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BurmaNet News: May 4, 2001
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
May 4, 2001 Issue # 1798
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING...
(1) "We have to be patient here. It's very easy to use violence.?
Thai Defense Minister calling on the army not to use force against drug
traffickers from Burma.
(2) "How should we respond when we are fired at?"We are not going to sit
like lame ducks if we are fired at?"
Thai Third Army Commander Lt-Gen Wattanachai Chaimuenwong?s response.
See The Nation: Government seeks ways to tone down antidrugs strategy
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AP: Jailed Burmese journalist wins press freedom award
*The Japan Times: Myanmar solutions require three-way talks
*Mizzima: Politicians given long imprisonment for "inciting riots" in
*BBC: Burmese economy under siege
*Burma Media Association: Unocal Grilled in Seattle
*Bangkok Post: Rangoon approval for road construction
*BurmaNet: One Hand Clapping?No Approval for Road Construction from
*DPA: Blast in Mandalay market leaves several injured
*AP: Blast kills driver of pickup truck near Myanmar border
*BBC : Burmese recapture camp from Shan rebels
*Freedom News (Shan State Army): Sa Kawng Battle
*The Nation: Government seeks ways to tone down antidrugs strategy
*Bangkok Post: Strive for balance, says PM, as Chavalit reins in Third
Army An eye-for-an-eye no go, says minister
*DVB: Hal Kuloy of Norwegian Burma Council passed away
*AP: Thaksin hopes to visit Yangon by June to mend relations
*AFP: Tensions spill over outside Myanmar embassy in Australia
*Mizzima: Activists urge for more pressure on Burmese Junta
*National League for Democracy: Statement on Democratic Change in Burma
*The New Light of Myanmar (SPDC): Beware of Poisonous Relations
*Chin Forum Working Group (I): Initial Draft of Constitution of Chinland
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AP: Jailed Burmese journalist wins press freedom award
WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) _ A 71-year-old Burmese journalist imprisoned by
his country's military regime for 12 years was awarded an international
press freedom prize Thursday by the United Nations during World Press
Freedom Day celebrations in Windhoek, Namibia.
U Win Tin, editor of the independent Hanthawati daily newspaper, was
arrested by authorities in Myanmar in 1989 and sentenced to 14 years in
jail on accusations he was a member of the Communist Party.
His sentence has since been extended a further five years _ until 2008
_ though the authorities have offered to release him immediately if he
renounces all political activities, according to U.N. officials.
U Win Tin was awarded in absentia Thursday the dlrs 25,000 Guillermo
Cano World Freedom Prize, named after a Colombian journalist
assassinated in 1986 by the drug cartels in that country. The prize is
also sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization, which was organizing a conference here
celebrating press freedom day.
In a brief statement smuggled out of Myanmar and read to the
conference, U Win Tin, who helped found the National League of Democracy
with Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, said he accepted the award
on behalf of all people fighting for democracy in his country. He said,
he hoped to use the money one day to support a foundation for writers
The current military rulers of Myanmar, also known as Burma, took power
after crushing a pro-democracy uprising in 1988. The junta held
elections in 1990 but refused to honor the results when the National
League for Democracy won with a big majority.
Prescott Low, former president of the World Association of Newspapers,
accepted the award on U Win Tin's behalf and praised his courage in
defying authorities' offers to free him if he renounced political
``Even crippled with pain, with no prospects of ever leaving the cell
where he is kept, U Win Tin has regularly refused these offers,'' he
U Win Tin was a co-recipient of the Golden Pen of Freedom prize by the
World Association of Newspapers in November for his ``outstanding
contribution to the cause of press freedom.''
U Win Tin's struggle should serve as a reminder that 12 other
journalists remain imprisoned in Myanmar and more than 80 remain jailed
across the world, Low said.
``There is little that discourages these courageous journalists in
their struggle for freedom of expression,'' he said.
UNESCO Director-general Koichiro Matsuura also appealed to the Syrian
government to free Nizar Nayyouf, the recipient of the prize last year,
who has been jailed since 1992 and is reportedly on a hunger strike.
The Japan Times: Myanmar solutions require three-way talks
Apr. 30, 2001
By RICHARD HUMPHRIES
Special to The Japan Times
Myanmar's junta, the State Peace and Development Council, is engaged in
secret reconciliation talks with democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. For
now, exiled dissidents and ethnic opponents of the junta watch
cautiously from the sidelines. Any solution to Myanmar's problems,
though, will have to consider their concerns.
Mahn Nyein looks you in the eye when he talks. A serious man, he's well
known for a remarkable exploit in 1970. Then an imprisoned political
dissident on Myanmar's inhospitable Coco's Island group, he and fellow
inmates built a raft and sailed hundreds of kilometers to the mainland
in an escape attempt. They were recaptured, but only he survived. Today
he's a senior official in the Karen National Union, an ethnic
organization that has fought successive Myanmar governments for autonomy
since 1949. When asked about the ongoing reconciliation talks he was
"We have a wait-and-see attitude," he said. "The SPDC should show more
sincerity and release all political prisoners. The NLD (National League
for Democracy) should have freedom to organize and engage in political
As for the international community, Mahn Nyein said, "Pressure helped
bring about the talks. The SPDC had no way to carry on and needed an
outlet to release it, so they lack sincerity. Now is not the time to
release that pressure."
These themes were also expressed elsewhere. The National Coalition of
the Union of Burma is an umbrella opposition group formed in 1992 that
includes ethnic-minority alliances as well as exiled Myanmar student
and parliamentary groups. Aung Moe Zaw, NCUB secretary general,
cautioned against early expectations. "Now the talks have started, but
there is a long way to go," he said. "We need to solve two main
problems -- the lack of democracy and the needs of the ethnic
The NCUB leader said that while the talks were at a sensitive stage,
more flexibility by the junta was not unreasonable. "There should be
freedom of political movement for Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD. Also
elected ethnic MPs, like those from the Shan NLD, should be free to
meet and discuss issues among themselves."
The international community, he said, "for the time being . . . should
encourage both sides. (But) current pressures like the U.S. sanctions,
the Swiss freezing of junta members' bank accounts and the ILO action
should be maintained."
Two of the Shan political opponents of the regime differ widely in their
views of the talks. For Aung Mart of the Restoration Council of Shan
State, the matter was simple. "We have no position on the talks," he
said. "They are a separate issue, as our goal is independence."
The Shan Democratic Union believes that eventually Myanmar's political
debacle will have to be settled in tripartite fashion, meaning at least
one more seat at the reconciliation table for other ethnic groups. If
that happens, they want to be ready to participate, not simply to
listen. To that end, they have embarked upon a constitution-writing
program led by Sao Seng Suk, a veteran nationalist and group spokesman.
A first draft is being prepared this year, and grassroots Shan
participation is encouraged. According to one SDU member, the purpose
is, "to prepare the Shan people for when a real one is written. It
canused either for an independent Shan State or as talking points for
making a new . . . one."
Mizzima: Politicians given long imprisonment for "inciting riots" in
April 30, 2001
A township court in western Burma has sentenced heavy jail-terms for
seven political activists allegedly involved in ?inciting the riots?
which broke out in February this year. The seven Arakanese politicians
were sentenced from seven to twelve year-imprisonment by the Sittwe
township court in Arakan State recently.
The sentences against the politicians were delivered by the court
between last week of March and first week of April and the accused
persons have filed petition at the District court appealing for
dismissal of the township court order.
The accused persons include U Tha Tun Aung, U San Shwe Oo, U Lone Chaw
who are residents of Sittwe, capital of Arakan State. They actively
participated in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising in Burma. They were
arrested by the military when it took over power in September 1988 and
had been imprisoned for eight to nine years for participating in the
Although they had been staying away from any political activities after
their release, the Burmese military intelligence No. 10 in Sittwe
arrested them of ?inciting? the racial clashes. At least two Buddhist
monks were killed and more than 60 houses of Muslims were burnt down in
the racial clashes which broke out on 4th February in Sittwe of Arakan
State, bordering with Bangladesh.
An exiled Arakanese group, the National United Party of Arakan, has
stated that these racial riots were the work of military junta itself
and accused the junta of trying to ?idetrack the deteriorating law and
order situation, economy and the worsening political crisis in Burma by
stirring up the communal violence in Arakan State.?
AP: Thaksin hopes to visit Yangon by June to mend relations
BANKGOK, Thailand (AP) Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Friday he
plans to make a fence-mending visit to neighboring Myanmar by early
Bilateral relations are at the lowest point in years, following a rare
armed confrontation at the border between the two countries in February
and continuing military tension.
``I plan to visit Myanmar either in late May or early June and hope
that the problems will be resolved when high level (officials) of both
sides hold talks,'' Thaksin told reporters.
There was no immediate comment from the Myanmar government about any
Thaksin made the remarks after meeting Friday with Foreign Minister
Surakiart Sathirathai, who visited Yangon this week for talks with the
Myanmar military regime.
During his visit, Myanmar publicly accused Thailand of giving military
support to anti-Yangon rebels at the border and planting illegal drugs
at Myanmar military outposts to discredit the government.
The main source of the bilateral discord is the trafficking of
methamphetamines from Myanmar, which Thailand says the government is
doing little to stop.
The illegal stimulant is the main cause of crime in Thailand.
AFP: Tensions spill over outside Myanmar embassy in Australia
CANBERRA, May 4 (AFP) - Australian police clashed with demonstrators
after a Myanmar flag was set on fire in a demonstration outside the
Myanmar embassy here Friday.
A squad of about 10 police in full riot gear held back about 40
demonstrators, who had been sitting in the road to protest about the use
of forced and child labour in the Southeast Asian nation.
About 40 police -- including dog handlers -- had blocked the roads
surrounding the embassy.
Local trade union leader Jeremy Pyner accused the police of
overreacting by pushing the protesters aside to extinguish the flag
during what had been a peaceful protest.
"They were out there at the intersection, the police just went ape and
waded in with fire extinguishers," he said.
"There was barging and barging, it was just an absolutely unbelievable
response by the police."
Police also confiscated what they said may have been a molotov cocktail
from a car carrying protesters. The protesters said the bottle contained
BBC: Burmese economy under siege
Friday, 4 May, 2001
By regional analyst Larry Jagan
Burma's economy is currently facing enormous problems.
The value of the kyat has been nearly halved in the last month, and
prices of many consumer goods are spiraling out of control.
Analysts believe the Burmese Government is trying to get itself out of
trouble by printing more money which they say will only aggravate the
country's economic problems.
Earlier this week the government reduced petrol rations from three
gallons a week to two, forcing motorists and transport companies to seek
more of their petrol needs from the black market.
Bus and taxi fares have already risen. Diplomats believe there will also
be a major rise in the official petrol price soon.
Prices of many consumer goods have also sky-rocketed within the last few
weeks as the value of the kyat has plummeted on the unofficial markets.
The kyat has fallen by nearly 100% to more than 750 kyat to the US
dollar in the last six weeks.
The value of the FEC (foreign exchange certificates) has also fallen.
This has caused the price of imported goods like condensed milk,
monosodium glutamate, medicines and toiletries to rise significantly.
Customers at many of Rangoon's small shops and supermarkets have been
stunned by the doubling of prices of many of their regular purchases
within the last week.
One money dealer said the drastic fall in the value of the kyat was
caused by the military authorities desperately buying up dollars.
Diplomats in Rangoon believe the Burmese Government has less than two
months of foreign reserves and the recent fighting along the Thai-Burma
border has increased their need for more foreign exchange.
Regional economic analysts in Singapore believe that the government has
also been recently printing substantially more money, in excess of what
would be economically prudent, which in turn is fuelling inflation.
The Burmese Government increased the salaries of civil servants by more
than 500% a little over a year ago so that they could cope with spirally
prices, but this has only served to further fuel the country's
Economists estimate that this is currently around 20% and likely to rise
significantly now. Observers point out that the Burmese authorities
have always taken an idiosyncratic approach to the economy.
However whether this will continue to work in the long term is
At present they are managing by relying on massive logging operations
and plundering the country's natural reserves.
But with increasing interruptions to the country's domestic and
industrial power supplies, the economy is increasingly a problem the
government does not seem able to cope with.
Burma Media Association: Unocal Grilled in Seattle
A Grill of Unocal in Seattle
By Tin Maung Htoo
Burma Media Association (BMA)
An American oil company, Unocal, which is allegedly getting involved in
human rights abuses and environmental degradation in Burma, is now
facing growing public pressure to pull out of its investment in Burma
although it could remove a lawsuit last year.
Today, experts will gather at the University of Washington Seattle
campus and scrutiny Unocal's responsibility and accountability of its
business in Burma at a forum called "the New World of Corporate
Accountability: the Case of Unocal in Burma."
When asked the reason to hold such forum, Larry Dohrs, the co-director
of Global Source Education, replied "This event is meant to use
educational standards to examine the case of Unocal in Burma, as a case
study in how corporations are increasingly held accountable for their
actions." Larry also said, "we plan to examine some of the claims and
Larry is one of eight panelists along with a Karen-Burmese-ethnic
activist and award-winning environmentalist, Ka Hsaw Wa and Christina
Fink, author of recent published book, "Living Silence: Burma under
As Larry said, counterclaims will be heard since they invited a
representative of Unocal to the event. Michel Thacher, General Manager
of Public Relations and Communications of Unocal could be a defender of
its corporation at the forum.
But it is hard for him to defend well in public since TOTAL, its
partner's company in Burma natural gas project, and even some judges
already made some confessions when they delivered the lawsuit last year.
For instance, in a Total's letter to Unocal, Herve Chagnoux wrote, "...
I could not guarantee that the (Burmese) army is not using labor, I
certainly imply that they might..."
Likewise, in Judge Lew's decision, he claimed that Unocal knew of the
crimes committed by its business partner, the Burmese military.
However, he technically dismissed the lawsuit saying, "Unocal did not
control the military while it was using forced labor and committing
human rights violations associated with the Yadana Project. Thus the
judges ruled that Unocal could not be held legally responsible.
However, the appealing process is still going on and other ways of suing
Unocal is prevailing, said Earth Rights International, a non-profit
organization leading the suit representing 14 Burmese plaintiffs.
A group called Students for Environmental Actions at Stanford (SEAS) is
also mounting pressuring on Unocal and strong protests will be expected
to carry out during the Unocal shareholders meeting on May 21, 2001,
Bangkok Post: Rangoon approval for road construction
May 04, 2001.
Kanchanaburi- Burma has approved construction of a 130km road linking
Kanchanaburi and Tavoy, according to the deputy chairman of the
Kanchanaburi industrial council. Pattana Sinkanchanamalai said the
council had first proposed the road in 1994. Burma had finally approved
it in March.
Representatives of the council will travel to Burma when Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra visits the country to sign the construction contract.
Construction, to be completed in four years, is expected to begin in
October, he said. Mr Pattana said the road would cost about US$28.2
This would be raised from the business sector in the province and from
"We want to open the door of Kanchanaburi to the world. With the road,
we will be able to connect with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and
boost trade," he said.
BurmaNet: One Hand Clapping?No Approval for Road Construction from
May 4, 2001
Today?s Bangkok Post notes that the regime in Burma has given its
approval for the construction of a road from Thailand to a proposed deep
sea port in Tavoy. Rangoon?s approval is hardly surprising since, as
with the Freedom Bridge at Mae Sot and various other infrastructure
projects, Thailand is expected to pick up the bill.
What the Post and backers of the road and port project?including notably
Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh--omit mention of is the absence
of corresponding approval on the Thai side. Given the current
hostilities between the two countries? armies, approval on the Thai side
would have to come from a higher ranking group than a regional business
When asked by reporters what he thought of the project, Thailand?s Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra?s response was in essence to profess that he
was unaware of the proposed road. Given that the project is dear to his
own Defense Minister, his ignorance seems more strategic than actual. In
the opaque language of Thai politics, Thaksin?s reply appeared to be a
polite way of refusing to support the project without being forced to
reject it outright. Until Bangkok joins in, Rangoon?s approval remains
the sound of one hand clapping.
DPA: Blast in Mandalay market leaves several injured
Blast in Mandalay market leaves several injured
Yangon, May 4. (DPA): A bomb blast today in the main market of Mandalay,
Central Myanmar (Burma), smashed shop windows and injured several
people, eyewitnesses said.
There were no immediate reports of deaths. Authorities allegedly
discovered two more bombs in the Zegyo -- the marketplace -- and removed
them before they exploded, Mandalay residents told Deutsche
Presse-Agentur (DPA) in a telephone interview.
Mandalay Division Commander Major General Ye Myint closed down the
market to investigate the explosion and clear debris from the area.
There had been no such bomb blasts reported in recent memory in
Mandalay, 650 km north of Yangon. The city is Central Myanmar's main
trading hub, with roads leading from the city to the country's borders
with neighbours India, China and Thailand.
AP: Blast kills driver of pickup truck near Myanmar border
May 3 2001
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) A pickup truck booby trapped with a hand grenade
exploded near the Thai-Myanmar border, killing the driver and injuring
three passengers, officials said Thursday.
Police and the chief of Umphang district of Tak province said the
bombing late Wednesday was apparently motivated by personal conflict and
not related to tensions at the border of Thailand and Myanmar, where an
attack Tuesday by Myanmar ethnic guerrillas killed three Thai villagers.
The truck, which provided a regular transport service, was loaded with
passengers heading from Umphang district to the border village of
Perngkerng, about 350 kilometers (213 miles) northwest of Bangkok.
The explosion occurred while the truck was on a dirt road about 20
kilometers (12 miles) from Perngkerng.
Chief investigator Lt. Col. Prasit Khamtan said the grenade was planted
under the chassis and was triggered to go off when the vehicle went over
a big bump.
Nathee Borsuwan, Umphang district chief told The Associated Press that
the dead man has been identified only as Hong and said he believed the
incident resulted from personal conflict.
``The incident has nothing to do with the ongoing border dispute with
Myanmar,'' Nathee said.
BBC : Burmese recapture camp from Shan rebels
Friday, 4 May, 2001, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
The Burmese government says its forces have recaptured a border camp
from separatist rebels.
A spokesman for the Shan State Army confirmed that its troops had
withdrawn from the camp at Pachee on the Thai-Burmese border after
coming under heavy mortar attack for two days.
Burma has accused Thai forces of fighting with the Shan separatists, an
accusation strongly denied by the authorities in Bangkok.
Thai and Burmese forces were involved in sporadic fighting on the border
in February and relations between the two countries are strained, with
each accusing the other of supporting militia groups fighting on the
Freedom News (Shan State Army): Sa Kawng Battle
4 May 2001
On 1st May 2001, at 23.00 hr., 5 SSA troops from 401st Battalion, 727th
Brigade led by Lance Coporal Sing Ta laid an ambush on a Burmese convoy
carrying their troops at a place called Sa Kawng, on the way between
Pung Pa Khem to Parkhee battle field, Mong Ton township. The skirmish
lasted for 10 minutes, where the enemy suffered 10 dead and 6 wounded.
Nar Kong Mu Battle
On 2nd May 2001, at 02.00 hr., 3 SSA men from 453rd Battalion, 727th
Brigade led by Private Kaw Ling made a sniping on an enemy depot at Nar
Kong Mu, Mong Ton township for 20 minutes. The Burmese Army lost 2 dead
and 1 wounded while the SSA men are safe.
The Nation: Government seeks ways to tone down antidrugs strategy
May 04, 2001.
Concerned that renewed tensions with Burma could escalate further, Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday sought to review his antidrugs
strategy to minimise its effects on the border disputes.
Thaksin?s latest bid to amend the strategy comes after a bloody raid on
Tuesday on a border village in Tak by the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen
Buddhist Army (DKBA). Three Thai civilians were killed.
The Thai army believed the attack was in retribution for its recent
seizures of more than 13 million methamphetamine tablets, which were
said to have come from areas controlled by the DKBA.
Thaksin said he would continue to pursue an aggressive campaign to stop
the flow of illegal narcotics from Burma. But he stressed that such
efforts should be carried out more in tandem with diplomatic efforts to
resolve the tensions.
?The government is trying to get the military and the Foreign Ministry
to work toward the same direction,? he said. His comments shed light
on the conflict over the implementation of the antidrugs campaign
between Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Third Army
Commander Gen Wattanachai Chaimuenwong.
On one hand, Chavalit convinced Thaksin that the aggressive tactics
employed by Wattanachai would disrupt border security. On the other,
Thaksin believed the measures were somewhat necessary until Rangoon
clearly signalled that it would cooperate on drug suppression.
The signal from Burma so far has been far from clear. The DKBA raid on
Tuesday came as Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai was on an
official visit to Rangoon to resolve the bitter border disputes.
On the following day, the Burmese junta accused the Thai Army of trying
to defame it by planting the stimulant pills in raids on Burmese posts
along the border.
It was clear that Surakiart?s visit had failed to even reduce tensions,
even though BurmaÆs military government agreed in principle to sign a
memorandum of understanding to jointly suppress drugs along the border.
Surakiart said his talks with Burmese leaders provided a strong
foundation for resolving future border flareups and that the two sides
agreed that the conflicts should not escalate into a governmen tlevel
Thailand lodged a protest over the DKBA raid with the Burmese side of
the Township Border Committee û the lowestlevel mechanism to solve
But the situation remained tense yesterday as the DKBA bolstered its
forces in the areas opposite Phop Phra district in an apparent move to
make another strike on the Thai border.
Burmese government troops also recaptured their outpost at Pachee,
opposite Chiang MaiÆs Fang district, which fell to the Shan State Army
last week. The move completes the Burmese armyÆs dryseason offensive
against the rebels.
The junta has accused the Thai military of supporting the Shan rebels.
PMÆs Office Minister Thamarak Isarangura, who is to leave for Burma next
week to discuss antidrugs cooperation, said it is crucial to distinguish
between drug problems and ethnic insurgencies.
ôThe tension along the ThaiBurmese border could be cate¼gorised into two
sets of problems: ethnic minorities fighting against Burmese government
and narcotics,ö he said. The attack by the DKBA is an example of the
issues being unnecessarily intertwined, he said.
ôIt is proof that millions of tablets of drugs confiscated by the Thai
army belonged to this group, thus infuriating them,ö Thamarak said.
China, whose border is adjacent to Burmese territory controlled by
drugproducing ethnic Wa armies, must be brought into the talks to
resolve the conflict and the drug problems, he said.
Thamarak defended the hardhitting Wattanachai, saying the general would
be right to retaliate should an external force encroach upon Thai
territory. WattanachaiÆs vow to track down the perpetrators that caused
the deaths of Thai nationals is not prohibited. But the action should
not complicate talks at the government level.
?We have been suspecting for some time that the Burmese are secretly
supporting [the DKBA] in the same way as Burma is suspicious of us,? he
said. ?When a problem arises, we need to talk tough but in times of
negotiation, both sides need to set out their own problems and if there
is a genuine cooperation, problems will gradually dissipate.?
?Force must be met with force when dealing with narcotics suppression,?
The recent decision by Chavalit to rein in Wattanachai was out of
concern that the situation would escalate into a war, Thamarak said.
But it is good for each government to keep a check on the other and the
ongoing verbal clashes in the field are ?normal?, he said.
Chavalit yesterday again urged restraint, saying ?resorting to force is
an easy way out?.
?However, it does not mean we should be restrained to the point of
dereliction of duty. The Third Army commander is a good person -- a real
soldier. We need to understand him.?
Bangkok Post: Strive for balance, says PM, as Chavalit reins in Third
Army An eye-for-an-eye no go, says minister
May 04, 2001.
Balance is needed in military and diplomatic responses to Burma and the
cross-border drugs conflict, says Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Drug trafficking had created a security problem for Thailand but talks
with Burma could still help.
"I will try to strike a balance between attempts to stem the security
threat and the need to maintain good relations," he said yesterday.
Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said Burma had agreed to a
memorandum of understanding to co-operate in the fight against drugs.
The agreement would be signed when Mr Thaksin paid a visit_ although no
date has been set. Mr Thaksin must know that Burma is sending mixed
signals about its willingness to co-operate. Even as Mr Surakiart was
meeting Burmese ministers in Rangoon on Wednesday, Burmese security
officials were accusing Thailand of backing rebel attacks after
receiving pledges of US military support.
Mr Thaksin said the drugs fight would come first over friendship.
The exchange comes amid intensifying conflict between Thai and Burmese
forces along the northern border. The government seems divided on how
toughly to respond, but continuing massive drugs seizures by the Thai
army are keeping Rangoon on the offensive. Rangoon has accused Thai
troops of deliberately shelling Burmese military positions to protect
minority Shan guerrillas which had taken over a Burmese border outpost
opposite Chiang Mai's Fang district.
The Thai army says the shelling was in retaliation for Burmese
While the army says Burmese forces are backing the drug-producing Wa
minority, Rangoon says Thai soldiers are protecting Shan guerrillas who
also deal in drugs.
The Third Army says an incident on Tuesday in which the pro-Rangoon
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army fired across the border at a Thai
military outpost in Tak's Phob Phra district was a deliberate plan to
divert attention from a methamphetamine shipment.
Three Thai civilians were killed in the assault believed to have been
triggered by last week's seizure of millions of methamphetamines by the
The exchange of gunfire and accusations upset Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh,
who was concerned the problem would jeopardise Thai-Burmese relations.
The defence minister yesterday warned the Third Army not to adopt an
"We have to be patient here. It's very easy to use violence. But, it
doesn't mean we wouldn't do what we should do," said Gen Chavalit.
He was criticising Third Army commander Lt-Gen Wattanachai Chaimuenwong,
who called for a tough response. Gen Chavalit said any use of violence
Lt-Gen Wattanachai insisted yesterday his force was merely responding to
Burmese aggression when it fired into Burma.
"How should we respond when we are fired at?"We are not going to sit
like lame ducks if we are fired at," Lt-Gen Wattanachai said.
Meanwhile, Lt-Gen Wattanachai is seeking approval to build a
morale-boosting monument to King Naresuan and a pagoda near Wat Doi Wow
in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.
A construction plan had gone to the army chief for approval, a source
The monument would boost the morale of Thai troops and mark the
The King Naresuan monument would face Burma's Tachilek, where the
Bayinnaung monument sits.
"This is about belief," the source said.
"Burma has used the Bayinnaung monument to boost its troops' morale.
King Naresuan is a great warrior and his monument will give our Thai
troops a big boost." Locals were willing to donate money or help raise
funds. The monument would cost about 40 million baht.
DVB: Hal Kuloy of Norwegian Burma Council passed away
May 4, 2001
We are very sorry to inform you that Mr. Halvard K. Kuloy, chairman of
the Norwegian Burma Council, passed away last night, May 3 2001 at
11:05 pm local time in Oslo, Norway.
Mr. Kuloy will be remembered and revered as a staunch supporter of the
struggle for democracy in Burma. Ever since he and his family lived in
Burma while Mr. Kuloy worked for the UN, he acquired a love for the
country, its peoples, its cuisine and its many rich artistic traditions.
A reflection of his deep knowledge of Burmese culture is the recent
donation of his collection of Burmese lacquerware to the Museum of
Applied Art in Oslo, enabling the museum to produce the first
exhibition of Burmese art in Norway last September.
In addition to his personal friendship with Daw Khin Kyi, Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi and Dr. Michael Aris, Mr. Kuloy played a key role in supporting
the Burmese political opposition both spiritually and materially, and
in providing aid to refugees. He was instrumental in the arrangements
for the Nobel Peace Prize award for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991, as
well as in the subsequent establishment of the DVB radio station in
We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy for his wife and two
May he rest in peace.
If you wish to offer your condolences, you may do so via fax +47 22 36
25 25 or via email to euburma@xxxxxxxxxx The details of the funeral are
not yet confirmed.
With metta (compassion),
Mizzima: Activists urge for more pressure on Burmese Junta
New Delhi, May 4, 2001
Burma?s pro-democracy activists and their supporters today launched a
Global Action against the Burmese military regime for its widespread
human rights violation including the use of forced labor in the country.
Protest rallies and demonstrations were held in Australia and India
while talks and video shows on BurmaÆs human rights records were
organized in Canada.
In Australia, a demonstration was held in front of Burmese embassy in
Canberra and about 60 Burma pro-democracy activists in India held a
similar protest rally in New Delhi this morning. A panel discussion on
Burma and forced labor and public rally was held at Edmonton in Canada,
said a statement issued under Global Action Against the Burmese Junta
The Global Action focusing on the rampart human rights violations in
Burma was endorsed by more than 25 national organizations based in
Australia, Canada and India including National Union of Students and the
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network in Australia, Burma Watch
International in Canada, All Burma Students League in India, Free Burma
Action Committee and Burma Labor Solidarity Organization.
The activists have urged the governmental and non-governmental
organizations around the world to continue to pressure the Burmese
regime for democratization in the country. They also demanded the
Burmese junta to make the on-going ôtalksö with democratic leader Aung
San Suu Kyi transparent to the public.
National League for Democracy: Statement on Democratic Change in Burma
The National League For Democracy
97 B West Shwegondaing Road,
Bahan Township, Yangon.
Statement No 1(5/01)
World Workers Day.
1. The first day of May has been commemorated worldwide as May
Day/Workers Day ever since 1890 in accordance with the decision of the
1889 Worldwide Workers Conference held in Paris (France). This day was
chosen because American workers in their struggle for their rights shed
blood on that day. It has been declared a public holiday. Eight-hour
working day and overtime payments have been the outcomes of that
2. From then on, the workers movement grew till the end of the First
World War (1914-1918) when unemployment and homelessness created big
problems for the worker.
3. As a result, the then League of Nations realizing that peace is
fundamentally associated with social and economic justice, created the
International Labor Organization (ILO) in which the allies joined
4. The ILO is not just an organisation to prescribe wages, working
hours, rules and regulations to be observed at work places
internationally. It is also at this organisation that workers,
employers and governments can meet to discuss and resolve conflicts and
5. The ILO continued to exist during the Second World War (1941-46).
After the establishment of the United Nations, the ILO was recognized
as one of its specialized agencies.
6. Burma obtained her independence from the British in January 1948 and
obtained sovereign state status as the Union of Burma. It became a
member of the United Nations and worked in conjunction with the ILO. It
approved and signed the 19 ILO Conventions.
7. Acceptance of the ILO Conventions was followed up with enactment of
for workers rights by the government, which were distinctly and clearly
8. But after the second of March 1962, when the army assumed state power
and annulled the constitution, it established the Burmese Socialist
Program Party (BSPP) government. Then in 1964 the Law establishing
Workers Basic Rights and Duties was promulgated which overshadowed the
rights guaranteed to workers under existing laws. Workers affairs came
under the direct control of the central authority.
9. Commencing from that day, ILO Convention 87, that gives the worker
the right to freely form unions and associations, has been violated. In
1981 the ILO asked the government to observe the provisions of ILO
Convention 87, but it refused.
10. The spontaneous uprising and demand for restoration of democracy by
students, workers, monks and civilians countrywide that occurred in 1988
brutally crushed by the government.
11.The army again seized power, annulled the constitution promulgated by
Burma Socialist Progressive Party and formed the State Law and Order
Restoration Council composed of the big Tatmadaw bosses.
12. The plight of the workers, farmers and cultivators is absolutely
(a) Forced labor is required from the whole country (including the
townspeople). Men, (women and youths are not exempted) are forced to act
(b) Factory workers and dock laborers suffer exploitation by the
employers amd have no choice but to accept the wages paid to them. They
enjoy no rights, no benefits or security.
13. Because of the depressing conditions of the workers in Burma, the
ILO authorised and inspection and report and at its 87th annual meeting
in 1999 resolved to punish the government if changes were not put into
effect. But the government denied the existence of forced labor in
Burma and repudiated the ILO resolution.
14. In June 2000, at the 88th annual general meeting of the ILO it was
decided that if the military government did not change its practices of
forced labor the governing body of the ILO would take effective action
under the provisions of its law 33. An inspection team to investigate
the situation had reported that no real change had taken place, that
the Towns and Village Acts (Law 107 and 108) had not been revoked and
forced labor practices still continued. At the meeting of the governing
body of the ILO in November a vote was taken on the matter.
15. The Director General of the ILO called on all international
organizations to review their association and activities with the
military government so as not to encourage the practice of forced
labor. Also to implement the recommendations set out in the ILO Inquiry
Commission Report. Resolutions taken with regard to the violations
(a) To place these matter on the agenda for consideration at the ECOSOC
meeting in July 2001.
(b) That the UN General Assembly should carefully examine whether the
activities of the UN agencies in Burma are in any way directly or
associated with forced labor practices.
16. In the 81 years of the lifetime of the ILO that is composed of 178
counties there has never been such rebuke and punishment of a member
17. Democracy is the only system by which full human rights and workers
rights can be obtained. Strong and firm political, social and economic
advancement will follow when there is democracy. Therefore the military
government (SPDC) which has assumed state power has the greatest
responsibility to bring about changes that will make Burma into a new
democratic country. We ask and urge them to heed to this request.
Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy
1st May 2001
The New Light of Myanmar (SPDC): Beware of Poisonous Relations
Wednesday, 2 May, 2001
Two-hundred Thai troops, placing some of Ywet Sit's men in the
forefront, attacked Pachee outpost of the Myanmar Tatmadaw in Myanmar
territory on 22 April 2001 early morning. A Thai military camp which was
located 50 yards from the outpost inside the Thai territory also took
part in the collusion. It gave supporting fire and projected
searchlights on the outpost. In February also the Thai army made an
intrusion on Myanmar territory by placing Ywet Sit's men in the
SURA members of Ywet Sit and KNU remnants are being used as suicide
squads for Thai intruders. These insurgent groups are taking refuge in
Thailand as they are not in a position to live in Myanmar territory.
Thus, they are trying to please their benefactors who are minions of the
west group. The west group in raising and using the nationalist Chinese
troops used opium trafficking as a fund-raising activity to reduce cost.
The west bloc has already made arrangements for KNU, KPP, SURA, DAB and
MTA insurgent groups to rely on extortion money, robbery, taxes on
contraband and stimulant tablet and heroin production.
The greater portion of money from the western aids for expatriates and
insurgents goes to the pockets of Thai tricksters. Thus, the Thai
tricksters are raising the insurgents to earn money. I have the positive
attitude towards the entire people of Thailand and the good persons. I
felt so unhappy to see that the Thai people are being tainted because of
the Thai tricksters who are longing for gifts for self-benefits. These
Thai tricksters have ruled Thailand throughout history.
There are such tricksters in the Thai army, business sphere, political
arena and in journalist world. They have been raising expatriates in
launching provocative acts and military intrusions on the neighbours in
collusion with the troops of the west bloc. There are many historical
Thailand has made intrusion on Myanmar since the time of Ayudhya. In the
modern history, the country actively took part in SEATO and launched
military intrusions on the surrounding countries.
During the Lao and Cambodian civil wars, the Thai troops in cooperation
with the American troops attacked those nations. America took part in
Vietnam war. Tens of thousands of Thai military troops took part in the
war from the South Vietnamese side. They attacked Cambodia in
cooperation with America. During the Lao civil war in 1970s, there were
attacks among the Pathet Lao (leftist) troops, neutral troops and the
rightist troops. The American CIA helped the rightist troops. The Thai
army was also involved in the incident. In an effort to make the
situation confused, some Thai troops wearing the uniforms of Pathet Lao
army, attacked and tortured Lao civilians. I have seen the photo showing
Thai troops wearing Pathet Lao army uniforms in the international
Thais stealthily sold arms to Khmer Rouge accused by the west as a
notorious group for killing people in millions. They bought rubies and
teak from the Khmer Rouge at low prices. As long as there are insurgents
along the border with Myanmar, they will continue to get rich by
smuggling out jade, ruby, teak, rubber, minerals, cattle and ancient
artifacts. The police are getting bribes from the border opium
trafficking business. Myanmar Tatmadaw captured 30 bribe-collecting Thai
police collecting extortion money together with their helicopter when it
seized Kongmeikhein heroin refining camp in the easternmost sector of
Kayah State at the border in June 1977.
The whole Thailand is being rusted like a lump of iron by the Thai
tricksters. The Thai tricksters are gaining profits from drug business
and black-marketing. But Myanmar is launching narcotic drugs eradication
with might and main. If the opium supplies from Myanmar will be cut off,
the drug-addicts from Thailand and the western world will get into
trouble and the Thai tricksters will lose profits from the drug
business. Thus, the Thais do not want to see Myanmar troops stationed
near the border and wish local people of the border to face poverty.
Only then will they be able to refine drugs at the unguarded areas and
employ local people in poppy growing business. With this evil scheme,
the Thais are disturbing all the goodwill efforts of Myanmar with
aggressive attitude. Very often, the Thai army places drugs at the
border and seizes them as if they come from Myanmar.
At present, the spy agencies of the west are launching clandestine
operations to cause political and economic instabi-lity in Southeast
Asia region. They are disturbing regional unity, stability and
development and trying to weaken the governments which do not yield to
their influence. At a time when the west wants to destroy ASEAN and set
up an organization like SEATO under their domination, should the Thai
tricksters do such perpetrations?
Myanmar has never launched aggressive or evil attacks against any
neighbouring country and breached the principles of international
relations for self-benefits. In this situation, those who are aggressive
towards Myanmar are the evil ones. We will point finger at the Thai
tricksters only as the ones breaching the good-neighbourly practices. We
will never point a finger at Thailand and its people.
Tachilek is separated from Maesai in Thailand by a small creek. There
were amicable bilateral relations and trade. Ywet Sit and Watanachai and
group destroyed the situation. The persons who are suffering are Thai
merchants. Those who are suffering from the closure of the
Tachilek-Maesai Friendship Bridge are not Myanmars, but Thais. Recently,
Thai merchants staged a strike against Thai government in Maesai as a
show of protest. Myanmar has many other good neighbours and friendly
trading partners. Myanmars are getting raw materials and finished goods
as required. Those ones that are suffering are Thai factories
maufacturing goods for the Myanmar market and the Thai merchants.
As there is power difficulty in Tachilek, a Myanmar national
entrepreneur is building a power station. A power generator was bought
to supply power before the completion of the station and to put it as a
reserve station in the future. The generator was transported to Myanmar
through Thailand as the route would be more convenient. The machine
arrived at Maesai in April 2001. The Thai authorities there tried to
find fault with the machine. They said that they could not let the
machine pass through the border as it was a coal-burn power generation
machine which could cause environmental pollution and that it was owned
by drug-trafficker Wa national group. All these accusations are wrong.
The machine will never cause any environmental pollution and the Wa
group has never engaged in drug business. It is concentrating efforts on
drug elimination. The wicked act is against the good-neighbourly
practices. The real fact is that Thailand never wants Tachilek, which is
from Thailand, to be able to rely on its own for power. The monosodium
glutamate and soft drinks which came from Thailand contain excessive
degree of harmful chemicals. In other words, it can be said that they
are poisoned. Myanmar should always beware of the acts to poison
Author : Thadindauk Tet She
Chin Forum Working Group (I): Initial Draft of Constitution of Chinland
Dear Respected Recipients,
This is a great honor for me to release the second initial draft of the
Constitution of Chinland on behalf of the Chin Forum Working Group (I).
For your convenience and in order to understand the aims and purpose of
preparing the Initial Draft of the Constitution of Chinland by Working
Group (I) of the Chin Forum, I would like to reprint the Statement of
the Chin Forum.
The Statement of the Chin Forum
1. The Chin Seminar, organized by the Chin National Front (CNF), and
attended by 17 Chin compatriots including elected Chin MP's respected
intellectuals and freedom fighters from inside and outside Chinland of
today's Union of Burma, was successfully held in Ottawa, Canada, on
April 29 to May 2, 1998.
2. Chinland, a formerly free state, was co-founder of the Union of Burma
under the Panglong Agreement.
3. The military regime discarded the 1947 democratic constitution, which
safeguarded the Panglong Agreement. Therefore we, the Chin people,
consider ourselves as a free nation until and unless a constitution,
which guarantees our rights, is proclaimed. 4. The problem of the Union
of Burma started because of unequal treatment of the nationalities by
the successive Burmese governments since independence. This unequal
treatment has been increased by the military dictatorship especially in
the areas where non-Burmans reside.
5. The military regime has convened a sham national convention with
handpicked delegates to prolong and legitimize the military
dictatorship. This national convention deepens the national hatred and
suspicions instead of solving the political crisis.
6. Since the military took over power, there are rampant human rights
violations, religious and racial persecutions causing an exodus of Chin
refugees to India as well as other countries.
7. The cease-fire arrangement between the military regime and some other
armed nationality opposition groups cannot solve the present political
crisis because of the absence of political dialogue. 8. In order to
solve the political crisis of the Union of Burma and the refugee
situation, we demand tripartite dialogue, which has been called for by
the United Nations as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This involves
dialogue between the Burman Democratic Forces, the Burmese Military and
the Non-Burman Democratic Forces.
9. Under genuine democracy and the right of self-determination in its
fullest extent, we are willing to work together to consolidate unity
among all nationalities in Burma to form a Federal Union. Date: 3 May
Place: Ottawa, Canada
We, the Chins are deeply in need of a mechanism, which commonly known as
ôConstitutionö to set out the relationship between individuals (CHINS)
and the Government (GOVERNMENT OF CHINLAND), and which clearly defines
the powers of the State and its agencies that who can do what and where
are the limits of powers and so forth. In order to set out a guideline
of relationship between individuals and the Government, as well as to
define the powers of the Government and its agencies, the Working Group
(I) of the Chin Forum has drafted ôGENERALö
guidelines of the Constitution of Chinland, which solely based upon the
advices and comments from Chins in worldwide.
Working Group (I) of the Chin Forum profoundly understand that a
Constitution can only be value if the people feel an ownership of their
Constitution and the institutions are open and fair. In order to have
ownership-minded, and open and fair institutions for CHINS, the Working
Group (I) is calling advices from all CHINS in worldwide, regardless of
differences of our political, social, and religion backgrounds.
Therefore, on behalf of the Working Group (I) of the Chin Forum, I
honestly invite all Chins, and others nationals who have knowledge in
ôCHIN AFFAIRSö and interest on ôCHIN ISSUESö to give us
feedback for forthcoming initial draft of the Constitution of Chinland.
In order to craft a common ôMANIFESTO OF THE CHINSö, please let us
receive your feedbacks on this initial draft of Constitution of
Chinland. The initial draft of the Constitution of Chinland is
accessible at our website:
Printed Copies can be ordered by sending email to:
Salai V.B. Lian <vblian@xxxxxxxxxxx>
All feedbacks can be sent to the following persons:
Pu Lian Uk (Convenor)
Dr. Vum Son (Co-convenor-I)
Salai N.C.Lian (Co-convenor-II)
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