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Intimidation, Imprisonment and Repression: The Road to Military Victory in the 2010 Elections

In August of this year, the military regime announced they would hold elections on 7 November 2010. The possibility of elections, the first in 20 years, led to rigorous debate: would elections pave the way for genuine democratic reform or would it be business as usual in Burma. Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma) is not hopeful that there will be any improvement in the human rights situation for the people of Burma after the 2010 elections. The people of Burma have suffered under military rule for fifty years, facing numerous human rights violations on a daily basis throughout this period. Rather than advancing a democratic transition, the elections will cement military rule indefinitely.

Since January 2010, ND Burma, a cross ethnic 13 member human rights documentation organization, has focused its information gathering on election-related human rights violations. This report reveals that the regime, including its political party the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), committed an array of human rights violations against the people of Burma in a deliberate attempt to ensure their victory at the polls. From January to October 2010, ND-Burma documented 247 election-related human rights violations, including intimidation and coercion; the denial of the right to make an informed decision; prevention from freely participating in or standing for election; and the denial of the right to freedom of expression, assembly and movement. The research shows that at every step of the pre-election process, democratic benchmarks for free, fair and credible elections were not met.

Throughout the election process, there has been no improvement in the human rights situation in Burma. Instead, mounting evidence attests that violations are widespread and systematic. Human rights violations occur throughout the country and are perpetrated directly by the military regime, as well as by military backed organizations such Union Solidarity and Development Association/Party, People’s Power Organization (Swan Arr Shin) and Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation with the regime’s acquiescence. Those who abuse do so in a culture of impunity. There is no accountability for those who commit these crimes and no justice for the victims.

With the military regime ensuring its victory at the polls through the 2008 Constitution; its proxy political party the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP); and ongoing intimidation, imprisonment and repression, the future is set to be just as bleak, unless an inclusive tripartite dialogue for national reconciliation begins. For Burma to begin the process of genuine democratization, the prevailing culture of impunity must end.

Report on the Human Rights Situation in Burma (January – July 2010)

The Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma) includes 13 member organizations collectively using the truth of what communities in Burma have endured to challenge the regime’s impunity for human rights violations (HRVs) through advocacy and to prepare for a peaceful democratic transition.

ND-Burma monitors HRVs against a variety of vulnerable groups in Burma including political prisoners, ethnic minorities and women.

ND-Burma fieldworkers put themselves at great risk to gather the stories of people who have suffered HRVs.

Because this monitoring cannot take place openly, a comprehensive representation of all HRVs that happen in Burma is not possible. However, ND-Burma’s reports feature information from a wide range of areas of Burma and cover 16 categories of human rights violations.

This report provides up-to date information on HRVs and highlights pressing issues and trends within the country including election-related HRVs in the pre-election period.

ND-Burma will continue to monitor election-related violations through and following voting day on November 7 and will publish a comprehensive report on the subject. ….

Download Full Report below …

AAPP and Burmese Women’s Union (2004) Women political prisoners in Burma

For the women who continue to struggle against the dictatorship Women Political Prisoners in Burma is a joint report of the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).

In the history of Burmese politics – during the colonial and post-independence eras, under Ne Win’s Burmese Socialist Program Party, and now under the current military regime – there has been no political movement in which women were not involved. Although Burmese society holds that politics is the realm of men, many women bravely and valiantly challenge that tradition and take part in the political journey alongside men. This can clearly be seen throughout Burma’s history.

Women’s participation is a must for a society to be developed and peaceful. Not only women, but all human beings are responsible for encouraging women’s participation in politics. Understanding this responsibility is important, especially for the State leaders who govern the country.

The regime in Burma sponsored a general election in 1990. Of 2296 candidates, 84 women ran for election. Although the percentage of female candidates was low, we must honor the political energy of women striving to become political players under the rule of a regime that cruelly cracks down on all activists. 15 women won seats in parliament in the election. They all have boldly faced imprisonment and different kinds of oppression on their family lives. The regime has refused to transfer power to the people’s elected representatives. Now, four of those 15 women have passed away.

In the current political movement, there are many female activists working with their own consciousness and commitment, together with male activists, to struggle against the regime’s repression and to restore democracy in Burma.

Download: Women Political Prisoners in Burma (720kb)

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The Hidden Impact of Burma’s Arbitrary and Corrupt Taxation

Taxation Report

Taxation Report

Governments require resources to provide goods and services, such as health care, education, roads, bridges, electricity, water and sanitation.

The majority of government revenue is typically raised by; taxing people and their businesses, charging fees for services supplied by a government, aid funds and revenue from the country’s natural resources.  People all over the world are dissatisfied and complain about the taxes they are obliged to pay.

However, as this report shows, the taxation that occurs in Burma is of such an arbitrary, corrupt nature and negatively affects Burma’s economy and its people’s livelihood on such a level, that it is grossly and systematically impacting on their human rights.

The military has transformed taxation from a routine and legitimate function of government into extortion and a tool of repression.

This destructive taxation system, with its lack of basic public provisions, has crushed the people’s capacity to stand up against the state of Burma as their need to focus on survival prevails.

The Hidden Impact of Burma’s Arbitrary & Corrupt Taxation

taxation-report“The combination of land confiscation, forced labour and tax extortion makes life difficult for the villagers of Wae Won and Wae Taw. They face a scarcity of land, and are unable to tend to their $elds because they must work for the battalions. They cannot afford to pay taxes or fees to the authorities or army. When these problems became severe, many villagers abandon their native villages and &ee to other areas.”

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