October 28, 2010
In northern Mudon Township, the USDP begun a campaign of gift distribution of snacks to local residents as they pass by, and at local poling meetings, with the apparent aim of securing their votes before the November 7th election date. In addition, residents describe the USDP effort to win the backing of local business leaders. Many residents, who support other local parties, have found the overwhelming campaign unfair and offensive. Read more
October 26, 2010
HURFOM: During the month prior to the election, villagers in northern Ye Township are faceing increased taxation as local militias will be expanded. Resident observers believe the increase is intentionally timed to double the local government militias prior to the November 7th election date. Notably the new additions appear to be ex-soldiers loyal to the current regime. The additions, wich will double monthly taxation, have caused fears amongst local residents that such costs will cause sever economic hardship. Read more
October 20, 2010
Local communities in Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State are facing the immanent threat of land seizer by local authorities, for the construction of a large scale cement factory and processing plant for the limestone from a nearby mountain. Nearly 600 acres of paddy land have already been surveyed for construction. The community, which is heavily dependent on the surrounding farmland passed on from generation to generation, has received no opportunity for input in the project, and only paltry warning of an impending “State” ordered seizer of its land. The project will have severe environmental impacts as it calls for the leveling of Ni Don mountain, the construction of a processing plant and factory, and construction of secondary infrastructure such as roads and a jetty into the nearby river. The company spearheading the cement plant construction is predominantly controlled by key members of the regime-backed political party the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Profits form the completed cement factory will be used to finance the government-backed USDP. In addition, the mountain is home to significant sacred Buddhist sites, relics, and cave paintings and drawings, which will be lost as the mountain is destroyed. Read more
October 15, 2010
WCRP and HURFOM: Burmese soldiers are suspected of a recent series of attacks and robberies in early October in Yebyu Township, according to sources close to witness who survived the attacks. Read more
35 Days Till Election: how state resources and area restrictions impact ethnic votes in Mon and Karen States
October 6, 2010
HURFOM: On September 11th, the Burmese State Election Commission evoked section 8 (f) of the Union Election Laws, declaring at least 164 village tracts, as HURFOM can confirm, unsuitable for participation in the November 7th election due to apparent security concerns. Specifically, 155 of these village-tracts belonged to 7 townships of Karen State and 9 village-tracts belonged to 2 townships of Mon State. Affected are an estimated 400,000 voting age citizens. The sudden decision to exclude these predominately ethnic regions has raised considerable concerns, as the regions concerned are not particularly unstable and possess a fair amount of infrastructure. Rather, the areas targeted have particularly high levels of ethnic constituents that had, until that point, rallied around the campaigns of local ethnic parties.
Moreover communities in more rural ethnic regions of Burma have not benefited from the nominally more transparent setting that campaigning in Rangoon has given some parties. Areas of Mon and Karen state not banned from participation, have experienced frequent and widespread instances of election fraud, manipulation and coercion by regime forces as well as members of the pro-regime parties, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National Unity Party (NUP).
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October 6, 2010
After the November 2010 elections, whether the people like it or not, a new government, with heads of both active and retired military commanders, will be formed and power will be transferred within the inner circle of the military leaders.
In many countries, where there have been past serious violations of human rights, there have always been commissions on truth and reconciliation formed to inquire about these past human rights violations in order to avoid the possibility of similar mistakes in the future. Read more
September 25, 2010
HURFOM, Nyaung Lay Bin Township, Pague Division: During a patrol of south eastern Nyaung Lay Bin Township, two columns of SDPC soldiers stopped in at least 4 villages, issued travel restriction orders, held a training on the election which emphasized the USDP as the best pick of parties, and forced village headmen to sign a document confirming that they would make all villagers vote for political parties that would benefit the state. Read more
September 24, 2010
HURFOM, Hpapun Township: In recent patrols by SPDC soldiers, residents of Hpapun Township were ordered to collect bamboo and roof thatch supplies. The task is increasingly time consuming as bamboo has become scarce, and cuts time residents use to provide for their livelihood. In an instance of forced portering, a porter was tortured after it was found he could not speak Burmese. Read more
September 21, 2010
HURFOM: Local teachers from Beelin Township government schools have been ordered to attend polling booth trainings conducted by senior members of the USDP. Teachers have expressed concern and disinterest in the election as a result of the USDP’s key position in conducting election preparations. Read more
September 11, 2010
With two months to go until the November 7th polling date for the 2010 Burmese national election, widespread evidence exists indicating that whatever pretense was made of a democratic process, its actual implementation within the election has fallen incredibly short. State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) forces have remained active in undermining the nascent democratic process with significant multi-faceted attempts to ensure the continuity of the current governments rule post November 7th.
These efforts have targeted democratic and opposition forces through a variety of approaches designed to effectively overwhelm any opportunity for political engagement before the campaign period even began officially on August 31st. They include re-writing the constitution to bind the junta to the political system; legal entanglement and restriction; censorship; and the formation of government militias and thug groups1; the use of existing government funding, administration, police, military, and civilian action groups to campaign for government parties2; using state money to fund pro-government civilian parties; using coercion through rewards and threats in order to secure votes; While portions of these activities are actually written in to the legal framework for the lection, others violate the election laws written by the current ruling junta, technically requiring that the subsidiary pro-government parties involved be deregistered and disband. Read more