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BurmaNet News December 22, 1995 #30

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Subject: BurmaNet News December 22, 1995 #307

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The BurmaNet News: December 22, 1995
Issue #307

Noted in Passing:

	Politics is about people and what we had seen in Thamanya 
	proved that love and truth can move people more strongly than 
	any form of coercion. - Aung San Suu Kyi


December 20, 1995

On 16 December 1995, U Sein Hla Aung, an NLD member from Mandalay, was 
arrested by the SLORC with the allegation that the victim has distributed 
the video tapes of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's speech, delivered on every 
Saturdays and Sundays.

Human Rights Documentation Unit


December 20, 1995

     WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The House of Representatives Tuesday passed a
resolution calling for the restoration of democracy in Burma.

   The resolution was approved unanimously by voice vote after a brief

    It urges the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to
begin an immediate political dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and other
democratic leaders, to release political prisoners and to repeal laws which
prohibit freedom of speech and association.

    The SLORC, which has ruled Burma since 1990, released Aung San Suu Kyi in
July from six years of house arrest under U.S. and international pressure.

    Supporters of the resolution said good relations and cooperation with
Burma were essential to reducing the flow of heroin and other narcotics from
Asia to the United States.

(House of Representatives - December 19, 1995)

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, 2 weeks ago, Aung San Suu Kyi announced that 
her party, the National League for Democracy, would no longer participate in 
Slorc's sham constitutional convention. Suu rightly pointed out that her nation 
could never be expected to accept a constitution that was forced upon the
convention participants by the military. It was very good to learn that our
representatives at the U.N. refused this week to cosponsor a U.N. human
rights resolution on Burma because it did not refer to the withdrawal, and
subsequent expulsion, from the national convention of delegates from Suu
Kyi's party.

Slorc demands that the constitution stipulates a leading role for the
military in Burma 's political process and would exclude anyone married to a
foreigner from assuming the office of the president. Suu is married to an
Oxford professor.

Slorc claims that her decision to boycott the convention is confrontation
politics. Suu was right to point out that `what they have termed
confrontational is that we have asked for dialogue, which we want in order to
prevent confrontation. To silence the views of people whose opinions are
different by putting them in prison is far more confrontational.'

I am deeply concerned that a senior official of the Slorc in response to
Suu's statement called Suu a traitor who should be annihilated. That sort of
remark is not taken lightly by this committee.

Our Nation has very serious reasons to be concerned about what occurs in
Burma and to Suu Kyi. 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 in

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 consequence of:

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.

Unfortunately, some U.S. officials have taken the position that the human
rights problem should be kept separate from the drug problem. What these
officials have failed to recognize is that the human rights problem is
directly linked to the drug production. As Bertil Litner points out, the
majority of the opium grown in Burma is grown so that ethnic minorities can
protect themselves.

While their leaders are not angels, 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 opium just like they have for the past 40 years.

A democratic Burma led by Suu Kyi and the other members of parliament elected
and thrown into prison in 1990, will help us to resolve the Burmese drug
production problem that is spiraling out of control. Threatening Suu Kyi and
her democratic followers threatens our Nation's efforts in the drug area.

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

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my friend and chairman, the
gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman], for bringing this resolution before the
House. It is a timely statement of our opposition to repressive measures
practiced by the Government of Burma and to Burma 's continued failure to
address the grave drug trafficking problem in a serious manner.

I believe it is important that this committee and this Congress speak up for
political freedom and human rights whenever they are threatened. The United
States should not, and will not, turn a blind eye toward political repression
or a violation of fundamental human rights in Burma or anywhere else in the

Unfortunately, the people of Burma are governed by a ruthless military regime
that has no understanding of the concepts of freedom or liberty or of
individual rights. That is why it is important for the Congress to send a
strong and unambiguous signal that clearly places the United States on the
side of the Burmese people and their aspirations for democracy and human

Similarly, this committee should reiterate its strong support for a vigorous
attack on the very serious problem of drug trafficking.

House Resolution 274 calls on the Government of Burma to take concrete and
effective action to control the massive flow of heroin from Burma . In this
context, I also believe it is important for the United States to continue to
support alternative development activities being conducted by the United
Nations drug control program in the principal opium growing areas of Burma .

Given the limited contact we can and should have with the State Law and Order
Restoration Counsel, or SLORC, I believe that these efforts have the best
chance of impacting opium production in Burma at this time.

I urge the support of this resolution.

Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 274, the resolution concerning
Burma and the U.N. General Assembly that this body is considering today is
both important and timely. Recent developments have heightened tension in
Burma . Burma 's democratic opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi recently
announced that she and her party, the NLD, would boycott the national
constitutional convention organized by Burma 's military junta, the SLORC.
SLORC responded by expelling the NLD from the convention, thus foreclosing
any chance for dialog between the Government and the opposition. Without
dialog between the democratic opposition and the SLORC the prospects for
democracy and stability in Burma are bleak. Clearly, conditions in Burma are
once again on a downward spiral.

This Member commends the distinguished gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman],
chairman of the House International Relations Committee, for his tireless
efforts in promoting democracy in Burma and other parts of Asia and,
specifically, for his initiative in drafting this resolution. House
Resolution 274 addresses the human rights and narcotics problems in Burma in
a constructive way. This Member hopes that Burma 's generals understand that
the Congress of the United States wants to promote cooperative ties between
our two countries, but that would only be possible if they take effective
action to expand human rights and democracy in Burma and to clamp down on
Burma 's massive opium production.

The Committee on International Relations unanimously approved House
Resolution 274 on December 14. This Member understands the administration has
no objections to the resolution as amended and approved by the Subcommittee
on Asia and the Pacific and the Committee on International Relations, which I

This Member urges all of our colleagues to support House Resolution 274.

Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution which urges
the governing State Law and Order Restoration Council to open a dialog with
Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, release all political
prisoners, repeal laws limiting freedom of association and expression, and
help control the flow of heroin from Burma .

I commend Ambassador Madeleine Albright for her tremendous work on this
issue. I encourage all Members to support the work of our U.N. Representative
as she relentlessly pursues the cause of Burmese democracy leader Aung San
Suu Kyi. Ambassador Albright had a great meeting in Burma this fall with Aung
San Suu Kyi.

I join Ambassador Albright's endorsement of the recent U.N. resolution which
urges the Government of Burma to cease its violations of internationally
recognized human rights.

The United States did not cosponsor the U.N. resolution because it did not
focus on several specific problem areas that must be recognized.
Additionally, the U.N. resolution fails to take into account the impact of
recent developments in Burma that have given us cause for great concern. It
is imperative that the SLORC understand that the United States and the
international community will not tolerate threats or actions that suppress
the advancement of the democratic movement in Burma .

The bill before us today sends a message to the SLORC that is consistent with
Ambassador Albright's policy.

I would like to caution Members of the risks we take by treating Burma in the
same manner as we handled South Africa under its former regime. We need to
weigh the merits of isolating Burma , prohibiting trade or investment,
denying access to international capital flows, and employing economic
pressures to force the current military regime, SLORC, to act according to
our wishes.

We need to keep in mind that the United States economic role in Burma is
limited. And, while I support efforts to employ what leverage we have to our
advantage, I insist that we use it wisely.

Mr. GILMAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the gentleman from New Mexico 
[Mr. Richardson] for his strong support of democracy in Burma . I know the 
gentleman has traveled to Burma . He was instrumental in helping to gain the 
release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, and we commend the gentleman
for his efforts and thank him for his participation in this debate.

Two-thirds voted in favor of the Resolution.


December 20, 1995

By Aung San Suu Kyi

At Thamanya (2)

Love and truth can move people more than coercion

On our second day at Thamanya we rose at three o'clock in the morning: we
wanted to serve the Hsayadaw his first meal of the day which he takes at
four o'clock. We had expected that we would all be suffering from the
aftereffects of the cavortings of the Pajero but in fact we had all slept
extremely well and suffered from no aches or pains.

When we stepped out into the street it was still dark. Going out before dawn
had been a constant feature of the campaign trips I had undertaken between
the autumn of 1988 and the time when I was placed under house arrest.  But I
have never ceased to be moved by the sense of the world lying quiescent and
vulnerable, waiting to be awakened by the light of the new day quivering
just beyond the horizon.

The Hsayadaw had spent the night at his residence on the hill and when we
went up he came out of his small bedroom, his face clear and his eyes
bright. With a glowing smile he spoke of the importance of looking upon the
world with joy and sweetness. After we had served the Hsayadaw his breakfast
we went to offer lights at the twin pagodas on the summit of the hill. On
the platform around the pagodas were a few people who had spent the whole
night there in prayer. There is a beauty about candlelight that cannot be
equaled by the most subtle electric lamps; and there is an immense
satisfaction about setting the flames dancing on 50 white candles, creating
a blazing patch of brightness in the gray of early morning. It was an
auspicious start to the working day.

I had expressed an interest in seeing the two schools within the domain of
Thamanya and after breakfast (another vegetarian banquet) we were greatly
surprised and honored to learn that the Hsayadaw himself would be taking us
to look at the institutions. He is very conscious of the importance of
education and arranges for the pupils to be brought in by bus from the
outlying areas. First we went to the middle school at Wekayin Village. It is
a big rickety wooden building on stilts and the whole school assembled on
the beaten earth floor between the stilts to pay their respects to the
Hsayadaw, who distributed roasted beans to everybody. Three hundred and
seventy five children are taught by 13 teachers struggling with a dearth of
equipment. The headmaster is a young man with an engaging directness of
manner who talked, without the slightest trace of self-pity or
discouragement, about the difficulties of acquiring even such basic
materials as textbooks. Of course the situation of Wekayin middle school is
no different from that of schools all over Burma but it seemed especially
deserving of assistance because of the dedication of the teachers and the
happy family atmosphere.

The elementary school is in Thayagone village and on our way there we
stopped to pick up some children who sat in our car demurely with suppressed
glee on their faces, clutching their bags and lunch boxes.  When we reached
the school they tumbled out merrily and we followed them along a picturesque
lane overhung with flowering climbers. The school itself is a long, low
bungalow, smaller than the middle school, and there are only three teachers
in charge of 230 pupils. As at Wekayin, roasted beans were distributed and
the little ones munched away in silence while the Hsayadaw told us of his
plans to replace both schools with more solid brick buildings and we
discussed ways and means of providing adequate teaching materials.

All too soon it was time for us to leave Thamanya. The Hsayadaw came halfway
with us along the road leading out of his domain. Before he turned back we
queued up beside his car to take our leave and he blessed each of us

There was much for us to think about as we drove away toward Paan. (We were
no longer in the Pajero: It had been sent ahead with the heaviest members of
our party in it in the hope that their combined weight would help to keep it
from plunging too wildly.) The mere contrast between the miles of carelessly
constructed and ill maintained roads we had traveled from Rangoon and the
smoothness of the roads of Thamanya had shown us that no project could be
successfully implemented without the willing cooperation of those concerned.
People will contribute both hard work and money cheerfully if they are
handled with kindness and care and if they are convinced that their
contributions will truly benefit the public. The works of the Hsayadaw are
upheld by the donations of devotees who know beyond the shadow of a doubt
that everything that is given to him will be used for the good of others.
How fine it would be if such a spirit of service were to spread across the land.
Some have questioned the appropriateness of talking about such matters as
metta (loving kindness) and thissa (truth) in the political context. But
politics is about people and what we had seen in Thamanya proved that love
and truth can move people more strongly than any form of coercion.
This is one of a yearlong series of letters, the Japanese translation of
which appears in the Mainichi Shimbun the same day, or the previous day in
some areas.


December 20, 1995
from FreeBurma@xxxxxxx


    The European Commission has approved a package of humanitarian aid worth
800,000 ECU for Karen refugees from Myanmar (Burma) living in Thailand.

    The Karens, an ethnic minority in Myanmar, fled to camps on the
Burmese-Thai border in December 1994, after the collapse of their military
strongholds inside Burma. Malaria is a major problem in the camps, and there
is a severe lack of clean drinking water.

    This grant, channelled via the European Community Humanitarian Office
(ECHO), will enable two non-governmental organisations, Aide Medicale
Internationale (France) and Malteser Hilfsdienst (Germany), to carry out
projects concentrating on medical aid over the next six months. They will
also provide some emergency food aid.

    Information about ECHO is now available on the Internet on page


December 19, 1995

      DHAKA, Dec 19 (Reuter) - Britain has agreed to grant one million
sterling to help repatriate Burmese refugees from Bangladesh, a British High
Commission statement said on Tuesday. 

    It said the grant came in response to an appeal by the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees. 

    More than 250,000 Burmese Rohingya Moslems fled to southeast Bangladesh
in early 1992 from west Burma's Moslem-majority state of Arakan, complaining
of military persecution. 

    Repatriation began in September that year following an agreement between
Dhaka and Rangoon. 

    Officials said on Tuesday over 194,000 Rohingyas had so far been
repatriated and the rest were expected to go home over the next year. 


December 15, 1995



The European Union expresses its concern about the absence of open and
meaningful dialogue on constitutional reform involving all sectors of opinion
in Burma including the NLD, recently being forced to abandon the National

    The European Union firmly believes that dialogue will help prevent
confrontation and offers the best hope of national reconciliation. We
therefore call upon the State Law and Order Restoration Council to engage in
dialogue with all of Burma's political and ethnic groups and to increase
their efforts to achieve national reconciliation and multi-party democracy.
At the same time, we urge all parties concerned to proceed with caution and
to take all possible steps to avoid a return to violence.

    Norway, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Letvia, Lithuania, Poland,
Rumania and Slovakia associate themselves with this declaration.


December 20, 1995

Burma's 1996 tourism drive should boycotted because 
preparations for it had caused its people great hardship, 
Asian NGOs said yesterday. The Asia-Pacific Consortium on  
Burma appealed particularly to tourists from states of the 
Association of Southeast Asian Nations to shun Visit Myanmar 
Year 1996.

Preparations for the drive had caused "forced relocations, 
forced labour and a disruption of essential services", the 
consortium said at the end of a two-day meeting attended by 
26 groups from 12 countries. The meeting had been organised 
by the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma and the 
Asian Cultural Forum on Development.

The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council in Rangoon 
aimed to reap foreign exchange from at least 500,000 tourists 
it hopes to draw. A considerable amount of foreign direct 
investment has gone into the hotel industry and related services.

The consortium pointed out that multinational investment 
continued "regardless of gross human rights violations", 
particularly against workers, unions, women, children and 
indigenous peoples.

Asean and the international community should "exert more 
efforts" to bring Slorc into a "meaningful" dialogue with 
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other 
democratic forces.

It suggested the dialogue take place under the supervision of 
United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Aung 
San Suu Kyi was released in July after six years under house 
arrest. Reappointed secretary general of the National League 
for Democracy, which won a landslide victory in the 1990 
general election, she has also far failed to persuade the 
junta to engage in a dialogue.

Last month, she withdrew the NLD from the Slorc's 
constitution-drafting convention on the grounds it was 
undemocratic. Asean invited Burmese Prime Minister Than Shwe, 
the chairman of the Slorc, to its fifth summit in Bangkok 
last week which, among other things, resolved to bring Burma 
into a community of 10 Southeast Asian nations by 2000.

The consortium said Asean's "constructive engagement" policy 
with Burma "benefits only Slorc", and urged the grouping to 
take "appropriate measures" to support human rights in Burma. 
Asean states maintain the policy aimed at drawing Burma into 
international society would persuade it to conform with 
international standards and benefit its people. (BP)


December 17, 1995

VEGETABLE-laden trucks crossing the border from Burma to Thailand
at Mae Sot may contain more than meets the eye.

One truck intercepted last June had vegetables skilfully balanced
to create a hollow in which Burmese illegal migrants could hide.

Authorities have pinpointed Mae Sot as the main entry point for
illegal migrants who are helped by smuggling rings involving some
Thai government officials.

The racket has expanded considerably because of the lucrative
rewards, according to immigration police sources. They said
smugglers received 1,500-3,500 baht for delivering a Burmese
worker to Thailand, depending on the distance to the final destination.

The arrest of two people who hid 16 Burmese among their
vegetables is an example. Police quoted Ram Prempree, 27 and
Yupin Kongthai, 23, as saying they were offered a total of 18,000
baht to take the migrants from Kamphang Phet in Nakhon Sawan to
Bangkok. They usually delivered vegetables from Phop Phra in Mae
Sot to Pakklong market in Bangkok.

In a separate case, police quoted Sao Jaiya, 52, who was also
charged with smuggling labour, as saying illegal migrants or
asylum-seekers in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border had to
pay brokers if they wanted to work in Thailand.

Police said Mya Thein, 21, from Burma told them he had to pay
3,000 baht to be taken from a refugee camp at Huay Kalok in Mae
Sot to Bangkok. He was later arrested while travelling to Bangkok
under the guidance of Sao, and sent back to Burma through Mae Sot in June.

Ko Myint, 19, who was arrested in a separate incident, told
police he paid 2,000 baht to work with a friend in Nakhon Sawan.

An immigration officer said buses were the easiest way to
transport migrants from the border. All they needed were a few
basic Thai words to ensure they could talk with officials and
pass through checkpoints without raising suspicion.

An alternative was to trek through jungle to a pickup point. They
would then have to hide under vegetables or other cargo when the
vehicles reached checkpoints.

Major smuggling routes are the Mae Sot-Tak and Mae Ra Mat-Tak
highways and a deserted road leading to the Mae Sot-Tak highway.

The process starts when the migrants are taken to Mae Sot by bus.
The journey takes them to Mae Jarao sub-district, near Mae Ra Mat.

They then have to trek from Ban Tientart to the Lan Sang Forest
Reserve in Mae Tao sub-district where they are picked up by bus
and taken to their destination.

Another route is to travel from Mae Sot to Umphang to a certain
point before trekking eight or nine hours through Ban Lo Ko and
Huay Nam Yen in Kamphaeng Phet.

The Burmese usually work on sugar cane plantations or take other
low-paid jobs in eastern provinces and Bangkok.

This year at least 25,000 Burmese have been deported, half of
them from Bangkok, according to the official. Almost all of them
said they entered Thailand through Mae Sot and took jobs at
construction sites, petrol stations, factories and ports, he said.

Some immigration officers have been charged with helping to
smuggle them into Thailand. Late last month a senior officer of
National Security Command's mobile development unit No.33 was
arrested with his driver at a Huai Yaou checkpoint while he was
taking 52 Burmese to various provinces.

Tak Chamber of Commerce president Niyom Vaiyaratpanich said
smuggling was an obstacle to granting Burmese permits to work
legally when labour in the North was short.

Pravit Akrachinorej, who chaired meeting with presidents of nine
chambers in the North, said the shoutage of unskilled labour had
reached breaking point. If nothing was done to solve the problem,
production would be disrupted, damaging the economy.


December 20, 1995

Soldiers of the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army robbed Thai 
villagers living along the Thai-Burmese border yesterday. 
Seven DKBA soldiers, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and 
hand-grenades, crossed the Salween river from Burma into Sob 
Moei district yesterday morning.

The Karen soldiers waylaid a total of 35 Thais at Huay Mae 
Bua village but managed to get only 4,000 baht from one of 
the victims, identified only as Boonlue of Tambon Mae Sam Laeb.

The village, about 10 kilometres from the border, was the 
scene of a battle between Thai soldiers from Task Force 35 in 
Mae Sarieng district and DKBA intruders who last year set 
fire to Thai villagers' houses at Ban Mae Sam Laeb and Ban 
Mae La Ma Luang in Tambon Mae Sam Laeb of Sob Moei district. 
Burmese authorities were later informed of the incident. (BP)


December 21, 1995   By Nussara Sawatsawang   (abridged)

Thailand were next year provide technical assistance to Burma 
in the fields of tourism and market-economy education, as 
part of the Government's aid to neighbouring countries.

The two projects, worth between 5-10 million baht each, will 
help strengthen Rangoon's preparations for the Visit Myanmar 
Year 1996, as well as provide academic assistance on market-
oriented economy, said Sumathee Srisuchart, deputy director-
general of the Department of Technical and Economic 
Cooperation (DTEC).

The two projects from part of the assistance worth 65 million 
baht from the Thai Government to Burma. The tourism and 
education projects will add to the regular features of 
agriculture, education and health. The DTEC is a state agency 
handling Thai aid programmes which also cover Laos, Cambodia 
and Vietnam.

The addition of these two new programmes resulted from a 
working session late last month in Rangoon between a 12-
member Thai delegation led by Mr Sumathee and the Burmese 
side led by Ba Twin, director-general of the Burmese Foreign 
Ministry's International Organisation and Economic 
Cooperation Department.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thammasat 
University will be handling these two technical assistance 
projects. Deputy TAT Governor for Planning and Development 
Pradech Phayakvichien, who is in charge of the project, said 
TAT will focus on joint promotion which includes sales and 
marketing, training and staff exchange, research on tourism 
and planning.

"We can conduct joint promotion (of tourist destinations in 
both Thailand and Burma) through our 17 overseas 
representative offices," he said. This idea was once 
presented to Burma's Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung Khin 
when he visited Thailand in mid-November.

A comprehensive plan for joint tourism promotion activities 
is expected to be ready in February next year, before the 
ministers from both sides can sign an agreement, he added.

Meanwhile, the Thailand-Indochina Academics Exchange 
Programme of Thammasat University's Faculty of Economics will 
work together with the Institute of Economics of Yangon 
University under the other technical assistance programme to 
promote market-economy education in Burma. The Thailand-
Indochina Academics Exchange Programme is running similar 
programmes with Cambodia and Vietnam.

For Burma, the first phase of a three-year programme includes 
two-month workshops starting next March on economics teaching 
methods, research and study tours. Ten Thai academics will 
give lectures in Rangoon in July, while Burmese academics 
will be invited to attend an international conference on East 
Asian economies, co-organised by Thammasat University in 
Bangkok in October. These two aid projects to Burma will mark 
another fresh start of Thai aid programmes to Burma. 


December 22, 1995

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced the official signing 
of a lease agreement with the Directorate of Hotels and 
Tourism of Burma to acquire the 38-acre site in Bagan to 
locate its luxury hotel.

The investors of the project which will cost US$23 million in 
construction are Mandarin Oriental with a 25 per cent stake, 
The Oriental (Thailand) Plc with 50 per cent and Italian-Thai 
Development Plc holding the rest.

The deluxe hotel in the archaeological site will comprise 100 
suites. The group now operates city hotels in Bangkok, Hong 
Kong, Jakarta, Macau, Manila, San Francisco and Singapore, 
and two resort hotels in Koh Samuiand Phuket. Under 
development are hotels in Hawaii, Kuala Lumpur and Surabaya. 
The company holds equity in most of the hotels under its 
management. (TN)