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BBC: Annan protest over Suu Kyi standoff

Monday, 4 September, 2000, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK 

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has added his voice 
to the wave of international protests against the Burmese military 
authorities' treatment of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

She has not been seen in public since Friday, when the police 
forcibly ended a nine-day standoff that developed from her efforts to 
visit party activists outside the capital, Rangoon. 

Mr Annan expressed his "deep concern" at the military 
administration's actions against the Burmese opposition leader and 
members of her National League for Democracy (NLD). 

"Reports concerning further infringement of the freedom of movement 
and the freedom of political expression are particularly disturbing," 
he said in a statement. 


Aung San Suu Kyi and fellow party workers were stopped by security 
forces on 24 August shortly after leaving the capital. 

Refusing government requests to turn back, she and 14 other members 
of the NLD set up a makeshift camp in Dala, a suburb of Rangoon. 

The stand-off ended on Friday night when riot police moved in to 
return the group to the capital. 

Since then, the military authorities have blocked access to her and 
other opposition leaders. 

They deny reports that any of the group has been placed under house 
arrest - saying only that they have been requested to at home while 
investigations are carried out into their alleged contacts with 
foreigners and a group of ethnic Karen rebels, known as God's Army. 

However, the British ambassador in Burma said he was not allowed to 
meet Aung San Suu Kyi and was manhandled by the security forces when 
he tried to contact her and other senior NLD members. 

"I was jostled and I was grabbed a couple of times outside the NLD 
office," Ambassador John Jenkins told the BBC. 

He said there were growing concerns that the government may be moving 
to ban the NLD entirely. 

International criticism 

The situation in Burma has attracted criticism from the United 
States, the European Union and Australia. 

"(We are) appalled by the standards of human right in Burma and we 
certainly deplore the way in which Aung San Suu Kyi has been 
treated, " Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Reuters 
news agency. 

The NLD won elections in May 1990, but Burma's military rulers 
refused to recognise the result, jailing some party members and 
placing others under house arrest. 

Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the late Burmese nationalist 
leader, General Aung San, was held under house arrest for six years 
after the NLD's election victory. 

Although this was lifted in 1995, the military government has 
maintained restrictions on her movements. 


Reuters: Australia, New Zealand,  Join Protests on Myanmar Crackdown


Australia and New Zealand have joined international condemnation of a 
crackdown by Myanmar's ruling military on the pro-democracy 
opposition party of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.  
Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Monday the 
country's ambassador to Myanmar made direct representations to the 
deputy foreign minister late last week expressing Canberra'a deep 
concern about the attitude of the authorities to Suu Kyi.  ''The 
Australian government has repeatedly criticised, directly to the 
Burmese authorities and publicly, human rights abuses in Burma,'' 
Downer told parliament.  ''(We are) appalled by the standards of 
human rights in Burma and we certainly deplore the way in which Aung 
San Suu Kyi has been treated over a very long period of time and 
including the present time and the course of last week. We are quite 
happy to join with other countries in deploring that.''  New 
Zealand's foreign minister Phil Goff described the Myanmar military's 
action as ''yet another blatant violation of her political rights.''  
On Saturday Myanmar's ruling military forced Suu Kyi to return to 
Yangon, ending a nine-day roadside stand-off just outside the 
capital. She had left Yangon on August 24 to try visit supporters. 

 ''We call once again on Myanmar authorities to respect the 
fundamental right of opposition groups to freedom of movement and 
association, to cease political harassment of political opponents, 
and to enter into substantive dialogue with the NLD as a first step 
towards democratic rule,'' Goff said in a statement.  Security around 
the headquarters of the opposition National League for Democracy 
(NLD) and residences of Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders was tightened 
at the weekend.  Diplomats said they believed the NLD leaders were 
under house arrest and their telephones had been cut off. The NLD won 
Myanmar's last election in 1990 by an overwhelming vote but has never 
been allowed to govern.  

The United Nations, the United States, Britain, and the 15-member 
European Union have already condemned the crackdown.  Downer defended 
the Australian government's decision to fund a human rights training 
course for middle ranking officials from Yangon against criticism by 
the Labor opposition.  News of the initiative, described as an 
introductory course on human rights and an overview of international 
law for civil servants, was first leaked from a draft government aid 
budget briefing in April this year.  Downer said Australia, which is 
also under fire from the United Nations over its treatment of the 
country's Aborigines and asylum seekers, had two choices -- to do 
nothing or be pro-active to try to encourage an improvement in human 
rights.  ''We have no economic motives... just the sincere and 
honourable motive of trying to improve human rights in Burma,'' 
Downer told parliament.  


PD Burma Japan: Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Japan will 
avoid taking a critical attitude against SPDC

Sept. 1, 2000


16 members of the Social Democratic Party of Japan visited the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, and demanded that the Ministry 
take a clear and strong stance against the Burmese military regime 
that was restricting the freedom of movement of  Aung San Suu Kyi.  

In response, the head of the Asia Division of the Ministry stated  
that "because the Myanmar authorities are very proud, it is  counter-
effective to openly criticize them.  Currently, they are  not 
listening to anything that the western governments are  saying.  
Japan will not take a similar approach as the western governments, 
and will continue to call for democratization patiently, while 
avoiding openly criticizing the regime.  We are by no means working 
to support the military rule."

The members of the Social Democratic Party criticized the  Ministry's 
attitude as not being strong enough. 

The 16 Mps, all female members of the Socialist Democratic Party of 
Japan, lead by party leader Takako Doi,  visited MOFA on September 
1st  to request Japanese government to take appropriate measures on 
Burmese government.  They met Kunihiko Makita, the director of Asian 
Affairs Bureau, to request taking stern measures on Burmese 
government to lift restrictions on the freedom of movement of Suu 
Kyi. Mr. Makita responded, that tee Japanese government does not 
follow the strong measures made by US and EU as this hurts the pride 
of generals in Rangoon and that the generals never listened to US and 
EU. Makita said that Japan has suspended ODA to Burma, but it is the 
only one country among developed nations to be accepted by Rangoon. 
Japan, he said, is going to make its own diplomacy toward Rangoon.  

After the visit to MOFA, the group had a press conference in the 
Diet. They said the reply by Mr. Makita does not meet international 
standards to protect human rights in Burma, and urged the Japanese 
media to cover the Japanese policy toward Burma as it is ambiguous.  
MP Tomoko Abe encouraged the Japanese media, saying "All information 
[in Japan] on Burma is coming from overseas media, why don't you try 
to cover human right issue that is  happening in Burma."


EU: Declaration of the Presidency on Behalf of the European Union Pn 
the Political Situation in Burma


The European Union is particularly concerned by the political 
situation in Rangoon/Yangon and the forced return of Mrs Aung San Suu 
Kyi to the capital. The European Union considers this decision to be 
an unacceptable violation of Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi's right to move 
The European Union condemns this violation of the freedom of 
movement, expression and assembly of the Secretary General of the 
National League for Democracy. The European Union cannot but deplore 
the measures of intimidation against her and the threats to the 
National League for Democracy's activities.

The European Union recalls that the Burmese authorities are 
responsible for Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi's safety and good health. The 
European Union calls for guarantees of free access to Mrs Aung San 
Suu Kyi. 

The European Union stresses the urgent need for dialogue between the 
Burmese authorities and the National League for Democracy as the only 
way to overcome the current deadlock and achieve progress on the road 
to democracy and national reconciliation. The European Union urges 
the Burmese authorities to take measures to that end without delay. 


Dawn (Pakistan): Thailand grants citizenship to DPs  

Saturday, 02 September 2000 

Thailand grants citizenship to DPs 
By Mahesh Uniyal 

BANGKOK: Thailand's decision to grant citizenship to some 100,000 
children of refugees living in the country, many of them for decades, 
has taken its human rights record another step ahead of neighbours, 
say rights activists. 

Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai's government Tuesday decided to grant 
Thai citizenship to the children of over 30,000 Burmese, Chinese and 
Nepalese refugees who entered the country between the 1940s and 1976. 
The refugees themselves will be given residency rights, but not 

Leading Thai rights activist Somchai Homlaor said this was an 
assertion of Thailand's "positive position" on human rights, which 
compared favourably with other South-east Asian nations with a 
similar problem.  

"This will bring benefits to these people and recognise them as human 
beings who have a right to enjoy living in Thailand," said Homlaor.  

Although the government, some years ago, permitted the children of 
the refugees to study in government schools, it was difficult for 
these people to get access to other state-run basic services. 

Homlaor pointed out that Thailand's earlier position of either 
voluntary repatriation of the refugees and their children was not 
humane as these people were stateless. "A lot of them were born in 
Thailand and had no home to go back to," he said. 

The refugees were not designated as such by the Thai government, 
which is still to ratify international treaties dealing with 
refugees. They were officially known as "displaced persons" 
or "illegal immigrants".
However, they sought refuge in Thailand, leaving behind the countries 
of their birth for political reasons. 

An estimated 15,467 Burmese nationals entered Thailand before March 
1976, fleeing half a century of fighting between the Burmese army and 
separatist rebels. 

The Burmese refugees comprised the Shan, Karen and Mon ethnic groups, 
who settled down in Thailand's northern provinces bordering Burma. 
The government has decided to grant citizenship to those who were 
born in Thailand after December 13, 1976. 

The Chinese refugees were supporters of the KMT or Nationalist 
Chinese who were driven out of the Chinese mainland after the 
communist takeover in 1949. 

An estimated 16,581 KMT Chinese entered Thailand from Burma between 
the years 1963 and 1988 and settled down in the northern provinces of 
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. 

According to official estimates, 1,115 Nepalese entered Thailand from 
Burma during the Second World War. Most live in the Kanchanaburi 

Leading Thai constitutional expert Vitit Muntarbhorn of Bangkok's 
Chulalongkorn University was among those advising the government of 
the need for "a humane policy towards those seeking refuge in 
Thailand and (to) adhere to international standards". 

However, he notes that Thailand has generally adopted such a policy.  

"Despite the technicality in Thai law which views them as illegal 
immigrants subject to the possibility of deportation, the general 
policy is to accord them temporary refuge," he says. 

This is not the first time Thailand has granted citizenship to 
refugees from its neighbourhood. In the early 1950s, Bangkok 
recognised as citizens, the children of Vietnamese who fled their 
country to escape the war between the French army and Vietnamese 
Rights campaigners say that Thailand's record of treating refugees is 
far better than countries like Malaysia and Cambodia. Thus Malaysia 
is said to have used "double standards" in treating its large work 
force of migrant workers from Indonesia. 

The Malaysian government "closed its eye (to the presence of 
foreigners) when it wanted the foreign manpower, but when the 
economic problems began (in 1997) they were pushed back," says 

Likewise Cambodia has taken a "tough stand" on the 100,000 Vietnamese 
living in Cambodia, many of whom were born in Cambodia. 

In another decision to help foreign nationals working in the country, 
the Thai government has extended by another year, the grace period 
for allowing hiring of migrant workers from Burma, Laos and 
"Thailand, as a democratic country, has the duty to itself and the 
international community to treat foreign workers well, which is 
surely an admirable move that makes good economic, social and 
political sense," said 'The Nation' newspaper in a Thursday 
editorial. -Dawn/InterPress Service





_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________


AWSJ: Editorial: Burma's Suu Kyi's Reminder

September 3, 2000

  (Editor's Note: This editorial appeared in Monday's Asian Wall 
Street Journal.) 

  After a nine-day standoff with Burma's military junta, pro-
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was returned to Rangoon by military 
transport Saturday. The confrontation began when Ms. Suu Kyi, on her 
way to a meeting with fellow National League for Democracy party 
leaders just outside of Rangoon, was run off the road by soldiers and 
forbidden to travel further. According to a press release issued by 
the ruling State Peace and Development Council, the "incident" 
ended "happily" and Ms. Suu Kyi "arrived home safe and sound." The 
government acted, we are told, out of concern for her safety and well-
being with the approaching monsoons.    But on the eve of this 
benevolent gesture, Foreign Minister Win Aung revealed the real 
reason the regime acted. Ms. Suu Kyi's attempt to meet with her 
supporters was actually "a careful, insincere, premeditated 
move . . . to attract international attention and to coincide with 
the upcoming (U.N.) Millennium Summit and to tarnish the image of the 
government."    The junta doesn't need Ms. Suu Kyi to do that. 
Burma's reputation as one of the world's worst basket-cases comes 
from the regime itself, and its decades of brutal rule, fiscal 
mismanagement and complicity in the thriving drug industry. 

  But if the foreign minister meant that Ms. Suu Kyi's open defiance 
again brought international condemnation of his junta, then he is 
correct. The United States and member countries of the European Union 
and United Nations quickly denounced Rangoon's ongoing persecution of 
Ms. Suu Kyi and members of her party, which enjoys the broad support 
of the Burmese people.    Ms. Suu Kyi's detention is the latest 
reminder that when it comes to fiery rhetoric and reports, key voices 
in the international community still say the right words. But actions 
send a different message. Through diplomatic recognition and 
increased investment and trade -- and against Ms. Suu Kyi's pleas -- 
many of these same critics have only helped to perpetuate an unlawful 

  The EU, for example, cut off all ties with Asean when Burma was 
admitted in 1997. But it now plans a joint ministerial meeting in 
December. For that Burma can thank Thailand, which pressed the EU to 
reconsider, but condemned the regime's treatment of Ms. Suu Kyi as an 
embarrassment to Asean. Leading oil companies in France, Britain and 
the U.S. remain the regime's largest cash cows (although the 
governments of the latter two at least have expressed remorse). Even 
Australia has made overtures, particularly its efforts to help set up 
a human rights commission, that will only give Burma international 

  But the key to all of this is China, which has taken Burma under 
its wing since 1988, when both countries were racked by pro-democracy 
uprisings. Not only has China actively traded with Burma, it has done 
so in the worst manner -- selling cut-rate military hardware used by 
the junta to suppress pro-democracy hill tribes such as the Karen and 
Karenni. This relationship, meanwhile, has prompted India and Japan 
to engage Burma as well in an effort to counterbalance Beijing's 
influence and maintain regional stability. 

  Now we're certainly not advocating the willy-nilly use of economic 
sanctions; engagement through foreign investment is still the best 
way to bring about positive change. But just as with North Korea, 
Burma has shown little inclination towards social or economic 
liberalization, other than displaying somewhat more restraint in the 
use of force to suppress internal dissent. It certainly doesn't 
deserve the diplomatic recognition it has received in recent years 
and it was brave of Ms. Suu Kyi to remind the world of that. 

  Burma watchers tell us these are propitious times for the 
international community to bring more pressure to bear on the junta. 
Ne Win, the junta's patriarch, is 89 years old and surely doesn't 
have much longer to hang onto his power. Gen. Than Shwe, the junta's 
chairman, is ill and has requested retirement. There are reports of 
palace intrigue -- generals upset with the flagging booty and a power 
struggle between Army head Maung Aye and Military-Intelligence 
Service chief Khin Nyunt, the regime's likely successors. Central 
bank reserves are said to be dwindling. If the regime is indeed 
beginning to fracture, it comes none too soon. Democratic nations 
should do what they can to hasten its demise. 

The Nation: Concerted pressure needed on Burma

Sep 3, 2000.

NOBEL peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was brought home by armed force 
on Saturday, ending the nine-day stand-off between her and the 
authorities. However, the incident showed that the stand-off between 
the Burmese junta and the rest of the world will continue. 
Suu Kyi has accomplished her political objective in reminding the 
international community of just how repressive the junta leaders in 
Rangoon are. Her defiance also highlighted the fact her party won the 
election in May 1990 and that it continues to be denied power.  

Western countries expressed concern about the situation and deplored 
Burma's treatment of Suu Kyi. As a member of Asean, Thailand issued a 
warning that Asean's image would be further eroded by the affair. 
Suggestions were made that the Asean troika should be activated to 
look into the incident.  

It seems that Burma is going to face a bumpy road in the next few 
months. With a series of meetings and evaluations of political and 
labour conditions in the country, Burma will be once again under the 
microscope of the United Nations. As in previous years, the UN 
General Assembly will consider a report on the Burmese situation. The 
report is expected to be harsher this time around. 
Then Burma is expected to be the focus of discussions when European 
and Asian leaders gather in Seoul for their third summit meeting.  
At the upcoming review of the labour situation inside Burma by the 
International Labour Organisation in mid-November, Burma will have to 
prove that it is heeding international concerns. If Burma remains as 
recalcitrant and adamant as it has been in the past in ignoring the 
recommendations made by ILO, then a number of proposed sanctions 
could take effect immediately, which could lead to Burma's expulsion 
from the body in the future.  

At the moment, the much-awaited Asean-EU ministerial meeting has not 
yet been cancelled. However, it could end up in limbo if Burma 
continues to be intransigent.  
Certainly, it all boils down to what Asean is planning to do about 
Burma. For one thing, the grouping can no longer remain silent. After 
all, Asean has failed to prove that peer pressure and the Asean Way 
have succeeded in making Burma more responsive to the concerns of the 
regional and global communities. In fact, Burma remains as rigid as 

Optimism that something for the better will occur in Burma is 
evaporating fast. The appointment of a new UN special representative 
for Burma and the "wait and see" attitude of the West had given rise 
to that hope. However, last week's stand-off is the most visible 
reminder to the world that the junta could not care less.  
The most efficient way to deal with Burma is to have the West, Asean, 
China, Japan and Australia working together to bring pressure to bear 
on the regime in an organised manner. Without such a concerted 
approach, the political oppression in Burma will never end. The lack 
of a well co-ordinated effort has already weakened the individual 
approaches even though they share similar objectives in helping to 
bring about a better political environment inside Burma.  

How long do we have to wait before change and political dialogue get 
started in Burma? Should the Rangoon regime be given more time to 
come up with changes? The junta has been using the extra time to 
twist and distort the real situation and to suppress people. So, it 
seems one thing is certain: that any change in the future will not 
come from the regime. 


Amnesty International: Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi at risk

4 September 2000

AI Index ASA 16/016/2000 - News Service Nr. 169

The Myanmar government should immediately reveal the whereabouts of 
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her colleagues, who have been held 
incommunicado since 2 September, Amnesty International said today, 
expressing grave concern for their safety.

     "The whereabouts of the two National League for Democracy (NLD) 
leaders is still not clear, which increases fears for their welfare.  
If they are being confined to their homes, we strongly urge the 
Myanmar government to allow them freedom of movement.  The government 
should also remove the security forces surrounding Daw Suu's home 
compound and the NLD headquarters in Yangon," the organization said.

     At approximately 1.30am on 2 September 200 riot police forcibly 
removed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD General Secretary, U Tin U, NLD 
Vice-Chairman, and 12 NLD youth leaders from Dallah, a suburb of 
Yangon. Subsequently diplomats, the press, and others have been 
blocked by security forces from visiting any NLD leaders, including 
Daw Suu.  The group had been at the roadside there since 24 August, 
after they had been stopped by security forces while attempting to 
visit NLD members 30 miles outside the capital.

     The NLD headquarters were raided over the weekend, when Military 
Intelligence officials removed files and documents from their 
offices. Today the government issued a statement claiming that all 10 
NLD Central Executive Committee members, including U Tin U and Daw 
Suu "have been requested to stay at their respective residences", 
while denying that they are held under house arrest.

     The government also said that they were conducting an 
investigation at NLD headquarters about a recent visit there of 
foreigners.  The statement further alleged that "certain quarters of 
the NLD have been conspiring with...an armed terrorist group, God's 

     The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, Myanmar's 
military government) frequently claims that the NLD has links with 
armed opposition groups operating on the Thai-Myanmar border.  Such 
claims are routinely used to justifiy the arrests of dozens of NLD 
members and supporters. However, Amnesty International believes that 
there is no evidence of support by the NLD, which has always espoused 
non-violence, for armed opposition groups operating outside of the 


NCGUB: All Support and Assistance to Burmese Military Junta Must End  


September 3, 2000 

The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) is 
outraged by the thuggish behavior of the military junta in Burma. The 
use of force, such as under handcuff, to transport Daw Aung San Suu 
Kyi and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) home from 
Dala during which some NLD youths were beaten up, the house arrest of 
all senior executives of the NLD who are held in communicado, the 
raid on the NLD headquarters and seizure of party documents, and the 
arrest of NLD members who arrived at the headquarters are not only an 
attack on the NLD and its leadership but a slap in the face of the 
international community that has been urging for a peaceful solution 
of political problems in Burma. 
NCGUB Prime Minister Dr. Sein Win said, "The blatant disregard for 
human rights by the Burma military junta is a wake up call to the 
international community that a levelheaded approach only works with 
sensible leaders, which Burma is obviously lacking today."  

International community, particularly nations hoping for change 
through cooperation with the junta should reconsider their position. 
Conciliatory gestures only breed arrogance and encourage the Burmese 
generals to disregard international norms.  All support and 
assistance to the junta must end now. 

We are grateful that many governments, leaders, and institutions have 
recently come out to support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD.  The 
NLD and its leaders are even more in need of help from the global 
community today. 

We foresee the military junta resorting to all excuses and tricks to 
eliminate the NLD and silence the voice of the people, if there is no 
public outcry and concerted action by the international community 

We urge the United Nations and the whole global community to come up 
with a concerted action plan to help prevent the junta from 
destroying the NLD and to bring about democracy and human rights in 


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