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BurmaNet News October 29, 1996

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 29, 1996
Issue #553

Noted in Passing:
		It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the use 
		of forced labour represents the central feature of the 
		regime's infrastructure development policy - Aust.
		Foreign Minister: Mr. Alexander Downer (see: AFR: 


October 28, 1996

RANGOON, Oct 28 (Reuter) - Burma's military government on Monday released a
top National League for Democracy (NLD) official detained last week for
questioning over a recent student protest, a family member and NLD sources 

Kyi Maung, deputy chairman of the NLD and a close advisor to Nobel Peace
laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was picked up by the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) on October 23 for questioning over his alleged
role in the student protest.

"He was returned home at 12.45 p.m. today," a family member said
by telephone.

Official confirmation of his release was not immediately available.
Separately, the government on Monday removed blockades barring access to the
road leading to Suu Kyi's house, witnesses said.

They said the blockades, which were put up last Tuesday, were removed at
around 0700 GMT. 

Kyi Maung's detention and a fresh crackdown on Suu Kyi's NLD by the SLORC
sparked widespread condemnation from Western nations and human rights

The European Union was expected on Monday to increase pressure on the SLORC
by imposing tight visa restrictions.

A government official said last week that Kyi Maung was being held for
questioning in a guesthouse to find out if he had advised two students
involved in a protest against the SLORC on October 23.

Kyi Maung was seen talking to two student leaders the day before up to 1,000
university students staged the sit-in demonstration about two km (1.2 miles)
from Suu Kyi's residence, the official said.

The SLORC accused the NLD, especially Kyi Maung, of colluding with the
students in the protest to foment unrest.

Students involved in last week's demonstration said it was apolitical, and
held to protest the authorities' rough handling of three students who were
briefly arrested following a quarrel at a restaurant.

A similar scuffle in a tea-shop in 1988 sparked nationwide outrage against
the former military regime, leading to pro-democracy street demonstrations
that left thousands dead or in jail.   The SLORC had blocked vehicle and
pedestrian access to University Avenue, the road on which Suu Kyi's house is
located, for most of the past month in an effort to stop various meetings of
the NLD from taking place.

Last week the checkpoints, manned by heavily-armed security police, were set
up to prevent Suu Kyi from holding an NLD meeting at her house, a government
official said.

The barricades have also stopped Suu Kyi from giving her regular weekend
speeches to supporters at her front gates for the past five weekends.
However, NLD sources said on Sunday that Suu Kyi had left her residence
recently and had been able to hold meetings with senior members of her party
at her home.


October 28, 1996

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 28 (Reuter) - The European Union on Monday imposed strict
limits on contacts with Burmese officials in response to what the 15-nation
bloc sees as a failure to bring in democracy and end human-rights abuses.
Diplomats said that EU foreign ministers agreed the new restrictions without
discussion as they began a meeting in Luxembourg.  

The ministers agreed to refuse entry visas to senior members of Burma's
military government and their families, and to senior members of its armed
forces and security services viewed by the EU as impeding the country's
transition to democracy.

They also suspended all high-level EU visits to Burma.
In a statement, the ministers said the military government had failed "to
demonstrate any willingness to respond to the concerns of the United Nations
General Assembly and the European Union".
"Further measures may need to be considered," the ministers warned.  


October 28, 1996

The Government of Myanmar will appear before the Committee on
the Rights of the Child on 15 January (10am-1pm, 3pm-6pm) and
16 January (10am-1pm) 1997. The meetings will be in Geneva at
the Palais des Nations. The meetings are public, and the press
is likely to take an interest. 
The government delegation will answer questions from the
Committee about Myanmar's implementation of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, which it signed in 1991. It is the
only human rights treaty SLORC has itself acceded to. This is
the first time SLORC has appeared before the Committee. The
questions will be based on the Government of Myanmar's report
to the Committee (CRC/C8/Add.9 of 18 September 1995), the
pre-sessional consultations of last June when a number of
non-governmental organisations and Burma experts briefed the
Committee, other documentation received by the Committee, and
discussions with SLORC representatives.
Though the Committee's intention is to act in a consultative
role, sitting down with governments to advise them on the
implementation of the Convention, SLORC is likely to get a
rather rough ride in January. This is because the Convention
is a fairly thorough human rights instrument, and the
situation of human rights in Burma, if we are to believe UN,
governmental and non-governmental observers and Burmese
refugees, is among the worst in the world.
David Arnott, Burma Peace Foundation

October 28, 1996
Christopher Ogden

The US debates how to boost pressure on the junta and its Asian allies

THERE is little question that the repressive military junta running Myanmar,
or Burma as it was formerly known, comprises as unsavory a bunch of thugs as
is likely to be found east of Baghdad. Nor is there much doubt that Aung San
Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy Party, is the most
appealing opposition leader and former political prisoner north of south
Africa's Nelson Mandela, her fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The effort to promote political freedom in Burma has long produced cheap
heated rhetoric in the US, but little real ferment until recently, for two
reasons: first, though Burma poses a major human-rights challenge and
supplies most of the opium and heroin consumed in the US, the renegade
country has had a low priority on Washington's wobbly Asia policy plate; and
second, little action was likely while Burma's neighbours were unwilling to
risk their business links to Rangoon and were raining disdain on America for
posturing. The neighbours wanted "constructive engagement," the failed
policy the Reagan Administration tried on South Africa in the 80s in a
frantic effort to avoid imposing sanctions on the apartheid government. But
lately there has been a mood shift in both the US and in Asean, the
seven-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which Burma, desperate
for investment, wants to join by July 1997.

The change was prompted by the latest crackdown by the Slorc - the perfect
acronym for an evil cabal overdue for a visit from James Bond. In late
September, Slorc arrested more than 500 pro-democracy activists, cut Suu
Kyi's phone lines and erected barricades to prevent followers from rallying
near her home where she spoke to crowds on weekends.

The US Congress responded by considering instant economic sanctions, then
settled for a milder bill that would bar new American investment if Burma
"has physically harmed, rearrested for political acts or exiled (Suu Kyi) or
committed large-scale repression of or violence against the democratic
opposition." Pleased with the added flexibility Congress gave him, President
Clinton signed the legislation Sept 30, barred Burmese officials on Oct 3
from entering the US and pressed on with his re-election campaign while
White House national security aides awaited Rangoon's response.

Slorc did what every bully does when facing resistance: it backed down.
State Department sources said the junta released 376 of the 573 Suu Kyi
backers it admitted detaining but held at least 197, including 34 NLD
members who had been elected to parliament. Congressional sources said all
but two were released. What matters, of course is that none should have been
detained in the first place.

Asean, which hoped granting Burma observer status last July would soften its
stance, was divided by Slorc's latest crackdown. At the UN last month,
foreign minister of Asean members failed to reach agreement on allowing
Burma's full admission next year. Malaysia backed Rangoon, but Thailand and
the Philippines uncharacteristically went public with reservations Indonesia
is waiting for its allies to reach a consensus. Beyond Asean, Japan openly
criticized Slorc. In Brussels, European Union ministers considered a package
of penalties, including suspending trade benefits, because Burma uses a
great deal of forced labour, compelling as many as 2 million citizens to
build roads, bridges and hotels.

The Clinton Administration is also torn over what to do next some US
Senators have urged applying sanctions immediately, convinced Burma is
already guilty of "large-scale repression. Congress is in recess for the Nov
5 election, though, so Clinton has leeway. Some of his aides say sanctions
should not be imposed until the very last moment so the threat of using them
will remain a deterrent. Others insist the US will lose credibility if it
fails to follow through quickly. What is involved? Primarily petroleum
interests. The US is Burma's fourth largest investor - after France,
Singapore and Thailand - thanks largely to Unocal's 28% stake in a
billion-dollar gas field and pipeline project led by France's Total.

There is, however, a clear way to go forward right now when, according to
Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington director of Human Right Watch/Asia, "the
United States has maximum and unique leverage."

The US cannot operate unilaterally, so it must use the cracks that have
opened in Asia. The Administration should tell the Asean governments and
Japan that if Burma has not substantially eased repression by the end of
November, the US will proceed with sanctions. Asean cannot cave in to
Washington, so its acceptable fallback should be to demand that Slorc begin
talking with Alvaro de Soto, the UN envoy charged last year with
facilitating a dialogue on Burma. That would set the stage for the full-down
UN debate on Burma scheduled for late November. In the meantime, Clinton
must talk up Burma at the Nov 24 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit in
Manila. Secretary of State Warren Christopher can push further at the Asean
ministerial session the following week in Jakarta.

The fulcrums are in place. What remains is the forceful application of
leverage in unison. 


October 24, 1996

New York Declaration of the International Conference on Burma 
New York Helmsley Hotel

We, the representatives of the people of Burma elected in the 27 May 1990 
general elections, together with members of the democratic movement of
Burma, having met at the New York International Conference, hereby:

Reaffirm the popular will of the people of Burma to restore democracy and the 
need of a national mandate for any government to govern;

Acknowledge the determination of National League for Democracy (NLD) to
steer an unwavering path towards the restoration of democracy in Burma, and 
especially commend the courage and leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in
taking initiatives for a peaceful democratic transition in spite of increasing 
restrictions imposed on her and other members of the NLD;

Recognize the contribution of members of the NLD, monks, students and 
individuals inside Burma and all the sacrifices made by countless numbers of 
people in their unflagging struggle for democracy in spite of being confronted
by all manners of repression;

Welcome the decision of the NLD Congress to adopt democratic principles 
as a firm framework for the writing of a new constitution, the formulation of 
an economic blueprint for Burma, and the formulation of the future role of the 
Tatmadaw in our national life;  

Fully agree with the NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that only a genuine
political dialogue between the leaders of the Tatmadaw, the leaders of the
democratic movement, and the leaders of the ethnic minorities,  can serve to
break the national deadlock and put an end to the continuing deterioration
of Burma's national status and integrity;

Applaud the recent decision of the United States Government to restrict
visas for SLORC officials and people whose actions impede the democratic 
process in Burma, and increase support for the Burmese democracy movement;

Applaud the decision of the Danish Government to further promote the cause of
democracy in Burma by supporting the National Coalition Government of the 
Union of Burma and its allies;

Applaud the decision by the Norwegian Government to increase support for the
Burmese democracy movement;

Commend the decision of the European Commission to investigate the practice
of forced labour in Burma;

Are encouraged by the decision of the International Labor Organization in June 
to establish a Commission of Inquiry on Burma;

Share the concerns expressed in the resolution made at the United Nations 
Commission on Human Rights in April this year;

Note with appreciation all individuals and organizations working tirelessly 
and consistently for the democratic cause in Burma;

Note with great concern:

* the recent crackdown against students in Rangoon who organized
demonstrations against the police brutality and injustices on October 21 and 22;

* the massive arrest of over a thousand NLD members, who tried to attend the 
NLD Party Congress in September and May.  

* the deaths-in-custody of NLD elected people's representative U Hla Than and 
Danish honorary consul Mr. James Nichols;

* the continuing detention of U Win Tin, central executive committee member 
and other members of the NLD,  student activists including Min Ko Naing, the 
leader of ABSFU, and many other individuals arrested for their involvement in 
the democratic movement;

* the continued use of repressive laws and decrees to restrict and deny the 
people of Burma their fundamental rights;

* the rising number of gross human rights violations such as arbitarary 
killings, mass arrests, forced labor, forced relocation and torture across 
the country especially in areas with ethnic populations;

* the escalating tension in ethnic areas and the use of force to impose
cease-fire conditions on the ethnic groups;

* the alarming rate of inflation and macroeconomic instability causing severe 
distress on the daily survival of the majority of the population;

* the decaying social bonds within the society as evident by rampant 
corruption, family breakdown, growing prostitution and crimes.  

Noting the above concerns, we call on the people of Burma to unitedly strive 
for a WAY out of our NATIONAL CRISIS; to restore to Burma, our national 
integrity and a dignified role in the family of nations. 

Stressing the need for enhanced cooperation between all people of Burma to 
bring a peaceful change in our country, we hereby:

1.  Call for an immediate convening of a consultative dialogue between SLORC 
leaders and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to resolve tensions and to discuss further 
procedures on political dialogue;

2.  Call on the SLORC to stop using force in managing civic protests and in 
seeking peace with ethnic groups;

3.  Call on the leaders of the Tatmadaw to facilitate the process of national 
reconstruction which can restore democratic institutions, free market 
mechanisms, a civil society and a modern armed forces. 

4.  Call on the members of the Burmese communities around the world to 
strengthen their engagement at the grassroot level;

5.  Call on the United Nations to send a special envoy to mediate the 
implementation of the resolution set forth in the last United Nations General 
Assembly, in particular, to facilitate national reconciliation and 

6.  Call on the United States Government and the international community to 
take additional measures to send an unmistaken signal to the military leaders 
in Burma that they cannot continue carrying out acts of repression with 

7.  Call on the ASEAN to defer the entry of Burma into the association;  

8.  Call on the members of the international business community to refrain 
from investing in projects that are beneficial to the SLORC and in projects 
that are detrimental to the benefits of ordinary people with serious economic,
social and ecological damage impact on Burma's future; and

9.  Call on the NGOs, human rights groups, activists and individuals engaged 
in the issues of Burma to sustain their efforts in promoting the cause of 
democracy in Burma. 


October 26, 1996

A bout 15,000 refugees are expected to flee across the border to
seek temporary refuge on Thai soil during the upcoming annual dry
season offensive by Burmese forces against Karen rebels, a
meeting heard yesterday.

Non-government organisations taking part in the meeting in Mae
sot District said Burmese troops are expected to launch a
dry-season offensive against Karen National- Union (KNU) forces
as a result of failed ceasefire talks between the two sides.
Both have reinforced their troops along the border opposite
Umphang District.
Border Patrol Police said fighting has intensified since October
19 as Burmese troops have been trying to capture the KNU's base
opposite Ban Tapheupoo in Umphang District. Two Burmese soldiers
were seriously wounded in the attack.
The KNU reportedly contacted the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc) to negotiate a ceasefire, but there has been no
response. Last week, Rangoon sent three helicopters to patrol the
Thai-Burmese border. They landed at its Htee Sa Lee camp, said
the BPP source.
Col Suvit Manmuen, commander of the Fourth Infantry Regiment's
special task force, said there have been indications that Rangoon
may renew its attack on the KNU during the dry season.
Col Suvit chaired the meeting which was attended by some 50
officials and representatives of the Karen Refugee Committee
(KRC), Burma Border Consortium (BBC), Medicine San Frontier
(MSF), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,

All participants were asked to take precautionary measures in
case of fighting and to provide help for some 15,000 Karen
civilians expected to flee the attack and seek refuge on Thai

The KRC also proposed that 3,000 Karen refugees from the Don Pa
Kiang camp in Mae Ramat District be relocated to other sites. 


October 25, 1996 (Australian Financial Review)
By Michael Dwyer.

The Federal Government is facing strong pressure from the corporate sector
to toughen its stance against Burma's military dictatorship.

The ACTU yesterday released a list of 17 prominent Australian companies
which have decided not to do business in Burma.

The companies which have placed Burma on their blacklist include BHP,
Telstra, Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd, Transfield International Pty Ltd,
Placer Pacific and Ashton Mining.

The announcement that 17 Australian companies have refused to do business
with Rangoon comes amidst growing international concerns about a crackdown
on pro-democracy leaders by Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC).

The vice-chairman of Burma's National League for Democracy (NLD), U Kyi
Maung, was arrested by SLORC troops early on Wednesday morning. U Kyi Maung
is a key adviser to NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms Aung San Suu Kyi.

The United States has protested against the arrest of U Kyi Maung, with
State Department officials describing it as an "escalation" of SLORC repression.
Washington has stepped up its campaign against the regime in Burma, placing
a ban on travel to the US by SLORC leaders.

A number of large multinational companies - Levi Strauss, Reebok, Apple,
Carlsberg and Heineken - have signalled their intention to pull out of Burma.
Australian companies are beginning to do the same. ACTU assistant secretary
Mr Bill Mansfield said this showed Australian firms could make decisions
that took human rights into account. "Human rights organisations around the
world have evidence of forced labour in Burma," Mr Mansfield said.

"It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the use of forced labour
represents the central feature of the regime's infrastructure development
policy," he said.

ASEAN countries agreed to a constructive engagement with Burma at their
ministerial conference of 1994, prompting Australia to outline a "benchmark"
approach to its own relationship with the military regime.

Under this approach, Australia has signalled it would be prepared to accept
Burma's re-entry into international forums if SLORC can show progress on
human rights and democratisation.

But there are signs that Australia's bipartisan approach to this "benchmark"
policy may be crumbling, with Labor calling for a tougher stance against Burma.

The Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) called on the Government
yesterday to protest against the arrest of U Kyi Maung.

"The Australian Government should respond strongly to this increased
persecution of democracy politicians," said its executive director, Ms Janet


October 25, 1996 (abriged) Thailand Times

BONN: The German government apparently blocked a commercial deal
under which a Burmese opposition radio station would have used a
shortwave transmission facility belonging to the state-owned
Telekom AG, a company spokesman said.

"If the government says 'wait a minute', we have to respect
this," said Hans Ehnert, a spokesman for Telekom AG in Bonn,
adding that Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government had informed
Telekom of its deep reservations about the deal.

"We cannot just sweep aside government concern over a business
(deal)," said Ehnert.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman admitted earlier the
government had told Telekom of its reservations over the deal
under which the opposition radio station, the Democratic Voice of
Burma, would have been allowed to use a shortwave facility in

"We have reservations about allowing German frequencies to be
used by any foreign opposition group," said the spokesman who
stressed, however, that Bonn had not banned the deal.

The Oslo-based radio station, which backs Burmese opposition
leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, had wanted
to use the transmitter for improving the reception quality of its
daily one-hour program to Burma, according to a report in
Berlin's Tageszeitung daily.

The Voice of Burma is backed financially by Denmark, Norway,
Sweden and the United States, said the Tageszeitung. 
Under the now canceled deal Telekom AG was to have received
US$100,000 per year for providing the transmission capacity, the
newspaper said.

Shares for the first stage of Telekom AG' s privatization are due
to go on sale in November. The 500 million shares represent about
20 per cent of the company's equity. 


October 21, 1996 (Chin Human Rights Organization)

P.O.BOX (5),
Tel / Fax : 880-361-468

Appeal to UN, International Agencies and Organizations to Request the 
Stop of Brutal Killings and Arrests of Village Chiefs By the Burmese Army.

Mr. Bawi Kung, Haka (the capital of Chin State), Burma who returned back 
from Mizoram State on 09/10/96, was brutally murdered by the Burmese Army.

Second Lieutanant Soe Tun, who is the commander of Hriphi Post ( Than Tlang  
Township ) under No.266 Light Infantry Battalion, based his headquarters
at Haka. He was accompanied by 30 armies and went to Ngalang village, Than 
Tlang Township. On 09/10/96 without prior notice the villagers were
surrounded at about 5:00 pm on 09/10/96. 

Mr. Bawi Kung and his two friends of Pa Sui and Pa Lian intended to enter 
the village to sleep for one night. When they arrived at the village, the
Burmese Army shot at them, killing Mr. Bawi Kung immediately. Two of his
friends tried to flee away but Pa Lian was arrested. Pa Sui escaped and
informed the CHRO about  the matter. 

A member of CHRO, Mr. Biak Ceu went to Ngalang village on 
11/10/96 to enquire further about the incident. Acccording to Mr. Biak Ceu the 
body  of  Mr. Bawi Kung was rolled with blanket and nobody was permitted to
take it. The Burmese Army ordered the villagers to bury it as soon as

A curfew order was declared until the next afternoon. 
All the village elders who didnt know the names of CNF ( Chin National Front
) leaders were tortured. Mr. Pamaung was hit with their guns several times
on his body so that he is now being looked after under medical care and is
in a serious condition.