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Dear people,

Apologies for any misunderstandings my posting "U MAUNG MAUNG, ILO ETC"
may have caused. I certainly did not intend any personal attack on Htun 
Aung Gyaw,
whose commitment to working for democracy in Burma is beyond question.

My intention was simply to support the work of a person who in my 
experience has been, and continues
to be,  very effective in helping keep up the international pressure on the 
Burmese military.

I also consider that in the forums where I have seen them in action, namely 
the UN General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights,  Dr Sein Win** and 
his teams have been a critical element in ensuring increasingly strong UN 
resolutions on Burma.

How one views the UN's actions on Burma is a separate matter. In spite of 
the limitations imposed by the principle of state sovereignty and the 
weight given to regional views,  the  UN resolutions and reports have:

* provided an expression of universal condemnation (the resolutions being 
by consensus) of the Burmese military's human rights record,

* activated the Secretary-General's good offices in seeking a negotiated 
restoration of democracy,

* via the Burmese-language radio (DVB, BBC, VOA and RFA), informed the 
Burmese people of the international condemnation of the military regime,

* provided an authoritative statement of the human rights situation in 
Burma which in my view has been a major factor in deterring substantial 
Japanese and other investment as well as the resumption of large-scale 
multilateral assistance,

* provided an authoritative base-line for other actors -- governments, UN 
agencies, NGOs -- in making their own reports and actions,

Clearly the UN resolutions and reports are not enough, but beyond the areas 
referred to above, they are important tools  which in my view should be 
used more by Burmese democracy activists in their work with the media, 
governments, corporations, international organisations etc. The texts are 
on the UNHCHR website: www.unhchr.ch

** while I work in communication WITH  Dr Sein Win, U Maung Maung and 
others at the Commission on Human Rights, General Assembly, ILO etc., I 
certainly do not work FOR them.

David Arnott, Geneva