Network Myanmar Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:29:47 +0000 en-gb An Independent Survey of Events in Myanmar
UK Government website - 3 March 2015
The Embassies of Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America warmly welcome the political reforms that have occurred in Myanmar, particularly the Myanmar Government's announcement that a general election will be held in late 2015. The election will be an important milestone in Myanmar's transition to democracy and an opportunity to reaffirm to the world its commitment to political reform. As development partners, we are supporting Myanmar's efforts to prepare for the elections.

The 2015 elections is the responsibility of the Myanmar government in partnership with its people, and its success will be measured by the integrity of the electoral process and an outcome that reflects the will of the people of this country. Credible, transparent, and inclusive electoral processes require long-term engagement with all stakeholders throughout the electoral cycle. We understand that building confidence in an election starts well before Election Day and includes confidence in the integrity of international election support. Read more.....
The Irrawaddy - 2 March 2015

The government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee will meet with the ethnics’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) in mid-March for the seventh round of official talks on an elusive nationwide ceasefire agreement. 

Both sides have agreed to meet in Rangoon from March 16, according to ethnic and government negotiators.
Global New Light of Myanmar - 13 February 2015 
We, the signatories to this Deed of Commitment for Peace and National Reconciliation, pledge, in order to achieve lasting peace in Myanmar, to work together towards realizing the goals envisioned in this Commitment in the spirit of responsible action, transparency and accountability.

1. Aiming to safeguard sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity on the basis of the peace process; and building a Union based on democratic and federal principles in the spirit of Panglong and in accordance with the outcomes of Political Dialogue to ensure freedom, equality, justice and self determination for all citizens;

2. Striving together at the outset to conclude the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement without delay whilerecognizing that a nationwide ceasefire is vital for the political dialogue process;

3. Establishing a new political culture of ending long-existing armed conflicts and solving grievances through dialogue instead of resorting to force of arms; and striving together to promptly hold an all inclusive political dialogue process;

4. Working together to promptly draft the Framework for Political Dialogue after concluding the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and commencing political dialogue prior to the 2015 General Elections in accordance with the Framework on Political Dialogue;

5. Undertaking jointly to prevent armed clashes and confrontations between various armed groups and to refrain from taking actions or measures that will harm the peace process;

All signatories to this Deed of Commitment for Peace and National Reconciliation promise to endeavour together for the success of the peace process in order to achieve peace and national reconciliation desired by all citizens.
Nay Pyi Taw
February 12, 2015
Oren Samet: DVB - 28 February 2015
In late November, after months of debate, the upper house of Burma's parliament voted to change the method for electing its MP. This decision may well determine the balance of power in parliament following the 2015 general election.

The decision was to switch from a first-past-the-post (FPTP) system, in which candidates run in single-member districts, to a form of proportional representation (PR), which will elect batches of candidates in multi-member districts corresponding to states and divisions. It is unclear if the Union Election Commission will be able to successfully implement the new system for elections less than nine months away

National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition politicians requested that Burma's Constitutional Tribunal issue a ruling on the change, but indications suggest that the revised system will remain in place for the 2015 vote. The implications of this new system on electoral outcomes are not entirely clear. The limited availability of polling and other data makes it difficult to predict the specific result of the change, particularly given its restricted nature. Read more.....

Derek Tonkin writes: A lot of common sense in these two balanced assessments by (Mr) Oret Samet, an independent Thai journalist and researcher who was previously a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. I would have thought though that the Upper House vote still needs to be approved by the Union Parliament and then signed into law by the President.

Simon Roughneen: Nikkei Asian Review - 27 February 2015
Han Tha Myint, a member of the party's central committee, has told the Nikkei Asian Review that the National League for Democracy is considering faster banking liberalization, leasing government land to investors to encourage manufacturing, and moving swiftly to quell destabilizing labor unrest. But reforms had stalled in recent months because of continuing close links between members of the USDP and businessmen granted monopolies over lucrative sectors when the military was in charge.

The NLD says it is happy with the mechanism for awarding contracts to foreign companies. However, problems remain with the rules requiring foreign energy companies to team up with a local counterpart. "The domestic side is not transparent," he said. "There is a list of the companies who can work with the foreign investor. Nobody can say how they choose these companies, or how this allotment came about."
The NLD wants to clean up the last of the sharp practices it sees in the natural resources sector. But it also wants to see investment oriented away from oil and gas and into manufacturing to provide jobs for some of the estimated 37% of the population who are unemployed.
Derek Tonkin writes: The NLD has been criticised in the past for being too vague about its planned programmes and election policies. Han Tha Myint's revelations would suggest that the NLD would like to be more proactive and creative in this sphere.

Northern Myanmar unrest detrimental to Chinese interests
Commentary: Xinhua - 25 February 2015
Proximity and ethnicity have bred misleading speculations about Chinese involvement in the ongoing conflict in northern Myanmar close to the bilateral border. Such allegations and accusations cannot hold water, as it would both violate China's basic foreign policy principle and harm China's national interests should Beijing thrust itself into the Kokang fighting.

China upholds non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, let alone military intervention. China has always respected Myanmar's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Even if there were indeed some Chinese nationals participating in the fighting, it would be only an individual act, to which the Chinese government is strongly opposed. As Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said, Beijing will never allow any organization or individual to use Chinese territory to undermine China-Myanmar relations or border tranquility. Read more.....

UN News Centre - 25 February 2015

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, today warned that Myanmar “seems headed in the wrong direction and needs urgently to get back on track” in a crucial year for the country's democratic transition and long-term reconciliation.

“The international community has seen the transition in Myanmar as a story of promise and hope,” the High Commissioner in a statement. “But recent developments relating to the human rights of minorities, the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest are calling into question the direction of that reform, and even threatening to set it back.” 

Derek Tonkin writes: Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein notes: "The Rohingyas, who number about one million, have lived in Myanmar for generations....." Yes and no. The Rohingyas say that, including those resident elsewhere  in Myanmar and as refugees overseas, they number at least two, possibly three million. They have indeed lived in Myanmar for generations, but before the 1960s  were never known as Rohingyas. And that is where the problem lies, though the UN seem as yet unwilling to recognise the historical truth.


]]> (Derek Tonkin) Featured Uncategorised Sun, 11 Nov 2007 12:25:42 +0000