Next Thursday a court in Yala will decide on a very important case for victims of arbitrary detention and forced disappearance in Thailand. The court is due to give its view on what happened to Mayateh Maranoh (shown above with his son), who has not been seen since he was taken away by a paramilitary group in mid-2007.
According to his family, a group of rangers from Unit 4111 surrounded their house on June 24 and put Mayateh in a vehicle. They also took his car, mobile phone and licensed gun.
Mayateh’s wife and two children watched as he was driven away. It was the last time they saw him. After some days of searching, his wife, Suma-idoh, learned that the unit of poorly-trained local recruits had that evening held him at a school some five kilometers away.
Her constant efforts to interest state officials in her husband’s disappearance failed. The police did not investigate. The Department of Special Investigation under the Justice Ministry also declined to take up the case.
It fell to Suma-idoh to lodge a complaint herself. Continue reading
Posted in army, courts, disappearance, human rights, military, other countries, rule of law, Thailand, UPI
Tagged Calicut, Department of Special Investigation, DSI, India, Kerala, Marano, Maranoh, Mayateh, Rajan, Rangers, Suma-idoh, Tim Ruantoh, Unit 4111, Yala
In the days since Cyclone Nargis passed through Burma on May 2 and 3, bringing a tidal surge with it to the delta region that has literally swept away hundreds of villages, it has become painfully obvious that the country’s government is completely unable to deal with what has happened.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, local residents in somewhat affected areas, including Rangoon, banded together to do everything from clearing roads to distributing emergency supplies of water and food. In many rural areas, monks have taken charge as thousands of people have converged on monasteries, which are among the sturdiest buildings and which often have stockpiles of donated wood, food and other necessities.
The lack of any official presence in these parts has been striking in a country where government agents, in and out of uniform, are normally omnipresent. But the absurdity, ineptitude and persistent greed that characterize so much administrative conduct in Burma have in some areas become most apparent after soldiers, police and bureaucrats have finally turned up.
In one part of Rangoon, a fistfight reportedly broke out when outraged locals saw that water tankers were delivering supplies to the homes of council members and military officers but not to anyone else.
At Pazundaung, a unit of soldiers went to nearby houses to ask for machetes with which to cut fallen trees. Their commander demanded a car to oversee his men and shopkeepers were called upon to give chains with which to drag timber from the road.
In the worst affected areas, flattened villages and ruined crops are still littered with bodies and not a single person has turned up to assist. Many places, such as Laputta, remain partly submerged and the numbers of the dead and missing not yet entered into the daily rising tallies.
So where are Burma’s neighbors? Not long after the storm struck, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s secretary-general, the former foreign minister of Thailand, Surin Pitsuwan, called on the other nine member states to give generously, and hoped the same of its partners, which include heavyweights China, South Korea and Japan. (See news of his latest statement.)
His appeal seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Continue reading
Posted in army, Burma, dictatorship, human rights, military, Myanmar, other countries, poverty, referendum, UN, UPI
Tagged ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, cyclone, Cyclone Nargis, India, Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Labutta, Laputta, Nargis, Pazundaung, Philippines, Pitsuwan, Rangoon, Surin, Surin Pitsuwan, Thailand, tsunami, Yangon
Tourist brochures portray Burma as a mystical land full of unseen wonders and tall tales about amazing imaginary creatures, from giant serpents to magical birds. But it was a different sort of fantasy that the government spun stories about in Geneva this week: a far more modern, albeit no less implausible entity.
In response to the U.N. Human Rights Council‘s scrutiny of its violent crackdown on protests during August and September, the Burmese government suddenly claimed to have already set up an investigating body into alleged killings, abductions and disappearances at the time.
The body, under the home affairs minister, had begun its work at the end of October, the country’s ambassador said, and so there would be no need for any international inquiry of the sort proposed by the special human rights expert on the country.
This was news to informed observers. No such body has ever been reported in the state media, or heard about in other quarters. Nor does it seem that anyone representing it has met with persons from outside the regime.
It seems reasonable to ask if the inquiry body really exists at all. Yet, this question did not once come up in the Human Rights Council. Although the ambassador described nothing of what the body has done or will do, nor anything of its powers, many delegates seemed to take it seriously. How come?
Posted in Burma, human rights, military, Myanmar, other countries, politics, protest, UN, UPI
Tagged ALRC, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Basil Fernando, Geneva, HRC, Human Rights Council, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UNHRC