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REPORT ON COMMUNICATIONS (31/10/95)
/* Written 13 Nov 6:00am 1995 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx(DR U NE OO) in igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" Report on Communications (31/10/95) "-------------- */
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
CANBERRA, ACT 2600.
31 October 1995
Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
ST MARY'S SA 5042
Dear Dr U Ne Oo
Thank you for your letter and attachments of 12 October addressed to
Senator Evans concerning the situation of people who have fled from Myanmar
and obtained sanctury in neighbouring countries. Senator Evans has asked me
to reply on his behalf.
The Australian Government shares your concern about the situation of people
who have fled Myanmar to escape human rights abuses, military activity and
civil strife. We will continue to urge the Government of Myanmar to
undertake reforms that will permit people from Myanmar to return to their
country in safety and dignity. As you are probably aware, the Australian
Government assists people in the border camps in Thailand and Bangladesh by
funding humanitarian assistance that is delivered through NGOs.
The Australian Government publicly welcomed the release of Aung San Suu Kyi
on 10 July 1995. Her release is an important step by the Myanmar
Government, but we believe it needs to do a lot more to demonstrate that it
is serious about fundamental political and human rights reform. Of the ten
benchmarks identified by Senator Evans at the 1994 ASEAN Post Ministerial
Conference in Bangkok as means to gauge progress in Myanmar, only one has
been achieved: the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Myanmar Government has
made little or no substantive progress against the other benchmarks, and in
some instances - such as access by the International Committee of the Red
Cross to prisoners - things have actually gone backwards.
We share your concern at the slow pace of political reform in Myanmar and
agree that it is important to maintain the pressure on the Government of
Myanmar. Australian policy will remain unchanged while we monitor events in
Myanmar over the coming months to ascertain whether the Myanmar Government
is genuinely committed to political reform and true national
reconciliation. We will continue to use all available avenues, including
the UN, and the forthcoming debate on Myanmar at the UN General Assembly
next month to promote positive change in Myanmar.
Sd. Frank Milne
Mainland South-East Asia Branch.
/* Endreport */