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Socialist International Resolution

Meeting of the Council of the Socialist International
New Delhi, India.  10-11 November 1997
Recalling the resolutions on Burma of the Council of the Socialist
International adopted in Tokyo in May 1994, in Cape Town in July 1995, in
Rome in January 1997, and the resolution of the XX Congress of the
Socialist International adopted at the United Nations in New York in
September 1996, the Socialist International:
Commends President Bill Clinton of the United Stated of America for
imposing economic sanctions against the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) in Burma ;
Commends the European Union for extending the visa restrictions imposed on
members of SLORC and their families, and for removing privileges for SLORC
because of its extensive use of forced labour;
Commends the Labour Government of Tony Blair in the United Kingdom for its
strong stand on human rights and for its commitment to finding ways to
impose sanctions against SLORC;
Commends the Government of Denmark for its continued strong support for
the Burmese democracy movement and for hosting the exiled National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma in Copenhagen in July 1997;
Commends the Government of Canada for also imposing sanctions against
Commends the foreign companies that have withdrawn from Burma because of
the atrocities committed by the military;
Commends the decision of the United Nations Committee for Human Rights in
Geneva to continue investigating human rights abuses in Burma and for the
secretary-general's efforts to try and bring about a tripartite dialogue
to resolve Burma's problems;
Commends the International Labour Organisation for opening an
investigation into the use of forced labour by SLORC;
Commends the Government of Norway for also removing trade privileges from
SLORC because its extensive use of forced labour;
Commends the attempts made by the Association of South East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) to bring about political dialogue between SLORC and the National
League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi;
Commends the Government of Japan for withholding aid and actively seeking
to promote change in Burma; and
Commends the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) for meeting
with the executive of the NLD, and for allowing the party to hold its
Congress in Rangoon in September 1997.
While recognising the positive developments in Burma, the Socialist
International, however:
Regrets the decision made by the Association of South East Asia Nations
(ASEAN) in July 1997 to admit SLORC as a full member without any
Regrets that SLORC is not serious seeking a political dialogue with either
the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, other
ethnic political parties, or the ethnic national forces;
Regrets that SLORC has not seriously used the opportunities for dialogue
provided by the international community, notably the United Nations, the
European Union, ASEAN, and Japan;
Notes with grave concern the continuing deterioration of the political
situation in Burma as witnessed by the continued use of military force in
ethnic areas to bring about subjugation;
Notes with great concern the continuing harassment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and members of the NLD as witnessed by the recent arrests of close aides;
Notes with great concern the growing economic crisis in Burma and SLORC's
inability to deal with either the economic or political problems except by
using force;
Strongly condemns SLORC's continues use of violence, gang rape, forced
labour, extortion, looting, arbitrary arrests, and summary executions, as
a primary control mechanism especially in ethnic areas;
Strongly condemns the ruling junta's use of mobs and civil front
organisations to divide the oppositions, intimidate the public and control
Strongly condemns the military regime's growing dependence and involvement
in the illegal narcotics trade;
Condemns the continued closure of universities and institutes of higher
education as a means of crowd control instead of seriously addressing the
issues of police brutality and justice demanded by students;
Condemns the junta's continued use of intimidation and force rather than
dialogue and political negotiation to resolve political problems;
Condemns the recent arrests of trade union activities and close aides and
relatives of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on false charges of terrorism;
Calls on the United Nations secretary-general to urgently address the
question of Burma and to make a concerted effort to implement General
Assembly resolutions, which have been ignored by the Burmese Regime;
Calls on all member parties to establish party-to-party contacts with the
NLD led Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to determine how change can be
brought to Burma;
Calls on all member parties who are in governments or in a position to
influence policy to seriously examine options for action to bring about
change in Burma either unilaterally or multilaterally;
Strongly urges TOTAL S.A. of France, UNOCOL of United States, Nippon Oil
of Japan, and Premier of Britain, to withdraw or suspend their operations
in Burma, especially in ethnic areas, are ended;
Strongly urges SLORC to release all political prisoners, and to lift all
laws restricting fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of speech,
assembly, association, the press, and the right to draft the constitution;
Strongly urges SLORC to began a genuine political dialogue with Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi, all political parties and Burma's ethnic peoples. 
Speech by
(National League for Democracy)
At the meeting of the Council of the Socialist International
New Delhi, India. 10-11 November 1997
Mr.Chairman, secretary-general Ayala, respected delegates and honoured
guests. Once again, I thank you for the honour of representing Burma at
the Socialist International in Rome at the beginning of this year. I said
that the international community must act to stop the situation in Burma
from dictatorship further. I am glad to report that there has been some
action and that there have been some changes even though they are
marginal. We, therefore, should be encouraged but we cannot relax yet.
More needs to be done before real change and democracy can come to Burma.
Since we last met, President Bill Clinton of the United States has imposed
sanctions against new investments in Burma. Canada has followed with
sanctions of its own. This has caused a number of businesses in the US to
either withdraw from Burma or sell their shares to other concerns. It has
also galvanised the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
and the American business community to spend hundred of thousands of
dollars to lobby against further sanctions. This clearly shows that
sanctions whether exercised unilaterally or multilaterally, do work.
Meanwhile in Europe, the European Union has extended its six-month visa
ban for members of SLORC and their families as well as suspended trade
privileges for SLORC because of its extensive use of forced labour. The
new Labour Government in the United Kingdom has said it is in favour of
sanctions against SLORC and has made it clear that SLORC will not be
invited to the ASEM meeting in London in April 1998. Norway has also
followed Europe's example and suspended trade privileges for SLORC. The
Government of Denmark has followed up its support for the exiled National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma by hosting Prime Minister
Dr.Sein Win and his entire cabinet in Copenhagen this summer. The mood in
Europe towards SLORC in general is changing which is very encouraging. The
only exception seems to be France because TOTAL has a large investment in
natural gas with Burmese generals. 
The world community is also losing patience with SLORC. The United Nations
Commission on Human Rights in Geneva again in April condemned SLORC for
its human rights abuses and extended the mandate of the Special Reporter
for Burma. As we speak, the United Nations General Assembly is
deliberation what action can be taken against the rogue regime. We are
confident that the world body will as it has done for the last six years
condemn the military for not respecting the wills of the Burmese people as
expressed in the 1990 general elections. The International Labour
Organisation is also currently investigating forced labour practices by
the military in Burma. Even Japan and Association of South East Asia
Nations (ASEAN) are beginning to tell the Burmese generals to moderate
their behaviour and begin a dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. These
actions are definitely showing SLORC that it cannot continue to ignore
international norms and standards with impunity. There is a price to pay.
While these actions have been positive and encouraging, I am afraid there
has also been some negative factors:
The most negative factor must be the acceptance of SLORC by ASEAN as a
member in July 1997 in spite of appeals from the Burmese democracy
movement and the international community. The sponsorship of the SLORC
generals by Indonesia and Malaysia encouraged them to embark on more
brutal military offensives against the ethnic peoples of Burma resulting
in thousands of refugees fleeing into Thailand. Even the Muslim Rohingya
refugees who were repatriated from Bangladesh under a UN program are
beginning to flee back across the border to Bangladesh.
The encouragement and support SLORC received from American businesses also
encouraged SLORC to try and further isolate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. More and
more of her closest aides were arrested and SLORC also launched a campaign
to try and depict Dr.Sein Win and myself as international terrorists
backed by the US government. Using these two factors to its advantage,
SLORC could have gained quite a lot of credibility and acceptance but for
the following:
Burma's economy - In spite of SLORC's much advertised foreign investment
campaign and            its "Visit Myanmar Year" in 1996-1997, SLORC has
failed to attract significant investments. Red tape, corruption and
political instability have kept serious investors away. SLORC's so-called
economic reforms were also not serious and tended to aggravate existing
problems. The recent floods made high commodity prices and rice shortages
the inflation, worse. Given the economic problems and public discontent,
SLORC has had to tone down its hard stance against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and other dissidents.
ASEAN's economy - According to SLORC's game plan, its membership in ASEAN
would open up many economic opportunities without having to depend on the
west. Unfortunately for SLORC, its membership coincided with ASEAN's worst
crisis in its existence. SLORC's dreams of investments from ASEAN without
having to worry about human rights have been dashed. The ASEAN nations are
now too busy coping with their own problems to rescue SLORC. The generals
will now have to rethink their strategy.
As I have said on previous occasions, the SLORC generals are not about to
give up. Even more than ever, they want to remain in power. They will do
all they can to divide the oppositions. They will try to drive a wedge
between the Executives of the NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; they will try
to wedge between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic political parties; they
will try to wedge between the Buddhists and Muslims; between the Buddhists
and Christians; between the Burmans and ethnic nationalities; between the
cease-fire groups and  non-cease-fire groups; between anybody, as long as
they can remain in power. No the generals will not give up. But they will
do almost anything to stay in power. The amnesty they granted to drug king
pin Khun Sa in exchange for his money to prop up the regime is a good
example. In that sense, nothing has changed. But what has changed is that
the generals now have less room and time to manoeuvre. 
The time is more dangerous now because the generals are desperate but if
we are strong enough and determined enough, the generals could chose to
compromise instead of trying to cling on to power and losing all in the
Ladies and gentlemen, after 9 years of a brutal and repressive military
regime, things are beginning to change in Burma. The odds have shifted
against SLORC. I am confident that SLORC will not celebrate its tenth
anniversary in September 1998, but we need your strong commitment to stand
with us and the Burmese people in the days ahead. Thank you.

Burma Info.
New Delhi