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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 08/08/2012, 00.00

    MYANMAR – NORWAY

    The Rohingya tragedy reflects Myanmar’s fragile change, DVB director says

    Dario Salvi

    Aye Chan Naing calls for full citizenship for the Muslim minority. He calls on exiles to come home to contribute to the process of democratisation from within. The involvement of new politically active generations must be supported with better education. Today, opposing a dictatorship is not enough; building a nation is a must.

    Rome (AsiaNews) - Pro-government groups have fuelled violence against minority Rohingya Muslims, who should have a right to Burmese nationality and be full part of Burma. The future of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement must go beyond fighting a military junta to find ways to contribute to the country's growth, not only in economic terms but also in the area of human rights. These are some of the elements of reflections proposed by Aye Chan Naing, director Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an online media organisation founded by Burmese exiles close to the pro-democracy opposition in a long interview with AsiaNews.

    Among the most important Diaspora figures, he heads a network based in Oslo, Norway, that has reported several times on the violence of the military dictatorship against the civil population and Buddhist monks. Aye Chan Naing hopes to see Burmese refugees return home. However, they'll have to defeat "resistance within the opposition. Citing Aung San Suu Kyi in her visit to Europe, "democracy is Burma is still a long way to go."
    Here is the interview Aye Chan Naing gave AsiaNews:

    What do you think about events in Rakhine State and the Rohingya's tragedy? How can the government solve the crisis? Do they deserve Burmese nationality?
    The events in Rakhine state really show how fragile the process of change is in Burma.  This tragedy did not happen by itself. There are a lot of signs that some group in the government and the military as well as some extreme nationalist group were behind the whole thing. I do believe that Rohingya have a right to Burmese nationality.

    The problem goes back a long way and revolves a basic right, that of citizenship.
    Of course! I am firmly convinced that they [the Rohingya] should be granted Burmese citizenship and treated as full Burmese citizens.

    Which role can Diaspora Burmese play in the country's process of democratisation?
    Burmese in exile can play a major role in bridging the gap between the international community and Burma. They can help build civil society groups and democracy, preserve the environment, and reconcile ethnic groups, and much more.  They have been involved in all these issues over the past 20 years or more-more actively and openly than those inside Burma. 
    And the key issue for Diaspora Burmese getting involved in current developments also depends on how people inside Burma view them.  There will always be resistance even within opposition circles to exiles coming back.  

    In the past, Burmese living abroad were "essential" to report the junta's crimes. How can they contribute now?
    I don't think their importance will go away but they will have to get involve in different ways.  Now that it is possible to do a lot more inside Burma and the government seems willing to let people engage in grassroots activity, they would have to get into real ground work.  It is important that some groups are watching the current changes in Burma with critical eyes without compromising their independence.

    After China, Thailand and India, Europe and the United States look at Myanmar. Are democracy friendly investments possible as Aung San Suu Kyi has called for?
    I don't think no one can stop them now from doing business in Burma, especially Western companies.  They have been waiting for this opportunity for long time.  And I also don't think one could push company to do "democracy friendly" investment.  For them, business means profit, nothing else.  The only difference is that Western company would have higher standard in term of labour rights, accountability, environmental protection, etc.  If they don't, people have higher chance to pressure them to do so than Asian companies for example.

    Speaking about Aung San Suu Kyi, what do you think about her recent trip to Europe? Was it a political success for her?
    I think it showed how powerful she is in the West.  All the countries she visited in the West treated her like a head of state.  But it is dangerous as people in the West might think that things are getting better in Burma and that she is back in power. This is far from the reality on the ground.  This is why I think she has repeatedly said in her speeches abroad that democracy is Burma is still a long way to go.

    Even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are opening offices in Burma. Can rights and guarantees be promoted alongside the economy?
    It is difficult to shift media attention to life of Burma's ordinary people.  It has always been like that in the past as well.  Most of the attention goes to main political events and Aung San Suu Kyi. However, some coverage about fighting in ethnic areas has been done for example.
    But now it is easier for tourists to visit Burma and journalists to get a visa. This will give average Burmese greater exposure to more tourists and foreign journalists.

    Behind Aung San Suu Kyi, are there future Burmese leaders who can contribute to change?  What do you expect from the parliamentary elections in 2015?
    Young people in Burma are very much involved in politics.  For example, the 88 generation group has considerable influence over the public. They mobilized the public in 2007 when Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest. In turn, their initiative led later to Buddhist monks to rise against the regime.  Burma's younger generation is still pretty much aware of the political struggle ahead, of the fight for democracy and human rights. They are still largely immune to business influence.
    But the long term imprisonment for political activists, lack of higher quality education, past isolation from the outside world and lack of trust between ethnic groups have definitely made the task of rebuilding the country very difficult, no matter who takes over state power in a new government. Rebuilding the country needs different kind of skills compared to leading the opposition against the military dictatorship.

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    See also

    28/09/2012 MYANMAR - UNITED NATIONS
    United Nations: Thein Sein to build a "harmonious society" with Aung San Suu Kyi
    President acknowledges "crucial" role played by opposition leader, and reiterates the value of "diversity" as part of the country's rich heritage. Stability, the rule of law and economic growth are his main goals. GDP should reach 7.7 per cent by 2015. An independent, multi-faith commission should investigate anti-Rohingya violence.

    17/03/2009 MYANMAR
    Burmese military junta arrests another leader connected to Aung San Suu Kyi
    An activist denounces the attempt to "destroy all those who are politically active" before the elections in 2010. Thousands of arrests ordered by the dictatorship against political opponents.

    11/10/2006 MYANMAR
    Constitution deliberations resume as student protests grow

    The National Convention met yesterday but the largest opposition party still refuses to join it. Demonstrations against the junta are gathering momentum across the country. Hundreds of people in Yangon and Mandaly are wearing white in protest against political detention and a petition by a student movement has gathered 120,000 signatures so far.



    19/07/2006 MYANMAR
    Myanmar marks "Martyrs' Day" with checkposts and bans

    Today is the anniversary of the assassination of the independence leader Aung San and eight of his ministers. The junta has forbidden his daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi and the democratic party from participating in the official ceremony.



    05/07/2011 MYANMAR
    Aung San Suu Kyi’s first trip outside Rangoon since her release, threats from the junta
    She has arrived in the ancient city of Bagan, where she was met by her son, journalists and plain clothes police. She will remain there four days. The government has warned the Nobel Peace Prize Winner not to carry out political propaganda, "for security reasons." Her last trip to Bagan was in 1989.



    Editor's choices

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    The documentation of that violent period was burned or buried in archives. Only a few survivors speak. The persecutors are silent in fear. The burning of religious objects and furnishings in Hebei. Bishops humiliated and arrested in Henan; nuns beaten with sticks and killed, or buried alive. A persecution that "is not over yet"; Today it is perhaps only more subtle.


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    Silence shrouds 50th anniversary of Cultural Revolution in China and in the West

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    The bloody campaign launched by Mao Zedong killed nearly 2 million people and sent  a further 4 million to concentration camps. Every Chinese has been marked by fear. But today, no memorial service has been planned and no newspaper article has appeared. The Party’s internal struggles and Xi Jinping’s fear of ending up like the USSR. Even today, as then, there are those in Europe who keep quiet and laud the myth of China. Many are predicting a return to the "great chaos".

     


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