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BurmaNet News: July 5, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           July 5, 2001   Issue # 1837
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*International Herald Tribune: Some Prisoners Freed as Junta and 
Opposition Talk 
*International Herald Tribune: Burma Pledges to Help  On Forced Labor 
*BurmaNet: ILO Forced Labor Sanctions Put Burma?s Export Sector at Risk

MONEY _______
*The Japan Times: Envoy lauds aid plan to Myanmar 
*DVB: Burma allows 70 Thai boats to fish in territorial waters

*AFP: Myanmar authorities probing deadly bomb attack 

*Mizzima: Phensidyl a problem for youths in Burma

*BMA: Missing Former Foreign Minister
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Ex-Shan leader wasting away with failed 

*Xinhua: Myanmar Leader Stresses Need to Preserve Traditional Culture 
*Xinhua: Myanmar Makes Efforts in Fight Against HIV/AIDS
*Far Eastern Economic Review: Opinion--No, Don't Visit . . .

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

International Herald Tribune: Some Prisoners Freed as Junta and 
Opposition Talk 

Thursday, July 5, 2001 
Thomas Crampton  

The first words Kyaw Thaung heard his wife speak after his release from 
1,000 days of detention were addressed to the government officials who 
drove him home: "Have you brought him back for good?"  .

"Yes," the officials replied. 
But just about everyone in Rangoon wonders whether the concessions by 
Burma's military government that brought his release are genuine. 
Burma's military rulers are easing up on the opposition, but no one is 
sure why or for how long.  .

Kyaw Thaung is one of the many rank-and-file members of the opposition 
National League for Democracy who have been detained for political 
activities. He asked that his real name not be used in this article 
because he fears reprisals from a government which, according to 
estimates by Amnesty International, holds more than 1,800 political 
prisoners in Burma.  .

In the last few weeks more than 20 of those prisoners have been 
released, a sign that the military junta might be easing pressure on the 
political opposition.  .

This new tolerance is attributed to secret talks that began late last 
year between the government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace 
laureate and leader of the National League for Democracy. The talks 
represent the first direct contact between the two sides in more than 
half a decade, but neither side will elaborate on them beyond 
acknowledging their existence.  

The military government, which rarely issues visas to foreign 
journalists, refused to comment on the issue. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, now 
living under house arrest in her lakeside family compound, did not reply 
when contacted in writing through an intermediary.  .

In addition to the prisoner releases, other signs of the government's 
easing its position include permission for the National League for 
Democracy to reopen 18 Rangoon branch offices; permission for a visit by 
a United Nations human rights official and an invitation to a team from 
the International Labor Organization to investigate allegations of 
forced labor. 

Also, the government-controlled media has stopped printing harsh 
political cartoons that depicted Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a toothless hag 
in the pay of foreign neocolonialists.  .
Yet, for all these changes, many in Rangoon remain skeptical that a 
country run by military dictatorship for nearly 40 years has the desire, 
motivation or ability to make substantial concessions.  .

"Everyone here wants to know if these signs are cosmetic adjustments or 
the start of real change in government," a Rangoon-based ambassador 
said. "Speaking professionally, I tell my Foreign Ministry we must keep 
optimism alive. Personally, I must tell you I am not hopeful this will 
all amount to much."  .

Many observers expect Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to make a public statement 
once the government follows through on promises to release 400 political 
prisoners and allow the National League for Democracy to function as a 
political party.  .

Waiting to see if the talks will succeed, many of the most critical 
foreign governments have tempered their anti-Burma rhetoric.  .

The United States has made uncharacteristically few inflammatory 
statements about Burma's government in the last nine months and Japan, 
long a proponent of active engagement, recently approved the largest aid 
package to the country since the crackdown on pro-democracy 
demonstrators in 1988.  .

But high hopes may be premature, according to many observers in Rangoon. 
The talks almost ended two weeks ago when it was found that the 
government had arrested new prisoners.  .
"The military releases prisoners only to mask their broad strategy of 
delay," a Rangoon-based businessman said. "Suu Kyi has a mortal human's 
lifespan while the military is an institution that can achieve 
immortality by placing future generations in power."  .

International patience for talks without progress can be expected to 
wear thin. The fear in Rangoon is that if the talks fail, campaigners 
for democracy overseas may push foreign labor unions to refuse to unload 
ships carrying the few exports that now keep Burma's battered economy 

But even that threat may not be enough to force change. International 
pariah status and economic sanctions have hurt Burma, but the military 
remains deeply entrenched and faces little fear of a broad 
anti-government uprising. The generals have grown comfortably rich, 
while the majority of the population remains mired in poverty.  
"Any progress in negotiations means concessions have been made by the 
military," a senior foreign diplomat said. "Military men do not like to 

Even if the secret talks do make progress, many in Rangoon remain 
skeptical the two sides could share power in any substantive way.  

"There must be an unprecedented change of position and attitude on both 
sides," a Rangoon-based observer said. "She shouts from her house that 
right is might, while the generals continue to rule the country, saying 
might is right."  
Burma's numerous ethnic minorities further complicate any possible 
rapprochement. Many minority groups are armed and already govern 
themselves with varying autonomy. Up to now, these groups have been 
willing to await the outcome of talks between the military government 
and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but they cannot remain sidelined forever.  

"Military dictatorship binds Burma together," a Rangoon-based observer 
said. "Remove that glue and hatred between the ethnic minorities could 
transform the country into Asia's answer to post-Tito Yugoslavia."  

As for Kyaw Thaung, he still sees the talks as Burma's best hope for the 
future.  .
"Our main idea now is to keep a low profile so that we do not give the 
government any excuse to walk out of the talks," he said. 


International Herald Tribune: Burma Pledges to Help  On Forced Labor 

But Government Maintains No Abuses Exist

By Thomas Crampton 

July 4, 2001

     RANGOON Seeking to stem a flood of allegations about the widespread 
use of forced labor, Burma?s government is vowing to cooperate fully 
with international investigators even as it continues to defend its 
record on workers? rights. 

    The government, likening threatened economic sanctions to nuclear 
war, said it would offer complete access to a team expected to arrive in 
September to investigate the accusations. 

   Speaking in a rare interview, members of the government delegation to 
a June 11 meeting about Burma at the International Labor Organization in 
Geneva said that Burma had instituted important changes in labor 

    U Win Mra, director-general of the international organizations and 
economic department in Burma¹s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited what 
he called a new spirit of dialogue with international organizations. 

   ?The ambiance has changed,? U Win Mra said. ?Up to now, the world has 
not been treating us fairly.? 

     Last November the labor organization, a UN affiliate with 175 
member countries, called for sanctions against Burma, saying the 
military government frequently forced villagers to do unpaid work. 

  The impact of any such measures would be limited because Burma is a 
member of the World Trade Organization, so many of its key exports, such 
as textiles, could not be affected. 

Still, the move lent the labor organization¹s credibility to the labor 
unions and other groups who have called for bans on Burmese goods. 

?The threat of sanctions did not change the situation,? U Win Mra said. 
?It is the cooperative approach that has been important.? 

   Burma won a temporary reprieve in May when an agreement was reached 
for a labor delegation to investigate. 

   U Win Mra refused to consider the possibility that the delegation 
would find forced labor  in Burma. 

   ?They will come here and find out with objectivity what is 
happening,? he said. ?Let us not prejudge the situation.?  

   U Win Mra said that a recent in-depth 
self-assessment by the government did not find forced labor and, in 
addition, a new national mechanism would stop any incidents of forced 
labor from occurring. 

   The government?s finding sharply contrasts with investigations by 
numerous independent international human rights groups that concluded 
there is widespread use of forced labor in Burma. 

    People who have worked on such assessments in the past said that the 
Geneva delegation may have some difficulty getting a clear picture of 
the situation during a three-week investigation conducted with heavy 
government scrutiny. 

   Government officials often assert that foreigners misunderstand the 
concept of communal work undertaken by communities here to help with 
projects such as rebuilding a pagoda or re-paving a road washed away by 
monsoon rains. 

The government also blames anti-government groups who fled the country 
following the crackdown on pro-democracy movement in 1988 for the 
allegations of forced labor. 

   ?There are always the same allegations raised by illegal insurgent 
groups,? U Win Mra said. ?We have verified that these allegations are 
not true.?


BurmaNet: ILO forced labor sanctions put Burma?s export sector at risk

July 5, 2001

The sanctions imposed on Burma by the International Labour Organization 
(ILO)  for forced labor violations is potentially far more threatening 
to Burma?s export sector than many observers, including the regime, 
realize.  The ILO has long been derided as toothless in the face of 
abusive regimes who care little about international opinion because the 
organization lacks the power to impose sanctions directly.  

At best, the ILO can ask the security council to impose sanctions for 
forced labor but unlike the World Trade Organization (WTO), it cannot 
directly punish those who violate international law on labor rights.  
The WTO itself acts as a shield for abusive regimes like Burma?s because 
it attempts to prohibit unilateral sanctions for ?non-trade? related 
reasons.  The use of slave or forced labor is, according to the WTO, a 
non-trade related issue and presumably, any country trying to restrict 
imports from Burma because of forced labor would find itself subject to 
WTO sanctions.

The imposition of sanctions by the ILO amount to little more than an 
invitation to states to impose their own sanctions to enforce the ILO?s 
prohibition on forced labor.  The real significance of the ILO sanctions 
is that they potentially give nation states legal cover should Burma 
file a case at the WTO.  A bill introduced in the United States Congress 
by Senator Tom Harkin is tailored to test this theory.  If the bill is 
passed and signed by President Bush, it would all but eliminate Burmese 
garment exports to the United States and shutter most of Burma?s garment 

Burma would be able to bring a challenge at the World Trade Organization 
but the ILO is a co-equal source of international law and at this point, 
there would be a conflict of laws; the WTO saying nations cannot 
sanction Burma for force labor and the ILO saying they can.  There is a 
mechanism for adjudicating this kind of conflict and presumably, the 
case would eventually find itself at the International Court of Justice. 
 Because the issues are novel, trying to anticipate how the 
International Court of Justice would decide would be rank speculation.  
However, in practical terms, the Court?s decision would be irrelevant 
because even the most favorable legal conclusion for the regime would 
come months or years after the imposition of a garment ban.  By then, 
Burma?s export sector would be crushed.


The Japan Times: Envoy lauds aid plan to Myanmar 

July 6, 2001

Tan Sri Razali, the visiting U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, praised 
Japan's planned aid for renovation of a hydroelectric power plant in 
Myanmar, saying it would help improve the country's economy. 

In talks with Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, Razali said the Japanese 
project is gaining more international understanding, against some 
criticism of Japan's aid for the military regime, which is accused of 
human rights violations. 

Tanaka replied that the aid is humanitarian in nature, a Foreign 
Ministry official said. 
Japan is planning to offer some 3 billion yen to repair the Baluchaung 
power plant, which was built by Japan in east Myanmar in 1960. 

It is feared that leaving it unrepaired could lead to a serious 
accident, according to the ministry.
Tokyo's stance is that it offers economic assistance to engage the 
military regime in dialogue and improve the human rights situation.
Razali also said the recent release of political prisoners is a positive 
move and an important step for enhancing dialogue between the military 
regime and democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the official said. 


DVB: Burma allows 70 Thai boats to fish in territorial waters

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that Burmese authorities 
have permitted Thai fishing boats to fish in Burmese territorial waters. 
The fishing concessions granted to the Thai fishing companies were 
revoked since the Vigorous Burmese Students Warriors seized the Bangkok 
SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] embassy in October 1999. DVB 
correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed the following report allowing 70 
Thai fishing boats to fish in Burmese territorial waters.

[Myint Maung Maung] DVB contacted a Burmese seaman in Ranong about the 
Thai fishing boats allowed to fish again in Burmese waters.

[Unidentified seaman] Well, in Ranong, all the fishing boats are being 
repainted, maintenance carried out, and new equipment fitted. They are 
also recruiting seamen and deck hands. The news has made the Burmese 
workers here very happy because now they will have employment. Most 
people believe and expect the industry to grow.

[Myint Maung Maung] According to fishing entrepreneurs in Ranong, the 
fishing boats approved for fishing will have to go for inspection to 
Mergui first before being able to come to Ranong. Presently, the Burmese 
authorities are asking for more dollar rates than before.

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 2 Jul 01 


AFP: Myanmar authorities probing deadly bomb attack 

YANGON, July 2 (AFP) - Myanmar's military government said Monday it was 
investigating a bomb attack in the southern town of Tavoy that left one 
person dead.

The bomb exploded in the coastal town last Thursday, a government 
spokesman said.

"One civilian was killed around midnight on June 28. The case is under 
investigation and I do not have much information on the incident at this 
stage," he said in a statement.

The opposition Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) said several other people 
were injured in the explosion, which local military intelligence 
officials had blamed on insurgents.

DVB said a motorcycle taxi driver had been arrested in relation with the 
incident. It added that a similar bomb attack occured last month outside 
a nearby government petrol station.


Mizzima: Phensidyl a problem for youths in Burma

July 5, 2001; Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

While consignments of Burma's heroin are making their way from the 
border areas of the country into the north-eastern states of India, 
Phensidyl a legal cough syrup in India has been smuggled through the 
same routes into Burma. Phensidyl has become a problem for Burma since 
many youngsters in the country consume it as drug. The youngsters 
particularly in the cities imbibe Phensidyl to escape their sense of 
disillusionment and frustration over the country's situation. Under the 
military junta, which tightly controls the country and does not allow 
any political organizational activities, many university students and 
youth spend their time at tea shops or isolated places to consume 
Phensidyl or other psychotropic substances.  

While a bottle of Phensidyl (which has 10% of Codeine) is sold at 39 
Indian rupee in the chemist's in Delhi, it is traded at around 5,000 
kyat when it reaches to the cities in Burma. That is about 15 times of 
the price in Delhi. In fact, many government servants from Tamu of Burma 
come to opposite Moreh town in Manipur just to imbibe phensidyl, 
according to local people.  

Phensidyl is being smuggled across the Indo-Burma border areas like 
Moreh in Manipur and Aizawl in Mizoram state. Moreover, India's 
Phensidyl crosses to Bangladesh and then through the Bangladesh-Burma 
border, it is smuggled into Burma's cities.  

It is clear that several Burmese military officers, police and custom 
personnel stationed along the borders are involved in these smuggling 
rackets. One will have to pass through several check-points of various 
security forces while traveling from the country's border areas to the 
cities inside Burma. The smugglers give "bribe" or "Line Kyay" (haftha 
money) to the security personnel so that their contrabands are not 
There are some cases when the Burmese security forces seized Phensidyls 
and other drugs. But, most of them are small-scale smugglers and the 
"big" smugglers are not caught. Even if they are caught (very rarely), 
they come back clean after paying heavy bribe to concerned security 
persons. And most of these big smugglers are in tow of military officers 
in high places.  

Nowadays, the youngsters in Burma are turning their eyes to other 
Psychotropic substances such as diazepam, amphetamines, nitrazepam and 
even the preparation Spasmo Proxyvon (which contains dextropropoxyphene, 
a synthetic opioid used as an analgesic). As Phensidyl is becoming 
expensive whereas other drug-like tablets are easily available with 
cheaper price, many youngsters in Burma start using the "tablets".  
Phensidyl is the problem not only for Burma but also for Nepal, 
Bangladesh and even north eastern states of India since increasing 
number of students and youth in these countries are consuming it as 
drug. The International Narcotics Control Board in its latest report has 
pointed out that the abuse of psychotropic substances has drastically 
increased in Asia in the past few years. "In Bangladesh, the abuse of 
the codeine-based cough syrup Phensidyl has continued and there has been 
an alarming increase in the smuggling of Phensidyl from India". "Illicit 
methamphetamine laboratories continue to operate in the border areas 
between Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand and between Myanmar and China", 
said its report 2000.    

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

BMA: Missing Former Foreign Minister


By Tin Maung Htoo (Canada)
Burma Media Association
July 4, 2001

The whereabouts of the ousted junta?s foreign minister U Ohn Gyaw is not 
only a puzzle for Burma observers, but for Burmese diplomats who are 
posted to missions abroad.  Earlier account that carried on Burma Net 
News indicated that he went on hiding in Australia, seeking asylum 
there, but other sources closed to BMA suggested that he could also be 
in Canada, taking medical treatment in Montreal City. Burmese diplomatic 
sources could not confirm about this news.
The arrival of U Ohn Gyaw in Canada was rumored since the end of last 
year, and it is not clear whether his family is with him. But diplomatic 
sources sat his son is in Japan and his daughter is working at ASEAN?s 
Head Office is in Indonesia.

His desertion reportedly shocked the whole Burmese Foreign Ministry and 
subsequently cost a high-ranking official the Ministry,  Colonel Ba Hein 
his position.  Ba Hein provided a passport for the sacked minister and 
was dismissed after the fake pilgrimage trip to India was unfolded.  

It is not unusual in Burmese diplomatic circles and similar dramas have 
occurred since the rule of former dictator General Ne Win.  U Thi Han 
who served as the foreign minister from 1962 to 1970 was also forced to 
quit after former Prime Minister U Nu went to India for the same 
pilgrimage trip in order to escape from the country in 1970.  

In the past decades, a number of politicians and high-ranking government 
officials escaped using the channel of pilgrimage trip as the most 
likely way to manage to escape.  But for those who are already abroad, 
defection is relatively easy.   

Take a recent example of U Ko Ko, deputy representative of Burmese 
Mission to UN, before his defection, he just sent a notice to the 
embassy through fax machine, stating "I won't come back." 

It is a dismay of him as his 40 yearlong foreign affair career was 
forcibly terminated in 1998 with the humiliation although he became the 
only civilian deputy foreign minister for the military government in 
October 1988 and full minister in 1991.  He was not even given for an 
inferior position in the administration.  Some of his parallel ministers 
who were also discharged from their relevant positions were still 
honored with some sort of less powerful positions in the governing body 
if they were not messed up with corruption act or other form of scandal. 

During his long career he also served as head of the ministry's South 
and Southeast Asia division and ambassador to a number of countries 
including Yugoslavia, the United Sates, Singapore, Australia and the 
former Soviet Union.  The 1998 reshuffle was a painful turning point for 
his career and life; he was replaced with U Win Aung, a former military 
colonel and ambassador to England. 


Shan Herald Agency for News: Ex-Shan leader wasting away with failed 

4 July 2001

One of the former Shan leaders has been bed-ridden for two years through 
 long illness.

Sao Hsai Kaew, 66, a native of Ho-kard, Kengtung, is suffering from  
inflammation of lungs, according to his daughter-in-law, Kham Kaew. His  
once stout physique has all gone and is all but unrecognizable. He also 
has  difficulty moving his left arms and legs, the result of a car 
accident  seven years ago.

He keeps asking for his orange juice but after a sip or two, he 
invariably  ends up choking.He welcomes S.H.A.N. cordially sitting on 
his bed but his  speech is almost unintelligible.

Hsai Kaew, the fifth child of Boon and Tip, was born on 10 October 1935. 
He  attended Cushing School in Rangoon and from 1957-61 served as a 
police  officer. He joined Sao Nga Kham's famed Shan National Army in 
1961 and  served as an intelligence officer until 1964, when the latter 
was  assassinated. In 1971, together with Khemawong Mangrai, a scion of 
the  Kengtung princely family, he set up the Shan State Army East, where 
he  worked until his retirement in 1980.

One of his best known efforts was the co-signing of the 1975 opium 
proposal  in which the Shans guaranteed the abolishment of opium in 
exchange for an  elected Shan State government. The offer was however 
turned down by  Washington.

Hsai Kaew is married to Nang Keng-kham (1978) and has a son, Boonyuen, 


Xinhua: Myanmar Leader Stresses Need to Preserve Traditional Culture 

2001.07.05 12:01:35  

YANGON, July 5 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar leader Lieutenant-General  Khin 
Nyunt has stressed the need for his country to preserve the  traditions 
and culture with firm conviction in face of attempts by some big nations 
to dominate Myanmar politically, economically and culturally. 

Khin Nyunt, who is First Secretary of the Myanmar State Peace  and 
Development Council, made the remarks at a coordination  meeting here on 
Wednesday of holding country's 9th Annual  Traditional Performing Arts 
Competitions, official newspaper The  New Light of Myanmar reported 

Khin Nyunt, who is also patron of the Leading Organizing  Committee of 
the Competitions, charged that in the process of  globalization, some 
big nations, which are enjoying economic and  technological advantage, 
are trying to dominate the small nations  politically, economically and 
culturally to shape them as they  wish. 

"Especially, they are using their advantage in the media to  culturally 
dominate the developing countries," said Khin Nyunt. 

He warned that in the nations where vitalization of national  spirit is 
weak, the traditions and culture are vanishing among the youths, saying 
that the situation is becoming uncontrollable as  some big nations are 
exporting their ideology and social system to them. 

He believed that the competitions will help Myanmar youths to  love, 
cherish and preserve the genuine Myanmar culture and  vitalize their 
spirit to safeguard the national interests. 

In Myanmar's traditional performing arts competitions held  annually 
since 1993, more than 2,000 contestants took parts.


Xinhua: Myanmar Makes Efforts in Fight Against HIV/AIDS

2001.07.05 10:08:53  

YANGON, July 5 (Xinhuanet) -- HIV/AIDS, a national concern in  Myanmar, 
is recognized by the Myanmar Ministry of Health as one of the three 
priority communicable diseases -- malaria, HIV/AIDS and  tuberculosis 
(TB). The UNAIDS has identified Myanmar along with  Thailand and 
Cambodia as the priority country in Southeast Asia  where taking of 
urgent action is called for to prevent the spread  of the epidemic. 

In face of the threat posed by HIV/AIDS, the Myanmar government is 
taking various measures to prevent and halt the rapid spread of the 
epidemic, using all its available resources. 
In 1989, Myanmar formed a high-level and multi-sectoral  National AIDS 
Committee, chaired by the Minister of Health to  oversee the National 
AIDS Program in the country. 

It also established in the year the National Health Committee ( NHC) 
with ministers from various government ministries as members  and 
chaired by First Secretary of the Myanmar State Peace and  Development 
Council Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt. 

The NHC, which is the highest policy-making body in Myanmar  with 
respect to health, provides policy guidelines to enhance HIV/ AIDS 
prevention and control activities in the country. 

Myanmar began conducting active surveillance for HIV and AIDS  in 1985 
and bi-annual HIV sentinel surveillance in 1992 in nine  sites, which 
was expanded to 27 to cover all states and divisions  in 2000. 

Moreover, behavioral surveillance was introduced in the country in 1997 
with these sites covering all urban areas and some border  areas 
considered to be high risk. 

Meanwhile, under limited international assistance, Myanmar has  
implemented a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS prevention and  control 
program with health education as priority, which was  geared towards 
behavioral change, care and compassion for persons  with the disease. 

Besides, prevention of mother to child transmission (PMCT) was  
implemented in 1998. 

A school basic healthy living and AIDS prevention education,  which is a 
co-curriculum for school children from 4th to 9th grade, has also been 
introduced, covering 1.5 million students and over 7, 000 school 
teachers in 50 townships. 

Moreover, a pilot 100-percent condom use among targeted  population 
program has been launched in the focus townships.   In late 2000, 
Myanmar's 8th National AIDS Committee meeting  established the 
multi-sectoral Special Strategic Committee to  enhance and upgrade 
countrywide HIV/AIDS prevention and control  activities. 

In early 2001, Myanmar's National AIDS Program and the UNAIDS  drafted a 
joint action plan for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in Myanmar, 
reflecting the cultural characteristics and the  priorities of the 

The plan contains technically sound strategies and is  comprehensive in 
nature, covering preventive, curative and  rehabilitative aspects.  A 
report said that sentinel surveillance figures indicated  prevalence 
rate among sex workers in Mandalay, the second largest  city of the 
country, rose from 4 percent in 1992 to 57 percent in  1999, while that 
in male conscripts in Yangon and  Mandalay went  up from 0.4 percent in 
1993 to nearly 2 percent in 1999. 
The report said that 30 percent of officially reported HIV  cases in the 
country are attributed to intravenous drug use and 68 percent to 
heterosexual transmission. 

Estimation, jointly made by the UNAIDS and the World Health  
Organization in 1999, shows as high as 530,000 HIV positive cases  in 

With regard to financial resources in Myanmar's HIV/AIDS  prevention and 
control efforts, the U.N. system in the country is  the only principal 
source of external funding in the absence of  other significant 
bilateral aid. 

Until 2001, the combined budget of the Myanmar government, U.N. system, 
local and international NGOs was estimated to amount to  about 3 million 
U.S. dollars annually. 
Currently, the Myanmar-UNAIDS joint plan of action to prevent  and 
control HIV/AIDS in Myanmar is reportedly being implemented on a small 
scale as only 28 percent of the funding is so far  available. It is said 
that there requires a total of 16 million  dollars over a two-year 
period to undertake all the activities  contained in the plan. 

The country has expressed its most willingness to collaborate  and 
cooperate nationally, regionally and internationally with  partners to 
find the best ways of halting the spread of the  epidemic and reversing 


Far Eastern Economic Review: Opinion--No, Don't Visit . . .

Issue cover-dated July 12, 2001 

I write in response to Sandra Rosic's letter, Do Visit [Jun. 21]. I live 
in a country from where come many of the Western tourists to Burma. The 
Burmese are wrong to place their hopes in tourists. Tourists come to 
relax, not to probe Burmese politics. I have yet to meet a German 
tourist returning from Burma who tells me anything other than that 
everything was okay, that they saw no military and that there were 
hundreds of nice pagodas.  

There is a huge difference between theory and reality. The reality is 
that tourism doesn't support local people in the long term. However, it 
does strengthen military rule. And this cannot be the long-term wish of 
the Burmese people. 


Karlsruhe, Germany


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