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[ASIAN-BUSINESS] Burma - protests o
- Subject: [ASIAN-BUSINESS] Burma - protests o
- From: ider@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 00:05:00
Subject: [ASIAN-BUSINESS] Burma - protests over doing biz (fwd)
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This is the last report on Burma.
Just scan this and you will get a feeling that
People worldwide are getting united against a
people crushing stubborn regime - which invites the world businesses
to go and invest in Burma - which desperately needs almost
everything - but the hyper active pro-democracy activists
are pushing hard against large companies.
The internet is helping them unite and somewhere
somebody has started listening to the noises of these
people - who rightly wish a free Burma.
LETTER FROM PEPSI DISTRIBUTOR CALLING FOR SANCTIONS
In response to discussions with FBC activists in Eureka, CA:
Pepsi Cola of Eureka, CA, acknowledges the implication of the PepsiCo
involvement in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma. Although we
here at the local level don't agree with the PepsiCo position in Burma,
our success in conveying our message has been limited. [the CEO wouldn't
even return phone calls to the owner] As you know from our letter to
Craig Weatherup we have made our position known, but do not expect much
response as our franchise is locally owned and quite small, representing
less than one half of one percent of the toatal U.S. volume.
It is Pepsi Eureka's feeling that this issue must be dealt with on a
purely poitical basis. Only through rigid sanctions against Burmese
trade will these problems be resolved. We have learned that to impose a
sanction on a foreign government a measure must be brought before the
United States Senate and pass by majority vote. Our recommmentdation in
expediting the senate vote process is to direct all correspondence to the
U.S. Senate subcommittee on trade, headed by (1) U.S. Representative Phil
Crane of Illinois. With a concentrated effort behind an active letter
writing or computer E-mail campaign we feel that the people of the
Humboldt County area can voice their opinions on a national level where
they can truly make a difference.
As we are all aware, the real goal here is to aid and benefit the Burmese
people, not jeopardize the jobs of the employees of Pepsi Cola Eureka.
BOYCOTT WENTE: BURMESE PARTNER BANNED FOR DRUG LINKS
Larry Dohrs, Free Burma Coalition, 206-784-5742
John Schwartz, Wente Vinyards, 510-447-3603
On November 4 an international coalition of human rights groups announced
a boycott of Wente Vineyards of Livermore, CA. Boycotters criticize Wente's
links to its Burmese partner Steven Law, head of Asia World Company Ltd.
Law has been denied a visa to the US based on suspected involvement in the
While other companies have been boycotted for their support of
Burma's military regime, Wente is the first company to be targeted due to
concerns over Burmese heroin exports.
Burma supplies most of the world's heroin, including 60% of the
heroin in the US and 80% in Canada. In March, a State Department
narcotics report said about Burma, "lack of enforcement against money
laundering has created a business environment conducive to the use of
drug-related proceeds in legitimate commerce."
Wente announced its Burma deal in February, describing Law as a
"major player." Law is the son of Lo Hsing Han, called by the Washington
Post "one of Southeast Asia's leading heroin traffickers." Wente VP John
Schwartz is aware that Law is barred from the US, but has offered no comment.
"Doing business in Burma is bad enough" says San Francisco City
Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who led a successful effort to ban city contracts
with companies doing business in Burma. "But Wente's 'business
arrangement' with a suspected heroin trafficker is outrageous," he says,
noting the troubling rise in heroin use by teens.
The boycott is backed by the US-based Free Burma Coalition, which
has members in 15 countries worldwide, the Canadian Friends of Burma and
Burma Centrum Netherlands.
Wente brand names include Wente Vineyards, Murrieta's Well,
Ficklin Vineyards, Sergio Traverso, Ivan Tamas, Concannon Vineyards, Sokol
Blosser Oregon Winery, and microbrew St. Stan's Beer.
Asia World Co. has recently been the target of an investigation by the
television program "Dateline," which aired its findings October 12.
AUSTRALIAN AID AGENCIES CALL FOR TOURISM BOYCOTT
ACFOA Human Rights Office <acfoahr@xxxxxxxxxxx>
The peak body for Australian development agencies, the Australian Council
for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) is calling for Australians to boycott a tourist
campaign by Burma's ruling military junta. The State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) will launch a six month campaign "Visit
Myanmar Year" in November 1996 to May 1997 in a bid to attract 250 000
"In the longer term we don't want to isolate the Burmese people, but during
Visit Myanmar Year, ACFOA is calling on all Australian travelers and
Australian travel companies to condemn this abuse of human rights in Burma
and to withhold their support for the SLORC's tourism campaign. We want it
to be a big flop for SLORC," Ms Hunt said.
Holidays in Burma? developed by the Burma NGO/Community Meeting focuses on
human rights abuses committed in the name of tourism and sets out the case
for not supporting travel to Burma. Burma was renamed Myanmar by the SLORC
in 1989. The brochure notes extensive military holdings in the tourist
industry such as the family of former dictator General Ne Win, who have a
half share in Burma's airline Myanmar Airways. Upon arrival, tourists are
compelled to exchange $US 300 at an artificial rate, the difference of which
acts as a direct cash contribution to SLORC.
Executive Director, Janet Hunt: (06) 285 1816 (w) (06) 281 0252 (h)
Burma Project Administrator, (03) 9417 7238 (w) (03) 9528 4508 (h)
IUF/SWISS APPEAL ON BURMA TOURISM
Geneva and Basel,
"DON'T VISIT MYANMAR YEAR 96"
DON'T ACCEPT THE GENERALS' HOLIDAY INVITATION
The Swiss-Burma Association, Arbeitskreis Tourismus und
Entwicklung, and the International Union of Food,
Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied
Workers' Associations (IUF)
issue a joint appeal to the Swiss people and the political and
economic leaders of Switzerland to bring immediate support to
the embattled Burmese democracy movement by refraining from
traveling to Burma, and by refusing to cooperate in any way
with the military regime.
At a time when travel agents' catalogues are promoting Burma
as the "mysterious land of golden pagodas", and the military
junta is preparing to launch its year of tourism, it is vital
to inform the public about the conditions under which this
tourism year is being brought about:
The preparation of the tourist infrastructure has involved
massive human rights abuses. This "holiday paradise" is being
built by forced labour. Throughout the country the people,
particularly ethnic minorities and members of the democratic
opposition, are subject to constant repression by the military junta.
* SWISS TRAVELERS are strongly urged not to go to Burma at
this time. Such a decision will not only support the
endangered Burmese Democracy Movement, but constitute a
sanction against those travel agents who close their eyes to
extremely serious human rights violations in the country and
thus put the quality of their clients' holidays at risk.
* SWISS TRAVEL AGENTS are urged to respect the recommendation
of their own organisation: in October 1995 the Environment and
Social Affairs Group of the Federation of Swiss Travel Agents
recommended their members not to promote Burma at this time.
By accepting the invitation of the Burmese Generals and by
cooperating with them, travel agents bring discredit on themselves
and betray the trust of their clients, who rely on their advice.
Beyond the tourist industry, the SWISS BUSINESS COMMUNITY is
urged not to invest in Burma at this time. Multinational
companies like brewers Heineken (Netherlands) and Carlsberg
(Denmark) have withdrawn from the country in recent months.
They took this action not least as a result of pressure from
trade unions, workers and threats of sanctions.
The SWISS GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION are urged to bring
effective support to the endangered Burmese democratic forces,
in particular opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to
actively encourage the process of democratisation in the
country. The Burmese Democracy Movement is asking for
international sanctions against the military junta. The United
States and European Union have imposed sanctions in recent
weeks, and ASEAN is currently reconsidering whether Burma is
ready to enter the Association. One might therefore expect
that the SWISS PARLIAMENT Will revise the law on the export of
war materials so that the export of Pilatus planes (and spare
parts) to Burma will be forbidden. Only last Spring, attacks
made by adapted Pilatus P7s in the junta's offensive against Karenni
civilians in Kayah State led to the flight of thousands of people.
This statement is supported by:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft gegen Kinderprostitution, Human rights
working group of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches
(SEK), Bread for All, FIZ --Information Centre for Third World
Women, Society for Threatened Peoples (Switzerland), International
Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical
Employees (FIET), International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF)
Christine Plss, Arbeitskreis Tourismus und Entwicklung, Basel,
Tel (061) 261 4742; Fax 261 4721
Claude Schauli, Association Suisse-Birmanie; Tel 079/203. 84.65
Dan Gallin, Peter Rossman, Secretariat of IUF; Tel
022/793.22.33; Fax 793 2238
BURMA ACTION GROUP UK - DON'T VISIT BURMA YET
The Burma Action Group UK presents "DON'T VISIT BURMA YET"
7pm,Tuesday 19th November 1996, the Royal Institution
Guest speakers: John Pilger & A special guest
The Burma Action Group UK are pleased to invite you to attend a
unique fund-raising event which will be held on the evening of the
19th November 1996, hosted on our behalf by the prestigious journalist
John Pilger. During the evening he will screen a previously unreleased
interview between himself and Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
and will speak about his recent visit to Burma. Daw Suu has called for a
tourism boycott of her country, in particular during the repressive military
dictatorship's heralded "Visit Myanmar Year 1996".
7.00pm Reception and Photo exhibition
7.30pm Screened interview with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
8.00pm Talk by John Pilger, Discussion session
9.00pm Address by our special guest
9.15pm Burmese food, book signing by John Pilger, sale of merchandise,
"The story of Suu" by reknowned storyteller Danny Scheninmann
Donations welcomed, 10.30pm Ends
For reservations, contact The Burma Action Group, Collins Studios,
Collins Yard, Islington Green, london, N1 2XU Tel: (44) (0)171 359
7679 Fax: (44) (0)171 354 3987 E-mail: bagp@xxxxxxxxxx
BURMA ACTION-IRELAND UPDATE
We had a presentation of "Beyond Rangoon" at the Irish Film Centre earlier
this month; it was a great success. John Boorman introduced the film and
read a letter from out Foreign Minister Dick Spring....edited extract follows:
"...you have my support and I express my deep concern for the
plight of democracy in Burma today. I salute the extraordinary bravery and
fortitude of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected leader of her nation who
has been incarcerated and disenfranchised. I am aware that the situation is
deteriorating and the SLORC is applying even more repressive policies.
Democratic nations must increase pressure on the SLORC; with this in mind
as President in Office of the European Union Council of Ministers I met twice
in recent months with the Burmese Minister of Foreign Affairs and expressed
frankly my deep concern and that of my EU colleagues in regard to the political
and human rights situation in Burma. I might add that the situation in Burma is
to be discussed at the General Affairs Council of the European Union in
Luxembourg on 28th October."
We in Burma Action-Ireland are following up this and have made
excellent contacts in the EU administration both in Ireland and Brussels.
FRENCH CAMPAIGN AGAINST TOTAL AND FIDH REPORT
The Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights
(FIDH), which has national chapters in a large number of
countries, issued a report on 23 October condemning the French
oil company Total for complicity in human rights violations in
Burma (see report on p3 of "Le Monde" of 24/Oct/96: "Human
Rights activists condemn the collusion between Total and the
FIDH argues that forced relocations, forced labour and other human rights
violations in the area are directly related to the pipeline; that "without the
pipeline, some or all of the violations would not have occurred". The human
rights organisation does not deny that Total has tried to avoid forced labour
on the limited area of the actual pipeline site.
However, Total's partner in the operation, the Burmese military junta, the
SLORC, is somewhat less meticulous. Forced labour is an integral part of
its economy, and forced relocation of whole populations its standard way
of dealing with ethnic groups which have the misfortune to live in the wrong
Total cannot claim innocence and protest that it was unaware of its partner's
bad habits: the international condemnations have not been kept secret; indeed,
the French Government, which sits on the Total board, is the very government
which every year since 1989 has prepared the resolution on Burma at the UN
Commission on Human Rights. In addition, non-governmental organisations
have informed Total many times since the project was first discussed that human
rights violations were likely in such an operation. It was predictable, for
that SLORC would use forced labour in carrying out its part of the pipeline
agreement, namely to "guarantee the security" of the pipeline.
FIDH also argues that the pipeline project constitutes "economic support"
for the Burmese dictatorship, which "already benefits financially from the
pipeline through loans guaranteed by future revenues". More than 50%
of SLORC's budget is for the military.
The report supports a campaign launched at the end of September by Agir
Ici and a number of other groups in France, to get Total to suspend its
operations in Burma.
The groups concerned are: Aide Medicale Internationale, Federation Artisans
du Monde, FIDH, France Libertes, Freres des Hommes, Justice et Paix-France,
Peuples Solidaires, Reseau Jeunes Solidaires, Reseau Solidarite, Reseau
d'information tiers monde, Survie, and Terre des Hommes-France. These
groups, with a combined membership of approximately 20,000, will send letters
and postcards to the Total officers, among other forms of action.
The Burma Campaign accompanies a similar campaign on Elf and Shell for
their activities in Nigeria. The information brochure is headed "Nigeria,
Birmanie: les dictatures carburent au super!" ("Nigeria, Burma: dictatorships
running on super!").
The brochure has a brief outline of recent Burmese history, the human rights
situation, Total's involvement and the Burmese democracy movement's
request for sanctions. The text on the postcard, addressed to the Chairman
of Total, goes:
"Your company is playing a key role in gas exploitation in
Burma. Considering the political situation in the country and
the appeal made by Nobel Peace Laureate Mme Aung San Suu Kyi
and Burmese democrats for economic sanctions on their country,
I ask you to SUSPEND TOTAL'S OPERATIONS IN BURMA until the
military restores civilian rule......"
Those wanting further information on the campaign, or campaign
materials, should contact
Marie-Line Ramackers, Agir Ici, 14, Passage Dubail, F-75010
Paris, France. Tel (+33-1) 40 35 07 00;
Fax 40 35 06 20; email agirici@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
EAST ANGLIA U. STUDENT UNION BOYCOTTS TOURISM TO BURMA
Maung Myint Swe, a Burmese student studying at the University of East
Anglia in England, is active in the student Union which has now decided
to stop promoting and selling holidays to Burma and to give full support to
movements and organisations which campaign for the cessation of abuses
of rights in Burma.
The following motion was recently passed by the Union of University of
East Anglia (UEA) students:
1)The Burmese government consistently violates the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights of 1948.
2) 1996 is the Year of the Tourism in Burma.
3) The Burmese government is a brutal dictatorship which suppresses any
forms of opposition or dissent often by violent means.
So, the Union is of the opinion that support should not be given to
governments who violate human rights and prevent democratic processes.
And the Union believes that the people in Britain should not give financial
support to the Burmese government by promoting tourism to Burma because
the dictatorship in Burma thrives off the financial rewards of tourism.
Therefore, the Union has carried the following resolutions:
1) Not to advertise or promote holidays to Burma in the Travel Shop or
elsewhere by brochures or any other means.
2) To publicise in the Travel Shop that brochures about Burma are unavailable.
3) To actively support societies campaigning to highlight and to prevent
abuses in Burma.
The East Anglia University Student Union is the first University student
Union in the UK, which has joined hand with the Burmese people and
Burmese students in their quest for democracy.
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN ACTIVISTS SQUARE OFF AGAINST TEXACO
Yesterday, we had about 100 supporters that showed up at the meeting before
the UW Regents Business and Finance Committee. Three people officially
made a compelling case for divestment from Texaco and PepsiCo. 15 other
organziers from across Wisconsin spoke in support of Burma in the context
of Socially Responsible Investment campaign.
Although the full board of Regents' meeting was delayed for an hour,
because of the sheer number of supporters including business school
professors who teach business ethics and social responsibility, community
activits, city council members, and public interest lawyers from various
foundations in town, we were able to make the Regents switch their agenda
and allow us present our case at scheduled time.
The decision on our demands (divesture from Pepsi and Taxaco, adoption of
socially reponsible investment policies, and establishment of a to be made
up of faculty,student, alumni, and citizen to oversee the UW business
activities) will be made by February, 1997.
The Wisconsin Press was there including the Wisconsin Public Radio,
Wisconsin State Journal, campus papers, and so on.
The Associated Students of Madison (UW-Madison student government) and the
United Council (student government for the entire UW system) will be taking
up this issue. At the United Council we are trying to get the resolution
passed which will get rid of all Pepsi businesses from the entire UW
System. (Contact: Greg at gmolk412@xxxxxxxx)
The next step for us in Wisconsin is to go after Wisconsin State Pension
Fund which has holdings worth about $30 billion.
Anyone of you campus spiders want to work on launching
campus-community-based campaign on the subject of social responsibility
using Free Burma campaign as a springboard, please do contact us here in
Wisconsin. (Contact: John Rosen at jmrosen@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
Stanford, Wesleyan, Macalester, Northwestern, U. Chicago, and several other
campuses are working on this project as well.
We here in Ohio just had our first "statewide" meeting last Saturday (10/19).
Actually, this meeting ended up including about 20-25 folks from Columbus
and Athens. Our next meeting will take place January 11th in Columbus,
beginning at 11 AM.
** we plan to set up a meeting during the December break with both Ohio
senators, and hope to get representatives from at least Athens, Columbus
and Cincinnatti to attend these meetings
** we are currently focusing on outreach so as to begin 1997 with a
concerted statewide effort
** we are trying to set up a statewide Burmanet to increase the number of
people communicating on-line. I have agreed to act as the monitor of both
Burmanet and Free Burma lists, to weed out what seems most relevant to our
statewide efforts, and to cut down the volume to a significant enough
degree that people actually stay "tuned" -- this will hopefully be a good
forum for statewide discussion/idea generation/planning, etc
Today we held a protest in front of the Taco Bell in the Student Union.
We stood there with a big banner that said "Boycott TacoBell, Boycott
Pepsi" and we also passed out informational fliers to people as they walked
by. When the owners finally noticed us, they sent the Director of the
Student Union down to kick us out. He talked with us about Pepsi's
pullout and he is still convinced that Pepsi has no presence whatsoever in
Burma. However, he gave us his card and we are going to set up a meeting
with him. After the protest, the student radio station asked us into their
studio for a live, on-the-air interview. It was very good and they were
very supportive of our cause. The school newspaper also came out to take a
few pictures. - Eric
FREE BURMA ACTION IN ALASKA
Alaskans for a Free Burma showed "Inside Burma" and had a discussion and
handed out info. About 25 people came, which is good for this town. Now
"Inside Burma" is going on tour to the Amnesty Int'l group in Kenai where
Unocal is a big deal. Oil is big up here in general. I plan to hit the
From Tony Robinson
Socialist Spokesman, European Parliament 10 November 1996
CLOAK-AND-DAGGER GLENYS THWARTS BURMESE BAN
Euro MP Glenys Kinnock and her Labour colleague Glyn Ford
today returned from a clandestine operation to enter Burma and
interview democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi in defiance of a
ban by the military regime.
Mrs Kinnock declared that video tapes of the 20-minute
interview -- which she is to release at the European Parliament
in Strasbourg tomorrow after smuggling it out of the country in
her handbag - will step up pressure on EU leaders to impose
sanctions on Burma.
The interview was carried out only hours before a mob
described by Mrs Kinnock as 'thugs hired by the government'
smashed the windows of a car in which Aung San Suu Kyi was
In the interview, Aung San Suu Kyi calls for economic
sanctions. Said Mrs Kinnock: 'She wants the international
community to act now because she is afraid that things could
become so bad that it would be too late to do anything.'
Aung San Suu Kyi voices her concerns for the safety of
democracy campaigners. She warns that the Burmese people are
reaching the end of their tolerance.
She speaks at her home near the university in Rangoon of the
danger she herself faces. 'I am a target,' she says. 'I am the
person they have to get to.'
Aung San Suu Kyi criticises the business activities of
French oil company Total and calls on tourists to boycott the
country where facilities, including an airport, are alleged to
have been built with child labour and prison labour.
Said Mrs Kinnock: 'She is excoriating in her comments on
the French government for blocking a straightforward decision by
the European Commission to withdraw preferential access for
Burmese textiles and industrial goods.'
The cloak-and-dagger operation which began on Friday saw Mrs
Kinnock and Mr Ford entering Burma as tourists. She said: My
first meeting with contacts on the ground was in the ladies' loo
because that was the only place we could talk.'
She added: It was quite threatening being there. We
couldn't speak openly and we always had to make sure we weren't
being followed. I was particularly anxious about the possibility
that the authorities might take the tapes off me.'
For more info pse phone Tony Robinson Mobile Belgium +3275257410
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