Yangon hosts first Women’s Forum

October 29, 2012

HURFOM: The first Women’s Forum in Myanmar, also known as Burma, opened on October 20 at the Inya Lake Hotel in Yangon. The two-day forum was designed to promote women’s leadership initiatives and their participation in Burma’s burgeoning civil society movements. Participants were encouraged to talk about current issues affecting them and shared these concerns with policymakers to accelerate advances in women’s rights. Read more

High fees and low incomes drive rising student dropout rates

October 24, 2012

HURFOM: Over the past few years, the dropout rate for middle and high school students in Mon areas has increased as a result of mounting education costs and job shortages among the parent population. Students report that school fees have more than doubled, while test scores show that scholastic achievement has not improved. Interviews collected earlier this month from teachers and 11 Mon students illustrate the challenges faced by young people who report they simply cannot afford school after 8th or 9th grade. Read more

Workshop in Mon State promotes growing women’s leadership roles

October 23, 2012

HURFOM: Last month, thirteen women from small villages across Thanbyuzayat Township in Mon State were invited to attend a women’s leadership training. The in-depth workshopwas designed toencourage women’s involvement in decision-making and policy development and advance the participants’ understanding of gender dynamics and women’s political and civil rights. Read more

The life of a young trafficked woman

October 19, 2012

“Ma Mya,” an alias, is a 19-year-old ethnic Pa-Oh woman from Mon State in southern Burma. The narrative of her life traces the risks and challenging decisions that often confront young women who have no education, no community support system, and limited employment opportunities. Ma Mya’s account illustrates the vulnerability, and ultimately the strength, that can develop out of adversity. Read more

Local people protest Kaw Taung power plant

October 18, 2012

HURFOM: On October 16, a demonstration was held to express local opposition to the coal-fired power plant in Kaw Taung District. Built by the Than Phyo Thu Coal Excavation Company and owned by Thai-Burmese businessman U Kyaw Lwin, the plant has yet to be granted the 30-year guarantee to begin producing energy. However, residents allege that they heard equipment being tested once in August and again on October 5, and worry the plant may soon begin operations. Read more


October 18, 2012

I.     Executive Summary

The growing optimism surrounding Burma’s political and social transitions has begun to be accompanied by ambitions to resettle displaced communities along the country’s border with Thailand. As the notion and its attendant proposals continue to proliferate, it seems timely to assess how the communities directly affected by this prospect feel about resettlement. Interviews were conducted with 61 Mon internally displaced people (IDPs) who expressed an array of views ranging from excitement for better jobs in new locations to utter refusal for fear of renewed conflict. Read more

Rice farmers face insect infestations alone

October 17, 2012

HURFOM: This year, insect attacks have destroyed approximately 1,000 acres of rice crops in southern and northern Mudon Township, where local farmers reported losing between one and five acres of their paddy plants. While residents said it is not uncommon to see pests eating and destroying rice stalks during the growing season, recent assaults have taken a considerable toll. Anxious farmers are assessing the blow to their annual yields, but also allege that instead of providing much needed intervention, local agriculture and irrigation authorities reap benefits from poor harvests by securing low prices from the farmers and turning a profit on the market. Read more

New report highlights Mon IDP perspectives on resettlement

October 15, 2012

HURFOM: This week, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) released a report featuring the voices of 61 Mon internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled from human rights violations in southern Burma, also known as Myanmar. The report analyzes testimonies regarding perspectives of resettlement and the current situation in their IDP communities, and revealed that just under half of interviewees who discussed relocation were willing to move (47%), while the others wanted to remain in their current villages (53%). [Download Report in PDF Format] Read more

Owner watches confiscated farmland sell for housing

October 5, 2012

HURFOM: For more than half a century, U Nyan Sein has worked on his farm in Kaw Taung, part of the Tenasserim region in southern Burma. The land was legally passed to his family in 1958 by the ruling Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, and he still holds the land grant documentation. However, over the past fifteen years, U Nyan Sein’s cultivation has been squeezed onto just two of his 8.52 acres as encroaching land confiscation pushed his property line back. Now, he is urgently advocating for the return of his farm, which has begun to be parceled off for housing. Read more

Vendors in Three Pagodas Pass question tax increase

October 4, 2012

HURFOM: Township municipal authorities and market organizers in a Three Pagodas Pass marketplace have increased vendor taxes to fund the construction of a new facility on the site. While merchants struggle to manage the higher operating cost, they are also asking why the renovation project is necessary when the structure was already closed, demolished, and rebuilt in 2006. In response to the higher tax, and what shopkeepers claim to be an arbitrary development project that forces them to buy back their own stalls, over 50 vendors signed a letter of appeal that was submitted to the Sub-Township administrator on September 5, 2012. Read more

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