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BurmaNet News December 14, 1995
- Subject: BurmaNet News December 14, 1995
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 07:38:00
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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: December 14, 1995
Noted in Passing:
In another foolhardy speech of hers with the delusion of
grandeur she claims that in the Irrawaddy Delta region people
are starving and that they had to go to places of charity to get
bowl of boiled rice. - Tun Shwe, Myanmar News Agency, on
Aung San Suu Kyi (see MYANMAR -TELE-FAX NEWS
AGENCY: TRUE FACTS OF THE LIES)
BURMANET: AN UPDATE TO "BAD NEWS AT THE VOA"
THWIN AND WIN: THREE CHEERS FOR VOA
MYANMAR -TELE-FAX NEWS AGENCY: TRUE FACTS OF THE LIES
KNU: STATEMENT OF KNU ON FUTURE COURSE OF BURMA
KNU: COMMENCEMENT OF DIALOGUE BETWEEN KNU AND SLORC
ABSDF NEWS AGENCY: FORCED LABOUR, RAPE AND OTHER ABUSES
NATION:BURMA HITS THAILAND WITH COMPENSATION DEMAND
NATION:BURMA: HIDDEN MOTIVES OR JUST FACING REALITY?
BKK POST:PROTEST FURY AT BURMA'S INVITATION TO SUMMIT
BURMANET: AN UPDATE TO "BAD NEWS AT THE VOA"
December 13, 1995 strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
"Bad News at the VOA" was posted to the
net and faxed out at about 1:00am last Friday
morning. By 8:30 that morning, the Director's office
of the VOA phoned and we will meet this coming Friday
morning. To VOA's credit, they responded immediately to
the allegations, appear to be taking them seriously and are
investigating. There is not much more that one could ask
from a government agency.
The genesis of the article on the VOA was an incident I
witnessed just after the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Immediately
after her release, correspondents from the VOA and British
Broadcasting Company asked for interviews. BBC got a long,
live interview. The VOA correspondents remained
stuck outside the gate for several days until one finally got a
fifteen minute interview. The VOA correspondent had to share
even that time with other journalists. VOA has since
gotten other interviews, but it was enlightening to see who, during
the initial confusion, was viewed with respect and who was not.
After that, I spent some time in Rangoon talking to people who l
isten to VOA, BBC and the Democratic Voice of Burma. The general
assessment was that the VOA was inferior at best, and pro-SLORC at
worst. The US Government is supposed to be on the side of
democracy in Burma so it was disturbing that our natural friends and
allies would look at any American official and see SLORC. I
suppose it's no great revelation that not everyone who is supposed to be
on the side of democracy is a friend, but it's disappointing nonetheless.
The Associated Press has now done an article on similar allegations
coming from pro-democracy groups based in Thailand and
the Washington Times is working on an article as well. The VOA is
doing an internal investigation and has broadcast news of the
allegations to Burma. At least one Congressional oversight committee
is looking into this as well. But I'm not sure that all this is good news.
VOA news is essential in countries other than Burma. Wherever a
government controls the media, alternatives like the VOA are
invaluable. Despite the VOA's importance, it has powerful enemies in
the Congress who would like to kill it. As flawed as the Burmese-language
service is, it would be a disaster for the VOA's enemies to use this
issue to harm the entire agency. All of this points up that the issue is not
punishing individual wrong doing, but is instead about quickly removing
any bias in the programming. The stakes in all of this are 80 minutes--the
80 minutes a day that VOA broadcasts to Burma. A Burmese student put it
best when she wrote to me:
The people of Burma have no clue as to
the true situation of the world or the
pro-democracy movement. Everything that
the SLORC tells is a lie and they depend
on the radio for true information about
life and society. The VOA, which comes
on 40 minutes in the morning and 40
minutes at night in Burma, is their
lifeline to the world and to their goal
for a better future. [Those who
broadcast biased news] are destroying
the hopes of the 45 million people in
Burma for freedom and democracy."
And now for some good news. An article posted from an account previously
used to distribute SLORC views has posted an article praising the VOA's
Burmese language service. If the SLORC likes it, something must be
wrong. And there is this from VOA listeners in Thailand:
...since Tuesday, [VOA] coverage changed
dramatically. For the first time, the
coverage was primarily pro-democracy:
coverage of the UN Resolution and an
analysis of Aung San Suu Kyi's views on
the National Convention. They also
called up Maung Maung Aye, Information
Minister of the NCGUB, for an interview.
They haven't done anything like this in ages.
All pro-democracy people here are really
thrilled with the change and just praying it lasts!
Finally, I should make a correction and a clarification. In the original
article, I referred to the VOA Director as Jesse Cowan. I've since been
told that it is Geoffrey(sp?), not Jesse Cowan. My apologies
to Mr. Cowan for getting that wrong. Also, I want to make clear that
I don't speak for anyone but myself. If you have questions
about the views of any individual or organization referred to in my article,
you'll have to ask them directly. I apologize to BurmaNet readers for not
stating that clearly from the start.
THWIN AND WIN: THREE CHEERS FOR VOA
December 12, 19995
(BurmaNet Editor's Note: This account has been used to post SLORC
propaganda in the past. This is the article referred to above by Douglas
It is with much interest that we read the information in the
BurmaNet under the heading "Bad News at the Voice of America."
We are also an avid listeners of the V.O.A whenever we are in
Burma (Myanmar) when we were away from our homes in L.A.
We have been coming and going from L.A to Yangon on
numerous occasion and now we are running a successful business
in Yangon and Mandalay for almost (3) years. It is also very
interesting to note that a large number of Myanmar families
residing in the United States have frequently travelled to
Myanmar and is quite in picture with what is taking place in the
country. As in any country in the world we find things in
Myanmar in (3) categories. Things we approve, disapprove and
some we do not really care to comment upon. But as always we
have to keep in mind that who are we to criticize every step a
certain government takes in running its country.
But it is also very interesting to learn that most of us living
in the United States, before actually travelling over to visit Myanmar
and observe the changes taking place in that country. We were
then very much cautious and reluctant to travel to Myanmar and
some of us who pioneered the visit after 1988 was regarded as the
Apollo (11) crew members who landed and set foot on the moon.
Strangely and surprisingly enough, situation in Myanmar
was very different from what we have been reading and hearing
over in the United States. Frequent travelling and correspondence
with the people of the country has kept us abreast of the current
situation of Myanmar. We may not agree on everything the present
government in Myanmar is doing but it cannot also be ignored of
the achievement Myanmar has made in a short period of time. We
are also proud and happy to see Myanmar prosper and taking her
rightful place in the region regardless of which party or
organization is running the country. Our main concern is for the
people of Myanmar and the country of Myanmar. It is our belief
that the country is taking the correct path and with the stability and
peace she has achieved combining with its abundant natural
resources and industrious working force. There is no stopping her
on her way to success. Really, we do not wish this to be
undermined just because of party politics.
It is also our belief that V.O.A especially the Burmese
language service should also broadcast information which is accurate
and objective instead of always being ridiculously bias and one
The V.O.A in our view should be commended for sending
her senior staff members to Myanmar to update itself on the current
situation in the country and getting the outlook of the people of all
walks of life including the antigovernment sector. Bias reporting
does not always work especially when the target country
has opened its doors to foreign visitors. Information is coming back
from various sources and once the truth has been realized the one
sided media or station will lose face no doubt.
Frankly, we are very glad that V.O.A is not letting itself be
a tool of a certain group or organizations with their own self
interested agendas. We the American citizens of Myanmar
commends the V.O.A for trying to live up to its high standards in
informing its listeners. We do also applaud the visiting V.O.A staff
in Myanmar for their donations for the charities over there. This is
what people of all countries regardless of religion or race should
be doing to make our world become a better place to live in. Of
course, if the contribution was for an unjust cause we may say
things differently but to find fault for this noble cause is we think
going a bit to far to the extreme.
We are also very much surprised by the statement, American
Policy is to treat the SLORC as a pariah. "The surprise was not
because of the policy to treat SLORC as a pariah but because of
the fact that U.S now seems to have a foreign policy even though
we know its policy in Asia is never consistent.
Well in conclusion, we would again like to commend V.O.A
for living up to its own charters and rules and also for not letting
itself be used by certain elements for their own self interested
agendas. V.O.A is and always will be the Voice of America and
never the Voice of Anti as some wishes it to be.
Thwin & Win (L.A)
MYANMAR -TELE-FAX NEWS AGENCY: TRUE FACTS OF THE LIES
December 12, 1995
(BurmaNet Editor's Note: Note the e-mail address above is the same
as the previous letter on the VOA. We can assume that this is also
coming from representatives of the SLORC.)
Recently while US president Bill Clinton was in Dublin
AFP reported that the President was concerned about Myanmar, in
that press report Bill Clinton also mentioned that the other Western
Governments and the United Nations were also concerned. Instead
of believing to the hearsay, misinformation and slanderous
remarks which came out of self proclaimed opposition leader Su
Kyi. The US President and the United Nations should make a
thorough investigation and research about our country, since she
seems to be suffering from some strange malady and whenever an
opportunity arises her inner feeling turns into malignant remarks.
As an international organization UN should not make hasty
assumption and nobody should give Su Kyi an opportunity to pull
wool over their eyes.
We are peace loving and hard working people and we wish
to improve our standard of living and the progress of our economy.
Our efforts and endeavor are aimed at reconstructing our country
and achieving the stated political, economic and social objectives.
Su Kyi claims that our economy is in chaos and our people
are starving. She also claims that in Hlaing Tharyar village the
people cannot afford to eat rice, instead they had to buy sticky
water like glue in bottles, which are the residue from the cooked
rice. She alleges the price per bottle is 2 Kyats, but her cohorts in
the crowd shouted that it was now 5 Kyats. She also claims that the
price are very high and a run away inflation existed.
The remarks about the rice water sold in bottles are false
and we can assure you that in our country of abundance the so
called rice water were fed to the dogs. But a young industrialist
found an opportunity by mixing coal or saw dust with this rice
water which is similar to glue and by processing through a
heating machine and he is marketing a substitute fuel for domestic
usage. We are friends of the Earth and we conserve energy, and we
reforest for the future generations.
In another foolhardy speech of hers with the delusion of
grandeur she claims that in the Irrawaddy Delta region people are
starving and that they had to go to places of charity to get bowl of
boiled rice. This is rather comical because the region she stated is
known as the rice bowl of Myanmar. We have no sympathy but pity
her cry for desperation and gasping for the last breath of her
In Myanmar we have three seasons and they are dry, wet
and cold season. Recently we had our rainy season's crop that had
been harvested. This harvest of rice is by tradition offered to the
Monks and the general public as boiled rice, which has all kind of
meat included. This offering of boiled rice is called the offering of
"Yah-hu"and it is a joyous occasion with traditional dances and
music and we all share "Yah-hu", good deeds and merits. This
illustrates Su Kyi's stupidity and ignorance and her lack of
knowledge of our customs and traditional values.
With our National unity and ingenuity we will prevail. Our
society is an open society and our country is also welcoming
anyone who wishes to visit us with good will in their mind and
heart. We wish to invite all the sceptics and doubting Thomas out
there to come to our country for a visit to see and experience the
openness and the progress of our country. One should not draw
hasty and undue conclusions from thousands of miles away just
because one fouled mouth self centered and self declared so called
opposition leader makes false remarks out of her fantasy.
Mr. Tun Shwe
Myanmar-Tele-Fax News Agency
P.O Box 1187
KNU: STATEMENT OF KNU ON FUTURE COURSE OF BURMA
December 13, 1995
Office of the Supreme headquarters
Karen National Union
The Karen National Union (KNU) would like to congratulate the Royal
Thai Government on its hosting of the Fifth ASEAN Summit in Bangkok.
On December 15, ASEAN heads of government are scheduled to meet with
leaders of the governments of Cambodia, Laos, and General Than Shwe,
Chairman of Burma's military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration
The KNU therefore would like to appeal to ASEAN leaders to use their
prestige and influence to the utmsot to persuad Gen. Than Shwe of the
need for the SLORC to urgently make a real commitment to peace, freedom
and democracy in Burma.
When the SLORC seized power in 1988, it promised to return power to
the people of Burma through mulit-party elections. In the May 1990
elections, the NLD led by Nobel Peace Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, won a landslide victory. However, the SLORC refused to hand
over power and tried to re-establish its political credibility through a
so-called National Convention packed with its hand-picked delegates.
The SLORC's National Convention was charged with laying down the
principles for a new state constitution. By stage-managing the proceedings
and harassing the delegates, the SLORC has tried to defy the will of the
people and ensure adoption of a constitution which guarantees continuing
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD statement of 22nd November pointed
out this unpleasant truth. The unpleasant past from which we in Burma
must struggle to escape is the more than 30 years of military dictatorship
and 46 years of civil war.
It is our studied opinion that the ASEAN leaders should as Gen. Than Shwe
for indications of real steps toward solutions for Burma's political troubles.
The KNU believes that it is not only necessary but possible to turn around
the depressing political history of Burma. It requires the will of all political
groups in Burma to find a genuine solution to the underlying political
problems. The KNU has the will and so do the organizations which make up
the National Council of the Union of Burma. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has
the will and so does her party.
The SLORC has acknowledged that there are political problems which underlie
the political unrest and cilvil war in Burma, but until now they have not been
prepared to listen to the people with regard to a solution. Recently, Aung
San Suu Kyi, long having called for dialogue with the SLORC, proposed that
the National Convention might become the focus of such dialogue. Represent-
atives of the NLD, who have taken part in the SLORC's National Convention,
listed the factors which prevent the delegates from dealing openly and honestly
with the task of preparing a new constitution. This was a constructive attempt
to explore solutions to Burma's problems. The SLORC once again refused to
open the door. The SLORC claims credit for bringing about cease-fires with
armed ethnic organizations so as to end the long civil war, but it has refused
until now to talk to those organisations about the political settlement necessary
to bring about true peace in Burma. The SLORC asks the ethnic organisations
to "return to the legal fold" and talk about a political settlement in its National
Convention. But how is this possible while the SLORC denies the National
Conventoin the freedom to debate the real issues.
The KNU is one of the ethnic organizations which the SLORC invites to hold
dialogue with it for a cease-fire. The KNU for its part has stated many times
its willingness to enter into dialogue about achieving real peace in Burma and
has now sent a delegation to attempt to establish dialogue with the SLORC.
However, the KNU has real doubts that peace can be achieved through a
cease-fire agreement which does not also reflect agreement on the way forward
with regard to real dialogue about the political future.
The KNU values the opportunity to exchange views with the SLORC. It also
echoes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's sentiment. If there is to be progress in Burma,
it must be based on a constitution firmly based on democratic principles and
principles of federalism. Similarly, if genuine peace and national reconciliation
is to be achieved in Burma, it must be based on a nation-wide ceasefire and
free and open discussion in which all of Burma's ethnic groups can jointly
decdie the future course of Burma.
In conclusion, the KNU would like to urge the ASEAN leaders gathered in
Bangkok to use their influence and this occasion to help turn Burma's
troubled history around.
December 13, 1995 Central Standing Committee
Karen National Union
KNU: COMMENCEMENT OF DIALOGUE BETWEEN KNU AND SLORC
December 14, 1995
Office of the Supreme headquarters
Karen National Union
Departement of Information
Press Statement for immediate release December 13, 1995
Commencement of dialogue between KNU and SLORC
Efforts have been made several times to establish the beginning
of dialogue between the KNU and the Slorc, mediation being provided
through the good offices of the mediating group consisting of L. Khun
Mya, Saw Tun Aung Chaing, Saw A Soe Myint, Saw Henson Tardaw, Rev.
Saw May Gay Gyi and Saw Richard.
As a result of those efforts, the KNU has now taken a concrete step. On 13th
December 1995, a KNU delegation of officials departed for discussions with
the KNU delegation consists of:
(1) Padoh Saw Klee Say (Head of Delegation)
(2) Padoh Mahn Steela (Member)
(3) Lt.Col Saw Nay Soe (member)
(4) Major Saw Victor (Cheif of Technical Statff)
(5) Capt. Titu (Staff member)
(6) Mahn Chit Win (Staff member)
(7) Saw Min Htoo (Staff member)
It is the policy of the KNU to seek to establish dialogue with the
SLORC in order to further the interests of the Karen people and all the
nationalities and the entire people of Burma. The KNU will provide
further information oncerniing the development of dialogue as necessary
from time to time.
ABSDF NEWS AGENCY: FORCED LABOUR, RAPE AND OTHER ABUSES
December 11, 1995
Unpaid labor at the military bases in Thetyetchaung,Tavoy district
Daily unpaid labor is being summoned by the 13 Battalions based in
four Tavoy townships. All the villages are ordered to send the daily
laborers to the bases to work various jobs for the military such as
building up the army barracks and fences, digging the trench and toilets,
cultivating the vegetables, helping in animal husbandry, taking security
guards and giving massage service to the army officers in the camp.
Villagers are summoned to go and work at the military bases daily.
Anyone fail to do will be arrested and used as the porters or ordered to
pay 100 kyats per day for fine. Additionally, the villages closed to the
bases are ordered to provide two pigs and ten chickens per week regularly.
The worst villages for this kind of forced labor overtly military
purpose are Kyauk Hlaykha, Saw Pyar, Padak Chaung, Kyauk Pyu and Thaung
Zin village in Tayetchaung Township. Twenty laborers from every each
village have to work at Battalion No(403) base and also have to supply the
bamboo and thatch for the barracks. If they fail, these villages would be
relocated in the concentration village, near Saw Pyar village as the
punishment, according to the letter issued by the Slorc. These villages
faced the orced relocation previously to this concentration camp in June
1991 until the beginning of 1995 for accusing having contact with KNU and
Similarly, ten villages from Taung Pyauk district, Thatyetchaung
township were ordered to work for the construction of military parade
field and training center near Than Chaung Gyi village for LIB 405, 404,
403 of Slorc army. Local villagers have to go and work without pay once a
week starting from September 4, 1995. The main works are cut the trees and
bamboo, and make the ground level.
Rape and beating
On October 28, 1995, warrant officer Aung Gyi from LIB(103) based
in Palaw township, Tenessarim Division raped Ma San from Kyauk Taung Talai
Taik village. The village LORC was ordered to send Ma San to Thara Bwin
village by warrant officer Aung Gyi for interrogation. When she arrived
there, she was ordered to come to Ko Aung Tins house and was raped by
warrant officer Aung Gyi. She is 35-year-old and married with three
children. This rape case spread in the next day among the local people so
that warrant officer Aung Gyi got angry. He came on October 28 at night
and beat Ma San with bamboo stick in front of the mini video theater. He
accused Ma San was making up a false story to defame him.
More forced labor in Mergui motor road projects
Slorc has resumed the motor road construction projects since after
the end of raining season. In Mergui, Tenessarim Division, three motor
road projects are underway and local people are being conscripted as the
unpaid labors for these projects. These motor road constructions are;
between Kaw Thaung and Mergui, between Maw Taung (closed to Thai-Burmese
border) and Mergui, and between Theindaw diamond mine and Tenessarim town.
Local people from Palaw, Mergui, Tenessarim, Boke Pyin and Kaw
Thaung were conscripted for these constructions without any pay. Like
other forced labor projects, they had to bring their instruments and food
to the work-site and work at least fifteen day in one time. 1500 people
from each townships in Mergui and Kaw Thaung district are summoned to
these three construction projects and about 10,000 people are currently
working. Every person are subject for forced labor and many types of
taxation except the USDA (Union Solidarity and Development Association)
members. Anyone those fails to work has to pay 100 kyats per day for fine.
In addition to these three major projects, all the roads and streets in
downtown Mergui are being renovated with forced laborers. Another motor
road project of Mergui-Kyel Ku road is also underway with about 300 prison
As the result of constructions, many lands and farms were
confiscated and some faced forced relocation at Takyat, Taru, Talabwin,
Ban Pweit, Thein Taw, Sin Din, Zawel, Maw Tong, Nyaung Pin Kwin and Ta Baw
Late village in Mergui district.
All of these projects are monitored by the Tenessarim Division Law
and Order Restoration Council and Infantry Division 17, 101, 103, 224 and
Light Infantry Battalion 433, 442,358, 343 are taking security duty.
Among the three motor road, the Maw Taung - Mergui road is likely
to be used for the another natural gas pipe from Ye Dagon off-shore field
by Texaco giant American Oil Company.
Deteriorating life of Burmese fishermen in Tenessarim Coast
Since Slorc began to sell the fishing licenses to the Thai fishing
company in the Burmese water territory, the life of Burmese traditional
fishermen is deteriorating in Tenessarim coast. Many Thai fishing vessels
fish close to the coast in shallow waters, and exploit the areas
traditionally fished by the local people. The Burmese fishing community in
Tenessarim Coast who have relied on local fishing resources for
generations are now literally facing starvation.Many of these villagers,
displaced by the activities of the Thai fishing boats, have been forced to
move inland to seek a new livelihood. Many fishermen could not meet their
daily need so they moved to other places working all odd jobs. Compared
to the small vessels and locally produced fishing gear, used by the local
fishing community, the Thai vessels with their modern sonar and radar
equipment and electronic communications facilities completely change the
nature of catching fish. Heavy mining of the seas has been reported killing
all species in the area, and destroying the ecosystem for years to come.
After the brutal murder of Burmese fishermen by the Thai
counterparts on the vessel, Burmese authorities has stopped issuing new
contract or extend their licenses to the Thai fishing companies. But the
recently resumed the fishing licenses in the beginning of November with
some restrictions. Previously Thai fishing vessels could fish and sell
without any restriction after the pay tax to the Burmese fishing
authority. According to the new regulation, all foreign fishing vessels
operating in Burmese waters have to be scrutinized one by one and have to
sell the fishes to the Burmese fish buying centers designated by the
authorities. Any vessels found beyond the permitted waters would be shot,
the new regulations detailed.
In reality, none of these regulations are adhered to. Hundreds of
Thai fishing vessels are using one official license and duplicate to other
vessel numbering from 6 to 10 vessels with same size and same name. Many
are working illegally in Burmese waters and sometimes reach as far as Mon
State. they sells very small amount of fishes to the Burmese authorities
as mentioned in the regulation. Large amount of fishes are smuggled out by
the Thai illegal vessels and sold in Ranong.
Two forced laborers drown in Hein Zel camp
Two laborers were drown in Hein Zel stream because of the force
order by the Slorc army to swim across the stream as the punishment for
taking rest during the working hour. According to the civilians returned
back from the Hein Zel forced labor camp, which is one of the forced labor
camps in the Ye-Tavoy railway construction project, three male laborers
were punished to cross the stream for taking unauthorized rest during the
working hour. The order was conducted by army official LIB (410) and
occurred on September 22, 1995. Fortunately one man could managed to swim
across but the other two were drown in the stream. KNU Information
sub-department, Mergui-Tavoy district.
Update on the forced labor detention camps in Ye-Tavoy railway
According to the civilians returned back from the forced labor
detention camp, the railway project has been resumed and every four
townships from Tavoy district has to send 2500-3000 laborers for the
construction in rotating system.
Currently there are eleven labor detention camps and the estimate
numbers of laborers in the camps as of October 3`, 1995 are ; (1) 21-mile
labor camp 2000 laborers (2) 27-mile labor camp 3000 laborers (3) 30-mile
labor camp 1000 laborers and 500 prison laborers (4) 36-mile labor camp
900 laborers (5) Hein Zel labor camp 1700 laborers (6) Nhine Kyel labor
camp 1000 laborers (7) Nwe Lein labor camp 1200 laborers (8) Zin Bar labor
camp 1200 laborers and 300 prison laborers (9) Yar Phu labor camp 1000
laborers (10) Kyauk Kadin labor camp 1200 laborers (11) Ye Bone labor camp
500 laborers (newly established)
In 30-mile labor camp which is the labor camp of approximately 500
prison laborers, the working and living situation are severely bad.
Between June and October 1995, about 40 prison laborers were killed for
the hard working condition. Other 30 prison laborers attempted to escape
and at least five were shot down and killed by the LIB 406 which is taking
security guard in that camp. On October 21, 1995, four prison laborers
from same camp fled from the camp. One prisoner was shot down and three
Similarly, on October 4, 1995, some civilians from 21-mile labor
detention camp escaped from the camp to their villages in Thetyetchaung
township. The Slorc army issued a warrant for the escapees and searching
25 out of 27 forced laborers from Hein Zel labor camp escaped in
Tavoy while they were being taken to Tavoy for carrying some materials to
the camp. All of these were originally from Laung Lon township. they were
searched for and arrested by the Slorc and now they have been sentenced to
six months imprisonment with hard labor. KNU Information sub-department,
Forced conscription in the labor camps
The military recruitment division based in Tavoy district went to
the forced labor camps in its region and recruited the youth aged between
16 to 22 years whose term are almost finished to join the army. Six youths
from 36-mile camp, eight youths from Nwe Lein camp and 15 youths and
inmates from 21-mile camp were forcibly conscripted. KNU Information
sub-department, Mergui-Tavoy district
More new forms of taxation in Shan State
All people from the whole Phae Khone Township of Shan State were
forced to buy 90 horses, November 1995 as the deadline, according to the
order by local SLORCs army. People were ordered to collect money that is
equal to the prices of 90 horses. In order to do the order, all households
from every wards Phae Khone Town are subject to pay at least 350 Kyats.
Some households in the low populated wards had to pay more.
Similarly, the people of Phae Khone Township must pay 300,000
kyats for the benefit of Students Sports Festival as well. The people from
five quarters of Phae Khone Township including Nyaung Gon quarter, in
spite of poor living, were subject to pay against their will both porter
fees and sports festival fees.
Escape of female porters from Slorcs military column
SLORCs troops have been conscripting not only men but women to use
as porters during the military operation in Karen State. Military column
of LIB No. 340 based in Pa Pon Township headed for the KNUs Kyauk Nyat
area on November 9, 1995, 60 male porters and 40 female porters have been
conscripted for military purposes. During their time as porters, female
porters were forced to carry 10 Pyi of rice ( about 13 Kilogram ).
Four male porters and ten female porters from that column escaped
while they took a rest at Perhike camp and arrived liberated area. Naw
Htoo Chel (a ) Ma Aye Aye Cho, 16-year-old, schoolgirl of eight standard,
is one of the escapees. Her brother is a medic from DKBO and currently
staying in the monastery compound of Myaing Gyi Ngu abbot who is believed,
according to her, a leader of DKBO. She said that she was caught by LIB
340 on her trip despite she had the travel document issued by DKBO. Five
men and fifteen women were also arrested along with her and conscripted as
the porter for the military column.
SLORCs student sports festival and atmospheres of Loikaw
It is reportedly known that sixth anniversary of student sports
festival will be held between 5 to 14 December 1995, in Loikaw, Karenni
State. The students from High Schools and Middle Schools of Loikaw Town
were selected for the opening and closing ceremonies of student sports
festival since first week of September. They had to rehearse for festival
that caused their absence at their school. It is warned by local SLORC
authorities that the students those who failed to do this assigned duties
shall not be allowed to enter the final examination and their parents will
Moreover, governmen servants, students and civilians from village
had to share cash or crops so that the festival will be accomplished. As
for the beautification purpose for the festival, the people were forced to
contribute their labor everyday in cleaning, painting, building fences and
extending the roads. Under the name of self-help program, they collected
money only from the public by force from 250 Kyats to 350 per household,
without spending any government budget for the cost of repair and
beautification of the city. As the result of forced contribution and labor
for the beautification, on 3 November 1995, opening sessions of self-help
road construction programs in Min Su, Shan Su, Daw Notu and Daw Tama,
Damayone ward were held.
Slorc also took the security measure for the Student Sport
Festival by reinforcing their military strength in Loikaw and arrested
some youth. Now Slorc has reinforced five battalions in Loikaw and
arrested about 50 youth and students. Among the arrested persons, Maung
Taw, high school student from State High School No(1) Loikaw was included.
All of them would be detained until the festival is over without any
Second talks of KNPP with SLORC
Five-member delegation of KNPP led by Khu Oorel, Karenni minister
for information, arrived Rangoon on 14 November 1995 to discuss with SLORC
military officials about the matters relating to the hostile relation that
occurred after their signing cease-fire agreement. Khu Oorel is the leader
of the delegation that comprised five members who are minister for
education, minister for home affairs, Lt.Col Richard and Staff of office.
The delegation met some chief of staff officials led by Col. Kyaw
Win, Deputy Director General of SLORC military intelligent bureau, and Lt.
Col Kyaw Thein, Chief officer for military strategy observation bureau, at
Dagon avenue, Army Guest house on 21 November 1995.
In the meeting KNPP delegates asserted that both side should have
clear control area in Karenni state and should resume cease-fire with
mutual recognition and understanding. In their response, SLORC said that
the main cause of the misunderstanding is logging concessions in Karenni
State and they deployed more troops at Karenni territory to prevent
exploitation by Thai illegal logging companies and to ensure the security
as well. As a consequence, the fighting occurred because of
misunderstanding on their military deployment, said the SLORC
officials.Moreover, SLORC officials said it is impossible to withdraw the
troops at the moment and regular mutual discussion is necessary till
reconciliation is achieved.
As a further step, Karenni delegates requested to set free the
three detainees from KNPP. It is expected that another senior delegates
will be sent to discuss with SLORC about the troops deployment in Karenni
territory, future development and business but schedule has yet to be set.
The matter regarding the delegation of peace talks process will be put
agenda on the emergency meeting of KNPP central committee. The delegation
of KNPP arrived back to Headquarters on 26 November 1995.
The plight of Burmese students in SDC
Total 30 Burmese students are still behind the bars at Thai
Special Detenion Center, Bangkok. Even though, twenty students recently
released and sent to the safe area in Ratchaburi Province in November
1995, there are 30 students currently still remain behind the bars of
detention cells in SDC.
Among the students still in the SDC, Toe Kyi and Tin Maung Htoo,
both of them are leaders of All Burma Basic Education Students Union
(Thailand) were arrested together with other eleven students on December
3, 1993 in Bangkok. Now the time in the SDC is more than two year for
them. They were arrested by the Thai police while they were attending the
Conference on the Human Rights in Burma organized by the Students
Federation in Thailand (SFT), Action Committee for Democracy in Burma
(ACDB) and Students Committee for Human Rights in Burma (SCHRB).
All the thirteen students were sent to Immigrantion Detention
Center in Bangkok a were held for two months. They were informed that they
were charged for the illegal entry to Thailand under the Immigration Act.
On February 4, 1994 all of them were transferred to the Special Detention
Center. They have never been sent to trial or sentenced. They were joined
by the students arrested in front of the Burmese embassy in 1994 and those
from the safe area arrested after the march-out from the camp on January
The life in the SDC is terrible. No one were allowed to see
visitors except the once-a-week visit by medical doctor from the
Foundation in Support of Refugees asstiacne in Thailand (FISRAPT), an
affiliated organization with United Nations Bangkok. They were separately
detained in the small cells in groups. No physical exercise was allowed to
some students. One Student from the SDC, Zaw Moe died in the police
hospital on 13 June 1995. He suffered from brain neaurasthenia which
caused half-body paralyse two weeks before he passed away. Medical doctor
from the FISRAPT came and visited on 8 June 1995 and recommended the
police to send him to the hospital. But he was finally sent to the hospital just
a day before of his death when his condition was in final condition.
Some students left for the third countries under the refugee
resettlement program and recently ten students were transferred to "safe
area" on 19 October 1995. Another group of ten students were also
transferred to "safe area" on 23 November 1995. All of them told their
terrible stories during their time in SDC. Among them, Maung Maung Oo is
now suffering some mental prblems in "safe area". The the fate of the
remaining students are unknown.
The names of the students in SDC are: (1) Tin Maung Htoo (2) Toe
Kyi (3) Myint Soe (4)Aung Kyaw Moe (5) Win Myint (a) Phone Gyi (6) Ye Moe
(7) Aung Myint Kyi (8) Win Htut (a) EC (9) Shwe Hla (10) Kyi Win (11)
Myint Lwin Oo (12) Aung Zaw (a) Ottama (13) Min Khin Kyaw (14) Than Naing
(15) Ye Hein (16) Tin Kyaing (17) San Oo (a) San Shar (18) Min Naing Aung
(19) Naing Htun (20) Tint Lwin Oo (21) Aung Naing (22) Aung Htun (23) Han
Thein (24) Win Naing Htun (25) Thet Oo Naing (26) Soe Min (a) Kyaw Soe
(27) Nyi Nyi Lwin (28) nanda Kyaw (29) Thant Zin Htun (30) Myint Ko Ko.
NATION: BURMA HITS THAILAND WITH COMPENSATION DEMAND OF
$100M December 13, 1995
BURMA has demanded over US$100 million (Bt2.5 billion) from
Thailand in compensation for the killing of one of its fishermen
working on a Thai boat and for damages caused by border incidents,
according to Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.
Government deputy spokesman Amnart Chanawong quoted Chavalit
as telling the Cabinet yesterday that Rangoon has demanded
US$1 million (Bt25 million) for the various violent
incidents recently along Burma's border with Thailand.
Burma's ruling junta, the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc), has also called for the two countries to jointly
regulate and tax the fishing industry, the defence minister said.
Amnart said the Cabinet yesterday discussed Burma's closing
of three border crossings following a number of violent
incidents earlier this year.
The issues will be discussed during the Asean summit
meeting, Chavalit was quoted as saying.
Slorc leader Gen Than Shwe, who will lead his country's
delegation, will meet with Prime Minister Banharn Silapa-
archa for 15 minutes on Friday morning.
Amnart said the Thai fishing industry has been badly hurt by
the closure of Burma's territorial waters after the killing
of the fisherman.
Officials in southern Ranong province said Burmese
authorities told the Thai Foreign Ministry they were
satisfied with its efforts to improve the conduct of its
fishermen. The ministry circulated a memorandum to Thai
fishing associations and provincial chambers of commerce
urging them to strictly observe Burma's laws when in its waters.
The Burma authorities said they would consider reopening the
border checkpoint at Kawthaung or Victoria Point if the Thai
murder suspects and compensates the victim's family.
Amnart said he believed Banharn will raise the issue when he
meets Than Shwe. Thailand, he added, wants to lower the
US$1-million compensation claim to Bt200,000 and does not
want to pay the US$100 million demand for border violence.
Narong Fushery Industry has already paid 800,000 kyat (about
Bt200,000) to the victims' families, Rayong officials said.
NATION: BURMA: HIDDEN MOTIVES OR JUST FACING REALITY?
December 13, 1995
The Nation's Yindee Lertcharoenchok explores the possible
reasons for Rangoon's decision to join Asean.
NEARLY five decades after its independence in 1948, Burma, a
country which has strongly advocated and strictly pursued
"neutrality" in its foreign diplomacy, will declare this
week its strong desire to become a member of Asean.
The announcement and the commitment to meet the objective
will be made on Friday by the ruling State Law and Order
restoration Council (Slorc) leader Senior Gen Than Shwe, who
will lead a high-level delegation to attend the first-ever
summit meeting in Bangkok of the heads of government of the
10 Southeast Asian counties (SEA-10).
The SEA-10 meeting takes place a day after Asean holds its
summit gathering tomorrow - only the fifth since its
inception in 1967 - to review the grouping's political,
economic and social activities and set a new direction and
new identity as Asean expands and strides into the next century.
Asean leaders have been advocating in one voice the
possibility of the regional organization evolving to include
10 states by 200. After July, when Vietnam officially became
Asean's seventh member, Cambodia and Laos pledged to enter
the alliance in the next two years.
The advocacy is also heightened by the fact that Burma
acceded, in the same month, to Asean's 1976 Treaty of Amity
and Cooperation, the first step before a country is accepted
into the Southeast Asian club- initially as an observer and
eventually a full member.
Asean officials and Burma watchers were caught off guard by
Burma's sudden decision to immediately obtain observer
status at the annual Asean Ministerial Meeting in Bandar
Seri Begawan in July right after Burmese Foreign Minister U
Ohn Gyaw presented to his Bruneian counterpart, Price
Mohamed Bolkiah, the 1976 Asean treaty, which is better
known as the Bali Treaty. Accession to the treaty
automatically guarantees the signatory Asean observer status.
The junta's sudden change of heart to associate with Asean
was in complete contrast to Burma's flat refusal to join
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
when they founded the grouping on Aug. 8, 1967.
After Burma's independence, successive Burmese governments-
parliamentary and military - had strictly adhered to
"neutrality" party due to its strategic geo-political location as
a country that borders two Asian giants, China and India.
They also adopted the concept of the five principles of peaceful
coexistence proclaimed at the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung,
Indonesia, in 1955 where Burma was one of key participants.
Burma's "neutrality" was well recognized, especially at the
height of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. During that tough
and rough period, Burma avoided suspicion from both the
communist world and the "free world" by refusing to align
itself with either camps and keeping itself apart from regional
associations, including Asean, which it considered a staunchly
anti-Communist, pro-Western apparatus and an American lackey.
In Sept 1979, Burma withdrew from the Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM), citing the violations of the movement's basic
principles, including the emergence of some "active
factions" within the organization, the use of force by some
members interference in the internal affairs of countries by
others. Burma sought to restore its NAM membership only
after the end of the Cold War.
Disregarding hidden motives behind the Burmese junta's
decision to join Asean, Asean countries were jubilant that
Burma's membership will fulfill their founding fathers'
vision of a 10-member Southeast Asian community united under
one Asean, a region which shares a common destiny of peace,
progress and prosperity through cooperation in the spirit of
equality and partnership.
As mentioned in Thailand's concept paper on the SEA-10
summit, "Today, the sense of community among all countries
in the region has never been more intensely felt. From an
initial membership of five, seven Southeast Asian nations
now stand united under the Asean banner. With Cambodia and
Laos having obtained observer status and Myanmar's (Burma's)
accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in
Southeast Asia (TAC), Asean is well on its way to becoming a
community of Southeast Asia."
The fifth Asean summit in Bangkok "is a unique opportunity
for Asean leaders to realize the vision," the document continued.
"It provides a forum for the heads of government of Asean and the
CLM (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) countries to meet for the first
time and discuss their shared future. We should take advantage of
this unprecedented opportunity to explore ways and means to help
strengthen the economic linkages and increase the interdependence
among them," the paper read.
"Asean shall fully cooperate with the CLM counties in the
development of their economies. This will in turn lay a firm
foundation for the mutual trust and goodwill necessary for
the realization of one Southeast Asia," it concluded.
During the informal SEA-10 meeting, which will be the major
highlight of the Asean summit, Asean leaders will seek
reassurance from Burma, Laos and Cambodia that they will
become Asean members and will announce the grouping's
readiness to help facilitate the three counties' smooth
entry into Asean.
While it is generally acknowledged that Rangoon's attempt to
ally itself with Asean began only in the past year, a Thai
Foreign Ministry official revealed during a recent interview
that in fact Burma, especially its foreign ministry, has
been studying, with great interest, Asean and its Bali Treaty for
the past few years after Asean adopted the controversial "constructive
engagement" policy towards Burma in July 1991.
He said while the Burmese foreign ministry looked to Asean as
a fast growing regional economic organization and supported
Burma's association with the grouping, the final decision rests with Slorc.
"Burmese foreign ministry officials have tried very hard to
convince the Slorc leaders of the benefits the country will
gain from becoming an Asean member. Only recently did they
seem to succeed in their efforts," said the official, who strongly
believed that Slorc's decision to join Asean was for economic reasons.
"Asean is globally recognized as the world's fastest growing
economic region and to join Asean will certainly help the
Slorc leaders achieve their goal of economic development," he added.
But an Asean diplomat rejected the view as a "textbook
argument." He contended that Burma has always attached more
importance to the NAM and its peaceful coexistence
principles, which corresponded to the Burmese image of
political "neutrality." Thus, this explains why Burma sought
a return to NAM membership in 1992.
The diplomat believed that Burma's push to associate itself
with Asean is purely due to political motives as the country
has always regarded Asean as a non-neutral body and never
truly wanted to become its member.
The diplomat shared the view with several Thai officials
that Slorc will not rush to become a full Asean member and
that Asean observer status, which Burma will certainly
acquire next year, will suffice for Slorc's, at least for the time
being, internal and external interests, politically, and economically.
He is convinced that the Slorc will use Asean t its utmost
benefit primarily as a forum to improve its "legitimacy and
international standing" in the eyes of the world community
and as a springboard to participate in the Asean Regional
Forum (ARF), which was created in July last year as an
informal gathering where seven Asean members discuss
political and security affairs in Asia and the Pacific with
their dialogue partners.
Several ARF members, particularly from the west, have
identified Burma and the dispute over the Spratly islands as
the two potential hotspots in Southeast Asia.
Moreover, Asean serves as a good aegis to deflect strong
Western pressure and criticism against abuses and its
refusal to initiate democratic reforms, he noted.
Contradicting the global recogniting of pro-democracy leader
Aunt San Suu Kyi, Asean instead acknowledges Slorc as the
powers-that-be in Burma and deliberately refuses to comment
on the political situation in Burma, saying it is tantamount
to interfering in the domestic affairs of the country.
While Thai Foreign Minister Kasem S Kasemsri publicly
supported Asean to raise the issue of democratic reforms
through national reconciliation with Gen Than Shwe during
the SEA-10 summit, his calls will unlikely win blessings
from other Asean members, which are more interested in
engaging the Slorc in economic rather than political dialogue.
Despite hidden concerns of some Asean members over the
premature embracement of Burma under the Slorc into Asean's
orbit and activities, the grouping as a whole will opt to
promote the integration of Burma, betting that the five-year
timeframe before 2000 provides enough room for political
changes before the country fully joins Asean.
BKK POST: PROTEST FURY AT BURMA'S INVITATION TO SUMMIT
December 13, 1995
Burmese and local students rallied at the Democracy Monument
yesterday to protest at Burma's invitation to the
Aseansummit. Members of the Association of Students of Asia,
Students Federation of Thailand, Action Committee for
Democracy in Burma and Overseas National Students
Organisation of Burmatook part in the protest.
They will today hold a panel discussion on political
situation and suppression of democratic movement in Burma at
Thammasat University. Maung Maung Than, a former student leader
in Burma, said: "We demand the Thai Government stops the
decision to invite the Burmese military government to
participate at the Bangkok summit."
"Representatives of the Burmese regime, the State Law and
Order Restoration Council, are not true representatives
elected by the Burmese people," said Maung Maung Than, who
led the protest.
Maung Maung Than and other students will try to submit a
letter to Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa on Thursday at
the Royal Orchid Sheraton hotel where the summit will be held.
"In the letter, we will ask Mr Banharn why the Thai
Government has invited representatives of a dictatorship to
Thailand," Maung Maung Than said. Burmese students will also demand
the summit passes a resolution about human rights in Burma in an
effort to push for democracy. (BP)