Jani Alam, a 25-year-old, is walking slow and painfully. Having slightly swollen feet, this “exercise” is the only treatment available from 60-year-old traditional doctor, Guramia Saiyid.

Both Alam and Saiyad are stateless refugees from the Rohingya ethnic minority from Arakan state in western Burma. They now live in Malaysia.

Saiyad has lived in the country for 11 years, while Alam has arrived four months ago.

“In the past months, dozens of refugees arrived almost every day,” said 41-year-old Jamar Udin, a neighbor and also a Rohingya.

Early in January, the Sa-Ka-Kha-9 military division based near the ancient Falom village seized about 50 houses and a mosque that had been built at the village's edge. It is one of 36 that are Rohingyan (a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority) in the Kyauktaw township in the western Burmese Arakan state along the Kaladan River.

These lands had been re-bought from the military by Falom villagers. For 17 years, until re-buying the land, the village consisted of 280 houses and some farm lands. The mosque was demolished by the military in 1995.

The statement below was initiated by Working People Association (Indonesia) and Network of Progressive Youth Burma. It was released on September 16.

Other left groups from the Asian region that have signed it are: the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance; the All Nepal Federation of Trade Unions; the Socialist Party of Malaysia; Socialist Alliance (Australia); and Socialist Alternative (Australia).

If your organisation would like to sign, email international@prp-indonesia.org.

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“The whole process was a fake!”, said Khin Maung Swe, a 68-year-old leader of the National Democratic Force (NDF), a breakaway from the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. “We just won 16 seats [out of the 163 the NDF contested] because of the so-called advance votes.”

Khin Maung Swe expressed outrage at the process of counting votes in Burma’s elections held on November 7 for the first time in 20 years. Opponents of the military junta said it rigged many “advance votes” — votes cast before the official date of the election — through threats and bribes.

Burma’s November 7 elections — held under an undemocratic constitution in an atmosphere of repression and with the result crudely rigged — have been overshadowed by the release from house arrest of opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi on November 13.

Thousands of supporters lined the streets to her house and flocked to NLD offices to hear her speak.

Suu Kyi’s release has been compared to that of Nelson Mandela in 1990. However, unlike Mandela, Suu Kyi was not released from detention by a regime seeking negotiations.

On September 23, one of Burma’s longest-serving political prisoners, 78-year-old progressive journalist U Win Tin, was released from Insein Prison after more than 19 years. He was one of six political prisoners included in an amnesty of 9002 prisoners declared by the military junta.

MELBOURNE — On May 25, about 50 people attended a forum on Burma's election, which is due to occur this year.

The forum was addressed by Debbie Stothard, coordinator of Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma, who noted the many undemocratic structures set up by the military junta.

She said: “The 2008 constitution will guarantee military control over the election and resulting parliament. Election commissioners are handpicked by the regime, political parties must exclude ‘convicted persons’ such as Aung San Suu Kyi and there is severe censorship and restrictions on campaigning.

Two recent reports, released by NASA and the US National Climate Data Centre, have confirmed that last month was the warmest June since records began.

June was the fourth consecutive month that had broken temperature records, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. Global monthly records were also broken in March, April and May.

June was the 304th month in a row that recorded a global average temperature higher than the 20th century average. February 1985 was the last month temperatures fell below the average.

What began on August 15 as protests against escalating fuel and transport prices and deteriorating economic conditions has developed into a mass uprising in Burma. From September 17, mobilisations by Buddhist monks and nuns emboldened thousands of Burmese to take to the streets in the largest protests since the pro-democracy uprising in 1988 that was brutally crushed, with over 3000 people killed, by the military regime that has ruled Burma since 1962.

In the wake of mass protests for democracy spearheaded by Buddhist monks, triggered by five-fold increases to fuel and public transport costs, Burma’s major cities of Rangoon and Mandalay have become the scene of an intense crackdown by the military, which has ruled the country since 1962.


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