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BurmaNet News November 29, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------           
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"           
The BurmaNet News: November 29, 1997              
Issue #880


November 29, 1997

Rangoon, Nov. 28: Burmese riot police trying to prevent a meeting
between Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and member of her
political party scuffled with a dozen of her supporters in Rangoon on
Tuesday morning.
As Ms Suu Kyi's motorcade approached the Mayangon office
of the National League for Democracy at about 9 am, about a dozen
members rushed past police barricades toward her white sedan.
A scuffle broke out between the party members and Burmese baton-wielding
riot police.
Reporters, other party members and local residents were pushed away from
the scene by the riot Police and were unable to see the result of the
The incident dashed hopes of supporters of Burma's pro-democracy
movement led by Ms Sun Kyi that tensions between the democrats and the
military government are easing.  Last week, the military government had
allowed Philippines foreign minister Domingo Siazon to meet the Nobel
laureate. He is the highest-ranking government official from a Southeast
Asian country ever to meet her.
Ms Suu Kyi was also permitted to visit an NI.D office in Thaketa
township, a northern suburb of Rangoon, on October 21, where she met
about 100 members of the youth wing of her party.
She pledged that she would begin making visits to all the NLD offices to
reorganize the youth wing of the party.
Diplomats in Rangoon hailed the decision by the military government to
allow Ms Su Kyi to travel outside her borne and conduct peaceful
political activities as a step forward.
The military government has placed strict limitations on Ms Suu Kyi's
ability to leave her borne for more than a year.
An official of the Mayangon branch of the NLD said the party had
followed government regulations and asked local officials for permission
to hold the meeting of the youth wing on Tuesday. But on Monday evening,
government officials denied the party's request, telling them that "any
subversive group could take advantage of this meeting to cause
problems," said the NLD member, speaking on condition of anonymity. Some
members of the NLD youth wing showed up at the office as early as 6
ant.  But at 7.30 am, squads of Lon Htein, or riot police, showed up to
set up barbed wire barricades and block all roads leading to the office.
Which is about 600 meters north of Ms Sun Kyi's home.  They politely
asked NID members to go home, but most refused and waited on Kaba Aye
Pagoda road for Ms Sun Kyi to arrive. (AP)


November 28, 1997                                   
>From lurie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Eight Buddhist monks were forcibly disrobed earlier this month in
Henzada town, south-west of Rangoon, and subsequently detained in
prison following a scuffle with local authorities, according to a
monk who witnessed the incident.
The monk, U Wayama, said the incident occurred following the
temporary arrest and questioning of two Buddhist monks by the
local police. The two monks were taken in by police sergeant San
Nyunt for questioning at about 10 p.m. on November 14 and were
released after being interrogated for about an hour.
U Wayama, who recently fled to the Thai-Burma border, said a
group of monks, from the Boe Thein Tan Monastery, and students
numbering about 20 approached the local Township Law and Order
Restoration Council office demanding an explanation as to why
the two monks had been interrogated. 
When the authorities failed to provide a proper explanation, a
scuffle broke out between the group and local authorities.
Following the incident, the eight monks - U Teikka, U Seitta, U
Sandaw, U Pandita, U Nyanidawbatha, U Panya, U Zanila and U
Nandamala - were forcibly disrobed and detained by the
authorities. Three high school students were also arrested. They
are Zaw Myo Aung, Maung Kyaw Thet and Maung Thet Naint Oo.
Burmese military authorities frequently forcibly disrobe monks it
considers are involved in the pro-democracy movement. The ABSDF
understands there are about 152 monks who are still serving
prison sentences in Burma's jails for various political offences.
More than 500 monks have been arrested and jailed since 1988 and
16 of them have died in prison. 
In another incident, a revered Buddhist monk from Haymawum
Buddhist Monastery was killed on November 3 in a car accident
involving an army truck. The 77 year-old monk, U Badanda Damika,
was from Myaung Mya town in Irrawaddy Division and was awarded
the prestigious title of Maha Kamahtana Saria, or the Great
Meditation Instructor.
According to U Wayama, the truck slammed into the car carrying
the monk near Tike Gyi in Rangoon Division and the local people
are extremely angry with the army.
All Burma Students' Democratic Front 
For more information please call 01-654 4984.


August 21, 1997

Conditions In Burma And U.S. Policy Toward Burma

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, 1997

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

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
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

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
the 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.


November 26, 1997

BurmaNet Editor's Note: In an earlier report, BurmaNet said that the 
students at Occidental College staged a hunger strike after Dr. Slaughter
ignored their demands.  This was incorrect.  During their first meeting 
with him, he stated that he wanted to learn more about the issue before 
responding and that he would be willing to meet with the students again.
Below is a copy of  the letter he issued the following week.]

Office of the President

Novemeber 26, 1997

Subj: Student Protest against ARCO Involvement in Burma

On Friday, November 21 and again on Tuesday, November 25 I met with students
who expressed profound concern about the actions of the military regime in
Burma, the presence of ARCO in Burma, and my role as a member of the board of
directors of ARCO as it relates to these issues.  I was most impressed by
their respectful manner, honesty, and commitment to this subject of grave
importance.  I promised to write this statement to set forth my own views on
this set of complex and evolving matters.  

ARCO, as one of the world's leading energy-fuel producing companies, finds it
necessary to search for petroleum-related sources in many places throughout
the world.  In all aspects of its international operations, just as it
carries out its domestic activities, ARCO is committed to the highest
standards of safety, health, environmental protection, ethical practices and
social responsibility.

In 1996, ARCO acquired rights from the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE)
to conduct explorations for natural gas in Burma.  Since that initial
agreement, ARCO has made no plans to provide additional payments to MOGE, and
will most likely not do so for the next 5 to 10 years, depending on whether
or not a commercially viable natural gas discovery is made and the company
believes that it can carry out production in Burma in a manner consistent
with its own standards of business conduct.  ARCO is encouraged by the fact
that, to date, it has had no interference from MOGE or the ruling government
on personnel, contracting, operating procedures or codes of conduct and that
no efforts to influence our operations in any way have been exerted.  

Before entering Burma and continuously since that time, ARCO has closely
monitored the political situation in Burma and carefully evaluated the risks
of its presence there.  ARCO is certainly aware of the political divisions,
corruption, human rights violations and drug trafficking in Burma and
believes sincerely that by being there and by practicing its own high
standards of operation it can be helpful in encouraging more rapid evolution
of the changes in government behavior that are slowly, but hopefully,
inexorably occurring.

Although I am mindful and respectful of the company's rationale, I have
conveyed to ARCO leadership my own personal feeling that I would prefer that
the company not conduct operations in Burma and that it should withdraw from
the country.  I feel that the voices of those who share my opinion do not go
unheard and that they are taken into consideration as ARCO continues to
evaluate the political climate in Burma and its own presence there.  I will
continue to engage in discussions with fellow members of the ARCO board and
with ARCO senior management on this subject - one that I can assure is given
great seriousness and careful attention by all who are involved.


John Brooks Slaughter
President, Occidental College


November 27, 1997

U Mya Wai, who had been detained by the Immigration authorities of Japan
since 13 August because of lack of legal status, was released on 26
November with a guarantee fee of 1500000 yen.

After U Mya Wai was detained on 13 August, his lawyers filed a new
application for refugee status (his first application having been
rejected on 11 August), as well as two lawsuits (one asking for
cancellation of denial of refugee status, the other asking for
cancellation of execution of the order to repatriate to Burma)
and an application for provisional release.

On 7 November the Court gave a preliminary decision ordering the Immigration
authorities not to repatriate U Mya Wai until the conclusion of the
lawsuits. He remained detained, however, until 26 November when the
Immigration authorities granted him provisional release.

Thank you for your cooperation on this case!

People's Forum on Burma/Lawyers' group for Burmese asylum seekers


November 26, 1997

(from a camp resident)

General Situation Report on Nu Poe Refugee Camp 26/11/97

Nu Poe camp is situated in Tak Province's Um Phang District, set off from
the car road that runs between Mae Klong Mai (4km north of Umphang) and By
Klur (south west of Um Phang on the Thai-Burmese border). It is
approximately seven kilometers from the border as the crow flies. The camp
was set up in March this year to house the huge influx of refugees from the
Burmese Army attacks on the KNU and KNLA in Karen State's Duplaya District,
which lies across the border.

The camp has approximately 2,000 houses with a total population of more
than 10,000, and is divided into two zones.

Nu Poe has two monastaries, three churches and one mosque. The monastaries
are in Section 6 (Zone A) and Section 13 (Zone B). One Baptist church is in
Zone A, as is one SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) church (which is in Section
2). Another Baptist church is in Zone B. The mosque is also in Zone B, in
Section 12, which is the predominantly Muslim quarter.

The Karen camp authorities requested permission to build another church in
Zone A, as it does not accomodate the large number of worshippers who wish
to attend services on Sundays. The Thai authorities refused.

The camp currently has seven schools - two nursery schools, four combined
primary and middle schools, and one high school. More than a total of 700
students attend these schools - the nurseries having about one hundred
children each, the combined primary and middle schools with a total of at
least 3-400, and the high school having approximately 100 students.
A 'special' post-high school started at the beginning of this school year
(in June), but had to close in September due to a lack of teachers.

There is a Thai Intelligence Unit section (12 men) based in the camp. Its
leader is a Thai-Karen. They usually wear tiger-stripe patterned uniforms.

Soldiers from Thailand's 3rd Army are deployed around the camp, outside the
camp's perimeter. There is a contingent of approximately 70 soldiers, divided 
into 12-man sections. Every month, or sometimes two months, they are 
re-assigned away from the camp and others drafted in to replace them.
The soldiers are stationed at at least six locations around the camp's

One most unfortunate aspect of the camp is the fence within which the
residents were forced to imprison themselves. The Thai Army leader gave an
order to the camp leader, instructing him to organise the building of the
fence. Up to now, and since, the cutting of bamboo by camp residents has
been stictly prohibited, as the camp is located in an ecologically-protected 
area, but this strict policy was waived for the construction of the fence.

Each house had to provide materials for, and build, a 4-blah-long section
of the fence - approximately 5 feet. (One blah is the distance from elbow
to outstretched finger tip).

Once the fence was built, the Thai Army enforced a complete ban on
residents leaving the camp, and on newly arrived refugees who were fleeing
Burmese Army atrocities from entering the camp.

The community has been informed by the Thai Army that they had placed
landmines outside the perimeter fence - especially in the area along the
southern section of the camp, which backs onto a steep hill.

Prior to the fence being constructed, many residents had arranged with
local landowners from the nearby Nu Poe village to grow chillies, pumpkins,
cucumbers, and sweetcorn on their land. These were to be grown for the
refugees' personal consumption, and profits from any surplus sold was to be
shared between the refugees and the village landowners. Since the fence was
put up, the refugees are no longer allowed to go and tend their vegetables.
The Thai soldiers are now reaping the crops and the profits. The Thai
soldiers are currently selling the refugees' chillie crops at 105 - 130
baht per kilo to traders who come to buy farm foods to sell back in Um
Phang and other local villages.

However, many refugees continued to breach the fence in order to forage for
wild vegetables and roots etc, by dislodging some vertical fence panels and
squeezing through the gap. There have been many reports of minor injuries
from residents stepping on the small angled stakes, which are now hidden by
overgrown scrub and grass.

(Recently ) the fence has been resealed, and many people now seem less eager
to breach the perimeter in search of wild foods. This may be due to the
recent crisis regarding the forced relocation of refugees who were
originally prohibited from entering Nu Poe camp, and who where coerced to
move to a border location only ten minutes' walk from a Burmese Army post.
In recognition of their fear that this action may be repeated on
themselves, the residents now seem to want to remain discreet and thus have
resigned themselves to the foodstuffs provided by the donor agencies, even
though this diet is, to a degree, unbalanced and lacking certain nutrition.

Basic Needs.
The Burmese Border Consortium (BBC) is responsible for providing basic
foodstuffs to the population. This consists of:

rice - 16kg/person/month
salt - 1kg/person/month
fishpaste - 2.5kg/person/(irregular donation)
oil - 1 litre/person/month
chillies - 100grams/person/month
yellow beans - 1kg/person/month 

Requests by the camp leadership that charcoal (or compressed saw dust logs,
which the BBC supplies to several camps) and Ajinomoto (MSG - a popular
seasoning) be provided have not been met yet, and so cooking is performed
using dead wood or bamboo.

The foragging for dead wood and dead bamboo is strictly at the whim of the
local Thai authorities. Without notice, the community will be informed that
they are allowed to go out of the camp to collect firewood from a specific
area on that specific day. This was however not allowed during the recent
Thay Pu Law Hsu to Baw Ner Hta forced relocation crisis.

The market stalls are not officially allowed to sell anything, however it
seems that this is not being enforced - for the moment, at least. The main
items sold are basic foods and drinks (such as vegetables, eggs, tea, and
snacks) and basic household items (such as candles, pots, and knives etc).

Since the middle of October, Thai traders who used to come and sell market
goods have been prohibited from providing this daily service to the camp.
In response, some residents have been sneaking through the fence and buying
foods at the two Thai shops on the car road, not far from the camp
entrance. However, two weeks ago, the section of Thai soldiers stationed
off the road 100 yards to the north of the camp, started apprehending the
residents on their way to the shop. Punishment for being caught is one or
two hours of manual labour digging trenches, bunkers or clearing scrub, or
being made to stand in the midday sun for one to two hours.

The camp community is, more importantly, facing severe personal insecurity.
The DKBA regularly threaten to attack the camp, and information is often
intercepted of planned assaults by the former Karen Army Commander, Thu Mu
Hai, who defected to the Burmese Army earlier this year and now operates a
militia force across the border. In response to this, an obligatory curfew,
including no candle light, is in force from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am.
(Electricity in the camp is only available to the AMI clinic).

The feeling of insecurity has been exascerbated by newly arrived refugees
not being allowed to enter the camp. The last group of new arrivals,
totalling approximately 100 men, women and children, came to the camp in
early October. They had come from the villages of K'Mah Kler, Thee Kweh,
and Noe Maw Boe in Karen State's Duplaya District. The Thai authorities
initially allowed them to enter the camp and stay in other families' houses
while they registered their names and personal details. They stayed in the
camp for more than a week until the registration was complete, but were
then not allowed to stay in the camp, and forced to leave. They went and
sought refuge at Htee Hsaw Skhee. This is one of two temporary displaced
persons' shelters in the area, for refugees who have not been officially
allowed to enter Thailand (and have therefore been refused entrance into an
official camp) - the other temporary displaced persons' shelter was Thay Pu
Law Hsu.

Events at Thay Pu Law Hsu during the last ten days have made it completely
apparent to the residents of Nu Poe that the Thai authorities who are
controlling the camp have little sympathy for their plight. (Thay Pu Law
Hsu was the temporary shelter where, on Nov 15th, the Thai Army forcibly
relocated refugees to Baw Ner Hta, during which the Thai Army fired shells
and small arms into the community, and killed, tortured and beat a number
of refugees. This refugee population, who had only recently fled Burmese
Army atrocities, were unwilling to move to Baw Ner Hta due to its close
proximity to a Burmese Army post. For further reports on this disturbing
series of events please refer to earlier articles in the BurmaNet News).

On Sunday, Nov 16th, in an act of solidarity, the Nu Poe camp residents
refused to cooperate with the Thai camp authorities. The residents usually
help the Thai soldiers at the camp when asked to build huts and trenches,
but in response to the brutal treatment of the Thay Pu Law Hsu community
the day before, the refugees did not go when summoned. At 11:30 am, a Thai
soldier took his gun and fired a single shot from the car road across the
camp in frustration of the residents non-cooperation. This may have been an
attempt to play on the minds of the community and to remind them of
yesterday's inhumanity at Thay Pu Law Hsu.

The refugees at Nu Poe camp, as with most of the other camp populations
along the border, feel that the controlling Thai authorities are trying to
make the living conditions in the camps unbearable - to the point where
residents will voluntarily consider and hopefully decide to return to Burma.

The refugees in Nu Poe camp believe that the local Thai Army Commanders are
being influenced by their Burmese Army counterparts, and know that the Thai
Army does not believe that they have come to Thailand for free handouts. It
is well-known and accepted, if only privately, that they have been forced
to forego their communities, houses, and possessions, and give up their
ancestral lands and dignity, in order to save themselves and their families
from the Burmese Army's premeditated persecution in their villages.

The Karen refugees of Nu Poe camp desire the same as the Thai Army
Commanders - that they return and stay in their homeland. But in order to
do so, they feel that they should not be denied the right to life, even if
that means seeking temporary safety in a neighbouring country until
conditions in their homeland exist whereby a sustainable and secure
repatriation is feasible.


November 14, 1997   (excerpt)

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: A long attack on the NLD was printed in the 
New Light of Myanmar the day before the SLORC was dissolved and the
SPDC formed.  This excerpt suggests what kind of attitude the military
junta has toward Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD]

In the modern Myanma political history, the National League for
Democracy has been gradually reduced to a mercenary spy organization. Under
these circumstances, will it sincerely correct its many mistakes and stand
on the path of national politics together with the people? Or, will it
allow itself to continue to be used as a private property (taking the form
of a political party) of mercenary spy Daw Suu Kyi who is trying to make
Myanmar a dependant of neo-colonialists? What are the political and
organizational aims of the National League for Democracy? Will the future
of the National League for Democracy directed to the historic trend of the
State's national politics? Or, will it allow itself to become criminals in
history by following the path traitorous to the nation according to the
wishes of neo-colonialists?
Then, these are the questions:
What is the National League for Democracy?
Whither the National League for Democracy?


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