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The BurmaNet News, May 7, 1998

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 7, 1998
Issue #1000


7 May, 1998

Report says Rangoon denies access to aid

Up to two hundred thousand of ethnic Karen people have fled Burma's
internecine battles and the government's forced-relocation plans, a report
by an opposition-affiliated group said yesterday.

The report by the Burma Ethnic Research Group said between 100,000 and
200,000 displaced Karen people had been forgotten despite being the victims
of ongoing fighting between Burmese government troops and ethnic Karen
opposition forces.

"Forced relocation is clearly practised widely by the Burmese government
and reflects policy at the highest level," said the report, obtained by the
Bangkok Post.

Some 90,000 Karen refugees are in camps inside Thailand, and the Thai
government plans to move the camps further into the interior for security
reasons following raids by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, which is
supported by Rangoon's military regime.

The report cited concern about insufficient aid to the displaced Karen from
the international community, calling it the result of the Burmese
government's refusal to grant access.

"Little has been done to provide assistance and protection to the
internally displaced, precisely because the Burmese military government
denies that the problem exists and denies access to those displaced," it said.

Including both the groups in Thailand and those displaced within Burma
itself, the Burma Ethnic Research Group said at least 30 percent of the
entire Karen population was homeless.


6 May, 1998
By Warren Richey

Nam Tit, Burma -- Growing opium was a family tradition for Zi Zi Fa. His
father grew opium, and his father's father. But the legacy was broken this
year when tribal leaders of the Wa ethnic group ordered Mr. Zi and other
farmers in this rugged area near the Chinese border to stop planting opium

(Photo) IN THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE: A Burmese soldier holds poppy plants. The
government claims it's eradicating opium growing. But Western observers are
skeptical. (Warren Richey)

It was a decision that dramatically reduced the income of Zi's family of
10. Last year he received the equivalent of $650 for 12.5 pounds of
opium-rich sap harvested from three acres of poppies. This year he is
planting soybeans instead and expects to earn about 1/10th of his former
income. Three acres of soybeans replacing three acres of opium poppies is
viewed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as progress in the war on
drugs. But Zi sees it differently. "The family is barely surviving," he says. 

It is still too early to know how the Zi family will deal with the economic
cold turkey into which it has been thrust. But the ordeal illustrates the
difficulty of weaning an entire population of farmers and their families
away from the only crop that they believe can give them an economic
advantage. It is essentially the same issue faced by coca growers in the
South American Andes, poppy farmers in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush, and even
marijuana growers in the American Appalachians: How do you break the cycle
of financial dependence on an illicit, lucrative cash crop?

Development needed

One-for-one crop substitution doesn't work, experts say. What does work,
they say, are regionwide economic- development projects linked with
education and law enforcement. "It is widely understood that you cannot
find one crop that will replace opium. There is no magic crop that will
generate the same income," says Joern Kristensen of the United Nations
International Drug Control Program. "The key is to open up the area so
local residents get access to the outside world, access to markets. The key
is to link them up to development in a country."

There is no doubt that opium is an easy crop for farmers here. It grows on
steep, unfertilized slopes above 3,500 feet, where few other crops can
survive. The harvested sap does not need to be refrigerated. And the opium
buyers - primarily Chinese middlemen - come directly to the farmer, so
growers don't have to worry about transportation or the prospect that their
crop might be hijacked on the way to market. Some buyers even offer
financial services - providing growers advance loans on a future opium
crop. It's their way of keeping poppy farmers dependent on the opium trade. 

Cultural acceptance of opium 

In addition, opium has been an accepted crop in this region for centuries
and is still widely used among the older generation as a medicine, in
cultural rites such as weddings, as well as a recreational drug. "We have
to educate the people that this is very bad for mankind," says Col. Kyaw
Thein, Burma's top antinarcotics official. Some skeptics say it is
impossible to break the grip of opium on these farmers. Indeed, the order
by the Wa leadership to quit poppy growing applies only to a tiny fraction
of Wa farmers in the Nam Tit region. The vast majority of Wa farmers are
still heavily involved in the opium trade.

But development specialists and many antidrug experts say there is reason
for hope. They point to nearby Thailand and even to China's Yunnan Province
as examples of how local governments turned the tide against opium
production while facing exactly the same cultural and development issues
that now exist in Burma. 

Success in Thailand

In 1969, the hill tribes in northern Thailand produced 150 metric tons of
opium. By 1997, Thai production had fallen to 10 metric tons. The
conditions in northeastern Burma, where more than half of the world's opium
is currently grown, are similar to the conditions that existed in northern
Thailand in the late 1960s. There is a lack of roads, which in turn means a
lack of access to markets to sell legitimate produce. There is no trucking,
no refrigeration, no food processing, and no packaging.

(Photo) CABBAGE PATCH: A Laotian farmer tends a field in the lowlands of
Laos. The UN is working in Southeast Asia to switch poppy farmers to
legitimate crops. (Linda Ehrichs/AP) 

It means that even if a farmer decides on his own to switch to legal crops,
he will face an uphill battle trying to find a buyer for his produce. A
former Peace Corps volunteer posted in northern Thailand two decades ago
says he remembers former opium-growing hill tribesmen carrying their ripe
produce into town to try to sell it. Once in town they were denigrated as
hillbillies and offered ridiculous prices for their crops. He says many
ended up giving their produce away because there was no developed market,
no clearly identified buyers at reliable prices. He says the same problem
exists in Burma today. "No one is reaching out to help them market their
produce, they are on their own," he says.

China used a combination of antidrug enforcement and infrastructure
development to prevent local farmers in Yunnan Province from turning to
opium production. Unlike farmers only a few miles away on the Burma side of
the border, Chinese farmers have access to roads, trucks, and a central
distribution system that creates demand for legitimate produce grown in
once-remote mountain areas. The same crops that are profitable on the
Chinese side of the border - rubber, sugarcane, tea, coffee, and mangoes
among others - would likely also make money on the Burma side, if roads and
other infrastructure existed.

"The trick is to find something that grows in the same season as opium,"
says a Western diplomat. That season runs from October through February.

'It is a change of lifestyle.' - UN International Drug Control Program

Japan is supporting a pilot project in northeastern Burma to see if
buckwheat might work. The test is whether farmers can harvest three crops a
year, including during the prime opium-growing season. Japanese officials
promise that all produced buckwheat will be purchased by noodle factories
in Japan. But transportation and storage issues must still be worked out. 

A United States-backed crop-substitution program sponsored by American
veterans who fought here in World War II is introducing farm-management
techniques in northeastern Burma. A development project sponsored by the UN
is about to start up in a Wa tribal town near the Chinese border. That
project will attempt to address the full range of infrastructure problems
such as roads, schools, and health clinics, while also teaching local
farmers how to become self-sufficient in food production. Many farmers use
opium revenue to buy enough food to feed their families all year. UN
project managers say if that food was grown by the farmers themselves, it
would be easier to persuade the farmers to grow a second, legal cash crop.
Rubber, sugarcane, and livestock, such as chickens and pigs, are among
possible choices, officials say. 

"It is a change of lifestyle, introducing other ways of making money," Mr.
Kristensen says.

As the local infrastructure is developed with better roads, schools,
clinics, and market facilities, project managers will begin exploring the
creation of support industries, like food packaging and processing plants.


6 May, 1998
By Warren Richey

Rangoon, Burma -- Officials in Burma complain that they are in the midst of
a significant antidrug campaign but that it is being ignored by most of the
world, particularly the United States.

The US cut off all aid to Burma, including extensive joint drug-fighting
assistance, in 1988 as a result of major human rights violations committed
by the ruling junta while crushing antiregime demonstrations.

Now, the military government suggests that the US should reconsider its aid
ban in light of recent anti-opium measures undertaken in Burma. The
government says it has eradicated 40,000 acres of poppy fields in the past
year. Western diplomats in the capital, Rangoon, acknowledge that some
eradication has taken place, but the envoys say they are unable to verify
how much has been destroyed.

Analysts suggest that if 40,000 acres had been destroyed, as the government
claims, opium production for the year would fall substantially. No such
fall has been seen, they say.

Government officials counter that there has been a significant decline in
opium production, but the US and other nations are ignoring it. "Since
1995, there have been many seizures and we managed to destroy a lot of
[clandestine heroin] refineries. I think this is an indication that we are
seriously doing our work," says Maj. Gen. Siha Sura Tin Aung, a regional
Army commander.

At the core of their request, Burmese officials are seeking equipment from
the US that they say will help them to wage a more effective war on drugs.
"We are ready to do any kind of suppression to the drug traffickers," says
U Hla Thann, a Ministry of Defense official who is also director of a
company that seeks to attract new investors to Burma. He says that among
its stepped up enforcement efforts, the government would resume an aerial
opium-eradication spraying operation that had been conducted with US help
prior to the 1988 aid cutoff. In particular, officials say, they need
helicopters, surveillance planes, support arms, including rocket launchers,
night vision goggles, satellite navigation equipment, and thermal imaging
sensors. Some Burma analysts say any new equipment would be used to fight
insurgent armies seeking autonomy from the central government and to
strengthen the junta's grip on power rather than to stop opium traffickers.

At present the full extent of US-Burma cooperation on drug trafficking
matters involves the sharing of Drug Enforcement Administration
intelligence information with Burmese officials. The US government
maintains it will not consider lifting existing sanctions until the ruling
generals make significant progress toward achieving democratic rule and
recognizing human rights.


6 May, 1998
By Warren Richey

Rangoon, Burma -- Rebirth is a major theme in Buddhism. But there is a form
of "reincarnation" under way in this Buddhist nation that has international
drug investigators working overtime.

Burma's ruling junta is trying to prove there is, indeed, life after being
a "godfather" in the Golden Triangle. Just ask Khun Sa and a host of other
opium warlords who are benefiting from a government campaign to embrace the
region's criminal underworld as legitimate businessmen, provided they
invest their narco-money in Burma. It is a policy that appears rooted in
cold pragmatism, perhaps even desperation. The governing generals are
seeking to prop up their wheezing economy by appealing to drug traffickers
- both current and former - to bring their money home.

The key phrase is: No questions asked. "Opium is the one crop that
continues to make money for people here," says a Western diplomat. "How
much of the money ultimately comes back here and is invested in the
economy, nobody knows."

The policy is raising concerns that the military government may become
hooked on drug money.

Given the widening Asian financial crisis, continuing international
sanctions against Burma, and less-than-friendly economic conditions inside
Burma, the regime has few options for attracting fresh capital.
Narco-investment as rehab?

Government officials defend their policy, justifying it as an attempt to
rehabilitate criminals by weaning them away from lives of crime.

But such explanations seem a little convenient to Western diplomats who
note that much of the opium and heroin profits are a direct result of lax
law enforcement in the Golden Triangle by Burma's government.

Analysts point to one Rangoon-based business powerhouse with investments in
real estate, finance, mining, tourism, and trade. The company is viewed as
the commercial arm of the United Wa State Army, a heavily armed militia now
considered the largest, most active drug-trafficking group in the Burma
sector of the Golden Triangle.

What has some Western analysts in Rangoon concerned is that Burma's
drug-money reinvestment policy dovetails with a series of cease-fire
agreements reached in 1989 with the same ethnic militias that protect and
run the opium and heroin operations. Under the terms of the cease-fire
agreements, the ethnic groups pledged to eventually work toward creation of
opium-free zones throughout their regions. Deadlines for an absolute halt
to all opium trade have been suggested (some as early as 2000), but it is
doubtful they will be honored.

In the meantime, the region's drug trade is enjoying what looks to be a
tacit agreement by the government to allow the traffickers to continue
their lucrative operations as long as the cease-fires are honored.

Khun Sa's 'surrender'

Among the best-known of Burma's new breed of investors is Khun Sa, also
known as Chang Chi-Fu, the flamboyant jungle warlord who "surrendered" to
the Burma military in January 1996 and has been living comfortably in
Rangoon. At the height of his power, Khun Sa supposedly controlled
one-third of the world's opium supplies and commanded 48,000 armed men.

The US government has posted a $2 million bounty on his head. Federal
prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y., are seeking his capture so he can stand
trial on 1994 charges that he smuggled thousands of pounds of heroin into
the US over 20 years.

But apparently having Khun Sa as a resident in Rangoon is worth more than
$2 million to the Burmese government. The full details of the agreement
between Burma and Khun Sa have never been revealed. But officials justify
the arrangement, saying his surrender ended a long war.

To coax Khun Sa out of the jungle, Burma's ruling generals offered him
safety and the chance to become a tycoon in Rangoon. He was granted a loan
by the government to set up a bus and trucking company and was awarded
government concessions in jade and gem sales. In addition, he has been
offered a lucrative contract to repave the road from Rangoon to Mandalay.
Part of the government's benevolent treatment of Khun Sa may be sincerely
rooted in the Buddhist faith and the understanding that good deeds never go

But part is also rooted in his value as a source of intelligence
information. "We could just shut him up with one bullet but we are trying
to keep him alive because he is a walking encyclopedia," says Lt. Col. Hla
Min, deputy director of the Office of Strategic Studies at the Ministry of
Defense. "This [opium trade] is a multibillion-dollar business," he adds.

"He knows who is involved. And now what he knows, we know."

Some government officials liken the arrangement with Khun Sa to a plea
bargain, a common arrangement in the US justice system.

Although his living conditions are said to be comfortable in a guarded
military housing compound in a quiet Rangoon neighborhood, he is
nonetheless under surveillance. And he still faces the prospect that
someone might try to turn him in for the US reward.

"Khun Sa is stuck. He can't move around. If he goes to any third world
country, we're going to grab him," says an American official stationed in
the region.


11 April, 1998

Economic and Social Council
Distr.GENERAL  E/CN.4/1998/38
24 December 1997
Original: ENGLISH

Fifty-fourth session
Item 8 (a) of the provisional agenda 


Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Nigel S. Rodley, submitted pursuant
to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/38 


By letter dated 21 February 1997, the Special Rapporteur informed the
Government that he had received reports indicating that the army (tatmadaw)
had continued to use torture and ill-treatment against members of ethnic
minorities in the Shan and Mon States and the Tanintharyi (Tenasserim)
Division. Persons forced to perform portering duties for the army and
villagers suspected of having links with armed opposition groups were said
to be most vulnerable to such practices. Porters unable to carry their
required loads of supplies and ammunition were allegedly often punished by
such methods as repeated beatings with bamboo sticks or rifle butts and
deprivation of food, water, rest and medical treatment.

The Special Rapporteur had also been informed that a number of persons who
were forced to perform unpaid labour by the tatmadaw on construction
projects had allegedly been subjected to ill-treatment, including by being
held in chains and receiving inadequate food and medical care. 

Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had
received information according to which a number of persons had allegedly
been beaten by the police during student demonstrations in Yangon in
December 1996. 

By its letter dated 25 April 1997, the Government stated generally, with
respect to the student demonstrations in December 1996, that there had been
no single incident leading to bloodshed. Concerning the general allegations
of the treatment of porters by members of the armed forces, the Government
informed the Special Rapporteur that the armed forces sometimes had to
employ civilian labourers for transportation of supplies and equipment over
difficult terrain in remote areas when launching operations against armed
groups. The law provided for the hiring of civilian labourers to assist the
armed forces on active duty. Such recruitment was done after consultations
with the local authorities and based on three criteria: the civilians had
to be unemployed; physically fit to work as porters; and a reasonable
amount of wages had to be fixed and agreed upon before recruiting. Civilian
labourers thus recruited were never required to accompany the troops to the
actual scene of battle, neither were they exposed to danger. The respective
military unit had the responsibility of paying wages and transport charges
and providing accommodation, food and medical coverage for the hired
labourers. There also existed volunteer porters and professional porters
who earned their living by offering their services as porters. The porters
were treated well by the armed forces. 

The Government further responded to general allegations transmitted in
1996, concerning abuses said to have been carried out by the Democratic
Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA), which was reported to receive logistical,
tactical and other support from the tatmadaw (E/CN.4/1997/7, para. 146).
The Government stated that the DKBA was the fighting unit of the Democratic
Kayin Buddhist Organization (DKBO), which broke away from the armed
terrorist group Kayin National Union (KNU) in 1994, due to dissatisfaction
with the leadership. When the KNU launched a massive offensive against the
DKBO in January 1995, during which hundreds of people, including civilians,
were killed, the local inhabitants had requested assistance from the
tatmadaw. The Government stated that, since the aspirations of the DKBO had
revealed the sincerity of their wishes for peace and stability of the
region and coincided with those of the Government, the tatmadaw had
provided the necessary logistical support. While the DKBA launched its
assault on the KNU headquarters, tatmadaw units secured the rear with the
aim of protecting nearby villages from attack by KNU remnants. Armed
clashes had broken out at times between the forces of the KNU and the DKBO.
As the Government had not yet held any official peace talks with the DKBO,
and as the DKBO had yet to return to the legal fold, the Myanmar
authorities had no control over the DKBO. Neither could the authorities be
held responsible for the activities of the DKBO.  

The Special Rapporteur also transmitted to the Government six newly
reported cases, two of them collective, on behalf of eight individuals and
retransmitted a number of cases, submitted in 1995 and 1996, to which no
reply had been received. In addition, he made two urgent appeals in
conjunction with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in
Myanmar on behalf of 15 individuals and some unnamed relatives of two of
them. The Government replied to one newly reported individual case and 12
previously transmitted allegations concerning 39 individuals.  


The Special Rapporteur appreciates the responses of the Government.
Nevertheless, he notes the conclusions of the Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in Myanmar that "the practice of torture,
portering and forced labour continue to occur in Myanmar, particularly in
the context of development programmes and counter-insurgency operations in
minority-dominated regions". (A/52/484, para. 147) 


Economic and Social Council
Distr. GENERAL  E/CN.4/1998/38/Add.1
24 December 1997
Original: ENGLISH 

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS  Fifty-fourth session  Item 8 (a) of the
provisional agenda 


Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Nigel S. Rodley, submitted pursuant
to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/38 


Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received 


   1.By letter dated 21 February 1997, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a
number of cases of alleged torture or ill-treatment to one of which the
Government replied, as summarized below. 

    2.Ana, a member of the Akha ethnic minority, was reportedly forcibly
taken for portering work in February 1995, after some 800 soldiers entered
his village in Tachilek township. After two weeks, he was allegedly beaten
and kicked to death by soldiers, being unable to work as he was suffering
from malaria.  

   3.Mi Aul, aged 15, and Mi She, aged 16, from the Akha ethnic minority,
had reportedly been taken from a village in Mong Hsat by members of the
tatmadaw to perform portering duties in April 1995 and were allegedly raped
repeatedly for six nights. They were reportedly released after paying
bribes. Subsequently, the girls allegedly stopped eating and sleeping, and
both died. 

    1.In early April 1996, U Pa Pa Lay and U Lu Zaw were reportedly forced
to work with iron bars shackled across their legs at a labour camp in
Kachin State, leaving U Pa Pa Lay gravely ill. 

    2.The Special Rapporteur also transmitted information according to
which a number of persons had allegedly been beaten by the police during
student demonstrations in Yangon in December 1996. In this connection, he
submitted three individual cases. U Myo Thant, a local reporter, and
Shigefumi Takasuka, a Japanese reporter, both working for the Japanese
newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, were allegedly beaten repeatedly on the head
with wooden clubs and truncheons by police during student demonstrations in
Yangon in the beginning of December. Kampye, a Hindu onlooker during the
student demonstrations on 7 December 1997, was allegedly beaten by police,
including on the head with a stick. He was said to have died after being
taken to hospital. By its letter dated 25 April 1997, the Government
replied that this allegation was totally untrue, as there had been no
single incident leading to bloodshed during the student demonstrations. 

Urgent appeals transmitted and replies received 

   1.The Special Rapporteur transmitted two urgent appeals, on 27 June and
4 November 1997, in conjunction with the Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in Myanmar. 

    2.The first appeal was transmitted on behalf of two trade union members
and their relatives as well as five members of the National League for
Democracy (NLD). U Myo Aung Thant and U Khin Kyaw, both members of the
executive committee of the Federation of Trade Unions-Burma, were
reportedly arrested along with their families by officers of the National
Intelligence Bureau on 13 June 1997. On the same day, the following NLD
members were said also to have been arrested: Khin Maung Win (also known as
Ko Sunny); Cho Aung Than; Daw Khin Ma Than; U Shwe Myint Aung and U Ohn
Myint (over 80 years of age). On 24 July 1997, the Government responded
that the seven above-named persons (correcting the names of Daw Khin Ma
Than and U Shwe Myint Aung to Nge Ma Ma Than and U Swe Myint Aung
respectively) had been found to be involved in terrorist activities. They
had been planning bomb attacks on foreign embassies and residences of State
leaders, the blowing up of transformers and the cutting of telephone lines,
as well as the incitement of workers' unrest. Cho Aung Than had been
involved in making appointments for foreigners to meet Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi. Myo Aung Thant, Nge Ma Ma Than and Cho Aung Than also had secret
contacts with foreigners to send financial aid to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Myo
Aung Thant, Cho Aung Than, Khin Maung Win, U Ohn Myint and Nge Ma Ma Than
had participated in producing and smuggling a film of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
in Kayin national dress for a charity show for refugees in Bangkok. The
Government added that there was no ground for concerns that persons
detained would face ill-treatment while in detention since torture and
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were prohibited by relevant
laws and regulations in Myanmar and were scrupulously followed by the
authorities concerned. 

    3.The second appeal was made on behalf of eight persons, seven of whom
were said to be leading members of the NLD. They were reportedly arrested
by security forces in the night of 28/29 October 1997 and taken to an
unknown location      following attempts to hold a meeting with Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi at the NLD Mayangone township office on the outskirts of
Yangon, which had been prevented by security forces. Those said to have
been arrested were identified as: Daw May Win Myint, Daw San San, Win Win
Htay, Dr. Than Nyein, Khin Maung Myint, U Soe Myint, U Win Thaung, all NLD
members, and U Mya Thaung, the landlord of the Mayangone NLD office. 

 Information received from the Government on cases appearing in previous

   1.On 30 December 1996, the Government replied to the urgent appeal of 5
December 1996 on behalf of Zaw Win, Tin Hla, Kyaw Soe, Thi Thi Aung and
Than Than Su Win, members of the Youth Wing of the NLD, who had reportedly
been arrested on 3 December 1996 (E/CN.4/1997/7/Add.1, para. 342). The
Government confirmed the arrest of the first four individuals on the basis
of their involvement in the student protest march from suburban Hledan
Kamayut township to downtown Yangon on 2 December 1996. Than Than Su Win
had never been arrested or detained. The Government further stated that
persons in custody were not subjected to torture or ill-treatment as such
practices were strictly prohibited in Myanmar. 

   2.By its letter of 25 April 1997, the Government transmitted information
on the cases mentioned in the following paragraphs. 

   3.Saw Ther Toe, reportedly arrested in December 1993 by soldiers said to
have stabbed him, burnt his eyes out and dragged him through the streets
before executing him in January 1994 (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, para. 460). The
Government stated that Saw Ther Toe had participated in the activities of
the armed terrorist group the Kayin National Union (KNU) by carrying
ammunition and rations for their troops and collecting protection money
from villagers. He had been captured together with 10 other KNU members on
22 November 1993. The Government did not address his alleged torture.  

   4.Khing Kyarn, Ai Lar, Sarng Kham Luam and several others, allegedly
subjected to torture during a raid by soldiers on their villages in
northern Shan state in mid-January 1994 (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, para. 461).
The Government stated that no such incidents had ever occurred. 

   5.Sarng Swe, Sai Aung Maung and others, reported to have been tortured
by troops of the 240th and the 22nd Infantry Regiments
(E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, paras. 462, 467), and the alleged torture of Naw
Psaw Po, Naw Hser Chit and Po Li Kee (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, para. 463). The
Government stated that the allegations were not true. 

   6.Equally untrue were allegations of torture of Maung Chit, Maung Shwe
Lher, Saw Thay Ler, Saw Per Klas and Por Ker Ra (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1,
para. 464). Only Maung Chit had been identified as a resident of Shwe Kyi
village, where no military movements had taken place at the time of the
allegations, according to the Government.  

   7.Sai Be, Maung Paloke and Daw Mu Larong from the villages of Ma Khae
and upper Karen Tike, reportedly subjected to torture by soldiers in early
1994, said to have led to the death of two of them (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1,
para. 465). The Government replied that neither Ma Khane village nor Upper
Kaying Taik village existed in Hpekon township or adjoining areas and that
no such incidents had occurred. 

   8.Sai Sarng, Lung Khin and Sarn Pya, allegedly tortured to death by
soldiers in 1994 (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, para. 466). The Government denied
that any of them had died as a result of torture. Sai Sarng had in fact
never been arrested. Lung King had been called by the authorities in view
of his failure to report on the movements of the armed drug-trafficking
terrorist group Murng Tai Army (MTA) in Worn Fai Lim village. He was in
very poor health and had passed away while staying in the camp. Sarn Pya,
who was mentally disturbed, had collapsed and died of exhaustion on 18
April 1994, while running away when troops of the 425th Infantry Regiment
had entered the village of Worn Fai Lin to search for terrorists. He was
suffering from malaria at the time of his death. 

   9.Saw Pa Aye, Saw Potha Dah, Deepa Leh and his son, allegedly tortured
by the military in 1994 (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, paras. 468-469). The
Government responded that the allegations were not true.  

  10.Naw K'ser Paw and Naw Ta Blu Htoo, two women allegedly detained and
tortured at Tham Bo camp (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, para. 470), had not been
found on the list of detainees at Than Bo police station. The Government
further stated that the camp had been temporarily established to
accommodate captured members of armed groups and their sympathizers, but
was no longer in existence. 

  11.The name of Sai Lone, from Tachilek, who had reportedly been arrested
and tortured by soldiers in 1993 on accusation of membership of the Murng
Tai Army (E/CN.4/1996/35/Add.1, para. 471), equally did not appear on the
list of persons arrested by the 359th Infantry Regiment. According to the
records, only one person called Sai Lone had appeared before court during
1993-1994. He had been sentenced to three months' imprisonment on 14
January 1994 for illegal possession of a dagger.


7 May, 1998

About 5,000 villagers from Kanchanaburi's Sai Yok and Thong Pha Phum
districts yesterday asked Royal Forestry Department (RFD) Director General
Prodprasop Suraswadi to solve their land problems caused by the
announcement of conservation forest areas.

The villagers are from four different areas with four different problems.
Some called for the RFD to exclude their villages from the proposed Thong
Pha Phum and Lam Khlong Ngoo national parks.

Another group of villagers affected by the Khao Laem Dam asked for a land
rights scheme.

Plodprasop promised to relay their demands to the Cabinet within 15 days.

He said his visit to Kanchanaburi yesterday was to verify the information
he received from his officials about controversial cases, including forest
degradation, invasion of the Saiyok National Park, misuse of a mining
concession area, questionable land rights issues in Huay Pak Kok village
and reforestation in the gas pipeline construction area.


7 May, 1998

Mae Hong Son -- The border is tense after Burmese forces hunting Shan
rebels seized part of a village in Pang Mapha district and dug trenches and
artillery positions.

Security forces have been deployed around Ban Mai Kailuailg after 50
soldiers from Burma's 99th Battalion crossed the border and established
themselves there last Wednesday.

Officers of the 7th Infantry Regiment assigned to discuss a withdrawal were
told by the commander of the 99th Battalion the intruders would stay until
he was ordered to pull them out.

Sources said the Burmese wanted tab capture Shan leaders believed to have
been hiding in Ban Mai Kailuang.

The Shans, they said, had launched a series of attacks on Burmese camps in
Ho Mong, Shan State, which is now under junta control after the
capitulation of Khun Sa to Rangoon in January 1996.

Governor Samrerng Bunyopakoiln of Mae Hong Son said villagers living in the
area would be moved elsewhere.