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SOME REPORT ON COMMUNICATIONS
/* Written May 15 6:00am by uneoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on igc:reg.burma */
/* -----------------" Reports on Communications "--------------- */
Letter to Senator Evans
January 31, 1995.
Senator the Hon Gareth Evans
The Minister for Foreign Affairs
Canberra ACT 2600
Please find enclosed my letter to the U.N.Secretary-General
appealing the U.N. to take measures against recent Burmese
Army's attack on Manerplaw, the headquarter of Karen National
Union and pro-democracy forces.
Although this attack appears to have started from internal
dissension within KNU and escalated onto this stage and - to
some suggestions - Burmese military have been preparing this
offensive for a long time, the seriousness of such attack must
not be overlooked. I believe that a stronger action by the U.N.
Security Council and international community are needed to
prevent such incidence repeating. Please give your kindful
supports to these matters.
The fall of Manerplaw hurts the morale of pro-democracy forces
inside and outside Burma, though losing a battle would never
really meant to losing of the struggle. Advancements in
political front are also needed to ensure the democratization
process not be deviate from its objectives.
My sincere thanks to your continuing interests and attentions
given to the democracy movement in Burma. The efforts by the
Government of Australia - and you the Senator - regarding Burma
matters have been well recognized and appreciated not only by
the Burmese community within Australia but also by those refugee
students from Bangkok. Please continues to help us in this
Your faithfully and sincerely
U Ne Oo.
/* -----------------" Reply from Senator Evans " ------------- */
Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
ST MARYS SA 5042
14 FEB 1995.
Dear Dr U Ne Oo
Thank you fro your letters of 15 and 31 January concerning the
current political situation in Myanmar and, in particular, the
offensive launched by the Myanmar armed forces against the Karen
National Union and opposition groups in the Manerplaw area.
The Australian Government fully shares your concern about the
continuing human rights abuses and lack of progress towards
democracy in Myanmar. We believe that a process of national
reconciliation through dialogue rather than confrontation is in
the interests of all political and ethnic groups in Myanmar. I
was interested in your views on the priority issues that need to
be addressed at this stage.
You are perhaps already aware of Australian's efforts in the
multilateral sphere. Australia co-sponsored the resolution on
Myanmar at the UN General Assembly in December 1994. WE are also
pursuing a prominent role in the Commission on Human Rights,
which is currently in session in Geneva. The UN Special
Rapporteur's report to the Commission on Human Rights on the
human rights situation in Myanmar contains several useful ideas
on how that situation can be improved.
The Australian Government remains a staunch critic of the SLORC.
AT the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference in Bangkok in July I
identified a number of benchmarks against which progress in
Myanmar could be measured. These include the immediate and
unconditional release of political prisoners, access to
political prisoners by the International Committee of the Red
Cross, legal guarantees for the rights of minorities, and the
cessation of forced labour beyound traditional practices. There
should be no concessions to the SLORC by the international
community in the absence of progress against these benchmarks.
While direct bilateral Australian aid to Myanmar remains
suspended, the Australian Government continues to fund the
delivery of humanitarian assistance through NGOs. In addition to
the repatriation and resettlement of Rohingyas and humanitarian
assistance to people displaced from Myanmar to Thailand which
you mention, The Australian Government indirectly funds HIV/AIDS
and maternal and child health programs.
The Australian Government is deeply concerned about the recent
SLORC offensive against the Karen National Union and other
opposition groups in the Manerplaw area. I attach a copy of my
statement on the fall of Manerplaw for your information.
The fall of Manerplaw is of great concern to me. It represents a
major setback for the democratic forces in Myanmar and casts
doubt on the SLORC's stated policy towards the ethnic
minorities. I made Astralia's position very clear in a statement
I issued on 31 January which condemned the offensive and
questioned the SLORC's commitment to a process of national
reconciliation. I have attached a copy of this statement.
I have been pursuing with other governments what action would be
appropriate, in conjunction with the international community, to
facilitate positive change in Myanmar.
I can assure you that the Australian Government remains
committed to promoting greater respect for human rights and
progress towards democracy in Myanmar. We will use every avenue
open to us, including the United Nations. We will also continue
to urge the SLORC and all political and ethnic groups to engage
in dialogue to achieve a genuine political, rather than
/* ----------------" A Letter from UNHCR, CAnberra "----------------- */
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
Office of the Regional Representative for Australia,
New Zeland and the South Pacific
23 January 1995
Telephone:(+61 6) 290 1355
Fax: (+61 6) 290 1315
Dear Dr. Oo,
I refer to your letter of 15 January 1995 in which you inform us of
the activities at the UNGA'1994 and provide a collection of issues
which you feel are important to resolve the conflicts in Burma.
I should like to thank you for your letter which I have passed on
to our headquarters for their views and comments on the issues
highlited by you. I will keep you informed of thier reply to us.
/* ----------------" Letter to Mr Alexander Downer "----------------- */
April 24, 1995.
Hon. Alexander Downer
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Mr Downer:
I am a Burmese national presently residing in Australia. I have
been in Adelaide for 7 years as student scholar and - now a
refugee. As you know, Burma have a totally repressive government
with serious human rights problems. In this connection, we, the
cituzens of Burma cannot possibly ignore events in our home land
and are compelled to engaged in the movement for democracy and
freedom for the Burmese people. I myself have been independently
campaigning for the improvement of human rights situations in
Burma. Although Adelaide has a very tiny Burmese population, I
have been able to get moral support from the good Australians
who have conscience on human rights - which enable me to
continue my huamn rights campaign work for 3 years now.
I am writing to you for your help in regards to peace mediation
of Burmese army and ethnic minority rebels in Burma. For your
information, I enclosed my letters to the Prime Minister of
Thailand and Senator Evans. I wish you and coalition to help
raise tha issue in Parliament and to give support to the
I am interested in the Coalition's human rights policy of a
pragmatic and principled approach to the issues. Senator Gareth
Evans have formulated the "Benchmarks" policy for Burma - in
particular - which it may find complete agreement to that of the
Coalitions'. I am very encouraged by the fact that both
Government and Opposition are - as in the past - about at the
same position regarding the issues on Burma. Your proposal of
institutionalizing regional human rights mechanism for
Asia-Pacific has also been an interesting one.
Finally, I should like to thank you for your attention to Burma
(U NE OO)
/* ------------------" Letter to AUSTCARE, Sydney "------------------ */
May 9, 1995.
Burma Research and Info. Officer
AUSTCARE, 69-71 Paramatta Rd
RE: Information on Burma NGOs
I would like to have information relevant to the operation of
Australian NGOs on HIV/AIDS in Thailand/Burma, and those NGOs
interested in operation in Arakan State where Rohingya refugees are
repatriating. I'll appreciate info's on current status of operation
and also the interest of operation in those areas. Could you please
send me some notes or NGO Forum meeting minutes containing those
information.(Please send to above address). I'll be much obliged.
I enclosed a reply letter from UNHCR in Thailand with this message.
It appears thaat the international community is moving towards the
implementation the peace settlements in Burma. We need Australian
politicians to get involved in this process. Please help as anyway
as you can.
The UNHCR in Bangladesh had reported that there are about 77,000
refugees remaining in 9 camps. I also saw some concerns as to
whether this has been a voluntary repatriation been raised by the
US Committee for Refugees. The USCR preference seem to be to
process the refugees on a case-by-case basis to ensure the
voluntary repatriation. The UNHCR response regarding this request
is still unknown. But it will certainly be helpful to strengthen
the presence of NGOs as well as UNHCR personnels in the Arakan
State in order to monitor the refugees more efficiently. We will
also need to do more work on this.
I have distributed your joint submission with ABC to the HR
Sub-Committee to the Internet. Thank you so much for your work
regarding the Submission, which I find quite interesting. Please
keep in touch with us in Adelaide.
With best regards
U Ne Oo
cc: Pierre-Michel Fontaine, Regional representative for Australia,
The Branch office of UNHCR, Canberra.
/* Endreport */