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BurmaNet News: February 10, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         February 10, 2001   Issue # 1732
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Nation: Shan leader urges non-violence
*Bangkok Post: Hilltribe people evacuated as Burmese battle the Shan
*Bangkok Post: Border alert
*DVB: Burma: Government stations troops, armoured cars in Mandalay 
against unrest
*CIDKP: Situation of IDPs in 5th and 3rd Brigade (Muthraw and Kler Lwee 
Htoo districts)
*Xinhua: Myanmar Blames Colonialists for Hindering National Development 

*Agence France Press: Russia set to build nuclear reactor in Myanmar: 
*Agence France Presse: Myanmar's military leader congratulates Thaksin 
*European Union: Initial contacts between SPDC and NLD

*ITGLWF: Triumph urged to cease sourcing goods in Burma

*The Gazette (Montreal): Sanctions have their place 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Nation: Shan leader urges non-violence

February 9, 2001, Friday 


LOI TAILENG - The leader of the Shan State Army (SSA) has warned his 
followers about taking drastic measures against the mass relocation of 
ethnic Wa into territory the Shan see as their own, saying hostile 
actions against the minority group would play into the hands of the 
Burmese military government. 

At a recently concluded meeting between Shan village headsman and elders 
from resistance groups, the SSA leader, Col Yawd Serk, said the dispute 
between ethnic Shan and Wa over the use of land could be settled 

SSA plans to discuss the matter with the United Wa State Army (UWSA), he 

During the three-day gathering, a number of Shan villagers expressed 
concern that ethnic Wa - thousands of whom have been relocated from the 
north along the border with China to land near the northern Thai border 
- are taking over land they claim as their own. 

The relocation scheme is being carried out by the UWSA, a 20,000- strong 
outfit allied with the Burmese military government. The group has been 
accused by the United States of being the world's largest armed drug- 
trafficking group. 

Yawd Serk refused to condemn the UWSA for the resettlement, saying "the 
Wa are people of this land as well." 

Army chief Gen Surayudh Chulanont yesterday said the Thai army is 
monitoring the situation closely, but added that there not much could be 
done because Burma is a sovereign state. 

The Thai government sees the relocation of ethnic Wa along the country's 
northern border as a security threat, saying the UWSA is trying to 
expand its drug empire. 

Yawd Serk, meanwhile, accused Rangoon of trying to instigate a fight 
between his group and the Wa army with the mass relocation of Wa 

Over the past decades, the Wa and the Shan armies have been arch- 
enemies, clashing over territory as the two engaged in the drug trade. 


 Bangkok Post: Hilltribe people evacuated as Burmese battle the Shan

February 10, 2001

Hilltribe people have been evacuated from border villages as fighting 
continues nearby between Burmese troops and Shan State Army soldiers, 
authorities said.

A series of clashes was reported yesterday in an area about 3km inside 
Burma, opposite Mae Fa Luang district.

About 200 villagers were moved to safer areas on the orders of 
Chainarong Boonvivattanakarn, chief of Mae Fa Luang district, after 
fresh fighting erupted on Thursday.

Pol Maj Rang Inthana, commander of the 327th border patrol unit of Mae 
Chan district, said Rangoon forces had launched a dry-season campaign 
against rebels. Small arms fire and explosions, probably from 
rocket-propelled grenades, had been heard across the border since 
Monday, alarming villagers.

At least six Burmese soldiers were reportedly killed, but so far there 
were no reports of casualties among the SSA troops, he said.

The Burmese military is thought to have sent two rapid deployment units 
to the area.

One of the groups clashed with Thai rangers three months ago.


Bangkok Post: Border alert 

February 9, 2001

Troops along the Burmese border have been warned of a possible increase 
in drug trafficking after Rangoon relocated Wa people to areas opposite 
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces. 

Army chief Gen Surayud Chulanont said many of the relocated Wa, who were 
moved to Mong Hsat, were involved in drug production. 

He said Rangoon said the move was part of its effort to stop opium 
production. Thailand could do nothing since it could not interfere in 
Burma's internal affairs. 


DVB: Burma: Government stations troops, armoured cars in Mandalay 
against unrest

February 9, 2001, Friday 

Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 8 Feb 01 

DVB Democratic Voice of Burma has learned that many soldiers were 
stationed at a certain ward in Mandalay. According to local residents, 
thousands of troops and some Bren-carrier cars have been stationed there 
since Monday 5 Feb . One eyewitness told DVB that troops and machine-gun 
carrying armoured cars have been stationed near the vicinity of 
Aindawyar Pagoda, Shwekyeemyint Pagoda, and Father Lafone's School. But 
local residents say the reason for the deployment was not known. 

At present there is no anti-SPDC State Peace and Development Council 
political activity in Mandalay. Some observers from Mandalay and Rangoon 
believe that the deployment was to prevent the Buddhist and Muslim riots 
that broke out in Akyab on 4 February, from spreading to Mandalay. Some 
say it is because of rumours about forthcoming political changes. Many 
of the troops were stationed in Mandalay after news of a planned coup 
emerged last Saturday and Sunday. The SPDC has denied the reports. 

According to news received by DVB, a Police Special Branch SB security 
unit has been ordered to provide security for Mandalay and Rangoon since 
late January. Previously this was the responsibility of the Military 
Intelligence under Defence Ministry . The SB is directly under the Home 
Ministry. It was not known whether the deployment was for increased 
security or was there a real rift among the top SPDC leaders? 



CIDKP: Situation of IDPs in 5th and 3rd Brigade (Muthraw and Kler Lwee 
Htoo districts)

[Situation in 5th Brigade is as per Dec. 2000 Committee for Internally 
Displaced Karen People?s report on IDPs in Muthraw District.   For more 
information, see CIDKP: Karen IDP?s Report]


Over 2,000 new IDPs have fled from Kleer Lwee Htoo (3rd Brigade) into 
Western  Muthraw due to attacks, or the forced labor and relocation 
operations of the SPDC.   
The Burma Army is now stockpiling rice, oil, salt, and other foodstuffs 
along the  Salween for transport to their forward units.  Supplies are 
also being sent down the road  from Kyauk Kyi to Saw Hta.  Hundreds of 
sacks of rice line the Salween River in front   of major SPDC strong 
points.  During the last weeks of January, every SPDC commander  in 
Muthraw was recalled to higher headquarters at Naunglybin, Toungoo and 
Rangoon.   It is not clear what this means, but the local population are 
preparing for another dry  season offensive by the SPDC.  The villagers 
and IDPs in Loo Thaw township north of  the new road continue to face 
extreme hardship and it has not been possible to provide  regular 
assistance to that population.  This is a black area where the SPDC 
troops shoot to  kill.  The new road is patrolled aggressively by 10 
SPDC Battalions, who have also  erected a bamboo fence with land mines 
all along the road, thus making it difficult for  relief teams to cross 
or for IDPs to escape through to the south.  Some however have  managed 
to break through and have resettled in Yae Mu Plaw village tract, 
putting great  pressure on the land and natural resources that are 
already at their limit in providing  sustenance for the villagers and 
IDPs of Yae Mu Plaw.  

A quote from and IDP in Yae Mu Plaw, "We don't want to run any further, 
we want to  stay in our land, we are not brave, we can do no other, we 
leave all in the hands of God.   We believe God will protect us."

KLER LWEE HTOO (Naunglybin)ù3rd brigade

Since November 2000, over 2,000 IDPs have crossed the Bilin River from 
Kler Lwee  Htoo district.  On 30 January 2001, 200 more IDPs from Htee 
Bla and Saw Tha Kee  came into Muthraw district.  IDPs from Htee Maw 
Kway Hta, Law Moo Der, Htee Ler  Pah Hta, They Ko Ser Der, Htee Bla, Mee 
Tha Nang Der, Saw Tha Kee, Saw Roko, Lo  Khee, and Kyaw Pla Kee villages 
have all fled because of attacks on their villages by the  SPDC as well 
as demands for forced labor.  

In this area 124 people have been killed, women raped and many tortured. 
 Most recently,   on Nov. 4, 3 villagers at Saw Roko village were beaten 
to death by troops of LIB 360  while they were gathering rice.  On Nov. 
10, a father and his two children were wounded  by an SPDC mortar attack 
and on Nov. 16, one was killed by an SPDC land mine.  Paddy  is 
routinely desstroyed resulting in over 5,000 people being deprived of 
rice in January  2001 alone.  

Relocation operations in Kler Lwee Htoo continue.  The following are 
forced relocation  sites.  
Kyawt Naga	5 villages  => (more than)  1,000 people
Kwin Seit	8 villages  =>  1,500 people
May Po Hta	5 villages  =>  500 people
Win Maung	10 villages =>  2,000 people

Each site is fenced, patrolled and the inhabitants must provide labor 
free of charge to the  SPDC.  Labor includes road improvements, bridge 
building, gathering bamboo (often in  mined areas), and portering.   
Quote from an IDP family, "We can't work our own land,  we can't feed 
our families so we ran away." 

IDPs from Kler Lwee Htoo continue to flee into Muthraw district but due 
to new SPDC  outposts on the west side of the Bilin River, this is 


Xinhua: Myanmar Blames Colonialists for Hindering National Development 

YANGON, February 10 

Myanmar leader Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt has blamed colonialists and 
neo-colonialists for hindering the country's national development, 
reported official newspaper The new Light of Myanmar Saturday. 

Meeting with delegates of Myanmar national races attending the country's 
upcoming Union Day celebration which falls next Monday, Khin Nyunt, 
first secretary of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council, 
recalled that Myanmar national people were subjected to torture and 
exploitation of colonialists for over 100 years. 

Khin Nyunt, who is also chairman of the Committee for Organizing the 
54th Anniversary Myanmar Union Day, accused some neo-colonialist nations 
of imposing economic sanctions on Myanmar in an attempt to sow seeds of 
mistrust among the national races to destroy the national solidarity. 

He urged the delegates to seriously uphold the objectives of the 
country's Union Day  to safeguard the national policy. 

Myanmar's Union Day was designated on February 12, 1947 when Myanmar 
ethnic leaders met at the Panlong conference in northeastern Shan state. 
Myanmar regained independence on January 4, 1948 from the British 
colonialist rule. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Agence France Press: Russia set to build nuclear reactor in Myanmar: 

MOSCOW, Feb 10 

Russia will begin talks with Myanmar on building a nuclear reactor in 
the South Asian country for scientific purposes, a government spokesman 
said here Friday. 

If Myanmar's authorities agree to the deal, Russia's nuclear energy 
ministry will present appropriate proposals to the Russian government, 
the spokesman was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. 

The Myanmar junta is accused by the United States and other Western 
opponents of carrying out a string of human rights abuses, and crushing 
all political opposition. 

However, Russian officials said earlier that Moscow considers Myanmar a 
promising partner in Asia and the Pacific region. 




Agence France Presse: Myanmar's military leader congratulates Thaksin 

February 9, 2001, Friday 


Myanmar's military leader Friday congratulated Thaksin Shinawatra on 
becoming the 23rd prime minister of Thailand, state-run Myanmar media 

Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development 
Council (SPDC) -- the official name of the ruling military junta -- sent 
a message of congratulations to the new prime minister, Myawaddi TV 
Channel reported late Friday in a dispatch monitored here. 

The report gave no further details of the message. 

Thaksin and his senior advisers are seen as more sympathetic to the 
junta than the previous administration of Chuan Leekpai. 

Thaksin has said he plans to start addressing strained relations with 
Myanmar by making it the destination for his first official visit as 
prime minister. 

Yangon has welcomed his announcement. 

Thaksin was formally installed as prime minister on Friday, more than a 
month after his Thai Rak Thai party scored an historic election victory. 




European Union: Initial contacts between SPDC and NLD

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Burma 
Press Release, Brussels, 8 February 2001

The EU welcomes the initial contacts that have taken place between the 
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi, 
Secretary-General of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The Union 
considers these developments to be the most interesting since 1990. They 
need to be encouraged.  

At the same time, the EU notes that the political situation in Burma 
remains worrying. It emphasises the need for concrete measures leading 
to national reconciliation, democracy and the respect of human rights, 
in line with the EU's common position and the resolutions of the United 
Nations General Assembly. The EU sincerely hopes that the confidential 
contacts that have started between the SPDC and NLD will lead to real 
progress in all these areas. The EU stands ready to support further 
developments in these contacts. The EU also welcomes the recent release 
from detention of a number of opposition activists. 

The EU reiterates its strong support for the efforts of the UN Secretary 
General's Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail, upon whom the Troika 
called in connection with its mission to Rangoon. 
The European Union welcomes the contacts that its Troika mission had 
with all the parties during its visit to Burma from 28 to 31 January. 

The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European 
Union, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, 
Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, the associated 
countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and the EFTA countries Iceland, 
Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area align 
themselves with this declaration. 

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

ITGLWF: Triumph urged to cease sourcing goods in Burma 
Jan. 31, 2001
 International Textile,  Garment and Leather Workers Federation

Triumph International, the lingerie giant, has been urged to  stop doing 
business in Myanmar (Burma), a military dictatorship that in the past  
35 years has jailed, tortured, killed and displaced millions. The call 
comes from the Brussels-based International Textile,  Garment and 
Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF), an international labour union  
which says that by operating a joint venture in Burma, Triumph is 
directly  supporting one of the world? most brutal regime.  

Explains ITGLWF General Secretary Neil Kearney: "Through its  
partnership with the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEH), a 
holding  company of the Ministry of Defence, Triumph International is 
funnelling perhaps  as much as 16% of its profits to the military, which 
spends it on weapons to use  it against its own people".  "This is truly 
the dark side of globalisation, where  multinationals source from the 
cheapest producer available, no matter how  appalling the working 
conditions or how repressive the regime", says Kearney.  "The country 
offers rock-bottom prices - and no wonder. 

Burmese garment workers  earn some of the world?s lowest wages: US $8 
per month for 45-hour workweeks, or  about four U.S. cents per hour. 
Working 60 hours a week is not uncommon. And  under martial law, factory 
owners don?t need to worry about labour unrest:  problems are sorted out 
by bringing in army officers to threaten strikers with  arrest". 
"Clearly, Myanmar is no place for any company concerned with  human 
rights. Triumph should take a closer look at the regime it is  
bankrolling", advises Kearney.  "Over the past ten years, an estimated 
two million people,  including women, children and elderly people, have 
been conscripted as forced  labourers in public construction projects or 
as porters in the army, where they  are sent out ahead to locate 

Many face beatings, torture, rape and  murder.  "An estimated 800,000 
people, mostly women and children, have  been displaced either by the 
government?s ?relocation? policy or because of  fighting, while another 
300,000 have been forced to flee the country.   "An estimated 1,500 
political prisoners are being held in jail  in horrendous conditions, 
many suffering torture. 

Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader  of the opposition National League for 
Democracy, has been released from six  years of house arrest, but still 
has only limited freedom of  movement". In November of last year, 
concern over the use of forced labour  in Burma prompted the 
International Labour Organisation (ILO) to call on its  member states to 
impose sanctions on the country. It was a measure unprecedented  in the 
organisation?s history.  The ITGLWF has asked Triumph International 
immediately to  withdraw from Burma until the rule of law is restored in 
the country.

________________ OPINION/EDITORIALS ______________

The Gazette (Montreal): Sanctions have their place 

February 10, 2001 

Ten years ago, the broad-based coalition that went to war against Iraq 
was united in imposing trade embargoes against a regime that coalition 
members considered illegitimate. Within a few short years, however, it 
was apparent that sanctions were ineffective in getting Saddam Hussein 
to respect the United Nations resolutions that followed the Gulf War. 

The coalition nations are painfully conscious that inside Iraq, 
sanctions are experienced as an unjust punishment of an entire people. 
Iraqis are told their babies are dying because of the sanctions. Inside 
a nation cut off from the world, who is to tell them any differently? 

It comes as no surprise that at the United Nations, a committee has been 
meeting since last April trying to determine how to improve the impact 
of sanctions. While it should go without saying that measures as onerous 
as economic sanctions should be carefully assessed to make sure they are 
having the effect the world community hopes to achieve, there is no 
reason to assume that sanctions are a tool that has had its day. 

The primary role of sanctions should be to uphold international 
principles such as the respect for human rights and international law. 
For example, at what point would the world community decide that forced 
labour in Burma is no longer deserving of sanctions? A few thousand 
fewer forced labourers here or there shouldn't lead to a loosening of 

Politicians from the era of apartheid in South Africa, where sanctions 
were kept in place for nearly 30 years, like to say that the embargoes 
had no real effect on the country's economy or internal functioning. But 
they made the country a pariah among nations. They spelled out a clear 
message that was heard everywhere in the world: that it is immoral to 
treat people as substandard because of the colour of their skin. It 
should not be forgotten that sanctions serve a wider purpose. 

The UN committee is looking at rewarding full or partial compliance with 
the terms of sanctions, using a carrot for a change rather than only a 
stick. There are examples of this approach being used successfully: for 
instance, when the United States gradually lifted its sanctions on 
Poland as the Polish government began lifting martial law. 

So-called smart sanctions with their more narrow target - leaders or 
factions - are demonstrably useful. These sanctions include freezing the 
assets of abusive leaders or governments; denying them visas and 
residency permits; and, most powerful of all, subjecting them to 
criminal prosecution. 

The creation of an effective International Criminal Court to prosecute 
those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity 
wherever their crimes occur would be useful as a protector of human 
rights. The effects are sometimes diffuse, but no less beneficial, as 
the case of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shows. The idea 
that a human-rights violator would be forever accountable to 
international justice has now gained currency. 

Sanctions should not in themselves violate humanitarian principles, 
however. Food, medicine, water, clothing, shelter - all basic human 
needs - should not be used as leverage against a country, no matter what 
the failings of its government. Too many innocent people are made to 


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