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BurmaNet News: April 3, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: April 3, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 03:20:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
April 3, 2001 Issue # 1769
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu elects new leadership
*BBC: Burma's new approach
*Freedom News (SSA): Human Rights Violations In Shan State - January,
*Myanmar Information Committee (SPDC): Installation of Microwave Links
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Ejected villagers take refuge in Thailand
*Reuters: Malaysia moves Myanmar T-shirt protester to camp
*The Nation: Amnesty plan for foreigners
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Tachilek feeling the pinch of border
closure, says resident
*Xinhua: Myanmar Achieves Favorable Economic Foundations
*ICFTU ONLINE: Burmese junta's disinformation exposed by ICFTU
*C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers), UK: New Book--Burma, Political Economy
under Military Rule, Robert H. Taylor (ed.)
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu elects new leadership
April 3, 2001
The opposition Lahu group has elected a new central committee during the
last week, according to several sources.
The Lahu Democratic Front, a member organization of the National
Democratic Front, held an emergency meeting last Thursday (29 March) to
take stock of its situation and elect a 15-member central committee and
21-member alternative central committee.
Daniel Aung, M.P., (Mongpiang) and its president, was reelected.
A newcomer, Yahpet (younger brother of Benjamin Min the late Secretary
General) was elected as the new Secretary General.
The list issued by Daniel Aung yesterday however does not contain 2
former prominent members, Phya Ja-eu and Ja-hpeu aka U Aye Maung.
No reason was given for their exclusion in the LDF statement.
U Aye Maung, who is on a trip, was not available for comment. Ja-Htaw,
his son, said: "I was told by the newly elected CC that we would
continue to be responsible for women and youth affairs."
BBC: Burma's new approach
Friday, 30 March, 2001, 14:17
By Southeast Asia analyst Larry Jagan
Burma's military government has said the newly-appointed United Nations
rapporteur on human rights will be allowed to visit the country next
week. It is the first visit by a UN human rights expert in almost five
years. The previous rapporteur was denied access to the country and
resigned last year.
Since his appointment two months ago, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro has kept a
Unlike his predecessors, he has not held extensive discussions with
diplomats, nor consulted human rights activists or Burmese opposition
UN sources say he has taken a discreet approach to his mission. He is
due to visit Burma early next week.
Although no details of his schedule are available, he is expected to
meet Burma's military leaders and the opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi, who is still under house arrest.
The visit is intended to provide the rapporteur with a chance to assess
first-hand the Burmese situation before the Human Rights Commission
discusses a resolution on
Burma next month.
The UN has confirmed that Mr Pinheiro will address the commission late
Mr Pinheiro's predecessor, Rajsoomer Lallah was never allowed to visit
Burma, although the two previous envoys, Professor Yozo Yokata and Mrs
Sadako Ogata were given access.
Mr Pinheiro has also not adopted his predecessors' practice of widely
consulting the leaders and representatives of Burma's ethnic minorities.
Instead he has been discussing Burma with many of Asia's leaders.
He has held talks with Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
As a result, UN sources in Geneva say, the resolution to be discussed at
the Human Rights Commission in a fortnight's time will have a lot of
It is likely to be strongly critical of Burma's human rights situation
while praising the junta's efforts to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi about the
country's political future.
Western diplomats in Asia believe that Burma's neighbours, the countries
in the regional grouping Asean, are increasingly anxious that Burma's
record does not impede relations with Europe and the United States.
There is also growing embarrassment that Burma has made little progress
towards democracy in the past four years since it joined Asean.
Some countries like Singapore are concerned that most business ventures
in Burma have not been profitable, and that capital invested in the
country cannot be repatriated.
The Thais remain primarily concerned about the drugs trade in Burma,
which has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of drug addicts in
Thailand. Many analysts believe it is pressure from its neighbours,
particularly the Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad, which
has contributed to the Burmese generals taking a more conciliatory
approach to Aung San Suu Kyi.
There have been ongoing talks between the two sides since October. These
talks have been held in complete secret. And with little concrete
information coming out of Burma it is difficult to know how they are
There has only been one confirmed face-to-face meeting between the
intelligence chief Lt General Khin Nyunt and Aung San Suu Kyi. There is
no doubt that the military authorities are keen to exploit the situation
and represent any movement to their advantage.
Hint of change
At recent official occasions, including last week's Army Day, the
country's leader General Than Shwe has hinted at the thaw in relations
with Aung San Suu Kyi.
He has even suggested that in the long-run democracy may even a
desirable form of government.
But there is no doubt that Burma's military will not be rushed into
introducing multi-party democracy.
After all, they established a National Convention to draw up a new
constitution which appears to be no closer to finishing its task than it
was when it started eight years ago.
While analysts are seeing Mr Pinheiro's trip to Rangoon as further
evidence that the Burmese military is adopting a more conciliatory
approach to the outside world, there signs it is not going as far as it
would like the international community to believe.
Although the human rights rapporteur has been given access to Burma,
diplomatic sources say a further visit by the UN special envoy Dr Razali
Ismail has been refused.
Sources close to the envoy believe Rangoon was upset by Dr Razali's
attempt to get the ethnic minorities involved in tripartite talks with
the generals and Aung San Suu Kyi.
If this is the case the international community needs to be careful in
how far it endorses Burma's ruling military's new found flexibility.
Freedom News (SSA): Human Rights Violations In Shan State - January,
Shan State Army
January, February, 2001
Jailed For Money?
On 2nd June 2000, SPDC troops from 514th LIB (based in Parng Kae Tu)
tied up a village headman named Loong Zan Ti from Wan Nar Lorn, Murng
Kerng township, and jailed him at their base without any reason. On 3rd
June 2000, he was released after 100,000 kyats was paid to the SPDC
Forced To Buy Planks
On 16th June 2000, the SPDC troops from the 514th LIB ordered planks
from the villagers of Wan Nar Lorn, Murng Kerng township. The villgers
bought planks and sent them to the SPDC's base in Parng Kae Tu. The
villagers lost 2,000 kyats for the cost.
Disappearance After Capture
On 17th December 2000, SPDC troops from the 99th Brigade seized a cow
belonging to the villagers of Wan Kharm Puark, Murng Khun tract, Murng
Kerng township. At the same time, one of the innocent villagers named
Sai Sarng Orn was captured and dragged with the SPDC troops to Haam
Ngai base. After knowing the news the relatives of the captured
villager headed to Haam Ngai base for information. SPDC said he was
released recently, but till now he is not back home yet. The villagers
believed he was probably murdered by SPDC.
Shot Dead In Farm Hut
On 5th October 2000, at 08:00 hrs., SPDC troops from the 315th LIB, 99th
Brigade led by Captain Win Shwe besieged one of the farm huts north of
Wan Nam Nur village and opened fire on a hut causing an innocent
civilian to die on the spot. The victim was known as Nang Mart, aged
42, daughter of Loong Yan Naa and Pa Long of Wan Koong Yoam village,
Hai Lai tract, Nam Zarng township. The bullets hit the victim in the
breast, in the waist, in the chest and in the thighs.
From the beginning of year 2000 to 2001, SPDC troops from the 99th
Brigade, which recentlly set up a base at Kho Lam, have been forcing the
villagers who are located near their base, to build the new road to Wan
Zing village and a dam on Nam Mawng river to let the water run through
Wan Zing. SPDC have forced not less than a hundred people to work for
their programs daily, the Shan people have been forced to work without
payment or food but Burmese people in that area were paid 250 kyats a
day. Shans who are able to pay for workers have to hire the Burmese.
Lai Kha Township
In the month of September 2000, SPDC troops of the 99th Brigade who are
based in Parng Sarng tract, Lai Kha township issued a martial law to the
villagers in the area. The order says:
1. Never run away from SPDC troops wherever villagers meet them, if
not they will be shot to death.
2. Whenever SPDC troops need porters or labourers, they have to be
provided in time.
3. If the porters are not presented according to the order, the
villagers will not be allowed to work in their farms.
The local people said, "in fact, regarding porters, SPDC has
been capturing villagers to be porters repeatedly and it is up to them
whether and when they will let the villagers go back home".
Myanmar Information Committee (SPDC): Installation of Microwave Links in
March 29, 2001
Minister for Communications, Posts and Telegraphs inspected progress in
building a microwave station and microwave tower and installation of
machines on the 8,871 feet high Thiriruttamma mountain in Tiddim
Township, Chin State, on 24 March.
The microwave facilities on the mountain are part of
Kalay-Thiriruttamma-Tiddim microwave link which is included in the
project to improve the communication system on the west bank of
Ayeyawady River and border areas. Kalay-Thiriruttamma-Tiddim microwave
link is being installed to get the town accessible to the microwave link
system. After opening of the link, Tiddim will be able to make local and
foreign calls easily; over US $ 1.43 million have been spent in building
The Minister also inspected erection of a microwave tower and station
and preparations being made to install machines on a 3,069-foot high
mountain in Mawlaik Township. The facilities are included in Kalay-Tamu
microwave link project.
Shan Herald Agency for News: Ejected villagers take refuge in Thailand
3 April 2001
Hundreds of villagers who had been removed from their villages across
from Chiangrai Province have been arriving in Thailand since last week,
said sources from the border.
At least 600 villagers, most of them Shans and Akhas, from village
tracts east of Monghsat Township have arrived at Therdthai Tract, Mae
Fah Luang District, Chiangrai Province since 27 March. "Burmese
(military) officers said they didn't trust us, "said a villager from
Mongkarn Tract. "Our crime was that we're Shans".
Local Thai authorities have given temporary refuge near Phyaphrai
village in Therdthai Tract. "We hope we are not driven back in a hurry,
because we won't be able to go back to our old homes and farms," said
another from Nayao Tract. "They have been taken over by the Wa."
According to Shan State Army sources, the Wa resettlement program has
stopped since hostilities broke out in February.
Shan and junta forces have been facing off each other across Chiangrai
since and, according to a Thai intelligence source, the latter was
feeling uneasy about having a Shan populace in their rear. "It is part
of their classic Four Cuts campaign," he said.
The Four Cuts strategy aims at cutting food, funds, intelligence and
recruits by the local villagers to the resistance.
"More are expected to be coming," added the source.
Reuters: Malaysia moves Myanmar T-shirt protester to camp
Tuesday April 3, 7:06 PM
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has moved closer to deporting a
Myanmar man who stripped down to a T-shirt celebrating opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi at a Myanmar Embassy party, a U.N. official said on
Peter Hee Man and three Malaysians were arrested on Tuesday last week at
a party celebrating Myanmar's Armed Forces Day in a Kuala Lumpur hotel.
The Malaysians were freed on police bail the following day but Hee Man
was held in jail.
Shinji Kubo, protection officer with the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, said on Tuesday Hee Man had been moved to a
detention camp, where illegal immigrants are usually held before
Kubo said his office had asked Malaysian authorities to let them see Hee
"We are constantly trying to meet this guy. Hopefully he won't disappear
before we meet him," Kubo told Reuters.
Malaysia had permitted such meetings before, he said, adding that some
had prevented planned deportations.
"I don't know if it (a meeting) can happen this week," Kubo said.
Police said on Monday Hee Man had not been charged.
Supporters of Hee Man, a member of Myanmar's Chin ethnic minority, say
his life would be in danger if he was returned to that country.
But Kubo told Reuters last week it was possible Hee Man could be
deported to Thailand instead of Myanmar.
Myanmar's ruling military body, the State Peace and Development Council,
has had a respite from harsh criticism in recent months after news
emerged that it was holding talks with Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi.
Her National League for Democracy (NLD) won Myanmar's last election in
1990 but has never been allowed to govern.
Malaysia has often defended Myanmar, a fellow member of the 10-country
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), against international
condemnation of its poor human rights
The Nation: Amnesty plan for foreigners
April 03, 2001.
FOREIGN labourers should be allowed an amnesty to register for legal
work permits, a seminar suggested yesterday.
An amnesty would make the management of foreign labour more convenient
because the government would know the exact number of foreign workers in
the country and could locate them if necessary, Thai Action Committee
for Democracy in Burma (TACDB) official Adisorn Kerdmongkol said.
The registration of foreign workers would also help prevent the spread
of diseases, a Public Health Ministry officer said. Representatives from
government bodies, employers, workers, academics and non-government
organisations attended the seminar yesterday, aimed at tackling problems
related to foreign labour. They plan to submit their proposals to the
Besides the amnesty and legalisation of foreign labour, seminar
participants proposed the establishment of an independent body to handle
foreign labour. They also suggested abolishing a Cabinet resolution that
bans foreign workers from bringing their families into the country.
Currently, illegal workers face deportation if they become pregnant
"Certain laws should be amended as well. The amendment should aim, for
example, to allow foreign workers to receive equal wages to Thais, which
would encourage employers to opt for local labourers," participants
Other key recommendations included a demand that the government campaign
for the use of local labour without creating bias against foreigners, a
call for more efficient prevention of communicable diseases and better
cooperation between government and non-government groups.
However, Adisorn said most of the ideas had already been proposed to the
government but had not been taken up
_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________
Shan Herald Agency for News: Tachilek feeling the pinch of border
closure, says resident
April 3, 2001
Nearly two months after the closure of the Friendship Bridge over the
Maesai, Tachilek's 60,000 residents are undergoing a difficult
situation, said one of its citizens.
The source, who asked anonymity, said what had so far been written in
junta-controlled papers was just "bluff stuff". "It might be true for
the top brass, but not for the rank-and-file or most of the people
here," he said. "Come to think of it, I haven't met anybody who isn't
complaining. Another month like this, and we'll all be gone."
He said most of the commodities coming from China through Kengtung were
insufficient for the residents' needs and expensive. "You must remember
that most of us don't have any income since the border closed. The Kyat
(Burma's currency) is also going down against the "Renminbi (China's
In addition, Rangoon has banned import of several items of Thai-made
Burmese papers however says it is Thailand and not Burma that is
suffering due to the closure.
The source said everyone hoped the on-going talks in Kengtung between
Thailand and Burma would among other things result in the reopening of
Xinhua: Myanmar Achieves Favorable Economic Foundations
YANGON, April 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Official newspaper The New Light of
Myanmar said Tuesday that the country has achieved "favorable" economic
foundations today, citing some success gained in the implementation of
the last two short-term economic plans.
The average gross domestic product (GDP) during Myanmar's second
short-term five-year plan (1996-97 to 2000-01), which ended in March,
is estimated to grow over 8 percent against the targeted 6 percent, the
Meanwhile, the country's first four-year plan (1992-93 to 1995- 96)
achieved 7.5 percent GDP growth against the targeted 5.1 percent, it
While pointing out the country's achievements made in its two short-term
economic plans after the present government took over power in 1988, the
paper blamed that as there erupted armed conflicts against each other
for four decades since the regaining of independence in 1948 due to
"suspicion, extreme ideological views and instigation", the national
solidarity went into a decline and then disrupted.
It further blamed that despite the rich land and natural resources and
favorable climatic conditions, efforts for the prosperity of the
country were in vain.
ICFTU ONLINE: Burmese junta's disinformation exposed by ICFTU
Brussels March 27 2001 (ICFTU OnLine): The Burmese military junta has
strengthened its disinformation campaign aimed at deflecting pressure by
the International Labour Organisation (ILO) over its widespread use of
forced labour, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
(ICFTU) charged today in Brussels. The junta's campaign includes
sending bogus letters from "workers' representatives" to the ILO and
attempting to deceive the international community by falsely claming
that forced labour-related trade sanctions imposed on Burma in 1997 by
the European Union have now been lifted.
The ICFTU, the world's largest umbrella group of national trade union
centres, says the Myanmar Times, an English-language bi-monthly
published in Rangoon under the auspices of the regime's military
intelligence service, is actively pursuing a propaganda and
disinformation plan designed last winter by a secret advisory group.
The group was established to advise the Foreign Affairs Ministry on how
to counter measures activated by the ILO last November. (Under the ILO
decision, governments and companies throughout the world have been
requested to review their links relations with Burma and cease any
relations that might "directly or indirectly perpetuate forced labour".
Burma's State and Peace Restoration Council (SPDC, official name of the
junta) quickly denounced the measures as "sanctions", claiming the
country was facing imminent trade boycotts and export bans. While not
ruling out that compelling measures "may eventually be imposed by the
United Nations", the ICFTU says it is much too early to talk of real
The existence of the carefully-designed propaganda campaign was
confirmed this morning when a Norway-based Burmese opposition radio
(Democratic Voce of Burma, DVB) released details of the plan, adopted
last November. The so-called "White Paper" inter alia instructed
Burmese companies to use containers for textile and other exports, in
an effort to make their Burma origin more difficult to trace, advised
them to re-route exports via countries whose governments are friendly
towards the regime and ordered the administration to organise for
"letters from workers" to be sent to the ILO in order to protest "ILO
sanctions set to deprive them of jobs and destroy their livelihoods".
The latter idea was implemented last January and announced at the time
by the Myanmar Times as a spontaneous initiative by Burmese workers.
The ILO last week acknowledged it had indeed received a letter to that
effect. A 40-pages report by the ILO's Director General, due to be
discussed in Geneva tomorrow, 28th March, by the ILO's Governing Body,
includes information about an "open letter regarding ILO decision on
Myanmar" dated 29 November and purportedly send on behalf of "18
million workers in public and private enterprises", petitioning the ILO
"to reconsider its actions" on forced labour in Burma. The ICFTU says
the letter is completely bogus and sees its announcement by the Myanmar
Times as confirmation that the secret propaganda plan is now in full
In a separate development, the Myanmar Times falsely claimed last month
that Burma had regained access to European markets at privileged
conditions established under the EU's Generalised System of Preferences
(GSP). Burma has lost its GSP privileges in 1997, further to a formal
ICFTU complaint at the EU against the regimes' forced labour practices,
which notably increased throughout the 90's.
The ICFTU says the junta-sponsored newspaper knowingly and wilfully lied
to its readers by stating that a new revised set of GSP regulations,
know as EBA, would apply to Burma. On February 26, the General Affairs
Council of the EU, composed of the 15 Member States' foreign ministers,
issued a new regulation designed to gradually eliminate all tariffs
hitherto imposed by the EU on imports from developing countries. The
regulation, nicknamed "Everything but Arms", or EBA, specifically
stated it did not cover Burma.
The ICFTU says it was earlier this month told by a trustworthy EU source
that at least 20 would-be investors had called the Brussels-based
European Commission to check whether trade sanctions against the regime
had indeed been lifted, after they had read the Myanmar Times article.
As for the junta's secret "White Paper", the ICFTU said it had been in
its possession for months, but it had refrained from publicising it in
order not to upset chances that the junta might reconsider its refusal
to co-operate with the ILO on eliminating forced labour. An ICFTU
spokesperson added the organisation might now revise its position on
releasing the document, in the light of the outcome of tomorrow's ILO
discussion on Burma.
For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department on +32
2 224 0232 or +32 476 62 10 18.
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions(ICFTU)
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, B1, B-1210 Brussels, Belgium. For more
information please contact: ICFTU Press on: 00 322 224 0228 -
C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers), UK: New Book--Burma, Political Economy
under Military Rule, Robert H. Taylor (ed.)
Radical political and economic changes which were widely expected to
follow from the fall of the Burma Socialist Programme Party in 1998 have
been notable by their absence. Instead, a reinvigorated and oppressive
military regime has installed itself in power in Myanmar (Burma) in the
face of international and domestic opinion. That regime has now ruled
for more than a decade despite international condemnation, especially
over the treatment of its political opponents, including the renowned
activist, Aung San Syu Ki. What has been the cause of Burma's
continuing political and economic stagnation? Why have international
efforts to bring about change proved unsuccessful? Why have the
democratic forces within the country not forced the military to yield?
This volume, written by an international group of experts on Burma,
attempts to answer these questions with a view to seeking ways of ending
the current deadlock in one of Asia's least understood societies.
* Introduction (Robert H. Taylor) -
* Stifling Political Change: The Army Remains in Command (Robert H.
Taylor) - * Stagnation and the Future of Burma (Martin Smith, journalist
and author on Burmese affairs) - * The Burmese Conundrum: Approaching
Reformation of the Political Economy (David Steinberg, Professor of
Asian Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University) - *
Human Rights and the Economy of Burma (Stefan Collignon, President of
the Association France-Birmanie) - * International NGOs in Burma (David
Tegenfeldt, Director, World Concern, Yangon) - * Burma and the World: A
Decade of Foreign Policy under SLORC (Josef Silverstein, former
Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University) - * Burma Ten Years
after the Uprising: The Regional Dimension (Jⁿrgen Rⁿland,
Professor at the Seminar fur Wissenschaftliche Politik,
Albert-Ludwigs-UniversitΣt Freiburg) - * The Burma Crisis: An
Ethnic Minority View (Seng Raw Heinze, Metta Development Foundation,
Robert H. Taylor was Professor of Politics at SOAS, University of
London, and is now an independent consultant. His publications include
The State in Burma (Hurst, 1989) and Marxism and Resistance in Burma
viii, 168pp. March 2001
Pbk: ú14.95 ISBN: 1-85065-547-2
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