December 22, 2015
HURFOM: Just 10 miles from Thanbyuzayat, Mon State, lies the village of Sakhan Gyi. Moving out from Sakhan Gyi, towards Sanpya village, the road is lined with farms and rubber plantations. According to locals, in recent years the verdant spot has become a hotspot for drug trading and use. Read more
December 18, 2015
On December 10, 2015, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) and its associate organizations celebrated International Human Rights Day and the 20th Anniversary of HURFOM in Pine Khit Hall – Shin Saw Pu Street, Myine Thar Yar Ward, Moulmein, Mon State.
December 1, 2015
HURFOM: Today the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) releases ‘Burma 2015: Ballot Denied’, a report focussing on November’s national elections in Burma. Download full report in Eng | Brief in Burmese | Media Release in Burmese
The report shows that – contrary to much reporting in recent weeks over the victory of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) – Burma’s journey to political freedom is far from complete. Focussing on one township in Karen State, the authors find that tens of thousands of Mon and Karen citizens were disenfranchised during the elections, sending a dangerous message that members of Burma’s war-affected ethnic minority populations remain excluded from the country’s developing political community.
Burma 2015: Ballot Denied draws on 60 interviews conducted in October 2015, in Kyar Inn Seik Gyi Township, Karen State. The report finds that disenfranchisement within the township resulted from: poll cancellations in 38 village tracts due to alleged ‘security concerns’; insufficient access to polling stations in remote villages; and poor availability of voter education in remote border areas.
Among notable findings, respondents unilaterally questioned the validity of security concerns used as a pretext for cancelling polling, maintaining that the villages concerned had been peaceful for years.
The report contends that responsibility for disenfranchisement in Kyar Inn Seik Gyi Township lay primarily with Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC). However, given that non-state armed groups exert considerable authority over villages covered by the report, non-state armed groups are considered to share significant culpability. HURFOM found that armed groups could have increased voter participation within their areas of control by cooperating with the UEC over issues such as voter education and transport to polling stations.
Lessons for future elections include that poll cancellations should be made only when this constitutes a reasonable reaction to the objective security situation on the ground. Other lessons include the need for: urgent reform of the Union Election Commission to ensure its independence, prioritization of access to polling in election planning and the strengthening of voter education in remote ethnic villages.
HURFOM concludes that disenfranchisement of ethnic groups represents a serious concern when hopes for national peacebuilding and reconciliation rest on the success of efforts to secure political inclusion for ethnic citizens. As citizens across the country celebrated the election’s results, the message that disenfranchised ethnic war-affected populations are likely to have received is that they are not part of the country’s developing political community. HURFOM advocates that, if national reconciliation is to be achieved, reforms under any future government must prioritise political inclusion for ethnic citizens, to include meaningful commitments to universal and equal suffrage.
For more information:
Mi Htaw Chan – (Coordinator, Human Right Foundation of Monland – Burma)
+66 (0) 8 9483 6761, +66 (0) 9 0446 4437
Min Banya Oo – +66 (0) 9 2705 3865 (Contact Person for English Language)
November 27, 2015
A villager from Kawlay village, located in Mon State’s Thanbyuzayat Township, has spoken out about corruption suffered at the hands of former Kayokepi village headman of nearby Kayokepi village. Read more
November 27, 2015
On September 23, a silt lake connected to a mining factory in Kan Bouk, Yebyu Township, Tenasserim Division, owned by Chinese mining company Delco, burst its banks, killing a 12-year-old boy and flooding nearby houses. Read more
November 17, 2015
WCRP: In July 2015 a 23-year-old handicapped girl was raped by a 40-year-old man in Jone Lang village, Ye Township. While the case has been reported to local authorities, no justice has yet been seen for the victim. Read more
November 17, 2015
WCRP: The New Mon State Party (NMSP) is investigating a rape case in the Thai-Burma border village of Gu Bao, following the rape of a 22-year-old mentally disabled girl by her stepfather this September. Read more
November 17, 2015
On November 8, 2015, historic elections were held across Burma. While voting on the whole proceeded smoothly, HURFOM received information concerning a number of irregularities experienced by Mon State voters. Read more
October 23, 2015
With elections fast approaching, worries have arisen over tactics used by the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) as election campaigning intensifies in Mon State.
In Mudon and Thanbyuzayat townships, villagers are reported to have been offered payment in exchange for their attendance at campaign rallies supporting Mon State Chief Minister and USDP candidate U Ohn Myint. Read more
October 20, 2015
The Union Election Commission (UEC) has announced that polls for the upcoming general election will not take place in many New Mon State Party (NMSP) controlled villages in Kyainnseikyi Township, Karen State, and Ye Township, Mon State, due to concerns over security. Read more