Irrawaddy:Thailand’s Burma Policy Set to Change under New Premier

By:WAI MOE

In a recent series of interviews with the international media, the new prime minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has indicated that the Kingdom’s Burma policy is likely to involve a more proactive stance on human rights issues in the military-ruled country.

In an interview with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network, Abhisit said that he would try to convince fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) of the importance of human rights to the international community.

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SPDC Junta got ‘license to torture’

SPDC Junta got ‘license to torture’

Adapted from the Malaysiakini’s letter by Josef Roy Benedict on Jul 1, 08

On the June 26, the world celebrated the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. June 26 is the day the United Nations adopted the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

MCPX

This treaty was adopted by the United Nations in 1984 after years of campaigning by various human rights organisations and came into force in 1987. Today, over 145 states are party to this convention including countries in this region such as Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. When a country ratifies this treaty, it makes sure that laws in the country are in conformity with the treaty.

Despite this global acceptance that torture is wrong, illegal under international law and unacceptable in all circumstances, Myanmar SPDC has refused to ratify this international treaty.

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Get out ASEAN !

Get out ASEAN !

BURMA: ASEAN Steps in Where Others May Not Tread“, Marwaan Macan-Markar’s article in IPS news with my COMMENTS in brackets
BANGKOK, May 31 (IPS) – (Only four weeks after) Cyclone Nargis swept through the populous Irrawaddy Delta in Burma, a regional effort to help the victims is slowly grinding into shape.

(I cut out the excuses) The notoriously secretive junta, which had placed hurdles in the way of any outside intervention (direct help) during the first three weeks after the cyclone struck in the early hours of May 3. 

”A Herculean task has been thrust upon us, the U.N. and ASEAN, to bring humanitarian assistance for the cyclone victims,” Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of ASEAN, told journalists this week. (Actually ASEAN and UN are used as a shield to protect the invasion of US and French navy ships)

”ASEAN and the U.N. and our co-partners will not fail the victims of cyclone Nargis.” (No, UN and ASEAN are failing the Burmese people and the victims of cyclone Nargis)

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The Failed States Index 2007

The Failed States Index 2007

By The Fund for Peace and FOREIGN POLICY magazine

It is an accepted axiom of the modern age that distance no longer matters. ….

 A hermit leader’s erratic behavior not only makes life miserable for the impoverished millions he rules but also upends the world’s nuclear nonproliferation regime. The threats of weak states, in other words, ripple far beyond their borders and endanger the development and security of nations that are their political and economic opposites.

 What makes these alarming headlines all the more troubling is that their origins lie in weak and failing states. World leaders and the heads of multilateral institutions routinely take to lecterns to reiterate their commitment to pulling vulnerable states back from the brink, but it can be difficult to translate damage control into viable, long-term solutions that correct state weaknesses. Aid is often misspent. Reforms are too many or too few. Security needs overwhelm international peacekeepers, or chaos reigns in their absence.

The complex phenomenon of state failure may be much discussed, but it remains little understood. The problems that plague failing states are generally all too similar:

  • rampant corruption,
  • predatory elites who have long monopolized power,
  • an absence of the rule of law,
  • and severe ethnic or religious divisions.

But that does not mean that the responses to their problems should be cut from the same cloth. Failing states are a diverse lot.

  • Burma and Haiti are two of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International,
  • and yet Burma’s repressive junta persecutes ethnic minorities and subjects its population to forced resettlement…..

 but it may also be a key indicator of stability.

  • Vulnerable states display a greater degree of religious intolerance, according to scores calculated by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.
  • Persecution of religious minorities in Burma, Bangladesh, Iran, and Uzbekistan has deprived millions of faithful of the freedom to follow their beliefs.
  • But religious repression is often nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to muzzle the country’s civil society. 
  • It seems the leaders of many failing states distrust any higher power that may be greater than their own.

 

The world’s weakest states are also the most religiously intolerant. Countries with a poor freedom of religion score are often most likely to meet their maker.

Look at the original/clear/big/complete graph here

This year, several vulnerable states took a step back from the brink.

Leading the Way to the Bottom

 Likewise, effective leadership can pull a state back from the brink. Indonesia’s first directly elected president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has helped steer the country, long marred by endemic corruption and devastated by the 2004 tsunami, toward greater stability since coming into office three years ago. He has initiated reform of the country’s crooked security sector, negotiated a peace agreement with rebels in Aceh Province, and made moderate improvements in government services. These efforts haven’t necessarily made him popular. But then, such leadership is exactly what more failing states need: a head of state who chooses continued reforms over his own power and recognition.

Nature vs. Nurture

Long Division

What holds back many of the world’s most fragile regimes is that they were never truly in charge in the first place.

 

When it comes to assessing state failure, some countries emerge with split personalities. That is, states may be the picture of stability, peace, and economic growth in some areas, yet no-go zones in others. A dozen countries among the 60 most vulnerable contain “virtual states,” areas that are essentially self-governing, but claimed by the central government.

 Governments will often go to great lengths to regain such breakaway regions, and their efforts can be tremendously costly. A brutal 2002 civil war aimed at retaking the rebel-held northern half of the Ivory Coast split the country in two, blunting its otherwise impressive economic growth and leaving thousands of U.N. forces to keep the peace. In Pakistan, government efforts to crack down on suspected al Qaeda operatives in the restive border regions have led to violent protests. And attempts by the Sri Lankan government to regain territory from the Tamil Tigers last year sparked some of the worst violence in the country in years.

History is full of brutal leaders who have plunged their lands into poverty and war through greed, corruption, and violence. And though many events—natural disasters, economic shocks, an influx of refugees from a neighboring country—can lead to state failure, few are as decisive or as deadly as bad leadership.

 To provide a clearer picture of the world’s weakest states, The Fund for Peace, an independent research organization, and FOREIGN POLICY present the third annual Failed States Index.

Using 12 social, economic, political, and military indicators, we ranked 177 states in order of their vulnerability to violent internal conflict and societal deterioration. The index scores are based on data from more than 12,000 publicly available sources collected from May to December 2006. The 60 most vulnerable states are listed in the rankings, and full results are available at www.ForeignPolicy.com and www.fundforpeace.org.

The vast majority of the states listed in the index have not yet failed;

  • they exhibit severe weaknesses that leave them vulnerable,
  • especially to shocks such as natural disasters,
  • war,
  • and economic deprivation.

The power of such events should not be underestimated.

But while these states’ failings may be frequent fodder for headlines around the world, it is obvious that there are few easy answers to their troubles.

In highlighting which states are at the greatest risk of failure, we can only hope that more effective and long-term solutions emerge over time as we compare the index from year to year. In that way, positive reversals of fortune can occur for the world’s most vulnerable nations and, in the process, improve the security and prosperity of everyone.

  • The world’s weakest states are also the most religiously intolerant.
  • Countries with a poor freedom of religion score are often most likely to meet their maker.

 Freedom of worship may be a cornerstone of democracy,

Look at the original/clear/big/complete table here 

 

Help, not crush, Myanmar Military (to reform)

Help, not crush, Myanmar Military

(to reform)

Malaysiakini news by Soon Li Tsin

Dear Malaysiakini, reporter and Malaysiakini readers, please may all of you kindly allow me to dream as if this event is about Burma, Burmese researcher writing a book on Myanmar Military e.t.c.. I have dreamt about having an interview with DSAI and wrote more than half a dozen of articles on that subject. Please, kindly allow me to continue to dream on . . .

Modified and edited the news, “Author: Help, not crush, Umno” by Soon Li Tsin in the Malaysiakini .

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original news article. I hope that Soon Li Tsin and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

Author and academician Dr Ooi Kee Beng said Myanmar Military should be assisted (to reform) and not crushed in its attempt to reform itself.

Launching his book entitled ‘Lost in Transition: Myanmar under Military Dictatorship’ yesterday, Ooi (photo) expressed concern over the future of Myanmar Military which may resort to fascism.

“Myanmar Military is like (Taiwan’s) Kuomintang (KMT) and other parties in the region who were responsible for independence and a lot of these parties had to reform itself like the KMT – a once dictatorial party is a totally a new party today with the same name.

“It is not given that if Myanmar Military reforms itself, it would reform like how KMT did – meaning liberalize and play the democratic game. Fascism is always close at hand.

“We don’t want that to be encouraged. We should work to not crush Myanmar Military but help it along in its reforming process,” he told the audience.

The book is a compilation of articles written by Ooi – who is a fellow at the Institute of South East Asian studies in Singapore – on SPDC Myanmar Military Junta’s governance in the last twenty years.

It is a follow up to his 2006 book, ‘Era of Transition: Myanmar After General Ne Win’ which analysed Myanmar Military and tests faced by SPDC Junta Senior General Than Shwe after taking over his predecessors General Ne Win and General Saw Maung.

Asked to explain the message in his new book, he said: “It was what I felt when I put the book together at the end of last year, that something very important was lost.

“There was hope that Myanmar could develop itself in a proper manner and we were actually already on the slippery slope and we did not see any force that could stop it,” he described.

Two main challenges

During the panel discussion, Centre for Public Initiatives Director Dr Lim Teck Ghee highlighted two main challenges for Sr General Than Shwe in light of the recent Safron Revolution and the alleged internal feud currently taking place in Myanmar Military.

“One that is most crucial is that he has to battle and isolate the extremists elements within Myanmar Military and its many faceless supporters in the Kyant Phut, Swan Arrshin, ex-Military associations, the civil service and the Myanmar community.

“These are elements that are paved with revenge – launched in a campaign that is sometimes quiet and sometimes quite loud – racial-baiting and incitement,” he explained.

“(The) second challenge is to move firmly and quickly on building a good working relationship with the NLD, Ethnic Minorities, Religious Minorities and together in taking on the scourge of corruption,” he added.

The former World Bank economist noted that Myanmar Military Generals should declare their assets, introduce policy reforms and a merit-based system in order to change the country’s economic performance.

“In theory these they should lead the way to an economic revitalization for Myanmar. The Military and ex-military (U Paine) hold more than 60 per cent of the gross national product (GNP). Investors all over the world place importance on transparency, accountability and efficiency, once they could form an Interim Government with the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led opposition.” he said.

However he warned that the Myanmar Military can derail the true democratization by using military and its affiliated associations’ machinery, state funding and the civil service to play the “revenge, obstructionist or spoilers game”.

“I’m worried. So far the Myanmar Military has used it’s military apparatus and resources and are bent on punishing the opposition as we’ve seen from the 8888 Revolution, Depayin Massacre and Saffron Revolution to the arresting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD leaders, Ethnic Minority leaders, 88 Generation Student leaders, monks and unarmed protesting civilians” he said.

Meanwhile, Ong said he would deliberate on setting up the fair and square, truly democratic election system despite calls from the opposition to boycott it.

Lim was joined by Malaysiakini’s editor-in-chief Steven Gan and Ooi during the panel discussion.

The book launch was officiated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and was attended by about 8888 people.

My favourite concepts

My favourite quotations

  1. My favourite concepts

    October 13th, 2007 by sanooaung

    My favourite quotations

    1. “- – – today’s human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow’s conflicts.” by Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002).

    2. If we discriminate others as foreign because they, their race and religion are different to us, all the others could also look down and discriminate on us because we are also foreign to them!

    3. “Well, there are people who think that it’s right to do any thing in the name of their religion, their race, their family, or any organization to which they may belong.” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

    From the UN Charter_

    1. The purposes of the United Nations are – – – to achieve International cooperation – – – in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language and religion…”

    2. Equality, justice, dignity” is the emblem that represents the goals of the Human Rights Committee. The comprehensive implementation of actions against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances is a very important topic because these forms of intolerances have been global issues since biblical times.

    3. For decades, thousands of people have been victims of discrimination, preferences and exclusions in view of their race, skin color, sex, religion, language, national or ethnic origin and form of expression, causing extreme suffering and even loss of life.

    4. Racial discrimination is the ability or power to make distinctions among people based on race, color, decent, national or ethnic origin rather than individual merit.

    5. Xenophobia is a fear of the foreign, of what is strange.

    6. Religious intolerance occurs when someone’s opinions and beliefs are not respected by others due to their religion or way of thinking.

    7. In extremely religious or less developed countries, sexism is practiced, and racial discrimination is not considered wrong. In addition, the methods of solving racism could not appeal to all countries. Lots of people believe that they have the right to segregate others and feel superior to them, just because they are different to what they are used to.

    • The United Nations exSecretary General, Kofi Annan stated_

    There is no country in the world exempt of discrimination. No matter how severe or how mild the ratio of discrimination is, no nation is free from it. Either for one circumstance or another, not all countries are capable of giving the importance and dedication this issue needs. Even though we are all consciously aware of this topic, there is still a long road to cross.

    “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda… Our mission therefore is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will and must be defeated. Almost every country in the world suffers prejudice among its own people, either racial discrimination, xenophobia or religious intolerance.”

    The importnce of overcoming misunderstandings and animosities between the people of different beliefs and cultural traditions is through peaceful dialogue and mutual respect.

    *The Holy Quran lays down_

    1. Whosoever kills a human being without (any reason like) man slaughter, or corruption on earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind … (5:32)

    2. “And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).

    3. “Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression” (5:2).

    4. “And we set you up as nations and tribes so that you may be able to recognize each other” (49:13).

    5. The division of human beings into nations, races, groups and tribes is for the sake of distinction, so that people of one race or tribe may meet and be acquainted with the people belonging to another race or tribe and co-operate with one another.

    6. This division of the human race is neither meant for one nation to take pride in its superiority over others nor is it meant for one nation to treat another with contempt or disgrace, or regard them as a mean and degraded race and usurp their rights.

    7. Indeed, the noblest among you before God are the most heedful of you (49:13).

    1. “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab.

    2. Nor does a white man have any superiority over a black man or the black man any superiority over the white man.

    3. You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from clay” (al-Bayhaqi and al-Bazzaz).

    4. “Do not argue with the people of the Book (Christians and Jews) unless it is in the politest manners” (29:46)

    • Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) had once said,

    The ink of the scholar is more valuable than the blood of the Martyr.”

    My favourite speech

    I Have a Dream speech given by Martin Luther King in the August 1963. He had electrified America with his speech, given from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    CommentCosmic Whale | carolinamillan91@gmail.com | cosmicwhale.wordpress.com | IP: 201.240.200.175

  2. It made my heart happy to read those Quran quotes.

    I’m a very-believing Catholic and when I read things like these I think our religions really are very similar.
    Muslim terrorists make Islam seem like it’s based on violence and fear, but I suppose when these people kill and terrorize they aren’t really following their religion.
    I should educate myself more on Islam. You’ve inspired me to. D

    P.S: I could only read the concepts on the front page of your blog. On this page they do not appear. Just thought I’d let you know; you might want to solve that :3.

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