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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: September 4, 2000 SECTION TWO
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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.
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
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
REUTERS CANBERRA, Sept. 4
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
PARIS, 2 SEPTEMBER 2000.
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
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
"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
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
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.
THE SUNDAY EDITORIAL:
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
NATIONAL COALITION GOVERNMENT OF THE UNION OF BURMA
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
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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