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/* Written Thu 29 Feb 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" Report on Communication (22/8/94) "--------------- */

Since the formation of soc.culture.burma and, later the BurmaNet-l,
I have been able to send to net of communications with our colleagues who
normally do not have access to the Internet. These communications
are time and again reposted to the net for two reasons:(1) the members
of the net seems to be growing all the time, so the new comers has to
be informed of what I/we have been doing; (2) the Burma's pro-democracy
groups to have clear picture of current repatriation movement. Furthermore,
these communications are always nice to repost because they show how those
who concerned about Burma have discuss the issues and policies.

No chain of commands

When we look at the Burma Action Directory compiled by Mr Arnott
(darnott@xxxxxxxxxxx), we see how many of such a diversity of
groups and individuals engaging in the cause for democracy in Burma.
Burma democracy movement to date has been purely voluntary movement;
those who engaged in the movement, groups and individual of all size
and kind, including governments, are not bound by a command structure.
It then is a point of publicizing the underlying policy in an attempt
to seek professional cooperation from groups and individual concerned.
Reposting of these communications are exactly to serve that purpose.

Humanitarian movement

Present repatriation movement, from my part, had started in 1992 with
Rohingyas refugees. At that time, myself had been going through a
painful process of becoming a refugee in Australia and starting to
think about how it can be difficult for those refugees in Bangladesh.
There were reports about egregious humanitarian condition in the
camps in Bangladesh. A change of government in Burma, so far as I
could see, seems remote at that time in 92. A humane solution for
Rohingya is clearly not the one letting them to live in those
camps indefinitely.

At that time the international incidents known to us was the humanitarian
intervension on Somalia. It clearly justify to consider this for Rohingyas
since, unlike other refugees in Thailand etc, the root cause of Rohingya
refugee problem is purely human rights/humanitarian problem. Rohingya
exodus was caused mainly by SLORC's attempt to divert the Burmese population
attention from SLORC's own political crisis. 

By the end of 1993, it became clear to me that the refugees in Thailand
and elsewhere are in equally desperate situation. (All refugees are
desperate, as a matter of fact). Burmese refugee problem in Thailand
is more more complicated in nature because of underlying economic,
political and ethnic conflicts. It then is a point of calling for an
end to these repressions inside Burma as a solution to the refugee

It's helping ourselves

A compassionate and realistic policy is needed when dealing with
refugees. Ill-defined policy can give rise to a great deal of human
miseries. In present climate, the asylum policy is not healthy to be
built-upon the third country resettlements: you could end up your
country men/women in the situation like Vietnamese refugees in
Hong Kong. There then is virtually of no choice: safe passage to
home is the only option for majority of our refugees.

There is a universally accepted notion of refugees being passive and
dependent. Because of this notion, many concerned NGOs sought prevention
of refugees from being manipulated by the Governments and political groups.
That exactly have been our own experience regarding the Rohingya
repatriation. However, those who have doubts about my(our) intention
regarding repatriation of refugees, please be assured that there
are no elements of manipulating the refugees politically or otherwise.
It is as a matter of helping ourselves - Refugees want to go home and
live in peace.

Because of refugee problem is essentially human rights problem, the
repatriation movement can also be seen as a human rights movement.
Although the repatriation movement may help, to certain extent,
democracy/political movements, the primary objective as well as
the premise that it working on are purely non-political and

With best regards, U Ne Oo.

Human Rights for Burma(Inc.)
P.O.Box 775, Cannington
Western Australia 6107

14 August, 1994

Dear U Ne Oo

We acknowledge receipt of your letters of August 3, 1994 with many  thanks.
We  read  your  letter  with  mixed  feelings  and was not too sure of your

We were puzzled as to why you wanted DAB to ceasefire with SLORC. From  the
Human  Rights  point  of view, we are obliged to advise you that SLORC does
not have the mandate to urle the country. This regime has refused to honour
the 1990 general election. They promised the people democratic  rights  but
up   until  now  there  is  no  freedom  of  speech,  press,  assembly  and
information. This authoritarian junta has  deceived  the  people  too  many
times  and cannot be trusted. Therefore for any one to enter into ceasefire
agreement with SLORC is a very risky proposition.  We  believe  the  ethnic
minorities  at  the  border do know what they are doing and we believe they
will do the right thing for the country.  We,  therefore,  strongly  advise
that you do not persuade the ethnic minorities to comply with SLORC.

We  were  further  very  disappointed  with your letter of April 6, 1994 to
Prime Minister Chaun Leekpai of Thailand.  Why  are  you  asking  the  Thai
government  to  force  the ethnic rebels to enter into cease fre agreements
with SLORC. Why are you suggesting that the Thai Government repatriate  the
Burmese  nationals back to Burma. The SLORC is not of the people, is not by
the people and is not for the people, therefore it is very wrong to ask the
Thai Government to help  repatriate  the  Burmese  nationals.  You  further
advised  the Thai Prime Minister that it was a wise move to invite Burma to
the ASEAN meeting. We strongly disagree with your statement and we  request
you  not  to  write  such  letters  in future as it tends to legitimise the
military junta. All these matters are complex  issues  and  if  we  do  not
understand   the   whole   issue,  we  should  not  write  negative  things
particularly to the Thai governmetn who themselves are not well regarded by
the world communities and democratic countries.

If you are interested in advancing democracy in Burma, we suggest that  you
write  to the military regime and request that they accede to the wishes of
the people and hand over power to the people where it really belongs. SLORC
should serve the people and not force the people to serve them.

Yours faithfully,
Sd. P deRosario
President, Human Rights for Burma(Inc.)

Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA 5042

August 22, 1994.

Mr P deRosario
The President of Human Rights for Burma Inc.
P.O.Box 775, Cannington WA 6107.

Dear Mr deRosario,

Thank you for your letter dated 14 August 1994. I am very glad  to  receive
such  a  critical  letter  from  the  compatriots and I respect your views.
Although you may have doubts about my ways & means, I am sure that we share
the same aspiration for freedom and democracy  for  all  people  of  Burma.
Followings are why I have invoked the Royal Thai Government on the issue of
Burmese  refugees.  I think the difference between me and you is not of the
final objective, but is, rather, the means of achieving it.

Firstly, my proposal is not of 'persuading the ethnic minorities to  comply
with  SLORC'.  You  may  well  know that General Bo Myan have stated in his
speech last April that the DAB wish to talk with  SLORC  with  presence  of
outside  observers.  I  can't  think  of  any  better  observer than United
Nations. General Bo Mya has also urged to the ministers of ASEAN  countries
to  mediate  the  peace-talks  in July. I believe this is what DAB want: to
make the political settlement, i.e. to form  Federal  Union,  with  Burmese
military through international mediations. Therefore, the suggestions in my
August  3  letter  is  essentially  reflections  of  these  ethnic  freedom
fighters' views. Of course, when we make  political  moves,  this  kind  of
coordinated display of supports are quite necessary.

Senator  Evans  have  tried to mediate between SLORC and DAB/NCGUB in 1992,
which SLORC did not accept. SLORC is not going to transfer power to NLD  on
a straight away whatever the people outside may say. So what can we do ?

When  you  try  to mediate internal conflicts like this, there is in the UN
Charter that 'no country or  group  of  countries  interfere  the  internal
political  affairs  of  the member state'. That is why all Burmese actually
got into problem and have to suffer for so long: the UN can only  pass  the
resolutions,  there  is  no  legal framework for UN to make intervention on
Burma's internal political affairs (only recently UN changed its  position,
such  as  on Haiti). The SLORC do not honour the 1990 election results, and
that is the violation of Human Rights (worse still, Burma is not a party to
the ICCPR), and that is internal political affairs.  The  fighting  between
minorities and SLORC is also an internal political affairs. That is why the
UN was unable to do anything positively in the last 4 years.

Therefore,  the  only  legitimate  way  for  the  UN to be involved in this
internal affairs is through  refugees.  /*  ----------  */  Thanks  to  the
Australian  Senators,  that  they  have  to  talk a lot with RTG and ASEAN,
especially last July. Hopefully, the UN become involved in this matter soon
and make improvements to humanitarian situation, influence on  the  writing
of  the  constitution  and  also  mediate between ethnic rebels and Burmese

I think the refugee problem is more justified to solve if we look at things
in humanitarian perspective. The Burmese nationals have been begging on the
streets of Bangkok - which nobody should overlook about this.  The  Burmese
boat   people   are  already  arriving  Malaysia,  looking  for  jobs.  The
humanitarian situation within the country hasn't been  any  better;  people
from  Sagaing  area  are  reportedly queued along reilways line begging for
food - which reflect the extent of poverty in the country side. Nobody like
to see Burma's situation developed into Somalia or Rwanda;  if  we  do  not
tackle the problems now, there is possibility a a complete social breakdown
occurring in Burma. The country's political problem should be left to solve
by  political  parties.  But no administration, legitimate of illegitimate,
must violate human rights of normal citizens and forcing them to flee  from
the  country. By the way, I am also a refugee in Australia, and I myself do
not like to live in other country. That why I am doing  these  things  that
musn as I have so much empathy about their plights.

Well,  I now hope that you have enough information on this initative. If we
succeed, this will be the end of civil war and a new federal  union  to  be
formed - which is what the ethnic minorities want. The democratic forces at
the  border  are  not quite well informed as we are here, simply because of
they had to operate in a clandestine settings. There is  nothing  wrong  to
give  suggestions  to  them.  I would even more worried, if no one informed
them of how to participate in the movement,  there  is  a  true  danger  of
democratic forces being disappeared politically.

The  invitation  of  Burma  to  ASEAN is a controversial one: the Americans
don't like it. But I think the outcome would be positive in longer run - we
have the danger of being overrun,  economically,  by  big  brother  at  the
north. And SLORC is not getting the membership tomorrow.

Well, SLORC is truly hard headed one. They are not quite likely to listen a
person  like  me  (  which  they consider an absconder) and writing to them
would not have much effect. They have  for  4  years  ignored  all  serious
diplomatic   representations,   UN   resolutions   and   the   protests  by
international community. Anyway, if we want something to get done in Burma,
it is not simply enough just asking SLORC to do. We must find ways to  give
pressure upon SLORC. That thing, after all, have become politics.

Thanks  for  exchanging  views and very open letter. I like this very much.
Even if the means might still be unclear, I hope you are having no doubt of
my honesty and good intention on this issue.

Yours sincerely,
Sd. U Ne Oo.

/* Endreport */