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Statement by Thai - Burma Coordinating Committee 
May 13, 1998

We draw your attention to the case of Mr.Sulak Siwalak, a high profile
social commentator and environmental campaigner, who was recently arrested
in connection with the Burmese - Thai Yadana Gas Pipeline from Burma 
project. Mr.Sulak's case highlights important issues of environmental
protection and the campaign against human rights abuses in Burma.

Mr.Sulak was charged under section 3 of the Petrolium Authority of Thailand
Act, 1978 which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment, for
his participation in demonstrations against the gas pipeline in the
Kanchanaburi province, Thailand. The pipeline which is to be used to
transport gas from Burma to Thailand, is presently under construction.

Several Thai environmental groups have been actively campaigning against
the pipeline, citing the extensive environmental damage which is to be
caused by the pipeline, including the destruction of the last protected
forest in the Kanchanaburi area. These groups and Mr.Sulak  were seeking to
protect the local environment for the benefit of  future generations of the
Thai people.

The protection of the environment in Thailand is just, fair and noble and
is an obligation imposed on every Thai citizen by the Constitutional of
Kingdom of Thailand. The people in accordance with article 69, are required
to " Preserve natural resources and the environment" . Article 56 further
provides that each individual  has the guaranteed right to "cooperate with
the state and local communities to conserve and benefit from natural
resources and bio-diversities" . Mr.Sulak was acting in accordance with his
constitutional rights in demonstrating against the gas pipeline.

Mr.Sulak has not committed any "crime". He was merely supporting the wider
struggle for the protection of the environment in accordance with the
constitution. The role of the judiciary  in Thailand is to be just, to seek
our justice and to protect the people from injustice. If  Mr.Sulak is found
guilty in the absence of a criminal act it will be a travesty of justice,
which will tarnish the dignity of Thailand.
The Burmese sector of the pipeline is complete. If the entire pipeline is
completed, the Burmese military regime will  recieve substantial foreign
earnings from the sale of  its to fund  an oversized military with a
eplorable record on human rights. This repressive regime, which
slaughtered thousands of its own people during the 1988 democracy 
protests, is seeking to strengthen  its grip on the country  to  perpetuate
 its own existance at the express of the Burmese people.

We are seeking international support  to:
Monitor and publicize the case of Mr.Sulak Siwalak,
pressure the Thai government to review the gas pipeline project and to
promote the protection of the environment  and international human  rights.
Thai - Burma Coordinating committee :
All Burma Students Democratic Front(ABSDF), ALTSEAN-Burma, Burma Lawyer's
Council (BLC), Burma Student Association (BSA), Burmese Women Union (BWU),
Human Right Document Unit (HRDU) , Karenni Women Organization (KWO),
NLD-LA, Overseas Karen Refugee Student Organization (OKRSO), OMNSO, People
Defence Force (PDF), Rakhaing Patriotic Literature Club (RPLC), Thai
Action Committee for Democracy in Burma ( TACDB )

A L T S E A N - B U R M A
Alternative Asean Network on Burma
Tel/Fax: 66 2 693 4515 * <altsean@xxxxxxxxxx>