Demonstration planned as Thein Sein arrives in Norway
26 February 2013: Communities from Burma based in Norway are preparing to stage a rally in Oslo as President Thein Sein arrives in a non-EU country today.
The demonstration, which will demand an immediate end to continued human rights abuses in Burma, starts in front of Hotel Continental in Oslo around 4:30pm today.
Myang Tulum Hpaw, one of the organizers, said the rally is aimed at raising awareness about ongoing issues facing ethnic nationalities in Burma.
“We are organizing a peaceful rally to show the current reforms have not reached out to civilians in ethnic areas. We want genuine peace and stability,” added the Kachin leader.
One of the Chin community leaders told Chinland Guardian that western governments must not be much blinded by the current changes, adding: “People in ethnic areas don’t feel safe yet but are still in fear.”
A statement by the protest organizers said the Norwegian government should not be welcoming President Thein Sein while serious human rights abuses continues to be committed in Burma.
“These include ongoing attacks against ethnic civilians, and rape, torture, forced labour, and executions,” added the statement.
Kjetil Elsebutangen, Norwegian foreign ministry spokesman, said that Norway thinks it’s important to support positive developments in Burma although there is still more to be done, according to AFP.
Tomorrow, the 67-year-old president is set to hold an hour-long open discussion at the House of Literature in Oslo, where questions can be asked by audience.
During his European visit, Thein Sein is to discuss issues pertaining to Burma’s reform process, economic cooperation and rights-related matters as he is expected to forge stronger ties with the West.
President Thein Sein, former Prime Minister and military general, gains praises from western countries following ‘democratic’ changes taking place under his leadership since 2011.
As part of his first ‘goodwill’ visit to five countries in Europe such as Norway, Finland, Austria, Belgium and Italy, U Thein Sein is also to meet with Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
Thein Sein is scheduled to be back to Burma on 8 March.
Van Biak Thang