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Burma Focus, Vol.4,No.8,Oct93

Subject: Burma Focus, Vol.4,No.8,Oct93

/* Written  2:53 am  Nov  8, 1993 by absdf@xxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.seasia */
/* ---------- "Burma Focus, Vol.4,No.8,Oct93" ---------- */
*                                                               *
*                         BURMA FOCUS                           *
*                                                               *
*      Published By the All Burma Students' Democratic Front    *
*                                                               *
*                    Bi-monthly News Letter                     *
*                                                               *
*  Vol.4                        No.8            1-31 Oct 1993   *
Power Play
Junta  Forces  Acceptance of New Constitution
Far Eastern Economic Review, Oct 28 - Burma's military rulers are
eager to shroud their monopoly on power in robes of constitutional 
On 17th Sept, Aung Swe, the chairman of the National League for
Democracy, NLD was criticised for his opposition to certain clauses
in a new constitution by two powerful junta members Gen Myo Nyunt
and Maung Thint.  Another winner at the 1990 polls, the Shan
Nationalities League for Democracy(SNLD) has also felt the
generals' displeasure.  Its leader, Khun Tun Oo, was severely
reprimanded for opposing the military's demand for a "leading role"
in "national politics."
The long-term out come of this one-sided argument isn't in doubt, 
and when the convention meets again, the NLD and the SNLD are
expected to succumb to military pressure to approve the
constitution.  The alternative was made clear by Myo Nyunt and
Maung Thint during their September meeting with Aung Swe: "the
consequences will be serious," he was reportedly told.  In the
Burmese context, that usually means imprisonment.
Ultimately, the NLD will have little choice but to agree to the
military's demands.  As one well-placed Burmese sources in Rangoon
put it: "The NLD today is a mere shadow of what it used to be:
their opposition to the military is admirable, but by hook or by
crook, the generals will get what they want."
Aung Toe, Burma's chief justice and convening chairman of the
convention's work committee, summed up the military demands in a
speech on 16th Sept:
The military must be permitted to participate in "the national
political leadership role of the state."  Both the lower and upper
houses of the proposed parliament, as well as state and regional
assemblies, must include military personnel "in numbers stipulated
by the state constitution."  These will be appointed by the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The head of state will be
a president elected by a "presidential electoral college."  Earlier
statements have made it clear that the president will have to be a
former soldier.  The army will be given "the right to independently
administer all affairs concerning the armed forces."  In case of an
emergency, "the defence services commander-in-chief has the right
to take over and exercise state power." Shortly after Aung Toe's
speech, the "panel of chairman" of the convention's various
committees announced that there was a "consensus" in support of the
It was not mentioned, however, that the NLD and the SNLD had been 
kept out of this panel or that both parties had let it be known
that the army's demands did not reflect the views of the two
parties which won the May 1990 elections.
Inside Story
Kachin Rebels Suspended by Burmese Rebels
Democratic Alliance of Burma(DAB) have suspended the membership of 
the Kachin Independence Organization(KIO) for unilaterally opening 
ceasefire talks with the Burmese military junta in Rangoon.
Kachin rebels hold separate talks with Burmese junta in Myitkyina, 
the capital of Kachin state on 28 and 29 Sept 1993.  The talks was 
attended by the eight KIO delegates, headed by KIO deputy chairman 
Saw Mai and delegates of the SLORC, headed by powerful military
intelligence chief Maj-Gen Khin Nyunt.
"The ceasefire agreement marks an important step of success in
ending the fraternal conflict in our country," Khin Nyunt said in
the television broadcast of the ceasefire ceremony at Myitkyina.  
"To make the ceasefire with SLORC by ignoring the regulations of
the DAB is like defeat," Gen Bo Mya, chairman of the DAB said. "The
KIO has to make its own choice, whether it will co-operate with the
SLORC or still be with the DAB."
DAB members strongly oppose the KIO's unilateral peace talks with 
the SLORC which goes against an earlier resolution that such talks 
must only be done by the DAB which is the umbrella organization of 
all anti-Rangoon ethnic group.
"The timing of the ceremony in Myitkyina could not have been better
for Rangoon," a well-placed source said.  "Burma's foreign minister
is going to address the UN General Assembly and what could have
been better for him than to announce that peace is being
established in the country?"
Meanwhile, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, a group 
of Kachin national leaders hold a press conference on 14th Oct
concerning what its called "on the return to the legal fold of the
Kachin Independence Organization(KIO), major developments in
The pact is the fifth of its kind since the junta, which took power
in a bloody coup in 1988, declared a unilateral ceasefire with the 
insurgents last November and started to seek separate peace talks 
with each rebel faction.
One western diplomat in Rangoon described the junta's tactics
towards the insurgents as "classic divide and rule."(Sources#The
Nation, Oct 4, Bangkok Post, Oct 6 & 19, FEER, Oct 22)
Karens Offer Conditional Peace talks
Bangkok Post, Oct 13 - In a statement issued on 12 Oct, the Karen
National Union(KNU) said as a precondition to peace talks the junta
must announce an unconditional cease-fire and unconditional release
of all political prisoners. The KNU said the dialogue must be held 
with all opposition  groups in an open and frank manner.
The KNU said the end of civil war and attainment of lasting peace
in Burma must be based on a political agreement which should stress
the three following points: SLORC's policies of national chauvinism
should be abandoned and the military dictatorship abolished, the
people should be given full democratic rights and a genuine federal
union of states should be established.
"These three points are not only the basic political issues that
gave rise to the civil war, they are also necessary to the basic
economic interests and will being of all peoples and ethnic
nationalities in Burma," said the statement.
The Karen rebel group said it had no faith in false gestures,
superficial promises or partial and separate backroom dealings.
SLORC Misleads the United Nations
NCGUB, Oct 12 - The address of Burmese foreign minister U Ohn Gyaw
to the UN General Assembly misleads the members of the United
Nations, the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma(NCGUB)
said in a statement issued on 12 Oct.
The NUGUB said the national convention being staged by the SLORC,
which the Ohn Gyaw described as "a prerequisite for the building of
a democratic Society is Myanmar" is both unconstitutional and
Ohn Gyaw, in his speech on 12 Oct at the UNGA denied allegations of
human rights abuses in Burma and said the military "does not covet 
power, nor does it have any desire to hold on to the terms of
"While Ohn Gyaw refers to returning refugees, he fails to mention 
that recent estimates from Thailand border of refugees fleeing
Burma are 1,000 per day," the NCGUB pointed out.
On top of that, the NCGUB said SLORC's foreign minister, Ohn Gyaw 
fall to mention the continued detention of the 1992 Nobel peace
laureate Daw Aug San Suu Kyi which violate the repeated resolutions
by the UNGA and the Commission on Human Rights.
No Role for Suu Kyi
The Nation, Oct 1 - Burma is moving from a centrally planned
economy to an open market but there is no role in the process for
dissidents such as Noble Peace Prize winner Daw Aug San Suu Kyi, Lt
Gen Tun Kyi, trade minister said on 30 Sept.
He said people like the opposition leader, in her fifth year of
house arrest, were inevitable casualties during any economic
"If you try to clean a road, somebody will have to be sweeping.  In
sweeping with your broom some of the ants...will be swept off the
road. In the case of the lady you just mentioned it can be just
like that," he told a news conference during a visit to Jakarta.
"What do you think would happen to Myanmar(Burma) if we released
Aug San Suu Kyi?" he asked without elaborating.
Tun Kyi has already visited Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore, 
holding seminars for investors and traders.
Human Rights Violations
Burma is under Reign of Terror
LONDON, UPI, Oct 7 & Asia Watch, Oct 9 - The military regime in
Burma is waging a campaign of widespread repression, holding
hundreds of political prisoners, staging unfair trials and
routinely abusing the rights of ethnic minorities, Amnesty
International said on 7th Oct.
Teenage girls, taken as porters by the military, are often raped by
soldiers, the London-based human rights group said. Nursing mothers
are forced into service carrying heavy sacks of rice with a baby at
their breast. Villagers endure rape, forced labor and killings. 
"The authorities have created such a climate of fear that political
opponents rarely dare to speak out," Amnesty said. "When they do, 
the authorities don't hesitate to arrest them."
The ruling military authority, SLORC - "conducts a reign of
terror," Amnesty said. In regions where the SLORC faces armed
opposition, it has taken brutal action against civilians.
"Villagers are often seized to act as porters for the military and 
worked so hard that they collapse from exhaustion, where upon they 
are left to die or are killed outright by their military
taskmasters," Amnesty said.
"They would come and pull girls out from the group and make girls 
sleep with them...all of them were very rough with us girls,
treated us not like humans. They would take us all the time," a
16-year-old Muslim girl told Amnesty.
While SLORC has released about 2,000 political prisoners over the 
past 18 months, most have not been able to return to a normal life.
Those freed are still subjected to intense intimidation and
surveillance by military intelligence, Amnesty said.
Despite the abolition of military tribunals and other positive
steps taken by SLORC in response to international criticism of
their human rights violations, the situation still needs immediate
attention, Amnesty said.
Among the list of recommendations contained in the report, Amnesty 
urges immediate freedom for prisoners of conscience, trail by
internationally accepted standards, and review of the conviction of
political prisoners tried by the military tribunals.
Meanwhile, Asia Watch issued a report on Oct 9, entitle
"Bangladesh: Abuse of  Burmese from Arakan," and documented the
evidence of verbal, physical and sexual abuse of refugees at the
hands of Bangladeshi military and paramilitary forces in charge of
the camps.
"Those abuses indicate the need for international agencies,
particularly the UNHCR, to have full access to all camps to
interview refugees in confidence about their willingness to return,
and for the Bangladeshi authorities to investigate the pattern of
abuse against refugees and bring those responsible to justice,"
Asia Watch said.
Foreign Relations
US Policy on Burma under Review
Bangkok Post, Oct 14 - President Bill Cliton's administration, in
a review of it polity toward Burma's military government, is
two broad approaches-continuing isolation of Burma or trying to
dialogue, the official said.
But, the United States disagree with the ASEAN countries that more 
dialogue with Burma will be more effective than tougher sanctions. 
The United States may also press the United Nations to declare an 
arms embargo on Burma and withhold low-interest loans, the official
Japan Calls on Burma to restore Democracy
The Nation, Oct 31 - The Japanese foreign minister Tsutomu Hata
asked visiting its Burmese counter-part Ohn to pay heed to
international calls to restore democracy and free opposition leader
Daw Aug San Suu Kyi.
Hata told Ohn Gyaw that the international community views the
situation of Daw Aug San Suu Kyi as a "symbol" of Burma's resolve
on democracy and human rights.
Ohn Gyaw arrived Japan on 28th Oct on a unofficial visit after
visiting Cuba and Mexico.
Democracy Process in Burma Slow
The Nations, Oct 8 - UNs Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
has told Prime Minister Chun that the Burmese military junta has
yet to prove its willingness to return power to the people.
Boutors-Ghali said he agreed with Thailand that Burmese leaders
have softened their stance and were turning more towards
negotiating, but progress was not yet satisfactory. The UN General-
Secretary discussed the Burma issued during a meeting with Chuan at
UN headquarters on Oct 6.
Thai Foreign Minister Prasong was called on to brief the UN chief 
of the latest developments in Burma.  The UN chief expressed
concern about the plight of more than 200,000 Muslim refugees.
Refugees Crisis
UN Freezes Payment to Burmese Refugees 
Bangkok Post & The Nation, Oct 13 & 18 - The United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees has suspended a monthly payment to more
than a hundred Burmese student refugees, following a break-in and
death threats to its official at the camp in Ratchaburi province.
Interior Ministry officials said the 800-baht ($32USD) was
suspended after some of the 135 Burmese students who broke into the
UNHCR's office at Maneeloy Camp, set fire to some documents before
writing death threats against a UN official on the wall.
Ministry sources said the break-in and the death threat were
believed to be carried out in protest at the UNHCR's decision to
cut the monthly payment to the Burmese students from 2000 baht
($80USD) to 800 baht a month.
Burmese students who were given permission to go to Bangkok said
they would not go back until situation returns into normal.
"Whenever problems emerge people blame the Burmese students.  But
that is not the case, there is a lot of illegal workers living in
the camp," one of them said.
Residents in the camps include illegal immigrants and refugees from
camps along the Thai-Burma borders.
Mon Refugees Deported to Burma
Bangkok Post, Oct 11 & 25 - Some of the 8000 Mon refugees at Loh
Loe Camp in Sangkhaburi district on the Burmese border who were
said to have "volunteered" to leave Thailand on Oct 4th are
stranded near the border for two weeks before they finally backed
to Burma.
An official from the Mon National Relief Committee said that 139
Mon refugees returnees were in the advance team taking part in a
pilot project to resettle in Burma.
The group was only escorted half-way by the Thai authorities, who 
have them utensils, knives and hoes to clear the land, because it 
was difficulty to accompany them to the border.
The group left Loh Loe camp when they were asked to by the National
Security Council, Ninth Infantry Division in Kanchanburi and
district officials.
The Thai officials had asked the refugees to leave during a meeting
with the Mon National Relief Committee leader Nai Tin Aug in
Sangkhaburi District on Sept. 17.  Under the agreement, 139
able-bodied Mons were to be the first to go to clear a new site in
Burma.  The remaining 8000 refugees at Loh Loe camp are to follow
them by January next year.
The new site, known as Halockhani, is only about one hour's walk
from Burmese government forces.  Loh Loe camp cannot be reached by
vehicle during the rainy season and is cut off from the outside
world.  The area also cannot be reached by boat.
It is widely believed among Mon refugees that Thailand wants to
clear them and ethnic Mon rebels from the camp so that natural gas
pipelines from the coastal town of Amherst in Burma can be laid to
reach Kanchanaburi province.
SLORC Must Be Remove if Burma is to be Develop
The Nation, Opinion, Oct 4 - According to the Burma's Trade 
Minister Lt Gen Tun Kyi, his country is moving from a centrally
planned economy to an open market but there is no role in the
process for dissidents such as Aug San Suu Kyi.
Slorc like to claim that it is the savior of the country, and
dispatches minister like Tun Kyi to spread lies in the region.  The
economy today, branded as a "market economy" by the military
regime, is actually a monopolized command economy in essence.  The
establishment of the Myanmar Holding Company Limited owned by the
military and the complete control over foreign currency exchange by
the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank are clear evidence of the military's
domination of the Burmese economy. While the top military brass and
their relatives lie in luxury and enjoy the loot amassed from
raping the economy, the common Burmese people suffer under soaring
prices and shortages of basic commodities.
Today, 40,000 Burmese women are victims of the Thai flesh trade.
There are 300,000-400,000 HIV positive cases in Burma today.  Burma
has become a major exporter of heroin - producing 2,600 tonnes of
opium in 1993.  In rural areas, Burmese army committed forced
portering, forced relocation, torture, rape and executions.
Since Slorc is the main culprit behind the hardships in the
country, it must be removed if Burma is to emerge from the economic
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