Fears are being expressed within Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) over the safety of its veteran executive committee member Win Tin.
According to Rangoon sources, threats have been made against Win Tin by members of the pro-regime Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and the paramilitary group Swan Arr Shin.
|Senior National League for Democracy leader Win Tin (in blue), 80, sits among party members on a pavement in front of a closed shop outside the inner barricade on the main road in front of Insein Central Prison in Rangoon on May 19. (Photo: Reuters)|
Aung Thein said he thought that despite the threats, Win Tin would reject any idea of employing bodyguards.
The 80-year-old former editor was released earlier this year after serving 19 years in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison. This week he joined youth members of the NLD who gathered outside the jail during the opening days of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial.
The USDA, a mass-based governmental organization, and Swan Arr Shin have been involved in several past attacks on democracy activists, particularly during the demonstrations of August and September 2007.
The Burmese Lawyers Council said in a statement in March that the USDA's affiliations with members of the military government and its own comments on transforming into a political party violated the Unlawful Associations Act as set out by the government.
Furthermore, the USDA's documented role in abuses against Burmese
citizens, including the 2003 Depayin massacre in which hundreds of opposition party supporters were killed, also contravened Burmese law.
Meanwhile, five jurists of the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School in the US have urged the UN to open an inquiry into atrocities in Burma.
According to a report issued by the jurists, the Burmese military junta forced the displacement of more than 3,000 villages in eastern Burma, and was also guilty of systematic sexual violence, torture and summary execution of innocent civilians.
The report was written by Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, Judge Patricia Wald of the US, Judge Pedro Nikken of Venezuela, Judge Ganzorig Gombosuren of Mongolia and Sir Geoffrey Nice of Great Britain.