Coconuts Yangon reports that Aung San Suu Kyi, meeting Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, agreed with him that “one of the greatest challenges” facing their countries is “migration” and how to “co-exist” with “continuously growing Muslim populations.”
“Aung San Suu Kyi seems more comfortable with Europe’s right-wing populists than the countries which spent years supporting her struggle for democracy while she was under house arrest,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told Coconuts Yangon.
Burma Campaign UK on Wednesday called on Facebook to ban nearly 30 pages belonging to the Myanmar military and military-backed companies, reports the Irrawaddy.
Although Facebook had previously removed military pages, fake accounts and military mouthpiece pages, the statement said, more than 25 military and military-backed companies’ pages are still hosted on the platform.
“Whether the Facebook pages are spreading military propaganda or promoting military-owned businesses, either way they are promoting part of an institution accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Burma Campaign UK director Mark Farmaner said in the statement.
Facebook now has 18 million local users in Burma and is a parallel space for the conflict in Rakhine State, reports the website Coda Story.
In late 2018, and again in early 2019, Facebook announced it had dismantled sweeping “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior” (CIB) campaigns directly traceable to the military. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s State Counsellor Information committee [Facebook] page was full of hysterical posts about terrorists and implying on a daily basis that the [aid agencies were] assisting [Rohingya rebels],” said Mark Farmaner of Burma Campaign UK.
A decision by New York Times Style Magazine editors to pair an article on Burma’s struggles with its “brutal history and violent present” with a high-end fashion shoot has prompted a social media backlash, says Coconuts Yangon.
“Using genocide to promote high-end fashion shows quite a lack of judgement and sensitivity. It’s a bizarre feature,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told the online publisher. “It used genocide as a backdrop for a fashion shoot, makes the case against a tourism boycott which doesn’t exist, and manufactures a history of Burma which simply isn’t true.”
The UN’s fact-finding mission to Burma is calling for the military to be totally isolated, reports the Voice of America, because the leadership has done little to address widespread rights abuses around the country. The fact-finding mission is now seeking more information on the military’s business ventures in the hopes of helping countries to hit the generals in their pockets.
VOA cites Burma Campaign UK’s “dirty list” of 49 foreign companies doing business with the military or implicated in rights abuses in Burma.
The World Bank is considering granting a $100 million loan to Burma to implement a “Rakhine Recovery and Development Support Project”, reports Coconuts Yangon. But rather than address the violence against Rohingya Muslims that has driven hundreds of thousands of them from the country, the plan could make the bank complicit in crimes against the persecuted minority.
“The government is implementing apartheid against the Rohingya, and now it looks like the World Bank is offering to pay for it,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK. “The problem is that the government itself is implementing illegal discriminatory policies against the Rohingya. The World Bank should not be funding the government’s projects in Rakhine State at the same time the government discriminates against part of the population of that state. The World Bank risks complicity in government policies of discrimination, which contribute to the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya.”
Anna Roberts and Wai Hnin of Burma Campaign UK were at the teachers trade union NASUWT conference in Belfast this weekend. Lots of support for our campaign, including access to education for Rohingya children.
Wai Hnin, Burma campaign UK’s Campaigns Officer, at the NASUWT conference.
Mizzima reports on Burma Campaign UK’s call to the UK government to spend more on humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced people.
The proportion of British aid spent on humanitarian aid, which helps refugees and internally displaced people, has fallen, and now makes up just 17 percent of the budget. The UK government claims it is giving more aid to ethnic areas, but it is money for economic development, not extra humanitarian assistance to people living in the camps.
“Economic development is important, but people who have lost everything and have no way to earn a living should not be left in squalid camps without proper shelter, healthcare, food and education for their children,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “They must be prioritised when decisions on aid spending are made.”
One of three Kachin activists jailed for six months just for organising peaceful protests to help free villagers trapped in the jungle after the army attacked their villages has been released, reports Mizzima.
Nang Pu was released on 5 April from prison two months early. The three Kachin activists, Nang Pu, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat, were jailed in December.
A number of foreign activist groups had joined forces with activists in Myanmar and around the world demanding their release, and according to Burma Campaign UK the pressure worked.
Al Jazeera reports on progress following the publication of Burma Campaign UK’s “dirty list”, which named and shamed 49 companies from the US, Europe, India, China and elsewhere that do business with the military or are involved in projects that threaten human rights. Some companies named in the dirty list have responded by pulling out of new projects in Burma.
But even amid calls for Burma’s top generals to be prosecuted for genocide, military-owned businesses have escaped new sanctions by foreign governments. “You would think that imposing sanctions stopping companies doing business with the military would be a no-brainer, but not a single country has done so,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.