Creating the conditions for successful peace talks

September 5, 2011

The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) welcomes the peace talks offered by Burma’s new government, headed by President U Thein Sein, and the positive responses from all armed ethnic groups under the umbrella of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC).

Both the majority Burmans and the various ethnic groups in the country are hungrily demanding peace, and they welcome the prospect of the government opening peace talks.  But, for the peace talks between the new government and the UNFC to work, it is necessary to have a countrywide ceasefire first, so that all sides will fully commit to a peaceful resolution.

Burma’s civil war has raged for over six decades, leading to many problems.  If the new government and the armed ethnic groups are to hold peace talks, they must commit to peace. And finally, they must settle all problems related to politics, society, economics, and human rights, peacefully. There must not be a return to war.

If the peace talks are held, both sides must be sincere and consider the interests of the people.  They should strive for the betterment of all ethnic peoples in the Union, especially those living in conflict areas and who have suffered six decades of war. The following points are crucial if the peace talks are to be successful:

  • The countrywide ceasefire must be announced by the government, and all armed ethnic groups must agree to it, Each ethnic group then must form a delegation to participate in the peace talks.  During the preparation phase, all internally displaced persons (IDPs) must be allowed to return to their communities safely.
  • The armed groups belonging to both the government and the ethnic political groups must stop committing human rights violations against the local civilians in conflict areas, such as killing, forced recruitment for soldiers or frontline porters, inhumane treatment, and other abuses.
  • All sides must cease confiscation of land and property from civilians.  Soldiers must stop extorting and illegally taxing the people.  And all troops must cease committing sexual violence against women.

In bringing peace, all sides must consider their past mistakes and agree to building a better future.  Human rights, including the rights of minorities, must be respected.  Wrongs of the past, such as cases of arbitrary killings and inhumane treatment, sexual violations, unlawful confiscation of lands, and other serious cases of human rights violations must be considered, and justice must come about.


Peace-building and Solving of Human Rights Problems

June 12, 2011

The civil war in Burma has been protracted for many decades especially in all ethnic regions. Because of war and fighting between the central governments and different ethnic armed groups, not only the ethnic people in border areas suffered by war, conflict, fighting and human rights violations, but the majority Burman people in central part are suffered socially and economically. Read more

Release of Political Prisoners Can Move Forward ‘National Reconciliation’

May 26, 2011

There are about 2100 political prisoners including ethnic leaders imprisoned for long-term imprisonment.  They were put trial not because of their political activities, but the regime accused them because of ‘threatening the national security’, ‘motivating for instability’, ‘illegal printing and false information distribution’, etc.  The former military regime, SPDC and the current military proxy regime, USDP, has constantly denied there is no ‘political prisoners’ in Burma. Read more

The New Government Must Respect Freedom

April 18, 2011

On the 31st of March, when the new government leader and former military commander, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein, took office in Naypyidaw, the capital of Burma, he promised a clean and good governance. This was his promise, but in practice, if he and his government do not allow various freedoms inherent in a democracy, the people will never believe that the government will bring them toward democracy. Read more

Minority Rights in Ethnic States of Burma

March 12, 2011

According to the new constitution, Burma is divided into 7 Burman dominated Divisions and another 7 ethnic States for Kachin, Karen, Chin, Shan, Karenni, Mon, and Arakanese areas with some special ethnic regions for the Wa and others.  Although the recent military regime pretended to form an ethnic Union of Burma, a real union would provide equal rights to all ethnic nationalities in the country. Read more

HURFOM Welcomes the UN Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes in Burma

February 10, 2011

In the past, over 10 years ago, when the International Labor Organization (ILO) set up a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ to investigate the use of slave labor and forced labor, HURFOM was newly formed. HURFOM offered a lot of support by bringing the victims to the ILO Commission of Inquiry to provide facts and testimony during the investigation. The ILO got many detailed accounts, information, and strong evidence on the use of forced labor during the construction of the Ye to Tavoy railway and road, and later on the ILO was able to intervene to stop the use of forced labor in Burma. Read more

The Regime and The Companies in Collaboration in Land Confiscations

January 18, 2011

The current military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), will withdraw from power. While it transfers its political power to a new regime, it is expected this military regime will hold ‘economic power’ behind the scene through its cronies.  The recent award to the companies of the regime’s cronies as the main contractors in the new Tavoy deep seaport construction in Tenasserim Division, and the placement of Zaykabar Company at the head of constructing a cement plant on lands in Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State, are the evidence how the regime connected cronies continue to get involved in making profits from the country’s natural resources.

Land and properties confiscation in all the ethnic areas by the Burmese Army has continued since 2000, when, in the southern part of Mon State, the Burmese Army deployed more troops to set up a ‘self-reliance’ program with its armed forces.  The farmers and local villagers in Ye and Yebyu Township do not forget their suffering after the Burmese Army took their lands without compensation. Read more

Welcoming the Release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Genuine National Reconciliation

December 3, 2010

Along with the people in Burma and international community, the Mon people and Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) are glad to see that Burma’s democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was released on November 13.

Many people expect she can make a change for Burma, as she also officially spoke about building up a ‘national reconciliation’.  But since the regime change after November 7 was not significant, whether she can move forward or deal with the regime in getting genuine national reconciliation remains a question. Read more

The New Civil War and Human Rights after Elections

November 3, 2010

People all over in Burma always have expectations for peace in Burma, because they do not want to suffer more from political oppression, economic deterioration, human rights abuses, etc. But they are very unlucky because their unwanted and undesired new government, formed by military commanders and the leaders from Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), will not make much change. The change will be just like an old wine in a new bottle, meaning there will be a new government but with the old guard and old policies. Read more

Who will be responsible for past human rights violations?

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

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