Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Killing her softly: Su Su Nway is ill in Rangoon Insein Jail

Killing her softly: Su Su Nway is ill in Rangoon Insein Jail
Nov 28, 2005 (DVB) - The health condition of Rangoon Kawmoo Township, Htan Manaing villager Su Su Nway who was sentenced to 20 months in prison on 13 November for reporting forced labour practices to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and successfully suing her local authorities over the matter, is said to be deteriorating.
A Htan Manaing villager who recently went to see the 34-year old human rights defender at the notorious Rangoon Insein Jail told DVB that she has been suffering for joint aches and dizziness, and she is still not allowed to receive medications or proper medical treatments for her chronic heart condition.
Moreover, the township authority chairman of Kawmoo, Khin Win has been giving monetary support to former Htan Manaing village authority members Than Khe, Sein Paul and gang who brought Su Su Nway to the court, by extorting 10,000 kyat from 58 villages under his control, the villager added.
At the same time, sympathisers throughout Burma and exiled Burmese around the world have been donating money for the care of Su Su Nway but it is not clear whether she is allowed to receive or enjoy the help intended for her.
Recently, Rangoon divisional court curtly rejected the appeal lodge on her behalf, and the lawyers who insisted that she has been detained wrongfully and the ILO officials, are preparing to continue to lodge an appeal at the High Court.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Su Su Nway's appeal rejected

Nov 24, 2005 (DVB) - A panel of judges at Rangoon Division court, on 24 November, rejected an appeal lodged on behalf of Burmese human rights activist Su Su Nway who is being detained at the notorious Rangoon Insein Jail. The rejection came after National League for Democracy (NLD) lawyers submitted a revised appeal which argued that 34-year old Su Su Nway was wrongfully imprisoned to her detriment.
The lawyers are planning to lodge an appeal at the High Court. Su Su Nway was sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison on 13 October by Rangoon Kawmoo Township court, having successfully sued her local authorities at Htan Manaing over forced labour practices in 2004.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Updated pictures of Su Su Nway School

The Burmese pupils studying Basic Burmese at Su Su Nway School

Su Su Nway School situated in Neulamaki Youth Club of Kuopio, Finland

The teachers and some pupils in the sports facility of Su Su Nway School

Monday, November 21, 2005

Su Su Nway School in Finland

Su Su Nway school teachs advanced Burmese to the adults who want to be fluent in Burmese

The pupils in Burmese language class at Su Su Nway School in Finland

Friday, November 18, 2005

Amnestry International Statement


Public Statement

AI Index: ASA 16/025/2005 (Public)
News Service No: 309
16 November 2005

Myanmar: Stop using forced labour and penalizing protesters
As the International Labour Organization (ILO) meets to discuss the practice of forced labour in Myanmar, Amnesty International expresses concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

The army continues to seize civilians for forced labour, including for the army, to confiscate land from farmers and to take children as soldiers. Moreover, the authorities are harassing and imprisoning individuals who have brought these violations to the attention of the ILO and state officials.

Amnesty International calls on the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to ensure that local officials and the military do not use civilians in forced labour projects, and that official decrees criminalizing forced labour are implemented. The organization also calls on the authorities not to penalize individuals for reporting on forced labour and other violations by the authorities, and to immediately and unconditionally release those wrongfully imprisoned for such peaceful activities.

In October 2005 villager Su Su Nway and lawyer U Aye Myint, both of whom had drawn authorities’ and the ILO’s attention to forced labour and to land confiscation were sentenced to 18 months and seven years’ imprisonment respectively. Three more people face trial in late November 2005 for assisting the family of an individual alleged to have died during forced labour to seek redress from local authorities.

Amnesty International is concerned by the recent secret trial of Shan politicians on charges of treason, following which they were sentenced to between 70 and 106 years' imprisonment The charges are believed to relate to their participation in peaceful political discussions.

Rights to due process are being flagrantly ignored in political trials and inadequate medical care has been given to prisoners. While a number of political prisoners were released in July 2005, more than 1,100 remain imprisoned, including elderly long term prisoners of conscience in poor health, and political leaders held without charge or trial, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin U.

Unpaid forced labour is in contravention of ILO Convention No 29, to which Myanmar is party. Despite the criminalization of forced labour in Myanmar in 2000, the practice continues. The ILO has adopted a series of measures in order to encourage the government to comply with Convention No 29, and most recently in June 2005 registered complaints to the SPDC that they have not implemented a number of recent ILO recommendations. At the June 2005 ILO Congress, ILO officials registered concern that the Myanmar authorities had stated “false complaints of forced labour were placing a great drain on government resources and undermining the dignity of the state… legal action would be taken against complainants or their representatives who lodged false complaints.”

The ILO also reported that the authorities have restricted the ILO liaison officer’s ability to investigate reports of forced labour, including by limiting his ability to travel freely outside of Yangon, his base. The state controlled press has published reports attacking the ILO and the liaison officer has received death threats.

The authorities continue to characterize legitimate activities in defence of the rule of law and human rights as activities intended to undermine the state. Individuals who have attempted to file complaints about human rights violations have been intimidated, harassed and sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Amnesty International urges the Myanmar authorities not to punish people who in good faith have submitted reports of forced labour or other abuses by government officials. The right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, to freedom of expression and to protest peacefully against human rights violations and government policies generally are rights recognized in international law and standards, including in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The SPDC must allow human rights defenders and any other individuals unhindered access to and communication with international bodies on matters of human rights.

Individuals recently imprisoned
On 31 October 2005, U Aye Myint, a lawyer in his 50s, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for passing to the government complaints of farmers whose land had been confiscated by the local authorities. He reportedly helped farmers compose a letter to the authorities, which was then copied to the ILO liaison officer in Yangon. The lawyer was sentenced under emergency legislation which allows for the imprisonment of anyone who does anything "intentionally to spread false news, knowing it to be false or having reason to believe that it is false" on the basis that it may then cause unrest. None of the farmers he has represented are known to have been prosecuted, and all reportedly testified in U Aye Myint’s trial that he was professionally carrying forward their legitimate complaints. U Aye Myint was released in January 2005 from a death sentence, commuted to three years’ imprisonment, for treason, partly on the basis that he had communicated with the ILO.

On 16 October 2005 villager Su Su Nway was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for defamation of village officials following an unfair trial. Her sentence is believed to be linked to her success in suing village officials for forcing her and fellow villagers to work on a road construction project. Officials reportedly made death threats against her following the suit, alleging that she had sworn at them.

On 5 November 2005 senior political representatives of the Shan ethnic nationality received sentences of between 70 and 106 years’ imprisonment in a secret trial, for treason. It is believed that they are being penalized for taking part in political discussions immediately before the reconvening of the National Convention in February 2005. U Khun Htun Oo, an MP elect for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and nine other Shan political representatives have been held without access to their families or to a lawyer of their choice since February 2005.

Later this month, U Thein Zan, a 67 year old lawyer and National League for Democracy MP, and two villagers will reportedly face trial for assisting a family to report to the authorities the alleged accidental death of their relative whilst undertaking forced labour.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Su Su Nway's Photo

These photoes were taken at her home and on her way to the court with her villagers and supporters.

Poem from Japan

A Poem From Japan by Nyo Htun

Su Su Nway honoured by Burmese activists in Finland

Su Su Nway honoured by Burmese activists in Finland
Nov 14, 2005 (DVB) - Burmese activists in Finland have renamed a Burmese community school from Aryon-U (Early Dawn) to Su Su Nway, in honor of the imprisoned Burmese human rights activist from Htan Manaing Village, Kawmoo Township in Rangoon Division.
Moreover, they wrote a letter to the Amnesty International urging the international community to taken care of Su Su Nway’s welfare who is suffering from heart diseases and contrive for her immediate release.
A Burmese activist

Thar Swe told DVB that their action is part of the efforts to highlight the plight of Su Su Nway who is still not allowed to receive proper medical cares and medicines, and the dire condition of Rangoon Insein Jail she is being detained in.
The school was set up recently by Burmese exiles in Finland with the help of local Finish friends, to teach the children of Burmese refugees their mother tongue and culture.

The children will also be taught to copy the brave and selfless behaviors of Su Su Nway who sacrificed her life for the benefit of her fellow villagers. She was sentenced to a year and an half in prison on 13 October for allegedly hurling abuses at her local authority members, whom she successfully sued over forced labor practices a year earlier.

Su Su Nway, Truly A Burmese Heroine

This blog is dedicated to Burmese Heroine Su Su Nway.
She lived in Htang Manaing village of Kawmoo town, Rangoon until her imprisonment. Originally she is a nobody among the down-trodden Burmese people. Her life is full of struggle suffering from heart attack and taking care of her younger siblings since both of her parents passed away. The sure thing she feels is she lives in an environment of fear overwhelmed by injustice, arbitrariness, bullying and intimidation.

She never thought of possessing a famous status as she is today.
However her National League for Democracy youth membership probably turns her simple thought into a brave one. One of her daily activities is regularly listening radio especially from overseas Burmese brocasting services, making her thoughts more open-minded on political issues. She starts to feel it would better off doing something than doing nothing.

Her fellow villagers respect her because she is a devout Buddhist, straightforward, polite and humble. She would never stop short if whoever asks her help. She always encourages her friends to be righteous and conscientious.
One day she and the villagers were given order to volunteer for road construction and dyke by the State Peace and Development Council authorities of their village. They were forced to go to the construction site and had to excavate a 25 meter-square trench each day. They had to work for many days from 6 a.m to 6 p.m virtually without any pay. If they could not finish one day's job, they had to pay 6000-Kyat fine and face legal means. The authorities call it Burmese traditional way of volunteering. The villagers have been subjected to many instances of this.

To Su Su Nway, it is a case to make. The time has come. So she reported their case to Rangoon-based International labor Organization office.

Then she sued her village authorities for coercing her and her fellow villagers into forced labor at Kawmoo township court. In early 2005 she won her case and the local authorities responsible for using forced labor practices in her village were all sentenced to prison. Noticeably the time of their sentencing coincides with a visit of high ILO delegation to Rangoon. Since the day she sued them, the authorities intimidated her and plotted many traps against her.

Not so long after she won the court decision, the authorities counter-sued her on the false accusation of using abusive language against and disrupting them on duty. On 13 October 2005 she was sentenced to one and a half year imprisonment by a court in Kawmoo township. It is widely known before the conclusion of her trial that the court decision against her was premeditated by SPDC junta and the course of her trial was a farce and she would be punished for speaking out against the forced labor practices.

She faced the unfair trial calmly and received unjust prison sentence with smile. She is never afraid of going to prison for standing on the side of people in trouble. She has proven herself a human rights defender even on the pain of imprisonment or at the great risk of her life.
Su Su Nway is truly a heroine of our age.

Free Su Su Nway Campaign

Free Su Su Nway Campaign

Date: 14 November 2005

Changing the Burmese language school’s name to Su Su Nway School

Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland), CDB-Finland, took a unanimous decision during its monthly meeting to change the name of Burmese language school from Dawn School to Su Su Nway School in honor of a courageous but ordinary Burmese woman, Su Su Nway, who was sentenced on 13 October 2005 to eighteen month’s imprisonment for speaking out about the forced labor practice used by the authorities of the ruling military junta (SPDC).

In addition, the Burmese community in Finland will donate money to Su Su Nway to show their support for her selfless and courage with which she successfully defined the climate of fear the junta has created since its 1988 bloody military takeover. The honor is also to mark Su Su Nway’s one month in prison and the change of the school name is to take effect from 13 November 2005.

Su Su Nway has inspired more confidence and determination in us to our struggle for democracy and her case also offers a window to look into the mainstream of our democracy movement which has yet to mobilize the mood of the general public into active resistance. Inserting individual idea and sacrifice into a common cause is not new to our movement, but Su Su Nway tactfully showed her bravery and sacrifice at the same time in her fight for the truth. It is a key to encourage the suppressed public to action.

These are the reasons why we give a great honor to her by changing the name of the Burmese language school to Su Su Nway School.
The CDB-Finland is carrying out “Free Su Su Nway Campaign” in cooperation with the members of Amnesty International (Finland) to help ensure her immediate release from prison. As part of this campaign the CDB-Finland today writes a letter to Amnesty International (AI). The letter urges AI to advocate a position of her immediate release.

Campaign Committee
Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland)

An appeal letter for Ma Su Su Nway

Date: 14 November 2005

Dear Ms Donna Guest,
Burma researcher
Director of Asia Pacific Region
Amnesty International

The Burmese military government is infamous in their use of force labor. In January 2005, one forced-labor case occurred in the Rangoon Division of Kawmoo Township, while the authorities were constructing a highway in the township.

Su Su Nway, a 34-year-old woman, sued local authorities from Htan-Manaing and Mya-Sanni villages for being forced into slave labor practices. In a historic court decision, Su Su Nway won her case, and the local authorities judged responsible for coercing villagers into forced labor were all given eight-month prison terms.

But Su Su Nway and the villagers’ happiness were short-lived. Authorities appealed the decision and responded by a counter-suit that Su Su Nway was responsible for ‘besmearing their reputation.’ During the second trial, Su Su Nway and her supporters were threatened both directly and indirectly by the authorities.

The authorities presented no evidence in the second trial, and witnesses told to the judge that Su Su Nway was innocence. In light of the facts and the falsities of the accusations, her lawyer and the villagers expected her to win again. However Burma’s judicial process is wholly subservient to the will of the military. Therefore, Su Su Nway was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Su Su Nway heroically protested against the unjust military rule in Burma in a non-violent manner. As a result, she was awarded for advocating of human rights by Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Su Su Nway’s imprisonment is of grave concern to her family and her supporters, as she is known to be in poor health. She suffers from heart disease, and after a recent accident, was left unable to speak or walk properly. Though she was in great pain, the authorities intimidated a local nurse and coerced her into not giving Su Su Nway the proper treatment for her illness, and the authority bans any medical supply from her family. Because of the poor prison conditions and the ineptitude of the prison health care system in Insein prison (in several instances amounting to torture) we expect Su Su Nway’s illness to only exacerbate further and cause her greater suffering. She is now facing solitary confinement in infamous Insein Prison, Rangoon.

In addition, the authorities are planning revenge on Su Su Nway for her advocacy against forced labor. It is not determined whether she would be released after her 18 months prison-term (the junta has previously extended the prison terms of other political prisoners long after their official term expired). Therefore we, the Burmese community of Finland, are very concerned about her immediate needs for medical treatment for her health condition. We also believe that supporting Su Su Nway is not only beneficial to her, but also to the people of Burma, who are suffering under the military rule.

Therefore we, the Burmese community of Finland, request Amnesty International to take some action regarding the lack of health care available in Burmese prison and adopt a position advocating Su Su Nway’s immediate release.

Thank you very much for your consideration!

Respectfully yours,
Campaign Committee
Campaign for Democracy in Burma (Finland)

Contact persons:

Thar Swe
Vice coordinator
Ph: + 358 44 2621081

Thant Zin Htun
Ph: + 358 44 9170278