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Subject: Vol.4,No.11,16DEc93

/* Written  5:29 am  Dec 17, 1993 by absdf@xxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.seasia */
/* ---------- "Vol.4,No.11,16DEc93" ---------- */
*                                                               *
*                         BURMA FOCUS                           *
*                                                               *
*      Published By the All Burma Students' Democratic Front    *
*                                                               *
*                    Bi-monthly News Letter                     *
*                                                               *
*  Vol.4                        No.11             16 Dec 1993   *
UNs' Judgement
Burma:No Closer to Democracy
The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 6th
December said the Burmese military junta had made no progress
toward restoring democracy, continued human rights abuses and
persisted in giving strong political powers to the military.  The
resolution was approved by consensus without a vote by the Third
Committee which include all UN members.
The draft expressed "grave concern" at "summary and arbitrary
executions, torture, forced labor, abuse of women, restrictions on
fundamental freedoms and oppressive measures directed at ethnic and
religious minorities."
The following is some major points of the resolution on Burma at
the forty-eight session UN General Assembly;
Urges the Burmese junta to take all necessary steps toward
restoration of democracy and allow political parties to function
Notes with concern to the National Convention that excluded most of
the elected representatives in 1990's May elections, one of its
objectives is to maintain the leading role of the armed forces in
Burma's future politic and no evident progress has been made toward
turning over power to freely elected civilian Government,
Strongly urges the Burmese junta to allow all citizens to
participate freely in the political process, to accelerate the
process of transition to democracy through the transfer of power to
the democratically elected representatives,
Urges the Burmese junta to ensure full respect of human rights and
fundamental freedoms,
Stresses the importance of free and confidential access to
prisoners by international humanitarian agencies,
Regrets the recent harsh sentences meted out to a number of
dissidents, and that while a certain number of political prisoners
have been released, many political leaders are still deprived of
their freedom and their fundamental rights,
Strongly urges for unconditional and immediate release of Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders,
Encourages the Burmese junta to implement its 5th November
agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and create the
necessary conditions to ensure an end to the flows of refugees to
neighboring countries and to facilitate their speedy repatriation
in condition of safety and dignity, 
Requests the Secretary-General to assist in the implementation of
the present resolution and the report to the General Assembly at
its forty-ninth session.
Meanwhile, the United States refused to join the European Community
and other sponsors of the draft resolution on Burma, considering it
too weak.  US wanted the UN secretary-general to appoint a special
envoy to supplement human rights fact-funding mission, prevent arms
from reaching the military and make sure aid monies did not enrich
the government or the army.
Burma's ambassador to UN, U Kyaw Min said the draft is totally
unacceptable and ignored positive developments.  He added that it
is flagrant attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Burma
and will not be a party to it.(General Assembly, A/C.3/48/L.70, Dec
29, 1993, The Nations, Dec 8)
Nelson Mandela Calls for Release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
The 1993 Noble Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela calls for
release of urgent release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  What follow is
the excerpt from his speech given at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony
in Oslo, Norway on 10th Dec regarding situation in Burma;
 ...we'll have created the society which recognizes that all people
are born equal, with each entitle in equal manner to life, liberty,
prosperity, human rights and good government.  Such a society
should never allow again that there should be prisoners of
conscience, nor that any person human rights should be violated. 
Neither should it ever happen that once more, the avenues of
peaceful changes are blotted by usurpers who will seek to take
power away from the people in the suit of their won ignoble
purposes.  In relation to this matters, we appeal to those who
govern Burma that they release our fellow Nobel Peace laureate
Prize, Aung San Suu Kyi and engage her and those she represents in
serious dialogue for the benefit of all the people of Burma.  We
pray that those who have the power to do so will without further
delay permitted that she uses her talent and energy for the greater
good of the people of her country and humanity as a whole.
Inside Story
Junta's Opponents Ready to Discuss Peace
The Democratic Alliance of Burma(DAB), an umbrella ethnic and
Burmese dissident opposition groups announced on Dec 6 that they
are ready to send an advance five-member delegation to Rangoon to
prepare for official peace negotiation if the SLORC agrees to meet
with DAB, not as an individual members of the Alliance.
The DAB's announcement is the first official response to the three
separate speeches given by the Burmese powerful intelligent chief
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt during his tours in the Karen, Karenni and Mon
states where he urged armed anti-Rangoon ethnic groups to "return
to the legal fold to hold talks."  His speeches were directed at
the armed Karen, Karenni and Mon forces, the only three major
ethnic groups which are active along the Thai-Burmese border.
"The DAB welcomes the official position of the SLORC voiced through
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt," said DAB's chairman, Gen Bo Mya, in his letter
dated 1st Dec to the SLORC's chairman Senior Gen Than Shwe.
The DAB's welcoming response to Khin Nyunt's peace overtures and
its decision to send a team to Rangoon is a positive gesture and
indicates that the armed ethnic groups are ready to bury the
hatchet, leave behind their bitter history and mistrust that led to
them taking up arms against the Burmese military rulers and give
them a second chance to make efforts for national reconciliation.
But there are still many questions that have to be answered; the
fate of all political prisoners including pro-democracy leader Aung
San Suu Kyi.
Dr Em Marta, a senior DAB member declined to say in an interview
whether the DAB had dropped its previous demands that the talks be
held in a third country in the presence of UN observers and the
SLORC first release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Observer says unless there is a comprehensive peace package with a
fair deal to all parties involved both inside and outside the
country, the SLORC's unilateral attempts will not guarantee a
lasting peace and stability in Burma.(Sources#The Nation, Dec 7 &
Junta attempts to attract Tourists 
Burma plans to develop ski resorts in the mountains along its
northern border as part of a program to build resorts aimed at
attracting foreign skiers, trekkers and mountaineers.  The Tourism
Minister spoke at a signing ceremony for a 270-room hotel to be
built in Rangoon by LP Holding Co Ltd of Thailand. Four other Thai
companies are also involved in hotel projects in Burma.
Thailand and Singapore businessmen have also begun developing the
Song island in the Andaman Sea and the Burmese junta's hope that
its will become the first of many international tourist resorts off
the country's east coast.  The Burmese junta recently invited
investors from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and
Australia to help develop Song and some of Burma's hundreds of
other Andaman Sea islands for  tourist complexes, golf courses and
The move are part of junta's efforts to upgrade its tourists
facilities in a bid to bring in desperately needed foreign currency
for the politically isolated regime.  Burma currently receives
about 200,000 tourists annually but the regime has set a target of
half a million tourists in three to four years.  The Tourism
Ministry last month announced it would soon grant four-week visas
to tourists in stead of present maximum of two weeks.(Bangkok Post,
Dec 1 & The Nation, Dec 4)
International Relations
Congratulation for NCGUB's effort!
NCGUB's Press Release, Dec 7 - The United State government
congratulated the National Coalition Government of Union of 
Burma(NCGUB)'s for its successful effort at the United Nations
General Assembly in New York.  The US Secretary of State, Peter
Tarnoff expressed his congratulation to the NUGUB's success during
the meeting with Dr Sein Win, NCGUB's Prime Minister on 7th Dec.
Mr Tarnoff also reiterated the U.S Government's unwavering support
for the Burmese democracy movement and that it will continue to
look for ways to assist the Burmese people.
Strengthening the SLORC
Far Eastern Economic Review, Dec 16 - When the Kachin leader Maj-
Gen Zau Mai came for peace talks with Burmese junta's officials,
the Kachin General travelled with four escorts from China, a sign
Peking is paying increasing attention to events across its southern
frontier with Burma.  "It's China's opening to the south, down to
Bay of Bengal and Burma's strategic location between the Indian
Subcontinent and Southeast Asia makes it one of the most important
for the Chinese, " a military analyst in Bangkok said.
This year, Chinese military equipment has been flowing into Burma
at a faster pace than at any time since the first deliveries took
place in August 1990.  Total value of Chinese arms delivered or on
order is believed to be in excess of US$1.2 billion.  Small arms
and ammunition, multiple rocket-launcher, nearly 900 five-tonne
trucks and some US$5million worth of radio equipments reached to
Burma this year.  The sources also reported that in addition to the
more than 100 tanks and other armored vehicles already shipped to
Rangoon, the Chinese are planning to send another 150 Type 85
tracked armored personal carriers, 50 T69 main battle tanks and 50
T63 light amphibious tanks.  Not only assisting the army, Peking is
also upgrading and modernizing the Burma's navy and air force.  A
12 aircraft squadron of F7 fighters was delivered in May 1991 and
additional squadron was also delivered in May this year.  A third
is expected within a few months.  Burma has also been promised two
squadrons of A5M ground attack aircrafts.  Chinese interests in
Burma stretch from the Kachin Hills in the north down to the Indian
Ocean.  With providing China an outlet to the Bay of Bengal and the
Andaman Sea, it is hardly surprising that remodelling Burma's navy
has been one of Peking's main priorities.  
Not only upgrading Burma's existing navy bases, Chinese technician
are helping to build news bases at Hainggyi in the estuary of the
Irrawaddy River near Bassein and Chinese-made new radar equipment
will be installed in the Coco Islands.
China's presence in the Coco is causing particular concern in New
Delhi, which traditionally views the Indian Ocean as "our sea." 
Indonesia is also likely to be worried as the Coco are not far from
the tip of western Sumatra and Japan is uneasy to see such
activities so close to the northern end of the Strait of Malacca -
a key transit point for the bulk Japan's Middle East oil imports.
Looking for Friendship
The Nation, Dec 13 - The Burmese military junta plans to send one
of its largest and most senior delegations to Indonesia to cement
a new and politically significant regional friendship.
The sources said the visit would probably be around December 20 and
include several ministers following recent contact on trade
matters.  Indonesia officials say they are keeping the visits low-
key, partly because Indonesia does not want to be tainted by
Burma's pariah status in the West.  Officials said links with Burma
had emphasized trade.  A barter agreement was signed in September
with Burma.  A 16 member business delegation led by one of
Suharto's daughters visited Rangoon last month to explore business
opportunities.  Another of Suharto's offspring has formed a logging
venture to exploit Burma's timber rich hinterland.
"Indonesia wants to help Burma in the context of South-South
cooperation and ASEAN policy of constructive engagement.  We feel
we can do some good," one senior official said.  Jakarta, like some
of Burma's neighbors has been alarmed by Burma's growing military
links with China and hopes to counterbalance this through ties with
both India and Rangoon.
Burma has shown a strong interest in Indonesia's authorities
political system which emphasizes a powerful president and docile
parliamentary.  Beside, Burmese military junta in Sept formed a
Union Solidarity and Development Association, which experts say is
modelled closely on Indonesia's ruling Golkar party.
More Than Meets the Eye
Far Eastern Economic Review, Dec 2 - The influx of illegal Burmese
migrants into Thailand appears to be more serious than officials in
Bangkok have publicly admitted.  Confidential government reports
say tens of thousand of Burmese are pouring across the border
seeking work in Thailand.  Non-government agencies are also
concerned about the number of Burmese women who are working as
prostitutes.  The agencies report some 5,000 women pass through the
Thai border town of Mae Sot each month, mainly en route to northern
Illegal Burmese Will Face Crackdown
The Nation, Dec 4 & 7 - It is time Thailand stopped being lenient
and began enforcing laws regulating illegal immigrants -
particularly where Burmese students are concerned, Thai Foreign
Minister Prasong said.  He also announced a draconian crackdown on
public and private gatherings by Burmese in Thailand.  "Any
gathering of Burmese here for whatever reason will be regarded as
an illegal political activity, no matter the number of
participants," the minister said.  He suggested there would be no
problem if the Burmese remain peaceful and refrain from using
Thailand as base from which to launch political action against
Prasong said Thailand's ambassador to Burma has informed that
Rangoon has promised to take care of the exile Burmese students who
return home and arrange escorts to look after them until they are
Meanwhile, 13 Burmese students were arrested during a raid on a
seminar on democracy and human rights on Dec 3 in Bangkok,
Thailand.  The seminar was organized by the Student Federation of
Thailand, Student Committee for Human Rights in Burma and Action
Committee for Democracy in Burma.  A leader of the groups said the
arrested Burmese students did not meet to stage any political
violence and they attended the seminar to seek a way to build
democracy and human rights in Burma.
Appeal from Burmese Students
Bangkok, Nov 8 - The 25 Burmese students studying at the Stamford
College in Bangkok appealed to all concerned persons to help them
form being forced to enter the so-called safe camp in Ratchaburi
province set up by the Thai Interior Ministry. The letter signed by
all 25 Burmese students at Stamford College on 8th Nov said the
UNHCR officials on 2nd Nov asked them to enter the "Safe Camp" by
Dec 1993 if they want to continue to study.
The students have been studying at the Stamford College in Bangkok
since June 1993 under the scholarship program organized and
financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through UNHCR in
"They(UNHCR) also told us that our education assistance given by
the German Government would be cut off, if we failed to enter the
safe camp," the students say.
"Our policy is to prepare ourselves educationally as much as
possible for a democratic future Burma, without causing problems to
any one while in Thailand," they add.
Burmese students concerned that they could be harassed by Thai
authorities at the safe camp and could be subjected to forced
repatriation in the future.  US based human rights organization,
Asia Watch called the safe camp as "little better than a prison
camp."  Only a few students went to the safe camp since it was set
up in Dec 1992.
Human Rights Violations
The following is the excerpt from the annual report of the US based
human rights organization, Asia Watch regarding the situation of
human rights in Burma.
The ruling junta in Burma continued to be a human rights pariah,
despite its cosmetic gestures to respond to international
criticism. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was permitted visits from her
family but remained under house arrest for the fifth year.  SLORC
announced the release of nearly 2,000 political prisoners, but it
was not clear that the majority had been detained on political
charges, nor could most of the release be verified.  At least one
hundred critics of SLORC were detained during this year, and
hundreds of people tried by military tribunals between 1989 and
1992 remained in prison.  Torture in Burmese prisons continued to
be widespread.  Foreign correspondents were able to obtain visas
for Burma more easily, but access by human rights and humanitarian
organizations remained tightly restricted.  A constitutional
convention met throughout the year, but over 80 percent of the
delegates were hand-picked by SLORC.
Fighting between the Burmese military and various ethnic
insurgencies along the Thai-Burmese borders was minimal during the
year, in part because of a concerted effort by SLORC to negotiate
cease-fire with different minority groups.  In April, for example,
a cease-fire was negotiated between the SLORC and Kachin
Independence Organization(KIO).  Thailand and China pressed
insurgents based along their borders to negotiate or else lose
their ability to shelter and mobilize on their respective
Despite the low level of conflict, however, refugees continued to
stream into Thailand.  In June, NGOs estimated that 1,000 Burmese
were crossing the border every day.  The Thai government and
international agencies were quick to refer to the newcomers as
illegal immigrants, but many reported fleeing forced relocations,
forced labor and forced conscription.
The State of Arakan in south-west Burma, home to the Rohingya
Muslim minority, remained off-limits to outside observers, raising
concerns about the possible repatriation of almost 300,000
Rohingyas who had fled to neighboring Bangladesh in 1991 and 1992. 
More than 13,000 refugees were repatriated in late 1992 and early
1993 without adequate screening procedures to determine if they
were returning voluntarily or if there were adequate minority
mechanisms on the Burmese side.  On Jan 31, UNHCR staff were
allowed to interview refugees scheduled for repatriation in one
transit camp in Bangladesh and found that nearly all were there
against their will.  
SLORC took no steps to address the large-scale trafficking of
Burmese women into forced prostitution in Thailand.  Instead, it
appeared to be arresting many women deported from Thailand on
charges of illegally leaving the country and engaging in
prostitution.  It also routinely tested returning women for AIDS
without their consent and without regard for confidentiality.
No indigenous human rights groups were allowed in Burma, and
passing information to outside groups was considered subversive. 
The International Committee of Red Cross had access neither to
Burma's prisons nor to displaced populations along the border with
China, Thailand and Bangladesh, although it did have a delegate
based in Rangoon to run its prosthetics program for amputees.
Burma Focus is published by the All Burma Students' Democratic
Front.  It will be published bi-monthly documenting the information
mainly on human rights violations, ecological crisis, foreign
investment, refugee problems and illegal opium trading in Burma. 
Anyone who wish to get information are welcome to contact its
ABSDF-Head Office
P.O Box 1352 G.P.O
Bangkok 10500
Tel: 66-01-926 25 62
Tel & Fax: 66-55-531 952
ABSDF Europe Office
P.O Box 6720
St.Olavs Plass
0130 Oslo
Tel:   47-22-60 85 97
Fax:   47-22-60 85 98