The just-announced main competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will feature two Czech films: Adam Sedlák’s Domestique, and Winter Flies by Slovenian-born director Olmo Omerzu. To get a flavour of this year’s local contenders for Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe, I spoke to the festival’s artistic director, Karel Och.
Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to visit Prague
next month, the news site Aktuálně.cz reported. She was invited by the
Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and should hold talks with both him
and President Miloš Zeman. She is also due to speak at a human rights
conference organised by the Václav Havel Library.
However, the Nobel Peace Prize winner cancelled a visit to the United Nations in New York recently following criticism of the treatment of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar and her Czech hosts fear the Prague trip may not in the end take place, Aktuálně.cz said.
Burma’s National League for Democracy, headed by Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, had secured a landslide majority in recent elections. But the transition to full democratic rule does not look easy with the military still holding onto many of the levers of power. Chris Johnstone talked with Igor Blaževič who, has just returned to Prague after several years helping the Burmese political opposition prepare for power. The first question was what he had been doing in Burma for the past few years.
On Friday, it became clear that Burma’s National League for Democracy, headed by Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, had secured a parliamentary majority and is heading for a landslide victory that will allow it to select the president. But the election victory has not totally sidelined the former military rulers. Chris Johnstone talked with Igor Blaževič who has just returned to Prague after several years helping the political opposition prepare for power.
Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to attend the September Forum 2,000 conference in Prague, the ctk news agency reports. According to the conference organizers the chairwoman of the National League for Democracy has accepted an invitation to address the conference which will focus on countries in transition. The conference was established by the late ex-president Vaclav Havel who was a strong supporter of Burma’s leading dissident in the years when she was under house arrest. Aung San Suu Kyi received an invitation to attend Forum 2,000 every year for over a decade, as a show of support and respect, although it was clear she would not be able to travel.
A new exhibit entitled Go and Don’t Shoot will open on Tuesday evening at the National Gallery’s Veletržní Palác. It presents multi-media works that the contemporary Czech artist Štěpánka Šimlová brought back from her visits in Kayin State in Burma. In this week’s In Focus, Masha Volynsky speaks to Ms. Šimlová about the exhibit, and her experiences in Burma, and later looks more closely at the situation in this war-torn country.
Nine Burmese families are now making a life for themselves in the Czech Republic. One father explained how he fled his country after coming under suspicion from the ruling military regime of having helped rebels. The 43 Burmese refugees, from the Cin ethnic group, are the first to be offered asylum in the Czech Republic under a project organised with the United Nations. Another group should follow soon. Director of the Burma Centre in Prague, Sabe Amthor Soe, has been closely involved in the project and helping families settle in. I asked her first
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout has called for the Burmese military regime to immediately release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The message was delivered to the Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win on behalf of the EU at a two-day meeting of South-East Asian states in Hanoi. It also called for the regime to restart talks with the opposition. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is currently on trial charged with breaking the conditions of the house arrest which she has suffered for 13 years.
The One World festival was launched in Prague on Wednesday night with a powerful documentary called Burma VJ, highlighting the work of brave journalists who secretly film human rights abuses in the country. With foreign media banned, theirs was the only footage of the turmoil in Burma during the huge protests of 2007 that became known as the Saffron Revolution.
Five Burmese families, mainly young parents with children, who landed at Prague’s Ruzyně international airport on Thursday will be granted asylum in the Czech Republic. The news was released by an official from the Interior Ministry. 23 refugees will be granted asylum within a state-funded resettlement programme. The families were reportedly severely persecuted by the Burmese authorities because they hid insurgents, supported rebel activities and went against the orders of the Burmese government. The group survived a dramatic escape from their homeland after soldiers sank the refugees’ boat. A number of young children drowned.