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April 10-16, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for Burma
Posted on April 20, 2015

1.  A dangerous path for Myanmar
State Media:

Myanmar Times, April 10: “A dangerous path for Myanmar

  • Opinion piece on a new law that gives regional governments the ability to regulate the number of children a woman has.
  • The new bill, which is yet to be signed into law by the president, will enable regional and state governments to request a presidential order limiting women to one child every three years. It does not detail what sanctions, if any, could be imposed on someone who broke such regulations.
  • “Anyone who has bought into the idea that this law is there to protect women is at best misguided. Taking away a woman’s choice to have a child is not a protection. It is a violation. This law is inherently sexist – it does not appear written to restrict how often men can have children.”
  • Writes that this law is particularly aimed at Rohingya.

2. Suu Kyi's political skills tested in pre-election showdown
International Media:

Reuters, April 12: “Suu Kyi's political skills tested in pre-election showdown

  • Opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is locked in a high-stakes showdown with a military-backed government she says isn't interested in reform.
  • Some of her supporters say Suu Kyi made a critical mistake when she stood for parliament three years ago in a by-election, becoming a lawmaker in a system that remains far from fully democratic. It lent an undeserved legitimacy to the system.
  • Others say that she has smart in her political manoeuvring, and previously, discussing Charter reform was a criminal offense.


3.  Myanmar civil society 'divided' over citizenship of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
International Media:

Bangladesh News 24 Hours, April 13: “Myanmar civil society ‘divided’ over citizenship of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

  • The Burmese civil society is “divided” over the issue of citizenship for Rohingya refugees mostly lodged in Bangladesh, a Myanmar political analyst has said in a Dhaka conference.
  • “Some have liberal views and others have extremist views. But it is democracy now, so you can hear the cacophony of different voices,” said Dr Khin Zaw Win, Director of Tampadipa Institute, a Myanmar-based civil society organisation.
  • He was speaking at a conference on Bangladesh’s engagement with its two neighbours – India and Myanmar.

Bangladesh News 24 Hours, April 14: “Engage proactively setting aside Rohingya issue, Myanmar activist tells Bangladesh

  • Dr. Khin Zaw Win suggested Bangladesh be “proactive” in its engagement with Myanmar, keeping the decades-old Rohingya refugee issue aside for the benefit of both the neighbours.
  • He spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the Dhaka conference (above).
  • Though Myanmar was the sixth country that recognised Bangladesh in 1972, its internal politics and Rohingya refugee issue were being seen later as the stumbling blocks in building the relations. Bangladesh has not made efforts to improve relations until now.
  • Boosting ties is more of a priority now because Myanmar serves as a gateway to other Southeast Asian economies.

4.  Curfew for Pathor Keela Muslims
Private Media:

Burma Times, April 13: “Curfew for Pathor Keela Muslims

  • Rohingya Muslims in villages north of Pathor Keela town are living in fear after more than a hundred Rakhine houses burned down in a nearby village on Friday.
  • Many believe it was an act of arson. Authorities have asked local Rohingyas not to leave their homes. Many are losing income and have no food.

5. Scholar Maung Zarni Defines Genocide in HHRP Lecture
International Media:

Boston College Law School Magazine, April 16: “Scholar Maung Zarni Defines Genocide in HHRP Lecture

  • According to Maung Zarni, a Burmese scholar affiliated with Harvard and the London School of Economics, the victimization of Rohingya fits the definition of genocide.
  • This persecution has involved explicit violence on a relatively modest scale but also forced birth control, forced relocation, and denial of access to food and medical care, said Zarni, who on April 13, delivered a lecture on the topic at Boston College.
  • How could Buddhists, raised to spare the lives of all creatures, even insects, perpetrate a genocide? The answer, Zarni said, is common to every genocide: the perpetrator learns to see himself as a victim, and a defender of his nation or ethnic group.
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