၂၀၁၃ ခု နဳိ၀င္ဘာလ (၁၈) ရက္ ညေန ပုိင္းတြင္ ေက်ာက္ၿဖဴၿမဳိ႕နယ္ရွိ ေဆးရုံႏွင္႔ ရဲစခန္း အနီးရွိ သန္ပန္ေခ်ာင္းရပ္ကြက္မွ မြတ္ဆလင္ ဗလီေက်ာင္းကုိ လူစုလူေ၀းၿဖင္႔ အစြန္႔ေရာက္ ရခုိင္သားတုိ႔က ဖ်က္စီးေနသည္ကုိ အာဏာပုိင္အဖြဲ႔အစည္းက တားဆီး၊ ဟန္႔တားၿခင္းမရွိပါ။
၂၀၁၂ ခုႏွစ္ အေမရိကန္သမၼတ အုိဘားမား (၂-၁၁-၀၁၂) ခုေန႔ မိန္႔ခြန္းေၿပာၾကား ၿပိးေနာက္ ေက်ာက္ၿဖဴၿမဳိ႕ရွိ မြတ္ဆလင္ ပုိင္ေနအိမ္အေကာင္းမ်ားကုိ ခရုိင္ အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ ေရးမွဴး ရန္လင္းေအာင္ ညႊန္ၾကားခ်က္ၿဖင္႔ ေနအိမ္အမုိးခြါေရာင္းၿခင္း၊ၾကမ္းမ်ား၊ တံခါးနံရံ အေကာင္း မ်ားကုိ ခြါေရာင္းခ်ၿခင္မ်ားၿပဳလုပ္ခဲ႔သည္။
၂၀၁၃ ခု နဳိ၀င္ဘာ (Breaking ၁၈) ရက္ ေန႔ ရခုိင္မွ OIC ၾကည္႔ရွဳၿပန္သြားၿပီးေနာက္ ေက်ာက္ ၿဖဴ ၿမဳိ႕နယ္ သန္ပန္ေခ်ာင္းရပ္ကြက္ ဗလီ အေကာင္း ကုိ ဖ်က္စီးေနေသာ္လည္း အာဏာပုိင္မ်ားက တားဆီးေပးၿခင္းမရွိဘဲ မသိေယာင္ေဆာင္ေနသည္ဟု ေက်ာက္ၿဖဴ ၿမဳိ႕ခံ တစ္ဦးက သတင္းပုိ႔ ထားသည္။
ေက်ာက္ျဖဴ ။ ။ ရခုိင္ ျပည္နယ္၊ ေက်ာက္ျဖဴၿမဳိ႕ရွိ ဂ်ာေမဗလီကုိ ရခုိင္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ ၀င္မ်ားက အၾကမ္းဖက္ ဖ်က္ဆီးလ်က္ ရွိၿပီး၊ ဗလီ အတြင္းရွိ ဘာသာေရး ေက်ာင္းကုိ ဖ်က္ဆီး လုိက္ေၾကာင္း သတင္း ရရွိ ပါ သည္။
ယေန႔ ည ၈ နာရီ ၀န္းက်င္မွ စ၍ လူေပါင္း ၆၀၀ ေက်ာ္ခန္႔ရွိ ရခုိင္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၀င္ မ်ားက
ေက်ာက္ျဖဴ ၿမဳိ႕၊ သန္ ပန္ေခ်ာင္း ရပ္ကြက္၊ ကမ္း နားလမ္းရွိ ဂ်ာေမဗလီကုိ စတင္ အၾကမ္းဖက္ ဖ်က္ဆီး ခဲ့ေၾကာင္း သိရွိ ရပါ သည္။ ထုိကဲ့သုိ႔ အၾကမ္းဖက္ ဖ်က္ဆီး ရျခင္းမွာ ယမန္ေန႔က ၿပီးဆုံး သြားသည့္ OIC ခရီးစဥ္ကုိ မေက် နပ္၍ ၿဖစ္သည္ဟု အၾကမ္းဖက္ သမားမ်ားက ေအာ္ဟစ္လ်က္ ရွိေၾကာင္း သိရွိ ရပါသည္။ အၾကမ္း ဖက္ သမား မ်ားမွာ လြန္ ခဲ့ေသာ ရက္ ပုိင္းက နယ္ ဖက္မွ ေမာ္ေတာ္ ဘုတ္ မ်ားျဖင့္ ေရာက္ရွိ လာသူ မ်ားျဖစ္ၿပီး၊ OIC ၏ ခရီး စဥ္ကုိ ဆႏၵျပ ရန္လာေရာက္ ခဲ့သူ မ်ားျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း စုံစမ္း သိရွိ ရသည္။
ေက်ာက္ျဖဴၿမဳိ႕တြင္ ေနထုိင္ ခဲ့ေသာ မြတ္စလင္ မ်ားမွာ လြန္ခဲ့သည့္ႏွစ္ ေအာက္တုိဘာလ ၂၂ ရက္ေန႔မွ ၂၄ ရက္ေန႔ အတြင္းက အၾကမ္းဖက္ သမားမ်ား တုိက္ခုိက္ရန္ လာေသာေၾကာင့္ အာဏာပုိင္ မ်ားက မၾကာခင္ ရက္ပုိင္း အတြင္း ျပန္လည္ ေခၚေဆာင္ လာမည္ဟု ဆုိကာ ဒုကၡသည္ စခန္း မ်ားသုိ႔ အတင္း အဓမၼပုိ႔ေဆာင္ၿခင္းခံ ခဲ့ရသည္။ ေက်ာက္ျဖဴၿမဳိ႕တြင္ ဗလီ (၇) လုံး ရွိသည့္ အနက္ အေကာင္း ပတိအ တုိင္း က်န္သည့္ ဂ်ာေမ ဗလီကုိ ယေန႔ ညပုိင္းတြင္ ရခုိင္ အၾကမ္းဖက္ သမား မ်ားက အၾကမ္းဖက္ ေနျခင္း ျဖစ္ သည္။
ေက်ာက္ျဖဴၿမဳိ႕ရွိ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၀င္ မ်ား၏ ေျပာၾကားခ်က္ အရ ဗလီ၏ အာဇာန္ ေပးသည့္ ေမွ်ာ္စင္ (မီနာရသ္) ကုိ လုံး၀ ဖ်က္ဆီး လုိက္ၿပီး၊ ည ၁၀ နာရီ ၄၅ မိနစ္ အခ်ိန္တြင္ ဗလီ ၇၅% ကုိ ဖ်က္ဆီး လုိက္ေၾကာင္း သိရွိ ရပါသည္။
ထုိ႔အျပင္ ဗလီ၀င္း အတြင္း ႏွစ္ထပ္ ပ်ဥ္ေထာင္ ဘာသာေရး ေက်ာင္းေဆာင္ (မဒရာဆာ) ကုိလည္း ဖ်က္ဆီး လုိက္ၿပီး၊ ယခု အခါ ဗလီ၏ နံရံ မ်ားကုိ ဖ်က္ဆီး လ်က္ရွိေၾကာင္း သတင္း ရရွိ ပါသည္။
လုံၿခဳံေရး တပ္ဖြဲ႔၀င္မ်ား ဗလီ၀န္း အျပင္တြင္ ရွိေသာ္လည္း အေရးယူ ဟန္႔တားျခင္း လုံး၀ မရွိေၾကာင္း ေဒသခံ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၀င္ မ်ားမွ ေျပာပါသည္။
November 18, 2013
Kyauk Phyu, Arakan – Rakhinese mob in Kyauk Phyu are destroying a mosque that is situated on Strand Road, Than Pan Chaung Quarter in Kyauk Phyu Township of Arakan State.
The mob claims that they are totally uncomfortable with the now concluded visit of OIC delegation led by Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. They give this as the reason that they are destroying the mosque. They started at 8 pm local Myanmar time. The mob came from rural areas in the last few days to protest against OIC in Kyauk Phyu.
The Muslims lived in Kyauk Phyu were forced to leave from the town on October 22nd-24th of last year. All of them were placed in refugee camps. After a year, this the only mosque that was left in good condition among seven in Kyauk Phyu. The last is now under attack by the Rakhines mob.
According to a conversation with local Buddhists by a correspondent of RB News, the Mosque’s Minaret was completely destroyed in the beginning and 75% of the mosque was destroyed at 10:45 pm local time.
Although the security forces are standing in front of the mosque, they are not stopping the mob and letting them to destroy it.
The two story Madrassa (Islamic School) that is situated inside the mosque was completely destroyed and the mob are destroying the walls outside of mosque at this moment.
The Rakhinese mob consists of about 600 people, according to local Buddhists in Kyauk Phyu.
(Photo Courtesy: RB News) ေက်ာက္ျဖဴၿမဳိ႕တြင္ ဖ်က္ဆီး ခံေနရေသာ ဂ်ာေမဗလီ
The Mosque in Kyauk Phyu ,Rakhine ( Arakan) State
Crown Prince Salman chairs the Cabinet meeting in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
The Cabinet on Monday reiterated the Kingdom’s calls to the international community to provide aid and guarantee the arrival of assistance to the Muslim minority in Myanmar and help those affected to regain their humanitarian rights.
The Cabinet also called for halting crimes of displacement against them.
The meeting was presided over by Crown Prince Salman at Al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh.
Abdul Aziz Khoja, minister of culture and information, said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency that the Cabinet commended the efforts of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in prompting the authorities in Myanmar to tackle the issues of human rights and other issues that affect the Muslim minority.
They also commended the organization’s declared readiness to contribute in the reconstruction process and provide aid to those affected in the state of Arakan.
He said the Cabinet congratulated Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman for the Kingdom’s winning a seat at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council for a third three-year term.
The Cabinet also expressed Saudi Arabia’s condolences to the Philippine government for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and valued the king’s order to provide $10 million in cash as a contribution to government and international efforts to tackle the effects of the disaster.
The Cabinet welcomed the fourth News Agencies World Congress, which is being hosted in Riyadh under the auspices of custodian of the two holy mosques.
The recent OIC’s foreign ministers visit to Myanmar was, in fact, since the last year’s continuation efforts of Organization of Islamic Conference to pay visit to Myanmar under the agreement of Union Government of Myanmar to evaluate the situation in Myanmar. OIC is comprised with (57) Islamic countries from every corner of the world and it has been extending helping hands to the needy people of the world under the theme of regardless of race, religion and cultural differences, since its emergence.
From the one hand, after having been agreed by the government of Myanmar to allow the OIC to pay visit to Myanmar in the last year, there had been intentional nonstop demonstrations, all over the country against the OIC’s visit, which might have been led or screwed from the other hand by both the inner circle of government of Myanmar and all coordinated Rakhine Political parties such as RNDP and ALD which is led by vet. Aye Maung and Aye Thar Aung.
In the year 2012, because of the mushroom like free hand demonstrations which were being permitted by the authorities to celebrate shamelessly to be seen by people of the world, that had totally been against the OIC, U Thein Sein has ended up by himself to stop the OIC’s visit under the pretext of mass people’ desire that do not need OIC’s official visit which to have had a helpful assessment against the violence that had been one-sidedly erupted along entire Rakhine state and Myanmar proper, targeting the innocent Muslims.
Seeing the OIC countries’ disunity among them and the true loophole of the weakness of the Muslims Ummah of the world by the government of Myanmar and Rakhine (Maugh) intellectual people, it was seemed to have adopted an annihilated plan to finish Rohingyas and Muslims of Burma while there wouldn’t be any outcry or helping hand from the Muslims Ummah of the world.
But right now, we entire Myanmar people are highly appreciative to seeing the meticulous endeavor of OIC’s delegates in the United Nations to help solve the problem of Rohingyas and others very peacefully in the sidelines of the UN and also happy to notice the OIC’s constructive engagement to work with the government of Myanmar without setting any blockage which may curve the regime of Myanmar and become a block stone to the democratic reform of Thein Sein regime with the United Power of OIC in the United Nations.
Organization of Islamic Conference is neither a super power wielding organization nor a bully union similar to the United Nations Security Council to use the ultimate authorized power to the targeted destination nor does it have remarkable records that have ever interfered in any United Nations member country of the world in its history!
Having been the very useful multilateral diplomatic channels for the sake of the country, ultimately, U Thein Sein government has realized to allow the goodwill visit of OIC foreign ministers to Myanmar to do their works with the coordination efforts of Myanmar government in every level.
After having an agreement with the OIC in the United Nations sidelines to coordinate in matter relevant, OIC was set to pay visit to Myanmar under the bilateral agreement. While OIC was in Myanmar, there have been several deceitful, cunning and devious demonstrations which were being arranged by RNDP, ALD and their grassroots level townships and village organs that have been debauching and humiliating the valuable guests all along the trip.
Neither, such the demonstrations will help solve the outstanding problems which so far unsolved and become regional and international issue in which all incumbents of the world have been involved nor the culprits who have undertaken in along massacre and overall social devastation of Rohingyas, Kaman and Burmese Muslims will be able to escape from the international criminal courts but rather the past demonstrations and next coming ones will worsen the unsolved problem more complex for the peaceful solution to the problem.
Being Myanmar and OIC are the same developing countries status, OIC has a sympathetic attitude on Myanmar and no country is above one another. OIC does not want to put any head-ache on Myanmar government because no OIC country is a super power in its Organization or a collective super power to push any country of the world into troubling angle rather to engage in collective work-done bilaterally and multilaterally.
To save face of the nation and to be honest, the Union Government is responsible for overall things happenings along the country. Rhetoric RNDP chair vet. Aye Maung, Aye Thar Aung and some of their ignorant grassroots leaders should be confined, arrested and put in long terms jail
imprisonment for the sake the Union, Rakhine state and that of the people’ bright future because Aye Maung, Aye Thar Aung and some Rakhine politicians and parliamentarians are ultra-violent attitude to the nation building task, peaceful co-existence, harmonious society, rehabilitation, reconstruction process and become chauvinistic to the nature of very reality and a big stumbling stone for the sake of the country.
credit: Myo Thant
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu talks during an interview at Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu talks during an interview at Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, on Saturday, Nov 16, 2013. Mr Ihsanoglu said emotional visits with members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim
community – chased from their homes in Myanmar by Buddhist mobs and arsonists – brought him to tears. — PHOTO: AP
YANGON, Myanmar — The secretary general of the world’s largest bloc of Islamic countries said emotional visits with members of the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim community — chased from their homes in Myanmar by Buddhist mobs and arsonists — brought him to tears.
“I’ve never had such a feeling,” Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said late Saturday, as he and other delegates from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation wrapped up a three-day tour to Myanmar that included talks with the president, government ministers, interfaith groups and U.N. agencies.
But he said it was the huge, emotional crowds living in trash-strewn camps outside the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, that made the biggest impression.
“I was crying,” Ihsanoglu said.
Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million, emerged from a half-century of military rule in 2011, but its transition to democracy has been marred by sectarian violence that has left more than 240 people dead and sent another 240,000 fleeing their homes.
Most of the victims have been Rohingya. Though many of their families arrived generations ago, all have been denied citizenship by the government.
Many children in displacement camps have not gone to school for more than a year. Those who wish to leave — for medical treatment or otherwise — have to pay hefty bribes. Humanitarian aid workers face constant threats by Buddhist Rakhine, who accuse them of being biased in favor of Rohingya.
Ihsanoglu said that while visiting the Sittwe camps, he and other members of the IOC delegation were met by crowds of 5,000, but due to the language barrier, they were unable to communicate.
“They were desperate. They were afraid. They were happy we were there, but it was a happiness expressed in crying,” he said, adding that he was eventually able to offer the Islamic greeting, “Assalam Alaikum,” or “May God grant protection and security,” and the crowd responded in kind.
“I can’t explain the feeling I had,” he said. “It was very moving.”
The OIC visit to Myanmar was marred by frequent demonstrations, with thousands turning out to meet the delegates when they landed in Yangon and then Sittwe, some carrying banners that said “OIC get out” or chanting “Stop interfering in our internal affairs.”
Still, Ihsanoglu called it a success — mostly because it came at the invitation of a government that has largely remained silent about the repeated attacks on minority Muslims.
He said he received assurances that the government was seeking to resolve issues of citizenship for its 800,000 Rohingya, but gave no details.
“If this issue is not solved, it will be a big problem,” he said.
Rohingya, excluded from Myanmar’s 135 recognized ethnic groups, have for decades endured systematic discriminatory and exclusionary policies, restricting movement, access to education and jobs.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi — who has said little in defense of the religious minority — declined to meet with the OIC delegation.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
AUNG AUNG (SITTWE) (27/10/2013)
Our era of modern civilization is characterized as much by war and conflict as it is by peace and democracy. The twentieth century was the century of war. 21st century is full of Dictators’ mischief against democracy, human right and religion. 1000s of good people stand for reality, justice, and human right on Earth. Unfortunately some leaders support dictators, mischief, and injustice, and deny human dignity and human right. They are worse than cruel dictators, shame on those leaders!
A good leader should remains as humble as common people after accomplishment of admire, wealth, and fame; showing an impressive strength of character, morality, and virtue. The person who risk his or her life, wealth and reputation, and bear criticize for a lie in order to get higher worldly position, cannot be a good leader. History is full of people, who saying one thing and doing another can never change people. A good leader should be a good exemplar of high moral conduct and virtue. A liar cannot be a good leader. A good leader must know his people thoroughly to educate them and lead them to realize a great cause. We need to learn each other before we judge each other.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi became famous as democracy icon of Burma but she failed to tell the reality as she developed her grudge against her Muslim boyfriend of her youth. She uses her personal anger against all Muslims and started the destruction of humanity, human right and justice. She has been denying existence of Rohingya knowingly. When only 10 persons left to support her, a Rohingya leader, U Kyaw Myint was one of them. Today, she openly denies Rohingya’s existence, ethnic cleansing and human right violation because of her grudge against Muslims.
More than 300000 Rohingya left the country because of persecution in 1977-78. When Myanmar Government received those refugees under UN supervision, Dictator Ne Win accepted most of the refugees back as Rohingya, Myanmar citizens. I attached an official document of returning refugee in which the race of refugee was written Rohingya, not Bangali.
As denial of Sun’s existence by the whole humanity cannot remove the Sun, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s denial cannot cease Rohingya’s existence. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s stand for Dictators is a sign of future human right violation in Burma. We need World’s support to put pressure on Myanmar Government.
RANGOON – They were the late-1990s peacemakers–Third Way buddy-cops whose ready smiles, demonstrative hand gestures and varnished empathy helped broker deals in places as different as Kosovo and Northern Ireland.
And as night follows day, on Friday Tony Blair trailed Bill Clinton to Rangoon’s Myanmar Peace Center, with the former British Prime Minister giving a similar speech to the ex-US President—only 22 hours later and to a slightly smaller crowd.
Echoing the geographic content of Clinton’s Thursday talk, Blair’s Friday foray mentioned the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Nigeria. And as Clinton gave a touching first-person anecdote about reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda, Blair recounted a meeting held right after the 1998 Omagh bombing, a terrorist act carried out by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) splinter group that ranks as the single deadliest atrocity of the thirty-year conflict in Northern Ireland.
Blair recalled being told by one of the bereaved that “I just lost the two people dearest to me in the world. But I want you to go and work to make sure that no one suffers the way I am now.”
Blair and Clinton met for a while last night, and, said Blair, marveled at how it would have been unimaginable to both men, while they were in office, that they would in future cross paths in the former military-ruled Burma.
It seems, however, that Blair might have slipped a copy of Clinton’s speech into his briefcase before the two men parted ways.
“You don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies,” Blair intoned, the versatile truism almost word-for-word a fragment of Clinton’s speech the day before.
Like Clinton, Blair sought to allude to contemporary Burma by describing possible parallels elsewhere, but for the most part did not discuss Burma directly.
Burma’s government has signed 14 ceasefires with the country’s ethnic militias—which the latter hope will lead to political negotiations about granting greater autonomy for Burma’s minority regions. Blair gave his implicit backing to the Burma government’s sequencing to date, saying “it is hard to make peace possible without achieving this [a ceasefire] first.”
But breaking with the tightly-controlled format of the Clinton event on Thursday, Blair fielded 10 questions—albeit queries pre-screened and pre-selected by the Myanmar Peace Centre.
“How can a Burmese Muslim become a British?” the former British prime minister was asked, the question said to have come from a Muslim in strife-ridden Arakan State in Burma’s west, and read aloud by Kyaw Yin Hlaing, an advisor to Burma’s Government.
“You have enough to do to get them into here,” Blair replied, somewhat bemused. “And that’s all I am going to say,” he quickly concluded.
Blair has made three previous visits to Burma in past year, as his international political and business consultancy projects have expanded into countries as far-flung as Albania, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. Blair made no mention, nor was he asked, of whether this visit is linked to his lucrative advisory and consultancy work.
RANGOON — A high-level delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was greeted by an estimated 3,000 protestors Friday, when the group that includes foreign ministers from Islamic countries arrived in western Burma’s troubled Arakan State.
A group from the 57-member OIC arrived in Burma on Wednesday to meet with officials and investigate the situation of Rohingya Muslims, who make up the majority of the estimated 140,000 people displaced by two waves of violence in Arakan State last year. At least 192 people were killed in inter-communal violence between Arakanese Buddhists and Rohingya, who the government of Burma does not recognize as citizens.
Buddhists have staged demonstrations across the country this week accusing the OIC of trying to interfere in Burmese affairs.
On Friday, the delegation landed at about noon at Sittwe Airport, where angry demonstrators held aloft banners saying “Get Out OIC,” and “We Don’t Want OIC.”
“Our people arrived here at 7 am. We have over 3,000 people,” Tun Hlaing, an organizer of the protest, told The Irrawaddy. “We all shouted to them that we do not want them to come here.”
The Burmese government has approved the visit and reportedly guaranteed the security of delegates, who include OIC Secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Malaysian, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, Djiboutian and Bangladeshi officials.
Tun Hlaing said the group did not leave the airport, but was taken by Burmese military helicopters to parts of Arakan State where the population is majority Rohingya.
“They stayed about 15 minutes and then flew to Maungdaw and Buthitaung,” he said. “We did not get permission to meet them, but we could see them from the distance, and they could even see us shouting at them.”
Arakanese Buddhists also held smaller protests Maungdaw and Buthitaung, as well as other townships in Arakan State like Toungup and Mrauk-U.
About 1,000 people in Rangoon, mostly Buddhist monks, also marched from Shwedagon Pagoda to Sule Pagoda to demonstrate once again against the OIC visit on Friday. An additional protest was planned at Rangoon International Airport on Saturday to see off the OIC delegation.
Tun Kyi, a protester in Toungup Township, said it was his duty to oppose the OIC visit. “We are worried that they [the Rohingya] will get more support from the OIC and they will create more problems for our people,” he said.
Tun Kyi claimed the conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Arakan State is stirred up by international involvement.
Arakanese Buddhists in Maungdaw protested when the delegation landed in the town at about 1 pm, one protester said. “It is very simple: If we have to say why we protest, it’s because we do not want them to come,” said the female protester.
Protests against the visit of an OIC delegation were also held in Meiktila, Mandalay Division, and Lashio, northern Shan State, on Thursday. Both towns have seen violence targeting Muslim communities since last year.
Rights groups have accused Burma’s authorities of allowing, or even facilitating, violence against Muslims. Authorities have granted permission or allowed all of the anti-OIC protests to take place, in contrast to protest for land rights in Burma, for instance, for which permission is notoriously difficult to obtain.
Tun Hlaing, the protest organizer in Sittwe, said he had no trouble getting the demonstration approved after applying on Monday. Regulations, which are usually strictly applied when it comes to most protests, demand that permission is sought a week ahead of a demonstration.
Many activists fighting for other causes have found themselves sentenced to three months in prison after going ahead with a protest when permission was not forthcoming in time.
Although an attempt to visit Burma earlier this year by the OIC was rebuffed, the central government has openly supported the current trip.
According to the state-owned New Light of Myanmar, the delegation met with Burma’s Vice President Sai Mauk Kham on Thursday evening in Naypyidaw. The newspaper reported they discussed peace and stability in Arakan State, and rehabilitation efforts in the region.
RANGOON — Protests against the visit of an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) delegation continued on Thursday as about 200 Buddhists took to the streets in Meikthila, Mandalay Division, while Buddhists in Sittwe and Rangoon said they were planning further demonstrations.
On the second day of the visit, the OIC travelled to the capital Naypyidaw and on Friday the delegation will pay what is expected to be a tense visit to Sittwe, the capital of strife-torn Arakan State.
The delegation of the OIC, a grouping of 57 Islamic countries, comprises OIC Secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and senior officials from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti and Bangladesh.
The delegation reportedly met with top Burmese officials on Thursday, but President Office spokesman Ye Htut told VOA that the delegation would not meet with President Thein Sein. National League for Democracy officials reportedly said the OIC would neither meet with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Minutes from an OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission meeting on Oct. 31 indicate that the organization wanted to conduct “a fact-finding mission to Myanmar to assess the situation of Rohingya Muslims,” a stateless minority living in northern Arakan State.
The government has released few details about the OIC visit, but officials have said the trip would help the organization gain an understanding of the real situation on the ground in Burma.
An UN employee based in Sittwe said the OIC delegation was expected to arrive in the Arakan capital on Friday afternoon. The aid worker, who declined to be named, said the delegation would be accompanied by central government officials and US Ambassador Derrick Mitchell, adding that the delegation was expected to stay one night in Sittwe.
“They will visit the IDP camps, but I don’t know which camps they will go to,” the UN staffer said, adding that only senior UN officials had been informed about the details of the OIC visit. “This is all being arranged by the central government—they arranged the helicopters already,” the aid worker added.
During two waves of violence between Arakanese Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority last year 192 people were killed and 140,000 people were displaced, mostly Muslims. The displaced Rohingyas continue to languish in dirty, crowded camps, where they receive little support from the government, which refuses to recognize the persecuted group as Burmese citizens.
The international community has repeatedly criticized the government’s response to the Arakan crisis. Human rights groups have alleged that the Burmese government—which is dominated by Buddhist officials—gave tacit support to Buddhist mob attacks on Rohingya villages.
Indonesian delegation member Ark Hananto told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the OIC had received security guarantees of the government for their Arakan State visit. International aid workers and journalists have reportedly been temporarily barred from travelling to Sittwe during the visit.
In Meikthila, on Thursday, some 200 people protested against the OIC visit, after they heard rumors that the delegation would inspect the situation in the city, which was hit by deadly anti-Muslim violence in late March.
“We held a protest of about 200 people, half of them Buddhist monks. Because we heard that they [the OIC] were going to visit today, but we didn’t see them yet,” said a protest organizer, who declined to be named.
“We got government permission to protest this morning,” she added.
Arakanese Buddhists in Sittwe told The Irrawaddy that they would hold large protests against the OIC visit on Friday.
“We have government permit to protest already, so we’ll be at the airport to protest tomorrow morning,” said Tun Hlaing, an organizer of the protest. “We will all meet at airport at 9 am. We will protest at the airport. They [the OIC] will come with a Myanmar Airline flight, that’s what we heard,” he added.
Aung Win, a Rohingya activist from Sittwe Township, said the local Muslim community hoped they would have an opportunity to meet with OIC delegation to express their concerns about their dire situation in Arakan State.
“If I have a chance to talk to them [the OIC], I will speak about our problems because there are still problems, even though one year has passed” since violence broke out, he added.
Aung Win said, however, that Rohingya leaders had received no information from the Arakan State authorities about the delegation’s plan to meet with their community. “I am worried that the state government will not give them much freedom … and just give them little time to meet with the displaced,” he added.
Some 1,000 people took the streets in Burma’s biggest city Rangoon on Tuesday to protest against the visit, after they obtained a government permit for the demonstration.
Protests against the OIC are also being planned in Rangoon on Friday and Saturday, Wai Lin Aung, a Buddhist organizer, said. “We will have protest at Shwedagon Pagoda tomorrow. Then, we will have another one at the [Rangoon] airport the next day,” he said.
Local Muslim leaders in Rangoon said they did not yet have an opportunity to meet with the OIC. Asked about the anti-OIC protests, Haji Aye Lwin, a leader of the Yangon Islamic Center, said, “They have the right to protest, but it is important to understand the reasons of the OIC visit to the country.”
Last year, a plan to open an OIC office in Burma led to nationwide protests. The plan was cancelled and earlier this year, the Burmese government rebuffed calls from the OIC to allow a delegation to visit and discuss the Rohingya issue.
Union of Myanmar
President: Lt. Gen. Thein Sein (2011)
Vice President: Vice President Sai Mouk Kham (2011)
Land area: 253,954 sq mi (657,741 sq km); total area: 261,969 q mi (678,500 sq km)
Population (2012 est.): 54,584,650 (growth rate: 1.07%); birth rate: 19.11/1000; infant mortality rate: 47.74/1000; life expectancy: 65.24; density per sq km: 72
Capital and largest city (2009 est.): Rangoon (Yangon), 4,259,000
Naypyidaw (administrative capital)
Other large cities: Mandalay, 1,009,000; Nay Pyi Taw 992,000
Monetary unit: Kyat
National name: Pyidaungsu Myanmar Naingngandau
Languages: Burmese, minority languages
Ethnicity/race: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Mon 2%, Indian 2%, other 5%
Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Islam 4%, Animist 1%, other 2%
Literacy rate: 89.9% (2011 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $82.72 billion; per capita $1,300. Real growth rate: 5.5%. Inflation: 8.9%. Unemployment: 5.5%. Arable land: 15%. Agriculture: rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane; hardwood; fish and fish products. Labor force: 32.53 million; agriculture 70%, industry 7%, services 23% (2012). Industries: agricultural processing; knit and woven apparel; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; cement; natural gas. Natural resources: petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower. Exports: $9.543 billion (2011); note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh: clothing, gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice. Imports: $5.498 billion (2011 est.); note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India: fabric, petroleum products, plastics, machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, crude oil; food products. Major trading partners: Thailand, India, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia (2004).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 604,700 (2011); mobile cellular: 594,000 (2011). Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 3 (1998). Radios: 4.2 million (1997). Television broadcast stations: 2 (1998). Televisions: 320,000 (2000). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1,033; note: as of Sept. 2000, Internet connections were legal only for the government, tourist offices, and a few large businesses (2012). Internet users: 110,000 (2011).
Transportation: Railways: total: 5,031 km (2011). Highways: total: 27,000 km; (2011 est.). Waterways: 12,800 km; 3,200 km navigable by large commercial vessels. Ports and harbors: Bassein, Bhamo, Chauk, Mandalay, Moulmein, Myitkyina, Rangoon, Akyab (Sittwe), Tavoy. Airports: 76 (2011).
International disputes: despite continuing border committee talks, significant differences remain with Thailand over boundary alignment and the handling of ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities.
Slightly smaller than Texas, Myanmar occupies the Thailand/Cambodia portion of the Indochinese peninsula. India lies to the northwest and China to the northeast. Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand are also neighbors. The Bay of Bengal touches the southwest coast. The fertile delta of the Irrawaddy River in the south contains a network of interconnecting canals and nine principal river mouths.
The ethnic origins of modern Myanmar (known historically as Burma) are a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began pushing into the area around 700 B.C., and the Mongolian invaders under Kublai Khan who penetrated the region in the 13th century. Anawrahta (1044–1077) was the first great unifier of Myanmar.
In 1612, the British East India Company sent agents to Burma, but the Burmese doggedly resisted efforts of British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal. Through the Anglo-Burmese War in 1824–1826 and two subsequent wars, the British East India Company expanded to the whole of Burma. By 1886, Burma was annexed to India, then became a separate colony in 1937.
WWII Leads to Independence
During World War II, Burma was a key battleground; the 800-mile Burma Road was the Allies’ vital supply line to China. The Japanese invaded the country in Dec. 1941, and by May 1942, had occupied most of it, cutting off the Burma Road. After one of the most difficult campaigns of the war, Allied forces liberated most of Burma prior to the Japanese surrender in Aug. 1945.
Burma became independent on Jan. 4, 1948. In 1962, left-wing general Ne Win staged a coup, banned political opposition, suspended the constitution, and introduced the “Burmese way of socialism.” After 25 years of economic hardship and repression, the Burmese people held massive demonstrations in 1987 and 1988. These were brutally quashed by the State Law and Order Council (SLORC). In 1989, the military government officially changed the name of the country to Myanmar. (The U.S. State Department does not recognize the name Myanmar or the military regime that represents it.)
The Military Maintains a Tight Grip on Myanmar
In May 1990 elections, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide. But the military, or SLORC, refused to recognize the election results. The leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, which focused world attention on SLORC’s repressive policies. Daughter of the assassinated general Aung San, who was revered as the father of Burmese independence, Suu Kyi remained under house arrest from 1989 until 1995. Suu Kyi continued to protest against the government, but almost every move she made was answered with a counterblow from SLORC.
Although the ruling junta has maintained a tight grip on Myanmar since 1988, it has not been able to subdue an insurgency in the country’s south that has gone on for decades. The ethnic Karen movement has sought an independent homeland along Myanmar’s southern border with Thailand. In Jan. 2004, the military government and the insurgents from the Karen National Union agreed to end the fighting, but they stopped short of signing a cease-fire.
The economy has been in a state of collapse except for the junta-controlled heroin trade, the universities have remained closed, and the AIDS epidemic, unrecognized by the junta, has gripped the country.
The Junta Crack Down on Democracy
From 2000 to 2002, Suu Kyi was again placed under house arrest. In spring 2003, the government cracked down once again on the democracy movement, detaining Suu Kyi and shuttering NLD headquarters. The regime opened a constitutional convention in May 2004, but many observers doubted its legitimacy.
In Oct. 2004, the government arrested Prime Minister Gen. Khin Nyunt and charged him with corruption. He had angered the leadership of the junta with his recent experiments on reform, first by freeing Suu Kyi from house arrest and later for proposing a seven-step “road map to democracy.”
A series of coordinated bomb attacks in May 2005 killed about a dozen people and wounded more than 100 in Rangoon. The military junta blamed the Karen National Union and the Shan State Army. The ethnic rebel groups, however, denied any involvement.
Moving Toward a Modern Nation
On Nov. 13, 2005, the military junta—in a massive and secretive move—relocated the seat of government from the capital Rangoon to a mountain compound called Pyinmanaa in Naypyidaw. The move perplexed many, and the junta was vague in its explanation, saying, “Due to changed circumstances, where Myanmar is trying to develop a modern nation, a more centrally located government seat has become a necessity.”
More than 1,000 delegates gathered in December to begin drafting a constitution, which the junta said was a step toward democracy. The convention adjourned in late Jan. 2006 with little progress. In Sept. 2007, representatives to the convention, which has met on and off since 1993, released a draft constitution that ensures that the military will continue to control the ministries and legislature and have the right to declare a state of emergency. The document also limits the rights of political parties. Opposition parties were excluded from the convention.
Military Crackdowns Receive World Criticism
In a stunning show of defiance, widespread pro-democracy protests, prompted by a sharp increase in fuel prices, erupted throughout the country in Aug. 2007. Participation in the peaceful protests ballooned over several weeks, and Buddhist monks joined the throngs of protesters when government troops used force against demonstrators in early September. The monks emerged as the leaders of the protest movement and gained international sympathy and support. On Sept. 26, the military cracked down on the protesters, firing into crowds, raiding pagodas, and arresting monks. At least nine people were killed. The protests were by far the largest in the country in 20 years, with as many as 100,000 people marching. In a statement, the United Nations Security Council condemned the crackdown, saying it “strongly deplores” the violence unleashed on the protesters.
On May 3, 2008, Cyclone Nargis ravaged the Irrawaddy Delta and Yangon, killing 22,500 people and leaving up to a million homeless. Another 41,000 people were reported missing and feared dead. Most of the death and destruction were caused by a 12-foot high tidal wave that formed during the storm. The isolated military junta accepted international aid, a tacit acknowledgement that it is ill-equipped to handle a disaster of such enormous scope. But once the aid began to arrive, the government limited distribution of the supplies, accepting only about 10% of what was needed. In addition, it denied entry visas to relief workers, leaving the country crippled and vulnerable to widespread disease. The junta faced further criticism when it went ahead with a constitutional referendum on May 10 intended to cement its grip on power.
In September, the military government released just over 9,000 prisoners, including the longest-serving political prisoner, Win Tin. Most of those released, however, were not political prisoners. By most estimates, as many as 2,000 political prisoners remain in detention. These releases were followed in November by the sentencing of 30 activists to up to 65 years in jail. The activists include veterans of the 1988 students’ movement and other democracy advocates who participated in the thwarted monk-led protests in Aug. and Sept. 2007.
Suu Kyi Freed Shortly After Elections
Days after elections in Oct. 2010–the country’s first elections in 20 years–opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed after nearly 20 years in detention. Thousands of supporters gathered outside her home, where she gave a speech calling for a “peaceful revolution.” The elections, which the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won in a landslide, were widely criticized as rigged and an attempt to further empower the military government. Nevertheless, the junta presented the elections as evidence that the country had completed the transition from military government to a democracy. Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, boycotted the elections, thus further diminishing the legitimacy of the results.
Dramatic Shift Away from Authoritarian Rule Brings Diplomatic Opportunities
The country’s first Parliament in 20 years convened in Jan. 2011 and elected Prime Minister Thein Sein as president. The military junta officially disbanded in March 2011. However, Parliament is civilian largely in name only. The military won about 60% of the seats in October 2010 elections, and another 25% are reserved for members of the military. In addition, the cabinet is largely comprised of former members of the junta. The National League for Democracy dismissed the transition to a civilian government, calling it a futile gesture that will introduce no real change in power.
The NLD’s predictions proved false, however. In his first year as president, Thein Sein initiated stunning changes in political and economic philosophy that saw a loosening of the tight grip the authoritarian junta held on the country. He initiated talks with opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; allowed her and her party, the NLD, to run in upcoming parliamentary elections; freed about more than 800 political prisoners; signed a cease-fire with ethnic Karen rebels, who for 60 years have sought an independent homeland along Myanmar’s southern border with Thailand; and suspended work on the controversial $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River. In response, the U.S. took dramatic steps to normalize relations with the formerly isolated and repressive regime. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the country in December 2011—it was the first visit of a senior U.S. official in about 50 years. In Jan. 2012 the U.S. restored full diplomatic relations with Myanmar. That was followed by an easing of sanctions that allowed U.S. companies to “responsibly do business” in Myanmar.
Opposition Dominates 2012 Elections
In April 2012 parliamentary elections, the National League of Democracy prevailed in 43 out of 45 districts that held races, including the capital, Naypyidaw. Suu Kyi, who in October 2010 was released after spending nearly 20 years under house arrest, won a seat in parliament and took office in May. It was a stunning victory for the opposition—and an equally symbolic defeat for the military. Observers speculated that the opposition’s victory would either prompt military rulers to respond to the will of the people and enact change or view the victory as a threat to its power. The U.S. rewarded Myanmar for its progress with a thaw in relations, easing a number of sanctions and allowing nongovernmental organizations to resume operations in the country. “The results of the April 1 parliamentary by-elections represent a dramatic demonstration of popular will that brings a new generation of reformers into government,” U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton said.
Ethnic violence broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in the western state of Rakhine after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by a Muslim man. Revenge attacks followed, prompting Prime Minister Thein Sein to declare a state of emergency in June. Dozens were killed, hundreds of homes were burned, and about 100,000 people were displaced. Tension between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority, called Rohingyas, in Rakhine has been high for years. The government considers the Rohingyas illegal immigrants, discrimination against them is rampant, and they live in horrible conditions. On Aug. 1, 2012, the international organization Human Rights Watch published a 56-page report “The Government Could Have Stopped This” based on eyewitness reports of the acts of violence committed in Myanmar.
Small Steps Toward Democratization
In Aug. 2012 Myanmar’s government did away with the country’s censorship of private publications. While laws enabling the imprisonment of journalists for printing items that the government deems harmful are still in effect, the final two topics (religion and politics) were removed from the pre-publication censorship list on Aug. 20. Prime Minister Thein Sein continued his shift in political philosophy in September, announcing in a speech to the UN that the changes in Myanmar are “irreversible.” In response to the progress, President Barack Obama visited Myanmar in November—the first U.S. president to enter the country. He praised the drift from isolation as a “remarkable journey.”
In answer to two years’ worth of social, political, and economic reform, the European Union lifted the last of its trade, economic and individual sanctions against Myanmar. President Obama lifted the 1996 ban on entry visas to the former Burma’s military rulers, their business partners, and immediate families on May 2, 2013. At the same time, however, the Obama administration approved another year of the National Emergencies Act, which prohibits business transactions with anyone in Myanmar involved in repression of the democracy movement. This give-one, take-one approach was meant to encourage the democratization of Myanmar while simultaneously registering censure of the sectarian violence that erupted in March and has caused more than 40 deaths and has displaced an estimated 13,000. Radical Buddhist monks have been indicted in these attacks between Buddhists and minority (5% of population) Muslims.
Burma parliament’s lower house was said to be shocked by the demise of a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) representative who collapsed suddenly and died during the legislative session of parliament on Thursday.
Aung Hsan, 66, was a member of the ruling USDP party and elected as a lower house MP for Rangoon’s Pabedan township constituency in the 2010 election.
He had submitted a question in the lower house on Thursday regarding security measures and preparations for the upcoming SEA Games in Burma. Deputy Sports Minister Thaung Htike had just replied to the question when Aung Hsan collapsed in his seat, according to a fellow lower house member Min Thu.
The cause of his death has not yet been announced.
A two-minute silence was held for the MP when it was announced that he had died.
Later, a proposal was submitted by MP Myint Thu of Dagon Myothit East constituency suggesting that an ambulance and medics be constantly on call at the parliament building in Naypyidaw.