Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma
October 22- November 13, 2007

Mon refugees at Umpium Camp seek help for survival
Publication follows Mon History Conference
Canada: Calgarians active for a Free Burma
Over 1000 SPDC landmines on Karen State HighwayMany
Mon arrested in shrimp raids
NMSP area knife attack on mother and daughter
Authorities investigate Moulmein monasteries
Junta demand rally Support in Towns of Mon State
Hello! Mr. Ibrahim Gambari and the International Community
Who Determines The Price Of Oil? By Ralph Nader
Readers' Front

Mon refugees at Umpium Camp seek help for survival
Kaowao: November 13, 2007

While many Mon refugees have been recognized by the UNHCR at Umpium Camp near Maesot, they continue to face the harsh realities of living away from their homeland and struggle everyday in front of residents who have little sympathy for them.

Mehm Hongsar, a former member of Nai Hloin’s armed group says over 150 Mon refugees are not familiar with the customs and life of local villagers and have no opportunities provided to them so they can earn themselves enough income to buy food for their families. The refugees have asked some overseas Mon organizations for help, such as the Mon Women Organization of the USA who have provided some assistance, he explained.

In August 2007, Thai authorities forced the Mon refugees who came from Bangkok and other western border areas to leave the camp. After negotiation with the UNHCR and Thai officials, they were allowed to stay.The refugees are Mon villagers who have fled persecution by the Burma Army and former guerrillas that split from the New Mon State Party in 2001. The Mon guerrilla leader Nai Hloin sought refugee status in Thailand after he was wounded in a skirmish with the Burmese army. Some of his followers and members of Honsawatoi Restoration Party (HRP) led by Colonel Pan Nyunt remain in remote areas fighting against the BA.

Nai Kyin Hope, a Kawdut villager of Ye Township, said most of them hail from southern Mon State and do not want to resettle in the Mon refugee camps near the New Mon State Party (NMSP) area.Human rights violations continue even though the New Mon State Party reached a cease-fire deal with the military junta. Several villagers have been arrested, tortured and forced into labour projects for the building of barracks and road construction for the military. Those who can escape do so to the Thai border area and on to Malaysia seeking safe haven and employment to support themselves and their families back home.

Publication follows Mon History Conference
Kaowao: November 12, 2007

The Mon Unity League (MUL) is planning to publish two booklets after a successful Mon history and cultural conference that was held in Bangkok last month.

According to Nai Sunthorn, Chairman of the MUL, "Discovery of Ramanya Monland" is to be distributed during the Mon gathering at the MAU Conference.

The publication will be in English that details the founding of Ramanya Monland, the history of Mon and Theravada Buddhism, covering politics, medicine, literature, culture and performing arts.The other book "In Commemoration of Prof. Dr. Su-ed Gajaseni" describes the life of former Thai Raman Association President who passed away earlier this year. It will include condolence messages from various Mon organizations, an historical account of Banya Cein's family in Thailand and their relatives in Burma, such as Mon Pho Cho (The father of Mon politician) and Dr. Shaw Lu (father of modern medicine in Burma).The great grand father of Dr. Su-ed Gajaseni, Commander Banyae Join (Banya Cein) fought against the Burman's occupation after Monland was occupied by Alaung Phaya in 1757. Banya Cein led a revolution to regain Mon land in 1775 before he left for Thailand which resulted to the last ruling Mon king Banya Dala and all his royal family members to be beheaded by the Burmese King Sin Byu Shin (Alaung Phayar's eldest son) in 1777.The Commemoration of Prof. Dr. Su-ed Gajaseni booklet will be distributed at the cremation ceremony of Dr Su-ed in February 2008. The text, in Thai and English, will attract Thai and Thai Mon people alike.

The MUL leader, Nai Sunthorn said the Mon History Conference was a huge success even though there was low media coverage on the event. He expressed his satisfaction and appreciation to see young Thai Mon scholars such as Ong Bunjoon and Sukanya Baoneod who teamed up with other scholars from Mon State, Dr. Nai Pan Hla, Nai Maung Toe and other experts on Mon history and culture such as Mr. Ashley South, Mathias Jenny, and the esteemed Dr. Emmanuel Guillon who teaches Mon history and culture at the Paris University (National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilization).The four day conference featured several presentations on Mon Buddhist Art and Architecture, Linguistics, Language and Literature, Migration and Settlement in Mon History, cross regional warfare: conflict and confrontation in early Mon history, pre-modern state and cities in lower Burma and the cultures of Mon living in Thailand . The Mon conference was organized by Chulalongkorn University ’s Institute of Asian Studies and the Southeast Asian Studies Program, in cooperation with Euro-Burma Office and The James H.W. Thompson Foundation.

Canada: Calgarians active for a Free Burma
Kaowao: November 7, 2007

Calgary – The largest ecotourist’s haven in western Canada will be the setting for a Free Burma campaign this week to highlight the ongoing human rights abuses perpetuated by the Burmese military junta who ignore their citizens’ plight and demands for governmental reform.Hosted by the Development Studies Club of the University of Calgary , the Free Burma event is being held from November 6th to 9th, 2007 at the university campus.Mike Nyberg, the event organizer, says the four day event includes several programs such as primary fundraising, information, and movies, cultural performances from Burma ’s ethnic community and an awareness campaign on landmines. Activities include handing out brochures on the nation wide situation and the gathering of signatures for a petition to be directed at governments and businesses. A photographic display on the devastating impact of landmines on Burma ’s peoples’ and animals, such as elephants, will be shown and how to spur governments worldwide to act more aggressively in banning their use outright (Monday to Friday).The organizers have dubbed the fund raiser, “Loonies for Burma” so named after Canada’s one dollar coin, the Loonie, which has hit a second all time high at $1.07 against the US dollar last Friday, to financially support human rights and democratic programs for Burma’s people. The informal discussion is facilitated by members of the Burmese community as well as university professors.The activists’ goal is to educate students and the Canadian public about Burma ’s history as well as provide information on recent developments. In addition to raising financial support for organizations which are actively engaged, the group hopes to pressure governments and business that are involved in Burma and to establish long term connections with local and global organizations on human rights issues.The event is hosted by the Social Action Board and Canadian Landmines Awareness. The University’s Development Studies Club (http://www.ucalgary.ca/dsc) is a part of the Social Action Board.With a population of over a million, Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta, Canada. Despite the importance of the oil industry to its economic success, Calgary was ranked the World's Cleanest City by Mercer Quality of Living in a survey published in 2007 by Forbes Magazine.

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Kaowao Newsgroup is committed to social justice, peace, and democracy in Burma. We hope to be able to provide more of an in-depth analysis that will help to promote lasting peace and change within Burma. Editors, reporters, writers, and overseas volunteers are dedicated members of the Mon activist community based in Thailand.
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