U Thein Sein has approved a controversial population control law sponsored by nationalist Buddhist organisations but denounced by local women’s rights groups and by wide sections of the international community as primarily aimed at ethnic minorities.
Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has called on the government to convene an urgent session of six-way talks to discuss amendments to Myanmar’s constitution, while questioning whether there is a commitment to hold parliamentary elections on time.
Rampant human smuggling from Rakhine State has taken an even grimmer turn with first-hand accounts of quota-driven traffickers resorting to abducting children and forcing them onto Malaysia-bound boats.
The search for five migrant-carrying boats marooned off the Rakhine State coast continues, while 200 Bangladeshis rescued by Myanmar’s navy will soon be repatriated, according to officials.
A planned law to “protect” the 2008 constitution will include most of the original sections from the 1959 Constitution (Protection) Act, a member of a parliamentary committee involved in the process says.
Illegal loggers armed with chainsaws are wiping out the country’s teak forests, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has warned, complaining that China, a major market for illegally exported timber, is failing to cooperate with Myanmar.
The government is not backsliding, said President U Thein Sein last week.
University lecturer U Wai Yan Aung was sentenced on May 22 to three months with hard labour for leading a student protest in Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region.
November’s elections will be “very dirty” and the results could be a confusing medley, predicts the visiting head of a Washington-based lobby group campaigning for a tougher US policy toward Myanmar.