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BurmaNet News February 4, 1996

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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: February 4, 1996
Issue #338

Noted in Passing:
		Surrender is out of the question - Nerdah Mya,
		KNU President General Bo Mya's son.


February 1, 1996

On 31 January 1996, commemoration of the 47th anniversary of the Karen                 
Revolution day was held at the KNU headquarters.
To	General Bo Mya
	Karen National Union

Subject         Message of felicitation on the 47th anniversary of the Karen 
		Revolution Day.

The ABSDF conveys its sincere greetings on the occasion of the Karen 
Revolution Day on January 31, 1996.

On this auspicious occasion we are not able to attend the ceremony because of 
various problems but we feel that we are together with members of the Karen 
National Revolution.

On the 47th anniversary of the Karen Revolution Day we gladly honor members of 
the Karen National Union and the Karen National Liberation Army for valiantly 
raising the Karen national flag and continue with the armed struggle against 
all sorts of obstacles and difficulties to strive for national rights and 
privileges and to free from the oppression of successive military governments 
of Burma.

We pay homage to all the Karen leaders and all the Karen revolutionary 
martyrs who have given up their lives so nobly and so valiantly during the 
course of the Karen revolutionary struggle against successive governments of 
military dictators.

We extend our best wishes to General Bo Mya and members of the Karen National 
Revolution who have made great sacrifice to uphold the Karen Revolutionary 
flag against various problems and difficulties and carry on with the fight 
against military dictators for the rights and privileges of the Karens and 
other nationals and for democracy in Burma.

The ABSDF sincerely expresses it's resolution to firmly join hands with the 
armed forces of the Karen revolution and struggle on until our goal of 
democracy and the establishment of a Federal Union is realised.

May the just Karen Revolution be victorious

Down with military dictators.

Central Excutive committee
All Burma Students Democratic Front


January 30, 1996   (slightly abridged)

New Delhi, Jan. 29: The route of "Dilli Chalo", the historic march of the Indian 
National Army (INA) led by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose 50 years ago, was 
retraced by an 18-member expedition which reached the Capital last evening 
from Singapore.
   Completing the route in 43 days in five year jeeps which retraced the 
800-km-long tortuous route, the expedition passed through Malaysia, Thailand 
and Myanmar before touching the Indian soil on North-Eastern States.
	The expedition was airlifted from Yangon to Imphal, aboard an IL-76 
transport aircraft and only the second flight in the region since 1954, said Mr. 
Akhil Bakshi, at a press conference today.
   Col. Dhillon and Col. Lakshmi Sahgal, along with the three-member film crew, 
stayed back in Myanmar to visit the historic battle fronts at Meiktila, Bagan, 
Monywa, Mount Popa and the operational headquarters of the INA at 
Mandalay where Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were lodged in jail.
	Talking about their experience, Col. Dhillon, Col. Sehgal and Capt. 
Yadava, said they were overwhelmed by emotions when they visited battle fronts 
in Myanmar. "Some of the areas looked exactly the same as we have left them 50 
years ago. It was really surprising and nostalgic too," said Col. Dhillion.
	Mr. Sunil Dutt said the expedition was sponsored by the people of India 
and the purpose behind it was to make an attempt to recreate the same feelings of 
patriotism and nationalism that had prompted hordes of people to join the 
"Dilli  Chalo" march of Netaji.
   He said throughout the rout the expedition was greeted warmly by the people 
who offered all help. The film-star-turned-politician said that at several 
stretches they could hardly cover 12 to 14 km in an hour owing to the massive 
response of the public.


February 3, 1996  (abridged)

LAWS must be amended to prevent the exploitation of immigrant
workers from Burma, academics and social activists told a seminar yesterday.

Attention needed to be paid to working conditions, welfare and
wage discrimination, the seminar organised by Thammasat
University Student Organisation and Committee for Democracy
Promotion for Myanmar (Burma) was told.

The discussion was arranged after one Burmese illegal immigrant
was killed and 55 seriously hurt in a Jan 14, on a boat in which
they ere being smuggled from Koh Pang-nga to Phuket.

Dr Kittaya Achawanijkul of Mahidol University's Institute for
Population and Society Research said governments had not done
enough for the well-being of Burmese here.  The government had to 
extend to foreign workers the same conditions it demanded of foreign 
countries for Thai workers, he said.


February 3, 1996

AMNESTY International said it was concerned about the well-being
of six members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy arrested in Burma last month.

The international human rights organisation said in a statement
received in Bangkok yesterday that the six men were detained
apparently for having written a poem commemorating the 1991 death
in custody of former opposition leader Tin Maung Win.

"Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the well-being of
six men arrested on 27 January, 1996, in Rangoon by military
Intelligence Unit 6," the statement said.

"Their arrests form part of he continuing crackdown, begun in
mid-December 1995 against members and supporters of the NLD,
Myanmar's (Burma's) leading opposition party, founded in 1988 by
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi."

Amnesty said dozens had been arrested for peaceful political
activities, with those detained at risk of torture or ill-treatment which it 
said was common during interrogation and after sentencing.

"In addition, conditions in Myanmar's prisons fall far short of
international minimum standards, with lack of access to proper medical 
treatment, overcrowding, and insufficient food all serious concerns."

According to the Amnesty statement, the six men held a religious
ceremony to mark the 18 January anniversary of Tin Maung Win's
death, during which they presented a poem they had written to his family.

"The authorities claimed that U Tin Maung Win, an NLD member
arrested in October 1990, died from leukaemia, but unofficial
sources suggested that the cause of death was ill-treatment or
harsh detention conditions, as there was no prior indication of
the disease," Amnesty said.

The six men have not been heard from since their arrest and are
believed to be held at the military intelligence unit's
headquarters. They have not been charged, Amnesty said.

Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council took power
in 1988 after suppressing a six-month pro-democracy uprising
during which thousands of people were killed or wounded and many
more imprisoned.

Amnesty said about 2,000 political prisoners, including Suu Kyi,
have been released from jail but hundreds more remained in prison.

Since Suu Kyi's NLD party in late November withdrew from the
SLORC-convened National Convention, which is being held to draw
up guidelines for a new constitution the government has cracked
down on NLD members.

Several people have been detained for possessing and distributing
videotapes of Suu Kyi's weekend speeches and others arrested for
satirizing the SLORC in dance performances, Amnesty said.


BORDER    February 3, 1996           Mae Sot, AP

HEAVY fighting erupted on Thursday in Burma between ethnic Karen
rebels and troops loyal to the government, Thai officials said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Thai army rushed reinforcements to its border to prevent
incursions by either group, the Border Patrol Police(BPP) said.

Soldiers of the Karen National Union, which has been fighting for
autonomy from Rangoon since 1948, were battling a splinter group
of their own people called the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

The Burmese army, which supports the splinter group had been
shelling KNU positions, said Thai border police officers
They said the fighting is taking place about eight kilometres
from the Thai border province of Tak.

The battle broke out when KNU troops intercepted a contingent of
about 100 splinter group guerrillas advancing towards refugee
camps housing KNU supporters in Thailand

More than 70,000 Karen refugees, most of whom support the KNU,
are living in the camps just over the Thai border. They have been
frequent targets of the splinter group, and at times, the Burmese army. 
The frequent cross-border raids have fuelled tensions between Thailand 
and Burma.

KNU officials had warned recently that the Burmese army was
massing for an attack.

Villagers rear the border, meanwhile, reported seeing convoys of
Thai troops headed towards the border area, along with jeep-
mounted artillery.

Earlier this week, marauders from the splinter group of Karen
attacked a BPP check point and a temple, killing a policeman, a
monk and a villager.

Thai military officers said border patrols will be stepped up
around the clock. Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh told the 
Associated Press in Bangkok Thursday that army commanders along the
border had requested more troops.


February 3, 1996

PRIME Minister Banharn Silapa-archa will visit Burma in March to
sign a trade agreement to return border trade to normal after its
cessation last year, Deputy Commerce Minister Montri Danphaibool
said yesterday.

After the trade agreement is signed, border points will be opened
in Chiang Rai, Tak and Ranong provinces, he said. Thailand will
introduce a one-stop service to facilitate trade, he said.

However, the new trade system will be regulated because
businessmen must purchase bankers' drafts from designated banks
to carry out transactions.

The two countries have not managed to reach an agreement on the
price ceilings for the drafts, Montri said.

Thailand proposed a limit of up to US$ 20,000, but Burma wanted
the drafts restricted to US$ 2,500- US$ 5,000, similar to its
trade agreements with India and Bangladesh, he said.

Montri said trade volume would increase following the
signing of the trade agreement. Under the pact, businessmen
will be allowed to enter Burma for 12 hours up to four days.
Thai officials said trade volume with Burma has continued to
increase despite the closure of the border.

Thai businessmen have sent their goods via third countries, such
as Singapore and China, which has increased transport costs
and raised prices, the officials said.


February 2, 1996

RANGOON - Burma has formed a high level committee to further
increase already strong economic and trade ties with neighbouring
China, a state-owned newspaper said yesterday. China is one of
Burma's major trading partners, along with Singapore,
Thailand, Japan and India. The 12-member committee includes key
government ministers and is headed by Lt Gen Khin Nyunt,
secretary of the ruling military council.  The New Light of
Myanmar said the Sino-Myanmar Economic Promotion Committee,
formed on Wednesday, was designed to boost economic cooperation
with China and help implement Burma's own five-year economic
plan.   A similar body to increase economic ties with Singapore was
formed in 1994. According to the Chinese Embassy, trade volume
between the two countries reached US$ 600 million last year, an
increase of 18 per cent over the previous year. 


February 3, 1996
by Bruce Stanley, in Teakaplaw, Burma, AP

    This article appeared with a photo in which Karen women
perform a traditional dance Wednesday to celebrate their
people's struggle for independence from Rangoon.

IN a clearing hacked from the Burmese jungle, white-gloved Karen
guerrillas marched to the music of a choir and an electric guitar.
They paraded to honour their comrades killed in one of the
world's oldest insurgencies, as a new generation of fighters,
some barely in their teens, cradled their weapons and watched.

The Karen are the last major group of ethnic rebels that refuses
to surrender or cut a deal with Burma's military rulers.
The Burmese army, which ousted the Karen from bigger strongholds
last year has been gathering reinforcements for what could be a
decisive push against  them. Fighting was reported on Thursday 
near the Thai border, but it was unclear if it was the start of a
major government offensive.

"Actually, we are not fighting the SLORC alone," said Do Thaw Da,
secretary of health and welfare in the Karen civilian
administration. "We have to fight the world. The foreigners who
invest in Burma are our enemies indirectly."

About 400 Karen soldiers and villagers met at this remote jungle
base Wednesday to mark the 47th year of their fight for freedom_
a fight that may soon face its toughest challenge.

Their leader, Gen Bo Mya, told The Associated Press that his
outnumbered troops plan soon to launch an urban guerrilla
campaign to carry their war to the streets of Burma's capital,
Rangoon, and other cities.

This shift in tactics, together with renewed efforts to
discourage foreign investors from helping to prop up the Burmese
economy, is the only way the Karen can expect to win their
freedom, he said.

"We've been trying our best for 47 years, but we don't want to be
terrorists _ to blow up bridges or to go and capture villagers
and use them as porters," he said.

Bo Mya, speaking after the songs and parade had ended, insisted
that his men would not attack civilians. Still, he acknowledged
the need to wage a more aggressive fight.

"We have to use conventional warfare. We have to use guerrilla
warfare. We're going to make more attacks in the cities," he said.

The Karen, many of whom are Protestant Christians, began their
struggle in 1948, the same year Burma won its independence from
Britain. Like several of Burma's other ethnic minorities, they
fought for autonomy or, at the minimum, a federal form of
government that promised a degree of self-determination.

However, Burma's military has made peace pacts with most of the
minorities since it seized power in 1988. It coaxed Khun Sa's men
into laying down arms in early January, and Burmese troops are
now attacking the Karenni, a smaller ethnic group related to the Karen.
Bo Mya said the Karen and their 5,000 fighters are the
government's next and final target. The two sides held peace
talks in December and plan to meet again in February, but Karen
officials say they expect the talks to fail because the
government only wants total surrender.
"Surrender is out of the question," said the general's son and
foreign affairs adviser, Nerdah "Rocky" Mya. "We want to have a
peaceful dialogue."

Wednesday's celebration included traditional dancers, who like
many of the guests, travelled to Teakaplaw in the backs of
pick-up trucks, bouncing for hours along rutted tracks of dried mud.

Children played with balloons and mothers nursed babies as Bo Mya
urged them on to victory, speaking through a microphone powered
by a car battery. The festivities ended with a feast of boiled
beef, after a 30-member choir sang a Karen anthem that sounded
remarkably like the American folk song "Home on the Range".

Dozens of Karen soldiers, bristling with grenade launchers and
rifles, guarded the crowd. Several of them were children just
slightly taller than their weapons_ the latest generation to take
up arms in the desperate fight.

Karen leaders say their troops must .make much of their own
ammunition and depend on weapons captured from government troops.
The Burmese army grows stronger, meanwhile, with ample supplies
from China and elsewhere.

The government's military intelligence also infiltrates every segment of 
society making sustained urban attacks by the Karen very difficult.


February 3, 1996   (abridged)
Thaksin has 'information' on Suchart's Burmese partner

THE controversy over Deputy Interior Minister Suchart
Tancharoen's business relationship with a Burmese woman took a
new twist yesterday when Deputy Prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra
said he had considerable information" on her business activities.

"We won't interfere with this internal matter of the Chat Thai
Party. But if the public wants us to take a stand we will
consider its wishes."

Some reports claimed that the group and its Burmese connections
were also involved in stock manipulation, and even money laundering.

The woman became controversial after an article written by
Prasong Soonsiri, who as ex-foreign minister and former chief of
the National Security Council has in-depth knowledge of
Thai-Burmese affairs, alleged that "a Cabinet member" was
capitalizing on his relationship with a Burmese woman to reap
logging profits.

Press reports said Ma Khine Zaw had a considerable investment in 
the Thai stock market. Democrat Surin Pitsuwan, former deputy 
foreign minister, has called on the Foreign Ministry, the immigration 
police and the National Security Council to investigate her background.

Matichon, in its reports, mentioned without naming names what it
suggested was a conspiracy in which Thai logs were "laundered" in
Burma, or Burmese logs were legally cut with profits going to a
group of politicians with Burmese connections.

The same group, it was reported, took over money-losing firms
listed on the Thai stock market, manipulated share prices and
sold out at a huge profit.


January 31, 1996  India

   Security officials at Beijing's Capital Airport detained six Burmese after 
finding three of them holding forged Chinese identify papers, the Beijing 
Evening News said on Tuesday. They were picked up on Sunday as they 
were trying to leave on a flight for Kunming, capital of the southern province 
of Yunnan.  (Reuter)


January 30, 1996 [excerpt]
by Mark Brennock

	Tourists should not travel in ignorance to the third world countries
marketed as holiday playgrounds for the well off, a campaigner for
responsible tourism said in Dublin yesterday.
	In many such countries, peoples had been displaced, natural resources
damaged and tourist revenues used to buy weapons, warned Mr. Paul Gonsalves
of the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism.  The development agency
Trocaire invited him to Dublin to speak last night.
	"If you are choosing to go on holiday to the third world, it is your
responsibility to find out more than the tourist brochures tell you about
the conditions there, and then decide whether you are making the right
decision," he said.
	The Burmese authorities had designated this year as "Visit Burma 
Year," he said.  Every tourist must change $300 at the border, "and that 
money is going into the hands of the military to buy guns to kill their own 
people.  Do you want your money to be used in this way?"


February 2, 1996

[Editor's note: Several students, alumni, and faculty have written to 
Jerry Tardy, the director of Indiana University Alumni Association, 
protesting the alumni group's plan to tour Burma this spring.  Tardy replied 
to one of the letter-writers, and his response, along with comments by David
Wolfberg, a Burma activist involved in the tourism campaign, are presented 

>From: Jerry Tardy <JTARDY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: egass@xxxxxxxxxxx
JT:>Thank you for your note of concern.  Twenty-five alumni have signed up for
>our 18-day tour to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, and Hong Kong.
>We believe we have a commitment to honor our contract with them.  

DW:        UCLA cancelled sponsorship without worrying about a "contract"
because the travelers were given the option to contact the tour operator and
continue with the Tour, with UCLA's name withdrawn because of human rights
concerns.  Similarly, IU can pull its name and allow the alumni to make
their own decision from there.  What Jerry doesn't mention is the difference
-- if IU pulls sponsorship, they'll lose money.
        Of greater interest would be the contract itself, which probably
would not be violated if the tour is cancelled.  Tours change all the time
due to varying circumstances and the contracts are written to avoid lawsuits
in such an event.

JT: I'd like to share with you a few points that haven't emerged in published reports.
No university has canceled its trip.  
DW:  TRUE.  UCLA has only "cancelled sponsorship".  UCLA cannot cancel
Burma Passage because UCLA isn't the actual operator.  

JT: Fifteen schools are operating tours
>that include a stop in Burma.  MIT, Bucknell, Emory, Syracuse, and
>Saskatchewan recently returned from trips to the area. Yale, Northwestern,
>Illinois, Penn State, Washington (St. Louis), Brown, and the University of
>Southern California all have trips scheduled.  UCLA's Alumni Association
>did withdraw its sponsorship while allowing the tour to go forward; it is
>the only school to have done so.  UCLA's 18 passengers completed the tour,
>but the Alumni Association was unable to provide the sort of educational
>support that we are providing.
 DW:       UCLA was able to provide a wealth of materials about tourism-linked
forced labor -- a hell of a lot more than most tourists will be exposed to
on a Disney-style luxury cruise.

JT: >In visiting Burma, we are in no way siding with the repressive,
>authoritarian military government.  

DW:    This is a very important statement which should be used in press
materials.  Headline possibility:  "Indiana University Sees Burma Regime as
`repressive, authoritarian' -- But Continues With Tour"
        The statement / release, if anyone has time to do it, should be
brought to SLORC's attention and then SLORC may be the ones to cancel the tour.

JT: We are very sympathetic to the
>concerns that have been voiced by the students.  Visiting a country does
>not mean endorsing the policies of its government.  When it became
>possible for Americans to travel to the People's Republic of China in the
>late 1970s, we were the first university in the country to sponsor an
>alumni tour there.  That tour was no more an endorsement of the Chinese
>government than this stop on our itinerary is an endorsement of Burma's

DW:     FYI, His Holiness The Dalai Lama fully supports Aung San Suu Kyi and
the drive to stop investment to SLORC-controlled Burma.  But His Holiness
believes tourism would be good for Tibet.  It's very different with Burma.  

JT: >We have mailed to the participants information from The New York Times and
>the Christian Science Monitor about the political situation in Burma.

 DW:    Which information?  The Christian Science Monitor at one point filed
an atrocious report about how things were improving with investment in Burma.
JT: >These participants are aware of what's going on in Burma. They have 
>chosen to go on this trip.  We do not believe that we have the right to overrule
>their choice, to make their decision for them.

 DW:       I would agree with this.  But IU can make a clear statement as to
their position by cancelling sponsorship... which doesn't mean making the
decision for their alumni who go.  

JT:>A lecturer on board ship will inform travelers of the situation in the
>various ports of call, which also include Malaysia and Thailand.  Tom
>Bartlett is well versed and well informed, having undertaken assignments
>in Southeast Asia for the State Department and the United Nations.

DW:       What is Mr. Bartlett's experience with regard to Burma?

JT:>We have offered to share with our travelers a position statement from the
>Burmese Student Association, and we are trying to arrange a meeting of
>students with our travelers upon their return. This conversation,
>reflecting different points of view, is part of the free exchange of ideas
>that education and democracy are all about.  We believe that it would make
>an interesting, informational article in the alumni magazine.  In this way
>our 60,000 members can learn some of the issues, weigh the information,
>and form their own opinions.

DW:  It would have been nice for this to happen BEFORE the travellers go.

JT: >An editorial in the Indiana Daily Student stated, "With each tourist that
>crosses the border into Burma, the State Law and Order Restoration Council
>receives $300 for its military coffers."  A representative of Intrav, the
>St. Louis-based company that planned this tour, informs us that the $300
>is waived for its group travelers, who will be staying aboard a Norwegian
>ship docked in the harbor.

 DW:      In all likelihood, according to Edith Mirante, the ship will pay a
docking fee directly to SLORC.  

JT: >From the founding of the republic, Americans have agreed to disagree; that
>is part of what it means to be a democracy.  I respect your point of view
>and appreciate your concern.
>Jerry Tardy
>Executive Director
>Indiana University Alumni Association

DW: Over all, this response is better than most.  It addresses many of the
concerns by encouraging an open dialogue.  Tun Myint, Mr. Horne and others
have clearly made an impact, and ought to be commended.


February 2, 1996

Dear All-
  Please publicize this as widely as possible, especially to media outlets
and to retailers of Columbia's clothing.  BAC thinks this could be the lead 
issue in attracting attention to Columbia and getting them to withdraw.

-Brian Schmidt
Burma Action Committee (BAC)

Contact:  Matt Donohue (503) 786-9517, Brian Schmidt (503) 236-9776,

Portland OR:  The Burma Action Committee (BAC) accused Columbia Sportswear of
involvement in an arrangement where a percentage of the profits from the
manufacture of its clothing in Burma is directed to weapons purchases by the
country's dictatorship. BAC said Columbia contracts manufacturing to Myanmar
Segye International, a joint venture between South Korea's Segye and the
Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (Umeh). Umeh is owned members of 
Burma's army and 40% owned by the Defense Ministry Department of 
Procurement for the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the governing 
body of Burma's dictatorship, considered by many experts to be one of the most 
repressive in the world.

"Go ahead and call it Columbia-gate," said Brian Schmidt of the BAC. "The
connection between Columbia and support for Burma's dictatorship is now
clear. This is only the worst violation of any possible business ethic.
Anyone can verify this information with a single reference to published
information and a phone call to Columbia. The most important question now is
not what did Columbia know and when did they know it, but whether they are
going to act responsibly now that the information is public and get out of

Schmidt described how the arrangement was established where sales of
Columbia's clothing finance Burma's weapons. "A Korean multinational
corporation, Segeye, decided to invest in Burma and establish a textile
manufacturing presence in Burma. To do so it established a new corporation
that is a joint venture between Segeye and a Burmese corporation, the Union
of Myanmar Economic Holdings (Umeh). Umeh holds between 40 and 50% of the
ownership of the joint venture, 40% being the figure released by Columbia.
Columbia Sportswear has since contracted with the joint venture to
manufacture portion of its outdoor clothing line. This arrangement, however,
falsely pretends that Umeh is an independent corporation. Umeh was set up in
1990 by the army to control foreign investment in the country. Current and
retired military personnel run Umeh, and a 40% share of the company is owned
by the Department of Procurement, which buys weapons for the Defence
Ministry. The information about Umeh is publicly known and was last mentioned
in the January 18 Far Eastern Economic Review."

"The money trail is simple to follow. The consumer buys clothing from
Columbia, and Columbia uses the consumer's money to pay the joint venture in
Burma that made the clothing. Of the profits that the joint venture makes
from the consumer's money and distributes to its owners, at least 40%
goes to Umeh, and 40% of that money from the consumer goes to buy weapons."

Schmidt concluded, "The consumer can look at a Columbia Sportswear display
and know that one-sixth of the profits that are distributed in Burma are
funnelled directly to weapons for a regime that is one of the most repressive
on the planet. Activists around the country are not asking Columbia to shut
down its entire operations, but just to stop providing direct support for
dictators. The outdoor clothing Columbia is really making in Burma is body

Burma Action Committee (formerly the Pepsi-Burma Boycott Committee) is a
Portland-based grass-roots organization supporting a boycott of companies
investing in Burma. It emphasizes consumer activism and education, supports
campus groups, and promotes local and national legislation that call for
divestment from Burma.

BAC's address is PO Box 1926, Portland OR, 97207. Columbia Sportswear's
address is 6600 N. Baltimore, Portland OR 97203, (503) 286-3676.


January 31, 1996

Dear Friends of Burma, 

Now is the time to write your Senator and tell him or her that you want them
to support the McConnell bill for sanctions on Burma!  We have to get this
bill moving, get some momentum behind it, and get it passed.  If you haven't
written both of your Senators, please stop, take 10 minutes and adapt this
letter as you see fit and send it!  10 minutes and 64 cents, and you will
feel great!  It's the grassroots pressure that is going to win this fight in
Washington, D.C., that's the thing that sets this movement apart from
others.   Please make your contribution now, every letter counts!   And
remember, when you receive a reply back from your Senators, make a copy and
send it to U Soe Pyne, NCGUB, 815 15th Street, N.W., Suite 910, Washington,
D.C.  20005.  That way we can check to see that what your Senator is telling
you is what he's really doing!  

Thanks again for your support -- keep pushing and we'll win!  

Cheers, Phil Robertson

Thanks also to Simon Billenness, whose draft was helpful in putting together
this letter.  
Senator _________ 
U.S. Senate 
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator ______, 

I write to inform you of my very wholehearted support for bill S. 1511, the
Burma Freedom and Democracy Act of 1995.  I strongly urge you to become a
co-sponsor of this important legislation and support its passage in committee
and when it comes to the floor of the Senate.  This bi-partisan bill,
co-sponsored by Senators McConnell, Moynihan, D'Amato and Leahy, seeks to
impose economic sanctions on the military junta of Burma.

As you may know, after brutally crushing peaceful pro-democracy
demonstrations in 1988 and killing an estimated 3000 protesters in the capital
city of Rangoon alone in the process, the Burmese military junta formed the
State Law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC).  The SLORC regime
continues to be rated as one of the worst human rights abusers in the world by
highly reputable human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch/Asia.
Since 1988, despite condemnation by the world community and annual United
Nations General Assembly urging respect for human rights and seeking a
negotiated transition to democratic rule, the SLORC has refused to loosen its
grip on power.  In 1990, the SLORC held elections (which were judged free
and fair by the international community) in the belief that it was popular
enough to win.  When the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won over 80% of the seats, it decided
to annul the election and then harass and imprison elected Members of
Parliament from the NLD and allied parties and their supporters in an effort
destroy the democratic forces through violence and intimidation.  

Although the SLORC released Aung San Suu Kyi from six years of house arrest
in 1995, she has repeatedly stated in press interviews that nothing else has
changed in Burma and that foreign investors should stay away.  In this call,
she echoes the voice of Nelson Mandela and the ANC when they were
struggling against apartheid.  Despite repeated calls by Aung San Suu Kyi for
dialogue, the SLORC has refused even to meet with her and other leaders of
the democracy movement.  Meanwhile, the SLORC continues to crack down on
pro-democracy activists; refuses to allow the Red Cross access to political
prisoners despite pledges to Congressman Bill Richardson to do so.  According
to both the International Labor Organization and the UN's Special Rapporteur
on Human Right in Burma, Prof. Yozo Yokota, SLORC regularly uses forced
labor for infrastructure projects.  

Last year, three American cities -- Berkeley (CA), Madison (WI) and Santa
Monica (CA) -- voted to boycott companies that do business in Burma.
Similar legislation has also passed the Massachusetts lower house and has
been introduced in the New York City Council.  

Just as we Americans supported Nelson Mandela's call for economic sanctions
against the apartheid regime in South Africa, we should respect Aung San Suu
Kyi's request that corporations not invest in Burma at this time.  Passage
of the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act of 1995 (S. 1511) would send a clear
signal  to the SLORC that the United States supports the Burmese democracy

I hope that you will step forward and join with the bi-partisan coalition of
Senators behind this effort and immediately co-sponsor the Burma Freedom and
Democracy Act of 1995.  I look forward to hearing from you soon on this
important issue to me. 

With best wishes,