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ASEAN leaders pressured over leaked Rohingya repatriation report

MANDALAY (UCAN): Rights groups have called out ASEAN leaders, who gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for the 34th ASEAN Summit from June 20 to 23, over a leaked report on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees which downplays the crackdown by Myanmar’s military on the Muslim minority group.  
 
Nearly two dozen Rohingya organisations and civil societies from around the world voiced concern over the leaked report from ASEAN’s Emergency Response and Action Team (ERAT).
 

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Myanmar’s bishops call for full shutdown of Myitsone dam

MANDALAY (UCAN): Myanmar’s Catholic bishops in have called for the complete shutdown of the China-backed hyrdro-electric Myitsone Dam.
 
In a statement released June 8, the bishops pleaded for all dam stakeholders “to review the Myitsone Dam project in Kachin State and stop it permanently” for the sake of the country’s people.
 
Charles Cardinal Maung Bo of Yangon, along with 18 bishops from 16 dioceses signed the statement after a biannual meeting held in Yangon from June 4 to 7.

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Hope fades for freedom of expression in Myanmar

While the world hailed Myanmar for granting a presidential pardon on May 7 to two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, after they spent 500 days behind bars for exposing a massacre of Rohingya Muslims, other human rights abuses continue unabated in the country.
 
On April 22, seven people from a satirical performance troupe called Peacock Generation were charged with criminal defamation for lambasting the military during their Lunar New Year celebrations in April.








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Religions have a role in Myanmar’s development

Charles Cardinal Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, has played a leading role in bringing religious leaders together as they seek ways to help the strife-torn country piece itself back together and move forward.
 








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Ramadan prayers in Yangon shut down

MANDALAY (UCAN): Some 100 monks led nationalist supporters into three Muslim quarters in south Dagon township, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, during the nights of May 14 and 15 and demanded that three temporary prayer sites, set up for Ramadan, be shut down. Under pressure, Muslim leaders closed down the prayer sites but have said the sites were allowed by the Yangon Division government.
 

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New archbishop for Mandalay

MANDALAY (UCAN): Pope Francis has named 59-year-old Father Marco Tin Win as the next archbishop of archdiocese of Mandalay, Myanmar.
 
Father Tin Win, the vicar general, will succeed Archbishop Nicholas Mang Thang, who has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75-year-old.
 
Charles Cardinal Maung Bo of Yangon, welcomed the announcement, saying that the archbishop-elect brings with him decades of quality service to the Church in Myanmar.
 

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Education leads to bright future for Myanmar’s young people

MANDALAY UCAN): Around 130 Catholic young people in Mandalay, Myanmar, are benefiting from a new approach to education at a centre set up by Columban Father Neil Magill.
 
The young people, who are of  Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Burmese and Akha ethnicity, come from 10 dioceses and are taking a three-year residential course at the Mandalay Archdiocesan Higher Education Centre(HEC) in the compound of St. John’s Catholic Church in Mandalay. 
 

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Move to amend Myanmar’s 2008 constitution approved

MANDALAY (UCAN): The parliament of the Union of Myanmar union parliament approved the formation of a 45-member committee to draft a bill to amend the country’s military-drafted 2008 constitution by a vote of 389 to 192 on February 19.
 
The plan was approved over the objections from military lawmakers and the main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
 

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Bishop calls for transparency over China-backed dam

MANDALAY (UCAN): Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam of Banmaw in Kachin State has asked Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to inform the public about the status of the China-backed Myitsone Dam project, following reports of increased Chinese pressure to restart it. The $29.8 billion project was suspended in September 2011.
 
“It is the right time to inform the public because a lack of transparency from the government is worrying the people,” Bishop Gam, an ethnic Kachin, said.
 

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Myitsone Dam protest leader vows to fight on

MANDALAY (UCAN): A court in Myanmar’s Kachin State fined Bernadette Ja Hkawng 10,000 kyats ($50) for violating the peaceful assembly law.
 
Police in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin, charged Hkawng, who organised a protest on February 7 against the Myitsone Dam project, for using unauthorised slogans and a loudspeaker. 
 
“I work for the people not only in Kachin but also across the country, so I am ready to face any challenge,” Hkawng said.
 

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