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REPORT ON COMMUNICATION(15/1/96)(re
Subject: REPORT ON COMMUNICATION(15/1/96)(repost)
/* Written Sat 10 Feb 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" Report on Communication (15/1/95).repost "------------ */
Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA 5042
January 15, 1995.
Greetings from Adelaide Australia and wishing you to a happy and
prosperous new year of 1995.
Re: The activities at the UNGA'1994 and emerging issues
Please find enclosed materials reporting the activities at the United
Nations General Assembly-1994. Reports from the Special Rapporteur, the
Secretary-General and related draft resolution for 1994 indicate that all
of our efforts are yielding good results in promotion of human rights
situation in Burma. In this connection, I should like to thank you, in
particular, for your kind attention given to the problem of refugees and
displaced people from Burma.
I also enclosed the paper "An Operational Guideline Proposal for United
Nations' Agencies in Myanmar". That paper was prepared in April 1994 for
the operation of UNHCR and other UN agencies in Arakan State where the
Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh are repatriating. As the campaign for
refugees in Thailand now closer to some conclusion, the natural extension
of such operation can be considered as the possibilities.
In order to participate in this humanitarian action and also to actively
promote a peaceful solution to Burma's conflicts, there are still much work
needed to be done in the part of the pro-democracy forces. It is apparent
that the policy as well as the action by the international actors (the
U.N., U.S. and all major democracies and the ASEAN) have now been
consolidated. Therefore, the strategies to participate effectively in this
action needed to be formulated by pro-democracy groups. The Burma's
pro-democracy forces must participate in such humanitarian action and to
take active role in peace building in Burma.
The following are some of the issues which I believe would be important in
promoting a peaceful solution to Burma's conflicts. I would appreciate and
valued your opinion on these issues.
1. Empowerment of the elected representatives: By way of following the
prescriptions outlined in the paper, the U.N. and international community
will be able to encourage some form of interim administration which may be
acceptable to both military and civilians. At present, these committees
should be working at the regional level. considerations should be made t
promote to the central level when it runs smoothly.
It is crucial for the Burmese Army and elected representatives works
smoothly in those interim committees. At present, such operation has been
in place in the Arakan State. According to the Special Rapporteur, the
Military Government of Myanmar agreed to the operation of humanitarian
agencies at the grass-roots level. I would advocate the UN to consider
sharing their evaluation on this process. I would communicate you further
when this becomes available.
2. The release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: There has been a speculation about
possible release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as early as mid-Janary 95.
Concerns has also been raised for a possibility of renewing conflict
between the SLORC and her.
Although Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself has been devoted to non-violent
methods in opposing the urling junta, the existing laws that promulgated by
successive military governments are not permitting anyone to express freely
of their views. Therefore it'll be appropriate to request Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi to voluntarily refrain from making comments about the role of the
Burmese Army publically. However, she should be allowed to discuss freely
with the representatives of pro-democracy forces, the elected member of
parliament and military personnels. The public should only be informed via
the press statements made by the ocuncil of these representatives, which
may avoid the possibility of her being target for persecution.
There are numerous laws in Burma restricting freedom of speech and
association, and forming of peaceful assembly. When dealing with such
oppressive laws, the pro-democracy forces should avoid direct
confrontations. The usual method, which used in 1988 movement, is to
act-in-defiance of the law which inevitably promote confrontation with
military authorities. However, in present circumstances, the pro-democracy
forces should recognize that the law(s) as it is has been repressive, and
therefore seek the mediation of the U.N. for repeal of the law. These laws
will have to be revoked when drafting the constitution. Such an approach to
these oppressive laws will be consistent with the policy of benchmarks.
3. Participation of ehtnic freedom fighters in national political process:
The representatives of the ethnic freedom fighters should be given
appropriate political plafrorm in drafting the federal constitution.
Currently, the Japanese Friendship Association is brokering peace between
last remaining groups of DAB. As I have no further information on this and
therefore please share information about this if you know anything about
Although the pro-democracy forces cannot directly participate in the
operation of interim committees (wihch described in 1. and referred to as
Reception committees in the paper), the pro-democracy forces can be
transformed into local political and social groups - such as returnees
associations, ethnic youth and cultural organizations, etc - and make
influence in decision-making process through the local representatives.
This move must eventually be aimed at initiating/consolidating political
parties at the regional/state level.
There has been fears felt by some freedom fighters that they may loose
their legitimacy by making peace with the SLORC. This may be due to a
belief that the respect by its own people (hence legitimacy) is earned
through fighting oppressive Burmese military. It is essentially the problem
of transforming to the real political organizations from the
4. The role of student freedom fighters: Present political situation
appeals re-assessment of the role of students within the democracy
movement. The students had fled to the border areas and joined with ethnic
freedom fighters in 1988 in the hope that they may be able to topple the
central government by armed struggle.
One difference between student army (the All Burma Student Democratic
Front) and ethnic rebels is that students do not have an aspiration for
political power. All they want to do is to dismantle the military
dictatorship in Burma. Since present trend of the movement is the one
leading to non-violent struggle, it may be appropriate for student army to
consider phased-out their armed-wing.
It must be aware, however, the sensitivity of this issue. Recent internal
conflict within KNU has caused distress to the leadership of last remaining
pro-democracy forces. A gesture of withdrawal of students will be
detrimental to the morale of these remaining forces. One possible solution
may be to consider the option of gradually phasing-out student's armed-wing
after the cease-fire is implemented between remaining ethnic rebels (NMSP
and KNU) and the Burmese Army.
5. Institutionalizing Human Rights: The success in human rights movement
this year is much attributed to various non-partisan human rights
organizations' efforts in documentations and reports provided to the
international community. As the non-violent struggle in Burma must
continue, there is a need to encourage the continued operation and
expansion of non-partisan human rights organizations. Efforts should be
made to expand the network to a national level and training in human rights
documentations and reportings. Continuation of reports to international
human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights
Watch and the U.N. Special Rapporteur are essential.
The establishment of such non-partisan human rights organization will be
beneficial to the population in longer term, even beyond the democratic
government came into power. Human being's strife for greater respect for
human rights is necessary to continue even in the well-established
Although the governments in the Asian countries tend to label the human
rights as an alien concept, the universal values such as social justice,
observance to just rule of law, respect for human being and the humanity
are not. It then is as a matter of interpreting these values in terms of
human rights. Such non-partisan organization can be popular amongst Burmese
populace once it established, since these values are not an alien,
particularly, to the Burmese.
6. Controlling the business community: There has been a renewed interests
from the international business community to go into Burma as the political
tension eased. The UN initiated economic embargo will unlikely be
implemented as long as things going smoothly. It might not be quite
necessary to advocate the Business community to withdraw entirely or to
discourage entering Burma. However, it will certainly be necessary to
inform the illegal status of SLORC and therefore not to invest with large
financial sums within Burma. Businesses must be ready to pull out if things
are not going smoothly. Nonetheless, any genuine business will need the
time to study the situation in Burma and will whish to make contact with
the people of Burma, it may be reasonable to allow them to open official
7. The operation of UN humanitarian agencies and NGOs: There has been a
difficult task of advocating the governments for financial supports to the
repatriation program. The community groups should advocate their respective
governments to lend financial support in this humanitarian operation.
Especially, we would need the information regarding who to ask for such
Present operation will particularly suited for the NGOs who have already
working in collaboration with UNHCR. In Australia, there is an
inter-governmental agency - known as AUSTCARE which already working in
co-ordination with UNHCR. The community groups should advocate support to
such organizations wherever possible.
Some NGOs might wish to have more freedom in supporting a particular
targeted group. It is also natural for NGOs in showing their significance
and to claim a success in their work. However, present situation in
Burmaneed NGOs' coordination with the UN humanitarian agencies - such as
UNICEF and WHO - in order to avoid duplications in efforts and to show that
all NGOs are operating in a cohesive fashion in promoting the humanitarian
situation in Burma.
8. The contingency measures and the role of NCGUB: According to the
Memorandum issued by the Burmese Embassy at the UNGA, "Myanmar is fully
committed to the voluntary and safe repatriation of returnees and will be
faithful scrupulously in implementing the agreement and arrangement made
between the concerned parties ...". In spite of such an assurance, a
contingency plans must be made in order to ensure the democratization
process be not deviate from its final objective. The anology of situation
may be seen in Haiti, where the withdrawal of civilian peace-keeping
mission in 1993 has led to a stronger U.N. intervention. Therefore, we
should appeal the National Coalition Government of Union of Burma to
maintain its high-profile status until democratically elected government
came into power in Burma.
9. Participating in political action: There has been some differing
opinions on how to unite such groups and organizations of diverse in
background and interests to reach a unified political action. One of the
solution may be to encourage these groups to communicate more frequently,
and if possible, discuss the issues. Formalizing the relations between
groups, and hence the national political consolidation, should be made at a
much later stage. Participation to any political action by various groups -
large or small - must be based on the fundamental understanding, mutual
trusts and co-operations. This process may boil down to even to the level
of individual co-operations.
As in any political process, the success or failure of a political
organization will depend on the understanding of general trend and its
ability to participate in the general action. Therefore, all pro-democracy
organizations needs to open-up their views to others and cooperate each
other with an open-mind. In this way, Burma's pro-democracy groups can
achieve the "Unity in Action".
I shall be grateful for you to give your views on these matters. I would be
able to send your message and views to various groups, which may help the
other make known of your views. Those who have computer account can send
their messages to following e-mail address, a place where discussions about
Burma are usually held.
Once again, I should like to thank you for your kind attention to Burma's
democracy movement and, in particular, the refugees and displaced people
Sd. U Ne Oo
e-mail(BurmaNet): reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (or) strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
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