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BurmaNet News: April 3, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         April 3, 2001   Issue # 1769
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu elects new leadership
*BBC: Burma's new approach
*Freedom News (SSA): Human Rights Violations In Shan State - January, 
February, 2001 
*Myanmar Information Committee (SPDC): Installation of Microwave Links 
in Progress
*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.

Resolution ahead

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 
next week.
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. 
Regional anxiety

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 
Asian input.
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. 

Peer pressure

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, 
February, 2001 


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.


Forced Labour

 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

Martial Law

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 link. 

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.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

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 
while here.  

"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 
the  border.


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 
paper said. 

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 
"sanctions" yet).

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.)

April 2001

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 
(Ohio, 1986). 

viii, 168pp.  March  2001
Pbk:  ú14.95   ISBN: 1-85065-547-2

TO ORDER A COPY OF 'Burma: Political Economy under Military Rule' SEE 
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