[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Burma Net News May 24,1996

Received: (from strider) by igc2.igc.apc.org (8.7.5/8.7.3) id RAA02125; Fri, 24 May 1996 17:22:34 -0700 (PDT)
Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 17:22:34 -0700 (PDT)

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 24, 1996
Issue #417




    RANGOON, May 23 (Reuter) - Burma's military government has arrested 191
members or supporters of the pro-democracy National League for Democracy,
party leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday.
     "To date 191 members or supporters of the NLD have been arrested. Of
the 191, all but four are elected representatives of the party," she told a
news conference at her home.
     Suu Kyi said the arrests were made by the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) because they did not want a Sunday party
congress of the NLD to take place.
     "We still intend to go ahead with the conference," she said, adding
that the latest arrests were expected.
     "It is quite clear they (SLORC) are frightened," Suu Kyi said about
the military's action.
     The SLORC said earlier on Thursday that those held were not arrested
but were being detained for questioning to prevent what it called anarchy.
The SLORC did not detail how many activists were being held.



18:53 05-23-96
         WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The United States Thursday urged
Americans not to travel to Burma because of the crackdown by
military rulers against democracy advocates.

    ``Because of concern about the actions of the SLORC (State
Law and Order Council) and the potential for violence, the State
Department is recommending that Americans exercise all due
caution in traveling in Burma and consider curtailing
non-essential travel for the time being,'' spokesman Nicholas
Burns said.
       Burns noted that 200 supporters of Burmese democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi have been arrested in recent days and recalled
that during a similar crackdown in 1988, the military killed
2,000 people.

    He warned that the military leaders will not gain
internaitonal legitimacy until they open naitonal reconciliation
talks with the pro-decmoracy forces, which he called the
''legitimate representatives of the Burmese people.''

    Earlier, Burns had said that as a result of the crackdown in
Rangoon, the Clinton administration would discuss with Congress
possible further sanctions on Burma.



Burma Centre Netherlands News, 23 May '96
AMSTERDAM, May 23rd, 1996  - The Dutch government should as soon as possible 
state to the Burmese government and the European Union that the current wave 
of arrests is further worsening the politcal situation in Burma. This was 
asked by all the political parties in the govenment and two opposition 
parties on 22 nd of May.

The Dutch parliament also wants to how the minister of Foreign Affairs can 
influence the processes of democratisation, both bilateral and through the 
European Union. Last April, the Dutch Foreign Minister wrote to the 
parliament that he had asked the European Union to look into possible 
measures to Burma, in regards to the extending of prison sentences of 21 
political prisoners. The European Council is currently conducting an 
investigation into the use of forced labour practices in Burma.



(1) The National Council of the Union of Burma is in grave misery
regarding the arbitrary arrests on 44 Members of parliament from national
League for Democracy and two of their family members, and further arrests
on today of another 39 Members of the Parliament and one spokesperson of
NLD by Slorc, as well as the NCUB harshly condemns the military regime for
these arrests. 

(2) These arrests clearly reveal the regime's attempt to impose restrict
measures on a legally-founded political party in order to bar its freedoms
and prolong the military machinery and the rule of Slorc. 

(3) moreover, these arrests not only contradict to a Slorc's promise-like
uttering that the country is heading towards democracy but also plunge
Burma into more political turmoil as they are not in line with the efforts
of solving the country's political problems by political ways and means. 

(4) Although Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has suggested Slorc for face-to-face
dialogue since her release and the international community and the United
Nations urged for the same efforts, Slorc is still against the civic
society and applying oppressive measures on the political parties and the
people of Burma. 

(5) Forthcoming 27 May 1996 is the sixth anniversary of multi-party
democracy general elections at which the NLD won a landslide victory. 
Slorc failed to keep its words for numerous times and neglected to hand
over power to the election-winning party until now. 

(6) The action taken by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party, planning
to have an all-party conference of the elected representatives on the
current political situation during last six years is shouldering their
historic responsibilities assigned by the Burmese people. 

(7) We, the NCUB notes that Slorc has committed these inhumane action as
they are under in a great fear to transfer the power back to NLD as the
will of the Burmese people expressed clearly in the 1990 elections. 

(8) The NCUB believes that continuing arrest against the opponents would
only plunge Burma into more political turmoil. 

(9) The NCUB demands the Slorc to immediately release all the recently
arrested elected representatives and other political prisoners, as well as
to stop further more arbitrary arrest. 

(10) The NCUB urges the international community, their governments,
political parties and democratic forces to strongly condemn the continuing
misbehaviors committed by the Slorc, instead of failing to take an action. 

(11) The NCUB in particularly requests the ASEAN-member countries to
review their constructive engagement policy on Burma which is by now
plunging the Burmese people into jeopardy. 

(12) The will and desire of the entire Burmese people has been clearly
expressed during the 1990 election and NLD was elected as the winning
political party. People throughout Burma should not stay idle for the
arrest of their elected representatives. The NCUB urges the Burmese people
from all walks of life including patriotic officers and soldiers from the
Burma Army to join and side with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the struggle to
topple down the fascist military dictatorship. 

Fourth Conference of NCUB
May 22, 1996. 



May 23, 1996

We strongly condemn the military-run State Law and Order Restoration
Council for arresting without any legal justification over 90 People's
Assembly representatives who were about to attend the National League for
Democracy conference scheduled for May 26-29.  Forty-four of them were
arrested between May 19 and 21, and 39 more, including NLD spokesman U Win
Htain, were detained on May 22. 

The fact that SLORC until today has refused to hand over the power to the
NLD even though the party won 82 percent of the vote in the May 1990
general elections and that it continues to arrest elected representatives
from the NLD, shows that the SLORC ignores the true wish of the people. 
Instead, it has been holding a sham national convention to legitimize
military rule in Burma.  The NLD has boycotted that national convention. 

The NLD in the meantime has called on the SLORC to hold talks aimed at
resolving the problems of the country through peaceful means. The offer
however is still being ignored by the SLORC.  Since the objective of the
NLD conference of May 26-28 is to deliberate on ways to resolve political
and socio-economic problems as well as the question of democracy in the
country, we fully support and warmly welcome the NLD conference. 

Since the NLD is a legally registered political party, it has the right to
call for a convention.  To arrest the people's representatives who are
bound for that convention tantamounts to obstructing the path of democracy
that is due to emerge in Burma.  We therefore condemn the SLORC for
choosing a dangerous path that would obstruct the progress of
democratization in Burma, and call on the generals to meet the following

1) Release immediately all NLD representatives now under detention. 2)
Halt all illegal arrests 3) Hold talks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the
leader of the democracy movement so that a tripartite political dialogue
aimed at achieving political reforms can begin. 

In conclusion, we call on the international community to take strong and
effective action to send a clear signal to the SLORC that the world is
watching and that criminal acts against its own people will not be

  Overseas National Student Organization of Burma
  All Burma Basic Education Students' Union (Thailand)  
  Burmese Students Association (Safe Area)
  All Burma Students' Democratic Front
  Federation of Trade Unions, Burma



Asahi Evening News 
May 23, 1996
Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto says he's keeping a
close watch after a crackdown on pro-democracy activists.


Japan on Wednesday expressed concern over Burma's
arrests of democracy activists and urged dialogue between
the country's military rulers and pro-democracy camp.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said the arrests of scores
of members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
National League for Democracy (NLD) "run counter to

"I am closely following developments," he told reporters.

Government spokesman Seiroku Kajiyama said at a news
conference that Tokyo "strongly hopes that the Myanmar
(Burmese) government will strive for democratization while
holding dialogue with officials from the NLD."

A source close to Suu Kyi said on Wednesday that Burma's
military authorities had rounded up 90 NLD members since
Monday, apparently to thwart a party congress planned from

The news came just hours after a Japanese news agency
reported that Tokyo's ambassador to Burma was working to
bring about talks between Suu Kyi and Rangoon's ruling
military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council

Ambassador Yoichi Yamaguchi had met twice with Suu Kyi
with SLORC's permission, Kyodo news agency reported.

Yamaguchi's initiative was designed to remove obstacles to
resumption of Japan's official aid for Burma, a move keenly
desired by Japanese businesses, it said.

Tokyo last year partially lifted a freeze on aid to Burma it
imposed in 1988, prompting Japanese trading houses to
flock to the resource - rich Southeast Asian country.

Suu Kyi has urged foreign countries and companies to wait
for real democratic change in Burma before providing aid or
making investments.

Her party won a 1990 general election by a landslide but the
junta has refused to honor the result.

In Washington, a Burmese opposition leader urged the U.S.
Congress on to impose economic sanctions on Rangoon's
miliary government now engaged in a crackdown on pro-democracy forces.

The recommendation was opposed by the State Department
and the head of a U.S. company engaged in a project in the

"I can assure you that the passage of this legislation will
further advance the cause of democracy in Burma," Sein
Win said of a bill intended to cur U.S. investment as a lever
to force the military rulers to step aside.

Win, who is prime minister of the exile National Coalition
Government of the Union of Burma and is a cousin of
Burma's main internal opposition leader, Aung San Suu
Kyi, was speaking at a hearing of the Senate Banking

The bill would ban private investment in Burma and require
U.S. firms to disinvest until the present assures Congress
that an elected government has been allowed to take power.



TOKYO, May 24 (Reuter) - Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw told his Japanese
counterpart on Friday that democracy activists detained in a sweep this week
would be held only briefly, a Japanese official said.
"They were not arrested, they will not be detained for very long and they
are being well treated," the official quoted Ohn Gyaw as telling Japanese
Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda.  
Ikeda told Ohn Gyaw that Japan wants Burma to immediately release the 192
members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) detained this week, to
refrain from further arrests and to stop harassing Nobel Peace Prize winner
Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD, the official told a news briefing.
The Japanese foreign minister did not bring up the issue of Japan's economic
assistance to Burma, which at $133 million in 1994 is the isolated military
regime's largest source of aid, the official said.
Ikeda warned that Rangoon's crackdown this week had dampened the enthusiasm
of Japan's business community for investing in and trade with Burma, the
official said.
Ohn Gyaw, in Japan on an unofficial visit to attend an environmental
symposium, said the sweep was a "preventative, information-gathering
exercise" and accused the NLD of planning a party rally during the first
week of the university school year in order to foment unrest in Rangoon.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996



24.5.96/The Nation
The political climate in Burma is heating up with scores of
opposition members arrested by the military junta
over the past few days. As such, the current confrontation could
explode into a violent showdown, writes

After nearly a year of virtual political stalemate, Burma's
political antagonists the Burmese junta known as the Slorc (State
Law and Order Restoration Council) and the country's popular
National League for Democracy (NLD) have taken a collision course
that could have dire consequences.

Threats of drastic action by the Slorc coupled with the arrest
and incarceration of about 200 NLD members and MPs have not
hampered the NLD's determination to go ahead with its scheduled
three-day congress in Rangoon scheduled to start this Sunday.

The NLD, headed by Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi,
expects the participation of more than 300 politicians and party
representatives from all over the country.

The conference at the lakeside residence of Suu Kyi is timed to
mark the sixth anniversary of the party's landslide victory in
the May 27, 1990, general elections.

Observing the situation with great concern, diplomats in Rangoon
and Bangkok are closely monitoring the mounting tension since
both the NLD and the ruling Slorc have declined to back down from
their respective positions, leading many to speculate that a
major political showdown is in the offing.

They speculated that roughly one-fourth of the 392 NLD MPs and
other representatives would be rounded up before the congress
begins, making it the most serious and massive crackdown on
political dissent in recent years.

Although foreign missions in Rangoon are worried that the
situation could deteriorate into violence, as the Slorc is also
mobilising its supporters under the banner of the Union
Solidarity and Development Association, they, however, are not at
all surprised by the NLD's confrontational stance and its tough

In fact, NLD members, in the past few weeks, had warned some
diplomats to expect "some difficult times" or "something to
happen in the coming months," implying that some political
upheaval might take place shortly.

Speaking in separate interviews earlier this week, political
analysts and diplomats in Rangoon and Bangkok expressed the
belief that Suu Kyi and top NLD leaders had agreed to take some
drastic measures to break the current political dead-lock and to
push the Slorc towards political dialogue.

Since Suu Kyi's release last July from six years of house arrest,
the Slorc has tried to marginalise her popularity by willfully
ignoring her calls for talks.

Despite two previous meetings with Suu Kyi in late 1994, Burmese
Foreign Minister U Ohn Gyaw had, in early April this year,
informed the UN that "a dialogue with her was not acceptable
since this implied that she would be treated on an equal footing
with the government."

Through the state-controlled media, the Slorc has often portrayed
Suu Kyi, the daughter of Burma's independence hero, as an
irrelevant factor in Burmese politics and often accuses her of
either being a lackey of the West or a colonialist.

On Monday, two powerful Slorc leaders, Gen Maung Aye and Lt Gen
Khin Nyunt, issued separate stem warnings and threatened to
"annihilate" anyone who disrupted what they perceived as the
country's peace and stability.

US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns referred to the
serious threats and sharp criticism, which were evidently
directed at Suu Kyi and the NLD, as "ominous" and said the US
government is "deeply concerned". He stressed that the US has
made "the strongest possible representations" to the Slorc both
in Rangoon and in Washington.

Although diplomats and the exiled Burmese opposition are taking
the Slorc's series of verbal attacks as a serious threat to the
safety of pro-democracy activists, Suu Kyi and her NLD colleagues
seem unperturbed and look set to go ahead with their plans and

Despite her sharp criticism of the military regime, Suu Kyi is
aware that the Slorc has deliberately avoided harassing her due
to her popularity both at home and abroad. Any move against her,
the junta realises, will just focus attention on the Nobel
laureate and her NLD. Instead, the junta has targeted her
supporters and other NLD members, arresting them and meting out
long jail sentences.

So far, nobody can predict how far both the Slorc and the NLD
will push each other in this political standoff. Nor is anyone
also certain whether the junta will officially ban the NLD
gathering this weekend.

An Asian diplomat, who has been following Burma closely in
Bangkok, said he does not know if the Slorc crackdown this week
is just an isolated incident, with "things returning to normal"
later, or whether the situation will deteriorate even further.

He said he is aware that Suu Kyi has challenged the Slorc's
tolerance of her by putting herself in the line of attack - a
situation that could lead to her being rearrested.

In a telephone interview with CNN on Wednesday, Suu Kyi, said she
was not worried about her own safety or freedom. "If they want to
arrest me, they can arrest me. I'm always here."

"Stay tuned" is how a Rangoon-based diplomat described the
situation when asked to comment on it.



24.5.96/The Nation
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, chairman of the Senate
Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations addressed a
hearing on Wednesday of the Burma Freedom and Democrcy Act of
1995. The following is the full text of his speech.

There is an obvious sense of emergency in Burma given the ominous
developments in the last 72 hours. Over the past several months,
I have characterised the situation in Burma as deteriorating I
believe it is now in free fall virtually anything could happen.

According to wire stories, in the past 72 hours, over 80 members
of the National League for Democracy (NLD) have been arrested  a
move designed to preempt their participation in a May 26
parliamentary conference called by Aung San Suu Kyi. Making
matters worse, all foreign journalists have had their visas

By way of background, the committee should be aware that in late
March, the NLD formally requested, in writing, that the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) convene the parliament
elected in 1990. The request was ignored.

The National League for Democracy moved forward and called all
elected members of Rangoon to Suu Kyi's compound to discuss
Burma's future. I think it is worth noting that Slorc members
elected in 1990 were also invited to the conference. At every
turn, the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi have reached out and engaged
in peaceful, inclusive politics. The result: intelligence chief
Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, denounced the gathering as "destructionists,
lackeys of the colonialists and traitors who are disrupting
efforts to implement political, economic and social objectives."
I believe we have reached a crisis point in Burma. The
committee's swift action on my bill will assure Suu Kyi and the
NLD that the US Congress stands with them in democracy's hour of
need. Over the past year, I have received letters, faxes, even
Internet  communications from refugee compounds on Thailand's
borders, military camps deep in Burma's jungle, and from student
groups, and democracy advocates around the world. They all echo
the appeal in an urgent letterI received last week from General
Bo Mya, a leader of the Karen people and member of the National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma. He wrote, "I
understand that the US Congress will be taking up the question of
whether to invoke economic sanctions on Burma. I want to urge
each and every member to support this proposal.

"Despite our repeated attempts at opening a dialogue that will
address the political problems, Slorc has completely disregarded
our overtures. Violence and murder is the only thing Slorc
understands. Let me be clear: foreign investment in Burma is
directly supporting and strengthening the military junta. Each
dollar that foreign companies bring into Burma serves to buy the
guns, buy the bullets and pay the soldiers that are killing my
people and keeping the rest of Burma oppressed."

I come before the Committee today to present two compelling
reasons why this is the time to move forward to impose sanctions
on Burma -it serves US interests and it is in the interests of 43
million citizens of Burma who suffer at the hands of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council.

Let me turn first to American interests. The 1996 International
Narcotics Control Report makes the following points:

1. Burma is the world's largest producer of opium and heroin.

2. Opium production has doubled since SLORC seized power in 1988.

3. Burma is the source of over 60 per cent of heroin seized on US

4. Slorc is making less and less effort to crack down on
trafficking - in fact there has been an 80 per cent drop in
seizures and the government currently is offering safe haven to
Khun Sa, the region's most notorious narc-warlord.

Now, keep in mind this is a regime with nearly 400,000 armed
soldiers, evidence that if they wanted to make an effort to crack
down on trafficking there is no question they have the power to
do so.

Let me turn to the second reason we must support sanctions - the
rights of 43 million Burmese citizens.

I opened with General Bo Mya's plea on behalf of his people. If
anyone questions Slorc's brutality, I urge them to read the
catalogue of crimes collected in the reports filed by Dr Yokota,
the special envoy assigned by the United Nations to examine
conditions in Burma. Rape, detentions, killings, forced labour,
relocations are just a few of the tools Slorc routinely uses to
secure their power.

Dr Yokota provides a grim but objective assessment of conditions
in Burma today - an assessment recently corroborated in a British
documentary [by journalist John Pilger]. Video footage broadcast
last week shows children -eight to ten years old - building a
railway which will transport soldiers and equipment to a
construction site for an international pipeline. In one
horrendous scene, the camera man had to stop filming to pull a
child out from under a mud slide which had nearly buried him.

The question hangs in the air-how many children have not been
rescued? How many have died in what one reporter calls "Asia's

There is no doubt that investment by US companies subsidies the
regime responsible for these outrageous abuses.

The Committee is scheduled to hear from witnesses who will make
the case that they are innocent of these charges - they
contribute to community development needs by funding schools,
clinics and roads all of which improve the quality of life where
they operate.

They will also make the argument that our Asean partners will not
support a strategy of escalating isolation. A tougher line will
only result in a loss of market share to our foreign competition.
They also argue that economic progress will yield political
results - that Burma is like China or Vietnam. I am a vocal
advocate of MFN for China and have strongly supported normalising
ties with Vietnam. In both instances, we have used the economic
wedge to pry open access to totally closed societies. Trade is an
important tool because it is our only tool. Moreover, it is clear
that the benefits of economic liberalisation are enjoyed by
millions of people.

Aung San Suu Kyi responded to these arguments in an interview
last week, when she said, "Any investment made now is very much
against the interests of the people of Burma because most of the
investments coming in are coming through the same privileged
group which is getting richer and richer and more and more intent
upon clinging to power.
Unlike China or Vietnam, in Burma millions of people turned out
to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for
Democracy. The NLD claimed 82 per cent of the vote. The fact that
they were robbed of the reward of free and fair elections defines
American's opportunity and obligation.

I believe the appropriate analogy with Burma is not Vietnam or
China but South Africa. When two other senators and I introduced
sanctions in 1986, we heard the same arguments we are hearing
today. US investment is a positive catalyst for change, and that
withdrawing will hurt not help the average citizen.    

Not so, says Bishop Desmond Tutu. In a recent letter to the Bay
Area Round -table he said, "The victory over apartheid in South
Africa bears eloquent testimony to the effectiveness of

It is time for the United States to correct course - to
demonstrate leadership. We must recognise that our [Burma] policy
has not only failed, but been costly.

The failure began with the Bush Administration which only took
modest steps to isolate Slorc after the 1998 crackdown, Suu Kyi's
arrest and denial of the results of the 1990 elections.

The failure has been compounded by the current administration.
Twice, this administration has dispatched senior officials to
Rangoon demanding improvements in narcotics trafficking,
democracy and human rights. Twice, Slorc called our bluff,
immediately rounding up and jailing democracy activists
-launching attacks on ethnic camps generating thousands of
refugees. I have recently heard that the Administration may send
yet another delegation to Rangoon to demonstrate their interest
and preempt this congressional sanctions effort. I am deeply
concerned that more hollow posturing will only exact retribution
if not a death sentence for dozens more democracy activists.

Is it any wonder our Asean partners have been reluctant to
support a call for sanctions? I doubt any Asian leader is
convinced we would stay the course. However, I believe Asian
nations can be persuaded it is their long term interest to join
in a strong, sustained initiative because of their deep concerns
about the rapidly expanding political, economic and military ties
between China and Burma. Over the past few years, the region has
witnessed what amounts to the colonisation of Burma, a serious
threat to security and stability from every leader's perspective.

Slorc is now convinced it will pay no price for recalcitrance and
repression. Just as they have increased the pressure ,on Suu Kyi
and the democracy movement, it is time for us to increase
pressure on Slorc.

The United States must cut off a principal source of Slorc's
funds by banning US investment, now ranked third among nations.
We should vote against any international institution lending.
And, we should prohibit Slorc officials who impede the
restoration of democracy from touring the United States.

That is the heart of the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act which I
am pleased that Senator D'Amato, Senator Moynihan and Senator
Leahy co-sponsored. Since her release from six years of house
arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has emphatically opposed foreign
investment and repeatedly called upon the international community
to take firm steps to implement the results of the 1990

The bill before your committee responds to her call. It is my
hope the Committee will report out the legislation promptly.
Nothing less than Burma's freedom hangs in the balance of your



24.5.96/The Nation
TOKYO - Japan yesterday expressed concern over Burma's arrests of
democracy activists and urged dialogue between the country's
military rulers and pro-democracy camp, while the US called for
the country's isolation.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said the arrests of scores of
members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League
for Democracy (NLD) "run counter to democratisation".

"I am closely following developments," he said at his official

Government spokesman Seiroku Kajiyama told a regular news
conference that Tokyo "strongly hopes that the Myanmar [Burmese]
government will strive for democratisation while holding dialogue
with officials from the NLD", as well as that both sides would
break an impasse "through dialogue".

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said on Tuesday that
the US administration was deeply concerned by reports of the
arrests and had made "the strongest possible representations" to
the military rulers in Rangoon.

He also called on Burma's neighbours, including Thailand, to
isolate the ruling Burmese regime known as the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (Slorc).
"The United States is very concerned by the reports today that
the State Law and Order Restoration Council has arrested more
than 40 ... democracy activists," State Department spokesman
Nicholas Burns said. "If this is true, and there's every reason
to think it is true, this is yet another in a series of
oppressive actions by the military regime to prevent Aung San Suu
Kyi and her supporters from exercising their basic political

Burns described the actions of the Slorc as ominous, adding,
"We've made the strongest possible representations to the Burmese
authorities in Rangoon, and also here in Washington.

"We have consistently urged the Burmese government to enter into
a genuine dialogue about the political future of Burma with Aung
San Suu Kyi and the leaders of the ethnic minorities.

"We believe that this is the key to political reconciliation in
Burma," he said, describing Suu Kyi as a "heroic woman".

Numerous governments have criticised Burma's human rights abuses
and its refusal to cede power to the NLD, which won 1990
elections by a landslide.

Burns called for Southeast Asian countries "to isolate" Burma and
"to take solid action to try to influence the military figures
who run the government".

"We think pressure should be placed on the Burmese government by
its neighbours to isolate Burma," he said.

In Rangoon, NLD spokesman Aye Win said yesterday that the Slorc
has so far detained 80 people 78 successful candidates and the
wives of two others who were absent when authorities swooped and
"we expect the number to go higher.

"All will be detained so that they can't attend the conference,"
he said.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the detentions,
but an article in Burma's state-run press yesterday said the
planned NLD meeting was illegal and the tenure of NLD candidates
elected in 1990 had already expired.

Aung San Suu Kyi said late on Tuesday the conference of NLD
candidates who won seats in the May 1990 general elections would
go ahead despite the detentions.

Human Rights Watch/Asia has strongly condemned both the arrests
and warnings by the Slorc that anyone taking part in the NLD
conference should be "annihilated".

The tone of junta's denunciations of NLD members and the number
of people arrested "suggests that it has decided to pull out all
stops against the opposition", the New York-based human rights
group said.

Burns admitted that US leverage with Burma was low in view of the
already poor relations between the two countries.

But, he said, "Sooner or later the military authorities there
have to wonder about their links beyond the borders of Burma
their political links, their economic links.

"They have to wonder about the ability of this country to
participate in the life of Asia, much less the life of the



24.5.96/The Nation
Associated Press
RANGOON - Burma's military government yesterday refused to rule
out a pardon for notorious opium warlord Khun Sa, who is wanted
by the United States on drug trafficking charges.

Col Kyaw Thein, a member of the government's military information
committee, said that the country's top authorities had reached no
decision on Khun Sa's future.

"There is a possibility that he might be pardoned by the
government, but there is no final decision yet," said Kyaw Thein,
who was a key figure in negotiations that led to Khun Sa's

Khun Sa turned himself in to the Burmese authorities in January
and left the remote mountains of Shan state, where his
opium-growing and smuggling empire had flourished for decades.
The 13,000 soldiers of his private Mong Tai Army were ordered to
lay down arms, though some are believed to have turned to

Khun Sa, of Shan and Chinese extraction, had long billed himself
as a champion of Shan autonomy from the central authorities in
Rangoon and his surrender was seen as a key step in the regime's
plan to arrange ceasefires with several ethnic rebel groups.

The United States has demanded that Burma turn Khun Sa over for
prosecution, claiming his Shan nationalism was a front for his
role as a kingpin in the GOLDEN Triangle, the origin for an
estimated 60 per cent of the hero in reaching US shores.

Burmese authorities have sent mixed signals on Khun Sa's future,
but the possibility of extradition appears remote. Officials have
said at different times that Khun Sa would be brought to justice
in Burma or pardoned, and are vague on his whereabouts.



24.5.96/Bangkok Post
Canberra, Reuters
AUSTRALIA has honoured Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi even as her country's military government rounds up and jails
her supporters.

It yesterday made the 1991 Nobel peace prize winner an honorary
companion of the Order of Australia.

The citation says the award is given "in recognition of her
outstanding leadership and great personal courage in the struggle
to bring democracy to Burma."

The award is one of Australia's highest honours.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer praised Aung San Suu Kyi and
condemned the actions the Burmese military is taking against her
pro-democracy movement.

"We're disturbed at the arrests that have taken place in Burma,"
he said. "We want to see a more liberal type of regime in Burma
than currently exists. And frankly Burma is not heading in that
direction at this stage."

He said there could not be a peaceful settlement in Burma without
the resumptions of dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi's party and
the country's State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).

"Aung San Suu Kyi is a woman who not only has the confidence of
the overwhelming majority of the people of Burma, but has shown
extra-ordinary courage, quite extra-ordinary courage in extremely
difficult situations" he said.

"She's somebody that we deeply admire and we don't want to betray
our faith in Aung San Suu Kyi at a very difficult time. "It's a
very nice and symbolic way that we can demonstrate our support
for a courageous    and  decent woman."

Suu Kyi appears headed for a showdown with Burma's ruling
military junta, after the authorities made sweeping detentions to
prevent a planned congress of her party, analysts said on

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won more than 80
per cent of the seats in Burma's 1990 election but the ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) refused to
acknowledge the result.

Opposition sources told Reuters at least 92 NLD activists had
been detained in the run-up to a three-day congress of the party
due to start on Sunday, the sixth anniversary of the 1990

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, was placed
under house arrest for six years from 1989.

She was one of several foreigners honoured in the awards
announced on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the crackdown has provoked critical comment from key
Asian nations but little action so far.

Japan said Thursday it will continue humanitarian aid to Burma,
and Australia stuck to its position of encouraging Burmese
participation in an Asian security forum.

The low-key response again illustrates the differences on Burma
policy between most Asian governments and the United States,
which immediately condemned the Burmese military government for
its crackdown and kept economic sanctions in force.

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto criticised the arrests
as "not desirable" but the government's chief spokesman said aid
policy won't change.

"Japan's economic assistance to (Burma) centres on areas of basic
livelihood directly helpful to public welfare. We have no plans
to consider a review," Seiroku Kajiyama said.

Malaysia's~opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang, himself a former
political prisoner, said: "The latest crackdown on human rights
activists in Burma must not be allowed to take place without the
strongest regional and international protests."

And Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said the arrests "should
give pause to those who advocate continuing business as usual:"

Those who believed the Burmese regime was working toward
democracy, said the newspaper, "must now admit to themselves that
the whole process is a sham."



24.5.96/Bangkok Post
THE arrest of Burmese opposition politicians shows constructive
engagement is not persuading the ruling junta to bring democracy
to the country, according to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"It certainly proves the point of the National League for
Democracy that the SLORC had no intention of heading toward
democratisation, and those countries which thought constructive
engagement had pushed, or guided, or persuaded SLORC toward
democratisation, are clearly wrong," she said in a telephone
interview with the Voice of America on Wednesday evening.

According to latest reports a total of 191 members of Mrs
Suu Kyi's NLD have been arrested. The swoop is seen as an attempt
by the State Law and Order Restoration Council to scuttle the
opening on Sunday of what will be the NLD's first congress since
a sweeping election win in 1990.

Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations have defended their constructive engagement policy as a
way of encouraging the SLORC to liberalise and improve the well
being of Burmese.

But as arrest figures mounted on Wednesday, Thailand stressed
that it was against the use of force.

Thailand believes in constructive engagement with Burma that is
based on the principles of democratisation without use of force,
and national, reconciliation, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Surapong
Jayanama said.

Mrs Suu Kyi, who was reached in Rangoon by the Voice of America
correspondent in Bangkok, did not rule out the possibility of
SLORC again putting her under arrest, saying " quite possibly,
you know how it is with these dictatorial governments".

Released from six years of house arrest in July 1995, Mrs Suu Kyi
said the current crackdown "is tantamount to the SLORC admitting
they cannot cope with the situation and NLD is a force to be
reck-oned with.



24.5.96/The Bangkok Post 
Mae Sot, Tak
Thailand and Burma are to hold talks next month on border
demarcation disputes between the two countries to end I the
deadlock over construction of the Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge.

Supreme Commander Viroj Saengsnit said yesterday Thai and Burmese
authorities will discuss the borderline at the meeting of the
Regional Thai-Burmese Border Committee (RBC) in Phitsanulok

Gen Viroj yesterday led senior officers including Armed Forces
Chief-of-Staff Gen Mongkol Ampornpisit, director of the Royal
Thai Survey Department Lt-Gen Anand Phulsanong and officials to
inspect the bridge and areas under dispute.

Last year, Rangoon accuses Thailand of illegal encroachment which
it claimed had altered the borderline marked the Moei River.

Burma suspended construction of the bridge on the Myawaddy side
on June 6 last year. It demanded the removal of construction
materials, rock filling and all buildings on the river bank as
preconditions for talks.


BurmaNet regularly receives enquiries on a number of different 
topics related to Burma. If you have questions on any of the 
following subjects, please direct email to the following volunteer 
coordinators, who will either answer your question or try to put you 
in contact with someone who can:

Campus activism: 	zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Boycott campaigns: [Pepsi] ai268@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx     
Buddhism:                    Buddhist Relief Mission:  brelief@xxxxxxx
Chin history/culture:        [volunteer temporarily away]
Fonts:                  		tom@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
High School Activism:     nculwell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
History of Burma:            zni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
International Affairs: 	 Julien Moe: JulienMoe@xxxxxxx
Kachin history/culture:      74750.1267@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Karen history/culture: 	Karen Historical Society: 102113.2571@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mon history/culture:         [volunteer needed]
Naga history/culture: 	Wungram Shishak:  z954001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Burma-India border            [volunteer needed]
Pali literature:            	 "Palmleaf":  c/o burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx
Resettlement info:	an400642@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Rohingya culture		volunteer needed
Shan history/culture: 	Sao Hpa Han: burma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shareholder activism:       simon_billenness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Total/Pipeline		Dawn Star: cd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Tourism campaigns:      	bagp@xxxxxxxxxx     "Attn. S.Sutcliffe"   
volunteering: 		an400642@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
World Wide Web:              FreeBurma@xxxxxxxxx

[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]

The BurmaNet News is an electronic newspaper covering Burma.
Articles from newspapers, magazines, newsletters, the wire
services and the Internet as well as original material are published.   
It is produced with the support of the Burma Information Group 
(B.I.G) and the Research Department of the ABSDF {MTZ}              

The BurmaNet News is e-mailed directly to subscribers and is
also distributed via the soc.culture.burma and seasia-l
mailing lists. For a free subscription to the BurmaNet News, send 
an e-mail message to: majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx   

For the BurmaNet News only: in the body of the message, type 
"subscribe burmanews-l" (without quotation marks).   
For the BurmaNet News and 4-5 other messages a day posted on Burma 
issues, type "subscribe burmanet-l"

Letters to the editor, comments or contributions of articles should be 
sent to the editor at: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx