[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

The BurmaNet News: November 20, 199

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

The BurmaNet News: November 20, 1998
Issue #1143



November 19, 1998 Eastern 

By David Brunnstrom 

BANGKOK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A senior U.S. narcotics official on Thursday
criticised the climate of impunity which he said allowed big narcotics
traffickers to live free in military-ruled Myanmar. 

"We can't allow people to have impunity anywhere," Jonathan Winer,
Washington's deputy assistant secretary of state for international
narcotics and law enforcement, told Reuters. 

"One of the problems with Burma is there has been a lot of impunity in

Winer said he could not understand why big drug lords like Khun Sa, who has
been indicted for heroin trafficking in the United States, and Lo Hsing-han
were living free in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. 

"What are they doing, wandering around, being left alone after moving all
the dope that they've moved?" he said. 

"If we can get the people who are growing dope and moving it out of Burma;
information on their front companies and financial interests; seize their
assets and indict them in the States or some other country; imprison some
of their network and shut that network down, it would be good for us, our
communities and the region." 

The Myanmar part of Southeast Asia's "Golden Triangle" opium growing region
is reckoned to be the world's largest source of heroin, output of which is
controlled by ethnic Chinese drug lords. 

Both Khun Sa, long considered the king of the Golden Triangle drug lords,
and Lo Hsing-han are widely believed to be living in the Myanmar capital
Yangon under the protection of the military government. 

Asked whether he thought elements of the Myanmar government were involved
in the drug trade, Winer replied: 

"Certainly there is a lot of reason to believe that drug corruption has
been a recurrent problem in Burma." 

Winer was attending a conference on a U.S.-Thai initiative to set up an
academy for regional law enforcement officials aimed principally at
encouraging international cooperation in combatting the drug trade. 

He said Myanmar was not part of the conference as U.S. sanctions prohibited
assistance to the government there and also because past programmes had not
proved successful. 

"In the case of Burma, you've got a situation that any number of people
have tried to work with the Burmese against drugs with very little
success," he said. "We have not found them to be reliable partners." 

The United States is also barred from assisting law enforcement efforts in
Cambodia, a country identified by narcotics agents as a transit point for
heroin from Myanmar. 

Winer said even if this was not the case, he did not think using U.S. money
for law enforcement training in Cambodia would be an effective use of

"Isn't the money better spent training countries that are in better shape
and have more stability?" he said. 

"When you have a government that has the political will to work with other
governments, everything is possible. 

"When you have governments that aren't capable of working with other
governments nothing is possible. For us right now with Burma and Cambodia
nothing is possible." 



November 19, 1998 Eastern 

By Anthony Goodman 

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A General Assembly committee on Thursday
approved without a vote a resolution deploring continuing human rights
violations in Myanmar. 

It specifically referred to extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, rape,
torture, inhuman treatment, mass arrests, forced labour and other
violations listed in a recent report by a U.N. investigator. 

Rajsoomer Lallah of Mauritius, a special rapporteur of the U.N. Human
Rights Commission, said last month that the situation in Myanmar, formerly
Burma, "has not evolved in any favourable way" since an earlier report in

Lallah, who has been unable to visit Myanmar since his appointment more
than two years ago, cited reports that opposition parties continued to be
subject to constant monitoring by the military government and that torture
and ill-treatment were still a common practice in prisons and interrogation

He said he also still received reports of forced labour across the nation
and that serious human rights violations continued to be committed by the
armed forces in ethnic minority areas. 

The resolution adopted by the General Assembly's social, humanitarian and
cultural (third) committee urged the government to permit unrestricted
communication and physical access to political leaders, including Aung San
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel peace prize and leader of the National
League for Democracy (NLD). 

The NLD won Myanmar's last election in 1990 but was never allowed to take

The resolution, which now goes to the full Assembly for endorsement,
strongly urged the government to take all necessary steps toward the
restoration of democracy in accordance with the will of the people
expressed in the 1990 election. 

It stressed the importance for the government to give particular attention
to improving prison conditions and to allowing international organisations
to communicate freely and confidentially with prisoners. 

Myanmar's ambassador, Win Mra, dissociating his delegation from the
resolution, said it was "highly selective and extremely partial." 

"All allegations are baseless and there is nothing concrete to substantiate
them," he added. 

The resolution failed to reflect what he said was his government's
"positive efforts to improve the situation in the country" and was designed
to "further the cause of one political party and one individual in
particular" -- a reference to Suu Kyi. 

Mra said Suu Kyi, "in her slanderous speeches against the government,"
called for sanctions against the country and the withholding of investment,
and urged foreign tourists not to visit Myanmar. 

The government had laid down a systematic programme for a transition to a
new political system, taking into account the political, economic, social
and geopolitical conditions of the country, he said. 



November 20, 1998

LONDON -- The owner of a "human-zoo" camp in Thailand, where 21 children
from a long-necked Myanmar hill tribe were kept on show for tourists, is
facing charges after a government inquiry led to its closure. 

In court in Fang, near the Myanmar border, were Thana Nakluang, the camp
owner, and Rakkiat Sri Siriwilai, its manager. 

Both deny depriving people of their liberty and that the detentions caused

They face prison terms of three to 20 years. 

Last November, The Times of London published a report exposing the
"human-zoo" camp in Ban San Thon Du, near Thaton. 

The report led to an inquiry by Ms Ladawan Wongsriwong, the Minister in the
Office of Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai. 

After receiving evidence gathered by Mr Andrew Drummond, a correspondent
for The Times, and Ms Sudarat Sereewat, Secretary-General of the Coalition
to Fight Against Child Exploitation, Ms Ladawan went to see the camp's
conditions for herself. 

After her visit, the Interior Minister ordered its closure. 

Ms Sudarat told the court how she travelled with Mr Drummond and officials
to Ban San Thon Du after they had heard pleas for help from Padaung
families inside. 

The pleas were recorded on tape and smuggled out through tourists. 

"When they saw us they rushed to the gates," Ms Sudarat said. 

They learnt that a woman had died in the camp. 

"I spoke to the woman's husband, who said she had died of a broken heart."