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Attn: Burma Newsreaders

                        HON. BENJAMIN A. GILMAN 
                  (Extension of Remarks - November 17, 1995) 

HON. BENJAMIN A. GILMAN in the House of Representatives

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, today, I am introducing House Resolution 274, a
resolution urging the administration to actively support and promote a
resolution at the United Nations to call on the Government of Burma to
restore civilian, democratic rule.

In July we all learned the good news that after 6 years confinement in her
home in Rangoon, Aung Asn Suu Kyi was released. Although her release is
supposedly `unconditional,' due to the form of government in Rangoon, Suu Kyi
and all of us know that she could be just as readily confined again as she
was released. The ruling generals in Rangoon should not be rewarded for
partially undoing something that they never should have done in the first
place. Accordingly, while we are pleased about her new freedom, relations
between Rangoon and Washington can not return to normal until there are some
fundamental changes in Burma . The change that would be most 
significant to us would be that the individuals who were democratically
elected in 1990 are released from prison and allowed to run the government.

Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest, detention and release is somewhat similar to the
case of Harry Wu. In both instances totalitarian dictatorships under pressure
from civilized nations for their egregious human rights abuses took a
prominent individual hostage and then expected to be rewarded for their
release. This convoluted logic may be acceptable to the inner circles of
Rangoon and Beijing, but it is not transparent to democratic leaders around
the world.

Our Nation has many important reasons to be concerned about what occurs in
Burma . High on our priority is the illicit drug production that has had a
devastating impact on our cities, families, and schools. In 1948 when Burma
became independent, the annual production of opium was 30 tons. Burma was
then a democracy, it exported rice to its neighbors and the world, and it
enjoyed a free-market system. It was known as the `rice bowl' of Asia. Today,
Burma is one of the poorest nations in the world and its opium production has
increased some 8,000 percent to about 2,575 tons [1992-1993]. What is the
reason for this massive increase? Bertil Litner, the Burma reporter for the
Far East Economic Review, states in his book `Burma in Revolt,' that Burmese
drug production is--

 . . . The inevitable consequence of the decades-long Burmese tragedy; the
inability of successive governments in Rangoon to come to terms with the
country's ethnic minorities and the refusal of post-1962 military-dominated
regimes to permit an open, pluralistic society.

The clear link between drug production and the military's intolerance for
political pluralism became even more obvious when opium production more than
doubled after Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest in 1989. This is directly linked to
agreements made between the SLORC and the ethnic minorities that grow most of
the opium and have been battling the Burmese central government 
rule for almost 50 years.

Individual Wa and Kokang farmers earn between $50 to $75 a year for their
harvest. Their leaders, while they are not all angels, are not like Khun Sa
who has tennis courts, swimming pools, and concubines. Their motivation to
grow opium is that it enables them to continue to fund their armies so that
they can keep Rangoon at bay. Unfortunately, they grow even more than does
Khun Sa.

The administration has taken the position that there is a human rights
problem in Burma but it must not be allowed to blind us to the drug problem.
What the administration has failed to recognize is that the human rights
problem is directly linked to the drug production. The administration has
inadvertently created a false dichotomy between human rights and drug 
production. They have failed to understand that the drug production problem
is a human rights problem. The majority of the opium grown in Burma is grown
so that ethnic minorities can protect themselves. The underlying motivation
behind much of the production is an economic one. It is very difficult to
grow anything else in those regions and they need the money for arms.

Until they feel confident that a representative form of government is
established in Rangoon, they will continue to grow just like they have for
the past 40 years. It is important that we bear in mind that when the SLORC
annulled the results of the 1989 elections the Wa and the Kokang supported
Aung San Suu Kyi's winning team. 

Recently Aung San Suu Kyi called for a halt in investment in Burma and stated
that Burma should not be admitted as a member of ASEAN until it had a
democratically elected government. If we want to seriously declare war on
Burmese drug production then we need to strongly support her 
efforts to peacefully bring about positive change. It is both the pragmatic
and principled thing to do.

Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to support House Resolution 274.

Whereas the military government of Burma , as a member of the United Nations,
is obligated to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all
other international human rights standards and conventions to which it is a

Whereas the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (hereinafter
referred to as the `SLORC') in Burma has refused to recognize the results of
the May 1990 elections, which the National League for Democracy, led by Aung
San Suu Kyi, won by a landslide; 

Whereas the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in March 1995
unanimously condemned the SLORC's refusal to `take all necessary steps
towards democracy in light of those elections'; 

Whereas the United Nations Commission on Human Rights also expressed grave
concern about violations of fundamental human rights in Burma , including
torture, summary and arbitrary executions, massive use of forced labor
including forced portering for the military, abuse of women, political
arrests and detentions, restrictions on freedom of expression and
and oppressive measures directed at ethnic and religious minorities; 

Whereas the United Nations Commission on Human Rights noted that most of the
1,990 democratically elected representatives have been excluded from the
SLORC's `National Convention' and concluded that the convention does not
`appear to constitute the necessary step towards the restoration of

Whereas Burma continues to be one of the world's leading sites of narcotics
production and trafficking and, according to the United States State
Department, production of heroin nearly tripled in Burma since the SLORC took
power in a violent coup in 1988; 

Whereas, according to the State Department's International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report of March 1995, the SLORC's antinarcotics efforts last year
`fell far short of the measures necessary to make serious progress against
the drug trade,' and in addition, the SLORC's lack of control over
heroin-producing areas is due to the SLORC's allowing `wide-ranging, local
autonomy (to ethnic armies) in exchange for halting their active insurgencies
against Rangoon'; 

Whereas the peace agreements signed by the SLORC with ethnic insurgencies
since 1989 were supposed to lead to both a decrease in opium production and
economic development, but according to the State Department's report,
`neither development nor a reduction in opium cultivation has occurred'; 

Whereas in 1948 when Burma became independent, the annual production of opium
was 30 tons, Burma was then a democracy, it exported rice to its neighbors
and the world, and it enjoyed a free-market system; 

Whereas today Burma is one of the poorest nations in the world and its opium
production has increased some 8,000 percent to about 2,575 tons (1992-1993); 

Whereas the drug production increase is the consequence in large degree of
the inability of the successive military governments in Rangoon to come to
terms with the country's ethnic minorities and the refusal of post-1962
military-dominated regimes to permit an open pluralistic society; 

Whereas it is primarily through a democratically elected civilian government
in Burma , supported by the Burmese people including the ethnic minorities,
that Burma can make significant progress in controlling narcotics production
and trafficking; 

Whereas on July 10, 1995, the SLORC responded to international pressure,
including 5 resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly, by releasing
Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been held under house arrest for 6 years; 

Whereas 16 elected Members of Parliament remain in detention in Burma, along
with thousands of other political prisoners, according to Human Rights
Watch/Asia, Amnesty International, and other human rights monitoring groups; 

Whereas in July 1995 the International Committee of the Red Cross
(hereinafter referred to as the `ICRC') closed its office in Burma due to the
SLORC's refusal to agree to allow the ICRC confidential regular access to

Whereas the United States ambassador to the United Nations visited Burma in
September 1995, met with Aung San Suu Kyi, and also met with leaders of the
SLORC and urged them to `choose the path' of `democracy, rather than
continued repression and dictatorial control,' and declared that `fundamental
change in the United States policy towards Burma would depend on fundamental
change in the SLORC's treatment of the Burmese people; and 

Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Burma , Professor Yozo
Yokota, visited the country in October 1995 and will deliver a preliminary
report of his findings to the current session of the United Nations General
Assembly: Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, That the House of Representatives calls on-- 

(1) the Burmese Government to immediately begin a political dialogue with
Aung San Suu Kyi, other democratic leaders, and representatives of the ethnic
minorities to release immediately and unconditionally detained Members of
Parliament and other political prisoners, to repeal repressive laws which
prohibit freedom of association and expression and the right of citizens to
freely in the political life of their country, to resume negotiations with
the International Committee of the Red Cross on access to prisoners, and help
control the massive flow of heroin from Burma ; and 

(2) the President, the Secretary of State, and the United States ambassador
to the United Nations to actively support and promote a resolution at the
upcoming session of the Third Committee of the United Nations General
Assembly reiterating the grave concerns of the international community and
calling on the SLORC to take concrete, significant steps to fulfill its
to guarantee respect to basic human rights and to restore civilian,
democratic rule to the people of Burma . 

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