Archive for the ‘Myanmar News’ Category


Narinjara

China has recently started building giant tanks for storing crude oil shipped from Africa and Middle East within the compound of the deep seaport on the Madae Island in Kyaukpru in western Burma’s Arakan State.

Madae-island-construction

A Burmese engineer who is working with the project said the construction of the oil tanks will be completed in mid 2012 and importing the oil from the tanks through the pipeline to China will begin in 2013.

“We are now building the foundations of the tanks. The tanks are on target to be completed in mid 2012, so to transporting the oil from the port through the pipeline to China will begin from 2013”, said the engineer.

China is now building the deep seaport project on the Madae Island, construction includes a port for storing 3 lakh tons of crude oil, a 2.9 km-long navigable channel, a 480 meter-long jetty for the oil tankers and a water reservoir of 600,000 cubic meters.

About 22 million tons of crude oil in a year will be transported from the port to China through the 2,380 km long pipeline of which about 800km will run through Burma.

12 billion cubic meters of natural gas that is produced from the A(1) and A(3) blocks of the offshore gas fields of Arakan State will be also exported to China through the pipeline.

The engineer said China is now speeding up the construction of the port by working both day and night. Most of the machinery and labourers are being brought in from its own country.

“Most of the engineers and workers constructing the port are from China and the machinery and other important material, such as cement, is also brought in from their country. The Burmese government is also allowing them to import whatever they need for the construction of their projects freely”, he said.

According to local residents, many farmers on Madae Island have become unemployed after their farmlands were confiscated. They were given very little compensation – much less than what the Chinese paid for the land needed for the port.


DVB
By FRANCIS WADE
Published: 9 November 2011 BBC report stirs anti-Rohingya sentiment thumbnail

Amended map first published on BBC on 6 November 2010 (BBC)
A BBC report from last November that carried a map depicting Arakan state as populated by the ethnic Rohingya minority has caused anger in Burma, and once again brought to the fore accusations of entrenched racism within Burmese society.
Although published a year ago, and since corrected, the BBC report has circulated rapaciously on the internet in recent weeks, and has become the subject of a number of blog posts either criticising the BBC for implying the Rohingya are part of the Burmese population, or lamenting the vitriolic responses its report has attracted.

The map in question demarcates areas of Burma as belonging to specific ethnic groups, albeit somewhat erroneously: the Shan, for instance, are said to inhabit only a third of modern-day Shan state, and the Karen are shown as the main ethnic group in Irrawaddy division.

But it was the identification of Arakan state as the home of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group that has been the subject of a perennial and fiery dispute over its origins, that has sparked outrage.

Following the publication, the BBC’s Burmese Facebook page was hit with hundreds of complaints, some from monks, calling on the organisation to issue a public apology and even remove any reference to Rohingya from the map. Failing to apologise should result in a boycott of the BBC, some even argued. The BBC has since amended the map to include ‘Rakhine’, the name given by the government to Arakanese, as also populating the state, but anger continues to boil.

Many Burmese believe the Rohingya to be of Bengali origin that over centuries have migrated to westernBurma, a sentiment shared by the Burmese government which denies them citizenship and which for decades has meted out hefty treatment against the group, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the country.

Rohingya support groups say however that there is evidence that Islam existed inBurmaprior to the now-dominant Theravada Buddhism, and that the Rohingya’s roots in Arakan state go back centuries.

Rumours circulated in Rangoontoday that a protest would be held outside the British embassy over the BBC report, although except for a number of local and foreign journalists, little appeared to happen. Jeremy Hodges, deputy head of mission at the embassy, told DVB that he had made himself available to accept any petition that may have been circulated among protestors, but that nothing was in sight.

“We know there is a perception among some Arakanese groups that Rohingya are singled out for preferential treatment by groups like the International Organisation for Migration, and that money is given to them at the expense of other Arakanese, but we feel this is a misconception,” he said.

Unlike many Arakanese, Rohingya are prevented from travelling freely outside of specially-designated zones, and are often subject to racial and religious persecution. Up to 400,000 are living as refugees in neighbouring Bangladesh, having fled decades of maltreatment at the hands of the military and local civilians.

An article last week on the New Mandala blog, run by academics from the Australia National University, said the cries of protest were somewhat hypocritical.

“…although Arakan ethnic members very often talk against majority ethnic Burmans (or Bamar) for what they call the ‘colonization of Arakan’,  ‘Burmanization’ and Burmese chauvinism, they now mobilize the entire Burmese population against Rohingyas to ‘protect Burma and its ‘national races’’.”

Among critics of the Rohingya are high-profile Burmese, including Berlin-based historian Khin Maung Saw, whose paper, “Islamization of Burma Through Chittagonian Bengalis as ‘Rohingya Refugees’”, triggered angry responses.

Widespread anger was also vented at current Burmese ambassador to the UN, Ye Myint Aung. During his tenure as Consul-General to Hong Kong, he wrote in a letter to other heads of mission, and copying in international newspapers, that Burma’s ethnic Rohingya were “ugly as ogres”.


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will start the registration of asylum-seekers and refugees holding UNHCR documents in January, the UN Refugee Agency said.

This follows an agreement between Malaysia and UNHCR on the registration of the asylum seekers. The exercise will be carried out progressively in major cities where refugees are located.

It will be a joint effort involving the Home and Foreign Ministries, Immigration Department, National Security Council and UNHCR.

“UNHCR will communicate closely with refugee communities on the timing and location of the registration exercise,” said Alan Vernon, UNHCR Representative.

“This exercise will continue until all UNHCR refugees and asylum-seekers are registered.”

Vernon clarified that this exercise involves the registration of asylum-seekers and refugees, and is separate from the Home Ministry’s 6P legalisation of illegal foreigners programme.

There are currently some 95,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia, fleeing persecution and conflict from many countries including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

As part of this registration exercise, and consistent with similar exercises UNHCR has conducted with other Governments around the world, both parties have agreed to ensure the confidentiality of the biographical information that will be gathered from the UNHCR document holders.
……
Sources: The Star


Narinjara

Kyauk Pru: Government officials in Kyaukpru in western Burma’s Arakan State have taken the compensation offered to local residents for whose lands were confiscated to make way for the corridor of the Chinese gas pipeline.

Arakan-Gas-Pipeline-to-China

A resident of Kapaingchaung Village in Kyaukpru Township who received compensation for his lands confiscated for the pipeline told Narinjara in a telephone interview that the payment of the compensation has been altered by third parties, including government officials.

“Our villagers here are now quite busy receiving compensation. However most of them have not got the full amount owed due to exploitation by government officials. There are also some villagers who did not receive any compensation for their lands”, said the villager.

“So, some of the villagers have to go to court, and others to the land registration office to claim the compensation owed. The village administrator himself has gone to Kyaukpru for this matter so please contact him.”

U Tin Phay, an MP of the regional government from Kyaukpru, also said that the responsible departmental officials have exploited the villagers and taken the compensation owed to them.

“The officials include an assistant director and a clerk of the land registration department and the village administrator.” said U Thin Phay.

“They have cut 1 million Kyat from the compensation of 4 million Kyat offered to U Maung Than Kyi, 1.5 million Kyat from 3.5 million Kyat to Daw Ma Win Nu, 5 lakhs Kyat from 1.5 million Kyat to Daw Ma Kyaw Thein, 1.5 million Kyat from 5.7 million Kyat to U Kyaw Thein and 4 lakhs Kyat from 1.25 million Kyat to Daw Khin Win Tin respectively.”

He said 24 villagers from Kapaingchaung Village have been compensated for the lands lost to the pipelines, but 23 of them have come to the RNDP’s Kyaukpru branch office to lodge complaints providing their own signatures and written accounts of their particular stories because the officials forcibly and unofficially cut their compensations.

“We also know from the villagers from the Kapaingchaung Village and other villages through which the pipelines will cross that the responsible officials have threatened them not to complain to their management or they will confiscate or stop all compensations for them”, said U Tin Phay.

“But the villagers are continuing to come to our office”, he added.

The pipeline that comes from the sea to export gas from the Shwe offshore gas reservoir to China has already arrived in Kapaingchaung Village, situated 10 mile east of Kyaukpru main town. It is also learnt that the authorities have already confiscated necessary lands owned by the 26 villagers from the Kyaukkhamaung Village for the pipeline, but no compensation has been offered to the villagers yet.


Narinjara

Nava Thakuria
——————
The United Nations Secretary-General Ben-Ki-moon is looking forward to meet the newly elected Burmese President Thein Sein. The special adviser to the Secretary-General (for Burma), Vijay Nambiar while disclosing it in a statement issued at Rangoon on November 4, 2011 stated that Ben-Ki-moon expects to meet Thein Sein on the margins of the fourth UN-ASEAN Summit later this month.

Ban_Ki-moon

Soon after his completion of a five-day visit to Burma, Nambiar argued that ‘the release of the remaining political prisoners as part of the recent amnesty process and the enactment of the proposed amendments to the political party registration law is steps that can and should be taken as a matter of priority’.

“Continuous dialogue is also needed to bring about peace and development in border areas. If sustained, these and other efforts offer a historic opportunity to set the country on a course than can fulfill the promises made to the people of Myanmar (Burma),”said Nambiar, who had finished his third visit to Burma at the invitation of the Burmese government since last year’s election.

The United Nations strongly encourages the continuation of such efforts as the best way to strengthen domestic and international confidence in Burma’s commitment to a reform process that is incremental, systematic and sustainable. In particular, we encourage all concerned to build on the steps taken thus far through an inclusive and broad-based political process to strengthen national unity, he added.

During his visit the UN official also met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon. He also met with representatives of other political parties, and with civil society organizations, as well as with the National Human Rights Commission.

“In Naypyitaw, I was received by Vice-President U Tin Aung Myint Oo, the Speaker of the Upper House U Khin Aung Myint, the Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin, and the Minister of Social Welfare and Labour U Aung Kyi. I also met with the Union Peacemaking Group and with the Union Election Commission. In Mandalay and in Pathein, I was received by the Chief Ministers of Mandalay region and Irrawaddy region, respectively,” the statement narrated.

It also added, “An important purpose of my visit was to directly relay to the Myanmar leadership and other stakeholders the Secretary-General’s encouragement of the important steps taken in recent months to advance the reform agenda led by President Thein Sein, as well as the significant efforts made by all concerned to advance national dialogue and reconciliation. At this juncture, it is of crucial importance, for Myanmar’s regional and global standing, to maintain the positive momentum that these initiatives have generated.“

The UN official also highlighted that the UNDP projects were ‘clear evidence of the potential there is for doing more to better address critical needs’. In order to do so more effectively and evenly across the country’s regions and states – especially in the areas of poverty alleviation, primary health care and education – and to contribute to the reform efforts, it is important that relevant mandates of the UN funds and programmes are maximized and restrictions removed.

Nambiar concluded saying that his visit was ‘a signal of the importance the Secretary-General and the United Nations attach to the need for international understanding, encouragement and support to Myanmar’s transition’.

“The Government’s reform agenda offers an unprecedented opportunity for greater mutual understanding between Myanmar and the international community, and for Myanmar and the UN to work together. Looking forward, the UN will continue to apply its Good Offices to strengthen our partnership with Myanmar,” summarized the statement.


Narinjara

Nava Thakuria
——————
The United Nations Secretary-General Ben-Ki-moon is looking forward to meet the newly elected Burmese President Thein Sein. The special adviser to the Secretary-General (for Burma), Vijay Nambiar while disclosing it in a statement issued at Rangoon on November 4, 2011 stated that Ben-Ki-moon expects to meet Thein Sein on the margins of the fourth UN-ASEAN Summit later this month.

Ban_Ki-moon

Soon after his completion of a five-day visit to Burma, Nambiar argued that ‘the release of the remaining political prisoners as part of the recent amnesty process and the enactment of the proposed amendments to the political party registration law is steps that can and should be taken as a matter of priority’.

“Continuous dialogue is also needed to bring about peace and development in border areas. If sustained, these and other efforts offer a historic opportunity to set the country on a course than can fulfill the promises made to the people of Myanmar (Burma),”said Nambiar, who had finished his third visit to Burma at the invitation of the Burmese government since last year’s election.

The United Nations strongly encourages the continuation of such efforts as the best way to strengthen domestic and international confidence in Burma’s commitment to a reform process that is incremental, systematic and sustainable. In particular, we encourage all concerned to build on the steps taken thus far through an inclusive and broad-based political process to strengthen national unity, he added.

During his visit the UN official also met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon. He also met with representatives of other political parties, and with civil society organizations, as well as with the National Human Rights Commission.

“In Naypyitaw, I was received by Vice-President U Tin Aung Myint Oo, the Speaker of the Upper House U Khin Aung Myint, the Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin, and the Minister of Social Welfare and Labour U Aung Kyi. I also met with the Union Peacemaking Group and with the Union Election Commission. In Mandalay and in Pathein, I was received by the Chief Ministers of Mandalay region and Irrawaddy region, respectively,” the statement narrated.

It also added, “An important purpose of my visit was to directly relay to the Myanmar leadership and other stakeholders the Secretary-General’s encouragement of the important steps taken in recent months to advance the reform agenda led by President Thein Sein, as well as the significant efforts made by all concerned to advance national dialogue and reconciliation. At this juncture, it is of crucial importance, for Myanmar’s regional and global standing, to maintain the positive momentum that these initiatives have generated.“

The UN official also highlighted that the UNDP projects were ‘clear evidence of the potential there is for doing more to better address critical needs’. In order to do so more effectively and evenly across the country’s regions and states – especially in the areas of poverty alleviation, primary health care and education – and to contribute to the reform efforts, it is important that relevant mandates of the UN funds and programmes are maximized and restrictions removed.

Nambiar concluded saying that his visit was ‘a signal of the importance the Secretary-General and the United Nations attach to the need for international understanding, encouragement and support to Myanmar’s transition’.

“The Government’s reform agenda offers an unprecedented opportunity for greater mutual understanding between Myanmar and the international community, and for Myanmar and the UN to work together. Looking forward, the UN will continue to apply its Good Offices to strengthen our partnership with Myanmar,” summarized the statement.


Narinjara

Residents in Sittwe, the capital of western Burma’s Arakan State, said the construction of an Indian-owned port in their town is harming many people, due to the large volume of sands that have blown away from the site, near the Sittwe general hospital.

Sittwe-port-construction-Arakan-BurmaConstruction site of India port in Sittwe, Arakan.

According to them, dust and sand is being blown away from the construction site of the port and has been greatly troubling patients in the hospital, as well as polluting the environment and air of the town. Undisciplined drivers of heavy vehicles that carry the sand from the beach for landfills in the site have damaged the roads in the town as well.

An educated youth from the town who recently underwent treatment in the hospital said the hospital is filled with sand, dust and noise from the construction of the port.

“Sand which is supposed to be filling in land for the port is blowing into the hospital. The site is closely situated to the eye Sand, dust and sharp noises of engines have made the hospital quite unpleasant and unhygienic for its patients”, said the youth.

Narinjara has contacted the hospital, but the in-charge of the hospital replied that the construction of the port is making no harms to its patients.

An elder from Kyipungree residential ward near to the port also said the sands and the heavy vehicles of the port have polluted the town and caused damage to the streets in the town.

“The residential wards near to the port and the streets in the town are now polluted by the sand and dust from the construction site and spilled from the sand-carrying vehicles that are driving without discipline on the streets in the town. Now the people here are feeling quite uneasy as the whole town is covered with sand and dust”, said the elder.

He said that the best streets in the town including Strand Road are being badly damaged by heavy weight.

“Streets in the town such as the Strand Road are now badly damaged and the main bridge of the road was broken by over-weighted sand-carrying vehicles, but both the municipal department in the town and the Indian company are neglecting to fix the damage.”

A student from Sittwe University also said the natural beauty of Point Beach, the public recreation place in the town has also been destroyed by the construction.

“Now Point Beach is potted, and is not beautiful like before”, said the student.

She said the port construction has not only destroyed the natural beauty of the Point beach, but also polluted the whole town with the sands from the beach, but the authorities are turning a blind eye to the work.

According to residents, the people who suffer from some respiratory diseases are being badly affected by the pollution caused by the port construction in their town.

U Aung Mra Kyaw, an MP of the Arakan State Parliament and the President of the Sittwe Branch of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, said he submitted a note of the problems to the regional government.

The port is being constructed by the India’s Essar Company, and is a major component of the ‘Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project’ that was proposed by the Indian government under a framework agreement with the Burmese military regime in 2008 to ease the movement of goods into land locked areas.