 12) KNU's 'Papillon' Freed Again; DVB (19 Mar 12) KNU leader granted amnesty; Karen News (19 Mar 12) Padoh Mahn Nyein Maung released; Mizzima News (19 Mar 12) Mahn Nyein Maung unconditionally released from Insein Prison 120 AHRC (26 Mar 12) Burma: Cynical Manipulation Of Legal System Prefigures Continued Authoritarianism 121 Kaladan News (12 Mar 12) Force labor still use in northern Arakan 122 KIC (19 Mar 12) Taungoo Township villagers scared of forced labor orders and forest fires lit by Burma Army 123 AFP (17 Mar 12) Myanmar agrees to end forced labour by 2015; NLM (17 Mar 12) Myanmar, ILO sign MoU to eradicate forced labour; Mizzima News (19 Mar 12) Burma signs another one-year agreement to end forced labour 124 IMNA (20 Mar 12) FTUB objects MoU signed by ILO and the Burmese government 125 Narinjara News (20 Mar 12) 26 farmers sued for demanding the return of their confiscated farmlands

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• 19 March: It was reported that a regime official in Rambree Township, Arakan State, threatened to arrest a villager who demanded compensation for the confiscation of his farmland by local authorities.127 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS US: More reforms needed before sanctions can be lifted As Burma’s by-elections approached, the US continued to voice concerns about the regime’s human rights violations and Tatmadaw attacks against ethnic nationalities. The US told the regime to put a process in place for more democratic reforms, release political prisoners, and begin national reconciliation. US Special Envoy and Policy Coordinator for Burma Derek Mitchell reinforced this message during his sixth visit to Burma on 12-16 March. During his visit Mitchell met with numerous regime officials including the speakers of both houses of Parliament.128 • 7 March: US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that US needed to see continued progress by the regime on human rights and democracy, including the by-elections, if the US was going to consider lifting sanctions. In addition, Nuland said that the regime must show progress in establishing peace and national reconciliation with ethnic nationality groups.129 • 14 March: US Special Envoy and Policy Coordinator on Burma Derek Mitchell said that a free, fair, and transparent by-election was very important to Washington in demonstrating the regime’s commitment to democracy.130 • 15 March: US Special Envoy and Policy Coordinator on Burma Derek Mitchell expressed concern about the plight of thousands of IDPs in Kachin State. Mitchell said that the regime’s aggression in Kachin State was inconsistent with regime’s pledge for dialogue with ethnic nationalities and national reconciliation.131 • 16 March: US Special Envoy and Policy Coordinator on Burma Derek Mitchell said that the lifting of sanctions against the regime involved more than the outcome of the 1 April by-elections. Mitchell said that there were still specific issues such as the release of all political prisoners, humanitarian access to IDPs, and a free, fair, and transparent by-election. Mitchell also announced that the US would provide US$1.5 million in additional funding to the UNHCR to assist IDPs in Burma.132 Malaysia: Let’s do business! On 28-29 March, Malaysian PM Najib Razak led a 150-member diplomatic and business delegation to Burma.133 While in Burma, Najib Razak encouraged Malaysian businessmen living in the country to do business in Burma and to help Malaysia benefit from the country as it continued its “journey towards liberalization, reform, progress, and democracy.”134 On 28 March, Najib and President Thein Sein agreed to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.135 On 29 March, Najib said that Malaysia would try to convince Western countries to review and gradually ease sanctions imposed on Burma.136 Canada FM notes concerns on election process On 8 March, John Baird became Canada’s first FM to visit Burma.137 In Naypyidaw, Baird met with President Thein Sein and numerous regime officials, including FM Wunna Maung Lwin in
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DVB (22 Mar 12) Villagers resist eviction, sentenced to hard labour Narinjara News (19 Mar 12) Land Owner Threatened for Demanding Compensation 128 Myanmar Times (19 Mar 12) People will decide if vote is credible: US 129 Irrawaddy (09 Mar 12) Mitchell to Visit Burma Again Before Sanctions Lifted 130 AP (14 Mar 12) US envoy calls for free and fair Myanmar polls 131 AFP (15 Mar 12) US voices concern over Myanmar refugees 132 Mizzima News (16 Mar 12) Ambassador Mitchell’s press conference in Rangoon 133 Irrawaddy (28 Mar 12) Malaysia PM Leads 150-Strong Delegation to Burma 134 Bernama (29 Mar 12) Najib Urges More Malaysians To Invest In Myanmar 135 Bernama (29 Mar 12) Najib's Visit To Myanmar Promising 136 Bernama (29 Mar 12) Najib: Malaysia Will Try To Convince Countries To Review Sanctions On Myanmar 137 Irrawaddy (06 Mar 12) Canadian Foreign Minister Visits Burma This Week

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Naypyidaw.138 After meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the same day, Baird said that Canada would be monitoring the 1 April by-elections and said that he was concerned to hear about irregularities on voter lists.139 ECONOMY Myitsone dam project still active Five months after President Thein Sein announced the suspension of the Myitsone dam project, work on the project and human rights violations related to its development continued. The developer, China Power Investment (CPI), continued to lobby for the full resumption of the project despite the fact that the project has never stopped. • 2 March: Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) reported that work on infrastructure projects related to the Myitsone dam continued.140 Additionally, 200 workers from China Power Investment, the project developer, remained at the project site.141 • 5 March: Local regime authorities briefly detained over 20 villagers from Tang Hpre, Myitkyina Township, Kachin State, for inviting 88 Generation Students to a prayer vigil a week earlier.142 • 6 March: Police detain more than 10 villagers in Tang Hpre, Myitkyina Township, Kachin State, for returning to their village near the Myitsone dam project despite being relocated in 2010.143 • 6 March: Regime authorities ordered villagers from Tang Hpre to evacuate the village by 17 March, and threatened those who did not comply with imprisonment.144 • 10 March: CPI Chairman Lu Qizhou said the company was in “active talks” with the regime to restart the project.145 Major infrastructure projects spark activism In March, activists protested against the negative environmental impact from proposed and ongoing infrastructure projects in Burma. • 1 March: Regime authorities in Rangoon’s Thaketa Township briefly detained nine activists who distributed campaign material opposing the Shwe Gas project.146 • 12 March: Activists sent a petition against the construction of a dam that threatens to inundate more than 9,000 acres of land in Tavoy Township, Tenasserim Division to President Thein Sein.147 The petition contained signatures from 2,300 residents of Ah Nyar Hpyar Village whose land is threatened by the project.148 • 14 March: Hundreds of local residents demanded that investors cease construction on dam projects on the Salween River during protests in Papun Township, Karen State.149 Discontent with the regime also arose over the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant in Kawthaung Township, Tenasserim Division. Residents living near the project site said they would have to leave their homes due to health concerns linked to coal-fired power plants - such as skin allergies and respiratory issues - when the plant goes into operation.150 Democratic Party (Myanmar) member Than

Xinhua (08 Mar 12) Myanmar president meets Canadian FM in Nay Pyi Taw CBC (08 Mar 12) Baird learns of possible Burma vote rigging KDNG (02 Mar 12) Press Release: Villagers from Myitsone dam relocation camp still can’t go back home 141 KDNG (02 Mar 12) Press Release: Villagers from Myitsone dam relocation camp still can’t go back home; 142 Kachin News Group (08 Mar 12) Despite Myitsone dam halt government to destroy village 143 Kachin News Group (07 Mar 12) 10 arrested after returning home to Myitsone dam village; Kachin News Group (30 Mar 12) 200 workers still at Mytisone dam site, Chinese expect suspension to be lifted 144 Kachin News Group (08 Mar 12) Despite Myitsone dam halt government to destroy village 145 WSJ (10 Mar 12) China Power in 'Active Talks' With Myanmar Over Dam 146 Narinjara News (01 Mar 12) Nine Shwe Gas Campaigners Detained and Interrogated in Rangoon 147 Irrawaddy (15 Mar 12) Villagers Protest Dawei Dam 148 Irrawaddy (15 Mar 12) Villagers Protest Dawei Dam 149 Karen News (17 Mar 12) Dam investment projects put peace at risk 150 Mizzima News (21 Mar 12) Residents near coal-fired power plant to leave their homes
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Tun said the party sent a letter to the Tenasserim Division Chief Minister Khin Zaw’s Office that outlined the harmful affects of the project, but did not receive a reply.151 Gem sales plummet From 9 to 18 March, the 49th annual Gems Emporium was held in Naypyidaw. Sales from the event netted US$702.7 million, down nearly 75% from the US$2.8 billion in sales during the event held the previous year.152 Regime to float the kyat On 28 March, Burma’s Central Bank announced that it would begin a managed float of the kyat beginning 1 April, the start of the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Under the managed float, the value of the kyat will be set by Burma’s Central Bank, which will take supply and demand of the currency into account when determining its value.153 OTHER BURMA NEWS IN MARCH
1 1 1 2 3 5 5 5 5 6 6 8 8 8 9 9 9 10 12 12 Rakhine Nationals Progressive Party MP for People’s Assembly’s Minbya Constituency, Arakan State, Aung Sein Tha dies of heart failure. Thai authorities in Chiang Rai Province arrest a 44-year-old man in connection with the trafficking of 200,000 amphetamine pills from Burma to Thailand In a speech to the National Parliament, President Thein Sein says that the regime will continue the sweeping reforms it has instituted over the past year. Thai police in Chiang Rai Province seize more than four million amphetamine pills believed to have been smuggled from Burma into Thailand via Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan District. Landmines kill eight Tatmadaw soldiers from IB 290 in Loikang Village, Kutkai Township, Northern Shan State. Representatives from international Karen organizations release a statement that calls for genuine peace and national reconciliation in Burma. EU External Action Service Counselor Robert Cooper meets with regime Election Commission Chairman Tin Aye in Naypyidaw. Two Tatmadaw soldiers from IB 299 abduct and sexually assault a 22-year-old Karen woman in Myawaddy Township, Karen State. Karen Women Organization releases a statement condemning the assault and attempted rape of a 22-year old Karen woman by Tatmadaw soldiers. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi meets with a group of MPs from ethnic political parties in Naypyidaw and urges them to cooperate with the NLD to ensure the by-elections are free and fair and internal peace is achieved. New Zealand FM Murray McCully meets with President Thein Sein, regime FM Wunna Maung Lwin and People’s Assembly Speaker Shwe Mann in Naypyidaw. Vice-President Tin Aung Myint Oo meets with India’s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai in Naypyidaw. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton awards 88 Generation Student Zin Mar Aung the International Women of Courage Award. Tatmadaw forces and Swan Arr Shin thugs rape a woman in Ponnagyun Township, Arakan State. Three Arakan youths escape from a Tatmadaw base in Magwe Division after being forcibly recruited on 12 February. Labor Organization Law comes into effect. Tatmadaw troops from Military Operation Command 9 shoot and kill a 23-year-old villager on the road between Bu Hsa Kee and Kay Pu in Papun Township, Karen State. In a speech in Taunggyi, Shan State, President Thein Sein says that peace and stability and national economic development “are essential requisites for the flourishing of democracy.” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi holds separate meetings with National Assembly Speaker Khin Aung Myint and People’s Assembly Speaker Shwe Mann in Naypyidaw. Regime Minister of Transportation Nyan Tun Aung states that the regime and the Indian government will jointly conduct an environmental and social impact assessment of the Kaladan Multi-modal Project

Mizzima News (21 Mar 12) Residents near coal-fired power plant to leave their homes Xinhua (23 Mar 12) Myanmar's gem sale experiences slumping trend Reuters (28 Mar 12) Myanmar central bank confirms currency float from April 1; DPA (28 Mar 12) Myanmar’s Central Bank to float kyat currency
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Vietnam’s FM Pham Binh Minh meets with regime FM Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyidaw. Two regime Navy frigates dock at Danang port, Vietnam. The parents of a child from Pauktaw Township, Arakan State, lodge a complaint with the ILO stating that the Tatmadaw recruited their son in 2011. About 200 activists and political leaders hold a ceremony to commemorate Phone Maw Day in Rangoon. European Court of Justice reports that it ruled in favor of lifting travel sanctions against Pye Phyo Tay Za, the son of regime crony Tay Za. Thai and regime officials open a branch office for nationality verification and issuance of passports to Burmese migrant workers in Chiang Mai. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issues its decision in the maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh and Burma. Colombian Deputy FM Patti Londorso meets with regime FM Wunna Maung Lwin in Naypyidaw. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin says that Beijing has lodged an official complaint with the regime concerning an incident involving two Tatmadaw soldiers who crossed into China and fatally shot a local resident on 12 January. Malaysia’s FM Anifah Aman meets with President Thein Sein and regime FM Wunna Maung Lwin, Minister at President Office Soe Maung, and Finance and Revenue Minister Hla Tun in Naypyidaw. Shan Nationalities League for Democracy applies for party registration with the regime Election Commission. The explosion of a World War II-era ordnance kills three teenagers at an iron smelter in Mandalay’s Pyigyidagon Township. Chinese authorities in Fuyang, Anhui Province, arrest 74 people and seize 23 kilos of heroin and amphetamines from Burma. President Thein Sein meets with Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang and the General Secretary of Vietnam’s Communist Party Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi. President Thein Sein meets with Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen in Phnom Penh. About 500 people gather at Mandalay’s Mahamuni pagoda to hold a prayer vigil for the release of political prisoners. UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon says that he is encouraged by the recent developments in Burma regarding greater participatory democracy. President Thein Sein meets with Lao PM Thongsing Thammavong in Vientiane. A 20-year-old Shan woman falls to her death from the fifth floor a police station in Rangoon’s Kyauktada Township after three days of interrogation. Two bomb explosions kill a 10-year-old boy at golf course in Tachilek Township, Shan State. Australia’s FM Bob Carr says that Australia will remove sanctions on Burma step by step as the country makes progress in the democratization process. President Thein Sein meets with China’s Yunnan Provincial Governor Li Ji Heng in Naypyidaw. 88 Generation Students issue a statement that calls for the formation of a government that derives its power from the people. In a speech on the anniversary of Armed Forces’ Day, Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing defends the military’s political role and vows to protect the 2008 constitution. Regime Ministry of Mines orders a ban on the mining of mineral resources along the Irrawaddy, Salween, Chindwin, and Sittaung rivers. UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma Tomás Ojea Quintana calls on the regime to show clear political will to achieve a “peaceful and professionally administered” by-election. EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht says that the EU’s decision on whether to lift sanctions on the regime will largely depend on the ILO’s next report on forced labor in Burma.

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REPORTS ON BURMA RELEASED IN MARCH
“Burma’s by-elections: Still short of international standards”, Altsean-Burma http://bit.ly/H7s7QS “By-elections don’t mean Burma is free - Burma Briefing No. 18”, Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) http://bit.ly/GZyPtv “By-elections or Sell elections”, Burma News International (BNI) http://bit.ly/GZcUXB

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“Progress report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar”, Tomás Ojea Quintana http://bit.ly/z0uBsD “Internet Enemies Report 2012”, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) http://bit.ly/wkZZrE “Annual Report 2012”, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) http://bit.ly/GCPx0N “2011 Annual Report”, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) http://bit.ly/GSfCOK “Burma: Free and fair elections do not mean civil and political rights exist, evidenced by continued detention of political prisoners”, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) http://bit.ly/GVn1O0 “Untold Miseries: Wartime Abuses and Forced Displacement in Burma’s Kachin State”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) http://bit.ly/GzUbk0 “Humanitarian Situation and Response Plan in Kachin - March 2012 update”, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) http://bit.ly/zgktMC “Seeking Refuge: The Chin People in Mizoram State, India”, World Relief Baptist World Alliance, Refugee Council USA, InterAction, Jesuit Refugee Service, Lutheran World Federation, World Evangelical Alliance, and World Relief http://bit.ly/xt2Yia “Burma’s Resource Curse - The case for revenue transparency in the oil and gas sector”, Arakan Oil Watch http://bit.ly/GZL7nK “Teak resources and Market Assessment 2010”, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) http://bit.ly/Hqc6tJ

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