Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Burmese security forces fire into Rakhine mob

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:08 Mizzima News    

One Rakhine man was shot dead and two were wounded by Burmese security forces on Tuesday as several thousand Rakhine natives moved toward a Muslim village, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Tuesday.

The shooting at Kyauknimaw village in Ramree Township came as the UN and Asean issued warnings that Burma’s sectarian violence poses grave dangers for Burma’s democratic reforms and the wider region.

This picture taken on October 13, 2012, shows a policeman sitting behind a barbed wire fence blocking the entrance into the Aung Mingalar quarter, which has turned into a ghetto after violence wracked the city of Sittwe, the capital of Burma's western Rakhine State. Photo: AFP

At least 84 people have died, 129 others have been wounded and 28,000 are homeless following a week of renewed violence between Muslim Rohingyas and Rakhines, according to government figures.

Some 4,600 houses have also been burned in the latest violence. In the earlier clashes, which started in June, at least 80 people died and 75,000 mostly Rohingyas were displaced and are now sheltered in refugee camps.

The UN said Tuesday that the area's refugee camps are now under great strain, and humanitarian workers are themselves being threatened by local agitators. Aid workers are prevented from reaching many areas, it said.

Local residents said about 6,000 to 10,000 Rakhines on Tuesday attempted to force out Muslim occupants in Kyauknimaw village, causing security police to open fire, RFA said.

An unconfirmed report said that local authorities have said they would move the Muslims out from the village within a week, RFA reported.

Speaking at a lecture series organized by Malaysia's Global Movement of Moderates Foundation in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said he was gravely concerned over the clashes in Rakhine State.

“It's not an issue of Muslims and Buddhists, that's only part of it,” he said. “It's an issue of constitutional structure, it's an issue of democracy, it is an issue of human rights, it's an issue of national reconciliation, and that issue can spill out very quick and very fast.”

“The situation is deteriorating and there is now a risk of a radicalization of the Rohingya. This would not be good for anyone,” he said. “This would have wider strategic and security implications for the region.”
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Burmese officials struggle for control in Rakhine State

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:19 Mizzima News

Burmese officials on Tuesday said thousands of security officers are trying to restore order in western Rakhine State, in the midst of escalating clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.

A section of Rakhine State in western Burma where widespread clashes have occurred.

A spokesman for Rakhine State, Win Myaing, told the Voice of America (VOA) Burmese Service the situation was under control, but local activists and aid groups on Tuesday reported renewed clashes. Details from the remote area are hard to confirm.

Humanitarian and human rights groups this week have issued dire warnings, calling for Burmese officials to take effective actions to end the violence, which first broke out in June.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said the government response was slow and inadequate, said VOA.

“It's very very worrisome that the government cannot get this situation under control,” he said. “And, part of it I think is that they don't yet have the political commitment to address the root causes of these problems which is the discriminatory policy against the Rohingya that keeps them in such a helpless situation but also the growing movement towards de facto segregation with Rohingya increasingly confined to Internally Displaced Persons camps.”

UN officials this week cited government figures showing the Rohingya suffered the brunt of attacks from the past week of fighting.

More than 27,000 Muslims were pushed out of their homes and some 4,000 homes burned. Entire Muslim villages were burned to the ground.

Many Rohingya fled the coast of Rakhine State by boat and made their way to refugee camps in the capital, Sittwe.

Maeve Murphy, the head of the U.N. refugee agency's office in Sittwe, was quoted by VOA as saying the local aid agencies do not have enough supplies and are struggling to meet the refugees needs.

“Obviously, they're very terrified,” she said. “It is very difficult, considering the number of incidents that are taking place.”

Murphy said aid groups, which themselves have received threats from extremist groups, are working with the government to distribute food and temporary shelters.

Some Rohingya have tried to flee to Bangladesh for safety, but the border is closed, despite numerous appeals from the UNHCR and Muslim governments to authorities in Dhaka.

Robertson said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should put more pressure Bangladesh on the issue.

“The actions by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government towards the Rohingya are nothing short of shameful," said Robertson. “The OIC should be calling out its member Bangladesh for failing to provide basic protections for these fleeing Muslim Rohingya. You know, Bangladesh is essentially defying the international community and getting away with it.”

The secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Tuesday said the instability, if not checked, could spread beyond Burma. In a speech in Kuala Lumpur, Surin Pitsuwan said Asean and other nations should press harder for political reconciliation in Burma.

The Rohingya in Burma are considered illegal migrants by most Burmese, who refer to them as Bengalis even though many have lived in Burma for generations.
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Burma tells Asean Rakhine State unrest is ‘internal matter’

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:39 Mizzima News

Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan told the media on Tuesday that he tried to create a consensus within the regional grouping to address the unrest in Burma’s Rakhine State but the effort failed, after Burma declined to give its consent.

Surin Pitsuwan in Kuala Lumpur Photo: gmomf.org

In Kuala Lampur, Surin said Asean’s lack of consensus to address the issue was not a failure, because there were member states that agreed with his call for a meeting.

“I have written to the foreign ministers of Asean, urging them to meet and address the Rohingya issue and the Asean chair, headed by the Cambodian foreign minister, has agreed with me and issued a letter calling for a meeting on the matter, but it was not a consensus,” he said, in an article posted on the Bernama website on Tuesday. “Myanmar believes that it’s an internal matter.”

Surin said: “But as I said, your internal matter could be ours, the next day, if you are not careful.

“Certainly [the effort] is not a total failure because I am here to articulate…there are member states that agree with me, but we need a consensus,” he told the media after delivering a lecture on Tuesday.
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Calls for int’l observers in Rakhine State increase

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:50 Mizzima News

Rights activists have called for international monitors to safeguard the lives of thousands of Muslim Rohingya in Burma’s western Rakhine State following this week’s deadly sectarian violence.

“We are begging international observers to come and witness what is actually happening – to stop the violence and attacks on innocent civilians,” Mohammad Nawsim, secretary of the Rohingya Human Rights Association based in Bangkok, told IRIN, the UN humanitarian news service.

His call comes during a week of serious clashes erupted between Muslim Rohingya and ethnic (mainly Buddhist) Rakhine across eight Rakhine townships (Kyaukpyu, Kyauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk-U, Myebon, Pauktaw, Ramree and Rathedaung) on Oct. 21.

The latest displacements bring the number of refugees now in camps in Rakhine State to more than 100,000, putting a further strain on ongoing assistance by the government, the UN, and its partners on the ground, said IRIN.

It said timely action and unhindered access are critical for life-saving assistance to reach those in need, according to the UN, which said it is having difficulty accessing all those in need.

“As a clear benchmark, there should be unfettered 'round the clock' international access,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), including the presence of a UN human rights monitoring office in the country. “This is a top-level critical issue that needs to be addressed.”

On Oct. 27, Human Rights Watch released satellite imagery it had received showing extensive destruction of homes and other property in a predominantly Rohingya area of the coastal town of Kyauk Pyu - one of several areas of new violence and displacement and where a major pipeline carrying Burmese gas to China begins.

“There has been no serious drive to prosecute those who have been instigating this hatred and violence,” said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, an advocacy organization for the Rohingya.

The government-owned New Light of Myanmar said this week the region “is under control.” According to the authorities, there are now 5,000 police officers deployed, as well as 1,000 border security forces. Additionally, the Burmese army reportedly has 10,000 troops in the region.

Lewa noted, however, that even during the ongoing state of emergency, monks were allowed to demonstrate last week, basically promoting hatred by demanding the expulsion of Muslims, said IRIN.

"People in power, people in authority need to be taking a strong stance to not tolerate this any more," Lewa said.

Earlier, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tom├ís Ojea Quintana, said the international community should ensure that “human rights considerations remain at the forefront of its engagement with Myanmar during this period of transition.”
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Overcrowded boat capsizes with Burmese passengers

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:59 Mizzima News

A motorboat with 137 people believed to be from Burma on board has capsized in the Bay of Bengal near Shah Porir Island in Teknaf close to Bangladesh's southeastern border with Burma, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

Bangladeshi Border Guard personnel keep watch at a wharf in Taknaf in June 2012, following violent clashes in neighbouring Burma. Bangladeshi border guards have been turning back boats transporting Rohingya Muslims fleeing the most recent violence. Photo: AFP

Authorities said six people were able to swim to shore sometime on Sunday, leaving an unknown number of people missing, officials said on Tuesday. Reports from the area were sketchy.

Lieutenant Colonel Zahid Hasan, the commanding officer of the 42nd Battalion of the Border Guard of Bangladesh, told Xinhua said the boat capsized “with 137 passengers who were going to Malaysia illegally in quest for a better life.”

Hasan said, "So far we've information about the sunken boat's six passengers who managed to swim ashore after it capsized about 50 nautical miles southwest of Shah Porir Island in Teknaf under Bangladesh's Cox's Bazaar district.

He said the boat sank in 100 to 120 feet of water.

International governments have asked Bangladesh to open its border to Muslim Rohingya who have tried to flee from sectarian violence which has wracked Rakhine State in Burma this week.

Bangladesh authorities have refused and turn back fleeing refugees.
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Kachin woman still missing after one year

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 13:25 Mizzima News

More than one year on, Sumlut Roi Ja, an ethnic Kachin woman whose husband said she was abducted by the Burmese Army, is still missing, Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) noted in a press statement on Tuesday.

Sumlut Roi Ja, who has been missing for one year, was last seen in the custody of Burmese army soldiers. Photo: Mizzima

Sumlut Roi Ja, 28, who was arrested by Burmese Army soldiers on October 28, 2011, was abducted while working on a farm near her village, Hkai Bang, located close to the Chinese border, said family members.

Her husband and father-in-law were also arrested and were forced at gunpoint to carry corn to a military camp, Battalion 321, at Mubum, before escaping.

Sumlut Roi Ja was not able to escape. After her arrest, she was seen at a military camp, according to several witnesses. There are grave concerns that Sumlut Roi Ja has been raped and killed, BCUK said.

Sumlut Roi Ja’s husband, Dau Lum, took the case all the way to the Supreme Court in Naypyitaw, but the case was dismissed. The army denied involvement in her disappearance.

Targeting innocent civilians during conflicts and forced disappearances are war crimes.

The Burmese Army soldiers who are responsible for Sumlut Roi Ja’s disappearance must be held accountable, said BCUK.

“There should be justice and accountability for soldiers and their commanders who committed such crimes.” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK.

Human rights groups have documented cases of rape by soldiers in the Burmese army. No soldiers have ever been prosecuted for such crimes.

“While the international community is praising President Thein Sein for his skin deep reforms, his soldiers keep raping and killing innocent ethnic civilians. The international community must not keep ignoring human rights abuses just because they happen in ethnic states instead of Rangoon,” said a BCUK spokesperson.
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Myanmar Air expands its fleet

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 13:41 Mizzima News

Myanmar Airways International (MAI) has received a leased Airbus A320-200 to expand its fleet of aircraft, in a lease arrangement with International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc.

It is the first commercial jet aircraft of its type to be provided on an operating lease to an airline in Burma by a global aircraft leasing company, according to reports.

A MAI A320 aircraft at Rangoon Int'l Airport in 2010. Photo: MAI

“ILFC believes MAI will succeed on their plan to offer the region a preferred premium carrier. The A320 delivered to MAI will modernize and expand MAI's current A320 fleet and offer increased takeoff weight, greater range and improved fuel economy,” said ILFC's Head of Asia Pacific, David Nixon, in a statement.

Si Thu, the managing director and chief executive officer of Myanmar Airways International, said, “ILFC is the right partner for MAI, and the timing of this first ILFC A320 aircraft delivery to our airline will help us expand our fleet and extend our routes in this new era in Myanmar.”

In 2012, MAI will initiate flights to Cambodia and Hong Kong. MAI operates six Airbus A320s, and it is currently in discussion with airframe manufacturers to modernize its fleet with either A320NEOs or 737MAX.

The A320 single-aisle jetliner used in a full range of services from very short-haul airline routes to intercontinental segments. The aircraft is best known as the first airliner to introduce a fly-by-wire flight control system.

Launched in 1993, MAI is the first joint venture airline between the government and the private sector in Myanmar (20 per cent owned by the government through Myanmar Airways and 80 per cent by Kanbawza Group).

MAI is the international airline of Burma with regular flights between Rangoon, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Gaya and Guangzhou.
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Dunford to step down at TBBC

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Wednesday, 31 October 2012 14:14 Mizzima News

Jack Dunford, the long-time executive director of the Thailand-Burma Border Consortium, is stepping down effective next year.

Sally Thompson and Jack Dunford Photo: TBBC

Sally Thompson has been named the new executive director, effective Jan. 1 2013.

The announcement was made on Oct. 17 by Alistair Gee, the chairperson of the TBBC board.

“We all congratulate Sally on her appointment and wish Jack well as he lets go of the reigns after 28 years in the saddle, and moves on to other service and challenges,” said an announcement posted on the TBBC website.

“Jack Dunford’s contributions to promoting and protecting the rights of refugees from Burma is unparalleled and TBB’s debt of gratitude for his decades of service is immense,” said the statement.

Dunford has worked for TBBC since its early days in 1984, and he has been a driving force in creating a network of refugees camps along the Thai-Burma border that is supported by a wide range of international governments and private organizations, in cooperation with the Thai government.

The TBBC has played an integral role in fundraising and advocacy of the needs of Burmese refugees over the decades, working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Recently, there have been consultations with the Thai and Burmese governments about the eventual return of refugees to their native communities, although such plans are in the preliminary stages.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Burma ready to push rice production higher

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012 13:12 Mizzima News

Burma is looking at turning its rice-growing sector into a major source of income over the next five years, with plans to double rice production, according to officials.

Burmese farmers collect paddy seedlings from flooded fields to replant in Irrawaddy Division outside of Rangoon. Photo: AFP

For decades, prior to the suffocating grip of a series of coups and military regimes, Burma was the world’s No. 1 rice importer.

Currently, Burmese rice is about US$ 10 to $20 per ton cheaper than a comparable quality from Vietnam, India and Pakistan, Jac Luyendijk, chief executive officer at SAT Swiss Agri Trading AG, which handles about $300 million worth of rice a year, said in a Bloomberg news agency story on Monday.

Overseas sales may climb to as much as 3 million metric tons by 2017 from 1.5 million tons in the year ending March 2013 as yields and infrastructure improve, Ye Min Aung, secretary-general of the Myanmar Rice Federation, according to Bloomberg news.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has predicted that Burma will increase rice production by 25 per cent to 750,000 tons for this year.

Burma’s production push is expected to lead to oversupply on the world market, acting to hold prices steady or lower.

Robert Zeigler, the secretary-general of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, was quoted as saying: “We see Myanmar as an extremely important source for rice production - there’s no question about it.”
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Burma’s gov’t must honour protection of human rights

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012 13:03 Mizzima News

The sectarian violence in Burma’s Rakhine State has brought much-deserved international attention to the long-neglected situation of Burma’s Rohingya community, Refugees International said in a report released on Tuesday.

The fact that it is taking place during a period of dramatic change in the country’s governmental structure offers a chance to finally put an end to discrimination against the Rohingya and restore their citizenship, it said.

After the June violence, only displaced people were entitled to receive the limited humanitarian assistance offered by the international community, said the report, which called for the government to immediately lift any restrictions on the provision of aid to such people.

In northern Rakhine State, where 800,000 Rohingya have been subjected to extreme restrictions on their human rights for decades (such as freedom of movement, marriage, and worship), the Border Affairs Ministry shut down medical assistance and food programs in June and refused to issue travel authorizations to humanitarian agencies, said the report.

Already unable to work or travel freely, the Rohingya had become dependent on these agencies for basic necessities, it said. The four months without assistance coincided with the seasonal gap between harvests, and this has had serious effects on the health, nutrition, and food security of these communities, it said.

The report said displaced Rakhine and Rohingya both expressed great fears of the other community. While a majority of the Rakhine said they would never be able to live with the Rohingya again, most Rohingya said they wished to return to their home quarters and believed that, if security was re-established, the communities could soon live together again, said the report.

Rohingya whom RI spoke with maintained that if they were attacked after leaving their own area, the security forces would not assist them, the report said.

Some Kaman Muslims, who are Burmese citizens living in Aung Mingalar, told RI that they are also no longer able to move freely.

The report said that as yet, the government has not put forth plans to rebuild Rohingya houses burned down during the violence or compensate them for their land if they are not permitted to return. Most Rohingya businesses in the town have been closed down, Rohingya students have had to leave schools and universities they used to attend, and Rohingya cannot easily access healthcare in the state’s main hospital.

Conversely, the Rakhine community does not have limitations on its freedom of movement, their businesses are open, students have returned to school, and the hospital remains accessible to them, said the report.

It is also vital that the central government welcome the presence of humanitarian actors, publicly condemn violence and impunity in Rakhine State, protect equal access to justice, and demand that state and local authorities be held accountable if they fail in their responsibilities to protect all the residents of the state, said the report.

The rule of law in Rakhine State must be restored, the segregation of communities in Sittwe must come to an end, and the Rohingya should be recognized as citizens of Burma, said Refugees International.

For the long-term, Burma’s government must commit to the robust economic, social, and political development of Rakhine State. But that will not be enough, it said.

While a functioning economy, political representation, and land ownership will go a long way toward reconciliation, hostilities will not end until Burma’s government commits to promoting and protecting the human rights of both communities, said the humanitarian group.

For a full copy of the report, go to http://www.refintl.org/policy/field-report/rohingya-burma-spotlight-current-crisis-offers-opportunity-progress
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As death toll rises, UN calls on Bangladesh to open border

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:34 Mizzima News    

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on Bangladesh to open its borders to Rohingyas fleeing sectarian violence in Burma.

This picture taken on Oct. 12, 2012, shows a Muslim Rohingya man standing next to the ruins of his burned house on the edge of the Aung Mingalar quarter, which has been turned into a ghetto since violence wracked the city of Sittwe, the capital of Burma's western Rakhine state. Photo: AFP

On Monday, Agency France Presse reported that clashes have left at least 88 people dead this month, according to authorities, who said up to 28,000 people have been displaced after waves of arson destroyed their homes.

Hundreds of homes were burned down over the weekend, said reports.

Bangladesh should not forcibly return refugees originating from Rakhine State to Burma, Pia Paguio, a senior protection officer and officer-in-charge of UNHCR in Dhaka, told IRIN, the UN humanitarian news agency, on Monday.

Bangladesh has repeatedly said it will not accept any Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic violence in western Rakhine State. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled persecution in Burma over the past three decades, the vast majority to Bangladesh in the 1990s.

Up to 84 people were killed, and more than 4,600 houses and several religious buildings destroyed in the unrest, according to reports from the area.

Tensions had increased after monks, and women’s and youth groups organized anti-Rohingya and anti-Organization of Islamic Cooperation demonstrations in Sittwe, Mandalay and Yangon, the UN said.

The latest displacement comes on top of the 75,000, mostly Rohingya Muslims, who were displaced after communal violence erupted in June.

At least 78 people were killed and close to 5,000 homes and buildings were destroyed in that incident.

Most of the recently displaced are currently in nine overcrowded camps in Sittwe, separated from the rest of the community due to security concerns.

There are more than 200,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh today, including more than 30,000 documented refugees living in two government-run camps (Kutupalong and Nayapara) within 2km of the Burmese border, according to UNHCR.

UNHCR has not been permitted to register newly arriving Rohingya since mid-1992. Most Rohingya are living in villages and towns in the Cox’s Bazar area and receive little to no assistance as the agency is only allowed to assist those who are documented.

UNHCR does not have access to the 193 kilometres Burma-Bangladesh border to verify the situation of persons arriving from Rakhine State. Moreover, Bangladesh's closed border policy remains in effect.

Despite repeated advocacy efforts by UNHCR, civil society and the diplomatic community, Dhaka, fearing a major influx, closed its borders to persons fleeing communal violence Burma in June.

Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.

“UNHCR reiterates its readiness to provide protection and assistance to the governments and the people of Bangladesh and Myanmar in addressing this evolving humanitarian situation,” said a UN spokesperson.
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Rakhine State ‘humanitarian community’ target of threats: UN

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:49 Mizzima News

Although the figures are likely to increase, as of  Sunday 28,000 people have been displaced and up to 86 people killed, according to the latest reports from Rakhine State.

Map of conflict areas in Rakhine State.

More than 4,600 houses and several religious buildings have been destroyed in the unrest, said a report released on Sunday by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The report said sectarian tensions in the area increased after monks, women groups and youth groups organized anti-Rohingya and anti-Organization of Islamic Council demonstrations in Sittwe, Mandalay and Rangoon.

Expressions of anti-Muslim sentiments have also been recorded in other regions, including Kayin, Mon states and Mandalay.

The reported noted that since the start of the crisis, President Thein Sein said that unless the situation is under control, it “could deteriorate further and could extend beyond Rakhine State” and could “damage stability, democratization process and national development of our country in transition period.”

In an announcement on Oct. 25, the president highlighted that “the resurging conflict can impact the dignity and interest of the state and the citizen. …There are individuals and organizations that are behind the resurgence of the violence, and effective action will be taken against those in accordance with the existing laws.”

The report said strong anti-UN and NGO feeling has been fueled by some elements in Rakhine State. Several pamphlets have been distributed and threats have been articulated against the entire humanitarian community, it said.

In some cases, specific aid partners were told that relief operations have been and continue to be biased, said the report. As a result, some assessment teams have been denied access to locations where people are displaced or relief supplies, including that of the government, have been refused.

Doctors without Borders’ efforts to engage with community leaders to open a clinic for HIV-positive patients in Sittwe was eventually postponed when a protest occurred the day before the opening in front of the clinic, said the report.

The government is leading relief efforts but aid partners are still facing difficulties in reaching vulnerable people to provide urgently needed assistance, it said.

For a copy of the full report, go to http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Full%20Report_1075.pdf
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Photo News - October 2012

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Gold miners at the Moehti Moemi gold mine in Yamethin Township stage a protest against the National Prosperity Public Company Limited in front of its office in Rangoon on Monday, Oct 29, 2012. The placards say “Please take legal action against forced labour of National Prosperity Public Company Limited” and “No one must be above the law.” Photo: Hein Htet

Employees of the Moehti Moemi gold mine in Yamethin Township at a protest against the National Prosperity Public Company Limited in front of its office in Rangoon on Monday, Oct 29, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet

A family flees a fire in Kyaukphyu Township, Arakan (Rakhine) State on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2012, as violence swept across the region pitting Muslim Rohingyas and Rakhine natives against each other. Photo: Thein Hlaing / Mizzima

A family flees a fire in Kyaukphyu Township, Arakan (Rakhine) State on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2012, as violence swept across the region pitting Muslim Rohingyas and Rakhine natives against each other. Photo: Thein Hlaing / Mizzima

Tile factory workers want higher wages

About 150 workers at the Aung ceramic tile factory in industrial zone No.4 in Shwepyitha Township, Rangoon, staged a labour rights protest at the Shwepyitha Labour Office on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, urging factory authorities to pay salaries in line with Asean standards and stop discrimination at the factory. Photos: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Workers at the Aung tile factory demonstrated for higher salaries on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2912.

Workers took their demonstration to the Shwepyitha Labour Office on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2912.

Workers at the Aung tile factory are asking for higher wages, fair labour practices and an end to discrimination.

Maung Tin Myint, an Arakanese man, staged a solo protest outside the US Embassy in Rangoon on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. He objected to the US Ambassador's use of the term “Rohingya” during a press conference. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

President Thein Sein speaks at his first press conference with domestic media at the President’s House in Naypyitaw on Sunday, October 21, 2012. The president answered more than 30 questions for more than two hours. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

Journalists  at the president's press conference. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

President Thein Sein and domestic journalists pose for photographs after his press conference in Naypyitaw on Sunday, October 21, 2012, More than 120 journalists attended the press conference. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

President Thein Sein and domestic journalists pose for photographs after his press conference in Naypyitaw on Sunday, October 21, 2012, More than 120 journalists attended the press conference. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

New military representatives to the Burmese Parliament are sworn in  during the 5th session Parliament in Naypyitaw on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo: Myat Kyaw Thu / Mizzima

Military representatives to the Burmese Parliament sign in on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo: Myat Kyaw Thu / Mizzima

National League for Democracy [NLD] chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD MPs arrive for the 5th regular session of the Parliament held in Naypyitaw on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo: Myat Kyaw Thu / Mizzima

NLD chairperson Suu Kyi signs in at the the 5th regular session of the Parliament in Naypyitaw on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. Photo: Myat Kyaw Thu / Mizzima

Suu Kyi and other lawmakers in Parliament. Photo: Myat Kyaw Thu / Mizzima

More than 200 members of the Myanmar Lawyers Network protested against the privatizations of national heritage sites on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Rangoon. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

The buildings to be privatized include the Rangoon East District Court building, West District Court building and Rangoon Region High Court building. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima






The demonstration attracted a wide range of members from the legal profession and their supporters.

Former political prisoners on Tuesday commemorated martyrs in a ceremony held to pay tribute to a former leader of the Students Union (High School level), Thet Win Aung, who died in Mandalay Prison on Oct. 16, 2006. October 16 has been temporarily established as Political Prisoners’ Day. Former political prisoners attended the ceremony. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Members of Student Unions (Basic Education level) on Tuesday sing at a ceremony in Rangoon to pay tribute to a former leader of the Student Union (High School level), Thet Win Aung, who died in Mandalay Prison on Oct. 16, 2006, which has been temporarily set as Political Prisoners’ Day. 88-generation student leaders, members of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions and former political prisoners attended the ceremony. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Supporters on Monday march in protest to the opening of an office of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Rangoon. Demonstrations were also held in Mandalay and other cities. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

More than 2,000 Buddhist monks and supporters gathered on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, in Rangoon to protest a plan to open an Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) office in Burma. Following widespread protests, the President's Office has announced that Burma will not allow the OIC to open a permanent office in Burma. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Lanterns at the Junction Center in Rangoon to commemorate the Thadingyut Lighting Festival on October 13, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Decorations to commemorate the Thadingyut Lighting Festival on October 13, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet/ Mizzima

Decorations to commemorate the Thadingyut Lighting Festival at Shwe Pa Zun Cafe in Rangoon on October 13, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet/ Mizzima

National League for Democracy [NLD] chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at the Thongwa Township NLD office on Wednesday, October 11, 2012. She apologized for problems affecting NLD unity in the township. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

National League for Democracy [NLD] chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at the Thongwa Township NLD office on Wednesday, October 11, 2012. She apologized for problems affecting NLD unity in the township. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

National League for Democracy [NLD] chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi with residents in Thongwa Township on Thursday, October 11, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Arakanese [Rakhine] women protest against “illegal immigrants” in Sittwe in Arakan State on Wednesday, October 10.  Photo: Thein Hlaing / Mizzima

Police guards posted around a protest against “illegal immigrants” in Arakan State on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Photo:  Thein Hlaing / Mizzima


Buddhist monks march towards the US Embassy in Rangoon on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, to say prayers for the recently deceased US ambassador to Libya, who was killed in an attack by Islamist radicals. Before they marched to the embassy, they demonstrated in front of the Bangladesh Embassy to protest the recent destruction of Buddhist temples and homes in the Cox’s Bazar area. Photo: Ye Min / Mizzima

NLD chairman Aung San Suu Kyi holds a press conference to talk about her US trip at NLD headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


Workers at the Tawin Myanmar  Company Limited, a furniture factory, march for higher salaries near Hanthawaddy Junction in Sanchaung Township, Rangoon, on Oct.8, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Workers at the Tawin Myanmar  Company Limited, a furniture factory, march for higher salaries near Hanthawaddy Junction in Sanchaung Township, Rangoon, on Oct.8, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Workers in front of the Tawin Myanmar Company on U Wisara Road in Sanchaung Township, Rangoon, on Oct. 8, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Workers in front of the Tawin Myanmar Company on U Wisara Road in Sanchaung Township, Rangoon, on Oct. 8, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Aung San Suu Kyi is greeted by thousands of supporters as she arrives back in Burma at the Yangon International Airport late on Thursday, October 4, 2012, after a triumphant trip to the United States where she was also given a hero's welcome. Photo: Mizzima

Firemen arrive at a fire on Laydaungkan Road, Thingangyun Township, Rangoon, at 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.  The fire started at a petrol station. Five shops were gutted in the fire. The fire department estimated that the total value of the damage is 2,550,000 kyat (US$ 2,700). Twenty-five fire engines, six management vehicles and eight assistance vehicles responded to the fire. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

A fire at a filling station in Rangoon caused around $2,700 in damage on Wednesday. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Firemen clean up after a fire in Thingangyun Township was extinguished on Wednesday. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


The “Safety Net” charity group organizers stand at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of “Save the Irrawaddy” in Bahan Township, Rangoon, on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. The ceremony was attended by 88-generation student leader Pyone Cho, meteorologist Tun Lwin, writer Maung Sein Win, writer Ko Tar and conservationist and researcher Win Myo Thu.

88-Generation student leader Pyone Cho speaks at a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the “Save the Irrawaddy” campaign in Rangoon on October 3, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima

Writer Maung Sein Win speaks at the ceremony to mark the anniversary of the “Save the Irrawaddy” campaign in  Rangoon on October 3, 2012. Photo: Hein Htet / Mizzima


Burmese President Thein Sein arrives at Yangon International Airport on Monday, October 1, 2012, after a tour of the US where he spoke to the UN General Assembly. Photo: Bo Bo / Mizzima

Burmese President Thein Sein arrives at Yangon International Airport on Monday, October 1, 2012, after a tour of the US where he spoke to the UN General Assembly. Photo: Bo Bo / Mizzima

Mizzima’s new weekly journal

Burmese journalists reading the new Mizzima publication at the launch party in Rangoon.

88-Generation leader Ko Ko Gyi reading the journal.

Ko Ko Gyi speaks at the launch of the new journal.

Some of the Mizzima staff at the journal's launch party.

Win Tin, the co-founder of the National League for Democracy, reading Mizzima's new weekly journal.

NLD senior leader Win Tin speaks at the Mizzima launch.

Managing editor Sein Win describes the new Burmese language Mizzima Journal.

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