Thursday, January 19, 2017

National News

National News


CSOs call for independent Rakhine investigation to alleviate intl pressure

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:41 PM PST

Over 40 Myanmar civil society groups are calling on the government to allow a "truly independent investigation" into the renewed violence in Rakhine State in order to avoid the situation overshadowing or stymieing development in the rest of the country.

Vendors demand meetings over Yangon street stall ban

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:40 PM PST

Furious over the city's efforts to sweep them from the streets, and feeling they have little other recourse, dozens of vendors ousted from their curbside perches yesterday staged a protest march.

China denies blocking Kachin IDPs at the border

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:38 PM PST

The Chinese embassy in Myanmar has rejected claims that its security forces on the border barred entry to thousands of displaced civilians who were fleeing heaving fighting in Kachin State last week.

Elderly pension payments to continue at reduced rate

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:37 PM PST

The government is set to continue a social pension plan for the elderly in the next financial year, with monthly payments allotted to senior citizens 90-years-old and up. But the payments have decreased from the K18,000 awarded in 2016, to a planned K10,000 per month through 2018, according to U Win Myat Aye, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

Vaccination program targets 193 townships

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:36 PM PST

The Department of Public Health has announced an elephantiasis vaccination campaign which will cover a large swath of the country from January 20 to 29.

Sticker campaign raises awareness about wildlife trade

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:33 PM PST

The Forest Department is hoping a new sticker campaign will help bolster public support for ending wildlife trafficking.

Myanmar to launch elephant conservation project

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 11:31 PM PST

Amid a dramatic rise in elephant poaching, the government is stepping up efforts to protect the tusked mammals with a new conservation project expected to be unveiled later this week.

Shan Herald Agency for News

Shan Herald Agency for News


Burma army orders SSPP/SSA to withdraw from Monghsu

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 05:59 AM PST

The Burmese military today ordered the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) to immediately withdraw its troops from Monghsu Township in southern Shan State, while many civilians in the area have also been requested to move out.

Photo by SHAN- A military checkpoint in Khojom village, Monghsu Township
Speaking to Shan Heraldtoday, a local source in Mong Hsu who wished to remain anonymous said, "Villagers here were informed that the Tatmadaw [Burmese army] had ordered the SSPP/SSA forces to withdraw from their Nam Nab Base near Khojom village in Monghsu by this afternoon. Now, many local villagers have abandoned their homes and gone to seek shelter in Monghsu town."


On January 10, SSPP/SSA representatives met with Brig-Gen Htet Htun, the head of Central Eastern Command, which is based in Kholam Township, Shan State, to discuss plans for road construction in SSPP/SSA territory. The Burmese commander told SSPP/SSA representatives that he would reinforce his troop strength in the area whether the Shan militia approved or not.

According to an official from the SSPP/SSA's News and Information Department, who spoke to Shan Heraldunder condition of anonymity, the Tatmadaw ordered the Shan army to withdraw from the area before January 20 because they will bring reinforcements in.

"Because of this [troop reinforcements], they ordered us and the local villagers to move out," said the official. "This could lead to an outbreak of hostilities.

"Apart from the Burmese military presence under Kholam command which is active in the area, more troops from Namsang Battalion No. 151, Kali Battalion 150, and Kunheng Battalion 524, as well as two security battalions have now been brought in," he said.

The SSPP/SSA representative said that the Burmese military had also beefed up its troop strength in Tangyan Township, Lashio District, near the SSPP/SSA base at Loi Je, a strategic mountain outpost.
"We do not wish armed conflict," said a representative of the SSPP/SSA who was due to meet with government peace negotiator Thein Zaw today in Yangon. "We have requested the Tatmadaw not deploy soldiers to build the road. Instead, they should employ civilians. But they did not agree.

"We also requested a meeting with Gen. Yar Pyae in Naypyidaw but it didn't happen, so we proposed a meeting with U Thein Zaw today," he added. "We want to solve the problem by political means."
He re-emphasized: "We need to solve this problem immediately. Otherwise, fighting will break out and people will suffer."

The Burmese armed forces launched heavy offensives against the SSPP/SSA, including assaults on its Wan Hai Headquarters in Kesi Township, during the general election last year.


SSPP/SSA is a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council which has to date declined to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement, or NCA. The Shan militia previously approved state-level and union-level ceasefire accords with the former Burmese government administration headed by President Thein Sein. 

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Irrawaddy Magazine

The Irrawaddy Magazine


Civil Society Groups Highlight Continued Abuses During UN Visit

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 06:55 AM PST

Civil society groups say human rights abuses continue despite recent reforms, during a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma.

The post Civil Society Groups Highlight Continued Abuses During UN Visit appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Schoolteacher Shot Dead in Hpakant

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 06:44 AM PST

A schoolteacher was abducted and gunned down in Kachin State's Hpakant Township.

The post Schoolteacher Shot Dead in Hpakant appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Postal Service Gains Public Trust

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 06:34 AM PST

Burma's postal service gains public trust after receiving technical expertise from Japan.

The post Postal Service Gains Public Trust appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

The Northern Alliance: Fight For a Fault

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 06:13 AM PST

Liu Yun takes a critical look at the Northern Alliance offensive and China-Myanmar relations.

The post The Northern Alliance: Fight For a Fault appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

Action to be Taken Against Dozens Who Disrupted Muslim Ceremony in Pyay

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 03:51 AM PST

Police are preparing to file a lawsuit against members of the Rangoon division of the Nationalist Coalition Group, including its leader U Hla Thein Maung

The post Action to be Taken Against Dozens Who Disrupted Muslim Ceremony in Pyay appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

UN Estimates 4.25 Million People from Burma Now Live Abroad

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 02:24 AM PST

The majority of Burma-born people living abroad hail from the country's border areas and are now in Thailand and Malaysia.

The post UN Estimates 4.25 Million People from Burma Now Live Abroad appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

China Denies Turning Back Kachin Refugees

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 10:32 PM PST

The Chinese Embassy says that Burmese authorities had instead 'strengthened resettlement' of displaced persons on their side of the border.

The post China Denies Turning Back Kachin Refugees appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

OIC envoy calls for UN intervention in Arakan State

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 09:43 PM PST

At Malaysia's request, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meets Thursday to discuss measures to deal with the conflict affecting Arakan Muslims.

The post OIC envoy calls for UN intervention in Arakan State appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

On the Irrawaddy Riverbank Migrants Struggle to Eke out a Living 

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 05:41 PM PST

For most of the families who labor in brickworks the meager wages and the high cost of food mean that every member has to work.

The post On the Irrawaddy Riverbank Migrants Struggle to Eke out a Living  appeared first on The Irrawaddy.

National News

National News


‘New city’ key in Yangon master plan: mayor

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:55 PM PST

Forget blueprints of Yangon drawn up by the Japanese development arm, the regional government has its own master plan to implement.

U Myo Yan Naung Thein won’t apply for bail again

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:54 PM PST

A National League for Democracy member on trial for defamation is giving up on his bail requests after his fourth application was denied yesterday.

Report urges review of land laws to protect small-scale farmers

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:53 PM PST

An evaluation of land use and farming laws by a local civil society group has concluded that the current legislative framework legalises unfair land confiscations, penalises small-scale farmers and discriminates against women owning, selling or inheriting land.

MPs rankle at Speaker’s strict housekeeping

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:50 PM PST

Attention, class! I don't want to see you reading newspapers. Proposals are discouraged and difficult questions unwelcome. And if you're not properly dressed, you will be asked to leave.

Department of Agriculture to open call centre

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:48 PM PST

The Department of Agriculture has plans to open a call centre aimed at quickly answering agricultural questions from farmers throughout Myanmar.

Villagers demand investigation into gold mines

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:47 PM PST

Mandalay farmers have staged a sit-in for the past four days in protest of gold mines they claim have encroached on their land. The Wet Tae village residents are demanding the government suspend the mining activities until the conclusion of an investigation.

Health ministry plans to increase funding for medical research

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:45 PM PST

State-funded medical research will receive a slight budget boost in the coming financial year with the ministry planning on pooling the windfall into a grant program for the 16 universities with medical research departments, according to the health official heading the research department.  

USDP stays local for by-election

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 11:41 PM PST

First capture seats in the by-election, then stage a full on 2020 comeback. Such are the plans of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the only political party contesting every constituency in the April by-election.

Shan Herald Agency for News

Shan Herald Agency for News


Northern Burma Update: Burma Army Divides Kachin

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 12:53 AM PST


In August 2016 the Burma Army began a major escalation of operations in northern Burma, Kachin State, with daily attacks against Gidon and Lai Hpawng posts in Waingmaw Township.  The purpose of this offensive is to cut off crucial Kachin Independence Organization (KIO – a political body representing the Kachin people) access to IDP camps north of the road and divide southern and northern Kachin State.  These attacks occurred despite Burma's supposed transition to a civilian-led democratic government that claimed it would prioritize the peace process once again. The Burma Army employed large numbers of ground troops, mortars, artillery, helicopter and jet strikes in these attacks and on the 16th of December, exactly four months after the attack began, Gidon Post fell to Burma Army forces.

The full force of Burma Army mortar and artillery power, coupled with repeated ground assaults from the Burma Army's position at N'Khram Village and including troops from other positions, was then focused on the Lai Hpwang Post, which fell within the month.  The value of these posts in the defense of the people became immediately evident following their capture, when the Burma Army, on the same day, turned its attack on the Zai Awng IDP camp, firing mortars on the more than 1000 men, women and children living at the camp and forcing them to flee.

The capture of Gidon and Lai Hpawng posts gives the Burma Army a strategic advantage against Kachin Independence Army (KIA – the KIO's defense force) north of Laiza by effectively cutting Kachin State in two.  Laiza, a major city in Kachin State, is currently one of the few free cities in Kachin State that is unoccupied by Burma Army forces.  The Burma Army's indiscriminate targeting of civilians and attacks against IDPs, continued hostility and unwillingness to cease fire against ethnic resistance forces, and offensives which move the Burma Army closer to Laiza are creating a growing humanitarian crisis that undermines all efforts for the peace process in Burma.

An update from Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN – translates as "Light For The People"), a Kachin humanitarian aid organization providing critical assistance to people displaced by war in Kachin State.

"Intensive fighting between the Myanmar Government Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) continues in Kachin State. The recent fighting in Laihpawng area has resulted in the relocation of IDPs from Zai Awng/Mugga Zup camp to Lungbyen area and on the road between Hkau Shau and Mungga Zup.

On 10 January 2017, fierce battles involving air strikes and heavy artillery took place around KIA's 3rd Battalion position in Nagyang area – close to Zai Awng/Mugga Zup and Hkau Shau camps. This has prompted some 4,000 IDPs and local civilians from the areas, most of whom are women, children and elderly people, to cross the border and flee to China. Due to security concerns, the IDPs started crossing the border around 4 am this morning.

The situation has been extremely chaotic and precarious. The IDPs are deeply shaken by the experience, and having been forced to relocate several times, they are completely weary. Some elderly IDPs with health problems, such as high blood pressure, are particularly bearing the brunt of the hardship. As they had to flee in urgency, they were not able to bring much with them, including medicines and food. As of the release time of this statement, the IDPs have not been able to eat.

The security of IDPs in Magayang camp has also been compromised, and hence, they are preparing to flee elsewhere.

The Chinese security forces were checking/processing the IDPs who crossed into China. It has been reported that they have pushed the IDPs back into Myanmar. The primary and urgent concerns at the moment are of safety and security of the IDPs."


August – December 2016 Clash Account
Clashes – 505
Burma Army Jet (Attack) – 106
Burma Army Helo (Attack) – 41
Burma Army Jet (Recon) – 231
Burma Army Helo (Recon) – 83
Burma Army Drone (Recon) – 16
Burma Army actions against civilians:
Civilians Killed – 55
Civilians Wounded – 27
Civilians Tortured – 27
Civilians Extorted – 7
Civilians Robbed – 4
Civilians Forced into Labor – 8
Civilians Property Destroyed – 13 Houses, 2 Rice Patties, 2 Barn, 1 Cattle
Civilians Detained (without reason) / Abduction – 41
Displacement: 4000+ IDPs
***The figures above are limited to reports from FBR teams and do not represent the totality of military battles, supply, or human rights abuses perpetrated by the Burma Army.

Burma Army Units Involved in Gidon and LaiHpawng Offensives

Bureau of Special Operations 2
Military Operations Command (MOC) 3
Infantry Battalions (IB) 40, 276, 121 and Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 381, 382, 383, 384, 385, 386, and 388
Artillery Battalions No. 364, 366, 371, 408, 901, 905, and 906

Gidon Post Falls

On 16 December between 0518-1000 on 16 December 2016 the Burma Army fired more than 700 mortar and artillery rounds from Kagam, Nhkram and Sama road junction toward Gidon Post, Waingmaw Township.
At 0845 two jets dropped four bombs on Gidon Post.
At 1016 one jet made two bombing runs on Gidon Post.
At 1138 one jet made two bombing runs and two helicopters made three strafing runs on Gidon Post.
Between 1330-1700 Burma Army conducted three troop raids from three sides on Gidon Post. Kachin Independence Army soldiers decamped from the post following the third Burma Army raid.

Lai Hpawng Post Falls

On 21 December between 0855-1700 the Burma Army fired 250 mortar and artillery rounds from Dabak, Point-1103 and Dingga toward Lai Hpawng Post.
At 0900 two jets struck Lai Hpawng Post.
At 0920 four jets struck.
At 1000 six jets struck.
At 1020 two jets struck.
At 1230 two helicopters struck.
At 1315 two helicopters struck.
At 1325 two helicopters struck.
At 1445 two jets struck.
At 1515 two jets struck.
Between 1415-1700 Burma Army troops assaulted Lai Hpawng Post with ground forces and overran the post.
On 27 December between 0740-1700 the Burma Army fired over 300 mortar and artillery rounds from Dabak, Point-1103 towards Lai Hpawng Post.
At 0945 two jets struck Law Hkum Post and Lai Hpawng Post.
At 1155 two jets bombarded Law Hkum Post and Lai Hpawng Post.
At 1420 the Burma Army combined forces from IB 38, 252, 260 and LIB 16 raided Lai Hpawng Post and overran it.

IDP Camp Attacked

On 27 December the Burma Army fired seven mortar rounds from Point-1103 toward Zai Awng IDP Camp, Waingmaw Township.

SNLD cites bribery concerns at Hsenwi checkpoint

Posted: 18 Jan 2017 12:43 AM PST

Citing concerns about corruption and graft, representatives of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) have petitioned the central government to reconsider the status of a checkpoint in northern Shan State that was reopened on January 16.

A military checkpoint in Shan State
The Nam Oon Gate, located between Lashio and Hsenwi townships, was closed down during the tenure of the Thein Sein government because locals claimed they had been threatened by checkpoints guards and forced to pay bribes.

According to Sai Wan Leng Kham, an MP from the SNLD representing Lashio Township, 40 of the party's MPs had signed the petition against the reopening of the checkpoint, and had submitted a letter to the union government on January 16.

"As we are the representatives of the people, we have to listen to their collective voice," he told Shan Herald on Tuesday. "People are against this checkpoint, and we agree with them."

He explained: "This gate will create more problems rather than solving them. There will be more traffic. People will not able to travel freely. Sometimes they have to travel at night, but if there is a checkpoint they cannot. If locals have an emergency, it could exacerbate the problem."

The SNLD lawmaker added that local people are worried that they will be checked every time they pass the gate, and that this procedure could lead to a black market and an increase in drug problems in their area.

The Nam Oon Gate currently hosts officers from 11 different departments, including customs and finance.  

Last Thursday, a group of traders in Muse Township also released a statement opposing the gate's reopening. According to a report from Shan Herald on its Shan-language site, the traders cited concerns over delays and excess fees.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)






WAR IN ETHNIC STATES: Is the Tatmadaw waging a just war?

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 07:38 PM PST

Lately, the military bloc's supporter, obviously made up of Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) members, former and active soldiers in civil and sympathizers have staged demonstration to support the Military's or Tatmadaw's "war of justice" or "just war" in Rangoon (Yangon), Moulmein (Mawlamyaing) and recently in Mandalay. Similar events would also take place in other cities according to the news sources.

The demonstration or rally in Mandalay, on January 15, was said to be attended by some two thousand people marching from Mandalathiri football stadium to Manawyaman park, where speeches were delivered and letters of support for the justified war occasion were read out, sent from some small nationalist parties, which some of them also attended.

Although the last two rallies that supported the military offensives against the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) in Shan and Kachin States, which claimed to be a justified war, were peaceful, the recent one in Mandalay has not been the case.

An anti-war motorcyclist Ko Thae Nit Aung bearing an anti-war vinyl banner, at the back of the seat, passing through the demonstration crowd was manhandled and the Irrawaddy's photographer Zaw Zaw was also attacked for photographing the assault on the lone protester.

The incidents might be small ones, but if this could lead to the political division among the mass, like protest and counter-protest of the red and yellow shirt major groupings that had paralyzed Thailand, leading to the military coup. Similarly, Burma might have added another facet of ideological mass conflict of pro-war and anti-war, apart from the ethnic and communal conflicts, which wouldn't benefit the ongoing peace negotiation process and national reconciliation effort in any way.

Let us have a close look at this war of justice rhetoric and how it could affect or influence the political climate.

Anti-war rallies

Massive anti-war rallies held in Kachin State of Myitkyina last year October and a peace rally held also last year July, in Rangoon were aimed at pressuring the government to stop the wars in ethnic States of Kachin and Shan, which are still ongoing without any sign of let up.

The Tatmadaw offensives on Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions, notably along the Burma-China border where the Kachin headquarters Laiza is located, started in earnest on the heels of the State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi initiated 21stCentury Panglong Conference (21CPC) of August  31 to  September 3, last year.

After enduring some three months of the Tatmadaw military onslaught, the KIA thought out a strategy to take the heat away from its besieged forces in Kachin State, decided to launch a counter-offensive in Muse Township of northern Shan State together with the Kokang or Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA), calling itself Northern Alliance – Burma (NA-B), on November 20 last year.

Consequently, the Tatmadaw heightened its attacks on the KIA positions in Kachin State and to date has overrun seven bases in total, including two strategic mountain outposts – Lai Hpawng and Gideon, using airstrikes, heavy artillery bombardment and massive infantry deployment at a tremendously high human toll and financial cost.

But the collateral damage resulting from the armed engagements in Kachin and Shan States were squarely placed on the shoulders of the NA-B by the Military, to justify its policy of total annihilation and escalation of the armed confrontation, under the banner of a just war.

Just war

Accordingly, the supporters of military offensives echoed the line of Tatmadaw tagging the NA-B members as terrorist organizations that have to be eliminated, as they are infringing on national sovereignty and disrupting, destroying individual and public properties, aside from levying taxed or protection money, as the Tatmadaw is inclined to term, on the population, among others.

This sentiment or reasoning, repeatedly used to attack the EAOs by the Tatmadaw, was aired and reiterated by Hla Swe of USDP, a former parliamentarian MP during President Thein Sein government, who was also one of the leading participants and an orator during the Mandalay's just war demonstration recently, on January 15.

Prior to this, in a BBC Burmese discussion program of "Global and Burma Affairs" on January 13, where Hla Swe, Khun Ja of Kachin Peace Network, and ethnic affairs observer and analyst Maung Maung Soe participated,  Hla Swe gleefully said: "In Sri Lanka the Tamil Tigers that had stood on the three point position of no ceasefire, no negotiation and fight for independence were totally eliminated (by the government troops) and there is no one left now. I see that if the golden opportunity invitation now is taken (by the EAOs) they will be better off."

During the discussion earlier, when asked what should be done to be all-inclusive in the peace process, he replied: "It depends on the leaders. If the 21stCentury Panglong Conference is called and there is no (positive) result, the EAOs could be crushed."

The Commander-in-Chief has time and again also made known publicly the Tatmadaw's stance of surrender for the excluded three EAOs – MNDAA, TNLA and AA – and pressuring the KIA, which is also head of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) without alteration, so that they will be allowed participation in the 21CPC or Union Peace Conference (UPC).

Criteria of a just war

The brief and summarized explanation of the just war theory is written by Richard N. Haas, President, Council on Foreign Relations, in his short piece "When is War Justifiable?", in May 5, 2009, as follows:

·         Just war theory today is a composite that has evolved from ideas developed by various religious figures. In the 5th century, St. Augustine discussed in City of God the circumstances under which killing could be justified and empires legitimately expanded. In the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas laid out a more elaborate just war doctrine in his Summa Theologica. He wrote that three conditions were necessary to make a war just: it must be ordered by a competent authority; the cause must be just; and the combatants must have "a right intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil."
·         Modern just war guidance involves both the decision to go to war (jus ad bellum) and how to fight one (jus in bello). This latter set of criteria focuses on proportionality (how much force is used), targeting (avoiding non-combatants), and means (avoiding certain classes of weapons).

Assessment of the Military's just war rhetoric

If we look at the recent conflict situation between the Tatmadaw and the EAOs, the decision to go to war from the part of the former is hardly appropriate and convincing, seen from the given set of just war criteria.
Firstly, it was not ordered by the competent authority as the Tatmadaw is not the government, but pursuing its own policy and implementing it, within the mode of "a state within the state". While the NLD civilian government is tight-lipped on the Tatmadaw's offensives on the EAOs, for whatever reason it might have in store, it has never officially declared war or spelled out that it supported the Tatmadaw's actions. In contrast, the NLD official position is all-inclusiveness participation of all the EAOs and ending the war through peaceful negotiation, while the Tatmadaw is for the exclusion of the three EAOs – MNDAA, TNLA and AA - that it dislike and using military means to force the remaining EAOs that are yet to sign the NCA give in to its prescribed conditions.

Thus, the Tatmadaw is in no way a competent authority to wage or order a just war.

Secondly, the question of whether the cause is just from the point of the Tatmadaw going to war against the EAOs, it is quite clear that is not the case.

Most of the EAOs went into rebellion, during the late 1950s and early 1960s, to wrestle back their rights of self-determination, which were hijacked or stolen from them by the successive military and also Bamar-dominated civilian governments and treated them as if they were colonial possessions.

In trying to right this wrong the EAOs are now ready and set to negotiate through political means peacefully, as the military solution is not tenable, and are just waiting for the agreement of the Tatmadaw to accept all-inclusiveness participation that have been denied to some, coupled with waging war on them.

Thus, this war cannot be a just war, as there are many peaceful solution available and the Tatmadaw is choosing war, to gain political edge and not interested in a fair deal to end the conflict.

Thirdly, the question of whether the Tatmadaw has "a right intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil," one has to say it doesn't cater to any of the mentioned reasonable intention.
The Tatmadaw intention is to lord over the ethnic nationalities without consideration of agreeing to their aspirations of equality, rights of self-determination, democracy and establishment of a genuine federal union.
Thus, the war is waged with ill intention of subjugating the ethnic nationalities and just to continue the rule over them.

Fourthly, on the questions of proportionality (how much force is used), targeting (avoiding non-combatants), and means (avoiding certain classes of weapons), indications are also not positive.

The proportionality of arsenal used are lopsided, as the Tatmadaw is employing advanced military aircraft and heavy artillery against lightly armed EAOs, begging the question of whether it is internationally acceptable to use jet fighters and helicopter gunships in a civil war.

Avoiding to target non-combatants is simply not the strong point of the Tatmadaw, as it sees the ethnic population hostile to its occupation troops and is convinced that most are sympathetic to the ethnic resistance armies. The Tatmadaw has indoctrinated its troops to treat the ethnic peoples along this line. Thus, the many extra-judicial killings, aerial and heavy artillery bombardments on ethnic settlement causing damage to properties and human lives have become the order of the day for the Tatmadaw in its occupation of the ethnic states.

The human rights violations on ethnic population is nothing new to the Tatmadaw, in its war of occupation that has been going on for decades and it is not about to be enlightened and become civil, in the sense of taking orders from the civilian government and turned into the protector of democratic principles.

The decades-long human rights abuses are well documented by reputed international rights organizations. But the toning down of the United Nations and European Union on human rights' score, so as to encourage the Tatmadaw to endorse democratization is just a wishful-thinking and only embolden the Tatmadaw as the license to commit gross human rights violations.

Some of the recent following episodes would shed real light on the outcome of this misleading concept.

·         Three civilians were killed and seven injured, including two women and a five-year-old child, when two Burma Army jets indiscriminately bombed Pang Mark Mur village, Kyaukme township, northern Shan State, on December 26, 2016. (Shan Human Rights Foundation - January 16, 2017)

·         Two people were killed and eight were wounded when an artillery shell landed on a civilian house in Namhsan Township, Shan State on January 12 morning, according to local sources. One of the dead was an eight-year-old student who lived in the house, and the other was a dance instructor who had traveled from Mandalay to teach. The two deceased victims were killed instantly, according to Namhsan Township lawmaker Mai Win Htoo. (The Irrawaddy – January 13, 2017)
·         Air strikes destroyed the buildings of civilians in the Mong Koe town and four civilians were killed in the clashes. According to official reports, the number of civilians injured so far has reached 63. At least 5000 have been displaced by the fighting, including more than 3600 who, Chinese state media has said, fled over the border. (Myanmar Times – December 6, 2016)
·         Some 80 civilian hostages were taken by the Tatmadaw, during the NA-B siege of Mong Koe in November last year, which were said to be used as human shields to protect its outpost, according to the NA-B sources. They were later rescued by the NA-B. (NA-B Facebook)
·         A battalion of Tatmadaw soldiers, who arrived in Mong Yaw sub-township on June 25 looking for Shan rebel troops, shot dead five villagers during an interrogation near a cornfield where some of them were working and dumped their bodies in shallow graves. (Radio Free Asia – July 21, 2016)

All in all, the call for supporting the just war rings hollow, as it is design to advance the program of the ethnocentric Military and Bamar political class, continued political monopoly, no justification could be found and the act would only be like pouring more oil in the already burning flames of animosity and hatred.


The people that support this just war rhetoric would be well advised to refrain from endorsing it further, so that not become the culprit of creating another pro-war and anti-war ideological conflict that would split the mass into two, further driving the country into destruction and abyss.