[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News November 20, 1995

Received: (from strider) by igc2.igc.apc.org (8.6.11/Revision: 1.16 ) id UAA18785; Mon, 20 Nov 1995 20:39:17 -0800
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 20:39:17 -0800

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: November 20, 1995
Issue #282

Noted in Passing:

	As far as they are not free in Burma, my soul is
	not free either. - Tun Myint, a Burmese student activist
	now in the United States (see RYDER MAGAZINE: 



November 19, 1995

This article appeared in the Ryder Magazine(Nov. 17-Dec. 1 1995 issue).  
The Ryder is a local publication in Bloomington, Indiana.  It is issued 
every other week.  This article was written by Tun Myint, the campaign 
organizer for Indiana Campaign for a Free Burma.  This magazine also 
brought "Beyond Rangoon" to Bloomington for two and a half weeks.  A 
caption was at the top of the article and pictured seven refugee students 
from Burma in a Thai camp just before leaving to the United States.  The 
background is a small mountain.  
	[Editor's Note:  The author's original English text is presented 
         unaltered in order to preserve his natural voice.] 


  "I myself am a believer in justice, freedom and kindness toward other humans
       and other beings. Although I don't want to harm anyone, it was the 
	    call to me that I should take up arms and revolt against 
		unjust government of my country"

My name is Tun Myint. I am a Burmese student at Indiana University.  When
I was in Burma in 1988, I was waiting for university studies after I had
finished High School. There was people uprising emerged in Burma for the
restoration of democracy and human rights.  It was a nationwide demonstration 
that was bigger than Tiananmin square in China in 1989. I was thinking my 
country was going to be changed very soon and Burma was going to be developed 
just like developing countries.  Suddenly, a change occurred on the 18th of 
September in 1988.  But it was not the change that I expected. That change was 
a tremendous transformation for my life but not for my country. 
The change that took place on the 18th of September is that the Burmese
Army took the power by a brutal coup. It brought the country under the
dictatorship government. The military dictatorship government named itself
as "SLORC" (State Law and Order Restoration Council) and ousted all the
student activists by oppressing their pro-democratic movements.  I was one
of the students who actively involved in pro-democracy movements. There
was no choice for me rather than leaving my country, my family, and the
university that I intended to study higher education. Therefore, I had to
leave all the conditions that I expected to happen. 
It is a long story and very complicated situations that I passed through
the period of 1988 demonstrations and afterward.  I filed detail account
of my participation and activities when I applied political asylum here in
United States.  I am now granted asylum and I would like to take a moment
to extend my gratitude to all people in United States who help many of
"me" to be safe, and hopeful for both our future and our struggle for
democracy in Burma.  I myself is a believer in justice, freedom and
kindness toward other humans and other beings.  Although, I don't want to
harm anyone, it was the call to me that I should take up arms and revolt
unjust government of my country. Thus I decided to leave my country,
family and friends as many of my fellow students did in 1988 after the
brutal bloody coup. 
Believing that we, the pro-democratic students, could fight the military
dictatorship by guns, all the students activists around Burma left the
country for Burma-Thailand border, Burma-India border, and Burma-China
border areas. I am one of those students who left for the Burma-Thailand
border.  I, with two of my friends, left Rangoon in the early morning on the 5th 
of November, 1988 from Rangoon harbor by boat.  Before I left, I was living 
around my friends' houses where I could hide away from military intelligence. 
It was too bad. Usually, wherever I wanted to go, my father would send me
and my mother would tell me how to behave along the trip.  But for this
trip, I couldn't even dare to inform them that I was leaving for my journey
They would stop me if they knew that I was leaving for the jungle to fight 
back the government.  Therefore, I couldn't let them know this time. 
The journey took seven days on the sea to get to the border town called
"Ranaung" in Thailand.  Along the way in the sea, I sometimes had to act
as a crew member when the boat encountered the navy boats. In this way, I
avoided the danger of military disruption. I got sea-sick for the first
three days in the boat.  That was unexpected trip and very compelling
journey for my life.  Thus I arrived at a border city called Ranaung in
Thailand on November 11.  There were already about a hundred Burmese
students in Ranaung waiting to continue their journey to Jungle where we
expected to hold arms and fight the dictatorship.  Many students,
including me, worked as construction worker for about a week in Ranaung. 
That was my first time in my life working as a hard labor.  Sometimes,
when the police car came to the work site, we have to hide away from them. 
The owner of the work site will shout it out to run and hide.  There ware
some stories I had there, but I will leave them here and continue to my journey. 
On the 19th of November, 1988, I and 124 students were secretly brought by
the Thai authorities to go to the Three Pagoda Village.  We left Ranaung
in the midnight of November 19, and got Three Pagoda Village area in the
midnight of November 20.  It was the beginning of the cold season in
Burma.  Everyone got a piece of blanket and a dinner sack at midnight.
There was no water to drink, and we didn't know how to find it in the
night at a very new place.  Fortunately, the NGO (Non-Governmental
Organization) which donated a piece of blanket and a sack of dinner helped
to get drinking water after dinner. I had never have such a delicious
dinner in hungry time. I never forget that dinner I had.  It was Thai food
called "Khout Phart" similar to Burmese fried rice. 
The place that we got had just finished war between two ethnic groups
namely between Mon and Karen.  It was post war village with damages on
houses.  There were no native villagers in it. It is a border area now
blooming trade region between Burma and Thailand.  We, 125 students, took
those damaged houses and set up home away from home again.  We didn't know
what we were going to do, but we knew why we were here.  We survived in
that village for about two months with the help of local Mon ethnic
insurgents. And also we got some food donations from Non-Governmental
Organizations which were based in Thailand. I don't know who they were,
but mainly those NGOs were associated with some Burmese activists who left
Burma in 1974 and earlier for the same reason. 
Furthermore, my tale is not finished by this change. As day and night are
gone year after year, the changes which took place within my life were
happening one after another.  After about two months at the Three Pagoda
Village, we spread into different student camps to take basic military
training as a preparation for the revolution.  Our student camp were
mobile camps. We couldn't stay at one place for a long time because the
military government's troops were launching war along the border. 
Therefore, we got to move around. I and some of my fellow students moved
around and lived in at least 7 camps along the border.  When I was at the
student camps on the Burma-Thailand border, I took military training as a
student soldier to fight back the military dictatorship.  Students
established the student army called "All Burma Students' Democratic Front"
(ABSDF) which is still actively acting in the borders until now.  I would
say it is the world's largest student army that devotes for democracy and
human rights in Burma.  Some of my friends are still active in the jungle
until now while I am writing this journal.  I salute all of those people
who gave their lives along the borders during the battles or because of
malaria disease.  I didn't have any serious battles since I was acting as
an agent to contact inside student groups in Rangoon. 
My life didn't end in jungle as my parents and relatives would think I
might be already dead.  However, I faced a serious threat to my life
during I was in the jungle by malaria which is a kind of infected
diseases.  It killed my hairs and put away from my head.  I beg the death
to let me alive for my ambitions.  My body could just maintain the bones
under skin.  Fortunately, I could survive in the jungle for about two
years with the strength from the spirit of dedicated students who were
shot dead in front of me by military guns during the 1988 nationwide
demonstration.  I will never forget that scene and also never give up the
revolution that started with the spirit of students and people in Burma. 
I hold my fist to kick my goal and my soul must be for the benefits of
people who love freedom, human rights, justice and humanity. 
Here and now, I am taking granted for freedom of expression, the rights of
human, the justice under the laws of United States. I love these and I
admire people like Martin Luther King who told us "Injustice anywhere
threatens justice everywhere."  I know injustices committed by those
hypocritic military generals in Burma are threatening the humanity and its
dignity. Since I was born I regarded myself to be free. I love freedom
more than my life. That is why I am paying tragic feeling of losing
connection with my parents, relatives, and friends for seven years now
away from my native home.  Living in the United States make me free and
safe. Even though I finally gained freedom as in the honor of American
dream, I could never forget the suffering of 45 millions of people in
Burma and I will never give up the revolution that we established in a
time in 1988 in Burma. As far as they are not free in Burma, my soul is
not free either.  My soul gave me the goal. 
To continue the goal of 88 generation, we students must "neither do
anything extreme nor 'put their feet up' and wait for democracy to happen
in Burma" as the 1990 Nobel Peace Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said in
last July, 1995.  With that in my heart, I started the Campaign For A Free
Burma at Bloomington, Indiana with a numbers of local activists.  It is
the beginning of a call to Americans to boycott Burmese brutal oppressive
regime SLORC.  This is another step to continue my journey in America for
Democracy and Human Rights in Burma. 


November 18, 1995

Working Group on Human Rights, Working Group on Peace, Working Group 
on Women And Environment, Working Group On Indigenous Peoples, 
Working Group on Refugees and Internally Displaced Women of the NGO 
Committee on the Status of Women
In Association With The Burma Women Union, Burma Peace Foundation,
and the National Coalition Government Of The Union Of Burma
            B U R M A  A N D  T H E  M I L I T A R Y  M I N D
             A Briefing On Burma Addressed To The Women's Movement
            Church Center for the United Nations, 2nd Floor, 
              777, UN Plaza, New York, New York 10017, USA
                 (entry, 44th St, South corner with 1st Avenue)
                 Friday 1 December, 1995, from 2 till 6pm. 
BETTY WILLIAMS (Nobel Peace Laureate)
EDITH MIRANTE (Director of Project Maje, author of "Burmese
Looking Glass" and numerous other studies on non-Burman ethnic Groups) 
ZUNETTA LIDDELL (Anthropologist, Burma expert of Human Rights
Watch/Asia, and the author of a number of reports on Burma)
HNIN HNIN PYNE (Representative of the Burmese Women Union; doing
research in public health)

HSENG NOUNG LINTNER (Expert on the trafficking of Burmese women) 
Chaired by: ANNE S. WALKER (Executive Director, International Women's 
Tribune Center)
We Will Also Show Aung San Suu Kyi's Beijing Video

Many of the participants in the Beijing Women's Conference were
moved by Aung San Suu Kyi's video speech, as well as by other
presentations on the situation in Burma.
We therefore, as five of the New York working groups of the
Committee on the Status of Women, in association with the Burma
Women Union, The Burma Peace Foundation and the National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, would like to take
this interest several steps further, and develop ways of working
on Burma within the Women's movement. We propose as a first move
a conference in New York (entitled "Burma and the military mind")
to bring together the members of our organizations to discuss
possible strategies. 
This conference will take the form of a four-hour meeting, the
first part of which will consist of presentations by experts on
different aspects of the situation in Burma, with an emhasis on
the situation of women. The remaining time will be devoted to
working groups and reporting back. The presenters will act as
resource people for these groups. Background papers and a
conference draft document will be sent out in advance which will
analyse the situation in Burma, and make a number of
recommendations. Discussion and amendment of this document will
be part of the discussions. We hope that the meeting will be able to adopt 
this document, which then can be used within the women's movement as well 
as in such forums as the UN Commission on Human Rights. 
The papers  will also be placed on the internet
The presentations and working groups will cover:
Human Rights, including trafficking of women; Refugees and
internally displaced women; Indigenous peoples; The civil war;
Ecological damage.
There is no charge for the conference. Those wanting background
papers and for further information, contact:
Burma Peace Foundation 
Tel (+1-212) 338 0048; Fax 692 9748; Email darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx


November 19, 1995   By Wasana Nanum, Pattaya

Rangoon has demanded and end to humanitarian aid to Khun Sa's 
men wounded in clashes with Burmese forces, a source said 
yesterday. The demand was put to Defence Minister Chavalit 
Yongchaiyudh by Burmese Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung Khin, 
whose visit to Thailand ended yesterday.

The source said: "Burma is serious on the matter and regards 
humanitarian aid to Khun Sa's wounded soldiers as official 
support for the leader of the Mong Tai Army." But Gen Chavalit 
said the Government would not tolerate action by Khun Sa deemed 
to be a danger to the world community.

"Our position is quite clear on this matter," he said. The 
representative of the Rangoon junta asked Gen Chavalit to 
consider the demand for compensation for Burmese killed in an 
MTA attack in Tachilek, the source said.

The Government has already rejected the demand, based on 
Rangoon's contention the attack was launched from Mae Sai. Gen 
Chavalit said the five-day visit had fostered greater 
understanding and helped improve relations strained by border 
disputes, allegations of Thai assistance to minorities and the 
murder of Burmese by Thais on a trawler.

There had been agreement that disputes over several border incidents 
were matters that could be solved locally. "Officials at the 
regional level should meet regularly to tackle any 
misunderstanding," said Gen Chavalit.

Work on the Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge in Mae Sot, Tak, 
suspended by Rangoon, had not been raised during the visit. On 
fishery problems, Gen Chavalit said both sides agreed in 
principle, he said, with Thailand's proposal to establish a 
joint naval patrol to prevent fishing disputes in Burmese 
territorial waters. The Burmese delegation said the visit had 
been "very successful" and Burma was determined to strengthen 
ties and promote border co-operation. (BP)


November 20, 1995

Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh failed to improve the 
shaky bilateral relations with Burma during his recent visit to 
the country, a Democrat MP said yesterday. His visit last month 
to Rangoon instead only created a personal relationship between 
Chavalit and Burma's military junta members, Chinaworn 
Boonyakiet said.

"Gen Chavalit's trip to Rangoon did not solve the present 
problems Thailand has with Burma. I don't know whether the trip 
had something to do with private business matters or not. 
However, it failed to find a way out of the many conflicts, including 
the death of Thai crewmen by Burmese fishermen," he said.

Chinawrong was referring to the murder of five Thai fishermen by 
Burmese on the same vessel. Rangoon has not done anything about 
detaining the culprits. The murders took place less than two 
months after a group of Thais killed at least two Burmese on a 
vessel, three Thais were arrested in connection with the incident.

Meanwhile, National Security Council chief Gen Charan 
Kullawanicha said that officials from both sides were working 
hard to improve bilateral relations. "The problems between 
Thailand and Burma have created an atmosphere of concern. 
However, the authorities at very level are working hard to try 
and solve these issues. This sort of situation is normal when 
you consider the length of the joint border," Charan said.

A recent visit by the Burmese Deputy Prime Minister Gen Maung 
Maung Khin produced nothing fruitful to help solve the problems. 
Both sides agreed after a full day of playing golf in Pattaya 
that there should be meetings between local authorities to 
settle border-related disputes. Gen Maung Maung Khin had led a 
27- member delegation on a five-day official visit here as 
Chavalit's guests. They left Bangkok on Sunday. (TN)


November 20, 1995     United Press International

An organisation representing ethnic Karen refugees in Thailand 
said yesterday it feared a mass repatriation to Burma could subject 
the refugees to brutality at the hands of Rangoon's military junta.

The Karen Refugee Committee (KRC) said in a statement that a 
cease-fire agreement signed by the junta and leaders of ethnic 
Mon rebels on June 29 had led to negotiations aimed at the mass 
repatriation of Mon refugees from Thailand to Burma, possibly under 
supervision from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

"The Karen Refugee Committee, however, has noted the tendency of 
some observers to see repatriation of the Mon refugees as 
establishing a precedent which may at some future time be 
applied to the more than 70,000 Karen refugees under its care," 
the statement said.

Under the rebel Karen National Union, the predominantly 
Christian Karen have been fighting the Rangoon government almost 
continuously since Burma's independence from Britain in 1948.

But as the Karen guerrilla struggle weakened over the past few 
years, thousands of Karen have fled to Thailand along with other 
ethnic minorities, complaining of brutality, forced labour, mass 
rape and other human rights violations by Burmese military authorities.

The refugee exodus has intensified since the fall of the last 
major Karen rebel base to the Burmese army on Feb 21. The KRC 
said 73,168 Karen were living in a string of camps along the 
Thai-Burmese border as of last month.

The issue of ethnic minorities living along the border was high 
on the agenda of meetings between Thai leaders and a visiting 
Burmese government delegation that left Bangkok on Sunday.

During the five-day visit by Burma's deputy prime minister, Vice 
Admiral Maung Maung Khin, the Burmese delegation reportedly  
pressed the Thais to refrain from providing medical assistance 
to ethnic Shan rebels who flee across the border into Thailand.

Burmese rebel groups have expressed the fear that growing 
economic cooperation between Bangkok and Rangoon will accelerate 
at the expense of Burma's persecuted minorities.

A high-ranking official of Thailand's National Security Agency 
recently offered to act as an "anvil" for the Burmese army's 
"hammer" in dealing with Shan rebels. Like other Burmese ethnic 
minority groups, the KRC said it accepts the principle that the 
refugees should eventually return home. However, it said all 
repatriations should be voluntary and should be carried out 
under international supervision, such as that provided by the UNHCR.

"The Karen Refugee Committee believes that the Karen and Mon 
refugees have fled from incidental as well as systematic persecution 
under the country's military rulers, that such persecution continues as 
has been documented by recent reports to the United Nations," the 
Karen statement said. "And therefore the refugees have a well-founded 
fear of persecution again should they return to Burma."

*Agence France-Presse report:

Burma's ruling military authorities freed another 19 prisoners 
on Saturday after reducing their sentences, state-run Burmese 
radio reported. The 19 had been held in two provincial jails in 
the southern Burmese port cities of Moulmein and Mergui, Radio 
Rangoon said in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok.

The report did not say why or when they were originally 
imprisoned, but said their terms were reduced under an amnesty 
declared by the ministry of home affairs. Rangoon has released 
nearly 2,300 political detainees since April 1992, when the 
ruling junta decided to release prisoners no longer considered a 
threat to national security.

According to a recent report by Amnesty International, the 
London-based human rights group, it is estimated that several 
thousand political prisoners are still being held in Burmese prisons. (TN)


November 19, 1995

High Commissioner for Refugees
14, Jor Bagh
New Delhi - 110003, India
Phone : 4699302                         P.O. Box 3135
Fax     : 91-11-4620137                 Telex : 031-62885 HCR IN

                                        November 16, 1995
        I am writing further to discussions that your Representatives had with 
Ms. Wei Men Lim, Legal Officer, on 14 and 15 November and my meeting with 
you today.
As has been explained to you in these discussions, your application for refugees 
status is being examined by our Office in consultation with our Headquarters in
Geneva. All of you have had the opportunity of an individual interview with a
UNHCR Legal Officer, to explain your circumstances. The results of these 
meeting are being examined in detail to determine your claim to refugee status.
We will endeavor to give individual decisions in the near future. Those of you
who have already received a negative decision have been advised of our appeals 
producer and appeals received are being considered.
We very much regret that you have decided to demonstrate outside our office and
go on hunger strike to press your claim. We understand that your are doing so,
since you claim that you have no financial resources to manage on your own in 
Delhi or return to North East.
As a matter of policy, the UNHCR does not provide individual financial support
to asylum seekers. However, in consideration of your situation, we have 
exceptionally agreed to provide you a one time cash assistance of Rs.3,000/-per
family or Rs.2,000/- for individuals. Should you wish to avail of this assistance,
payment can be arranged through Syndicate Bank, Khan Market, New Delhi.
At our request, a medical doctor has also been made available to provide 
treatment to you.
I would urged you to avail of this temporary assistance pending determination of 
your claim to refugee status.
Yours truly,
Rajiv Kapur
Chief of Mission a.i.
Update News of Hunger Strike outside UNHCR office in Delhi
10:00 am in the morning Delhi Police threatened to stop the hunger strike. There are about 20 persons. But the agitators ignored and continued their demand.
2:00 pm leaders of the strike committee discussed with the supporters and NGO.
Then they decided to take the money that UNHCR's letter. Because some of them and one child (he also participated in four days hunger strike).
2:30 pm strike leader submitted the letter and demand for those who are ignored by UNHCR should give the interview date in few days.
4:00 pm many Burmese activists came and showed their support with them.
UNHCR agreed to reply in one week (24th Nov.' 95) with the consultant of Headquarters in Geneva.
6:00 pm All of the ignored Burmese refugees of 36 took the one time assistance of Rs.3,000/- per family and Rs.2,000/- for individual.
6:20 pm They withdraw from UNHCR successfully.
New & Information Department
Federation of Trade Unions, Burma (West Burma)


November 18, 1995    (Burma Peace Foundation)

Over the past few years the human rights case against the Burmese
military has been made extensively and effectively. Hundreds of
statements and reports by Inter-Governmental, Governmental, and
Non-Governmental organisations have been issued; resolutions have
been adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly, the UN
Commission on Human Rights and by many other bodies; journalists,
academics and documentary film-makers have described the horrors
suffered by the Burmese people under the heel of their military. 
However, the economic case has not yet been adequately put. 
Burma is being run by an unpopular milltary junta which does not
have the technical competence or public support required to
depart substantially from the command economy established by
General Ne Win as the Burmese Way to Socialism. The result is
increased centralization, militarization, the ruin of a
potentially rich country and the impoverishment of its people.
The chaotic economy is also an important factor underlying the
violation of civil and political rights as well as of economic,
social and cultural rights.
As a contribution to this debate, the Burma Peace Foundation has
gathered together a few papers which analyse Burma's economy. The
first of these have been posted on burmanet-l. They are:
1) "Myanmar: Will Forever Flow the Ayeyarwady?" by Khin Maung Kyi
   (in two parts)
2) "Miscarried Reforms" by Stefan Collignon
3) "Notes on Myanmar (Burma)" Anonymous
4) Extract from the recent World Bank report "Myanmar: Policies
for Sustaining Economic Reform"
David Arnott   
Burma Peace Foundation  
19 November 1995


WORLD BANK REPORT No.14062-BA  (excerpts)
October 16, 1995
Country Operations Division, Country Department I, East Asia and Pacific Region

                            EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
50.    The Government's ongoing economic reform program has
changed many facets of the Myanma economy. To achieve the goals
of expanding exports, encouraging agriculture, and promoting
private-sector and foreign participation in economic activity,
several new laws and regulations have been instituted. However,
this report concludes that the pace of economic growth is still
not rapid enough to compensate for the economic stagnation of the
preceding quarter century, and its sustainability is uncertain.
The current reform efforts are, therefore, unlikely to push the
Myanma economy to a higher growth path on which the bulk of the
population would enjoy substantially better living standards.
51.    For a sustained growth response to emerge, this report
concludes that economic reforms need to be deepened and extended
in several policy areas.  The most urgent need is to restore
macroeconomic stability so as to establish the basis for
sustained growth.  In this context, the report's central
recommendation is for a nominal devaluation of the official
exchange rate.  Adjusting the exchange rate is essential to
tackling the unsustainably large macroeconomic imbalances with
regard to the fiscal deficit and the current account gap. These
distortions in macroeconomic policies, particularly the
overvalued exchange rate and the deep cuts in non-military public
expenditures, also have adverse distributional impacts. Unless
they are addressed, it will be impossible to reduce poverty and
achieve social development.  Substantial gains in economic
efficiency would also result if the ban on private-sector exports
of paddy and rice were eliminated, and the scope of government
paddy procurement were reduced.  Reforming these paddy policies
would help to reduce poverty and enhance equity because they
imply large income transfers from the rural poor to the urban
elites (including the military). Regarding private-sector
participation, SEs [State Enterprises] still enjoy significant
advantages in their access to key inputs and, thus, are also
favored by foreign investors in establishing joint ventures.
Hence, steps to establish a "level playing field" between SEs and
domestic private businesses should be a priority. Finally, if the
role of the SE sector in the economy and its adverse fiscal
impact are to be reduced, reforms would need to go further or be
reoriented in several areas, including price liberalization,
managerial and financial autonomy, and privatization.   

November 19, 1995
>From Burmese Relief Center--Japan


Activists from around Japan converged on Yamazaki in Kyoto
Prefecture on November 18 and 19 to plan new and better
ways to aid Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and
the democratic forces who support her. 

More than 40 people from Japan, Burma, India, and several
Western countries discussed issues including how to react if
the increasingly vocal Nobel laureate is rearrested; how to
reverse the escalation of Japanese aid and investment to
SLORC, the Burmese military junta; and how to discourage
tourists from traveling to the wartorn country during SLORC's
"Visit Myanmar Year 1996" campaign.  Participants also
considered ways to alert the Japanese media and government to
the dangers of SLORC's upcoming National Convention,
through which the junta  hopes to pass a constitution that
would permanently bar Suu Kyi from politics and enshrine
into law the military's leading role in government. 
Participants, who ranged in age from high school students to
retired teachers, also saw the premiere of the documentary
"The Fall of Kawmoorah," an eyewitness account about
atrocities committed by SLORC against the Karen ethnic
minority and the Burmese army's own soldiers during fighting
on the Thai-Burma border earlier this year. 

This was the sixth "Burma Study/Action Weekend" organized
annually by Nara-based Burmese Relief Center--Japan and
supported by other Burmese democracy organizations throughout Japan.


November 19, 1995  (abridged)

Much has been said of Thai fishermen who have been killed or 
arrested while fishing in foreign waters. Their wives are often 
forgotten. Supradit Kanwanich explores their equally traumatic plight.

Over 1,000 Thai fishermen have been reported arrested 
during the past 14 years on charges of illegal fishing in 
Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and 
Vietnam, claimed the Fisheries Department.

However, the department has no official report on the number of 
dead and missing crew. Fishermen who abandon their trawlers 
while being chased by naval patrols are often considered missing 
or presumed dead. Witness accounts state that some of the less 
fortunate are killed while resisting arrest or being chased by 
patrolling boats, regardless of the fact that warning shots are sounded.

About 15 Thai crew members were believed killed last year by 
patrolling Burmese officials, who were seen monitoring the 
Andaman Sea in an earlier confiscated Thai fishing vessel.

Reports say the crew of the seized vessel radioed nearby Thai 
fishing trawlers that they had been approached by a trawler 
presumed to be with pirates. A second radioed messaged ratified 
that the Thai trawler had counter-attacked with machine guns. 
The message was cut half way through.

Nearby, Thai trawlers tried in vain to search for survivors the 
following day but were dumbfounded to find floating debris of 
the trawler. Later it was brought to their attention that the 
trawler had caught fire and exploded.

It has been claimed by crew who  were in contact with the ill-
fated vessel that Burmese authorities were behind  the incident. 
Burmese authorities involved in patrolling its water boundaries 
are the Fisheries Department, the Navy and Army.

Dr Yongyuth Khongsuphapsiri, chairman of the Samut Sakhon 
Fishery Cooperative and a fishery activist said there might be 
thousands of widows left behind in our 21 coastal provinces.

He said there were about 800 such widows alone in Samut Sakhon 
town's tambons Mahachai and Ban Laem. Authorities have been 
alerted  to financially help these unfortunate women and their 
families in a long-term plan.

 Last year, D Yongyuth took the wives and widows of jailed and 
missing Thai fishermen and their children to meet the Parliament 
House committee that facilities welfare for victim's of human 
rights abuse and injustice.

Parliamentary authorities concerned and private sector of the 
fishing industry should pay heed to problems being faced by 
these unfortunate women. If it wasn't for these fishermen, 
Thailand wouldn't be ranked as one of the top ten fishing fleet 
countries in the world, with a current annual revenue of about 
100,000 million baht.

Dr Yongyudh said short-term assistance should be provided to 
families whose husbands are serving jail terms abroad. The 
Government should also try to negotiate for their early release. 
For those who are missing or presumed dead, the Government 
should have a welfare scheme for their dependents.


The BurmaNet News is produced with the support of the Burma 
Information Group (B.I.G) and the Research Department of the 

Articles from newspapers, magazines, newsletters, the wire
services and the Internet as well as original material are published.               

The BurmaNet News is e-mailed directly to subscribers and is
also distributed via the soc.culture.burma and seasia-l
mailing lists. For a free subscription to the BurmaNet News, send 
an e-mail message to: majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx   
In the body of the message, type "subscribe burmanet-l"
(without quotation marks) Letters to the editor, comments or
contributions of articles should be sent to the editor at: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx

BurmaNet regularly receives enquiries on a number of different 
topics related to Burma. If you have questions on any of the 
following subjects, please direct email to the following volunteer 
coordinators, who will either answer your question or try to put you 
in contact with someone who can:

Arakan/Rohingya/Burma     volunteer needed 
Bangladesh Border	
Campus activism: 	zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Boycott campaigns: [Pepsi]   wcsbeau@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx     
Buddhism:                    Buddhist Relief Mission:  brelief@xxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:        plilian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Fonts:                  		tom@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
History of Burma:            zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Kachin history/culture:      74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Karen history/culture: 	Karen Historical Society: 102113.2571@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mon history/culture:         [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture: 	Wungram Shishak:  z954001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Burma-India border            [volunteer needed]
Pali literature:            	 "Palmleaf":  c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Shan history/culture:        [volunteer needed]
Shareholder activism:       simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Total/Pipeline		Christopher Dietrich: cd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Tourism campaigns:      	bagp@xxxxxxxxxx     "Attn. S.Sutcliffe"   
World Wide Web:              FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx
Volunteering:           	christin@xxxxxxxxxx  

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]