Category Archives: WIN

WIN Facilitates UN-Focused Human Rights Training Programme

End of October 2010, WIN facilitated the training of Karen community health and relief workers for human rights documentation for the United Nations (UN). During the course, 10 Karen community workers leaned about the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Children’s Rights in Conflict.

Every time we talk to members of the Karen community about getting their message out to the world, they say they want to tell the UN, and rightly so. The United Nations has the power to enforce international cuts in communication, trade, military support and diplomatic relations to any government they feel is a threat to peace. Training programmes like these, therefore, aim help local community run groups to bridge connections with the UN.  Now, when abuses are suffered in their communities, they have the capacity to report these crimes on an international level.

Solid UN-approved evidence of Burma’s war crimes are tantamount to gaining international support for the country’s victims of war, both political and funding for relief and development. However, the international body often struggles to gain information from areas of war due to restrictions put in place the ruling military regime. Therefore, these community workers have been very enthusiastic to begin recording cases of abuse, which they come across regularly, and then report directly.

This also comes at a crucial time politically, as western governments across the globe are calling for the UN to implement a Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Abuses in Burma. It is crucial that the UN is receiving up-to-date reports on the horrific crimes committed by the Burma Army from all angles so that these calls can be acted upon.


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Filed under The Initiatives, The Karen, Training, WIN

WIN gives presentation to the European Union

In September, WIN’s Kim Jolliffe traveled from the border to Bangkok to talk to representatives from eight European Union Governments, on ‘Internal Displacement in the Black Areas of Northern Karen State.’

Showing video and photographic examples of Burma Army operations and the devastation caused in one of the country’s most war-torn regions, he made a case for a need for more cross-border aid and understanding of the situation among all those reassessing Burma policy. While many have heard numerous statistics about the human rights situation in the region, few understand the continuing severity of the situation or of its implications on Burma’s development as a whole. Step-by-step explanations of the process as well as clear visual representation of the frequency of attacks on civilians were used at the talk to give a deeper understanding.

Some European governments and funders have begun to lean in favour of supporting legitimate aid and development groups working with the Burmese government’s permission, rather than those working on underground aid or civil education. While this shift has proved beneficial for many communities in non-conflict regions, the same approach cannot be applied to those in areas where rebel fighters are present, as civilians are attacked regularly, indiscriminate of age, sex or occupation.

Not only will people in these regions be unable to vote in the upcoming military-dominated elections, but the leaders that have supported them for decades will in most cases have never participated in Burma’s political discourse, making the incorporation of these people into the country a far-away prospect. For decades, the ruling regime has tried to achieve this process through a violent strategy of forceful assimilation aiming to destabilise entire communities while brutally subjugating ethnic minority groups and their claims to sovereignty. This has been attempted through regular destruction of houses, farms, schools and markets as well as attacks on individuals, using torture and rape.

It is important for all of those working on policy or allocating funding for aid to the Burma to understand the deeper factors effecting stability and the long-term risks politically if these populations continue to remain isolated and oppressed. Therefore, WIN has made advocacy at this level a top priority, and will continue to give the nation’s most oppressed war-affected communities the voice they need to stand up for their rights.

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Filed under Internal Displacement, Military, The Karen, WIN

The World Missed The Real Olympics

We missed it.  How easily came the deception of bright games in Vancouver, when the real Olympics played out darkly well beyond the world’s attention and care. The clamoring international media poured exaltation upon adoration on Olympic hopefuls in search of champions with poignant stories of personal trials and tribulation for us to admire.  Yet the real games played out darkly on deadly slopes in the high jungle mountains of Eastern Burma. Here tens of thousands of innocent villagers and defenseless hill tribe refugees were being hunted down – the prize for them being to just stay alive in a race with no end.   Still harder to imagine is that the same international community that pumped tens of millions of dollars into the Vancouver games, also pumps billions of dollars into the hands of Burma’s brutal military dictator – one of the worst human rights violators on the planet.

All the forces of nature in the cyclone that hit Burma with catastrophic devastation in 2008, now pale in comparison to a “more perfect storm” of profit-hungry globalization and consumerism devoid compassion.  This all swirls in perfect indifference and neglect of innocents in Burma, who hope against all odds for a champion for their cause.  As the world and its new Olympians look forward to bright futures, it is now dead winter of the perennial Burma Olympics proceeding  headlong on a dark run with no end in sight for people oppressed…always with hope, but ever without champions.

Tim Heinemann, Founder

Worldwide Impact Now

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Filed under Corporate Interests, Globalization, History, Military, The People, WIN

The Politics of Building a Gas Pipeline

source: Shwe Gas Movement

While the Western world continues to debate whether economic sanctions can make change in Burma, the sale of gas to China from the offshore Shwe gas fields in Arakan State threatens to raise the junta’s revenue from foreign investment to new heights and strengthen business ties throughout Asia.

Furthermore, the parallel gas and oil pipelines, which are reportedly starting construction this month from Arakan State to Yunnan Province, China, via Magwe Division, Mandalay Division and Shan State, have been criticized by human rights groups as a major contributing factor to the recent conflict in northern Shan State.

According to a report titled “Corridor of Power” released by the Shwe Gas Movement (SGM), the pipeline will make the junta at least US $29 billion over the next 30 years. Much of this is expected to be spent on military expansion, despite the current famine in Arakan State and poverty across the country.

Moreover, the report claims, construction of the pipelines, which are being built primarily by the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), is likely to lead to human rights abuse across the country and a “re-ignition of fighting between the regime and ceasefire armies stationed along the pipeline.”

According to Khur Hseng from Shan Sapawa, who has been researching the impact of the pipeline in Shan State since 2007, these fears were confirmed during the armed confrontation between the military government and the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in late August. The fighting took place just 50 km from the proposed pipeline route, killing 200 people and leading to a mass exodus of up to 30,000 civilians to China.

Read  the entire article by WIN’s Advocacy Manager JJ Kim, orignally published by The Irrawaddy here

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Filed under Burma in the News, Corporate Interests, Globalization, Internal Displacement, Military, Natural Resources, Reports, WIN

US Policy Bodes Ill for Burmese Refugees

Following pressure from the US to crackdown on human trafficking, the Malaysian Immigration Department has decided to go after all employers of illegal migrants, tens of thousands of which are Burmese refugees.

photo by: Maggie Lemere

In the process,  it has been predicted that large numbers of migrants and refugees themselves will be arrested and held in detention camps, which are already horrifically overcrowded. Human rights abuse has become commonplace in these camps and unhygienic conditions have led to widespread disease and an average 18 deaths per month.

The crackdown began on Monday 15th February. Reporting for Thailand-based Democratic Voice of Burma, WIN’s Advocacy Manager, JJ Kim, brings the voices of oppressed groups in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to life, read his account here.

photo by: Maggie Lemere

WIN are following the raids in Malaysia very closely, for further information, contact us directly on

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Filed under Burma in the News, Refugees, WIN

Medical Aid Beyond Borders

Karen farmers return to farm lands where the Burmese Army has placed landmines. Mobile medical clinics and backpack medics are the only care these farmers have in the war zone.

In Eastern Burma, decades of civil war, wide spread human rights abuses and increasing numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) continue to exacerbate the human dilemma for primitive ethnic minorities. With the situation shows no sign of change, there is a dire need to provide health care to those who are the most vulnerable.  This effort will hopefully increase the chances of survival of these people and their rich tribal cultures that have evolved over two millennial.

While the overall health system in Burma is poor beyond imagination, it is ethnic minority farmers and IDPs in Eastern Burma who suffer the most. Public health indicators across Eastern Burma resemble those of countries who are facing widespread humanitarian disasters, such as Sierra Leone, Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Malaria is still the most common cause of death with 12% of the population being infected at any given time.

Due to the non-existence of government health programs and the government’s strategy to drive these ethnics off ancestral lands, these people can only receive health care that is provided by community based organizations (CBOs) and non government organizations (NGOs) willing to venture into the war zone.

Worldwide Impact Now has been working with ethnic Karen CBOs for the past 5 years, supporting them in their efforts to provide medical care to villagers and IDPs across Karen State.  This is in the form of communications equipment, digital cameras, office equipment, transportation, stipends for youth health workers, as well as training on human rights reporting.  The Karen’s health services are the most critical factor in these ethnic minority’s people struggle for survival in the face of an overwhelming Burmese Army of over 400,000 soldiers attacking villagers for decades.   It is a “last stand” situation for these people now as Burmese armed force steadily isolate and strangled remaining hide sites.

Tim Heinemann, Founder
Worldwide Impact Now

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Filed under Landmine Victims, Medical, Military, Photography, Support Programs, The Initiatives, The Karen, The People, WIN

WIN’s Thanks for 2008

School girls in Ee Htu Ta refugee camp, Northern Karen State.   Their camp is within mortar range of Burmese armed forces controlling the high ground overlooking this border riverine camp.  Here over 4000 refugees have fled from the war zone in Northern Karen State.  They are exactly who (with your support) we at Worlwide Impact Now seek to protect and empower against an oppressive regime.

With the close of 2008 we would like to express our gratitude for your interest and support for the oppressed people of Burma.

Worldwide Impact Now (WIN) was able to help this year with the on-going humanitarian crisis in Burma recently high lighted in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.  This was made possible because of your care. On behalf of the many refugees assisted, we would like to say “Thanks”.

In 2009 we will resume our focus on Eastern Burma, where the Burmese Army continues its campaign to drive ethnic minorities off ancestral lands rich in natural resources.

In the New Year we look forward to summarizing the specific impacts made this past year, as well as explaining the focus for 2009.

Again, thank you from all of us at WIN for impacts you made possible this year.

Burma Matters…

Tim Heinemann, Founder
Worldwide Impact Now

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Filed under Internal Displacement, Perspective, Refugees, The Initiatives, The Karen, WIN