A New Mandala reader sends the following note on the background of a senior Burmese government official who represents his government at the United Nations:
I just came across some information regarding the permanent representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, U Than Swe (sometimes written Than Shwe — not, of course, Generalissimo Than Shwe) who was newly appointed in April 2009. It may be of interest to New Mandala readers.
According to a UN report which includes a video of Ban Ki Moon greeting Than Swe:
Fifty-five-year-old Than Swe previously served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from March 2008 to March 2009. Prior to his time in New York, he spent almost nine years, from May 2000 to March 2009, as Director General for the Progress of Border Areas and National Races, in the Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs.
His early career was spent in the Myanmar Army, where he rose from Second Lieutenant to Colonel between 1975 and 2000.
The Karen Human Rights Group identified U Than Swe (Than Shwe) in two reports in 1998, at which time he was serving as commander of Burma Army (Light) Infantry Battalion #357. In a report from June 1998, KHRG reported that:
On 17 May 1998, SPDC troops from Strategic Command #2, Infantry Battalion #357, commanded by Battalion Commander Than Shwe, entered the villages of Lay Mila [4-Mile], Bone Kaw and Meh Ter Pwee and arrested village elders Saw Ku, Pa Ter Ru, Pa Per Lweh, Mer Hu Lah, Saw Myint Thay, Nya Shu, Maw Shwe Thay, Neh Kyaw Pay, Maw Lah Shwe, Maw Lah Tha, and Maw Per Eh [all men, ages not given; 12 men were arrested, though only 11 names are given] and beat these men badly until 4 of the 12 died of the beatings. They accused the men of having had contact with the KNU.
In a separate report from November 1998, KHRG reported that in March 1998:
Fifty soldiers of Light Infantry Battalion 357 under the supervision of Commander Than Shwe were involved in a small battle with some KNLA troops at Keh Toh Hta, Win Yaw township, which is near the road between Three Pagodas Pass and Thanbyuzayat. After the battle was over the SPDC soldiers started to clear the area. They went to a place one hour from where the battle had occurred and saw two Kone Kan villagers, Daw Naw Naw and her husband.
Without any questioning they shot Daw Naw Naw dead. She was 21 years old and 7 months pregnant. The soldiers took her watch after they killed her. Her husband was shot in the hand and ran to escape.