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The following is posted for David Wolfberg:

Los Angeles Campaign for a Free Burma

Burma (310) 391-7788
OCTOBER 4, 1995 DANG NGO, UCLA Rainforest Action Group (310) 208-5978

UCLA's Alumni Association is abandoning its "Burma Passage" tour package
after learning that the tour would bring funds to an illegal military
regime with an appetite for forced labor and no tolerance for academic
freedom. At the association's Board of Directors meeting Thursday evening,
Burmese exiles, UCLA students, and the Campaign for a Free Burma also
argued that travelers could be exposed to substantial health risks. UCLA's
decision was hailed as a sharp rebuke to Burma's ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC).
In preparation for "Visit Myanmar [Burma] 1996", the SLORC has conscripted
thousands of Burmese, including pregnant women and 8-year-old children, to
re-construct roads, railroads, an airport, and numerous tour spots in
Burma. Tourism-related forced labor has been documented by the New York
Times, BBC television and ABC's Nightline.
For tourists, the SLORC's program is also a bad deal. A docking fee from
leisure vessels will go directly to SLORC. Travelers will have to convert
their dollars to Burmese kyats. The junta gives tourists 6 kyats per
dollar, but it will cost 120 kyats for a dollar's worth of goods under the
common black market rates. In a nation with one doctor per 12,500 citizens,
medical risks are high. The International Red Cross found it impossible to
operate in Burma due to the SLORC, whose soldiers have murdered and
tortured doctors and nurses and destroyed medical facilities. On the heels
of this year's devastating monsoon season, tourists may be exposed to
malaria, dengue, cholera, TB, tetanus, typhoid, and hepatitis.
Visitors to Burma can forget about the outside world, as SLORC controls the
only radio and television broadcasts and the only magazine and newspaper. A
traveler in Rangoon won't hear much from BBC or Voice of America because
the SLORC is jamming broadcast signals.
Following twenty minutes of closed-door discussion, the UCLA Alumni
Association issued the following statement:
Whereas, the Board of Directors of the UCLA Alumni Association received
substantial and credible information at its September 28, 1995 meeting to
the effect that
1)      there are serious human rights violations being committed by the
government of Burma;
2)      that the US State Dept. is considering issuing travel restrictions
or canceling travel visas to Burma; and
3)      that some human rights groups are advocating an economic boycott of
It is therefore resolved based upon the foregoing information that the
Board revokes its previous sponsorship of the Burma Passage travel program
scheduled for January 8 - 25, 1996.
In abandoning the tour, UCLA will provide human rights documentation to
alumni who signed up for the trip.  The L.A. Campaign for a Free Burma is
calling on other alumni associations, notably that of cross-town rival
University of Southern California, to join UCLA in canceling the travel
In addition to UCLA and USC, Burma tour programs have been identified at
Duke, Yale, and Northwestern.  The Northwestern campus has already been
approached about a related Burma issue - Unocal Corporation's joint venture
with SLORC for construction of a natural gas pipeline through Burma to
Thailand. The Dean of Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management,
Donald Jacobs, is a Director at Unocal. A new British documentary, Life on
the Line, has revealed a pattern of executions & forcible relocation
throughout the region of Unocal's pipeline.
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