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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: April 20, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

April 20, 2000

Issue # 1513

This edition of The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:



(1)  "Why would we want to collect garbage, as it were, in our own 

Lt. Col. Hla Min commenting on allowing Burma's people access to 
websites like www.burmanet.org.  (See AP: FEARING FREE SPEECH 

(2)  "I personally feel gratified that the government of Burma has 
criticised me. It convinces me that I have been saying the right 

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.  (See AFP : BRITAIN'S COOK 

*Inside Burma














__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Fearing free speech Pandora's box, Myanmar's rulers block Internet

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON -- The Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Dozens of key-tapping students stare intently 
at computer screens in a cramped classroom three floors up a 
crumbling colonial terrace in downtown Yangon. 

At the private Knowledge, Management and Dedication Co. computer 
study center, these eager teens learn everything from operating 
systems like Microsoft Windows to programming. 

But there's one glaring gap in the curriculum: the Internet. 

While the rest of developing Asia is rushing headlong into the 
information technology revolution, Myanmar's unelected military 
rulers forbid cyberspace, fearing it could open up a Pandora's box of 

Sales of computers are growing rapidly in Myanmar's otherwise 
sluggish economy. The 100-member Myanmar Computer Federation 
estimates there are more than 50,000 computers in this land of 48 
million people, one of the
world's poorest. 

But networking between those computers and the outside world is still 
forbidden. A 1996 law imposes a 7- to 15-year jail term for the 
unauthorized ownership of a modem. 

"If we go online, I expect we won't be able to see politics," said 
Maung Thwin, 17, one of more than 3,000 youths competing for 300 to 
400 places this year at Yangon's Computer Science University. 

Pro-democracy campaigners abroad have set up dozens of Internet sites 
and Web discussion groups critical of the Myanmar regime, which is 
widely accused of abusing its citizens' human rights and suppressing 

Most of those sites are brim with words and images of Aung San Suu 
Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader of the party that captured 
1990 general elections but was never allowed to take power. Myanmar, 
also known as Burma, has been ruled by the military for nearly 40 

"Why would we want to collect garbage, as it were, in our own homes?" 
a government spokesman, Lt. Col. Hla Min, said when asked about 
banning Burmese from seeing foreign-produced pro-democracy Web sites 
like www.burmanet.org. 

"We want to use the Internet for constructive purposes to improve the 
knowledge of our people, not as a platform for troublemakers to 
create problems," he said. 

But while the regime produces its own colorful Web site,
www.myanmar.com, and has the capacity to provide the public with 
Internet access, it chooses to keep the international information 
spigot closed. 

Even e-mail has struggled for official acceptance. Three years after 
it was first introduced, e-mail remains restricted to a few hundred 
foreigners and to privileged Myanmar officials and businessmen with 
close ties to the government. 

In January, the government's own Internet server, which cost $1.5 
million to install, went into general service after 11/2 years of 

The server, owned by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, is 
set to provide e-mail for about 600 users in Yangon and Mandalay. 
Access to the World Wide Web, however, will remain restricted to a 
few select government insiders. 

The new server will restore service to the hundreds of frustrated e-
mail users cut off by the government in December when it abruptly 
pulled the plug on five private e-mail providers. 

Those services had been set up without the government's explicit 
authorization and the episode underlined state paranoia about 

"We were operating in the gray," said Pat James, the Texan boss of 
the longest-running private provider, the Eagle Group, one of those 
shut down. "Ministers were well aware of what we were doing but we 
were treated like common criminals." 

Technicians and managers were hauled in for questioning. Despite self-
censorship in its operations, including a refusal to pass burmanet's 
daily news roundups in e-mail form to a client -- the British Embassy 
in Yangon -- Eagle had thousands of dollars of equipment confiscated. 

The ministry declared that only it was authorized to provide e-mail 
and began taking applications for its new service. 

What about the Internet, which senior officials have been promising 
since 1998? 

If the experience of more prosperous China is anything to go by, 
Myanmar will struggle to censor any Net service it does provide with 
filtering software. 

In China, the government has set up a special Internet police unit 
and has even jailed a few users for posting information purported to 
pose a national security threat. 

But opinions critical of China's government still appear in local 
chat rooms. And while Chinese authorities do intermittently block 
access to foreign Web sites they deem unacceptable, savvy users often 
set up alternate "proxy" servers to get around this. 

Burma's government is still trying to figure out how to control the 
information flow. 

And it's being cagey about exactly when it will make the World Wide 
Web available to the select audience, though it did issue rules in 
January governing Internet use. 

No prizes for guessing what is expressly forbidden: politics.



Tuesday, April 18, 2000 9:30 PM EST 

YANGON (April 19) XINHUA - The number of motor vehicles in operation 
in Myanmar totaled 423,958 at the end of 1999, an increase of 6.62 
percent compared with that at the end of 1998. 

Of the total, there were 171,130 passenger cars, 54,012 trucks, 
16,492 buses and 169,425 motor-cycles, according to the latest 
Economic Indicators issued by the country's Central Statistical 

Motor vehicles used in Myanmar are mainly those manufactured in Japan 
and most of them are second-hand or outdated ones. 

To ensure smooth transport and traffic safety, the Myanmar transport 
authorities have introduced harsher measures to punish drivers who 
break the traffic rules and have built more roads in the country with 
its total length extended to 29,187 kilometers ( km) in 1999 from 
23,316 km in 1988. 

__________________ INTERNATIONAL ___________________


BAN THAM HIN, Thailand, April 20 (AFP) - Britain's Foreign Secretary 
Robin Cook on Thursday blasted Myanmar's "brutal" junta for forcing 
thousands of ethnic Karen to flee into neighbouring Thailand.

   Accusing Myanmar's army of torching Karen homes and farms, Cook 
used a visit to a packed refugee camp here to reinforce Britain's 
hawkish line on the Yangon junta as he wrapped up a two-day visit to 

   Cook said he was shocked "that any government should have behaved 
so brutally as to drive out such friendly, gentle people."

   "I have heard enough and I have seen enough to know that the 
people that are here only came here because they were fleeing from 
brutality, from military action which has burned their villages and 
destroyed their farms," he said.

   Around 8,000 refugees fled to Ban Tham Hin and other camps after 
Myanmar troops launched a huge offensive against Karen National Union 
(KNU) insurgents in March 1997.

   They are now packed into camps of bamboo huts nestled amid the 
hills of the Thai-Myanmar border, joining more than 100,000 refugees 
already in the country.

   Cook also moved to profit from Yangon's criticism of his tour, 
which has already taken in India and heads to Nepal later Thursday.

   "I personally feel gratified that the government of Burma has 
criticised me. It convinces me that I have been saying the right 
things," he said during his tour of the camp.

   Britain, which ruled Burma -- as Myanmar was then known -- as a 
colony until 1948 is one of the fiercest critics of the military 
regime in Yangon and is a firm supporter of democracy leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi.

   Speaking to scores of refugees and touring a school and hospital 
to donate medical supplies, Cook promised that Britain would not 
forget their plight and would do all it could to force the junta from 
power so they can return

   He also insisted Britain had convinced its European Union partners 
to adopt a stronger line on Myanmar as part of a package of measures 
being discussed permitting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 
(ASEAN) and the EU to resume ministerial meetings.

   Contacts between the two groupings have been stalled over 
Myanmar's presence in ASEAN.

   Thailand is home to more than 100,000 refugees from Myanmar who 
fled either persecution by the military government or fighting 
between junta troops and insurgent groups.

   On Wednesday a Myanmar spokesman issued a statement in Yangon 
lambasting Britain and its attitude towards the military-ruled state.

   "Myanmar has not only been a victim of colonial Britain's divide-
policy but it is still a victim of today's Britain's double-standard 
ethical foreign policy," said the spokesman.

   Myanmar frequently accuses the British government of interfering 
in its affairs and dismisses accusations that it is guilty of gross 
human rights abuses as post-colonial meddling.



PHNOM PENH, April 20 (AFP) - Cambodia's military court on Thursday 
released two Myanmar rebels arrested for illegally entering the 
country in January, allegedly in search of weapons and support for 
their battle against the
Yangon junta.

   The court sentenced the two members of the ethnic Mon hilltribe 
Rehmanya Restoration Army to time already served and released them 
following the first trial here of foreign insurgents, officials said.

   "The sentence is based on the charges from prosecutors that these 
two persons, Mot Sayhamsamai, 45, and Chao Sak Nounchai, 26, entered 
Cambodia illegally," said presiding judge Nou Chantha reading the 

   "They did not commit an offense against the royal government of 
Cambodia while here," he told the court, adding that they had been 
ordered to leave the country as soon possible.

   "They did not bring arms or ammunition with them or conduct 
sabotage or drug running. That is why they get a sentence of three 
months and eight days from the day of the arrest. So they are free 

   He alleged the pair also tried to solicit arms and supplies from 
Cambodian officers stationed on the border with Thailand. The pair 
spoke in Thai which was translated into Khmer for the court.

   "They wanted to strengthen the relationship with the leaders of 
Cambodia and requested logistic and arms supplies to their movement 
but were not charged due to lack of evidence."

   There was only one witness in the court, an officer whom the pair 
allegedly approached requesting arms. The  only evidence was a stamp 
bearing the imprint "Rehmanya Restoration Army" with a crest and 
Burmese writing.

   They crossed from Thailand into Cambodia's western Battambang 
province on January 8 and were arrested four days later, the court 

   "We consider this case as the first trial of its type against 
rebels illegally entering Cambodia," the chairman of the military 
court, Ney Thol, told AFP.

   "We don't want to have problems with our foreign friends," he 
said, adding the foreign ministry had urged the court to proceed 
quickly with the case.

   Cambodia and Myanmar are both members of the Association of 
Southeast Asian Nations. Myanmar embassy officials here declined to 
comment on the case.

   The two accused admitted to the court they were members of the 
ethnic Mon army, adding they were seeking "support."

   "We don't know anything except we were arrested after seeking to 
strengthen the relationship between Cambodians and the Mon. I did not 
commit any offenses except talking about friendship," said Mot 

   He said he had served in the rebel army for 25 years and was a 
colonel, adding he was a leader in a refugee camp in Thailand.

   Chao Sak Nounchai said he served with the Mon rebels for six years 
and achieved the rank of lieutenant.

   Cambodian and foreign officials have expressed concern in the past 
that the country -- which is currently decomissioning weapons and 
soldiers after three
decades of civil war ended in 1998 -- would become an arms bazaar.

   "Our country tries to avoid that kind of dealing and we are going 
to do our best along the border so they cannot cross illegally in the 
future," said Pa Socheatvong, second deputy governor of Battambang 

    "I understand why they were released, as there was no hard 
evidence to charge them (with arms smuggling), just words are not 

   With arms and ammunition easily and cheaply available here, 
Cambodia is reported by intelligence sources to be one of the the 
most significant sources of weapons for the Liberation Tigers of 
Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

   A delegation led by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar visited 
Cambodia last year to discuss the problem.



The Canada Group for Democracy in Burma

Newsgroups: soc.culture.burma
Wednesday, April 19, 2000 3:57 PM

 Burmese Ambassador Nyut Tin met with selected members of the Burmese 
community in Toronto, on April 15th!

 Those in attendance were:

 U Aung Myint Thein and his wife
 U Than Htut and his wife
 U Win Mg and his wife
 U Ye Win and Daw Khin Aye Lwin
 U Hla Win and his wife
 Dr. Hla Tun and his wife
 Dr. Nyi Nyi Han and his wife
 U Pe Tun and his wife
 Daw Khin mar
 Daw Grassey

 At the meeting:

 Nyut Tin, encouraged the Burmese Students in attendance to surrender 
to the military government, suggesting that they would meet the same 
fate as Ko Aung Ko (of Toronto) if they did not.

 Nyut Tin also stated that Burmese youth had been misled into running 
away and that they should rescind their statements of abuse at the 
hands of the SLORC/SPDC and return to Burma.
 He said they would be welcome with open arms.

 The student community of Toronto would like to state that they did 
not run away, they are fighting for DEMOCRACY for the people of Burma 
and will return when the military ceases to exist as the governing 

 It is suspected that Nyut Tin's purpose is to divide the Burmese 
Student community as well as the organizations fighting for democracy 
for Burma.

 It is also suggested he wants to form a Burma (Kyint Fort) in 

 We, as a community have to look back at out BLOOD HISTORY.
 We, as a community have to remember those who have sacrificed their 
to the fight for Democracy in Burma.
 We, as a community must remember Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
 We, as a community have to speak out against those willing to 
surrender to
 the lies of the JUNTA.
 We, as a community must also find out who is seeking favor for 
in Burma with the Ambassador.

 The Burmese Military is not a globally recognized government! It is 
not to be supported.

 The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade 

 In accordance with its mandate under standing order 108(2), your 
committee has considered the issue of human rights in Burma and has 
agreed to report the following:

 It was agreed,- That the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and 
International Trade urge the Parliament of Canada to recognize the 
Committee representing the People's Parliament as the representatives 
of the people
of Burma; and further urge the Government of Canada to consider the 
imposition of investment sanctions on the regime in Burma.

 We believe that the community knows who is right and who is wrong. 
We don't want to see the Democratic community segregated.

 Nyut Tin has mentioned plans to meet with the student activists who 
were not  present/invited to the meeting to encourage them into the 
military fold.

 But there will be no representative to meet with him.

 The Canada Group for Democracy in Burma


2000-04-20 Thu 02:20

CANBERRA, April 20 (Reuters) - Australia's conservative 
government came under fire on Thursday over leaked plans to fund a 
human rights training course for military-ruled Myanmar. The 
Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA) expressed scepticism 
about the benefits of such a course unless Rangoon made a basic 
commitment to upholding human rights. 

``There's also the question of whether increasing 
Australia's ties with the military regime in Rangoon is the right 
move, given continuing international condemnation of the Burmese 
government's actions,'' ACFOA executive director Janet Hunt said. 

News of the initiative, described as an introductory course on human 
rights and an overview of international law for middle ranking 
Myanmar civil servants, was part of a draft government aid budget 
briefing leaked by the opposition Labor Party. Officials from 
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the 
leaked report. 

Myanmar's generals have been widely condemned for rights 
abuses since killing thousands to crush a pro-democracy rising  in 
1988 and ignoring the result of the last general election in  1990 
won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National league for Democracy. 

Australia suspended aid to Myanmar over the military's 
annulment of 1988 election results, but provides some 
humanitarian assistance through the United Nations and 
non-governmental organisations for basic health care. 
Hunt said the ACFOA has previously supported many human 
rights training initiatives undertaken by the Australian government 
in Asia, but it was unclear what would be achieved by  spending aid 
dollars on human rights training for Myanmar. 

``The Burmese government needs to make at least a basic 
commitment to upholding human rights and become a part of key  
international human rights conventions before such training  
activities for its government officials would have any chance of 
success,'' she said in a statement.



New Light of Myanmar

YANGON, 20 April-The Government of the Union of Myanmar has agreed to 
the appointment of Mr Shigeru Tsumori as Ambassador Extraordinary,and 
Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Union of Myanmar in succession to His 
Excellency Mr Kazuo Asakai.



April 20, 2000

The international community should close ranks behind the new United 
Nations special  envoy to Burma to push for a dialogue between 
Rangoon and the opposition, a former  UN rapporteur said yesterday.

Yozo Yokota, who served as the rapporteur on human rights in Burma 
from 1992-96,  said the "slightly different positions" that Japan, 
the US, the European Union, Asean and  Australia previously took 
failed to send a "solid" message to Rangoon. These countries 
should "get together and take a firm position to support the work of 
the  special representative of 

[UN Secretary-General] Kofi Annan," Mr Yokota told the Bangkok Post 
on the sidelines  of a seminar sponsored by the UN Development 
Programme and the independent  InterAction Council.

Mr Yokota, who visited Burma several times as the rapporteur for 
human rights, said the  task of a special envoy like Razali Ismail 
was more important than that of a reporter on  the situation.

"The most important thing is not just investigating human rights 
violations in Myanmar.  It is a well-known fact that the most 
important thing is to  [activate] a dialogue between the government 
and the NLD," Mr Yokota said, referring to  the National League for 
Democracy of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr Razali, a retired Malaysian diplomat currently serving as Prime 
Minister Mahathir  Mohamad's special adviser on foreign affairs, will 
go to Burma next month as the new  special envoy.

Mr Yokota, now an economic law professor at the University of Tokyo, 
said Mr Razali  would have a "better chance" than others of 
succeeding. "In dealing with an old and  traditional country like 
Myanmar, you need to send a high-level representative," Mr  Yokota 

Bangkok Post (April 20, 2000)




Information  Sheet
No.B-1337 (I)            20th April 2000

        The world is today witnessing a new form of law
which has been introduced by some rich and powerful
countries on the developing Third World nations.
Condemnation, confrontation, forced isolation and
sanctions imposed to slow down the economic, social
and political development of those target-countries
are being justified as the only solution in solving
and overcoming poverty and malnutrition as well as
bringing about development in other areas of basic
human needs.

        It is also quite regretful to learn that a British
Embassy spokesman in Bangkok was quoted by AFP as
saying''.....the fact that Burma is a phenomenal
burden on Thailand'' when historical facts have
clearly revealed that Britain is the key player in
incessantly creating narcotics problems in our region
as well as ethnic armed insurgencies. Realistically,
Myanmar not only has been a major victim of colonial
Britain's Divide and Rule policy but it is still a
victim of today's Britain's double-standard ethical
foreign policy.

        Nevertheless, Myanmar sincerely hopes that Britain
will come to realize the fact that sharing
responsibility, cooperation and maintenance of peace
and stability are the essential factors required to
make our world a better place to live in, rather than
promoting confrontation, isolation and worst of all, a
double-standard ethical foreign policy.



Op/Ed in The Christian Science Monitor by John J. Brandon

April 19, 2000

Last month, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments about 
whether the State of Massachusetts can impose a "selective 
purchasing" law which penalizes multinational companies from doing 
business with Burma (also known as Myanmar). This law is designed to 
force companies to choose between doing business with one of the 
world's most repressive governments, known as the
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), or bidding on lucrative 
state contracts valued at $2 billion per year.

Critics, led by US business, believe the Massachusetts law is 
unconstitutional because it infringes on the federal government's 
ability to conduct foreign policy and its right to regulate foreign 

Supporters of the law contend there is nothing in the Constitution 
that denies states the right to apply a moral standard to their 
spending decisions.

A key issue in the case is whether states (and cities) can impose 
tougher sanctions on foreign trade than the federal government. The 
court is expected to render its decision on Natsios v. National 
Foreign Trade Council
in June.

In some respects, however, the constitutional questions raised in 
this case are moot for the peoples of Burma. The important question 
for them is whether sanctions are able to change the SPDC's behavior. 
Though the Massachusetts law and US sanctions have been successful in 
portraying Burma as a pariah state, they have not had any success in 
fostering democracy or improving the human rights situation. In fact, 
sanctions appear to have
only hardened the resolve of Burma's generals to continue dominating 
the country's political and economic apparatus.

Supporters of the Massachusetts law point to the success of similar 
legislation used in the 1980s that helped end apartheid in South 
Africa and believe similar pressure can contribute to the downfall of 
the SPDC.

This is an incongruous analogy. In the 1980s South Africa's economy 
was well integrated in the global economy, and all of its neighbors 
supported sanctions. Conversely, Burma's economy is at a subsistence 
level, and none of its neighbors support sanctions. Though foreign 
investment in Burma has plummeted 95 percent in the past year, this 
has more to do with the country's political uncertainty, inefficient 
economic policies, and the
Asian economic crisis than sanctions from the West. Indeed, Burma's 
economy is faltering, but this doesn't necessarily mean the SPDC is 
on the verge of

The US government has weighed in on the side of US business, saying 
the Massachusetts law should be struck down because it interferes 
with the federal government's efforts to craft a comprehensive policy 
toward Burma.
However, unilateral sanctions, whether imposed by a state or national 
government, should not be construed as being a policy, but a tactic. 
The US has been very specific in what it wants the SPDC to do 
(relinquish power)
in order to improve Burma's standing in the international community.

But the US has also been opaque about what it is willing to offer the 
SPDC leadership if it was willing to step aside. Burma's generals 
will not go gently, and any strategy on how to move beyond the 
political stalemate
between the SPDC and the country's main political opposition, the 
National League for Democracy (NLD), will have to bear this in mind.

Whatever decision the Supreme Court renders in June, the US will have 
some form of sanctions in effect. The US cannot remove sanctions 
because that would reward the regime for doing nothing. But without 
the SPDC
capitulating to the NLD and the US's demands to relinquish power (a 
highly unlikely scenario) what can be done?

Burma's prospects are dim. SPDC policies are unable to deliver 
improvements in employment, human development (particularly health 
and education), and poverty reduction that will be needed if Burma is 
to achieve its potential.
And the international community's lack of unanimity will not work to 
bring the SPDC to the negotiating table and help bring national 

This will require that parties both within and outside Burma 
demonstrate a willingness to compromise. This will not be easy given 
how poorly Burma's successive military governments have treated their 
people for almost 40 years, and the generals' subsequent fear of 
retribution from both internal and external influences if they were 
to lose power.

But until there is a coordinated strategy by the international 
community, and a willingness by all sides in Burma's political 
equation to compromise, the international community and forces for 
democratic political change inside Burma should expect to remain at 
loggerheads with a regime whose policies continue to erode the 
country's potential and bankrupt its people's

*John J. Brandon, a Southeast Asia specialist, is assistant director 
of The Asia Foundation in Washington. The views expressed here are 
his own.

______________________ OTHER _________________________


April 20, 2000

Three new KHRG reports are now available online at the KHRG web site:


"Starving Them Out: Forced Relocations, Killings, and the Systematic 
Starvation of Villagers in Dooplaya District" (#2000-02, 31/3/00) 
documents the escalating SPDC clampdown on villagers throughout this 
large district of south-central Karen State, culminating in the 
regime's latest orders to relocate all remote villages and confiscate 
the entire 1999 rice harvest. Villagers have been ordered to hand 
over their entire crop to the Army, then receive it back as a ration 
day by day. Not daring to face the Army or the forced relocations, 
many villagers are beginning to starve, surviving only on taro roots 
and jungle vegetables. In the meantime, they face increasing demands 
for forced labour and extortion, and a new campaign of systematically 
torturing village elders for intelligence. 
"Exiled At Home: Continued Forced Relocations and Displacement in 
Shan State" (#2000-03, 5/4/00) provides an update on the worsening 
situation for the people of over 1,400 villages in central Shan State 
which have been forcibly relocated and destroyed since 1996. The 
villagers who testify in the report describe starvation, forced 
labour and physical abuse in the relocation sites, the arrests and 
killings of people found outside the sites, the SPDC massacres of 
January and February 2000, the struggle of the internally displaced 
hiding in the forests, and the continuing flight of over 1,000 
villagers per month to Thailand. The report also contains an 
eyewitness update on progress of the Salween River Dam project in 
southern Shan State. 

The third report is an issue of "KHRG Commentary" (#2000-C1, 6/4/00), 
which discusses the situations mentioned above and comments on their 
relationship to 'drug eradication' aid in Shan State, the Salween 
Dam, the Thai government's plans for forced repatriation of Karen 
refugees, UNHCR initiatives on repatriation, and the latest steps by 
the International Labour Organisation against forced labour in Burma.



                      NEW MALDEN, SURREY, KT3 3YF, UK

                      PRESS RELEASE: 19th APRIL 2000
                         HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

In a resolution passed by the UN  Commission on Human Rights  
yesterday, the Government of Myanmar (Burma) received strong  
censure  for its `continuing pattern of gross and systematic  
violations of human  rights, including extrajudicial, summary or 
arbitrary executions, particularly  in areas of ethnic tension, and  
enforced disappearances, torture, harsh  prison conditions, abuse of  
women and children by government agents,  arbitrary seizures of  land 
and property, and the imposition of oppressive  measures  directed in 
particular at ethnic and religious minorities, including   systematic 
programmes of forced relocation, destruction of crops  and  fields, 
the continued widespread use of forced labour,  including for work  
on infrastructure projects, production of food for 
 the military and as  porters for the army.'

The resolution went on to deplore the regime's `continued  
violations of the  human rights of, and widespread discriminatory  
practices against, persons  belonging to minorities, including  
extrajudicial executions, rape, torture, ill- treatment and the  
systematic programmes of forced relocation directed  against ethnic  
minorities, notably in Karen, Karenni, Rakhine and Shan  states and  
in Tennasserim Division.'

The Human Rights Commission's resolution comes two weeks after  a  
brutal attack by Burmese troops on a settlement of internally  
displaced  Karen in Noe Boe, a small village along the Burma/Thai  
border. According  to a CSW source, the troops began shelling  heavy 
artillery on the  settlement on 1st April, moving in closer the  
following day to torch all the  homes in the area, as well as other  
structures including three school  buildings and a hospital. An  
unspecified number of Karen were taken by  the military to work as  
forced porters carrying their ammunitions, while  approximately  
4,000 managed to escape over the border into Thailand.  The sudden  
arrival of such a large number of refugees created a  humanitarian  
crisis which local NGOs are still trying to address.

The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, reached Thailand  
yesterday  for the next leg of his tour of Asia. Although a visit to 
the  Noe Boe region  has not been scheduled, he is planning to visit 
a  Karen refugee camp in  Tham Hin tomorrow. Karen leaders have  
expressed their gratitude that the  Foreign Secretary has made this 
priority, and have urged the British  government to maintain  
pressure upon the Burmese regime to establish a  tripartite dialogue  
both with pro-democracy and ethnic groups in  accordance with UN  
resolutions on this subject. 

The latest UN resolution has further called upon the Burmese regime  
to  `ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,  
including  the freedoms of expression, association, movement and  
assembly, the right  to a fair trial by an independent and impartial  
judiciary and the protection  of the rights of persons belonging to  
ethnic and religious minorities, and to  put an end to violations of  
the right to life and integrity of the human  being, to the practices 
of  torture, abuse of women, forced labour and  forced relocations 
to enforced disappearances and summary  executions.'

For further information about human rights in Burma or a copy  of  
the latest UN resolution, please contact CSW on: 44 208 942  8810



Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are Campaign Committee for 'Open School'. Our members consists of 
representatives from All Burma Students' Democratic Front 
(ABSDF),Burmese Women Union (BWU), Democratic Party for New Society 
National League for Democracy [Liberated Area] (NLD-LA), Safe Guard 
ssociation for Political Prisoners of Burma (SAPPB), and Student and 
Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB). 

'Open Our Schools, Enlighten Our Future', is a campaign aimed at 
opening the universities and schools of Burma, by raising awareness 
both internationally and domestically. This action will pressure the 
military regime to re-open the schools of Burma. 

We are working to network with Non Government Organizations 
worldwide, as well as with the Burmese community and international 
Student Unions to achieve our goal. Without your help, it would not 
be possible for this campaign to take place. Therefore, we are asking 
for your assistance and support in our cause and to spread the 
message of Burma's sufferings and infringements of basic human 

There will be an international launch date and on that date support 
activities around the world will occur to raise awareness from the 
world community. 

During the month of May, there will be an educational seminar 
focusing on the deteriorating education system of Burma, the future 
education system of Burma and the current education system in the 
refugee camps along the Thai-Burma 
border. The event with scholars from around the world to brainstorm 
on these matters and to find a solution to the education crisis of 

Please join us to tell the world and the oppressive military regime, 
in one voice that, " Our educational rights must be returned to us 
and open our schools, enlighten our future." 

After all, real power can not be achieved with guns, violence, and 
fear but through knowledge. 

Please support and contact us at: 
P.O. Box 132 
Mae Ping Post Office 
Chiang Mai, 50301 
Campaign Committee for Open School



The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive 
coverage of news and opinion on Burma  (Myanmar).  

For a subscription to Burma's only free daily newspaper, 
write to: strider@xxxxxxx

You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:

Voice mail +1 (435) 304-9274 

Fax + (202) 318-1261


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