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

[theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: Ma

Reply-To: theburmanetnews-owner@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: May 16, 2000

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

May 16, 2000

Issue # 1532


"Total knew what it was doing when it invested massively in Myanmar 
while others withdrew from the market for ethical reasons.  The 
company must accept the consequences. The country will not always be 
governed by dictators."


*Inside Burma


















__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________



YANGON, May 17 (AFP) - Myanmar, one of the more economically and 
politically isolated states in Southeast Asia, is soon to get a 
mobile phone system, reports said Wednesday.  According to the 
Burmese-language Mirror daily, Myanmar "will soon provide" a global 
system for mobile communications (GSM) network.  Myanmar, where much 
outside information is censored and the economy is staggering, is the 
only country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 
not to have a GSM mobile network. 

The GSM system will be installed by Myanmar Skylink in association 
with Skylink Communications, a firm registered in the British Virgin 
Islands.  Myanmar Skylink will import 100,000 mobile phones when it 
installs its system. 

Myanmar's fixed line telephone service is extremely erratic, and 
there are frequent electricity cuts in Yangon and other cities.  



KNU Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department

May 16, 2000


TENASSERIM DIVISION, BURMA-  137 internally displaced persons from 
Tenasserim River basin region recently fled from Burma army's 
operation to seek refuge in Thailand on May 10, 2000. 
On May 10, 2000, 32 families, with 137 Karen villagers fled to 
Thailand at Ban Phu Rakam in Suan Phung District, Ratchburi province. 
They were allowed to enter by Thai authorities and were shifted to 
temporary settlement at Ban Huai Kamu. Those villagers are from 
Tenasserim Riverside at the area of Buthawplaw (Kyaukpa). More than 
two hundred villagers had tried to escape from military operations 
but only about one hundred could escape to Thailand. The rest are 
trapping inside Burma. 

Burma army's Coastal Military Command (CMC) had ordered its military 
divisions under its command on 8 April to launch more searche and 
destroy operations and to kill whoever they see in the jungle.


Shan Herald Agency for News
17 May 2000

The leader of a Shan ceasefire group submitted an official complaint 
to a  regional junta commander on the various abuses committed by a 
Khun Sa-led  militia force, reported a source who arrived at the 
border recently.  The official report by Sao Gunyawd, Commander of 
the Shan State National  Army, to Maj.-Gen Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo in 
mid-March listed the following  abuses perpetrated by Bo Mon's 
Wanparng militia force:

"5 February Pan Aung, with 12 men, arrested Sai Mawngpa of Markfai 
village,  and shot him dead between Markfai and Nakharn.

11 February Ah Jiu, with 40 men, summoned a public meeting in 
Monghet  (under SSNA administration) and ordered every household 
to "contribute" 4  baskets of hulled rice and 5 baskets of unhulled 
rice annually. 

17 February (The militia force) issued order in Loiwiang and 
Panghoong for  poppy farmers to pay tax.

3 March Ah Jiu, with his 40 men, fired 2 M79 rocket launchers in 
Mongket  and extorted 40 baskets of rice from the villagers. 
Announced, "The SSNA  must leave the area within 2 months or face 
military action. The Burmese  have granted all their areas to us now."

6 March (The militia force) taxed the people in Koongmong Tract, K. 
5,000  per household.

7 March (The militia force) held a public meeting in Khoomzong 
village,  explained the structure of the militia force and ordered 
the villagers to  pay K. 500,000 within one week."

The source did not know what the results of the report were.So far, 
no  clashes have not been reported.

"Bo Mon, before Yawdserk's penetration to the north, had only 
Wanparng and  Nammusay. But since Yawdserk's encroachment began in 
mid-1999, the Burmese  have already given permission to him to extend 
his operations into Mongket,  Mongyaw, Mongtaem, Monghet, Loimaw, 
Tasaileng, Mongkeng, Wankard, Mongpard,  Mongna, Mongtawm, Zalarn and 
Kerngka, all known for opium production," said  the source.

As for Khun Sa's involvement in the operations, he said, "Bo Mon 
often goes  to Rangoon to meet Khun Sa and Falang (a.k.a. Chang 
Hsuchuan, Khun Sa's  Chief of Staff). Lao Tai (a.k.a. Yang Wansuan 
a.k.a. Khin Maung Win, one of  the drug suspects on the Americans' 
wanted list), Khun Sa's Secretary, is  also with him."

The anti-insurgency militia force of Bo Mon, less than 100 strong 
before,  is reported to be 500 strong now and has been sanctioned to 
increase it to  1,000, the source added.

According to one of the ceasefire group's officers, the message was 
clear:  The junta is going to use Shans to subdue Shans. "Using fish 
oil to fry  fish, as the saying goes," he said.

Nevertheless, Gunyawd, whose mutiny in 1995 broke the backbone of 
Khun Sa's  once mighty Mong Tai Army, appears to be still optimistic 
about his  predicament, he said, quoting his superior, "There are 
four options for us: One, the wood is ruined, but the rabbit is not 
caught; Two, the wood is not ruined, and the rabbit is not caught; 
Three, the wood is ruined, and the rabbit is caught; and Four, the 
wood is not ruined,and the rabbit is caught. What we are trying to do 
is the fourth one. I think you'll agree it's  better than any other 


16 May 2000

No: 5 - 7

Palaungs Declare War on Drugs
According to a newsletter recently published, a Palaung ceasefire 
group in  northern Shan State had issued a statement declaring war 
against poppy  farming in the areas under its control.

The Palaung State Liberation Organization, a group that has a 
ceasefire  pact with Rangoon and is active mainly in Namhsan 
Township, northern Shan  State, issued a statement on 29 February, 
announcing poppy growers "caught  red handed" would be liable to 
stiff fines and their fields destroyed,  reported the Palaung Youth 
Newsletter, Issue No. 2, that was published in  April.

According to the newsletter, the PSLO would do its "best to eradicate 
the  growing of opium completely (even) without any other country's 
The paper also reports Burmese officers, Than Htoo from LIB 324 and 
Cho Win  from IB 33, taxing poppy growers in Namtu, Namkham and 
Kutkhai townships  heavily under threats of destroying the fields.

It also reports Capt. Tin Win, Chairman of Namkham Township Peace 
and  Development Council, exempting poppy growers from participating 
in the  compulsory road construction on 12 March. Only villagers from 
Manset, who  were not engaged in poppy cultivation, were instead 
ordered to join in the  road construction, it says.

According to the paper, Lashio has become the drug capital of the 
north. It  also reports the current price list:
Opium K. 200,000 per viss (1.6 kg)
WY Amphetamines K. 130,000 per 1,000 pills
Heroin K. 1,200,000 per kg

For further information, please contact Palaung Youth Newsletter, 
P.O. box  48 Chiangmai 50202, Thailand.
E-mail: <dragon@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Tel: 01-671 9156

__________________ INTERNATIONAL ___________________


By Nora Boustany

Washington Post Foreign Service

Wednesday, May 17, 2000; Page A19 

Erosion of human rights and freedom continues in Burma, but Secretary 
of State Madeleine K. Albright and a bipartisan congressional group 
paid tribute to Burma's National League for Democracy and its leader, 
Aung San Suu Kyi, on the 10th anniversary of the league's May 1990 
election victory. 

"The yearning for freedom is relentless," Albright said at a luncheon 
on Capitol Hill yesterday sponsored by the National Endowment of 
Democracy. "The walls it cannot overwhelm it will nevertheless erode. 
And I am confident the day will come when Burma is free." Albright 
noted she was wearing appropriate jewelry--a brooch symbolizing 
freedom and a necklace Suu Kyi gave her in 1995 in Rangoon, Burma's 
capital, after the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. 
Albright described Suu Kyi as a "remarkable woman of fragile beauty 
and inner strength," adding that she has renewed her call for 
dialogue and that military authorities have responded with a new wave 
of arrests. The Burmese military annulled election results 10 years 
ago that had given the National League for Democracy a parliamentary 
majority. Hundreds of the party's members were arrested. Many others 
fled. But Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, refused to 
leave, even upon learning last year that her husband was dying of 

Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) 
and Reps. John Edward Porter (R-Ill.) and Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) 
introduced House and Senate resolutions yesterday calling on Burma's 
ruling military to guarantee basic freedoms and accept dialogue with 
the National League for Democracy and banned political leaders, to 
release political prisoners and to uphold international human rights 

Suu Kyi addressed the Hill luncheon in a videotaped message. "Many 
are still working for democracy, but under very difficult 
circumstances. We have not given up our struggle, and we are not 
going to give up our struggle," she said. "By arresting our people, 
by preventing our party from operating freely as a legal political 
organization, they are only proving to the world that their words and 
their deeds are on different tracks altogether." Albright said every 
time Suu Kyi speaks to supporters in Burma, expresses outrage about 
the lack of opportunities for children, the spread of disease or the 
loss of freedom, or records a videotape like the one screened 
yesterday, she is vulnerable. "We in the United States cannot change 
that. But we can ensure that Aung San Suu Kyi and her Burmese allies 
are never alone," Albright said.



Presented at a Capitol Hill luncheon honoring the NLD
 May 16, 2000

	It was a surprise to me to learn that the NED was planning to 
commemorate the 10th anniversary of the elections of 1990, but it was 
a very pleasant surprise.  

	The elections of 1990 are an important landmark in the modern 
history of Burma.  After three decades -- almost three decades -- of 
military dictatorship, finally the people of Burma were going to be 
able to vote for a government of their choice.  The elections of 1990 
were free and fair.  It was one of the freest and fairest that had 
taken place in this region at that time.  But unfortunately, the 
results of the elections were not honored.  

	It seemed that the military regime had not expected the 
people to vote for the National League for Democracy.  Or certainly, 
not to vote so overwhelmingly for the National League for Democracy.  
We were very proud and happy with the results of the elections of 
1990, not because our party won more than 80 percent of the seats, 
but because the elections proved that the people of Burma were 
politically mature.

	Two years before the elections, the people of Burma were 
allowed to form political parties.  After 26 years of one-party rule, 
suddenly, they were allowed to form political parties.  More than 200 
political parties came into being within a few months.  The military 
authorities obviously expected the democratic vote to be split 
between various parties.  Not all 200 parties contested the 
elections; about 90 of them did.  Still, that's a great number of 
political parties to be contesting elections.  
	But the people did not allow themselves to be diverted.  They 
knew that the most important thing was to set up a strong, democratic 
government that would help to put the country back on the path of 
good governance. Because of that, they decided to vote for the 
National League for Democracy. 

	For us, the result of the elections was something we could be 
proud of. But it was something that also made us feel very humble.  
It showed us that political progress cannot be made without the 
willing cooperation of the people. 

	If the people of Burma had not voted for us in 1990, the 
world would not have known that this country wanted democracy.  And 
by refusing to honor the results of the election, the military regime 
also made it clear to the world that they did not want democracy.  

	For the last ten years, we have been struggling for the right 
of the people to elect their own government, for the results of the 
elections of 1990 to be recognized.  During these ten years, there 
have been many casualties.  Many of those who were elected by the 
people were imprisoned, forced to resign from their membership of 
Parliament - although that is not legal, because until Parliament 
itself has met, no Member of Parliament can resign.  Some were forced 
to go abroad to pursue their democratic activities.  Many are still 
working for democracy but under very difficult circumstances.  We 
have not given up our struggle, and we are not going to give up our 

	If this country is to achieve genuine democracy, the result 
of the elections of 1990 must be recognized.  It must be recognized 
by the military regime, as it has been recognized by the people, and 
by the world at large. It is through this recognition that we will be 
able to make genuine progress in Burma.  

	The military regime declares that it, also, is working for 
democracy, that it also wants democracy for Burma.   But they have to 
prove this by deeds, not by words alone.  By arresting our people, by 
preventing our party from operating freely as a legal political 
organization, they are only proving to the world that their words and 
their deeds are on different tracks altogether.  

	We are particularly grateful to our friends and allies all 
over the world for supporting us in our endeavor to have the results 
of the 1990 elections recognized at this time, when the military 
regime are trying hard to pretend that the results of the elections 
are no longer valid.  The results of these elections will remain 
valid until such time as the Members of Parliament elected by the 
people have had a chance to get together and decide what the next 
step is going to be.  

	It is for this that we have been working, and it is for this 
that the Committee Representing the People's Parliament was founded 
in 1998.  The Committee Representing the People's Parliament, 
together with the National League for Democracy and other political 
parties, including a number of political parties representing 
different ethnic nationalities of Burma, will continue to work 
together to bring democracy to Burma, democracy that will bring human 
progress to our country, that will ensure the people a secure life, a 
life of liberty, and a life of development, based on human values. 

	I would like to thank the National Endowment for Democracy 
and Carl Gershman for arranging for this message to be made.  I would 
also like to thank Senators McConnell and Moynihan and Congressmen 
Porter and Lantos for introducing the resolution with regard to the 
10th anniversary of the 1990 elections in Burma.  

	It would be remiss of me not to thank President Clinton, 
Secretary Albright, and the American Administration for their staunch 
support of the democratic cause in Burma.  We look upon the 
government of the United States and the people of the United States 
as friends and allies in our struggle to win democratic rights for 
all peoples.

	I would also like to thank fellow Nobel Laureates for signing 
the Nobel Peace Laureates' Declaration, and to take the opportunity 
to say that their support has always meant a great deal to me 
personally and to all those who are working for democracy in Burma.  
I hope very much that as a result of this event, the importance of 
the 1990 elections in Burma will be widely recognized by the rest of 
the world.  Thank you very much. 



  Wassana Nanuam

The army chief has rejected Burma's allegation that Thailand allowed 
Karen rebels to
launch a rocket attack on a village in Myawaddy on Saturday.

Gen Surayud Chulanont said the army has never given support to any 
Burmese minority
group including the anti-Rangoon Karen National Union as accused by 
Burma so it had
 nothing to do with Karen rebels' moves.   "We are still adamant on 
our stance to not support any minority group but offer shelter to  
war refugees," he said.

According to the army chief, Burma's report on the KNU's setting up 
of a rocket base
 near the border is false.  Army inquiries show the rocket-propelled 
grenades that hit the village were fired from common launchers, not 
from a base.
Gen Surayud said Thailand has been affected by operations of pro-
Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army guerrillas who had entered Mae 
Ramat district, Tak, and had  kidnapped Thai villagers several times.

  Bangkok Post (May 17, 2000)


May 16, 2000

Border patrols have been increased to prevent the smuggling of 
illicit drugs from Burma. 
An immediate increase in the frequency of border patrols was ordered 
by Third Army chief Lt-Gen Wattanachai Chaimuenwong, in his capacity 
as director of the drug suppression centre in the North. 

Joint patrol units made up of soldiers, local and border patrol 
police were despatched to border areas in Mae Ramat and Mae Sot 
districts of Tak regularly used as drug transit routes. 
Ten people were arrested in separate raids last month in which some 
100,000 speed pills were seized, army officers in the North said. 

Meanwhile, a fact-finding inquiry has been launched into Burma's 
accusation that Thailand had allowed Karen rebels to launch a rocket-
propelled grenade (RPG) attack on a border village in Myawaddy 
opposite Mae Sot district. 

Sources said Fourth Infantry Regiment task force commander Col 
Chainarong Thanaroon yesterday ordered border officials to 
investigate the Burmese claim. 

The move came after Myawaddy authorities demanded Thai officials 
explain why they allowed Karen National Union guerrillas to launch 
four RPGs from Thai soil on a border village in Myawaddy. One Wa 
villager was killed and another seriously injured in the 20-minute 
attack on Saturday. 



Tuesday, May 16, 2000 Front Page
By THEO EMERY, Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 16, 2000 -- Nancy Talanian' response was quick when she  
received an e-mail alert about a congressional resolution to be 
unveiled  today: she called her representatives in Washington and 
quickly forwarded  the message to other Valley activists.

The resolution, which will be introduced to Congress at a Washington, 
D.C.,  press conference, asks that the United States sustain its 
policy of  political and economic sanctions against Myanmar, the 
Southeast Asian  nation formerly known as Burma.

Talanian, a human rights activist from Whately, believes that such 
efforts,  whether targeting Myanmar, Nigeria or other nations with 
poor rights  records, are an important part of encouraging human 
rights, and can promote  change overseas without bloodshed.

"It definitely helps," Talanian said. "I had good responses and  
conversations with people in our legislative offices. What makes 
them  pretty responsive is when they hear from constituents."

The reason for the quiet lobbying was to avoid tipping off opponents 
of  such sanctions. A consortium of more than 600 corporations has 
charged that  sanctions don't work and has challenged a Massachusetts 
boycott law whose  legality is the subject of a lawsuit now before 
the Supreme Court. 

Today's resolution comes a decade after the ruling junta of Myanmar  
annulled elections that would have boosted to power the opposition 
National  League for Democracy and its leader, Nobel Peace Prize 
winner Aung San Suu Kyi. 

The resolution is largely symbolic, urging Congress to stay the 
course with  respect to punishing Myanmar for its well-documented 
human rights abuses  and involvement in narco-trafficking, according 
to Simon Billenness, a  research analyst at a Boston socially 
responsible investment firm, Trillium  Asset Management.

"It's a useful bellwether as to what current opinion is on the Hill  
regarding Burma," Billenness said.

But the mood toward sanctions is changing in some key respects,  
particularly boycotts that state and local governments enact. The 
U.S.,  long ambivalent about who has the right to make political 
statements about  foreign policy, has staked out the position that 
boycotting rogue states is  the sole right of the federal government.

While resolution is unrelated to the Supreme Court case, and even 
has  supporters who oppose the Massachusetts law, the anniversary 
resolution  comes at a crucial moment for activists such as Talanian. 
Next month, the  Supreme Court will rule on whether federal law 
allows cities, states and  towns to create policies aimed at 
punishing rogue states like Burma. 
Amherst is among more than 30 cities, towns and states that have 
passed  "selective purchasing" laws aimed at countries such as 
Myanmar, Nigeria and  Cuba.

At issue in the Supreme Court case is the boycott law that 
Massachusetts  passed in 1996 that gives contracting preference to 
companies with no  business ties to Burma or its government.

The National Foreign Trade Council, a more than 80-year-old 
consortium of  550 companies, challenged the law in 1998, claiming 
that boycott laws  unconstitutionally restrict trade.

Their argument-which a federal court concurred with in 1999, leading 
to the  appeal now before the Supreme Court - is that the 16-word 
commerce clause  in the U.S. Constitution forbids anyone other than 
Congress from passing  laws that affect international or interstate 

That's a view that Massachusetts feels is flawed, according to 
Assistant  Attorney General Tom Barnico.

"We say there's no conflict, but others disagree," Barnico said.  The 
state has other opponents on this issue. Prior to the Supreme Court  
case, Japan and the European Union complained to the World Trade  
Organization about the Massachusetts law, stating that it violated 
WTO  regulations.

If Massachusetts wins its appeal in June, the EU and Japan will 
probably  lodge a new complaint against Massachusetts, and request 
formation of a new  panel, according to Barnico.

Talanian is adamant that local governments like Amherst should be 
able to  contract with whom they want. The only other option, she 
said, is bloodshed.  "It's better to use non-lethal means than let 
things go to the day when the  government decides to go in and kill 
innocent civilians. I think the  Amherst Town Council has a better 
track record ... than our federal  government."

Theo Emery reports on politics and government for the Gazette.

______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS ___________________


PARIS, May 17 (AFP) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
accused France Wednesday of overlooking the poor human rights record 
of the Yangon military government in order to safeguard its 

And she warned that French oil giant TotalFinaElf could not assume 
that its contracts in Myanmar would continue to be honoured once the 
county returned to democracy.  "Total knew what it was doing when it 
invested massively in Myanmar while others withdrew from the market 
for ethical reasons," she told the French weekly Le Nouvel 
Observateur.  "The company must accept the consequences. The country 
will not always be governed by dictators."
Aung, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been under house arrest 
since 1995,s aid she found the role of France in Myanmar "a real 
puzzle."  "Fifty-five percent of tourists here are French and France 
is the biggest European investor in the country. Maybe the French 
aren't properly informed about what is going on here," she said. 



BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
May 17, 2000

Oil company undertakes 20-year offshore project; maritime warning 
Source: Radio Myanmar, Rangoon, in Burmese 1330 gmt 9 May 00 
Text of report by Burmese radio on 9th May

Premier Myanmar Oil Company will be engaged in Yetagun offshore 
natural gas development project for 20 years. During this time, for 
the safety and security of the natural gas drilling rig, construction 
rig, and floating warehouse vessel; to avoid damage or lost of job-
related equipment; and to avoid work delays, the areas which falls 
within a five-nautical-mile radius from the production rigs and 
warehouse vessel have been designated as restricted zones.

Furthermore, all maritime vessels are also prohibited from anchoring 
near and along the offshore natural gas pipeline in order to prevent 
causing any damage to the pipeline.

A maritime warning has been issued by the Fisheries Department 
warning all local and foreign coastal and deep-sea fishing vessels 
not to engage in any fishing activities within the five-nautical-mile 
radius restricted zones and to be extra careful when passing above 
the underwater offshore natural gas pipeline.




House of Lords
Monday, 15th May 2000
Burma: Operations of UK Companies
2.47 p.m.

Lord Blaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why, and under what authority, they have pressed Premier Oil and 
other  United Kingdom companies to give up their operations in Burma. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth 
Office  (Baroness Scotland of Asthal):

My Lords, the presence of reputable companies in Burma is not helping 
the  democratic cause there. We therefore told Premier Oil, the 
largest UK  investor, that we would welcome their moving out of 
Burma. We have no legal  powers to force them to do so, nor do we 
seek any. We also tell British  companies inquiring about Burma that 
we do not encourage trade with nor  investment there.

Lord Blaker:

My Lords, while we all deplore the human rights situation in Burma, 
how is  it that the Government are pursuing this policy of economic 
sanctions  against that country, when they encouraged Jiang Zemin of 
China, a country  not well known for its observance of human rights, 
to visit this country  and be received at Buckingham Palace? Why did 
the Government fail to  support a resolution of the United Nations 
proposed by the United States  criticising China's human rights 
record? What is the difference? Could it  be that Burma is a small 
country and cannot hurt us very much, whereas  China is a big country 
and could hurt us a lot? Is that an ethical foreign  policy?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal:

My Lords, we have said on a number of occasions, but let me repeat, 
that  the difference between the two is clear. We are currently 
engaging in a  critical dialogue with China. There is therefore a way 
forward so that we  can hopefully improve the human rights situation 
in China, improve our  relationship with the Chinese, and include 
China more in the international  community. Burma turned her back on 
any such critical engagement. She  refuses to engage with the 
international community. She refuses to  recognise that there is any 
problem at all when it comes to human rights  and will not bend her 
knee in any way to the lures that we put out for  reasonableness. 
There is a clear difference between the two and therefore  we have to 
maintain a difference in the way in which we approach the two  

Baroness Williams of Crosby:

My Lords, I thank the Minister for her forthright answer. We on 
these  Benches wholly agree with her. Will she confirm that the 
government of  Burma are a military government that overthrew a 
clearly  democratically-elected regime and to this day keep its 
leader under  effective house arrest? Does she agree that, in 
pursuing an ethical foreign  policy, it is necessary to try to win 
the support of major corporations in  the private sector? Will she 
confirm that, as in the case of De Beers in  Angola and Shell in 
Nigeria and Indonesia, it has often been the case that  the help and 
assistance of large multi-national and other corporations has  been 
sought on behalf of the British Government?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal:

My Lords, I am pleased to confirm that. It is important for large,  
multi-national companies of this nature to assist us in this regard. 
The  discussion with them is important and we welcome every occasion 
when they  help us.

Lord Jenkins of Putney:

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that it is widely known throughout 
the  country that Burma is in a special position and that the 
Government's  action in this matter is widely supported, generally 
understood and I hope  will be persisted in until such time as Burma 
acquires, in the course of  time (as one hopes it must) a government 
that are prepared to act as part  of the international community? 
While it insists on putting itself outside  the national community, 
one cannot expect, nor wish the Government to treat  it as though it 
were the same as any other country.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal:

My Lords, I welcome my noble friend's support. We have received 
support  from all sides in this endeavour and welcome that support. 
It is a joint  endeavour. We are working together with many partners 
and need everybody in  every sphere to join with us.

Lord Elton:

My Lords, is the government of the Sudan engaging in a critical 
dialogue  with Her Majesty's Government on human rights matters? If 
not, why is it  correct to seek to restrain human rights abuses in 
Burma by impeding the  exploitation of oil in that country? Would it 
not be correct to do the same  thing in the Sudan, to which we 
continue to send machinery for that purpose? 
Baroness Scotland of Asthal:

My Lords, as I said earlier, we are engaging with all those who will 
engage  with us. The noble Lord knows well that we have to look at 
each country and  decide which sanctions or movements will most 
effectively deliver a better  quality of human rights. It is quite 
wrong for us to have a  "one-size-fits-all" policy; regrettably, it 
does not. We must fashion the  sanctions that we impose to the 
situation that pertains in each individual  country.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

My Lords, is not the answer to the noble Lords, Lord Elton and Lord 
Blaker,  that if you wait for a perfect world you will wait for ever? 
In the case of  Burma, there is no doubt that the action against oil 
companies could make a  difference, bearing in mind that the 
construction of oil pipelines requires  the removal of villages and a 
programme of forced labour? Indeed, this has  resulted in the deaths 
of many local people at the hands of the SLORC  troops. Is my noble 
friend aware that the firm stand she takes certainly  has strong 
support on this side of the House?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal:

My Lords, I am happy to hear that echo of support from my noble 
friend who  sits behind me. Indeed, I hope that that echo will be 
found in front of me,  notwithstanding the comments that have been 
made by some noble Lords opposite. 
Lord Howell of Guildford:

My Lords, we can all agree that Myanmar has a brutal and 
undemocratic  regime. It is quite understandable that HMG should want 
to be as distant as  possible from it. However, I am advised that 
other countries, which take  the same broad view about this repulsive 
team, still retain informal links  with Myanmar. For example, the 
United States has welfare programmes in the  country and, of course, 
Japan took part in the ASEAN meeting that was held  in Myanmar. 
Indeed, other neighbouring countries of ours retain links with  the 
country through private enterprise. Can the Minister say why we are  
different in that respect? Are we sure that we have got the balance 
right  between isolation, which is understandable, and constructive 
engagement,  which is our policy in other areas?

Baroness Scotland of Asthal:

My Lords, I hope that the House will allow me the privilege of 
welcoming  the noble Lord, Lord Howell, to the Dispatch Box. We know 
that he will  cover his duty with great honour and expedition.

As I have already said, the difference in the situation with Burma is 
that  the Burmese have withdrawn. If constructive engagement were 
possible with  Burma, this would be pursued. Regrettably it has not 
been. That is a matter  of great sadness to us all, because in other 
areas where we have been able  to communicate that approach has 
yielded real benefit. Unfortunately, Burma  is an exception; there 
are exceptions to every rule.

2.56 p.m. 



[For full text and photos, go to: 
http://www.myanmar.com/myanmartimes/dagon_brewery.htm ]

May 2000

  In the 1970s and 1980s beer equalled a cold Mandalay. Times change 
and  with a shift to a market-based economy new brands appeared on 
the horizon.  Now two beer giants are locked in battle for control of 
the market.  Thet Khaing profiles the smaller of the two.

  Dagon Brewery moves to challenge its big brother

  ALTHOUGH Myanmar's beer market is well fortified with an import ban 
on  foreign brews - in place for the past couple of years, beer 
lovers have no  reason to despair with a choice of six local brands 
on the market.  It's a far cry from the 1970's and 1980's and lovers 
of beer well remember  when "Mandalay Beer" was the single brand to 
taste throughout the nation.  But times change and so have the 
demands of a more discerning consumer who  have always wished for 
variety in their beer options.   All cheers for the beer drinkers, as 
they're playing a very important role  in prosperity of Myanmar beer 

  However, the future of the three major beer brewers in Myanmar are 
very  much in the hand of those tens of thousands of people who look 
forward to  a cold ale, lager or stout at the end of a hot, humid day 
in Myanmar.  There are currently six brands of beer made in Myanmar, 
three of those are  produced by Dagon Brewery Company Limited (DBCL) 
that established a beer  factory in Yangon in early 1998 with the 
total investment of US$25.7  million. 

  The company was set up in the form of a Joint Venture between 
Myanma  Economic Corporation (MEC), Bermuda's Brew Invest, and 
Myanmar Golden Star  (MGS) Company. MEC owns 50 per cent of the 
company, while Brew Invest has  35pc stake with the rest with MGS, a 
local beverage company. DBCL has its  beer factory in a Yangon's 
major industrial district. The factory is  producing Dagon, SKOL 
Classic and SKOL Super beer brands.  Dagon Beer is formulated in 
Myanmar, while SKOL brands are produced in  Myanmar but brewed 
exactly to recipe from the original in Denmark.    Mr Werner Jung, 
the German Brewmaster at DBCL

  Annual production volume of those three brands stands around 3m 
litres.  "We want to raise our yearly production volume to around 15m 
litres" said  Mr Werner Jung, the German Brewmaster of DBCL "but 
Myanmar's per head beer  consumption is really low. It still has a 
long way to go," he said. The  factory has three production lines, 
equipped with modern machinery  imported from Germany, which cost the 
company around US$16m. 
  According to Mr Jung Myanmar's annual per head beer consumption 
stands at  less than one litre - well below the Thailand's 
consumption of five  litres. One of the reasons for the low 
consumption is price. "One bottle  of beer cost around 90 cents here 
and most working class people cannot  afford to drink every night," 
said Mr Jung. "The beer price in Myanmar is  more expensive than in 
Germany where the average income of working class  people is much 

  According to the Brewmaster most of the ingredients used for 
brewing beer  have to be imported from overseas. The main ingredients 
used by DBCL are  barley imported mainly from England, yeast, and 
other chemicals from  Australia and Europe. Bottles and caps are 
imported mainly from Thailand  and Indonesia. The factory is 
operating with 100 technicians and workers,  and the Brewmaster did 
not seem satisfied with the performance of his  production 
staff. "Most of our production people have had very little  
experience in beer brewing before and our current production is quite 
low.  So I can't train them very well at the moment," he said.    In 
the crate and ready for delivery to thirsty customers 

  Werner Jung, originally from Frankfurt, Germany has 38 years of 
experience  in beer brewing. He has worked in China, Cameroon, Iraq, 
Nigeria and in  Thailand. According to him beer brewed in most of the 
Asian countries,  including Myanmar, contains 15 to 20pc rice, which 
make beer a bit  different from those brewed in Europe, where rice is 
rarely used. Low  consumption of beer in-country, alone is not a 
reason for apprehension for  DBCL, it also has to face stiff 
competition from the other big beer brands  "Myanmar" and "Tiger" - 
both produced by Myanmar Brewery Company, which,  according to an 
independent finding, controls almost 75pc to 80pc of the  local 
market. "We are able to control only 10pc to 15pc of market," said  
Mr B. S Rao, Finance Manager of DBCL. "The main reasons for our low 
market  share is weakness in our advertising and distribution 
systems," he said.  According to Mr Rao DBCL has raised its 
advertising budget for this year.  And as for distribution, DBCL has 
appointed its partner MGS, a renowned  name in the Myanmar beverage 
industry, as its distributor from January  this year.

  "This year the company is planning to raise its marketing and 
advertising  budget by K50 million," said Mr Rao "and with a new 
distributor and  marketing schemes, we hope to perform better." The 
company, according to  Mr Rao, is planning to spend K200m on 
advertising and marketing in 2000,  making it one of the most 
aggressive operators in Myanmar, in any  industry. Mr Rao also 
elaborated on DBCL's new marketing strategy for its  Dagon brand 
  According to him the company's new strategy will kick in from 8 May 
(this  week). Under this new scheme every drinker of Dagon beer has a 
chance of  winning prize money from K50 to K1m...

  According to this statistic the sale volume of DBCL is maginalised 
to one  to six compared to those of Myanmar Brewery. But according to 
a study  conducted by Compass Research, Myanmar's leading research 
company, there  is not much difference in taste and strength of the 
beer brewed by the two  competing breweries. Compass findings were 
conducted by giving 300 regular  beer drinkers different brands from 
the two breweries without their  knowledge on the brand name. It 
found that beer produced by DBCL and  Myanmar Brewery were rated neck 
and neck. 

  However, on beer strength SKOL Super brand, which contains around 
7pc  alcohol by volume, was given more credit than its Myanmar 
Brewery  counterpart. The retail price of the brands is similar and 
all five brands  produced by two breweries sold at around K300 per 
bottle, so it is very  hard to find out the difference between the 
beers of two breweries. One of  the reasons for that, says Mr Rao, is 
due to the massive spending by  Myanmar Brewery on its publicity 
campaign, which made its brands popular  throughout the nation...

 Competition is a phenomenon of the market economy. At the same 
time, "transparency" is also being adopted by brand owners involved 
in the competition. DBCL has shown its business ethic by allowing the 
media exposure on its products. As Myanmar has now been grasping a 
market- oriented economic system for the past 12 years, most of the 
businesses should have been well-adapted to the system by now and 
liaison between manufacturers and consumers is now far more evident. 
Either way, beer drinkers can look forward to greater competition and 
perhaps cheaper prices in the future. 



By Carla Hills and Lee H. Hamilton
Saturday , May 13, 2000 ; A21

"The Post recently editorialized in favor of Massachusetts's position 
in an  important case now awaiting decision by the Supreme Court. It 
deals with  the question of whether Massachusetts may pursue its own 
foreign policy by  imposing a coercive secondary boycott on U.S. and 
foreign companies that  have dealings with Burma--denying these 
companies the opportunity to  compete for state contracts if they do 
any business with that country. The  goal of the Massachusetts law is 
to change Burmese government policies.
We have filed an amicus brief, together with former President Gerald 
Ford  and 25 other leading government officials from both Republican 
and  Democratic administrations, opposing the Massachusetts Burma 
law. Although  we have no financial interest in the outcome of this 
case, we believe that  The Post's position is both ill-advised and 
ill-informed, since such state  laws seriously threaten the ability 
of our country to develop and implement  a coherent foreign policy. 
The lower federal courts have agreed, without  dissent, that the 
Massachusetts law is an invalid intrusion into this  exclusively 
federal domain.

No one can defend the human rights record of Burma; it has been 
terrible.  That is not the issue. Rather, the question is whether the 
50 states and  39,000 municipal governments should each be able to 
establish their own  foreign policies, or whether our nation's power 
to conduct foreign policy  resides exclusively in the federal 

This is not a debate about a theory of American government. It is a 
debate  about the ability of the United States to successfully 
conduct this  nation's foreign policy and to function effectively in 
the modern  world--serving its diverse interests of foreign 
diplomacy, international  trade and human rights.

Our national government has imposed sanctions on Burma that are less  
sweeping than those mandated by the Massachusetts law. Representing  
traditional carrot-and-stick diplomacy, these sanctions are severe 
enough  to get Burma's attention, but not so severe as to lose all 
leverage. It  does not take much imagination to understand that 
widespread state and  local laws imposing more severe and possibly 
inconsistent sanctions would  undermine national policy. And such sub-
federal action would disrupt our  relationship with our allies in the 
European Union and Japan, which object  to state and local regulation 
of the activities of their nationals. 
The Post would solve this problem by allowing Congress specifically 
to  overrule state and local laws. But that won't work. The Framers 
well  understood that local politics could straitjacket national 
action, and for  that reason gave the foreign affairs power 
exclusively to the national  government.

Equally important, requiring affirmative federal action to override 
state  law in every case that jeopardizes U.S. interests or policy is 
not  practical, given the demanding national legislative agenda, and 
necessarily  defeats a national policy of deliberate silence, which 
can be an important  tool of diplomacy.

Contrary to The Post's editorial, the courts do not assert an 
improper  "foreign policy role" when they enforce the vision of the 
Framers by  confining state and municipal governments to dealing with 
state and local  matters rather than foreign policy.

Saddling federal diplomats and negotiators with a patchwork of state 
and  local sanctions was not intended in the Constitution, nor can it 
be  tolerated if Americans expect their federal government to 
establish and  maintain a coherent U.S. foreign policy."

Carla Hills was U.S. Trade Representative from 1989 to 1993. Lee H.  
Hamilton, a former Democratic representative from Indiana and 
chairman of  the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is director of the 
Woodrow Wilson  International Center for Scholars.
_____________________ OTHER  ______________________


Acronyms and abbreviations regularly used by BurmaNet.

AVA: Ava Newsgroup.  A small, independent newsgroup covering Kachin 
State and northern Burma.

KHRG: Karen Human Rights Group.  A non-governmental organization 
that  conducts interviews and collects information primarily in 
Burma's  Karen State but also covering other border areas.

KNU: Karen National Union.  Ethnic Karen organization that has been 
fighting Burma's central government since 1948.

NLM: New Light of Myanmar, Burma's state newspaper.  The New Light of 
Myanmar is also published in Burmese as Myanmar Alin.

SCMP: South China Morning Post.  A Hong Kong newspaper.

SHAN: Shan Herald Agency for News.  An independent news service  
covering Burma's Shan State.

SHRF: Shan Human Rights Foundation

SPDC: State Peace and Development Council.  The current name the  
military junta has given itself.  Previously, it called itself the  
State Law and Order Restoration Council.


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


@Backup- Protect and Access your data any time, any where on the net.
Try @Backup FREE and recieve 300 points from mypoints.com Install now:

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: