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The BurmaNet News, October 13, 1997
- Subject: The BurmaNet News, October 13, 1997
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 01:09:00
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: October 13, 1997
AFP: SLORC OFFICIAL - NO REQUEST FOR RAMOS TO MEET SUU KYI
KYODO: FORMER U.S. OFFICIALS DISCUSS MYANMAR INVESTMENT
NCUB STATEMENT: ON NLD NINTH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE
FTUB REPORT: SLORC DELEGATION TO KARENNI
ABSDF-WB: INDO-BURMA BORDER NEWS
SLORC: INFORMATION SHEET NO. A-0165(I)
ASIAWEEK: ODDLY, A SHOW OF REASON
FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW: ON TRACK, OFF TRACK
THE IRRAWADDY: SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENT SOLDIERS
TV MYANMAR NETWORK: MINISTER MYINT AUNG VISITS RUSSIA
CFOB: ALAN CLEMENTS IN TORONTO AND OTTAWA FOR TALKS
BURMANET SUBJECT-MATTER RESOURCE LIST
HONG KONG AFP: SLORC OFFICIAL -- NO REQUEST FOR RAMOS TO MEET SUU KYI
October 8, 1997
BANGKOK, Oct 8 (AFP) - Burma's ruling military junta on Wednesday
denied the Philippines had requested a meeting between President Fidel
Ramos and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi next week.
The comment came as Ramos said diplomats were working out a possible
meeting with the pro-democracy chief during his state visit to Rangoon next
week in "collaboration with the host government."
A senior military official said the Burmese embassy in Manila, the
Philippine embassy in Rangoon and the Burmese ministry of foreign affairs
were unaware of formal permission for a meeting being sought.
"There is no such official request being made from the Philippine
authorities on this matter," he said referring to an "alleged request to
the Myanmar (Burma) authorities to meet with Mrs Aris during his state
visit. [no closing quotation marks as received]
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was kept under house arrest for
six years after her party won elections here in 1990, is married to
Englishman Michael Aris.
Ramos said earlier Wednesday in Manila that details for a possible meeting
were being worked out "by our Department of Foreign Affairs authorities who
are in charge of scheduling in collaboration with the host government."
Ramos is to visit Burma and Laos after a brief visit to Hong Kong on Monday
to address the World Economic Forum.
The visit to Burma and Laos, the newest members of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to which the Philippines also belongs, hopes
"to determine from their leaders, how we of the Philippines can help," Ramos
KYODO: FORMER U.S. OFFICIALS DISCUSS INVESTMENT IN MYANMAR
October 10, 1997
BANGKOK, Oct. 10 (Kyodo) - Three former high-ranking U.S. officials will
visit Myanmar next week to discuss trade and investment in the country with
the ruling junta, a Thai diplomat said Friday.
The diplomat, who requested that he not be named, told Kyodo News the trip
will be sponsored by the Washington-based Burma-Myanmar Forum, an
organization which played a vital role in lobbying Washington not to impose
sanctions on current American investment in Myanmar.
The White House in April halted new U.S. investment in Myanmar as a
punishment for Rangoon's human rights violations.
In Rangoon, the three retired officials will meet with high-ranking officials
of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to discuss
The United States harvests much benefit from American corporations doing
business in Myanmar, such as oil companies Unocal and Texaco.
The three retired officials -- Michel Armacost, former ambassador to the
Philippines and Japan, Richard Armitage, ex-senior assistant secretary of
defense for international security affairs, and Morton Abramowitz, former
ambassador to Thailand -- will leave the U.S. at the weekend and are
scheduled to visit Singapore Oct. 12-14, Myanmar Oct. 14-16, and Thailand
Oct. 17-18, said the diplomat.
They will visit Thailand and Singapore to seek the two countries' advice on
the political situation in Myanmar.
''The delegation would like to collect information on the political situation
in Myanmar from Thailand and Singapore's point of view to take as a factor
when considering doing business in Myanmar,'' the diplomat added.
During their stay in Thailand, they will meet with Deputy Foreign Minister
Pitak Intharawittayanant and senior officials at the Foreign Ministry, while
in Singapore they will also meet with senior officials. They also plan to
seek meetings with U.N. representatives and nongovernmental organization
(NGO) officials in both countries.
NCUB STATEMENT: ON NLD NINTH ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE
October 13, 1997
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE UNION OF BURMA
NCUB Statement On NLD Ninth Anniversary Conference
1. The National League for Democracy (NLD) is the organization mandated by
the people to form a government at the parliament meeting which should have
been held within 60 days after the May 1990 general election. Therefore, the
National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) regards all the undertakings
and performances of the NLD, based on the result of May 1990 election and
its responsibility towards the people, as just and legitimate.
2. We, the NCUB, commend and honor the NLD leaders and members led by Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi, who courageously made relentless efforts, in spite of a
very difficult situation, to hold the conference which was essential for the
3. We support the resolutions passed by the conference, especially the ones
relating to the basic political questions:
* Affirming the members of parliament-elect to be legal and legitimate on
the basis of announcement made in the government gazette;
* Specifying term of the parliament;
* Affirming the May 1990 election as an election specifically for the
election of members of parliament;
* Demanding that those in power permit the convening of a parliament meeting;
* Protesting the coercion of members of the parliament-elect to resign by
those in power;
* Demanding the Election Commission to submit its final report regarding the
* According special mandates to the Chairman and General Secretary of the NLD;
* Demanding, in line with the wishes of the people and parties representing
them, for the resolution of political problems realistically by political
means through dialogue;
* Calling for the convening of a conference similar to the Panglong Conference.
4. We, the NCUB, while supporting the resolutions of the NLD conference,
solemnly demand that the Slorc military dictatorship speedily realize the
just and legitimate demands of the NLD.
5. For the resolution of political problems by political means, we also
solemnly demand that SLORC immediately begin taking steps to hold
tri-partite dialogue comprising of the democratic forces led by Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi, ethnic nationalities forces and the SLORC. In conclusion, we, the
NCUB, call upon all the ethnic nationalities and pro-democracy forces to
unitedly and relentlessly struggle for the immediate:
* Termination of the Slorc's brutal war and scorched-earth destruction
against the ethnic nationalities;
* Abolishment of repressive laws and orders against the people and political
* Release of all political prisoners, unconditionally;
* Arrangements for holding tri-partite dialogue.
FTUB REPORT: SLORC DELEGATION TO KARENNI
October 10, 1997
Federation of Trade Unions-Burma (FTUB)
The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) sent its delegation
led by U Khun Myat and Pastor Sutae, to talk with KNPP leadership, on
9th October 1997. They have arrived by Helicopter to the border town,
Mae Hong Son in Thailand. There was a meeting between both sides in the
morning, on 10th October 1997.
In March 1995 the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) signed a
cease-fire agreement with SLORC which SLORC broke two months later.
ABSDF-WB: INDO-BURMA BORDER NEWS
October 12, 1997
A new bazaar situated at Nanphalong ward, Tamu town of Burma was set ablaze
by unknown gunmen last night. This incident started around 11:30 PM and
ended at 6 A.M. this morning.
20 minutes of cross fire occurred between the bazaar security policemen and
the gunmen who started the fire. Six Burmese policemen and two civilians,
night duty watchmen died in this incident. The bullets directly hit and
penetrated the walls of houses of both countries situated near the
borderline. According to a Manipur police source, one Medrasi man from Moreh
also died in the crossfire.
The bazaar is situated 50 meters away from barbed wire border fencing, and is
opposite Gate No. 2 of Moreh. This Nanphalong new bazaar was opened in
mid-April this year on the order of Trade Minister Gen. Tun Kyi. There are
around 450 shops and four rows of buildings in this new bazaar, all of which
were burnt down last night.
All the Gates between Tamu and Moreh are closed today and Burmese Army
troops are deployed at area of fire. Security on the Burmese side of the
border is tight.
The official cost of a shop is around 10,000 Kyats, while the unofficial
price of a shop is currently over 100,000 Kyats.
A similar attempt occurred on 20th September, but less damage occurred
despite the fact that two rows of buildings were doused with petroleum.
The total cost of damage caused by this fire is at least 15 Crores Kyats
Although the Chairman of Tamu township Law and Order Restoration Council,
Captain Kaung Zan Oo received one Crore Kyats from this bazaar through
corruption, labourers and small-scale vendors from both countries became
jobless and lost their income. After opening the Nanphalong new bazaar, the
morning bazaar of Moreh almost collapsed.
News and Information Unit
SLORC: INFORMATION SHEET NO. A-0165(I)
October 11, 1997
COMPUTER SCIENCE DIPLOMA COURSE OPENS
One-year Full Time Computer Science Diploma Course of the
Ministry of Science and Technology opened on 10 October with an address by
Minister for Science and Technology. Minister said this is the first full
time computer science diploma course conducted under his ministry, adding
such courses are being conducted to bring out qualified technicians for
building a new peaceful, modern and developed nation. Plans are under way to
promote technicians according to their ability and efforts, he stated.
Altogether 101 trainees of departments under the Ministry are attending the
CLARIFICATION FOR THE SECOND WAVE OF DISINFORMATION ATTACK
The actual health condition of U Win Tin (NLD Central
Executive Committee Ex-member) has been clarified in the Information Sheet
In today?s Information Sheet Clarification on the health
conditions of U Aung Khin Sint and U Cho Aung Than shall be clarified.
information has already been given to some of the international news
Both, U Aung Khin Sint and U Cho Aung Than are being treated
in Yangon General Hospital. U Aung Khin Sint was transferred from prison
hospital on the June 11 and U Cho Aung Than on September 26.
U Aung Khin Sint is suffering from high blood pressure,
weak heart and diabetes while U Cho Aung Than from high blood pressure. They
transferred to YGH because their health condition is serious. They are
transferred because the prison doctors and authorities concerned believe
their health condition will improve more quickly if they are given
extra-medical attention there. Likewise, other prisoners whom the prison
doctors and authorities concerned recommend for extra-medical attention are
also transferred, admitted treated in Yangon General Hospital. Their families
are allowed regular hospital visit and the essential needs are also provided
to them. Presently the health condition of both of them is normal.
The Myanmar Authorities concerned had quite recently
renovated the prisons and is trying its best to meet the essential
retirements of the prisoners. At the same time it is also trying to upgrade
the health facilities in the prisons and provide extra-medical attention to
all prisoners that it deems
necessary for precautionary measures and on humanitarian grounds. In this
regard, just because prisoners are transferred, admitted and treated in
Yangon General Hospital, it should not be interpreted that these prisoners
health are in critical condition. It should rather be looked upon as a
humanitarian gesture from the relevant authorities.
ASIAWEEK: ODDLY, A SHOW OF REASON
October 17, 1997
Susan Berfield And Dominic Faulder, Bangkok
The generals may be trying out a new strategy
The military men who run Myanmar seem to have an undeserved reputation for
uniformity. They are supposed to be of one mind on the economy (reform is
essential) and politics (reform is immaterial). They agree on how to
"pacify" the last of the insurgents (attack). They fall into line without
argument. Sure they do. The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
may be a collective, but it is not a cult.
The generals are not faceless, or mindless, and these days some could even
be called reasonable. Lt.-Gen. Khin Nyunt, head of military intelligence and
a moderate (by SLORC standards), invited a few leaders of the opposition
National League for Democracy in for a chat, which would have been the most
important since Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the party, was released from
six years of house arrest in 1995.
The NLD turned down the offer (more on why later). Even so, in late
September the government allowed the party to hold a national congress. Suu
Kyi, who hosted the two-day meeting, thanked SLORC for its cooperation.
Myanmar's leaders do their best to disclose as little about their intentions
as possible. And their motivations are even more difficult to discern. But
there have been some revealing moments. The first was the reappearance in
Jakarta of 86-year-old Ne Win, the general who ruled Myanmar from 1962 until
1988 and has continued to influence its leaders. Officially he has retired,
and until last month was seldom mentioned or seen. When Ne Win stepped down
in 1988 (amid growing civil unrest and a deteriorating economy), he
acknowledged that his party's policies had bankrupted the country, and he
even spoke vaguely about democracy. These days Ne Win is apparently
irritated by SLORC's inability to rescue the economy and salvage his legacy.
Ne Win visited Jakarta for three days in September as the guest of President
Suharto. He traveled with a military entourage, met with Suharto, and dined
with members of the president's family and Myanmar's ambassador to
Indonesia. It was a private trip that was surprisingly public, even
political. Indonesia, after all, boasts the kind of regulated democracy that
might appeal to some in SLORC. Certainly its record of development would.
Myanmar is facing economic troubles that are as serious as those that gave
rise to the pro-democracy movement in 1988. Inflation is high, the rice
harvest has been damaged by heavy flooding, foreign reserves are depleted,
and the balance of trade deficit is increasing. Myanmar has ignored
International Monetary Fund and World Bank advice. Foreign investment has
Not that this is how the government describes the situation. At the U.N.
General Assembly meeting in New York, Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw said foreign
investment was increasing and sanctions would backfire. When Khin Nyunt
recently met with Singaporean officials, including Prime Minister Goh Chok
Tong, he said: "With the country enjoying peace and stability, with a
dynamic economy and strong social cohesion, Myanmar is ready to play its
part in the mainstream of the region."
What was most significant about Khin Nyunt's statement was that he made it
at all. He is Ne Win's protégé, and is often called the most powerful man in
Myanmar. But earlier this year he was as close to being nameless as he has
ever been. Khin Nyunt failed last November to persuade the Karens to join
the 15 other insurgent groups in a government-sponsored ceasefire. His strong
personal support for SLORC's failed charm offensive, Visit Myanmar Year,
also lowered his prestige. And his profile.
At that point, Gen. Maung Aye, SLORC's deputy chairman and one of its most
conservative members, seemed to eclipse Khin Nyunt. Maung Aye mounted a
devastating, and costly, attack against the Karens. SLORC also went on the
offensive against the NLD. Arrests of party members have increased during
the past year, as has government propaganda. Access to Suu Kyi has continued
to be severely restricted.
Khin Nyunt's reemergence could mean that the more moderate and pragmatic
members of SLORC are in favor now, and it could well be Ne Win's patronage
that has smoothed their way. Certainly they were in charge last month. The
NLD would never have been able to hold its meeting at Suu Kyi's home
otherwise. An estimated 1,300 delegates gathered from across the country to
mark the party's ninth anniversary. Some 700 were allowed into Suu Kyi's
compound, though the party had permission for only 300 people. Suu Kyi said:
"I am firmly convinced that the NLD and the authorities will be able to
cooperate holding hands together to work for the country."
The trouble is that the authorities would still prefer to "cooperate" with
anybody but Suu Kyi. Khin Nyunt's earlier invitation to chat specifically
excluded Suu Kyi. And the other NLD leaders refused to talk to him without
her. They fear that SLORC is trying to split the party. But the decision to
rebuff Khin Nyunt was not without controversy. After all, Suu Kyi has been
asking the government to talk with the NLD for years. Whether Khin Nyunt
extends his hand again may depend as much on Suu Kyi as it does on Ne Win,
Maung Aye and the price of rice. The generals have plenty to think about.
FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW: ON TRACK, OFF TRACK
October 16, 1997
Burma/Myanmar. Nelles Verlag.
The format of Nelles' contour map of Burma-which includes northern
Thailand-is graphically attractive, but the map is riddled with mistakes. It
appears to be based on an old pilot chart-hence the nice topography and
outdated road networks. For example, it features a fat red line that runs from
Mong Pan and Mong Ton in Burma down to the Thai border, where a tiny line
continues on the Thai side. That was perhaps the case 40 years ago. Today, the
road on the Burmese side is a rutted dirt track, while a wide, mostly paved
was completed on the Thai side several years ago.
THE IRRAWADDY: SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENT SOLDIERS
Irrawaddy Vol.5 NO.6
Children are always among the main victims in any war situation but rarely
are they exposed to front-line conditions as frequently as in Burma.
They are about 13 or 15 years old, wear army uniforms and carry war weapons.
By all other measures they are still children, but it is not war games they
play. Burmese history is full of stories of different kings at war with each
other and the modern period since 1948?when the British surrendered their
colonial rule?has been little different. Almost from the day the British
lowered the Union Jack, Burma has been home to a continuous civil war
described by some observers as one of the most complicated conflicts in the
Many Burmese, including children, have suffered as a result of this ongoing
civil war. Mothers have lost sons, villagers lost lands and students, their
future. For children, they have lost their childhood. A report, "No
Childhood At All" published by Thailand-based NGO Images Asia details how
children have become among the main victims of the decades-old civil war in
The research, an IA spokesman said, was conducted for the UN Graca Machel
Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. The report was prepared
under the guidelines of the Graca Machel Study which defines "child
soldiers" as combatants aged 18 and under. How many children have been
killed in civil war? How many children have been recruited for fighting? How
have government and rebel forces forced children to join their armies to
fight "enemies?". There is no shortage of questions about child soldiers but
there has been little in the way of comprehensive research on the issue.
Observers, NGOs and international human rights organizations have very few
clues to what goes on in this military-dominated country. One undeniable
fact is that the Burmese armed forces (tatmadaw) and its foes have widely
recruited child soldiers.
"The use of children as soldiers in Burma results in serious human rights
abuses. Children are killed, forcibly conscripted, unwillingly separated
from their families, kidnapped, tortured during their service, forced to
kill and torture, and due to the rampant corruption in the tatmadaw, are
underpaid, or are not paid at all," IA said in its report. Unicef expressed
its concern in 1992 saying, "many children are orphaned, abandoned,
trafficked, exploited in the labour force, institutionalized or jailed. Some
are used in drug-running, while others are targets of ethnic discrimination.
In the civil war, children have become victims or participants in armed
Burma is the seventh poorest country in the world. Children in Burma suffer
extreme poverty. Although children make up only 15 per cent of the
population they account for half the country?s annual death rate. Infant
mortality is estimated at 146/1000, with 175,000 infants dying every year,
the UNDP report said.
An estimated 80 per cent of students enrolled in primary school drop-out
before completion. Some 35 per cent of children never enroll in primary
school and only 25 per cent complete the five year cycle. Ethnic border
regions are severely under-serviced. Worse still, in remote border areas,
ethnic minorities have virtually no public services because of the conflicts.
IA said children, especially young boys, are raised to revere military
leaders of the past, and to look on military induction as a sign of manhood.
In much of the popular media, the soldier is held up as the perfect
role-model. Particularly among the ethnic groups, where many children grow
up watching their fathers go to war, as their families and villagers are
terrorized by the tatmadaw, devotion to the revolutionary cause is seen as
the highest calling to which one can aspire. "Since 1988 the number of
soldiers in tatmadaw has swollen. The tatmadaw recruited boys who are under
14," IA said.
These boys are later sent to military training centres. Most recruits tend
to be orphans, street children, criminals or those who have fled the
"Anecdotal reports exist of such children being taken to places like Pegu,
Prome, and Mandalay?cities at some distance from their homes, before they
are forced in to armed service," IA said.
Unicef officials have found evidence that boys could be "officially
conscripted" into the military at age 14. Unicef also identified at least
one residential Slorc military camp, near Kengtung in Shan State, where
children aged seven and above [believed to be orphans] were being trained
for a future life with the military. The tatmadaw is not alone?ethnic armed
groups including Khun Sa?s Mong Tai Army (MTA), the Karen National Union,
Wa and Kokang armies, Mon, Karenni, and Arakanese armies conscript children
for their armies. The notorious "Tiger Camp" in Khun Sa-controlled territory
was used for training thousands of children as soldiers for the MTA. The
former Communist Party of Burma was reputed to use child soldiers for human
One Slorc soldier who defected to the Karen forces said he had joined
tatmadaw when he was only 12. The defector, Aung Soe said: "They [Slorc]
never check the registration papers showing your date of birth. In Light
Infantry Battalion 202 alone there were more than 200 child soldiers. I
think there were more children than adults." Recruitment by the tatmadaw is
systematic, however, policies appear to differ over time and between various
areas, IA reported.
While the Slorc claims that the tatmadaw is a volunteer force and that the
army does not accept recruits below 18 years of age, there is very strong
evidence to suggest that children are widely and regularly conscripted into
On the battlefield at Kawmoora in 1995, one porter described the SLORC
soldiers he saw as "about 16, even 14 years old."
"I?m telling the truth. They were scolding us, their elders, and some had
voices that hadn?t even broken yet."
Another boy said he lied about his age because he wanted to become a
soldier. "I had to be 18 years old, but I knew people who were, 11, 12, 13,
and they all claimed they were 18. Anyone can become soldier. It is easy to
become a soldier in Burma."
While some are joining the tatmadaw of their own will some are forced to
"I was forced," Ye Kyaw said. "Five people had to go from each part of town
every month. My only brother had already joined the army before 1988 because
he had a fight with our mother. I was trained at No.6 Divisional Training
Centre at Oke Twin for four months. There were 250 recruits in our group?the
youngest was 15 or 16." Another said he spent his time wandering around with
his friends. Finally at the age of 17 he joined the army. He was recruited
in his home town and sent to Mingaladon, where he stayed for five days. He
was sent to a training centre at Bagalee where he did basic training for
four and a half months.
Aye Myint joined the army of his own free will when he was 15 years old
because he said his father?s income was not enough for his family?s
survival. Like Aye Myint, soldiers who joined the army on their own admitted
being a soldier is different as they have power. The power, Aye Myint said,
made him feel really strong.
One former MTA child soldier said. "They [MTA officials] sent a note to my
house saying we have to send one boy for MTA."
Sai Htin Lin (not his real name) became a foot soldier. If one family has
three sons they are required to send one boy to the MTA when he is 10 or 12.
But some who are sent by their parents receive a basic education in exchange
for military service. Later Sai Htin Lin said many boys when they learned
they had to serve in the MTA run away. He said there was no help from local
Slorc officials. "They knew the MTA was coming to our town to recruit us but
they didn?t help." But a Shan MTA commander told one of the researchers of
IA, "What choice have they got? Opium addicts and sellers, Burmese soldiers,
porters, and farmers are always harassed by the military... These children
make more disciplined, brave and... nationalistic soldiers... They make the
The reason for recruiting boys is obvious. They are obedient, do not
question orders, and are easier to manipulate than adult soldiers. But one
Karen captain said use of child soldiers was more of a hindrance in battle
than a help. Another Karen soldier who said he was conscripted by the KNU,
said he was sent to the front-line areas. He said most of the child soldiers
use M-16 automatic rifles or AK-47s. In 1992 alone, a KNU major said they
ordered to recruit 5,000 soldiers for a battle at Sleeping Dog mountain.
Most of the solders were very young.
Roles and duties
IA said: "Child soldiers have played various roles in the conflict: they
have performed front-line/active combat duties, done cooking and other
menial labour, stood sentry point duty, acted as bodyguards [a feature
common in the ethnic armies especially] served as porters carrying
ammunition and supplies, acted as spies or informants and been used as
cannon fodder to draw the fire of their adversaries, and sometimes in
human-wave attacks in which hundreds are usually killed."
For child soldiers, fear is a major determining factor in their obedience
and performance, IA said. In extreme cases, when child soldiers could no
longer tolerate their own, or their friends? mistreatment by senior
officers, they were driven to either suicide or murder.
One tatmadaw soldier said, "We fought because they are my enemy, and I am
fighting for my survival, they are fighting for revolution." One defector,
Aung Htay, said he had to carry G3 guns [German-made rifles] ... during the
fighting with rebels. He said he was able to sink three boats with RPGS. But
when they witnessed or experienced real hardship, maltreatment, and
killings, child soldiers said they were shocked and horrified by what they saw.
A child soldier, Sein Myint was ordered to beat a porter who later died. "My
commander ordered me to beat and swear at the porters by beating and
swearing at me." He said, "if I didn?t kill that porter, I would be killed
myself, or punished by a senior officer. Sometimes I have to look after 60
or more porters. When my duty was to stand sentry, I released them all and
Some child soldiers according to the report were ordered to execute
uncooperative local villagers and those suspected of collaborating with
ethnic insurgents. Aung Tay, another young soldier, said he saw about 200
porters killed along the way to the front-line. "Because of this I escaped
to [the border area]."
Most child soldier defectors complained to IA about mistreatment at the
hands of the tatmadaw. Most cited the abusive treatment they received from
their officers and their revulsion with the army?s human rights abuses as
their reasons for defecting. Child soldiers were beaten when they could not
keep up, often a result of their small size and inexperience, but also
because of injury and illness. They suffered both physical and emotional
abuses. In addition, they were consistently underpaid. Soldiers and rank and
file recruits received far less food than commanders and officers, and what
they did receive was of highly inferior quality. Medicine and medical care
was said to be grossly inadequate, and soldiers were frequently left to die
without treatment if it was thought they might slow a column.
Treatment and experiences
As a result some were driven to defect. One of the child soldiers
interviewed by IA described the case of Chit Ko, who was said to be from
Rangoon. He was severely beaten by a corporal and later sent to the
hospital. Chit Ko ended up blind and half-paralyzed. But some child soldiers
who couldn?t tolerate their officers discovered a simpler way. They shot
them and escaped.
Maung Hla Tint said: "The night we ran away the officers were drinking and
playing cards. Every night they were drinking and playing cards and if one
of them was losing he yelled at the soldiers, beat us and abused us. "That
night all the non-commissioned officers were drunk and they beat every
soldier. Corporal Than Tun was losing and he beat every soldier." Finally,
the young soldiers shot him and escaped.
Ye Kyaw said he himself killed Cpl. Thein Win. "At 11 o?clock that night we
went to our beds but we didn?t sleep. We just went down and shot him."
Another soldier recalled seeing three child soldiers kill themselves. One
boy went out at midnight to use the toilet and stuck the barrel of the gun
in his mouth and pulled the trigger with his toes.
Indeed, having no normal life, child soldiers are often depressed and suffer
from diseases such as malaria to which children are especially susceptible.
While there has not been any investigation into the effects of Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on child soldiers, most children report
experiencing nightmares, depression, anxiety, insomnia, apathy, difficulty
in their relations with others, and aggressive or withdrawn behaviour.
IA said Burmese and Western doctors working in the border areas confirm
these phenomena. Child soldiers said they were depressed, wanted to commit
suicide, find work as labourers or go back to their homes.
Ordinary soldiers receive about 600 kyat per month as a salary. If they lose
an eye or a leg, they get approximately 10,000 kyat in compensation and are
sent back to tatmadaw hospitals but there is no lifelong treatment plan and
only a limited pension.
Burma acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. At
the same time they signed the Declaration and Plan of Action at the World
Summit for Children.
The National Programme of Action (CNPA) for the Survival, Protection, and
Development of Burma?s Children in the 1990s was completed in September
1993. In 1993, the Slorc also promulgated a Child Law for the country and
established an Inter-sectoral Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Despite the Slorc?s extraordinary initial reservations about the UN
Convention the move has broadened the UN mandate inside the country to
cover human rights, and the issue of child soldiers. However, IA said Slorc
continues to use child soldiers, more so now than ever as it continues to
raise the number of men ? and boys ? under arms.
Writen by a staff reporter.
Source: Images Asia
RANGOON TV MYANMAR NETWORK: AGRICULTURE MINISTER MYINT AUNG VISITS RUSSIA
[translated from Burmese, abridged]
October 7, 1997
A Myanmar [Burmese] delegation led by Minister of Agriculture and
Irrigation Lt. Gen. Myint Aung returned home via Singapore by air yesterday
after visiting the Russian Federation from 28 September to 4 October at the
invitation of Mr. Khlystun, deputy prime minister and minister of
agriculture and food.
At 0900 on 29 September, the Myanmar delegation held detailed
discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Russian
Federation on the preparation of a memorandum of understanding on measures
to increase agricultural and food production, the development of mechanized
farming, and the increased utilization of water resources.
On 4 October, the minister, accompanied by the Myanmar ambassador,
visited the Kremlin Palace and museum. The memorandum of understanding on
cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of the Union
of Myanmar and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Russian
Federation was signed at 1400 and another memorandum of understanding
between the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Myanmar and Hydro
Projects (Stock) Joint Company of the Russian Federation for construction
of multipurpose irrigation projects in Myanmar was signed at 1600.
Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Russia and Myanmar
agreed to step up relations to carry out the following:
To send trainees to Russia for specialized degrees under the joint program
to train and produce experts and to exchange experts;
To obtain modern technology from Russia in developing land and water
resources in Myanmar;
To establish bilateral joint ventures and to obtain and use machinery and
technology from Russia in switching to mechanized farming;
To meet Myanmar's requirements for fertilizer through systems beneficial to
To construct dams, to produce hydroelectric power, and to pump water from
rivers for the constructive use of water resources in Myanmar.
CFOB ANNOUNCEMENT: ALAN CLEMENTS WILL BE IN TORONTO AND OTTAWA FOR PUBLIC TALKS
October 11, 1997
Attention all FBC members in Toronto and Ottawa!!
Alan Clements, co-author of "The Voice of Hope" with Aung San Suu Kyi, will
be in Toronto and Ottawa for public talks.
Hart House Library
7 Hart House Circle
University of Toronto
sponsored by the Hart House Library Committee
Auditorium, Ottawa Public Library
sponsored by Canadian Friends of Burma
Email cfob@xxxxxxx for more information
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