|By WAI MOE|
|Asean rejects five civil society representatives from the Asean Peoples’ Forum.|
|By SIMON ROUGHNEEN / HUA HIN|
|The Asean commission on human rights is now a reality, but member-states flex their muscles in a show of independence at the opening day of the summit meeting.|
|By LALIT K JHA|
|The Burmese junta should release all political prisoners before the 2010 elections to make the vote as inclusive as possible, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights.|
|By LALIT K JHA|
|It is now time for the Burmese junta to respond to the positive gestures made by the US, says the director of Human Rights Watch.|
|By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS|
|A senior US official will visit Burma next week in line with Washington's new policy of engaging the military-ruled Southeast Asian nation, said a Foreign Ministry official.|
|By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS|
|Somali pirates with automatic weapons seized a cargo ship off Africa's east coast and are holding its 26 crew members from India and Burma hostage.|
Militant attacks have been on the rise in Pakistan since the military began a major offensive targeting the Taliban in South Waziristan
President has held consultations with US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, on efforts to prevent voter fraud in upcoming presidential election
US defense secretary says it makes sense to have talks now because effort to stabilize and develop Afghanistan is NATO mission, not just American one
At least 24 people killed, as many as 60 wounded in Mogadishu during what witnesses say was one of worst fighting in recent months
Vice President Joe Biden called on America's European allies to step-up defense efforts in face of security threats outside Europe
Britain's recession is now the longest since the 1950s, amid fears over the levels of government and personal debt.
Two bombings in Pakistan kill at least six and wound many, amid an offensive against militants and rising violence in cities.
US pilots blame a "heated discussion" after they fly 150 miles (240km) past their destination, sparking hijack fears
|Statement from the Organisers of the|
ASEAN Peoples' Forum/ASEAN Civil Society Conference, 23 Oct 2009
At 11:30pm, Thurs, Thai foreign Ministry officials informed organizers of APF that 5 out of 10 civil society representatives were rejected from the interface meeting with ASEAN heads of government. The remaining representatives were told to be ready for pick up at 7.A.M., nearly 5 hours before the scheduled meeting.
These representatives arrived at the Dusit Hotel and were instructed that they would not be permitted to speak at the event. The only person from civil society allowed to make a statement would be Dr Surichai Wangaeo of Chulalongkorn University, who was originally appointed as moderator of the Interface.
The representatives were further shocked to learn that Singapore and Myanmar had selected substitutes from government-sponsored agencies. Singapore selected a substitute from a charity and the Myanmar regime selected Sitt Aye and Win Myaing, of the Anti-Narcotics Association (Win Myaing is a former high-ranking police officer).
These developments rendered the interface, an important space for civil society to engage with government officials, utterly meaningless. Therefore, the representatives of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia decided to walk out of the meeting.
We feel strongly that the rejection of our democratically-selected representatives is a rejection of both civil society and the democratic process. Our delegates were selected during the 3-day APF/ACSC, Oct 18-20. Through this action, the governments concerned are fundamentally undermining the spirit and content of the ASEAN Charter that they ratified a year ago.
The behaviour of the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Philippines and Burma in rejecting their civil society representatives sabotages the credibility of the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) which is being inaugurated today.
Civil society has been committed to the objectives of a people-centred ASEAN as enshrined in the Charter. We have remained determined in our commitment to the essential dialogue process despite the insults and obstacles generated by some officials. We were flexible when 2 out of 10 representatives were rejected in February. Civil society engaged with governments for the past few months in order to improve the relationship, however it is clear that the commitment to engagement has been one-sided, now that 5 out of 10 have been rejected, and the rest were essentially gagged.
We are deeply disappointed at the irresponsibility and apparent irrationality of the governments’ position. At this time of crisis, we were absolutely committed to an opportunity to present civil society’s solutions. The tactics of the governments concerned prove they are not open to discussing solutions to the urgent problems confronting ASEAN – both governments and peoples.
Finally we plead with these leaders to stop trying to kill the spirit of an ASEAN community. Such moves not only hurt the development of the region but also the credibility of individual member states and ASEAN as a whole.
Ms. Khin Ohmar, Burma/Myanmar
Mr. Nay Vanda, Cambodia
Mrs. Manichanh Philaphanh, Lao PDR
Sister Crescencia L. Lucero, Phillipines
Mr. Sinapan Samydorai, Singapore
INCLUDED BUT GAGGED
* Ms. Yuyun Wahyuningrum, Indonesia
* Mr. Moon Hui Tah, Malaysia
* Ms. Sawart Pramoonsilp, Thailand
Ms. Tran Thi Thu Thuy, Vietnam
Dato Paduka Zainal Momin, Brunei
* walked out
|QUOTE OF THE DAY|
| In my particular area, the country that we know the least about at a fundamental level, even less than North Korea, is Burma. |
— Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia
|By WAI MOE|
|Burmese activist in exile, Khin Ohmar, is waiting to hear if she can participate in an Asean civic meeting that would put her face-to-face with the Burmese prime minister.|
|By LALIT K JHA|
| A “fact-finding” US delegation will meet with the junta leadership and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, perhaps within a few weeks. |
|By LALIT K JHA|
| Key US congressional leaders of the opposition Republican Party have expressed open opposition to the Obama administration’s policy of engaging the authoritarian Burmese regime. |
|By AUNG THET WINE|
| The Burmese junta leadership is embarrassed by a misspelled Burmese word in a government leaflet promoting the annual Traditional Arts Competition in Naypyidaw. |
|By SOE LWIN|
|Nearly 18 months after Cyclone Nargis, farmers in the devastated Irrawaddy delta are still in great need of buffaloes and oxen to help them till their rice paddies|
The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), one of Burma’s longest running rebel group, said they are willing to abandon arms struggle if, the ruling junta guarantees equal rights... The Young Mizo Association (YMA), a social organisation in India’s North-eastern state of Mizoram has urged the state government to strictly curb influx of foreigners from...
Editorial, Opinion and Analysis
General Than Shwe wants to acquire nuclear arms because of the United States attack on Iraq. He reckons that if only Iraq possessed nuclear arms in addition to ...Leaders of Burma’s National League for Democracy responding to requests on Thursday by party members to call a General Assembly said they are not in a position...
A senior Karen National Union (KNU) leader is of the opinion that it is still difficult to reunite with its breakaway faction the ‘Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’ (DKBA). The reaction...
Burma will get its first ever mini car racing track, owned by a private company in Thingangyun Township, Rangoon Division on October 30. The track called ‘Galaxy Racing Karts Ground’......
United States Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell will visit military-ruled Burma soon and meet government and opposition groups to discuss the new US policy ...
| Activists rejected from ASEAN summit|
Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–Five activists from various Southeast Asian countries chosen to represent civil society groups today at a regional summit in Thailand have been rejected, one of the delegates said. - more
| UN expert slams Burma impunity|
Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–Widespread government impunity in Burma has allowed the country’s “alarming” human rights situation to continue unabated, the United Nations special rapporteur for Burma said yesterday. - more
| Mobile phones allowed in Burma’s secretive capital|
Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–The use of mobile phones in Burma’s jungle capital of Naypyidaw has been permitted by government authorities for the first time since it opened in 2005. - more
| Regional heads urge fair Burma elections|
Oct 23, 2009 (DVB)–Southeast Asian leaders yesterday pressured the Burmese junta to hold free elections next year and raised doubts about the military generals’ commitment to a new civilian government. - more
| Money for rights at the ASEAN summit|
| Bangladesh and Burma hold talks on border |
Oct 22, 2009 (DVB)–Government officials from Bangladesh and Burma met on the Burmese side of the border yesterday in a bid to ease rising tension between the two countries, local sources said. - more