People of Chiang Mai celebrate HM King’s 75th Birthday
Town fathers organize loads of activities in honor of our most beloved Monarch
The Municipality of Chiang Mai has organized activities
to celebrate the King’s 75th birthday, which are to stretch over five
days. The activities started on December 1, with a parade following the
World AIDS Day going to the Thapae Gate where the grand opening was carried
On December 2, the opening ceremony of the Thai
Environment Day to display grateful thanks to His Majesty the King was held
at the Chiang Mai Art & Museum Hall, around the Three Kings Monument,
where there was also a singing contest held in the evening. On the same day,
the Keep Chiang Mai City Clean Project was officially opened in the
Budhasathan, the Buddhist religious site near Wat Uppakut.
On December 3, the bicycle parade was held to pay respect
the temple and to celebrate the King’s 75th birthday. On that day, the
monks were invited to lecture at the Thapae Gate.
On December 4, the monks’ bowl project began early in
the morning in front of the home for the aged and continued on to the
Sriphume Fort. The event was the pilot project for an ongoing project.
On December 5, a mass alms giving ceremony was carried
out followed by a bicycle parade to campaign for reducing pollution. Fish
were also released into the city’s moat. In the evening, the community
gathered at the Thapae Gate ground to bless the King, and Fathers’ Day
awards were presented in the Thapae Gate area.
Phayao confiscates over 100,000 ya-ba pills in 11 months
1,231 villains arrested
The Commissioner of Phayao Provincial Police Pol. Maj.
Gen. Rakchart Rajakit released the drug arrest statistics for the period
January 1 to November 20, which showed that most arrests were related to
amphetamine pills (ya-ba). He said that Phayao was on the drug supply route
from Chiang Rai, which increased the Phayao numbers.
The figures released indicated there were 1,231 arrests
on drug charges with the haul being 104,558 amphetamine pills; 6.3 gm of
heroin; 238.8 gm of ripe opium; 4,137.8 gm of raw opium; 434.7 gm ground
opium; 9,900 gm of opium seed; 45 gm fresh marijuana; 1,989 kg of dried
marijuana and 94 packs of the paste.
It appears that drug trafficking has not abated, with the
November statistics showing the police were still busy. There were 67
arrests, and police confiscated 1,226 amphetamine pills, 1.5 gm of raw
opium, 2 gm of ripe opium, 1,988 kg of dried marijuana and 3 packs of paste.
Huay Hong Krai Royal Development Study Center celebrates 20th Anniversary
Pradub Kladkempetch, director of the Huay Hong Krai Royal
Development Study Center, Doi Saket, Chiang Mai has released details of the
20th anniversary celebrations at the center which will take place December
11 to 15.
The activities and exhibitions cover His Majesty’s
royally-initiated projects, an academic seminar, fertilizer demonstrations,
preserved food and wine demonstrations, exhibitions of the fishery
management, frog strain breeding, mushroom breeding, and forestry, and a
In addition to this being the 20th anniversary, the
celebration will also be dedicated to the King’s 75th anniversary.
Lampang lays claim as capital of Ceramic Industry
Somsak Thepsutin, the minister of industry presided over
the Lampang Ceramic Fair, which aims to support and promote the ceramic
industry in Thailand. This is particularly important for Lampang, as it is
known as the center of the ceramic industry in Thailand.
thousands of ceramics are on display at the Lampang Ceramic Fair.
Ceramics are the main industry of the province, and there
are more than 200 factories producing ceramic products. The number of people
given employment by the industry is more than 10,000, and the total value of
products is over 500 million baht per year.
the streets are filled with ceramics for sale - and this monk knows a
bargain when he sees one.
Exhibited during the fair there will be the national research studies on
ceramics, a ceramic product contest, ceramic production demonstrations, a
ceramic design contest, as well as quality ceramic products. The fair runs
from December 2-10.
Phayao gem cutters amongst world’s best says gemologists
86 trainees graduate from gem cutting training
Kwanmueng Bamrungpanichthavorn, president of the Prakai
Ploy Company, said that the standard of diamond gem cutting in Phayao is
equal to the best in the world, in his opinion. These remarks were made at a
graduation ceremony for 86 gem cutting trainees in Phayao.
The Phayao Gems Industrial Center in cooperation with U
Lim Company Limited and Prakai Ploy Company issued certificates to the young
trainees. The ceremony was presided over by Phayao Governor Somsak
Boonpleung at the end of November.
The 86 trainees included people involved in diamond
cutting, plus others who had specialized in other fine gems and cutting
The training course was aimed to encourage and invite
national industrial enterprises to consider distributing some work to the
rural areas. This is a way to increase the country people’s income, reduce
immigration to the big cities and to create a system of cooperation between
the government and private sectors.
Hill tribes ask for tolerance
Radio program aims to spread good image of hill tribe
Local hill tribes are hopeful that the hill tribe radio
programs will build tolerance by society to the several hill tribes in the
country, and spread a good image of the hill tribes so that the racial
problems can be overcome and everybody can live peacefully together.
A seminar on the development of the hill tribe radio was
arranged by the Chiangmai Public Relations Office, Region 3 and the
representatives of several of the hill tribes resulting in good exchange of
ideas. The keynote speakers discussed the role of the radio station and the
development of hill tribe life style, headed by Father Joni O Do Chao and
Father Joni, the leader of a Karen tribe, indicated that
social problems could be solved when people showed good tolerance towards
each other, and what the hill tribe radio needed to do is to spread
knowledge on the various hill tribes. He emphasized the point that people
should accept that in each group, there are both good and bad people just
like any other society. He asked society not to stereotype hill tribe people
as if they were all alike.
This opinion was backed up by Panadda who said that in Thai society,
people of different cultures can live together without any change in their
Chiang Mai’s famous Flower Festival on track say organizers
Miss Floral Beauty to be contested
Chiang Mai will hold its 27th Flower Festival on February
7-9. This flower festival is a draw card for tourists from all over the
world who come to see the flower float parade, the flower display, Miss
Bupphachart (Miss Floral Beauty) contest, and many other interesting
The organizers have promised there will be 9 activities
at the Naowarat Bridge, flower exhibitions at Suan Buak Had, Kad Mua at the
provincial governor’s residence, Miss International Bupphachart Contest,
the flower picture contest, the international food fair, a music concert,
and entries from the One Village - One Product campaign.
The flower parade, the highlight of the festival will be
start at the Naowarat Bridge 8 a.m. on February 8 and then move to Suan Buak
Had Public Park. The flower floats will be parked at Suan Buak Had to let
the tourists get close to these decorated vehicles.
Lamphun looking hard at environmental and work safety
Encourage factories to look to safer practices
The Lumphun Provincial Labor and Welfare Office in
cooperation with the Human Resource Development Association, and the Work
Place Safety and Security Officers Club of Lumphun arranged a seminar last
month to define the role and responsibility of the various committees
regarding biological and environmental safety in the workplace.
The seminar brought out the latest knowledge on safety
and security systems to the security guards in factories, aimed at
encouraging the factories to look to safer working practices.
The factories must institute checking systems to
investigate the cause of any accidents happening in the work environment.
The objectives of this seminar were to demonstrate safe working practices
and attempt to prevent dangerous chemical fires.
SMS now available from home phones
TT&T celebrates 10 years
TT&T has released details of new services for its
users, including T-SMS, the short message sending service from the home
phone. The director of TT&T Public Company Limited in region 5, Prakit
Wangpat, revealed the new service during the 10th year anniversary of the
company. In addition there is call line identification service available for
At the Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Complex the company will be
holding T-Trends exhibitions to showcase the latest information and services
that will serve the users in all zones including T-SMS, T-Net, T-Box, Web
Phone, and Public Web Phone and Exhibition for school zone. T-Trends will be
held December 20-22.
Chiang Rai artists honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great
Children invited to learn from the greats
Wanchai Jongsuthamanee, the mayor of Chiang Rai
Municipality was very proud to announce that the Municipality of Chiang Rai,
in cooperation with the Chiang Rai artists, would celebrate the King’s
75th Anniversary with a display of local art from December 4 to February 28
which will also show their grateful thanks to the King for what he has done
for Thai citizens.
The display will be at the Chiang Rai local products
center, beside the municipality school in Chiang Rai Muang District.
Included in the art works of Chiang Rai artists, there will be items from
renowned national artists Thawal Dachanee, Chalermchai Kositpipat, and the
Chiang Rai artistic team of 15 people.
There will also be local performances in several styles,
plus local music, northern dances, tung flag performances, and poetry
readings by the Sea-Write Award poet, Mala Khamchan.
Plus, there will be children’s painting contests and
Thai dancing contests among Chiang Rai students. Every weekend during the
celebration, children will be encouraged to spend their time learning from
famous artists who will be taking turns teaching the students sculpture,
drawing and painting, to promote Chiang Rai as an artistic city.
South China offers investment opportunities
Sign up now
The Bank of Thailand (Northern region) is hosting the
seminar “Avenues and Chances for Investment in Southern China” on
Friday, December 20 at the Bank of Thailand office, Chiang Mai, from 8.30
am. to 4.30 p.m.
Mai deputy governor, Bovorn Rattanaprasit strikes the gong to mark the
opening ceremony of the Bank of Thailand’s 60th anniversary celebration
and exhibition of 100 years of Thai banknotes. The event is being organized
at BoT’s northern branch.
This seminar is part of the 100 year anniversary of Thai
Banknotes and the 60th anniversary of the Bank of Thailand, and is aimed at
supporting business investment in the north of Thailand, and exchanging
ideas between government and private organizations about the potential for
All interested people can confirm their seat at Bank of Thailand,
Northern Region, Chiang Mai, tel. 053 931 145-6, fax 053 224 168, 053 931
163 before December 17.
50% of Chiang Mai motorcyclists are unlicensed
New push underway to correct this
According to government figures, more than 50 percent of
motorcycle riders in Chiang Mai are riding unlicensed, especially amongst
teenagers. In cooperation with the Thai Motorcycle Enterprise Association (TMEA),
Chiang Mai Provincial Land and Transport Office, Provincial Traffic Police
Region 5 and Esso (Thailand) Public Company Limited, a training project
promoting riding with safety and saving energy will be held on December 7
from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Thapae Gate, The Empress Hotel and the Chiang Mai
Provincial Land and Transport Office.
from government and private sector prepare for the riding safety campaign.
The students come from all over Chiang Mai, including
Chiang Mai University, Mae Jo University, Payap University, Rajamangala
Institute of Technology Northern Campus, Rajabhat Institute of Chiang Mai
and other private colleges.
These students will learn traffic regulations from
traffic officers and they can be tested for a driving license, which will be
provided at the Chiang Mai Provincial Land and Transport Office. Other
activities provided in the project are energy saving, environmental
awareness and demonstration of safe riding.
The Thai Motorcycle Enterprise Association’s project
director, Vinai Kitchoke said the project will begin first at Chiang Mai,
one of the ten highest risk provinces, followed by Nakhon Ratchasima,
Chonburi, Prachinburi, Samut Prakarn, Phuket, Songkla, Udorn Thani and Ubon
Ratchathani. Chiang Mai is the first province to benefit from this campaign,
and if successful, the project will be extended to the other provinces.
Sumpan Anantamek, Esso (Thailand) Public Company Limited’s government
relations manager for public affairs, said this project is one of their
environmental concern projects and the company is fully behind it.
Wine and sausages in Lamphun
Locals gearing up for next year’s festival
The 2nd Lamphun Walking Street, Wine and Sai Ua (northern
sausage) festival will be held January 17-19, promoted by U Mong
Municipality. The main focus will be to show the diversity of agricultural
products available in the region, with the Tambon U Mong Culture Center in
Lamphun being the exhibition arena.
Khayan Wipromchai, the mayor of Tambon U Mong
Municipality said that according to the government’s One Village - One
Product project, the municipality aims to publicize the community products
and extend the agricultural produce market for the farmers.
Longan and fruit wine from Tambon U Mong, Thai whisky and
Sai Ua will be the main products in this festival. It is also hoped that the
festival will attract tourists, leading to a sustainable economy for the
During the festival, U Mong locals will dress in Lanna
style while the main activities are wine and Sai Ua sales, One Village - One
Product stalls, stage performances, wine production demonstrations, wine and
Sai Ua consumption competitions, Lanna Walking Street done in the style
corresponding to 50-60 years ago, and local instrumental shows.
U.S. Embassy screens documentary on human trafficking
Documentary filmed in Thailand, Burma,
Kathleen Johnson, wife of U.S. Ambassador Darryl N.
Johnson, recently hosted a screening of the documentary film entitled
“Trading Women,” a film on the trafficking in women and children in the
The newly released film was shown to senior Thai
government officials, NGO representatives, and members of other diplomatic
missions in an attempt to fight the human trafficking issue. The showing was
only the second time the film had been seen in Thailand. The documentary’s
producer and director, Dr. David Feingold, a consultant to UNESCO, provided
an introduction to the film and answered questions afterwards.
This documentary had been filmed over the past two years
in Thailand, Burma, and Yunnan Province of China. It explores the complex
social and economic forces, which underpin the flow of ethnic minority
highland women and children into Thailand for sexual exploitation.
Interviews included in the film range from parents of
women and girls who have been trafficked, to U.S. Under Secretary of State
Paula Dobriansky, senior United Nations officials, brothel owners, and the
victims of the trade themselves.
For further information on the documentary “Trading
Women,” please contact Dr. David Feingold at 02-391-0577 ext. 503.
Chiang Rai host to universities conference and Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng presided over the
annual Thailand University Conference at Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang
Rai. Entitled “The Development of Thailand into a Learning Society” it
was held at the end of November.
Prime Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng presided over the annual Thailand
University President Conference titled, “The Development of Thailand into
a Learning Society”, held at Mae Fah Luang University.
participants came to Chiang Rai to share their opinions about the
country’s education development.
Deputy PM Jaturon said that for Thailand to develop as a
learning based society we must focus on education which will lead our
society in the same direction. This should commence with standard levels of
instruction even in children’s centers.
Moreover, the Deputy PM underlined the infrastructure needed in
developing management skills that can give the opportunities and protect the
lifestyle of the populace. This will bring equality to the country as well.
U.S. Transfers $22 Million War Reserve Stockpile to Thailand
U.S. Ambassador Darryl N. Johnson and the Supreme
Commander Director for Logistics (J4) VADM Apichart Pengsritong signed a
Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on November 26 for the transfer to Thai
ownership of U.S. munitions currently stored in Thailand under the War
Reserve Stockpile. The value of the munitions transferred to Thailand is
approximately $US22 million (about 946 million baht).
War Reserve Stockpile transfers are just one of many
ongoing U.S. programs to support the national security needs and priorities
of the Royal Thai Government, a valued treaty ally for almost fifty years.
Other elements include support to the Thai humanitarian demining program;
the Thai peacekeeping training program; military education and training (IMET)
and exchanges; Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in support of Thai border
security needs; and exercise related construction and medical services, as a
part of Cobra Gold and other annual military-military exercises.
The U.S. Congress authorized the War Reserve Stockpile
program in the 1980s with U.S. Treaty allies in Asia, specifically Thailand
and South Korea, as a way of meeting the mutual national security aims of
the U.S. and Asian allies in potential times of need. The U.S. and Thailand
made equal contributions to the stockpile, stored separately.
With the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Congress
authorized the closeout of the War Reserve Stockpile program. Thai and U.S.
negotiators drafted the MoA this spring, and both governments endorsed the
text. With the signing of the MoA, transfer of ownership of the U.S. portion
of the stockpile to Thailand will now commence.
Industrial restructuring plans discussed
A special “Lunch Talk” on industrial restructuring
was organized recently at the Empress Hotel, Chiang Mai by the Office of
Economic Industry along with Federation of Chiang Mai Industry, Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Promotion Center.
guest speakers and guests pose for a photo session after the lunch talk held
at the Empress Hotel. Damri Sukhotanung, director of the Office of Economic
Industry is shown seated center.
Udom Puasakul, deputy Chiang Mai governor, said during
the talk that the country’s agricultural sector is changing into a more
industrialized sector, resulting in more industrial competitiveness on the
global market. “In the world of business competitiveness, at present, the
winner must be the more clever or more expert and he should have to look at
both himself and the other competitors,” he said.
Deputy Governor Udom said integration and cooperation
could bring success to all sides, but the government sector has still both
strong and weak points, adding that all sectors should do their best, no
At the luncheon, Damri Sukhotanung, the director of the
Office of Economic Industry presented a lecture entitled, “Reshape and
Reinvent Industrial Competitiveness”. “China will be the leading mass
production country ... it is currently much stronger than Thailand,” he
He noted that besides Mainland China, Vietnam and
Bangladesh (especially textiles products), Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia are
pressuring us for competitiveness during these times of change.
“The consumers’ behavior has changed,” he said,
adding that “Quality and the supply chain or value added is another
important strategy for today’s industrial development.” He remarked that
the strategy on industrial competitiveness - which is regarded as the
development of global industry and niche marketing - is promoting Thailand
as the “Detroit of Asia” for motor vehicle production, as well as
tourism and health, and as a tropical fashion center.
However, every Thai product needs standards and quality
and he believes that the government must lead the private sector to look for
change and SME opportunities.
He noted that the English language is now almost
universal for communications in the world of fashion and tourist
destinations, engineering in science and technology development, as well as
the promotion of E-commerce with information communications technology, and
must be promoted if the country wishes to improve its industrial
These remarks are in line with the Thaksin administration policy on
opening liberal trade with China and India, he said, noting that by next
year Thai economy expects to improve to a 5 % growth rate.
Bangladeshi PM promotes Chittagong - Chiang Mai link
H.E. Begum Khaleda Zia, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh
recently visited Chiang Mai, encouraging friendly relations between
Bangladesh and Thailand. He stated that both the societies have the same
age-old respect for the values of an agriculturally based rural society. The
people of the two countries share the same habits of rice-eating peoples,
and have the same traditional traits centering around the monsoon rains.
The old bonds between the countries were rekindled when
Bangladesh first established its diplomatic mission in Thailand in 1972, one
of the first few missions that the nascent nation established after its
independence in 1972. Thailand soon reciprocated by opening its diplomatic
office in Bangladesh in 1974. Since then, both the countries have been
active in promoting the cause of international peace, justice and
development, through many initiatives in political and economic fields.
The foundations of present day close friendship between
Bangladesh and Thailand was laid down by the state visit of Shaheed
President Ziaur Rahman in 1979 at the invitation of His Majesty the King
Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great. A new momentum in the bilateral relations
between Bangladesh and Thailand was set after the present government of
Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia was elected in October 2001. On an
invitation from the Prime Minister, the Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra then
visited Bangladesh in July this year. The visit created an enormous good
will between the two countries, he asserted.
With closer links that would be established by the new
Chittagong -Chiang Mai air routes, the business men of the two countries
would be engaged in trade and exploring the huge investment opportunities
that are available in Bangladesh. Today Thailand is a very popular
destination for Bangladeshis. In fact, Bangladesh, according to 2001
statistics, ranks third in terms of daily tourist spending in Thailand.
Bangladesh, claimed the prime minister of that country,
is an attractive destiny for investment. Democracy, though young, has found
a strong foothold in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has carefully designed an
investor friendly liberal economic regime with diverse lucrative incentives,
establishment of bonded industrial zones, offers of long tax relief and free
repatriation of profits.
Bangladesh has joined Prime Minister Thaksin’s dream of
Asian Cooperation Dialogue since its beginning and ardently supports his
ideas of regional monetary and financial instruments like Asian Bonds to
curb the possibilities of any future exodus of wealth from Asia to the West.
To supplement the government initiatives, Thai Airways is
connecting Chiang Mai and the Bangladesh commercial capital Chittagong from
December 2002. A short hop of an hour would connect the Northern Thai
capital and the Southern port city of Bangladesh encouraging further trade
and interaction. Chittagong could also be the gateway to the beauty of
Bangladesh for Thai tourists.
The new corridors of communication created by direct
links between Chittagong and Chiang Mai and Chittagong and Bangkok and
increased passenger and cargo air flights between Bangkok and Dhaka will
surely open up new markets for both countries.
It is expected that Thailand would be importing more
goods from Bangladesh which could include high quality products such as jute
carpets, ceramics, tea, silk materials, frozen sea food, potatoes, leather
goods, etc. Thai entrepreneurs could look at the potential domestic market
in Bangladesh and set up joint ventures in areas such as construction and
management of hospitals and hotels, elevated highways, agro and food
Prime Minister Thaksin gets behind the ICT industry
Receives award from ASOCIO
PM Thaksin Shinawatra emphasized at the ASOCIO 2002
General Assembly and Symposium at the Westin Hotel, Chiang Mai, that by
using information communication technology (ICT) both government and private
sectors, especially small to medium enterprises (SME), will find assistance
in the decision-making process. “Decision makers can do this sitting in
front of a screen or monitor,” he said.
Thaksin Shinawatra received the ASOCIO IT Award for his promotion of new
technologies in Thailand. The Asian Oceania Computing Industry Organization
(ASOCIO) conferred the IT award to PM Thaksin for his pioneering role in the
development of the Thai ICT industry. The award was presented by Harres Tan,
chairman of the ASOCIO at the ASOCIO 2002 event hosted by the Association of
Thai Computer Industry (ATCI).
He stressed that people who use their computer and ICT to
help make their decisions are those who are knowledgeable - but these people
are in a minority. The PM stated the country must produce more personnel in
the IT field.
During the symposium, PM Thaksin received the ASOCIO IT
Award for his promotion of new technologies in Thailand. During his
acceptance speech, the PM said that ASOCIO signals the beginning of a
crucial link between the public and private sectors in the IT domain, a much
needed partnership in this Information Age. “I strongly believe that this
kind of partnership is the key to success for any nation in this era of
digital economy where businesses are taking a more prominent role in guiding
A close working relationship with the private sector is
essential in order to find the best answers and reach sound decisions. A
mutually reinforcing partnership is vital, particularly in the realm of IT
where industry continues to be at the forefront of the dynamics of global
activities. “I envisage this as a new partnership and I am gratified to be
standing here in front of this distinguished audience of high-ranking public
officers and key players in the IT industry to witness this new
development,” he said.
He added, “I am confident that as a willing partner,
the Thai government will exercise an appropriate role in assisting the
industry in a way that will result not only in the intermediate prosperity
of the industry, but also the ultimate prosperity of the citizens at
During the address, PM Thaksin also referred to the
software industry, saying the Thai government has long recognized the
importance of the IT industry, particularly software, as a key economic
driver. “With the over-growing significance of IT, the government believes
that the strength of our software industry is one critical keystone that can
lead us to sustainable employment.”
“The government is planning to establish the Software
Industry Promotion Board (SIPB) and the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA),
which will be comprised of members from both public and private sectors to
ensure that any promotional initiatives put into practice reflect both the
national agendas and the requirements of the industry.”
He added that besides partnership at the national level,
partnership at the international level is equally important. “I was more
than pleased to see that my initiative on the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)
has been warmly embraced by our Asian colleagues. The ACD was officially
inaugurated in June 2002 and Thailand was given the privilege of hosting and
chairing the meeting
“The ACD principle is to create strategic linkages,
while also enhancing the comfort level among participants. It is an
Asia-wide agreement for the exchange of ideas and experiences among
high-level policy makers. It is a forum to foster cooperation in numerous
areas including human resource development, bridging the digital divide,
science and technology, culture and tourism, and SME development.
“We have shared together ... experiences that helped me to learn and
CMU active in fight to stop violence against women
The Women’s Study Center, Faculty of Social Science,
Chiang Mai University has just run two seminars to find ways to relieve, and
make publicly aware, the problem of violence against women. Two seminars
were addressed by many renowned female activists, with topics covering
Violence within the Family and War, Women and Rape.
The first seminar highlighted a report from the Puan Ying
Foundation showing that rape and violence against women were on the increase
while the age of the victims is dropping. In 1996, the ages of the victims
were between 11-15 year-old, and in 1998, the age had dropped to become 4-15
The latest report from Dr. Panpimol Lortrakool, of the
Psychiatric Department stated that 30% of married women were bullied at
least once in their married life, and 20% of the bullied women were
pregnant. It also claimed that the judicial process is not equitable and
actually produces more suffering. The police tend to ignore abused wives,
considering that it is a domestic matter and not a police one.
The other seminar covering “Women, War, and Rape”
dealt with sexual violence against ethnic minority women in Burma. The
seminar was moderated by Dr. Pinkaew Luengararmsri; CMU active in fight to
stop violence against women Pennapa Hongthing, the translator of a book
“Licence to Rape”; Ajarn Chalardchai Rmitanond from the Rural
Development War, and Women Foundation; and Ajarn Sarawanee Sukhumwat.
The seminar emphasized the accusations in the book
“License to Rape” which have been documented by the Shan Human Rights
Foundation (SHRF) and the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) demonstrating
the widespread and systematic use of rape as a weapon of war by the Burmese
military regime in Shan State, Burma. “Licence to Rape” documents the
claims of the hundreds of women and girls identified as victims of the State
Peace and Development Council’s (SPDC) terror tactic against citizens of
the Shan state. According to the report, the rapes were committed by
officers of 52 battalions, in most cases, in front of their troops and in
front of their junior officers. The rapes often involved extreme brutality
and torture. 61% were gang rapes, and in come cases, women were allegedly
detained and raped repeatedly for months.
A case history was given, regarding Naang Hla, who was 16
years old, had been married for 3 years, and was 7 months pregnant. She
lived with her husband in a small hut on their farm near a small village in
Central Shan State. It was claimed that in August 2001 Burmese troops from
Light Infantry Battalion No. 246 came into their farm. They beat and
tortured her and even though she was seven months pregnant, they raped her
continuously. All 10 soldiers raped her while others stood outside the hut,
laughing when she cried and called for help. They had tied up her husband
close to the hut so he could hear everything that was happening to his wife.
The torture lasted from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. When they
finished with her, they took her husband away and he has not been seen
On November 25, over 2,000 individuals and organizations
from different parts of the world, outraged by the Burmese military’s
licensing of rape made their voices heard in the Office of United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Anan in New York City. The petition is part of the
campaign that was launched by international women’s groups.
The Thai Action Committee For Democracy in Burma, Thai
Religious groups for Peace, Alliance for the Advancement of Women, the
Migrant Assistance Project, Women and Constitution Network, and the Asian
Forum for Human Rights and Development also urge the Burmese Government to
stop the violation of women’s human rights, implement a nationwide
cease-fire in order to put an end to the suppression, and to implement fully
and respect international declarations and conventions to protect civilians,
women and children.