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Burma Focus,Vo.4,No.10,30Nov93

Subject: Burma Focus,Vo.4,No.10,30Nov93

/* Written  2:19 am  Dec  2, 1993 by absdf@xxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.seasia */
/* ---------- "Burma Focus,Vo.4,No.10,30Nov93" ---------- */
*                                                               *
*                         BURMA FOCUS                           *
*                                                               *
*      Published By the All Burma Students' Democratic Front    *
*                                                               *
*                    Bi-monthly News Letter                     *
*                                                               *
*  Vol.4                        No.10             30 Nov 1993   *
Burma & Human Rights
United Nations Report
A convention to draw up guidelines for a new constitution for Burma
does not appear to be steering the country toward multiparty
democracy, United Nations special rapporteur, Prof Yozo Yokota said
on Nov 24 at the third committee of the 48th session of United
Nations General Assembly in New York.
Yokota visited Burma from 9 to 16 Nov and Thailand from 16 to 20
Nov on a mission for the U.N Commission on Human Rights.  During
his visit in Rangoon, he met various government officials including
Burmese intelligence chief Khin Nyunt and Foreign Minister Ohn
Gyaw.  Yokota also visited the Insein prison in Rangoon where he
met two political leaders, U Tin Oo, chairman of the National
League for Democracy and Dr Aung Khin Sint, an elected MP of the
However, Prof Yokota said he was disappointed for unable to see Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders detained or recently
released, their lawyers or families and meetings with the leader of
the main political parties didn't take place at his office in spite
of his repeated requests.
Yokota reported that evidence and testimony he had gathered showed
some developments which could lead to improvements in human rights,
but that there remained "many serious restrictions and grave
violation of human rights and fundamental freedom."
Yokota summarized the human rights situation in Burma at his
preliminary report: There are still many serious restrictions and
grave violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms
continuing in Myanmar(Burma).
Although some 2,000 political leaders in prison have been released
since April 1992, there are reportedly still some 500 political
leaders in prison or under detention, most significant of whom is
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for more than
4 years without a trial.
While there are sign of relaxation of restrictions and some
progress in economic, social and cultural rights, many civil and
political rights are still severely restricted.  Particularly, the
right of life, liberty and security of person, freedom from
slavery, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and
punishment, freedoms of thought, opinion, expression, peaceful
assembly and association are widely violated and ignored especially
in connection with forced labour, forced relocation, political
activities including activities related to political parties and
the National Convention.
The composition, procedure, and other measure taken in connection
with the National Convention seem to indicate that the
constitutional process is not heading towards multi-party democracy
as announced by the government.  They don't appear to be "the
necessary steps towards the restoration of democracy, fully
respecting the will of the people as expressed in the democratic
elections held in 1990, which steps being urged to be taken by the
Government of Myanmar in the General Assembly resolution adopted
last year.  It should be noted with concern that some 20 political
leaders have been newly arrested and some of them received severe
sentences in connection with the activities related to the National
Many cases of torture, arbitrary killings, rapes and other inhuman
treatment against women, and disappearances have been reported to
me from various reliable sources.  They seem to be taking place
most frequently in the border areas by the army in the course of
military operation or relocation against ethnic national
populations, many of whom are peasants, daily workers and other
peaceful civilians.(Note#The United Nations Commission on Human
Rights meeting in March 1993 decided to extend one year the mandate
of the Special Rapporteur to establish or continue direct contacts
with the Government and people of Burma and requested him to report
to the 48th session of General Assembly and 47th session of UNCHR. 
Prof Yokota has been requested by the UNCHR to observe the human
rights situation in Burma since March 1991)
Inside Story
Slorc Offers Peace Talks
Burma's powerful military intelligent chief, lt-Gen Khin Nyunt has
repeatedly called for peace talk with the ethnic armed
The first of his called came on Nov 18th during the meeting with
government officials, local elders and Roman Catholic priests at
Loikaw, capital of Karenni State.
"On behalf of the Slorc, I would like to call on ethnic minority
rebels who have been fighting fruitlessly for the past 40 years to
have peace talks with the government," he said.  "Slorc guarantees
the safety of delegates who would take part in the peace talks. 
Even if the talks fail to bring about a peaceful solution, we will
fly you home safely by helicopter," he added.
One weekly later, Khin Nyunt make another call for peace talks and
said "we invite the armed organizations from the jungle to return
quickly to the legal fold after considering the goodwill of the
government."  "This is official.  Please respond as soon as
possible," he said on 25th Nov at Ye in Mon State.
On Nov 28th, Khin Nyunt renewed his calls for dialogues with the
Karen rebels at a meeting in Pa-an, capital of Karen State.  He
said he is inviting the country's armed groups "with sincere
goodwill" to respond to dialogue "for the benefit of the whole
country before it is too late."  He said all the jungle-based armed
groups, including those in Karen State, were welcome to engage in
dialogues in individual groups with the government.
"It is possible there could be a compromise, peace could be given
a chance.  At least we could meet.  That's all I can say at this
moment," a Karen Senior officer said.  The Karen had previously
insisted that any peace talks be held between Slorc and the
Democratic Alliance of Burma(DAB), as the representative of all
armed and unarmed opposition groups.  The DAB has set several
conditions for peace talks which include the release of all
political prisoners, announce an unconditional ceasefire and the
peace talk should be held in third country.
The Karen leaders were meeting at their headquarters in Manerplaw
to discuss the peace talk. A rebel source said another armed ethnic
group, New Mon State Party(NMSP) voted to open unilateral talks
with Slorc at a party meeting during the middle of this month, but
NMPS official denied the allegation.
Western diplomats in Rangoon said the Slorc's classic divide and
rule tactics, has made successful unilateral approaches, and struck
ceasefire deals with several armed ethnic groups.
Meanwhile, on 15th Nov, a report from Thai-Burma border, Mae Hong
Song said about 8,000 Slorc soldiers were seen last week mobilizing
in the eastern Burmese towns of Bilin and Papoon.  The sources also
said about 1,000 villagers in Bilin and Papoon were drafted as
porters by the government troops and 500 more were drafted from
Kawkareik and Myawadi, south of Papoon. (Sources#The Nation, Nov
16, 20 & 27, Bangkok Post, Nov 27 & 28)
Burma Absent from Anti-drug Seminar
Bangkok Post, Nov 25 - Burma was absent from a meeting in Thailand
with officials from Thailand, China, Vietnam and Laos and be given
a close-up satellite view of regional opium growing areas taken by
the French firm Spot Image.  The seminar opened in Chiangmai on
22nd Nov was to show police how to read satellite photographs which
pinpoint objects to within 10 meters in the opium-growing poppy
Burma is the world's major opium producer with an annual harvest of
around 2,500 tonnes and Slorc is often describe as narco-
dictatorship.  One Asian diplomat said the absence of Burma "means
they are really embarrassed."  Recent reports published the Drug
Geopolitical Observation founded by the European Community proved
the existence of heroin laboratory in zones under the direct
control of Slorc.  They said Slorc used drug revenues to obtain
international currency.
Hook on the Junta
Excerpt from Far Eastern Economic Review, Nov 18, 1993 - US Drug
agency assailed for links to Burmese general - Official policy has
been to condemn Slorc for its direct involvement with major drug
trafficking groups in the Golden Triangle region, as well as for
its gross violations of human rights.  At the same time, however,
the Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA) has been praising the junta for
its "vigorous anti-drug policies."  Predictably, a conflict has
arisen between the two government agencies involved - the DEA and
the State Department. One result of this feud has been the
disciplinary action taken against three consecutive DEA country
officers assigned to Burma.
The first to go was Gregory Korniloff, who reportedly ignored the
orders of then US Ambassador to Burma Burton Levin to cease regular
meetings with his Burmese military counterparts.  He was ordered to
leave Rangoon in 1988.  In Feb 1989, the US Government removed
Burma from a list of countries eligible to receive US aid earmarked
for combating the drug trade.  However, a new DEA country attache
called Angelo Saladino arrived in Rangoon in July 1989.  In Feb
1990, Angelo had, without the US Embassy's knowledge, organized the
first public drug burning in Burma together with the Burma's
military intelligence force while the Foreign Ministry's Director-
General Ohn Gyaw was visiting Washington to lobby for resumption of
US anti-narcotic assistance.
When the Feb 1990 drug burning ceremony was failed to attract any
attention from the international press, intelligence chief Khin
Nyunt and the DEA orchestrated a media blitz a few months later. 
Perhaps inevitably, the differences which existed between the DEA
and the State Department surfaced.  Television footage taken by the
visiting journalist showed while Saladino assured viewers the
Burmese military was sincere in its antinarcotics drive, the second
ranking official at the US Embassy in Rangoon, Szymanski pointed
out that drugs were pouring across Burma's borders in all
directions and nothing substantial was being done to stop the flow.
The controversy reached new heights in March 1991, when it was
discovered that Saladino had authored a memorandum addressed to
Khin Nyunt, listing in detail the various ways Burma might try to
impress the US Government and UN agencies.  When it was discover,
Saladino reportedly flew back to the DEA's headquarters at his own
expense.  A compromise solution was reached: Saldino had his tour
of duty in Burma officially curtailed but was allowed to serve out
his term which only had a few more months to run.
It is by now well known that in intelligence circles that the drugs
burned on a number of occasions in northeastern Burma have actually
been bought from the traffickers by the military authorities for
the sole purpose of being publicly destroyed.  Saladino's successor
as DEA country attache in Burma, Richard Horn, arrived in Rangoon
in mid-1992.  He lasted about one year before being recalled to US.
Horn's undoing was having a series of unauthorized meetings.
To improve its image internationally, the Burmese Government
invited several delegations of US politicians and former
congressmen.  In August 1993, Congressmen Rangel and a few other US
politicians were introduced to Lin Mingxian, government militia
commander in north of Kengtung who is considered the fastest rising
star in the Burmese heroin empire and his group is emerging as one
of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Burma today.
The DEA played a key background role in the visit.
The Generals' New Clothes
Excerpt from Far Eastern Economic Review, Nov 25, 1993 - Junta Sets
Up New Civilian Front Organization - The official media proclaimed
the formation of the Union Solidarity and Development
Association(USDA), a new organization whose aims are the same as
the ruling junta's: "non-disintegration of the union, non-
disintegration of national unity, non-disintegration of sovereignty
and the promotion of national pride."
Its programme, which was published in the official newspaper on 16
Sept, strikingly resembles that of the military-dominated Burma
Socialist Programme Party, which ruled Burma from 1962 to 1988. 
Only the socialism is missing.
The new organization is the junta's second attempt to set up a mass
movement through which it can exercise its control under a civilian
facade.  Its first attempt, the National Unity Party(NUP), was
crushed in the May 1990 polls.  "The NUP failed to take up the
fallen mantle of the current junta's predecessor, so a new
organization had to be formed," a Rangoon-based source says. 
Unlike the NUP, the USDA is not registered officially as a
political party - it is "an association" - so the law that prevents
civil servants from joining political parties does not apply to it.
Many are signing up across the country.  Special privileges may be
a reason: "If you're a USDA member, you get a passport easily, you
can buy an air ticket without problem, and you get preference to
jobs in the public sector," the source said.  According to one
observer in Rangoon:"It's modelled after Indonesia's ruling mass
party, Golkar.  It may well become a new, more modern version of
the socialist party that actually manages to organize part of the
population behind the ruling military.  At least, that's what its
purpose it."
International Relations
Four Burmese Arrested with Explosives in Thailand - Thai police
arrested for Burmese men with explosives on 23rd Nov in Bangkok and
the police allegedly said they had planed to assassinate Burma's
top military leaders during the Burma's Independence Day ceremony
in Rangoon which falls on Jan 4th 1994.
The four men arrested are former Burmese students who identified as
Soe Naing(a)Ye Thi Ha(28), Ye Soe(30), Mya Than(37) and Maung Maung
Lay(30).  Police source said Soe Naing was arrested in Oct 7, 1989,
when he and another dissident student hijacked a domestic Burmese
passenger plan and ordered to land at Pattaya, where they
surrendered to Thai authorities.
The National Council Chief Charan said the four Burmese arrested
will be treated as international terrorists and strictly deal with
Thai law.  Soe Naing, one of the four said they had no plans to
create trouble on Thai soil but were ready to face punishment under
Thai Law.  But, the group told the police they would all be killed
if they were sent back to Burma.  The Burmese Embassy in Bangkok
praised Thai authorities for "manifesting the cordial relationship"
between the two nations by the arrest of four Burmese dissidents
who were planning to kill Burma's military rulers.(Sources#Bangkok
Post, Nov 24, 26 - The Nation, Nov 29, 1993)
Bangkok Post, Nov 26 - Burma In Surprise Move - In a surprise move,
Burmese authorities have released 17 villagers who were recently
sentenced to ten year's imprisonment by a Burmese court on charges
of illegal entry and log poaching.  They were arrested by Burmese
forces on July 28, 1993.
The Nations, Nov 20, 1993 - The US President Bill Clinton said that
Chuan had courageously hosted the Nobel Peace laureate who visited
to Southeast Asia to protest the house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi.  Diplomats said the president's remark showed Washington's
deep interest in Thailand's policy towards Burma.
Burma-UNHCR Accord
Burma and the UNHCR signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 5th Nov
in Rangoon, guaranteeing access to UN officials to all Rohingya
returnees from Bangladesh.  The MOU stipulates the modalities of
UNHCR's presence and programmes in the Rakhine State.  It states,
interalia, that UNHCR will be given access to all returnees; that
the returnees will be issued with the appropriate identification
papers and that the returnees will enjoy the same freedom of
movement as all other nationals.
UNHCR will in the coming weeks seek the financial support of the
International Community to implement this important voluntary
repatriation programme from Bangladesh to Burma.  About 280,000
Rohingya's fled their homes since March 1992.  Amnesty
International and Asia Watch have published series of reports on
Burmese military's atrocities toward Rohingyas.
Meanwhile, at the present of local Bangladeshi and United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugee(UNHCR) officials, about 400 Rohingya
refugees left by boats for their homes in Burma, on Nov 29. It
added the total repatriated in the past year stood at 50,052.  At
present, hundred of thousands of more refugees remain in 20
frontier camps, of whom 11,000 are waiting to be repatriated.
Action Alert !!!
A Call To Action!
January 4, 1994
Burma's Independence Day
World Wide Demonstrations for
Freedom and Human Rights in Burma
Inside Burma, citizens cannot openly demonstrate without risking
arrest or worse!  They can only show their solidarity with Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi by placing themselves under "Voluntary House Arrest" on
January 4.
Without Freedom, Independence has no meaning!
Outside Burma, Burmese and Friends of Burma can and must
demonstrate their support for democracy and freedom in Burma. 
Let's plan many different events for January 4!
Expose Burma's lack of freedom under the Slorc military junta
Protest Slorc's selling off the country's natural resources to
finance its brutal civil war
Call for immediate release of all political prisoners, including
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Demand a stop to the dams on the Salween and Moei Rivers and the
pipeline through Three Pagodas Pass
Pray for peace in Burma and an end to religious persecution of
Buddhist monks
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