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Subject: Re: THE INDEPENDENT: MILITARY OPENS UP BURMA TO TOURISM  (BurmaNet News: November 21, 1996)

>November 19, 1996 (UK Publication)
>By John Lichfield Chief Foreign Writer.
>To enforced jollity at home and a chorus of protests abroad, the Burmese
>military government yesterday launched a campaign to attract tourists to the
>once-reclusive nation.
>In Britain, the Burmese Action Group, will hold a rally tonight to call for
>a boycott on holiday travel to Burma as a protest against the suppression of
>political and human rights - including the enslavement of children and
>adults to build tourist facilities.
>Hopes that the meeting, at the Royal Institution in London, would receive a
>recorded statement of support from the pro-democracy campaigner, Aung San
>Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, appear to have been dashed.
>New restrictions imposed by the government have made it impossible for Ms
>Suu Kyi to transmit a message, say organizers of the conference, which is
>partly sponsored by The Independent.
>Instead, Mairead Maguire, a Nobel laureate for services to peace in Northern
>Ireland, will read out a compilation of extracts from speeches and writings
>by Ms Suu Kyi in the last year. The meeting will also see an interview with
>Ms Suu Kyi recorded earlier this month by Glenys Kinnock MEP, in which she
>urges a boycott of tourism, investment and trade.
>"It all adds up. Drops of water make up the ocean," the Burmese opposition
>leader says, in the video smuggled out by Mrs Kinnock. "Sanctions are
>effective ... They are of symbolic as well as practical importance."
>The government - the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) -
>marked the beginning of "Visit Myanmar Year" yesterday with an
>Olympics-style ceremony.  Campaigners around the world hope to hijack the
>event, however and publicize the excesses of the regime. In Brussels
>yesterday, Mrs. Kinnock led a picket outside the offices of Club Med, which
>has recently
>begun tours to Burma. The protest was joined by the International
>Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which cited extensive evidence of the
>use of slave labor in Burma. A spokesman for the ICFTU said women, children
>and elderly people had been forced to work on new motorways, railways,
>bridges and tourist sites, including the Golden Palace at Mandalay.

>In Britain, the Burma Action Group UK reports that four tour operators have
>dropped Burma from their schedules, but another 30 still offer travel
>packages to Burma. "Overall, we are confident that there will be no increase
>in UK tourism to Burma," said Yvette Mahon, a spokeswoman for the group.
>Ms Suu Kyi has been especially vocal in calling for a tourism boycott. She
>said recently: "Travel, it is said, broadens the mind. But there are times
>when breadth of vision dictates that travel be curbed in the interests of
>justice and humanity." 
Mrs. Kinnock was not leading the picket outside the offices of Club Med in
Brussels. She didn't show up at all. Belgian MEP's Anne Van Lancker
(socialists) and Magda Aelvoet (Green) however were present to read a
statement by Aung San Suu Kyi. Also present was the British MEP James
Moorehouse (Conservative), Belgian MP Lode Vanoost (Green) and U Aung Ko,
Burmese actor (Beyond Rangoon). The demonstration was supported by KWIA
Support Group for Indigenous Peoples, International Confederation of Free
Trade Unions (ICFTU), European Trade Union Textile, Garment and Leather
(ORE/THC), International Christian Democrat. The action was an item in the
(Dutch language) television news.

Kris Deckers
KWIA Steungroep Inheemse Volkeren - KWIA Supportgroup for Indigenous peoples
- KWIA Grupo de Apoyo para los Pueblos Indigenas
Breughelstraat 31-33, 2018 Antwerpen, BELGIUM
Tel. 32-3-2188488
Fax  32-3-2304540