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BurmaNet News:October 9, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 9, 1996
Issue #536

Noted in Passing:

		The Free Burma fast will help to focus attention on the 			essentially
peaceful nature of the quest for democracy in 			Burma, said Aung San Suu
Kyi in a taped message


October 7, 1996

QUESTION: I was wondering if any U.S. sanctions against Burma are imminent?
There has been talk in the media about a ban of future U.S. investment
there. I was just wondering what the status of that was, and if we're going
to see anything new? 

MR. BURNS: Let me just give you what we know about the situation and then
go directly to your question. 

What we know is that the dictators in Rangoon, over the last day or two,
have said that they've been releasing members of the National League for
Democracy -- of the many hundred who were arrested. 

Our best account, however, indicates to us that we think that roughly 200
people, including 34 members of the parliament, democratically elected,
still remain in the custody of the dictators in Rangoon, in Burma. This is
most worrisome for any country that's concerned with human rights. We
continue to make this message clear to the Burmese authorities from our
diplomatic mission in Rangoon. 

As you know, the President, last Thursday, signed a proclamation which
suspends the entry into the United States of Burmese Government officials
who formulate or implement or benefit from their objectionable policies. 

The United States, under the bipartisan legislation that was passed this
past summer by the Congress, the United States Government has the
flexibility to entertain additional measures, including tough sanctions,
should that be necessary. 

Needless to say, this seems to be a critical moment in Burma. Of course, we
wish Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy well. We'll
keep the situation under review. We do reserve the right to undertake
additional measures should that be necessary. 

QUESTION: But there's nothing imminent? 

MR. BURNS: The way we normally work is, we try not presage or preview
events until a decision has been made and we're ready to act. The Burmese
authorities are going to have to live with some suspense on this issue. But
that's okay because I don't see why we ought to give them any advance
warning considering the actions they've taken against their own people. 

QUESTION: The Charge d'Affaires will arrive in Rangoon as scheduled? 

MR. BURNS: Yes. Kent Wiedemann, a senior Foreign Service officer, is going
to be arriving, I think within a matter of a couple of days, in Rangoon to
take up his duties as the U.S. Charge d'Affaires. We don't have
ambassadorial-level relations because of the unpleasant and objectionable
policies of the Burmese Government. 


October 8, 1996 (Thailand Times)

Any potential investors in Burma should listen to this.

With an increasingly poor record of human rights violations, the Burmese
military junta is finding itself  the target of worldwide condemnation. Its
time to hit the dictatorship where it hurts- its pocket, writes  Pratya Warin.

"More than 300 students and others across the United States as well as
numbers of people in Canada, South Africa, and Australia, will participate
in a 48-hour fast sponsored by the free Burma Coalition  starting October 7,

If this message seems totally unconvincing to them, then they should stick
out their necks and listen more carefully like their corporate brothers do,
who have already invested in military ruled Burma.

The Free Burma Coalition, an internet-based grass-roots movement based in
the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA, is organizing a 48-hour
three-day fast with the participation of hundreds of students from American
universities and high schools. their aim is simple and clear: free Burma.

The organizers say they hope to draw attention to the situation in Burma
with this international fast and related activities. The FBC fully supports
the calls of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi that all foreign investors
should immediately withdraw from her country, where the military has ruled

As of Saturday evening, the number of faster's had risen to 600, organizers
said. Thanks to the broad use of the internet, more people and organizations
are joining the fast and other activities to be held during the three days
of events throughout 61 college campuses in the US alone. No less than 10
high schools in the US will be participating in the fast to draw attention
to the Burma democracy struggle and to call for divestment of multinationals
from the Southeast Asian nation.

Although the fast is being held at short notice, prominent world figures are
never far away from giving a boost to such a just cause. Harry Wu,
internationally recognized Chinese human rights activist, will join a 
press conference at the University of California in Berkeley to launch the fast.

"I feel very sorry that the Chinese government is backing Burma's military
dictatorship that is killing its own people, "Wu told an earlier news

Several council members and representatives of congressmen in some states
will also be joining hands with students to get this action done, organizers

"The Free Burma fast will help to focus attention on the essentially
peaceful nature of the quest for democracy in Burma," said Nobel peace Prize
winner Aung San Suu Kyi in a taped message, recorded for the event.

"Young people were the backbone of the public demonstrations of 1988 that
swept away the rule of the Burma Socialist Program Party. The movement for
democracy in Burma emerged from those demonstrations, in which many students
lost their lives, "she said in response to the active participation of 
several hundreds of students in the fast.

Suu Kyi has been calling for the immediate withdrawal of foreign investment
in her country, citing their presence as helping the military rulers'
prolong their grip on power. Because of such calls, the opposition leader
has been dubbed as anti-business and her party, the National League for
Democracy, as lacking 
long-term economic plans.

But such accusations usually come from foreign investors, who have already
committed business ventures with the ruling State law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC), the illegitimate regime in Burma.

"We want Burma to be free and prosperous. We are not anti-business, but we
oppose investment in Burma today because our real malady is not economic but
political. What we are really suffering from is not lack of investment or
infrastructure, but misgovernance," said Suu Kyi.

Foreign investors and their local partners may have much to argue with Suu
Kyi. International multinational companies that do business with SLORC
claimed their presence in the country can help open the eyes and ears of
local people and that their commitment in the country will bring more work and 

But it can also help keep the SLORC in power. the regime's human rights
record has been abysmal and has become a disturbing issue at international
forums since it took power by brutally crushing a popular pro-democracy
movement, killing more than 3,000 peaceful demonstrators.

Today, the SLORC continues to violate universal declaration of human rights,
by widespread and fragrant use of arrests, torture, threats and rapes on
democracy supporters and ethnic minorities. The junta has shamelessly
rebuffed repeated calls of international human rights organizations and
governments for an immediate end of such violations.

The junta's perception on accepted behavior and human rights standards in
the international community is far from rational. Worse, using the pretext
of non-interference, Burma's Asian neighboring are reluctant to point out
what really is the trouble out there. To most of the 7-member ASEAN (the
Association of 
Southeast Asian Nations) neighbors, less interference means more investment
opportunity. More investment will give the junta more money and power, and
thus further repression on its political opponents inside the country.

The Free Burma fast could not have come at a better time. Late last months,
news of a renewed political crackdown in Rangoon brought the event forward.

"The fast that hundreds of students and citizens in eight countries and four
continents are willing to give up their daily meals for 48 hours in protest
of SLORC's thuggish behavior indicates that Burma has become a South Africa
of the 90s," said Zarni, one of the fast organizers, who founded the FBC on the 
Internet in September 1995. 

The Madison-based Burmese exile said that fast will send a "very clear
message  to the SLORC that the world is not going to sit by idly when
atrocities and serious human rights crimes are being committed against 45
million Burmese people."

He called on the ASEAN countries and foreign investors, who have both placed
their economic interests above human misery, to realize the true situation
of Burma, which has become an issue of international concern, vowing the
fast will highlight the complicity of foreign investors in the Burmese
people's repression.

These messages may be heedless to the Burmese junta leaders who are adamant
in their beliefs that the Tatmadaw is the only institution that can salvage
the union from being disintegrated.

But, at the end of the 48-hour fast, US and other multi-nationals will
certainly ponder whether they should deal with the SLORC. the fast
organizers believe their action will draw attention of world leaders and
further concerted boycott efforts against multi-national investors.

"Multilateral sanctions were effective in South Africa, and we urge the US,
EU, and ASEAN in particular to enact sanctions against this regime," said
Tony North, an organizer and graduate student of Penn State University.

Some US multinationals are smart and have down bowed to the strength of
student's efforts. Last week, Apple Computers decided to withdraw its
investment from Burma, citing the company's compliance with Massachusetts'
law of selective purchasing.

Apple Computers became the first company to withdraw from Burma due to the
selective purchasing legislation in Massachusetts, which became in July the
first American state to ban city and state agencies' contracts with
companies that do business with the Burmese regime.


October 1996 (broadcast on the BBC Burmese service on October 3, 1996)
Political Defiance Activities in Military Continue

Burma--It was reported that two entire battalions of Burmese soldiers have
sought freedom and moved into a state on Burma's western border. This marks 
the largest defection of soldiers in recent history and points to the
unmistakable fact that there is tremendous pressure within the military over
SLORC's policies against the democracy movement and ethnic groups.

Although the group has yet to make a statement to the press, they are
reported by sources along the border to be in good health. They are now
integrating with border groups and implementing programs to carry out
political defiance activities against the military regime.

Over the past six months there has been a dramatic increase in soldiers
fleeing the Burma Army both in Burma and abroad at embassy posts. Democracy
and border groups have targeted the Burma army for increased attention
through political defiance activities (PD). Materials describing how to
oppose the illegal military regime using non-violent methods are in demand
within the Burma Army.  Democracy activists are finding it very difficult to
keep up with the requests coming from units within the army for PD material,
including tapes of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's speeches.

Earlier this year, soldiers defected to India brought  all their equipment,
returned to their units and encouraged others to leave. They and others
their situation as desperate saying that they lived in constant fear of
beatings from superiors, had to pay for medical care, were forced to commit
human rights abuses, and forced to smuggle heroin for drug traffickers. They
said that the Army is not the military of General Aung San, it has been
corrupted and terrorized by SLORC. 
It is no longer the protector of the people, but the oppressor of the people.

Soldiers who came over to the democratic forces offered this warning to SLORC:  
"Do not think that you are supported by the military. Our true allegiance 
lies with the democracy movement.  In 1990 we voted overwhelmingly for the
NLD. If SLORC tries another bloody crackdown, those in the military will be for
ced to act against SLORC".

Note: *Major Aung Kyaw led 104 soldiers deflecting from "Sittat" to the 
western border recently and founded the "Ahmhat-Tit-Myo-Chit-Myanma-Tat" 
(# 1 Patriotic Burma Army). [End of report to BBC]


October 8, 1996  
Yangon, Stephen Brookes 

 With the accusations of internal meddling, the threat of economic sanctions 
 and a tit-for-tat exchange of visa restrictions, relations between the United 
 States and Myanmar have become chaotic, analysts in Yangon said on Monday.
 "Relations are seriously strained," admitted a spokesman at the US embassy in 
 "It's worse than that," said one observer in Yangon. "The whole thing is 
 becoming a ridiculous farce."
The latest chapter in the already-tense relationship between Washington and 
Yangon opened last week, when a top official with Myanmar's Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) publicly accused US Charge d'Affaires Marilyn Meyers
of  "interference in our internal affairs".
 Khin Maung Win, director-general of MOFA, said Meyers had told him on
September 24 that the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San
Suu Kyi, was about to hold a  convention, and the government should not
"She also intimated that if any action was taken against the NLD ... it  would 
 have negative implications," he said, adding that he told her that he regarded 
 her remarks as "going beyond the normal norms of diplomacy".
 In Washington, the charges were immediately denounced. "Those allegations
are groundless - it's ridiculous to characterize her contacts with Burmese 
government officials and others this way," said Glyn Davies, a State Department 
Meyers, who announced her retirement from the post in August, left Yangon on 
October 4. She will be replaced by Kent Wiedemann in mid-October, according
to the embassy.
 Some observers in Yangon, while appalled at the breach of diplomatic
confidence by the Myanmar government, said the incident was not surprising.
"Marilyn was just not the right person for this job," said one Myanmar
observer with contacts in MOFA. "She was brusque, and didn't know how
successfully with the SLORC. She may not have been trying to be offensive, but 
they were convinced she was trying to intimidate them."
 Moreover, said another analyst, Meyers had come to be seen by key members of 
 the government as a proxy for Suu Kyi, and a highly personal and derogatory 
 campaign against her was undertaken this summer. In one editorial in the 
 state-controlled press she was referred to in a Myanmar phrase that translated 
 as "Marilyn Menstrual Blood", and an editorial on Saturday said she "regarded 
 herself as a democracy prophet".
 Meyer's replacement by Wiedemann might hold out some hope for a "grace
period" of better relations, said observers,but tensions with Washington
were rising over key policy issues, not just personality.
 Washington's support for dialogue with Suu Kyi remains the cornerstone of its 
 policy toward the SLORC, and in a move that could foreshadow further
punitive actions, the administration of US President Bill Clinton issued a
proclamation on October 3 charging the SLORC (State Law and Order
Restoration Council) with "continuing political repression", and restricting
the immigration of "Burmese nationals who formulate or implement policies
that impede Burma's transition to democracy", as well as their families.
 In Yangon, observers were unimpressed. "It was a shot across the bow, but a 
 rather silly one," scoffed one resident. "Some general's kid can't go to 
 Disneyland - is that going to force SLORC to the bargaining table?"
 Predictably, the SLORC responded the next day by issuing visa restrictions on 
 any US nationals deemed to be "acting in a way detrimental to the interests of 
 the State", effective immediately. Asked whether this represented a real
 in policy, as the SLORC has often withheld visas to those it considers 
 dangerous, MOFA's Khin Maung Win admitted that the rules merely codified 
 existing policy.
 And in Washington a few hours later, State Department spokesman Nicholas
Burns continued the exchange by labeling the Myanmar move "really
ludicrous", adding that the visa restrictions are "not going to matter one
bit to any of us in Washington DC who make policy or implement it or talk
about it".
The next step remains to be seen. A bill calling for economic sanctions on 
Myanmar if "large-scale repression" takes place has become law, but US 
officials admit privately Washington has few economic levers to use on Myanmar. 
It already denies the SLORC access to loans from international financial
institutions and does not provide bilateral assistance. The sanctions
legislation also would only ban new investment, not force existing companies
to divest.  
Washington is also continuing its efforts to coordinate with the European Union 
and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but few believe that ASEA will 
impose sanctions over an issue of internal politics - especially as concern 
grows over China's economic influence in Myanmar. 
Moreover, Washington is widely perceived in Asia as being both cynical and 
hypocritical in its approach to Myanmar - favoring constructive engagement
with China, despite complaints about human rights abuses on a far greater
scale than in Myanmar, while imposing sanctions against Yangon. "It all
comes down to the bottom line - what will sanctions cost?" noted one
businessman in Yangon, adding: "But if sanctions fail, what do you do then?
Send in the Marines? I don't think Bill Clinton is quite ready to do that."

October 5-6, 1996 (Financial Times)
by Ted Bardacke

Western computer users may complain about the changes they face for 
accessing the Internet.  But their costs will never be as high as those risked 
by most users in Burma.  There, surfing the net can lead to prosecution and 
seven to 15 years in prison.

The military regime's State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has 
outlawed the possession of a computer with networking capability without 
authorization.  Prison terms of similar lenghts may be imposed on those 
"obtaining or sending" via a computer information on a range of subjects 
including state security, the economy and national culture.

Aimed directly at Burmese dissidents who have made the inormation 
superhighway one of their most effective tooks in campaigning against the 
SLORC, members of unauthorized computer clubs might receive a minimum 
of three years in jail.

In June, Mr. James Nichols, honorary consul in Burma for several European 
countries and a supporter of democracy activist Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, died
in prison after serving six weeks of a three-year sentence.  His crime - 
unauthorized use of a fax machine.

Presumably, some people will be granted unrestricted access to the Internet.
Ms. Sanda Win, daughter of aging Burmese strongman Mr. Ne Win, is a 
regular electronic mail user.  

The government is also a keen user of the net.  It has an information page 
put out over a Washington DC-area based server.  As with many Internet
sites, the Slorc's invites users to send suggestions and comments.  They go 

The impact of the regulations on the Burmese will be minimal.  There are only
two local internet servers in Burma, both off-limits to the general public.
national phone charges of $5 per minute or more are perhaps a stronger 
deterrent.  Most of the information about Burma which appears on the Internet 
is posted by people outside the country who get their information through 
alternative channels.  

That information is abundant.  Burmanet, an electronic mailing list, provides 
regular updates on everything from the status of US economic sanctions 
legislation to human rights abuses against ethnic minorities.  But subscribing 
to Burmanet would constitute membership in a computer club under the Slorc's

Such issues have led to a tit-for-tat visa ban between Burma and the US.  The 
small group of cadres who run consumer boycott campaigns in the US say 
their success is partly due to the ease with which they can distribute
over the Internet.

"The irony of Burmanet is that people outside know more about Burma than 
people inside," said one of the moderators of Burmanet. 


October 29 - 30, 1996

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), and
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), in cooperation with the Burma
Solidarity Group Malaysia (BSGM), Thai Action Committee for Democracy in
Burma (TACDB) and the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), are
jointly organizing the "Alternative ASEAN Meeting on Burma". on October
29-30, 1996 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

The meeting will bring together about fifty human rights activists, trade
unionists and academics from within and outside ASEAN together with
representatives of the democratic movement of Burma.

The meeting aims to make an ASEAN-based assertion of solidarity and support
with the people of Burma in their struggle for human rights and democracy and
to develop alternatives to current official policy and practice adopted by
ASEAN member governments.

It will also provide the launching point for a broader regional campaign
through the establishment of an ALTERNATIVE ASEAN
NETWORK to mobilize grassroots people and civic organizations.

Another intended significant outcome of the meeting will be the adoption of an


(In Thailand)
The Secretariat, Alternative Asean Meeting on Burma
c/- Forum-Asia.
Tel: 66 2 275 4230 - 3
Fax 66 2 276 2183 or 275 4230
Email: chalida@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(In Philippines)
Evelyn Balais-Serrano
Tel/Fax: 632 936 8056

(In Malaysia)
Debbie Stothard
Burma Solidarity Group Malaysia
Tel: 603 733 7701
Fax: 603 732 7325


October 5, 1996 (Los Angeles Times)

Trade: 'Selective purchasing laws' pose tough decisions for a roster of
international companies.
by Evelyn Iritani, Times Staff Writer

Motorola Inc., Swedish giant LM Ericsson and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries share one thing that has put them on a collision course with a
tough new law passed by the city of San Francisco.

They're accused of doing business in a troubled Southeast Asian nation
called Myanmar, which could jeopardize their bids for a $40-million
emergency radio communications system and a $140-million light rail system
for San Francisco International Airport. 

Commercially speaking, Myanmar is not exactly South Africa.  But human
rights abuses in the country formerly known as Burma have spawned a
potentially costly web of selective purchasing laws at the local and state
levels that recall the effective anti-apartheid boycott of South Africa--and
they are posing tough economic decisions for an international roster of

While Clinton administration officials debate whether to levy tougher
economic sanctions against Myanmar's military rulers, multinational
companies are already running afoul of so-called selective purchasing laws
passed by seven U.S. cities and states in the last two years.

Thus Apple Computer Inc. just pulled out of Myanmar to keep its name off a
prohibited list being drawn up by Massachusetts, which last month became the
first state to pass a similar law banning business with companies that have
investments or employees in Myanmar.

And Unocal Corp., the largest U.S. investor in Myanmar, faced a review this
summer of its contract to provide bus fuel for Santa Monica.  The City
Council eventually agreed to continue the contract after determining that a
suitable replacement could not be found.

While El Segundo-based Unocal has held firm, others, including Levi Strauss
& Co., Eddie Bauer, European brewers Heineken and Carlsberg and financier
George Soros, have already pulled money or employees out of the country.  

There is also evidence that the campaign to undermine Myanmar's repressive
military government has picked up steam since last weekend's arrest of up to
800 members and supporters of the opposition party headed by Nobel laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi.  

The United States issued a ban on visits by members of Myanmar's ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), which responded Friday by
banning U.S. visitors.  

Now New York, Tacoma Park, Md., and California's Alameda County are
considering selective purchasing laws.  And the European Union is debating
whether to cut off trade privileges to Myanmar.  

The selective purchasing strategy is being pursued by other human rights
groups.  The city of Oakland has targeted Nigeria's military government
along with Myanmar.  And 22 states and 33 cities and counties have
provisions barring them from investing in companies that practice employment
discrimination in Northern Ireland.  
This acceleration of unilateral economic sanctions is viewed with alarm by
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council and other
business organizations.

John Howard, the chamber's chief international strategist, argues that such
measures don't achieve their goals because they simply penalize U.S. firms
while freeing up the targeted markets for foreign competitors.

"It remains to be seen if Burma compares to South Africa in the interest it
generates," he said.  "But collectively, [these sanctions] add up to a big

Even foreign comapnies are beginning to voice concerns, albeit much more
quitely, because some of these measures are nationality-blind.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), one of the Congress' most outspoken
human rights proponents, said these laws send a powerful message to giant
Japanese firms such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui that have played a key role in
Myanmar's economy.  

"There are many Asian investors who are looking to do business in the United
States," she said.  "If they do business with the SLORC, then they have less
opportunity here."

The Washington-based Investor Responsibility Research Center said it has
experienced a jump in calls from executives worried about appearing on its
widely disseminated list of companies doing business in Myanmar.

Ken Bertsch, director of the center's social issues program, said his group
gets lobbied by companies wanting to be taken off the list.  But he said his
group simply collects information, which it always attempts to verify before
passing it on.

"Looking back at the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the
selective purchasing laws had the most impact because it hit companies where
it hurt," said Simon Billenness, a senior analyst at Boston-based Franklin
Research & Development Corp., a firm promoting socially responsible investing.

Over the last two decades, globalization has given these laws more bite,
because U.S. companies are increasingly dependent on overseas markets and
foreign companies have a larger stake in this country.

In its effort to grab a larger share of the global telecommunications
explosion, Schaumburg, Ill-based Motorola frequently finds itself in
countries where the political and economic stability fluctuates from day to day.

Larry Barton, Motorola's director of international operations, said his firm
follows the federal government's lead on doing business abroad and does not
believe city or state governments should venture into this complex arena.  

Motorola, which does business in 45 countries, has had "very small sales" in
Myanmar and has one employee there evaluating the market, according to Barton.

The company's immediate stakes are much higher in San Francisco, where it is
bidding against Ericsson Inc. for a $40-million emergency radio system.
Ericsson's parent company, LM Erocsson of Sweden, also does business in Myanmar.

San Francisco is reviewing both bids in light of their ties to Myanmar.  The
Myanmar selective purchasing law can be waived if its imposition would cause
major financial harm to the city or if there are no other qualified bidders.
The city also is reviewing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America's bid for
a $140-million airport light rail contract.


October 8, 1996 (abridged)
By Oung Myint Tun

In recent weeks Mr. Tony Blair, the Leader of the Labour Party, who
has been widely tipped as the potential new Prime Minister after 
the general election in 1997, sent a letter of support and invitation
to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for 
Democracy and the Burmese Democracy movement, to address the 
British Labour  Party Conference as a " International guest".

He wrote:

Aung San Suu Kyi
National League for Democracy
August 1, 1996

Dear Aung San Suu Kyi

I am writing to invite you to attend the Labour Party's Annual 
Conference in October as our  "International Guest". The Party 
conference will be held in Blackpool and and runs from Monday 
September 30 until Friday October 4.

Each year the Party invites a leading figure to address the
Conference. Recent speakers have included Thabo Mbeki, 
Ingvar Carlsson and Gro Harlem Brundtland. While I appreciate 
the difficulties that you may have in leaving Burma, we
would be greatly honoured if you were able to attend.

The Labour Party has been a consistent supporter of the 
Burmese democracy movement. And we have been deeply 
impressed by your own personal role as the leader of that 
movement. Your courage and dignity have been an inspiration 
to democrats everywhere.

Labour condemns the Burmese government for its abuse of
human rights and for disregarding the results of nation-wide 
elections in 1990-election that were won convincingly by 
the National League for Deocracy. We call on the Law and 
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to end the violation of  
human rights and to lift the ban on free political activity.

We hope that growing international opposition to the 
Burmese regime will strengthen your position and bring 
an early  restoration of democratic government. I do hope 
that you are able to attend our conference and I Look 
forward to hearing from you.

Your sincerely
Signed Tony Blair
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP

In her reply, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi explained the reasons for her inability
to accept the invitation to speak at the Conference and conveyed to Mr.
Blair her deep appreciation for the efforts made by the Labour Party in
support of the struggle for democracy in Burma.

During the Labour Party Conference, which co-incided with
the latest brutal suppression of democracy in Burma, the NLD
(Liberated Area-Burma) issued the followling press statement 
drawing the attention of the British public in general and the 
Labour Party Conference leaders and delegates in particular:

" Right at this moment, while the Labour Party delgates are 
holding the Conference without any restrictions and the British 
people are enjoying democratic rights freely, the democratic 
struggle in Burma is yet again facing a new wave of arrests 
and represion. In order to block and obstruct the National League 
for Democracy's Conference to be convened from September
27 to 29, the military junta detained about eight hundred activists 
and delegates. There were 16 NLD elected representatives among
them. About three hundred soldiers surrounded the vicinity of 
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house and blocked all public access to
her house where the  Conference has been arranged to convene.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's movement was also restricted and usual
week-end meetings at the entrance of her house were also
suppressed. The brutal action of the illegal military regime is 
in fact a repeat of their actions in last May when they also had
tried  to prevent  the meetings of the Central Council of the NLD.

We strongly condemn the unlawful, undemocratic and unjust 
actions of the military regime in Burma who call themselves 
the "State Law and Order Restoration Council" (SLORC). We 
strongly urge the Labour Party and British people to carry on 
supporting our movement and put more and more pressure on 
the Burmese brutal regime to hand over power to the legitimate
winners of the people's mandate and cease violations of human
 rights and respect the liberty and freedom of the people of Burma."

The Leader of Opposition and British Labour Party Tony Blair addressed
the Conference on October 1.

He spelled out a new "Age of Achievement" for Britain. Tony Blair, giving a
prominent spot to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma in this well praised speech,
said:  "Let me also give apologies for one absentee. The NEC( Labour Party 
National Executive Committee) invited Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma 
to be  our guest here this week. For reasons that everyone will understand, 
she cannot be with us. Let me invite her to come next year, a free citizen 
and an example to democrats all over the world."

" Conference salutes the immense courage and determination of 
Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of the National League for Democracy of 
Burma. We applaud her commitment to democracy. We very much 
regret that the attitude of the authorities in Burma have prevented
her from being able to take up the invitation from the Labour Party 
to come to Blackpool and address our conference as a fraternal 
international guest."

"Conference unreservedly condemns the abuse of human rights and the 
denial of democratic freedoms by the State Law and Order Committee
(SLORC) in Burma. We are extremely concerned at the recent
deterioration in the situation with further arrests and increased 
repression. We further deplore the activities of SLORC in their
attempts to isolate, intimidate and harass Aung San Suu Kyi and
supporters. We call on the military junta to release all political
prisoners, to end the ban on political parties and to respect the
results of the 1990 general election. We call on the present rulers
of Burma to return the country  to peaceful, democratic civilian rule.
And we urge the British government to exert whatever pressure it 
can in order to bring about an end to the repression and the restoration
of full human and political rights."

Labour Party Foreign Affairs spokeperson Derek Fatchett M.P.
and European Member of Parliament Glenys Kinnock also spoke
in support of Burma's cause during the Conference.


October 7, 1996

Tavoy-Mergui district                     

Since SLORC troops of the South East Sub-regional Command,commanded by
Brigadier General Thiha Thura Sitt Maung, organised and set up its
headquarters in Tenasserim division, martial law and threats increased in
the areas of dispute,especially in Tavoy-Mergui district, namely; Mergui
township, Palaung township, Tenasserim township, Klo Ko township and Bhut
Pyin township. Reports say that there are forced relocations,threats, rapes
and properties confiscation of the locals. Supporters of resistance groups
were killed brutally and the death toll has been rising to more than 200.
Most of the locals have left their villages and are scattered through out
the area. Some have evacuated to the Thai-border.

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