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BurmaNet News: October 18, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 18, 1996
Issue #545

Noted in Passing: 

		Quinn's decision not to welcome Than Shwe shows that
		the US does not support dictatorship. Several other Western
		ambassadors also stayed away.- Sam Rainsey, KNP Chief


October 17, 1996
              RANGOON, Oct 17 - Members of Burmese opposition
     leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD)
     party are meeting this week despite blockades set up by the
     military government, an NLD source said on Thursday.
              He said Suu Kyi and other top NLD officials have been
     meeting groups of elected party representatives and senior party
     members to define policy.
              ``We tried in vain to hold a party congress twice,'' the NLD
     source said. He said gatherings of several dozen NLD members
     planned for Monday and Wednesday and Friday of this week were
     meant to be a substitute for a larger party congress.
              The meetings were held at the homes of senior NLD officials
      The meetings were held at the homes of senior NLD officials
     since Suu Kyi's house -- the normal venue for gatherings -- was
     inaccessible because of the barriers.
              The military set up roadblocks on streets leading to her
     house on Saturday to prevent her regular weekend speeches to
     supporters and has still not removed them.
              Last month the ruling State Law and Order Restoration
     Council (SLORC) thwarted plans to hold a NLD party congress.
              The military government said the planned September 27-29
     congress was aimed at creating unrest. It arrested at least 573
     NLD activists and blocked roads leading to Suu Kyi's house,
     where the meeting was due to have been held. The detained people
     have since been released in stages.
              It was the second time the SLORC had prevented the NLD from
     holding a congress. The first was in May, when the SLORC
     arrested more than 260 NLD activists to prevent the meeting.
              The NLD held a meeting of party representatives and vowed to
     increase its efforts to bring democracy to Burma. Since the meeting 
     was not made up of elected NLD representatives, no major
     policy decisions were taken.
              The NLD source, who was at one of this week's meetings, said
     people attending included many politicians elected as NLD
     representatives in the 1990 election, won overwhelmingly by the
     NLD but never recognized by the SLORC.
              He said the politicians discussed reorganization of the NLD,
     which has been suffering over the past year in the face of
     increased intimidation by the SLORC.
              NLD members at the gatherings agreed to allow party members
     who had resigned from the NLD for various reasons to rejoin.
              After the May government crackdown, many NLD representatives
     who had been detained announced when they were freed that they
     were resigning from the party. Suu Kyi said many of them had
     been forced to resign by the SLORC.
              The meetings this week also granted the NLD's executive
     committee the authority to do whatever was necessary to achieve 
     democracy. Suu Kyi told reporters earlier this month the NLD had
     requested talks with the SLORC, but got a negative response.


October 17, 1996 (abridged)

Members of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy (NLD) have endorsed plans to seek talks with
the military authorities, party sources said Wednesday.

Some 70 party members, meeting at the home of NLD vice chairman
Tin Oo, gave their consent to the party leadership to initiate a
dialogue with the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC), the official said.

Aung San Suu Kyi has repeatedly said the NLD was ready to sit
down with the military authorities, but the latest decision by
the party comes during a massive crackdown against the opposition.

Analysts in Rangoon said the endorsement indicated the party had
adopted a new strategy for dealing with the SLORC, although
details of the proposed initiative were not immediately available.

The government has given no indication it wants dialogue.


October 17, 1996
              PHNOM PENH, Cambodia  - Police fired shots in the
     air near the U.S. Embassy in the Cambodian capital Wednesday as
     opposition leader Sam Rainsy led a march to protest the visit of
     Burma's military leader Gen. Than Shwe.
              As the demonstrators approached the Embassy to speak with
     Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, a policeman near the rear of the crowd
     released a burst of gunfire in the air to try to halt them.
              A second policeman, looking panicked as protesters pushed
     past him, fired a second burst in front of the embassy.
              No one was seriously injured but witnesses said a
     demonstrator was beaten and reporters were manhandled. A police
     official said two policemen were injured when a protester's car struck 
     them at a barricade.
              An hour after the protest, Than Shwe arrived in Phnom Penh
     at the head of a 44-member entourage and was greeted by King
     Norodom Sihanouk and co-Premiers Prince Norodom Ranariddh and
     Hun Sen at the airport.
              In what Sam Rainsy called a game of urban guerrilla warfare,
     hundreds of police pursued several dozen protesters through the
     streets, hastily setting up road blocks in a vain attempt to
     thwart the hour-long demonstration in support of Burmese
     democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
              Sam Rainsy, who met with Suu Kyi in Burmese capital of
     Rangoon in August, heads the Khmer Nation Party, which is not
     recognized by the Phnom Penh government.
              Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
     (SLORC) recently barred Suu Kyi from giving regular weekly
     speeches at her home and has blocked access to her residence.
              Sam Rainsy said in a statement his driver and a bodyguard
     were arrested. He told reporters one of the men was beaten and
     the front lights of the car he drove were smashed.
              But Mok Chito, director of the penal police, said only the
     driver had been arrested. He said the driver had run over two
     government soldiers, breaking the leg of one and slightly
     injuring another in the arm.

(added)  The demonstrators stopped at the US Embassy, where Rainsy briefly
met Ambassador Kenneth Quinn.

Rainsy said Quinn's decision not to welcome Than Shwe "shows that
the US does not support dictatorship". Several other Western
ambassadors also stayed away.

"We want to express support for prodemocracy movements in Burma
and in Cambodia," Rainsy said, adding that the heavy security
presence proved that "democracy is dying in Cambodia, but we will
try to resurrect it."

Following the march, about 200 troops surrounded Rainsy's house-
dressed in bulletproof vests, and holding riot shields and clubs.
Police threatened to use an electric prod on him if he attempted
to leave.


October 8, 1996

NEW YORK, Students across the United States stepped up pressure against
Burma's military leaders by kicking off a three-day fast in support of
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Students in 56 colleges and 10 high schools nation wide - as well as other
in South Africa, Japan, Germany, India, Canada and Norway - began there fast
yesterday to draw attention to a new crackdown on Suu Kyi's pro-democracy

The action comes as the administration of President Clinton is considering
imposing stricter economic sanctions against Burma, including a ban on new
investment in the country.  UNOCAL the Californian oil giant with the
largest current US investment in Burma, is also coming under growing
pressure to withdraw.

On the first day, the Wisconsin based Free Burma Coalition, which is
coordinating the effort, said that at least 474 students from Boston's
Harvard University to Lake Forest High School in Illinois, are participating
in the fasts.
One hundred students working with Japan's Burma Relief Center also joined,
coalition spokesman said.

Suu Kyi, the winner of the 1991 Noble Peace Prize, is "virtually under house
arrest" in Rangoon, argued Sein Win, declared the Prime Minister of Suu
Kyi's government in exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of
Burma. But the pro-Democracy leader praised the student's fast in a taped
message sent from her home. " Young people were the backbone of the public
demonstrations of 1988 that swept away the rule of the Burma Socialist
Program Party," Suu Kyi said in her taped statement. "It is then most
fitting that students should be taking up the cause of the as yet
uncompleted democratic revolution of my country."

Suu Kyi argued that her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is
facing a new crackdown from the State Law and Order Restoration Council.
As a result, she said, the free Burma fasts that began today should "focus
attention on the essentially peaceful nature of the quest for democracy in
Burma" and help to discourage US and international investment in Burma.
"We are not anti-business," Suu Kyi said " But we oppose investment in Burma
today because our real malady is not economic but political...Profits from
business enterprises will merely go towards entrenching a small, already
very privileged elite."

One of the consequences of the student's fast, argued Sein Win, is that many
of the US companies which have business links in Rangoon, including the
PepsiCo soft drink conglomerate and the oil and gas companies UNOCAL ,Texaco
and Arco, may now think twice. " Pepsico especially take very great care in
it's image," Sein Win contended.
"They want to push the image of their drink as the taste of the new
generation. So when the new generation participates in a boycott, it hurts
those efforts."

In general, the momentum against the SLORC regime, which refused to
recognize the 1990 election, in which Suu Kyi and the NLD won the most
seats, has picked up in recent days.

The main spark, Sein Win said, was SLORC's recent arrest of over 800 members
of the democratic opposition, in a crackdown which Amnesty International
called the worst since the 1988 protests.

The SLORC has reportedly released several hundred of those that it detained,
but the State Department knew of at least 200 opposition activists who
remain under detention.

Clinton who last week announced a ban on visas for high ranking government
officials and their families and supporters, is also considering whether the
recent round up constitutes "large-scale repression" of the opposition. If
so, Clinton is obliged by law to ban all new investment by US companies in

"We are satisfied with Clinton's actions" Sein Win said. But he argued, "The
situation demands the United States place further sanctions."

Already the state of Massachusetts and several cities, including Berkeley,
California, Madison and Wisconsin, have passed legislation barring state and
local contracts with companies that invest in Burma. New York and other
municipalities are considering similar laws.

"One year ago we didn't have this kind of awareness in the United States,"
Sein Win said. But he conceded that for many cities and states, legislation
restricting investment will take a long time still to be drafted and to be

Suu Kyi in her message to fasters, urged quicker action against further
investment in Burma. "Companies such as UNOCAL and Pepsi, Arco and Texaco
only serve to prolong the agony of my country by encouraging the present
military regime to preserve in it's intransigence," she said.

Also serving to focus attention to Burma here are two law suits filed last
week against UNOCAL in California. Plaintiffs including 15 ethnic Karens,
accuse the company of continuing to do business with SLORC, even after it
had learned about human rights abuses committed by the army in the
construction of a gas pipeline being built jointly by the Burmese government
, UNOCAL and the French firm TOTAL SA.

The Karen representatives sued UNOCAL for "vicarious liability" in the
Burmese governments eviction of Karen near the Yandana gas field where the
pipeline is being constructed, as well as forced labor, assaults, murders
and rape of villagers. A UNOCAL spokesman last week dismissed the lawsuits
as "false, irresponsible and frivolous."

On October 4, the plaintiffs lawyers succeeded in serving process against
SLORC official, Finance Minister Brig.Gen.Hwin Tin, who was attending the
meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund here.

Tracked own in his limousine after a brief chase in a glittering Washington
hotel, Hwin Tin was served papers naming him as a defendant in one lawsuit
based  on the Alien Tort Claims Act, a 190 year old law that permits anyone
to sue foreigners on US territory for serious human rights violations they
allegedly committed abroad.

The act has been used successfully in recent years against officials in the
Philippines, Argentina, Indonesia, and Guatemala. Defendants have avoided
paying judgments of millions of dollars that have been awarded to US courts
only by staying away from the United States.


October 17, 1996

BANGKOK : Thailand might have to reiterate its constructive
engagement policy with Rangoon if US President Bill Clinton, in
his three day visit to Thailand touches on the thorny Burma
issue, said a senior official at the Foreign Ministry.

He said Thailand, a member of ASEAN will keep its present Burmese policy.

However, Thailand's directive regarding Burma in the future will
depend largely on the decisions made by ASEAN.

He said the relationship between Thailand and United States is
different from the association with neighboring Burma. 

"Thailand has the right of sovereignty to make its own decision
on its policy towards the Burmese government," he said.

The main purpose of ASEAN's constructive engagement with SLORC is
to gradually improve the democratic situation in Burma without
external interference.

That policy opposes some Western countries ideology that wants to
see a drastic change in the 50 year old Rangoon military regime.

Late last month, Washington banned visas for all Burmese
authorities and their families after Rangoon resumed arresting
members of the quasi-opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Burmese government retaliated by banning visas for American

Clinton will visit Thailand between November 25-27 after he
concludes the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting which is
to be held next month in the Philippines.

Deputy Foreign Minister Thep Devakual told Thailand Times that
the president could make his Burmese speech at either
Chulalongkorn or Thammasat University on the second day of his visit.


October 13, 1996
By Seth Mydans

The Military rulers here in what was known as Burma, know they have a
problem. Derided as thugs by western nations, they recognize that even at home
their harshest critic, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the most popular personality
in the nation.

Actually that's only one problem. The bigger one - for them and the rest of
the world - is that they don't seem to realize how big a problem they have.

Rather than accepting the clear preference of their people, the leaders say,
they appear to believe, that they have a "historic mission" to maintain
stability and order while engineering a transition to a limited form of
representative government that would institutionalize military rule. In the
meantime said a government spokesman, Col. Kyaw Thein, recently, "There is
no need for an opposition group in Myanmar."

The comment was made with unapologetic bluntness in a recent commentary in
the English - language Government newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar.
" The existing government is not a weak political government which canvassed
for votes by smiling at people, gave alot of promises and collected votes
here and there and came to power. It is a strong and firm Tatmadaw [Burmese
Military] government which came into existence according to demands of history."

All of which offends much of the rest of the world, even as it makes it very
difficult for the rest of the world to figure out how to confront the
Burmese Military.

In Asia as well as the West, the clearly repressive government and it's
tendency to isolate itself, generates considerable criticism. Pressure is
mounting in the United States to impose some sort of economic sanctions. But
this is Asia, where the Burmese leaders' distrust of sanctions and rejection
of foreign interference have strong echoes in such places as China and
Singapore. And that makes it unlikely that Myanmar will ever go without
trading partners.

Earlier this month President Clinton signed a law that would allow him to
impose sanctions on Myanmar in the event of  "large scale repression" by the
military. It is a tactic advocated by Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi, to the fury of
the military rulers.

Some supporters of the embargo would argue that large-scale repression is
already under way and say the time for sanctions has already arrived. Others
warn that once sanctions are applied, Washington will lose the only leverage
it may have to deter further repression.

Proponents cite the example of South Africa, where an economic embargo
helped end apartheid. But analysts in Asia say the situation here is very
different; most of Myanmars trade, is with it's South East Asian neighbors,
and those nations have made it clear they will not sever their fast-growing
economic links.

Nevertheless in recent days the, the seven members of the Association of
South Eastern Nations, which opposes sanctions , have shown the first signs
of applying "Constructive Engagement" - on the theory that economic ties
create greater leverage with which to press for changes. Myanmar was
accorded observer status in the Association in July, a step toward full
membership. But in light of recent events there, both Thailand and the
Philippines now say they may oppose the nations early admission next year as
a full member.

And even in Singapore and Malaysia - firm advocates of " non-interference"
in the internal affairs of other nations - some officials have begun to
express uneasiness over Myanmar's behavior.

"We view what is happening in Burma with some concern and hope the
government of Burma will be able to deal with it in a manner acceptable to
all," said the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Abdullah Badawi, in a departure
from his nations stance of public support.

An unbending Stance

But constructive engagement, too, is likely to have only limited effect.
Recent statements by government officials make it clear that Myanmar has no
intention of giving full freedom to Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters,
or of allowing full and free-wheeling democracy in the future.

History is not encouraging. The ruling junta came to power in 1988 after
crushing a peaceful pro-democracy uprising with a crackdown that took the
lives of hundreds of people. Two years later, the generals annulled an
election when Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a
landslide victory. She was kept under house arrest for six years, until July
1995, and in recent months the military leaders have stepped up arrests of
her supporters while choking off free speech and political activity.
"All the people do not like the government," said a civil servant that asked
that his name not be used for fear of reprisals. "Aung San Suu Kyi would win
an election anytime but there is nothing we can do because they have the guns"

The continuing program of arrests appears to be aimed at eviscerating Mrs
Aung San Suu Kyi's party organization, leaving her alone and as a
politically powerless symbol. In a recent speech the leader of the military
government Gen.Than Shwe, called the arrests and the temporary blockade of
Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi's house, "mild actions". In the future, he said,
"preventative measures and drastic action will have to be taken in the
interests of the nation and the people against attempts to destabilize the
nation." And at a press conference this month Col. Kyaw Thein seemed to
leave Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi little room for public activity. Among her
transgressions, he said , were frequent meetings with foreign diplomats and
reporters, including 13 press conferences since her release from house arrest.

A recent commentary in The New Light of Myanmar called democratic freedoms a
western notion that can retard economic growth. The paper seemed in awe of
China, which it said had become amazingly rich by fostering capitalism
without political freedoms. "To sum this up," it said, "if capitalism is to
be continued, then there is need for a dictatorial government."


October 15, 1996

This is a transcript of a videotaped address presented by Aung Sang Suu Kyi
to the Mainichi Newspapers on the occasion of the conferring of the Japan
Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association Award in Fukuoka Prefecture on

   It's a pleasure to be able to address the Japan Newspaper Publishers and
Editors Association on this happy occasion.

   That the association has given its award for this year to the Mainichi
Shimbun for carrying the series "Letter from  Burma"  is a matter of much joy
and pride for me. I understand that by publishing the series the Mainichi
Shimbun has created a new role for newspapers by giving an opportunity for
those who do not enjoy freedom of expression to freely express their opinions.

   The series "Letter from  Burma"  has certainly enabled me to let the
people of Japan and other countries know about what is going on in our country
today. In a message to the readers of the Mainichi Shimbun, prior to the
publication of the series, I explained that, as a politician, I will be
writing mainly about politics. But politics for me is about people; it wears
a very human face. Therefore, social and cultural aspects of my country also
feature large in my series. I'm very privileged to be able to write of
matters that are close to
the hearts of many of my countrymen and women and to speak for them, for
they are not free to speak for themselves.

   In  Burma  today, there are only three daily newspapers -- all of them
merely serving as propaganda organs for the military government. Everything
that is published in the country is subjected to severe censorship. My
party, the
National League for Democracy, has been denied a publication license since
July 1990, two months after our victory in the elections. This means that we
cannot bring out a party newsletter. We cannot even print a party calendar.

  Freedom of expression is a fundamental safeguard of democratic rights. We
need to be able to express our hopes and aspirations, our fears and our
dissatisfactions. Unless we are able to freely protest against infringements
on our democratic rights, these rights will rapidly be eluded. Unless we are
allowed to discuss openly the problems of our country, these problems can
never be satisfactorily resolved.

    Burma  today is a totally closed political society. The military government
claims that it is heading toward multi-party democracy. The United Nations
General Assembly has, in successive resolutions on  Burma,  called for an
early return to democracy in line with the will of the people as expressed
in the
elections of 1990. It has also called for the full participation of the people
in the political life of  Burma.

   Yet political parties are prevented from functioning meaningfully. And
there is no democratic process in which the people can participate. The
international media play a very special part in a country like  Burma  where
there is no freedom of expression, because there is also no freedom of
information. Our people are forced to rely on foreign radio stations to
learn not only about what is going on in the world around them but also
about what is going on in our own country. Independent newspapers, radio and
television stations play a crucial role in opening the doors of the closed
political society.

   I hope that through my letters from  Burma,  I have been able to make
people in different parts of the world understand our situation better. It is
difficult for those who live in democratic societies to understand how it is
to live in an environment where independence of thought is treated as a
crime. The things that are generally not visible to casual visitors often
constitute great trials
for those of us who have to cope with these matters every day.

   The greatest trial for people in  Burma  is the lack of an independent
judicial system that ensures protection under the law. Those who dare to hold
opinions different from those of the powers that be are considered guilty and
not given an opportunity to prove their innocence. To exercise the basic
human rights of freedom of thought, speech and association requires courage
and commitment. We have learned through bitter experience the price of
freedom of expression.

   A large part of our struggle for democracy in  Burma  is concerned with
asserting our right to freedom of expression. What we need is not just
freedom of speech but freedom after speech. Our people have been condemned
to long terms in prison for speaking the truth. There cannot be many
countries in the world today where men are deprived of their liberty for
seven years or more simply for pointing out that many dry season rice
projects have failed.  Recently a young Buddhist monk was sentenced to
seven-year imprisonment for holding up a small hand-made sign board on which
he had written that the military regime should start a dialogue with the
National League for Democracy.

   In  Burma,  such tools of the modern communication system as photocopiers,
fax machines and satellite dishes require government license. In a world
increasingly bound together as a result of the technological revolution, we
remain an isolated society stranded on the edges of modern development.

   I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Mainichi Shimbun,
to the Japanese Newspaper Association and to members of the international
media, who have made special efforts to focus attention on the Burmese
situation. I am confident that through the efforts of our people and our
sympathizers everywhere, we shall be able to break through the barriers that
keep us apart from the rest of the world.

   The human predilection for freedom of expression and communication will
surely triumph over all our obstacles. And this triumph will be due in no
small measure to the work of newsmen and women of integrity who helped to
keep alive the conscience of the world.   I thank you.


October 11, 1996 (translated from Burmese)

BurmaNet Editor's Note: Why did Siba Das, the UNDP resident 
attend this event?  

[Translated Excerpt] U Ohn Gyaw, leader of the
Myanmar [Burmese] delegation and minister of foreign
affairs, returned to Yangon [Rangoon] by air this evening
after attending the 51st UN General Assembly, held in New York. 

Ohn Gyaw was welcomed at Yangon International Airport
by Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, secretary-1 of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council [SLORC]; Colonel Pe Thein,
minister of the Office of the Prime Minister; Major General
Aye Kyaw, minister of information; U Nyunt Swe, deputy
minister of foreign affairs; Siba Kumar Das, resident
representative of UNDP; and high-level Foreign Ministry personnel. 


October 17, 1996

Amnesty International said yesterday it feared for the safety of about 200
Burmese refugees which it said had been forced back into Burma by Thai
officials last week.

The London-based human rights organization said Thai officials forced about
200 Akha and Lahu refugees back across the border to their village in
northeastern Burma on October 12.

Lahu and Akha are ethnic groups living in Burma's northeastern Shan State.

"While Amnesty International fears for the safety of these returnees, the
organization is also concerned that the Thai authorities may forcibly return
to Myanmar other refugees from the Shan State who are fleeing widespread
human rights violation there," Amnesty said in a statement .

The statement also said Burmese soldiers interrogated and beat male
villagers on October 8 to get information on the presence of Shan rebel
insurgents in the village. The soldiers left the village but took the Lahu
headman and two other men, who have not been heard from since.

Since early this year, about 20,000 refugees from the Shan State fleeing
human rights violations have sought protection in Thailand, Amnesty said. 


October 17, 1996

BANGKOK: Aung San Suu Kyi may have committed Burma's largest political party
to the path of non-violence, but ethnic Karen rebels say they will attack
Rangoon if they are pushed to the wall. 

"If they launch a general offensive we will have to strike back, using urban
guerrilla tactics, " a Karen National Union (KNU) official told AFP by
telephone from the Thai province of Tak, opposite Burma's southeastern Karen

"We are not terrorists. The targets will be military installations,
factories in Rangoon and other towns and cities. WE will take strict
measures to avoid civilian injuries, " he added.

The KNU has said it was preparing a delegation for talks with the SLORC that
mediators were expected to arrange in Rangoon or Moulmein in southern Burma
at the end of the month.

"Now we are refraining from striking towns and cities because there are
peace talks going on," the source said.

The KNU were forced to the bargaining table after a breakaway Karen faction
early last year led government troops into the Karen stronghold of
Manerplaw, from where the rebels have resisted rule from Rangoon for almost
50 years.

Should the next round of talks fail, Thai intelligence sources have been
cited in the local press as saying that Burmese troops were in place for a
final offensive against the Karen, again with the help of  defectors.

The military's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has
built up troop levels all along the 800 kilometer stretch of Karen State
near the Thai border where the KNU maintains armed forces, the Karen source

"They are applying pressure on the KNU to make concessions in the talks," he
said, but Karen officials have said that during the previous round of talks
in July, SLORC made unacceptable demands amounting to a complete surrender.

Rangoon is only 100 kilometers from the nearest Karen division and other
prodemocracy forces have underground cells, he said, adding that it was "not
only the Karen" who would resort to new tactics.

He was referring to other ethnic groups and organizations formed by former
students who fled abroad or to border regions after the SLORC took power in
1988 following a bloody crackdown on nationwide protests against the
previous military government.

Representatives of these groups in Thailand were not immediately available
for comment.

Meanwhile, SLORC has signed cease-fire accords with 15 armed ethnic groups
in return for defacto control of territory and certain economic activities,
and the opium warlord Khun Sa surrendered with several thousand troops in

Factional opposition to the cease-fires has been reported in several ethnic
groups, but out side of Karenni areas, where government troops first
violated the accords, the SLORC's ability to concentrate superior forces has
discouraged any renewed fighting.


October 12, 1996 (translated from Thai)

Protracted battles between the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the
Christian Karen of the Karen National Union (KNU) along the Burmese-
Thai border frequently result in encroachment on Thai territory and heavy
casualties of the two waring parties as well as Thai villagers living in the
border areas inside Thailand. 

During a meeting which was held at Naresuan Camp, headquarters of the Third
Army Region, on 21 June, the major topics on the agenda included security
problems as well as terrorism along the Thai- Burmese border. Participants of
the meeting discussed the frequent encroachment on Thai territory by both
Rangoon government troops and Karen forces which, in many cases, triggered
drastic retaliations by the Thai military and the border patrol police. 

Recently, a group of Karen bandits blatantly crossed the border onto Thai
territory at Tha Song Yang District of Tak Province and attempted to
assassinate the commander of Border Patrol Police Company 344. However, the
booby traps
they planted in the area on two separate occasions failed to explode. The
border patrol police company must be extremely vigilant against this Karen
group and must find ways to prevent them from crossing the border to commit
crimes on Thai soil. 

Police Lieutenant Colonel Phairot Rimprakhom, commander of Border Patrol
Police Company 344, disclosed that Tha Song Yang District has a vast area
bordering Burma. The Karen bandits often cross the border to commit crimes,
kill and plunder Thai people and then quickly flee back to Burma. It is
rather difficult for Thai authorities to suppress them because they are more
familiar with the dense jungles and mountainous terrain of the district. 

According to the police officer, it is believed that not all Karen bandit
groups come from Burma. Some might be staying in Thailand by mingling with
the Karen now taking refuge at various refugee camps, many of which are not
fenced, along the border areas. 

Meanwhile, the DKBA soldiers have been behaving arrogantly inside Thai
territory. In particular on 13 June, Karen soldiers from Popatha Camp
opposite the Chokhro Karen Refugee Center at Tambon Maesong of Tha Song Yang
District fired 17 mortar shells into the camp, seriously wounding many
people in the camp. Over 7,000 Karen refugees are now living in this refugee
Moreover, the DKBA Karen under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Sathai at
the Popatha Camp also arrogantly threaten to shell the refugee center again.
Their reckless behavior is detrimental to good relations between Thailand
and Burma. It is skeptical that Burma still cares for good relations with
Serious crimes committed by the Karen from Burma include abduction of Thai
villagers for ransom and forcing Thai villagers to provide food supplies.
They harass Thai villagers and block roads to rob people and quickly retreat
into Burma. Thai authorities must develop effective measures to prevent such
incidents and take drastic action against the intruders. Thailand's foreign
policy needs to be revived to prevent Burma from pressing us with all kinds
of demands as it is currently doing. 

Burmese troops themselves often violate the border agreement. Protest notes
from Thai local authorities receive indifferent reaction from the Burmese
Government. It is believed that the Karen bandits who are responsible for many
crimes including the bombardment of the refugee camp in Tha Song Yang
District are supported by the Burmese Government, otherwise, they would not
behave so daringly. It is now time to review our relations with Burma to
extricate ourself from this defensive position. The Burmese side never
listens to our protests over violations of our national sovereignty and
territory. It is necessary to teach a good lesson to those who dare to
violate our sovereignty. 


October 15, 1996

Communication received on the Thai-Burma border by (ABWAid).

The KRC picked up the following radio message from Toungoo District
Chairman: October 15, 1996

The commander of SLORC troops Southern command General Kyi Aung, Strategy 2,
Major Chit Khaing and G2 Nyunt Tin of SLORC's Western Command are
threatening and forcing Baptist Christians in Kler Lar Village (Baw Gali
Gyi) to build a Buddhist monastery in the village.  Kler La village
Christians tried to oppose the idea of building the monastery but to no
avail.  They forced Pastor Saw Ler Htoo, Church elders Saw Maung Kyo, Saw
Maung Hla and Saw Bah Hsoo Gay to lay the cornerstone (brick).  After that,
they made them worship the brick they laid down.  Though they did not want
to do it,  they had to do so, because they were threatened in many ways.
Now the said General Kyi Aung, Strategy 2, Major Chit Khaing and G2 Nyunt
Tin are oppressing and forcing Baptist Christians of Kler Lar and nearby
villages.  There were to finish the monastery on 25th October 1996.  They
conscripted 70,000 Kyats from Kler Lar villagers alone, and the villagers
are to render labour [forced labour].
 To enlarge the road, they destroyed the houses of Pah Nay Ree, Saw
Tar Maw Po and Saw Tar Kaw Lar with no compensation.

Australian Baptist World Aid Inc             Australian Baptists in Partnership
PO Box 122                                             with the poor
Frenchs Forest
NSW 2086                                               Phone:  +61 2 9451 1199
Australia                                                  Fax:    +61 2
9452 4720  


October 10, 1996  
By Samantha McCall

   The number of Burmese women and girls forced into prostitution in
Thailand continues to rise, a human rights activist told Ohio University
students yesterday.
Ohmar Khin blamed her country's deteriorating economy and the military
dictatorship for the increased numbers of women being sold into Thailand's
booming sex industry.
"It is the women and children who suffer the most in my country," said
Khin, 28, who visited the campus this week to discuss human rights abuses
in her Southeast Asian country.  Her visit is in honor of Burma Awareness Day.
Khin fled Burma in 1988 and has not seen her family or homeland since.
As part of her tour of US college campuses, the former chemistry student
spoke to seven classes and gave three public lectures at OU.
On Tuesday, Khin and more than 60 students attended a rally organized
by eight student groups, including the Free Burma Coalition, that
denounced corporate irresponsibility in Burma.
Yesterday, Khin told a small crowd gathered in Baker Center that in
1991, an estimated 20,000 Burmese women and girls were lured or sold into
According to Khin, brokers search for virgins as young as 11 in the
impoverished countryside.
They offer girls waitressing and dishwashing jobs in the big cities.
The brokers then pay the parents about $10 for their daughters and promise
that the girls will send money home, Khin said.
Once in Thailand's brothels, the girls face debt bondage, illegal
confinement, forced labor, rape, physical abuse, exposure to AIDS and even
murder.  Many are never heard from again.
"They earn about $1 a day for 12 hours of work, and with that they must
buy their own food, clothes and makeup, which the brothel owners have
marked up considerably," Khin said.
Khin now lives in Maryland and is a research assistant with Refugees
International, a nonprofit group based in Washington, DC.
Her research is based on a 1992 trip to Thailand, where she secretly
interviewed dozens of Burmese prostitutes.
"Only when democracy is restored in Burma will we be able to help these
women because, right now, all the military is concerned with is power,"
Khin said.
   On campus, the Free Burma Coalition is the local chapter of a
nationwide grass-roots organization working for freedom and democracy in
The Athens group formed last spring and is headed by Lisa Brooten, a
graduate student studying international telecommunications.


October 17, 1996

            PHNOM PENH, Oct 17  - Cambodia and Burma agreed on
     Wednesday to establish direct air links between their capitals
     and to open tourism offices in each nation, officials said.
     They would start flights between Rangoon and Phnom Penh as
     soon as details were worked out, said Pok Samel, Cambodian
     secretary of state for civil aviation.
     He signed the agreement with Burmese Minister of Transport Thein Win.
     The five-year tourism pact states that the Cambodia and
     Burma will establish representative tourism offices in each
     nation, as well as help arrange individual and group tours and
     cultural exchanges.   Cambodian Minister of Tourism Veng Sereyvuth, 
     who signed the agreement with Burmese counterpart Lt General Kyaw Ba,
said the tourism offices would likely be set up in embassies or airline offices.
     Burmese leader General Than Shwe and more than 40 officials
     are on a four-day state visit to Cambodia that began on Wednesday.