report 2012

Militarized development is always untenable

Decades of military rule have fostered a repressive political environment in which democratic principles are flouted, public resources are exploited for the benefit of the military elite and human rights and the rule of law enjoy little respect. Without basic rights, the voiceless people of the country suffer the consequences of economic mismanagement that undermines the environment and retards sustainable development. Burma urgently needs strong democratic institutions that promote sustainable development, public participation and accountability.

BCI & GEI 2011
Aung Htoo. (Photo: The Best
Friend International)

The names of some 2,000 people removed from a blacklist of foreign and Burmese nationals regarded as threats to the regime, among them Aung Htoo, former secretary of the Burma Lawyers Council (BLC, national focal point of Social Watch), was released by the office of President Thein Sein last week.

U Thein Oo. (Photo:

Despite the political reforms that include the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010 and the multiparty by-elections last April, the Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC, national focal point of Social Watch) warns there has been little substantive change so far. Doubts on the sincerity of the transition to democracy persist.

Source: Mizzima

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and NGOs representatives, including Mr U Aung Htoo, Secretary General of the Burma Lawyers’ Council (focal point of Social Watch), discussed the call for a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) into war crimes in that country with European Union (EU) diplomats ahead of a European Council meeting on human rights in Brussels on Monday.

Source: FIDH.

The United Nations (UN) are under mounting pressure to create a commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity commited by the Burmeses regime. A broad coalition of human rights organizations, including the Burma Lawyers' Counicil (BLC, national focal point of Social Watch) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), are focusing the pressure now on the European Union and specially on France. Those groups sent this month an open letter to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Minister of Foreign and European Affaires, Alain Juppé, with copy to the Ambassador of France to Burma, Thierry Mathou. with that purpose.

Aung San Suu Kyi. (Photo:NLD)

Source: Mizzima, reproduced by Burma News International

The National League for Democracy (NLD), opposition party banned by the Burmese military regime, plans to take its case to the United Nations Council of Human Rights (UNCHR). Thai-based Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC, focal point of Social Watch) supports the move, reported Mizzima, a news agency run by Burmese journalists exiled in India.

Source: The Irrawaddy.

Through the state-run press, Burmese military regime has accused this week three Shan men of responsibility for a series of simultaneous bomb blasts in the cities of Naypyidaw, Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin, according to The Irrawaddy, a media group managed by Burmese journalists living in exile in Thailand. “They can’t use the word ‘culprit’ because they haven’t arrested anyone yet,” said Thein Oo, the chairman of the Burma Lawyers’ Council, national focal point of Social Watch.

General Than Shwe. (Photo: Peerapat
Wimolrungkarat/Government of Thailand)

Source: FIDH

The announcement on 16 May by Burmese dictator Thein Sein that all prisoners will receive a one-year sentence reduction is so woefully inadequate that it should be regarded as nothing but another attempt to present a façade of change while the regime continues to restrict fundamental freedoms and commit serious crimes against civilians, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) and the Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC, national focal point of Social Watch) said this Monday.