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Dear Folks,
           I believe the following text is going to be of use as the US
Policy towards SLORC is still unchanged despite some events have
expired..I'll follow up with new  reports on the US policy towards SLORC 
as soon as they're available.


Julien Moe
 Conditions In Burma And U.S. Policy Toward
Plan for Implementation of Section 570 of Conference Report 104-863 to 
Accompany H.R. 3610 (Omnibus Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 1997)
Submitted to the U.S. Congress, June 13, 1997
Released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, August 21, 
U.S. Department of State 

The people of Burma continue to live under a highly authoritarian 
military regime that is widely condemned for its serious human rights 
abuses. The military regime in Burma, the State Law and Order 
Restoration Council (SLORC), has made no progress in the past six months 
in moving toward greater democratization and little, if any, progress 
toward fundamental improvement in the quality of life of the people of 
Burma. The SLORC continues  to dominate the political, economic and social
life of the country in 
the same arbitrary, heavy-handed way that it has since seizing power in 
September 1988 after harshly suppressing massive pro-democracy 

U.S. policy toward Burma seeks progress in three key areas -- democracy, 
human rights and counter-narcotics. We have taken steps to pressure the 
SLORC -- suspending economic aid, withdrawing GSP and OPIC, implementing 
an arms embargo, blocking assistance from international financial 
institutions, downgrading our representation to Charge, and imposing 
visa restrictions on senior leaders and their families. We are engaged 
in vigorous multilateral diplomacy to encourage ASEAN, Japan, the EU and 
other nations to take similar steps and other actions to encourage
progress by the SLORC in these areas of key 
concern. The EU recently imposed visa restrictions similar to ours and 
is expected to withdraw GSP in March. In addition, Japan's suspension of 
much of its bilateral aid program remains in force. 

In addition, the President signed an Executive Order implementing a ban 
on new investment by U.S. persons in Burma effective May 21, 1997. The 
order prohibits persons from engaging in any of the following 

-- entering a new contract that includes the economic development of 
resources located in Burma; -- entering into a contract providing for the
participation in 
royalties, earnings, or profits in the economic development of resources 
located in Burma, without regard to the form of the participation; 

-- facilitating transactions of foreign persons that would violate any 
of the foregoing prohibitions if engaged in by U.S. person; and 

-- evading or avoiding, or attempting to violate, any of the 
prohibitions in the order. 

Measuring Progress Toward Democratization 

In the past six months the SLORC has shown no sign of willingness to 
cede its hold on absolute power. The generals have continued to refuse 
to negotiate with pro-democracy forces and ethnic groups for a genuine 
political settlement to allow a return to the rule of law and respect 
 for basic human rights. 

The SLORC claims that the military-dominated National Convention is an 
appropriate forum for dialogue with the NLD and parties representing the 
country's ethnic minorities. But the National Convention, a body 
ostensibly tasked since 1993 with drafting a new constitution, is hardly 
a democratic forum as currently structured. The Convention is 
overwhelmingly made up of delegates hand-picked by the SLORC, which has 
carefully stage-managed the proceedings and ignored even limited 
opposition views. The NLD withdrew from the National Convention in 
November 1995 because of the undemocratic nature of the institution and 
was formally ejected by the SLORC in December. Despite having no legal 
mandate, the SLORC appears determined to draft  a constitution that would
ensure a dominant role for the military 
forces in the country's future political structure. However, the 
Convention has not met since mid-1996, and the SLORC's current plans for 
the body are unclear. 

The worsening narcotics situation in Burma reflects the SLORC's 
disregard for the rule of law. Burma is the world's largest source of 
illicit opium, and output increased by an estimated nine per cent in 
1996 to 2,560 metric tons. Nevertheless, Burmese law enforcement actions 
against producers and traffickers remain limited. Leading trafficker 
Khun Sa, who "surrendered" to Burmese forces in early 1996, has never 
been brought to justice. Even as heroin production remains high, Burmese 
traffickers are also diversifying into  methamphetamines, which are posing
severe problems for neighboring 
states. As well, traffickers are increasingly investing in legitimate 
sectors of the economy, and there is reason to believe that the 
laundering of drug profits is having a substantial impact on the Burmese 

Measuring Progress on Improving the Quality of Life 

In the same way, in the past six months the Burmese people have seen 
little progress in improving their quality of life. In fact, by many 
indices, their quality of life has worsened. The SLORC's severe 
violations of human rights have continued. There continue to be credible 
reports, particularly from ethnic minority-dominated areas along the 
Thai border, that soldiers have committed serious human rights abuses, 
including  extrajudicial killing and rape. Disappearances continue, and
members of 
the security forces beat and otherwise abuse detainees. Arbitrary 
arrests and detentions continue for expression of dissenting political 
views. Several hundred, if not more, political prisoners remain in 
detention, including 29 Members of Parliament elected in 1990. 

The SLORC reinforces its rule via a pervasive security apparatus led by 
military intelligence and sharply restricts basic rights to free speech, 
press, assembly, and association. Political party activity remains 
severely restricted. The activities of the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi are 
monitored and circumscribed by the regime. Since late September Aung San 
Suu Kyi has been prevented from addressing party supporters in front of
her house, as the SLORC puts up blockades to prevent gatherings there. 
In November the motorcade in which she was riding was attacked by a gang 
of thugs encouraged by elements of the regime. Aung San Suu Kyi was not 
hurt, though one NLD leader was slightly injured by broken glass. 

In response to street protests by large groups of students in November 
and December, the SLORC closed the nation's universities. Most remain 
closed to prevent another outbreak of student protest. For three weeks 
in December Aung San Suu Kyi did not leave her compound. Since late 
December, she has been able to leave her compound after notifying 
authorities of her destinations. She meets relatively often with 
diplomats and supporters. Visitors are generally allowed to meet her at 
her compound if authorities are notified in advance. She has held two 
meetings of her supporters on her compound that were attended by 2,000 
or more persons. NLD leaders have expressed strong concerns about SLORC 
repression and have called for increased international pressure on the 
SLORC, including sanctions. 

In February the Burmese Army launched a full-scale assault on the forces 
of the Karen National Union near the Thai border. Up to 12,000 Karen 
were forced to flee into Thailand, the vast majority of them civilians, 
including women, children and the elderly. Thousands of civilians were 
forcibly conscripted to serve as porters for the Burma Army in its 
offensive.Thousands of other citizens of Burma remain in exile because of
fear of 
persecution and poor economic conditions. About 24,000 Rohingya Muslims 
from Arakan state remain in camps in Bangladesh. A few thousand students 
and dissidents remain in exile in Thailand. Approximately 100,000 
individuals now reside in ethnic minority camps along the Thai-Burma 
border, among them thousands of new arrivals driven out by army attacks 
in the areas controlled by the Karen and Karenni ethnic minorities. 

Burma is a poor country, with an average per capita income of only $600 
to $800, even after adjusting for the relative purchasing power of the 
Burmese currency. Progress on market reforms has been mixed and uneven. 
Since 1988 the Government has partly opened the economy  to permit
expansion of the private sector and to attract foreign 
investment. Some economic improvement has ensued, but major obstacles to 
economic reform persist. These include disproportionately large military 
spending, extensive overt and covert state involvement in economic 
activity, excessive state monopolization of leading exports, a bloated 
bureaucracy prone to arbitrary and opaque governance, and poor human and 
physical infrastructure. In addition, the SLORC does not have access to 
external credit from the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. 
Money laundering in Burma is a growing problem, and the laundering of 
drug profits is thought by some analysts to have a widespread impact on 
the Burmese economy. 

The Government restricts worker rights and uses forced labor on a 
widespread basis. The use of porters by the army -- with attendant 
mistreatment, illness, and even death for those compelled to serve -- 
remains a common practice. The military authorities continue to force 
ordinary citizens (including women and children) to "contribute" their 
labor on a massive scale, often under harsh working conditions, on 
construction projects throughout the country. Some of these projects -- 
such as the moat of the Mandalay fort -- were undertaken to promote 
tourism to the country. In the past year, the military has begun using 
soldiers instead of civilians at certain infrastructure projects, 
following the issuance of directives in 1995 to end the practice of 
forced civilian labor. Child labor continues to be a serious problem. 

As a largely underdeveloped country, Burma does not have some of the 
extensive environmental problems affecting air and water quality that 
plague many of its rapidly industrializing neighbors. However, with a 
rapid population growth rate, the country faces increasing pressure on 
environmental quality. Burma possesses the largest tracts of remaining 
tropical forest in southeast Asia, though aggressive international 
logging companies are eyeing these forests just as they are eyeing those 
in other Mekong countries. Some NGOs have charged that Burma's teak 
forests in the Thai-Burma border area are being rapidly destroyed by 
clear-cutting and deforestation. Because of the severe restrictions on 
EmbasSY  travel to outlying parts of Burma, it is difficult to document
overall extent of the problem. Embassy officials have visited the 
showcase Bago Yoma Forest 150 miles north of Rangoon. The Ministry of 
Forest operates a research station and seed orchards in this area in 
what appears to be an example of sustainable forestry. 

The poor quality of life is also reflected in rising drug abuse. Burmese 
estimates put the addict population at approximately 60,000, but UNDCP 
and NGOs working in the health sector estimate the actual number is at 
least five times that figure. Intravenous use of heroin is contributing 
to the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Drug treatment services are not 
reaching most drug users because of a lack of facilities and a lack of 
properly trained  personnel. 

Development of a Multilateral Strategy 

The goals of U.S. policy toward Burma are progress toward democracy, 
improved human rights, and more effective counter-narcotics efforts. 
Failing national reconciliation, Burma will not be able to address 
systematically the many severe problems it faces, including narcotics 
trafficking and abuse, a low level of education and poor economic 

In recent months we have forged a vigorous multilateral strategy to seek 
improvement in our key areas of concern. We consult about Burma 
regularly and at senior levels with leaders of ASEAN nations, Japan, the 
European Union, and other countries having major trading and investment 
interests in Burma. These efforts have helped build and maintain strong 
 international pressure on the SLORC. 

The key to progress toward democracy and human rights is, first and 
foremost, a direct dialogue about the political future of the country 
among the SLORC, the NLD, and the ethnic minorities. In all our public 
and private messages to the SLORC, leaders of third countries and other 
interested parties, we stress the importance of beginning such a 
dialogue as the key to achieving significant progress in Burma. We work 
closely with our friends and allies in Asia and Europe to press the 
SLORC to begin dialogue. In response, leaders from ASEAN nations, Japan 
and the European Union have urged the regime, both publicly and 
privately, to move to dialogue with the democratic opposition. 

In order to urge the SLORC to make progress in our areas of concern, we 
have taken a number of steps -- suspending economic aid, withdrawing GSP 
and OPIC, implementing an arms embargo, blocking assistance from 
international financial institutions, downgrading our representation to 
Charge, and imposing visa restrictions on senior regime leaders and 
their families. We likewise have encouraged ASEAN, Japan, the EU and 
other nations to take similar steps and other actions to encourage 
progress by the SLORC in these areas of key concern. Many nations join 
us in our arms embargo, including European countries, Canada, Australia 
and Japan. The EU and Japan limit their assistance to Burma to 
humanitarian aid. Our efforts in the international financial 
institutions continue to be successful in blocking loans to the SLORC,
which is 
probably the single most important form of pressure we have against the 
regime. Since 1988 we have taken an active role in pressing for strong 
human rights resolutions on Burma at the United Nations General Assembly 
and the UN Human Rights Commission, as well as having worked vigorously 
in the ILO to condemn the lack of freedom of association for workers and 
the use of forced labor by the SLORC. 

In November, at our urging, the EU and associated European states joined 
us in imposing a ban on visas for high-level SLORC officials and their 
families. In addition, the European Commission has recommended that the 
European Union withdraw GSP trade benefits from Burma's agricultural and 
industrial  products because of forced labor concerns. EU Foreign
Ministers are 
expected to adopt these recommendations in March, which would bring 
European trade policy in line with the U.S. ban on GSP. 

On several occasions in recent months, our embassies have made 
high-level demarches to leaders in the ASEAN countries, urging them to 
use their influence with the SLORC to press for positive change in 
Burma. We have also raised with the ASEAN countries our concerns that 
Burma not join that organization prematurely. ASEAN shares many of our 
goals with regard to Burma, but we disagree on the means to achieve 
those goals. ASEAN believes that "constructive engagement" of the SLORC 
is the most effective way to promote positive change in Burma. We will 
continue to raise our strong concerns with ASEAN and urge continued steps
to encourage 
progress by the SLORC.