Friday, August 31, 2012

Yuzana to return confiscated farm land

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Friday, 31 August 2012 13:04 Kyaw Phone Kyaw and Aung Myat Tun

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Htay Myint, the owner of the Yuzana Company, says the company will give back more than 1,000 acres of confiscated land in the Hukaung Valley in Kachin State to the original owners, said activist Bauk Ja.

Bauk Ja, who negotiated with Hyay Myint on Wednesday, said the land would be returned and negotiations would also take place to determine compensation for the lost land, which was mostly used to grow cassava and sugarcane.

Farmers gathered in front of the Yuzana Hotel in Rangoon on Friday to stage a protest against the Yuzana Company’s land confiscations in Hukaung Valley in Kachin State. The demonstration was called off after farmers learned their land would be returned. Photo: Mizzima

A scheduled demonstration in front of the Yuzana Hotel on West Shwegondine Road in Rangoon on Thursday was called off after farmers learned their land would be returned.

According to Htet Aung Kyaw, the secretary of the Rangoon Region National Democratic Force (NDF) party, Htay Myint also will help farmers register the land. Bauk Ja was a NDF party candidate in the elections.

Htet Aung Kyaw told the media that the two sides are still negotiating the amount of compensation to farmers from Warazuap, Namsan, Bangkok, Lajarpa, Aungra and Sharuzuap villages.

Zau Seng, a farmer from Warazuap village, said that his land was bulldozed and spoiled four years ago and even if he gets the land back, he will need about eight years to restore the land to its previous condition.

Earlier this month, the Aye Ya Shwe Wa Company, owned by Burmese tycoon Tay Za, returned more than 40,000 acres of confiscated farmland to the government to return to the original owners.

Confiscation of farmland by the military, government and businesspeople is a recurring problem in Burma.
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Former monk Gambira pens open letter on Arakan State

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Friday, 31 August 2012 12:49 Mizzima News

The prominent Burmese Buddhist monk who helped lead the “Saffron Revolution,” Ashin Gambira – now known as Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin since he took off his robes –  has released a letter accusing the military of using the Arakan community unrest for its own purposes.

Photo: Gambira

Ko Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin is in poor health, since his release from prison in January 2012. Several international organizations have offered to pay his expenses if he will leave Burma for proper medical treatment, but he has refused, saying he fears he would not be allowed to return.

In an open letter reprinted below, he writes about the current conflict in Arakan State, the tensions between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhist Rakhines, and his belief that the country’s military “is exacerbating the conflict in an attempt to retain its relevancy.”

The letter was first published on The Best Friend website (www.thebestfriend.org) on Aug. 29. The translation from Burmese to English was done by Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin (no relation to Gambira) in Tokyo.

The Letter:

 “I feel very sorry after reading the latest news. I don’t feel so much surprised as angry, because I knew something like this would happen soon. One step leads to another. It is actually not so surprising for our country Myanmar, because neither people nor the politicians have good understanding.

The military relies on conflict to stay in power

“The violence between Rakhines and Rohingyas in Arakan State is an example of how dictatorships all over the world use and rely on conflicts to stay in power. If all people were united, a military dictatorship could not survive. Division and enmity in the minds of the people only keeps the military strong. Because of this, the military systematically uses division-and-rule policies on the grounds of nationality, religion, economic and education status, etc., to divide people, to keep the military ‘necessary’, relevant, and in power.

“So the Burmese people are kept separated in groups, each group for themselves, without unity or cooperation.

Everybody lives in fear and distrust of the other. Everyone sees the other with a suspicious mind. With this pressure, the people are defeated.

Nationalism is used to the keep the military system alive

“The new freedom fighter groups were organized under a wrong system of a Burma nationalist policy. These national revolution organization systems are a mistake. They produce suspicions and tensions between Burmese and their fellow landsman. Furthermore, it is slowly destroying the meaning of ‘union’ until the ‘union mind’ will disappear. This is the situation that the Burmese military uses to keep the military system necessary and alive.

The thirst for human rights

“We haven’t had human rights or true democracy in our country for over fifty years. For the last fifty years and five months, an old man hasn’t been able to get a taste of democracy, human rights, freedom, justice, or equality. Some people have not known any of these things their entire lives. This means we were so thirsty for human rights that we sometimes demanded them like fools.

“We are living in the 21st century now, in a time of globalization, but in our country the principles of human rights and democracy are terribly broken. So our understandings of dhamma, detta, peace, and human rights are very rough, and we are beaten, arrested, killed, and destroyed.

“Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, has said clearly that during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, crimes against humanity were committed.

“The illegal government acted against me with unjust laws and rules. I was sentenced by a judge to 68 years in prison. I lost my time, health, education, and freedom for the sake of my motherland. I spent nearly four years in prison.

Everyone around the world knew that the people and monks were marching nonviolently with love, dhamma, and peace, and we didn’t have as much as a nail with us. But we were broken down very violently, beaten, shot, and killed.

“The same people who were ruling Burma then are now presenting themselves to the world as a legal government.

They show themselves to be honest, polite, and clear. But nothing has changed in Myanmar, even in this changing period. The neo-military dictatorship has exploited and fostered a new national crisis, a religious conflict, the Rakhine-Rohingya conflict, for its own purposes.

“This is a very simple and effective strategy. It has happened several times in the past. There have been conflicts between Buddhist monks and Muslims before. They have been fighting each other, and the military dictatorship benefited from it. These clashes were encouraged by the military to keep the people separated.

“We had started a metta campaign in our country with slogans for peace and democracy. The campaign includes members of all religions. But now, the Rakhine and Rohingya have turned against each other violently in front of the world. Even some members of the democracy movement have followed the threat of politics by the military regime and have changed sides.

The rule of law

“I want to say one additional thing. We need to count from the beginning. We only needed to judge with the rule of law those three Rohingyas who raped a girl. Rohingyas or Rakhines, Burmans or Shan, everybody must obey the rule of law. Why encourage racism, why create a crisis? Why blame only Rohingyas and put all of the purnishment on all of them?

“In Bangladesh, in a minority village on the border with Myanmar, several people were robbed by Bengali groups. The Bangladeshi government took effective action against the robbers with the rule of law, and a crisis was averted.

“I feel sad to know that some Buddhist monks have joined demonstrations and campaigns against Rohingyas. We already previously kindled a fire of dhamma for everyone around the world to see in 2007. Do I need to explain in detail the meaning of the Buddha’s words, of metta, dhamma, peace, ahitha, thitthar, ageha, for everyone?

“As you know, my health is not so good, so I have been taking a rest lately. Actually, the past revolution experience was a very dark and hopeless situation inside the prison for me.

“I faced it, and survived this condition after I was released into the present political situation. I really want to write more about it. But I have to take care of my health first. In the future when I am better, I hope I can do it.

“Even writing this letter hurts my eyes and causes severe headaches. The deep pain inside my body is bad, but I needed to write and send this to you.”

Signed Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin
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Burma appoints three new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

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Friday, 31 August 2012 13:17 Mizzima News

Three new deputy ministers have been appointed as part of Burma’s Cabinet reshuffle this week, according to an order from the President's Office.

Burmese President Thein Sein Photo: president's website

Thant Kyaw and Zin Yaw was named deputy foreign ministers, while Dr. Maung Maung Thein, who is general manager of Myanma Insurance, was nominated as deputy minister of Finance and Revenue.

In the cabinet reshuffle, nine ministers were reassigned. Four were transferred as ministers to the President's Office. The Minister of Information, who was also the government spokesman for the previous military government, was moved to head the Minister of Cooperatives.

Tin Aung Myint Oo, who resigned from the post of vice president for health reason, was replaced by Nyan Tun, who was former Naval Chief, upon approval of the Parliament.

On Wednesday in Kayin State, Nyan Tun stressed the connection between peace and stability and socio-economic development, saying, “Only with peace and stability, can socio-economic life improve, likewise, only there is socio-economic development, can peace and stability be strengthened,” official media reported on Thursday.

Speaking for the first time since becoming vice president at a ceremony to aid flood victims in Hpa-an, in southeastern Kayin State, Nyan Tun said that the government is working to better people’s lives.

“Overtures have been made with all the political elements to ensure their participation in political reform designed for political stability,” he said, adding that the government has been negotiating with ethnic armed groups.

He said the country should focus on agricultural development and industrialization to achieve the goal of socio-economic development.

Citing that the country lacks technology, capital and human resources, he said the state is inviting foreign investment to overcome the obstacles.

Nyan Tun, one of two vice presidents, was commander-in-chief of the Navy. He was named vice president on Aug. 15.
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Township authorities to give funds to flooded farmers

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Friday, 31 August 2012 13:26 Min Min

Kangyidaung (Mizzima) – Thirty Kangyidaung Township authorities will give money and seeds to farmers whose 15,000 acres of spoiled paddy in Irrawaddy Region were flooded in August, an official at the Settlement and Land Records Department told Mizzima.

“Now, [they are] developing plans. [They are] still collecting the data,” said Htay Yi. “It’s sure that [they will] support.”


According to estimates, 15,026 out of 133,147 acres of paddy fields in Kangyidaung Township were spoiled by flooding.

Myanmar Rice Federation announced on Aug. 22 that more than 52,000 acres in Irrawaddy Region and more than 10,000 acres in Pegu Region were spoiled by floods between the first and third week of August.

In the third week of August, the government gave 400 million kyat (US$ 458,455) to flood victims in Irrawaddy Region, 350 million kyat to victims in Pegu Region and 89 million kyat to victims in Rangoon Region.

Around 1,734 acres in the Seiktha village-tract and Nyaungchaung village-tract were spoiled.

Myint Aung,  an official in the Seiktha Village-tract, said, “There are seven villages in the Seiktha Village-tract. There, 69 farmers had a total of 597 acres of paddy fields. All of it was spoiled.”

Hla Htay of the Nyaungchaung Village-tract, who is a member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, said, “The Nyaungchaung Village-tract comprises five villages. There are 1,137 acres of paddy fields. All of the paddy fields were spoiled.”

More than 1,800 out of total 2,100 acres of paddy fields in Pyinmangu Village-tract in Kangyidaung Township also were spoiled.
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Prominent names removed from Burma’s ‘blacklist’

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Friday, 31 August 2012 13:40 Mizzima News

The Burmese government has published a list of 1,000 foreigners who were stricken from its “blacklist” this week, revealing prominent diplomats, journalists and human rights activists. More than 4,000 blacklisted names remain on the list.

President Official WebsiteAmong the names removed from the blacklist were former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the late US singer, activist and politician Sonny Bono, and the late Philippine President Corazon Aquino, according to an Associated Press report.

The list can be seen on the website of the Office of the President (www.president-office.gov.mm/). It’s the latest sign of openness from the new government which took power in March 2011.

The blacklist kept out critics and others deemed a threat to national security, blocking selected foreigners from entering the country and also prohibiting certain Burmese nationals from leaving.

Also cut from the list are the sons of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi – Alexander Aris who lives in the United States and his London-based brother Kim Aris.

Some people cited had already been allowed back into the country, suggesting that their names were previously removed from the list. Kim Aris has visited his mother a few times since her release from house arrest in 2010.

One name from past headlines was John William Yettaw, an American who was deported from Burma after swimming to Suu Kyi's lakeside home in 2009 in a bizarre act that landed them both in detention.

Several Associated Press reporters are among the many foreign correspondents removed from the blacklist, including longtime AP Bangkok bureau chief Denis Gray and Swedish author and journalist Bertil Lintner.

Lintner, whose books on Burma include “Outrage: Burma's Struggle for Democracy,” told Reuters: “I feel good, of course, to be able to visit the country I have written about for so many years.”

Diplomats removed from the list include former US Charge d'Affaires Priscilla Clapp and British Ambassador to Burma Vicky Bowman, who married a Burmese painter and former political prisoner.

Prominent Burmese dissidents removed from the list include Aung Din, head of the Washington-based U.S. Campaign for Burma, said the AP.

The trimming of the blacklist was the latest sign of change as Thein Sein's government implements reforms after decades of harsh military rule.
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Returned exiled lawyer serving six-month prison sentence

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Friday, 31 August 2012 13:54 Mizzima News

An exiled defense lawyer who returned to Burma under the olive branch offered by the new government has been jailed for a previous sentence in absentia, and is now in Insein Prison.

The lawyer, Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, is a human rights defender and a former leading member of the National League for Democracy youth wing.

It is the first sentencing of an returned exile for a previous offense and it shows that “when it comes to human rights, the government of Burma still cannot be trusted,” the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP-B) said in a statement on Thursday, calling for his release.

Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, 32, was originally accused of contempt of court while he and two other defense lawyers were defending 11 NLD clients in an October 2008 judicial proceeding, said the AAPP-B.

When another defense lawyer failed to appear in court, the judge forced a defendant to question the prosecuting police officer by himself.

To protest the unfair process, three of the defendants turned their backs to the court.

Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min was charged with contempt when he refused the judge’s order to reign in his client’s behavior, and said: “We don’t want to forbid our clients from doing anything…We are defense lawyers, and we act according to our clients’ instructions.”

Fearing imprisonment, Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min fled to Thailand in October 2008, where he continued to promote the rule of law in Burma.

He was sentenced in absentia under Section 228 of the penal code and sentenced on Aug. 29 by the Rangoon Northern District Court.
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Modernity’s challenge to Burma: 1885 – present

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Friday, 31 August 2012 14:21 Joseph Ball

“You may say she was not a good queen, he was not a good king, but they were our own.”

–   Maid of Honor to Burma’s Queen Supayalat and King Thibaw


“A family with the wrong members in control – that is perhaps as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

–   George Orwell 
 
 (Book review) – The immediate fate of Burma’s royal family is well known. A long, escalating feud between British interests and Burma’s monarchial government led to the British invading upper Burma. Dispensing with ease the outdated defenses of the Burmese government, on December 10, 1885, King Thibaw and his royal family were unceremoniously evicted from Mandalay Palace and sent into exile on the western shore of India.  

However, less is known of the life the ousted family led in the village of Ratnagiri in the Indian state of Maharashtra, or of the fate of the princesses and their descendants. This is the story author Sudha Shah focuses on in The King in Exile: The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma (HarperCollins 2012).

The approach adopted by Shah is to convey a human story, taking care to document each of the individual lives. Interestingly, the book is dedicated to the first princess, for whom it is not difficult to make an argument of being the most tragic of the king and queen’s four daughters.

Yet, even in the first princesses’ ignominious death in Ratnagiri, shunned as she was by family and society in Burma (as well as India), a glimpse of the beneficence of Burma’s estranged royal court filters through in both her reaching out to the local children and in the form of her daughter, Tu Tu. Though herself burdened with poverty, Shah refers to Tu Tu as the “Mother Theresa of Ratnagiri” in her readiness to reach out to those in need.

As is often the case, alongside the personal sagas of the human story are stark political and historical observations. And several of those conveyed in The King in Exile continue to speak to contemporary Burma. One such connection between Burma’s ill-fated Konbaung dynasty and the present is the challenge of confronting modernity.

Thibaw ascended the lion throne at a critical time, just when his country most needed informed, worldly leadership. However, though the king was by all accounts well versed in Buddhist tracts, the royal couple’s world existed firmly within the grandeur and tradition to be found safely inside the palace walls.

When given one last chance, a British ultimatum, to potentially save his rule and Burma’s independence, Thibaw, supported by Supayalat, ignored the advice of his hluttaw (council) and, according to Shah, rejected the missive as an affront to honor.

Years later, as related by Shah, a visitor to the queen, then frail and residing in Rangoon, commented: “Many noticed that the queen lived firmly in the past, both in terms of what she dwelt on, and the customs she followed. This anachronistic existence of the last queen of Burma drew curious visitors who came to witness living history.”

It was not, however, only the king and queen who found it difficult, if not impossible, to dispel with the romance of a bygone era. The then Burmese ambassador to Delhi, as per The King in Exile, on visiting the second princess in the Himalayan hill station of Kalimpong, remarked the apparent time warp in which she and her husband seemed to live. Meanwhile, those familiar with the third princess, who returned to live in central Burma, are said to have noted that in her isolation and lack of education she came across as out of touch with reality.

Certainly the princesses cannot be entirely faulted, as the British, as well as their parents, never pushed for a formal education for any of them. An investment in the education of the princesses would likely have benefited them and their subsequent families, but could it also have resulted in the reemergence of a royal Burmese government?

It is recounted in The King in Exile how Aung San is known to have visited the third princess and her husband, Prince Hteik Tin Kodaw Gyi, at their home in Maymyo (now Pyin Oo Lwin). And on the verge of independence Aung San, in his interactions with possible heirs to the throne, spoke of the Burmese public still expecting a king.

But, the truth, as assessed by Shah at the close of her volume, is likely less nostalgic. Whether it was to be the British or the ever-encroaching demands of modernity, in all likelihood the clock on the pomp and pageantry of royalty was never to turn back in full.

So where is Burma today? Having myself visited the country for over 15 years, I can attest to at least part of its allure, to the outsider, being a chance to witness someplace trapped in another era, someplace immediately different from the incessant monotony that increasingly grips and links the world’s economic hubs. But, today in Rangoon, for better or worse, that previous allure is rapidly losing its luster. Trappings of modernity are steadily gaining ground.

As such, having discounted the impact of engaging international economic and political trends (not to mention education and other domestic needs) for so long, and with the often less than altruistic interests of foreign governments and companies surveying possibilities in Burma, the country finds itself at another critical junction when enlightened leadership and a unified population are at a premium; at a time when the demands of modernity respective of Burmese interests and culture must be delicately balanced.

Certainly, a similar sentiment to that of Princess Hteik Su Phaya Gyi, granddaughter of Thibaw and Supayalat, cannot be allowed to become a dominant discourse. As told by Shah, the princess eventually arrived at the conclusion that the British actually looked after her family quite well; the real betrayal came from the Burmese government following independence. As Burma cautiously embraces its “second independence,” how will it proceed to be judged with respect to the first?

In 1956, the second princess embarked on a trip home, to Burma. She had not set foot in her country since the age of two. Sadly, she contracted an illness while en route and passed away before she ever left India. Her ashes would not arrive in Burma for another 52 years, such has been the fractured and circuitous fate of the country throughout its modern existence; not to mention many of the lives of Konbaung descent as told in The King in Exile.

Following President Thein Sein’s offer to Burmese exiles to return home, a steady trickle of those previously forced from their country have returned, many of whom, like the fourth princess upon her return, are full of optimism. Yet, many others remain wary of proceedings, and there are without question multiple roadblocks ahead. Nonetheless, it would be but the latest of national setbacks in the face of modern demands if the fate of the country is yet again determined by insular thinking and/or a refusal to embrace the future.

However, it would be equally unfortunate if the current environment of hope and optimism, of embracing the modern, results in a neglect of culture and an even harder, less free life for so many of the Burmese population. That is the enormous task confronting the country and its leadership today, no less a daunting situation than that which confronted the ill-fated Konbaung dynasty.
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US says China should create ‘protection program’ for Kachin refugees

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Friday, 31 August 2012 14:09 Mizzima News

The United States on Thursday criticized China following reports that it returned Kachin refugees to Burma despite ongoing fighting.

“We indeed remain concerned about the welfare of vulnerable Kachin on the China-Burma border. We have urged China to implement a temporary protection program for those seeking refuge from the conflict,” said State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

Kachin refugees in Lay Ying Photo: KNG

“The US government believes that the refugees should only return home by their own choice and in conditions of safety and dignity,” he said.

According to the Kachin Independence Organization and Human Rights Watch, China is forcing thousands of Kachin refugees to leave the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan and return to northern Burma where up to 70 displaced people are housed in temporary shelters and food and medicine is in short supply.

China's foreign ministry refuted allegations of forced returns of refugees, saying they had crossed back “by their own volition when the fighting had ceased.”

In recent months, Burma’s government has signed cease-fire agreements with several ethnic minority rebel groups, but negotiations with the Kachin have so far been unsuccessful and sporadic fighting continues, displacing villagers.

More than 4,000 refugees were in six Chinese refugee camps in Nongdao, said Dwe P Sar.

KIO officials have scrambled to take care of the returning refugees, who are being sent back in separate groups.

 The New York-based Human Rights Watch recently issued a report titled “Isolated in Yunnan” saying that 1,000 Kachin refugees fled to Yunnan, China, on June 26, but Chinese authorities forced them to return [to Kachin State]. In response, on June 27, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that Chinese authorities were still helping Burmese citizens who have taken refuge in China and they did not force refugees to return. China refuted similar reports again last week.

Since then reports have continued to maintain that Kachine refugees are being sent back, with most refugees saving they do not want to return to Burma at this time because of the military clashes.
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India donates relief funds to Rakhine State

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Friday, 31 August 2012 15:12 Mizzima News

The Indian government has provided US$ 220,000 for aid and resettlement work in western Rakhine State, according to Indian media.

The cash aid was handed over in a ceremony attended by Burmese Minister of Border Affairs and Industrial Development Lieutenant-General Thein Htay and Indian Ambassador Dr. V.S. Seshadri.

The deadly unrest and violence in Rakhine State has claimed up to 89 people killed, 116 injured and over 65,000 people homeless or living in shelters, according to the latest official figures.

A total of 4,822 houses, 17 mosques, 15 monasteries and three schools were burned down, officials said.
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Australia gives direct aid to Rakhine State homeless

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Friday, 31 August 2012 15:05 Mizzima News

Australia will give US $1 million to Burma in emergency aid to provide clothing, blankets and basic supplies to around 14,000 people left homeless by sectarian conflicts in Rakhine State.

Foreign Secretary Bob Carr said, “We're assisting with this emergency aid – helping with clothing, blankets and basics like mosquito nets, bedding and soap for 14,000 people now in temporary shelters after fleeing their homes.”

Australian Foreign Secretary Bob Carr Photo: Australian gov't

Australian aid will also support families with seeds and fertilizer to replace crops destroyed in the conflict.

The funds will be administered by CARE Australia and delivered to those in need regardless of faction or ethnic origin, he said.

Carr also welcomed a decision by Burma’s government to set up an independent commission to investigate the violence.

“I directly raised Myanmar's sectarian and ethnic tensions in talks with President Thein Sein in June, and have instructed our ambassador to Myanmar to again pursue this with the government,” Carr said.

Australia has also urged the international community to renew its efforts to assist the homeless in Rakhine State with basic food and health care.
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UN population fund director concludes visit to Burma

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Friday, 31 August 2012 15:19 Mizzima News

Meeting with reproductive health advocates and private sector leaders, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, wrapped up a three-day visit to Burma on Wednesday.

He met with participants in the Myanmar Medical Association’s Youth Development Programme and discussed their efforts to raise young people’s awareness on reproductive health issues including HIV prevention.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, talks about improvement of reproductive health at a press conference at the Sedona Hotel, Rangoon, on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Empowering young people is a priority for UNFPA, he said, and he encouraged young people to become involved in developing policies to promote their health, education and employment prospects.

On Tuesday, he met with Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann and members of the Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development.

Before leaving the capital, he discussed plans for the 2014 census with Khin Yi, the minister of Immigration and Population.

On Monday, he met with President Thein Sein and with Aung San Suu Kyi to focus on ways the UN can help advance Burma’s development and reform process, including through its support for the census.

At the offices of Parliament, Osotimehin inaugurated the Parliamentary Committee on Population and Social Development’s information library and answered members’ questions about a range of social concerns.

The committee, created in 2011, includes lawmakers from various political parties and ethnic groups.

Osotimehin discussed the need for a comprehensive national health plan, and for policies, legislation and funding to improve reproductive health care and save women’s lives; for example, by ensuring free voluntary birth spacing services for the poor, and improving access to a wide range of contraceptive choices.
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photo News - August 2012

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A group led by Arifin Muh. Hadi, the head of disaster management of the Indonesian Red Cross, arrive at Sittway [Sittwe] airport, Rakhine State on Thursday, August 30, 2012. Photo Thein Hlaing / Mizzima

Rakhine State government of Minister for Social Welfare and Health, Dr Aung Kyaw Min, and Arifin Muh. Hadi, head of disaster management of the Indonesian Red Cross, meet at the Sittway [Sittwe] airport guest room on Thursday, August 30, 2012. Photo: Thein Hlaing / Mizzima

India ambassador to Burma H.E. Dr. V. S. Seshadri meets with Prime Minister Hla Maung Tin at the Rakhine State Government Office on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Photo Thein Hlaing / Mizzima

Devotees at a shrine in Taungpyone, Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region, on Wednesday, August 29, the third day of the Taungpyone spirit festival. More than 100,000 people from across Burma participated in this year’s Taungpyone spirit festival. Photo: Aye Kyawt Khine / Mizzima

Devotees at a shrine in Taungpyone, Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region, on Wednesday, August 29, the third day of yearly Taungpyone spirit festival. Photo: Aye Kyawt Khine / Mizzima

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, talks about improvement of reproductive health at a press conference at the Sedona Hotel, Rangoon, on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Skynet to broadcast Burmese soccerBurmese traditional dancers at the signing ceremony for J-League (Japan national professional football league) and SkyNet TV channel at the Karaweik Palace (Dekkhina Hall), Kandawgyi Garden in Rangoon on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. The J-League and SkyNet agreed that SkyNet will broadcast football matches for the 2013-2014 football season. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Dancers perform a Burmese traditional "elephant dance" at the signing ceremony for TV broadcast rights. The J-League and SkyNet have agreed that SkyNet will broadcast football matches for the 2013-2014 football season. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The Signing ceremony between the J-League, the Japanese national professional football league, and Myanmar National League, at the Sedona Hotel in Rangoon. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Zaw Zaw, the chairman of the Myanmar Football Federation, and J-League chairman Mr. Kazumi Ohigarhi at the signing ceremony between J-League, the Japanese national professional football league, and Myanmar National League held at Sedona Hotel in Rangoon. Photo: Hein Htet/ Mizzima

J-League chairman Kazumi Ohigarhi and Shwe Than Lwin Media Company Limited managing director Myint Myint Win exchange presents at the signing ceremony for the TV broadcasting service and joint press conference of J-League (Japan national professional football league) and Skynet TV channel. Shwe Than Lwin Media has provided the Skynet satellite TV service. The J-League and Skynet have agreed that Skynet will broadcast football matches of J-League for the 2013-2014 football season. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Myanmar Football Federation chairman Zaw Zaw at the signing ceremony and joint press conference of J-League and Skynet TV channel Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

J-League chairman Kazumi Ohigarhi and Win Naing, the general manager of the Skynet broadcast unit, at the signing ceremony and joint press conference of J-League and Skynet. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Win Naing, the general manager of Skynet, speaks at a joint press conference of J-League and Skynet TV channel on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

J-League chairman Kazumi Ohigarhi, second from the left, Shwe Than Lwin Company managing director Myint Myint Win and other officials at the signing ceremony held at Karaweik Palacw, Kandawgyi Garden, on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A farmer stands in a destroyed paddy field in the Pyinmangoo village tract in Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on Saturday,  August 26, 2012. Around 1,800 out of more than 2,100 acres of paddy fields in Pyinmangoo were inundated and spoiled. Floods hit Irrawaddy Region during the month of August. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima

The grand opening ceremony of the plan of the Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation [MAPCO] to sell shares at the Strand Hotel in Rangoon on Sunday, August 26, 2012. Win Myint , Union Minister for Commerce, and Than Myint, the Rangoon Region Minister for Planning and the Econony, attended the ceremony. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Traditional dancers at the Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation ceremony  in Rangoon on Sunday, August 26, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet/Mizzima

Dancers at the Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation ceremony in Rangoon. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Win Myint, the Union Minister for Commerce, speaks at the opening ceremony of the Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation in Rangoon on Sunday, August 26, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


Transport Minister Aung Khin and Planning and Economic Minister Than Myint officiated at the opening ceremony of the Sky Net Cup Men's Hockey Championship at Theinbyu Hockey field in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township in Rangoon on Saturday, August 25, 2012. Thaung Htike, the director general of the Department of Sports and Physical Education, Htin Zaw Win, the chairman of Myanmar Hockey Federation, and other officials also attended the ceremony. This was the first championship jointly organized by Sky Net and the Myanmar Hockey Federation. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Cheerleaders with pompoms at the opening ceremony of the Sky Net Cup Men's Hockey Championship at Theinbyu Hockey field in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township in Rangoon on Saturday, August 25, 2012 Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The opening ceremony of the Sky Net Cup Men's Hockey Championship at Theinbyu Hockey field in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township in Rangoon on Saturday, August 25, 2012. The Championship will end on Sept. 8. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Transport Minister Aung Khin and Planning and Economic Minister Than Myint at the opening ceremony of the Sky Net Cup Men's Hockey Championship. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Min Ko Naing, a leader of the 88-generation student group, speaks at a weekly forum titled “Reform and the future of Myanmar” held at the Tawwin Hninzi Restaurant in Bahan Township in Rangoon Region on Saturday, August 25, 2012. His speech, “Why does civil society need to be strong?” addressed the role of history and the need for people to join together to work for the future of Burma. The weekly forum is held every Saturday.

National League for Democracy [NLD] chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi at NLD headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, after a central executive committee meeting on Friday, August 24, 2012. NLD MPs did not attend the parliamentary session in order to hold a meeting to discuss the party’s internal affairs, according to spokesman Ohn Kyaing. Suu Kyi has met with President Thein Sein two times in the past two weeks. Details of the talks were not disclosed. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


American scholar Dr. Francis Fukuyama, right, the author of  “The End of History” and Wave Magazine editor Kyaw Win, the translator of many of Fukuyama's books into Burmese, in Rangoon on Thursday, August 23, 2012. Fukuyama will speak on economics and poverty alleviation at business workshops in Rangoon and Naypyitaw. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

Singaporean Ambassador to Burma Robert Chua at a workshop on businesses and poverty alleviation on Thursday, August 23, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Ballot boxes for electing executive members of the Myanmar Music Association (Central) in Rangoon on Thursday, August 23, 2012. The association represents singers, composers and musicians Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Singer Nay Thaw considers his vote in the election of executive members of the Myanmar Music Association (Central) on Thursday, August 23, the fourth day of the election. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The opening ceremony of the 17th Southeast Asian Junior Men’s Volley Ball Championship at Thuwana National Stadium in Rangoon on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A young fan holds the Burmese flag. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The Burmese volleyball team and Indonesian team at the first match of the 17th Southeast Asian Junior Men’s Volley Ball Championship at Thuwana National Stadium in Rangoon. Burma won the match (20-25, 25-11, 25-16, 25-22). Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Players line up during a ceremony for the games. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The Burmese volleyball team holds a meeting during the matches. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Book explores Burmese life

A child soldier in an ethnic armed group. Photographer and writer Thierry Falise will launch his new book, Burmese Shadows, at the Thailand Foreign Correspondents Club on Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. The pictures in the book are based on his reporting on Burma over the past decades. Photo: Thierry Falise

Book explores Burmese life

A small boy struggles with a water pump. Falise, based in Bangkok, is an expert on Burmese ethnic armies and refugee issues. Photo: Thierry Falise

Book explores Burmese life

Two boys with plastic guns and a passing Buddhist novice monk. The book documents Burma's struggles from massive demonstrations in Rangoon to everyday scenes. Photo: Thierry Falise


The American scholar and author Dr. Francis Fukuyama at Rangoon International Airport on Wednesday, August 22, 2012. He is in Burma to speak on economics and poverty alleviation at business workshops in Rangoon and Naypyitaw. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Cyn-Young Park, center, the assistant chief economist of the Economics and Research Department of the Asian Development Bank, speaks at a press conference about the bank's new report, “Myanmar in Transition: Opportunities and Challenges” in Rangoon on Tuesday August 21, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Putu Kamayana, the head of the Asian Development Bank's Extended Mission in Burma, discusses the bank's report, “Myanmar in Transition: Opportunities and Challenges” at a press conference in Rangoon on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Vehicles on a flooded section of the Rangoon – Pathein express road in Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on Monday, August 20, 2012. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

An ambulance on the Rangoon – Pathein express road in Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on Monday, August 20. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

A worker repairs a section of the Rangoon-Bassein express road that was damaged by the flooding on Monday, August 20, 2012. Authorities have  announced that vehicles are not allowed on the road from 8 p.m. to  5 a.m., because the roads were damaged by the flood. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

A driver on the Rangoon-Bassein Road that has been damaged by flood waters. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

A flooded house the Rangoon-Bassein Road in Kangyidaung Township on Monday, August 20, 2012. Flooding began about one week ago and is slowing subsiding. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

A passenger  bus stops overnight on the Rangoon-Bassein express road in compliance with the traffic curfew overnight. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

A flooded  house on Rangoon-Bassein Road in Kangyidaung Township on Monday, August 20, 2012. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

Arakanese [Rakhine] wear T-shirts with messages such as “UN / INGOs…Stop discriminating against Arakanese” and “Stop creating conflicts in Arakan” at a demonstration against alleged UN and INGO discrimination in Rakhine State. The protestors marched along Shinsawpu Road in Rangoon from 11:30 a..m to noon on Monday.  Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Hidetoshi Nakata, right, a former national player for the Japanese football team, and Myanmar Football Federation President Zaw Zaw, left, at the Yangon United playground on Monday, August 20, 2012. Nakata conducted classes for the Myanmar national U-19 Youth team. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


Nakata talks with the Myanmar National U-19 Youth team. He said it was important for players to take the game seriously and to improve their technique. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Soccer superstar Nakata meets with the Myanmar Woman U-19 Youth team on Monday, August 20, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The Myanmar National U-19 Youth team's German coach and assistant coach Nyi Nyi Lat teach football techniques and skills. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


Former Japanese football superstar Hidetoshi Nakata and Myanmar Football Federation president Zaw Zaw on Monday, August 20, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The second gathering of former political prisoners at a ceremony to re-elect their working committee members was held at Thiri Hall in Rangoon on Sunday, August 19, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Buddhist monks at the second gathering of former political prisoners at a ceremony to re-elect their working committee members at Thiri Hall in Rangoon on Sunday, August 19, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Flooding inundates a main road in Shwekyin in Pegu [Bago] Region. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

A Buddhist monastery on the main road in Shwekyin, Pegu [Bago] Region, is flooded on August 16. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

Residents put up a bamboo bridge to negotiate the flood waters in Shwekyin in Pegu [Bago] Region.

A notice board requesting vehicles to take a service road because of flooding on August 16 in Shwekyin in Pegu [Bago] Region. Photo: Mizzima

Thein Soe, the chairman of the Constitutional Tribunal, speaks at a press conference held at the tribunal’s office in Naypyitaw on Monday, August 20. Photo: Myanmar Journalists Association

Thein Soe, the chairman of the Constitutional Tribunal, speaks at a press conference held at the tribunal’s office in Naypyitaw on Monday, August 20. Photo: Myanmar Journalists Association

The Darka Police Station in Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, is flooded on August 17. About 60 houses in Darka Village were flooded. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima

Phayarni village in Irrawaddy Region, on August 17. Forty villages including Nwenichaung, Oatshit, Lintakya, Alelkyun, Hlaygyipyak, Kyakthunkwin, Thaminkon, Sitpingyi, Kanyinpin, Magyikon, Yaylelgyi, Thabyaykyun and Takupon villages have been inundated since August 8.

Phayarni village in Thapaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on August 17. Some residents are taking refuge in Buddhist monasteries on high areas, and in tents on railway embankments and roadsides.

The Tayokekon village Buddhist Monastery in Kyaunggon Township, Irrawaddy Region, on August 17. Photo: Myo Thant / Mizzima

The telecommunication office in Darka in Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on August 17. Photo: Myo Thant / Mizzima

A notice board says no vehicles are allowed to pass because a section of the Pathein-Darka Road in Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, is flooded. Photo: Min Min/ Mizzima

A Buddhist monastery near Phayarni Village in Thapaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, which was hit by widespread flooding last week. Only the stupa remains above water. Residents are taking refuge at monasteries on high ground, and in temporary tents on railway embankments and roadsides. Photo: Myo Thant / Mizzima

Phayarni Village in Thapaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, has experienced widespread flooding from massive monsoon rains. Photo: Myo Thant / Mizzima

A few structures on high ground have escaped flooding. Residents have sought shelter in monasteries and along railroad tracks and roads. Photo: Myo Thant / Mizzima

Phayarni village in  Thapaung Township, Irrawaddy Region, on August 17.

A delegation of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, in Burma to discuss investment opportunities, at a press conference in Bahan Township, Rangoon, on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

US Ambassador to Burma Derek Mitchell talks about US investment opportunities at a press conference in Bahan Township, Rangoon, on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

US Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman

US businessman Mr. Siman Kahan

US businessman Mr. Tim Love

Because of the flooding, residents put sandbags on the Rangoon-Pathein Road to try to stop the flow of water. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima

The Darka River, a tributary of the Ngawun River, has overrun its banks. This photograph on August 13 shows a dike in Kangyidaung Township in Irrawaddy Region that has been overrun. Thousand acres of farmlands have been inundated in Kangyidaung and Kyaunggon townships. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima

A home in  Kangyidaung Township, Irrawaddy Region. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima

Twenty-seven camps for displaced residents have been opened in Kyaunggon Township. Officials say foodm medicine and other aid is needed. Photo: Min Min / Mizzima


Heavy rains flood Kyaunggon Township

Flood waters inundated the Myoma Market in Kyaunggon Township, Irrawaddy Region, on August 12 after the Darka River overflowed its banks. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

Residents travel to Myoma Market in Kyaunggon Township, Irrawaddy Region, by boat on August 12, 2012. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

Flood victims seek shelter at a camp opened at the Kyaunggon Township indoor stadium. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima
 
Two Buddhist novices carry food during their alms rounds in Kyaunggon Township on August 12. Heavy rains forced the Darka River over its banks. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

Residents chose between boats or waist-deep water to negotiate the flood waters. Photo: Theingi Tun / Mizzima

Khin Maung Lay, the chairman of the organizing committee of the Myanmar Journalists Association, delivers the opening speech at the association’s National Congress at the Yuzana Garden Hotel in Dagon Township, Rangoon, on Saturday, August 11, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Ko Ko, the general secretary of the organizing committee of Myanmar Journalists Association, speaks at the association’s National Congress at the Yuzana Garden Hotel in Dagon Township, Rangoon, on Saturday, August 11, 2012 Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Soe Thein, the president of the organizing committee of the Myanmar Journalists Association, speaks at the association’s National Congress at the Yuzana Garden Hotel in Dagon Township, Rangoon, on Saturday, August 11, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Ko Ni of the Myanmar Journalists Association speaks at the group's National Congress on Saturday, August 11, 2012 in Dagon Township. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Ballot boxes for electing executive members of the Myanmar Journalists Association at the group's National Congress in Dagon Township on Saturday, August 11, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Members of Myanmar Journalists Association cast their votes to elect executive members of the association on Saturday, August 11, 2012, in Dagon Township. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Officials of the election committee of the Myanmar Journalists Association on Saturday, August 11, 2012, in Dagon Township. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

88-Generation leader writes prison novel

A poster announcing the publication of the novel Cloud Forms in the Sky by Mya Aye, one of the leaders of the 88-Generation students’ group. The poster said Mya Aye developed the idea for the novel while in Insein Prison, drafted it in Loi Kaw Prison and finished it in Taunggyi Prison. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Crowds look at books at the book fair in Rangoon. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Politician Thu Way, fourth from the left, and Pyone Cho, a leader of the 88-Generation students' group, attend the book fair for Mya Aye's debut novel, Cloud Forms in the Sky. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Writer Pe Myint speaks at Mya Aye's book fair held at Dagon Center (II) in Myaynigon Township in Rangoon on Saturday, August 3, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Journalist Zaw Thet Htwe speaks at the book party for Mya Aye. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Film director Kyi Phyu Shin, right, who will turn Mya Aye’s novel into a video film, speaks at the book fair. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Mya Aye, one of the leaders of the 88-Generation students group, speaks at the book fair. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Mya Aye, one of the leaders of the 88-Generation students’ group, signs a copy of his new book, Cloud Forms in the Sky, in Rangoon. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

United Nations human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana arrives for his departure at Yangon international airport on Saturday, August 4, 2012, after a fact-finding mission to Burma. Photo: Hein Htet

UN Human Rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana talks to journalists during a press conference before he departs from Yangon international airport on Saturday, August 4, 2012. He called for a credible investigation by the Burmese government into the sectarian violence in Rakhine State. Photo: Hein Htet

United Nations human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana answers journalists questions on Saturday, August 4, 2012, before departing Rangoon after a six-day fact-finding mission to the country. Photo: Hein Htet


Journalists wearing T-shirts displaying the campaign slogan “Stop Killing Press” during a rally in Rangoon on Saturday, August 4, 2012. The rally went off without incident. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A journalist wears a “Stop Killing Press” T-shirt. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Journalists walk in a rally in Rangoon on Saturday,  August 4, 2012. The free speech campaign started after two local newspapers were suspended. Journalists are collecting signatures for a letter to be sent to Burmese President Thein Sein and Parliament calling for press freedom in Burma. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

88 Generation Student leader Min Ko Naing talks to journalists. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


Zin Yaw Maung Maung of Envoy newspaper and Min Ko Naing, an 88 Generation Student leader, at the free press demonstration in Rangoon on Saturday, August 4, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A truck hit an overhead electricity cable post and turned over on Bogyoke Street in downtown Rangoon on Saturday, August 04, 2012. The vehicle carried purified water bottles. No causalities were reported. Photo: Mizzima


Protesters hold banners bearing the message “We support our President’s statement on Rohingya” as they sing the Burmese national anthem and shout anti-Rohingya slogans in front of UNHCR office in Rangoon on Friday, August 3, 2012. The Rohingya issue and sectarian unrest during the past weeks in Rakhine State has caused emotions to flare over the stateless Rohingyas, who are one of the world's most persecuted groups, according to the UN. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A sign held by Burmese protesters supporting Burmese President Thein Sein's ant-Rohingya position, says: “We support our President’s statement on Rohingya.” A demonstration was held on Friday, August 3, 2012, in front of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees in Rangoon. The UN human rights envoy to Burma just completed a tour of Rakhine State, where Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhist clashed in violent attacks claiming 77 lives, according to government figures. The UN and human rights groups have called for an independent, credible investigation into the violence and the plight of the Rohingyas. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A protester speaks to the media during an anti-Rohingya demonstration in front of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Rangoon on Friday, August 3, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

An anti-Rohingya protester speaks to the media in Rangoon. The protesters said that they supported the position of Burmese President Thein Sein, who said Rohingyas were not welcome in Burma. He asked the UNHCR to take care of the Royingya in refugee camps or have them sent to third countries. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A security force officer talks with protesters in front of the UNHCR office in Rangoon during an anti-Rohingya protest. UN special rights envoy Tomas Quintana visited Rakhine State in western Burma this week on a fact-finding mission, after the UN and human rights groups expressed concern over the plight of Rohingya Muslims during more than six weeks of unrest and tension in the state. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


United Nations human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana meets with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her  home in Rangoon on Thursday, August 2, 2012. The UN special rapporteur on Burma arrived on Sunday. He has visited Rakhine State and is scheduled to visit Kachin State on Friday. Photo: NLD

United Nations human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana and Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Rangoon on Thursday, August 2, 2012. Photo: NLD

People flocked to Shwedagon Pagoda in central Rangoon on Thursday, August 2, 2012, on Full Moon Day, a Buddhist holy day, according to the Burmese lunar calendar. According to tradition, Buddha was born during a full moon, renounced his layman's life, was enlightened, delivered his first talk, and died, all on full moon days. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

People tour Shwedagon Pagoda on Full Moon Day. The pagoda is renown for its display of gold and jewels embedded in the massive pagoda's spire. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Shwedagon Pagoda in central Rangoon is one of the most popular holy sites in Burma. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizima


Karin Finkelston, left, International Finance Corporation vice president for Asia Pacific, Pamela Cox, center, a World Bank East Asia and Pacific vice president, and Carl Hanlon, right, World Bank director of communications, at a press conference in Rangoon on Wednesday, August 1, 2012. The World Bank pledged $85 million in development grants to Burma and assistance in clearing its arrears as part of its efforts to support political reforms. Photo: AFP

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, left, speaks to Burmese Muslim leader Muhammed Yunus during a meeting in Ankara on Monday, July 30, 2012.  Muslim governments and groups are expressing support for Rohingya Muslims in Burma's Rakhine State, where sectarian unrest has claimed up to 77 lives in clashes involving Muslims and Buddhist. Photo: AFP

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