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BurmaNet News: August 19, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           August 19, 2001   Issue # 1867
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

NOTED IN PASSING:  "There is mass national depression because of the 
economy...[but]  There isn't enough economy to collapse.?  

A Rangoon-based diplomat on the economy.  See AFP: Myanmar's economy 
remains hopelessly mired in crisis 

*AP: Diplomats say senior Japanese official met Aung San Suu Kyi 
*AFP: Talks only hope for Myanmar to end pariah status
*Kyodo: Japan-donated high school building opens in Myanmar

MONEY _______
*AFP: Myanmar's economy remains hopelessly mired in crisis 
*Xinhua: Myanmar Produces More Paper in First Quarter
*Xinhua: Myanmar to Train Chinese Language Tourist Guides

*AP: Naga tribespeople seek unification of predominantly Naga areas in 

*Reuters: Interview-Myanmar Warlord Says He's Fighting Drugs
*AP: Taiwanese gets death sentence in Myanmar for drug trafficking 

*AFP: Thai official blasts UN over stance on Myanmar illegal immigrants 
*AFL-CIO: U Maung Maung named recipient of 2001 George Meany-Lane 
Kirkland Human Rights Award 
*BurmaNet: Official refugee population in Thailand tops 136,000

*Announcement for the Burmese Literature and Art Symposium 2001

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AP: Diplomats say senior Japanese official met Aung San Suu Kyi 

August 19, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ An influential Japanese official met with 
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her home where she has been held 
incommunicado by the military junta since September, diplomats said 

 Hisashi Owada, the president of a Foreign Ministry-approved think-tank, 
the Japan Institute of International Affairs, met with Suu Kyi on Friday 
at her lakeside home, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of 
anonymity. They said Owada was accompanied by Japan's ambassador to 
Myanmar, Shigeru Tsumori, 

 Owada and Tsumori were with Suu Kyi for nearly two hours but details of 
the talks were not known, the diplomats said. 

 Owada, Japan's former ambassador to the United Nations, is the father 
of Crown Princess Masako, a former diplomat. 

 The Japan Institute of International Affairs is a private, nonprofit 
and independent research organization that was founded in 1959 through 
the initiative of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida. 
 Suu Kyi has been held under detention at her residence since Sept. 22 
after defying a travel ban by the authorities. 

 During her restriction, she was allowed to see U Lwin, a senior member 
of her National League for Democracy party every week and some high 
profile visitors at her house. 

 Suu Kyi also met with U.S. deputy assistant secretary of State Ralph 
Boyce on Aug. 3 and former Asia Pacific director of the British Foreign 
Office, Robert Cooper, late last month. 

 Owada who arrived in Yangon on Thursday called on Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, 
Secretary One of the ruling State Peace and Development Council, on 

 Japan is the biggest aid donor to Myanmar, having given about dlrs 4 
billion until 1998, the latest year for which figures are available. 

 Despite its considerable influence over Myanmar, the Japanese 
government has rarely criticized it for suppressing democracy. But 
recently Japan advised Myanmar to speed up the process of 
democratization as well as the release of political prisoners. 

 The current crop of Myanmar's ruling generals came to power in 1988 
after the army killed thousands of protesters to suppress a popular 
uprising against military rule. The regime called national elections in 
1990 but refused to honor the results when Suu Kyi's National League for 
Democracy won. 

 The opposition has since then been regularly harassed and Suu Kyi has 
been prevented from carrying on political work. The junta's actions have 
drawn severe criticism from the West. 

 The government, however, has been holding closed door talks with Suu 
Kyi since last October but the contents have not been publicized.


AFP: Talks only hope for Myanmar to end pariah status 

YANGON, Aug 19 (AFP) - Talks between Myanmar's junta and democracy 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi are moving painfully slowly but remain the 
pariah nation's only chance of emerging from a political impasse that 
has lasted a decade. 

 Informed sources in Yangon say that since they began meeting last 
October, the two camps have not progressed past the first stage of the 
process which is aimed at creating a "climate of confidence and mutual 

 The new atmosphere has seen the release of around 170 political 
prisoners in small groups over the past few months. 

 But eventually the aim is to establish a full-blown "national 
reconciliation" process which, through the drafting of a new 
constitution and democratic elections, would herald the return of 
civilian government after 40 years of military rule. 

 The junta allowed free elections in 1990, which Aung San Suu Kyi's 
National League for Democracy won convincingly, but the military regime 
has always refused to recognise the result. 

 Observers have been heartened by the prisoner releases, but note that 
only about 60 are from the "priority list" of 200 presented to the 
generals by United Nations special envoy to Myanmar, Razali Ismail, when 
he last visited in June. 

 The releases -- a major priority for Aung San Suu Kyi who herself 
remains under loose house arrest restrictions -- are going too slowly 
and have made only modest inroads into the 1,800 strong dissident 
population in jail. 

 "The military is going much too slowly. The passing of time is not an 
advantage for anyone. They should move more quickly," said a source 
close to the talks. 
 "Aung San Suu Kyi is frustrated at the pace (of the releases). She 
thinks they could move a lot faster," said a western diplomat who 
nevertheless said the Nobel peace laureate is "still willing to pursue 
the dialogue". 

 The international community meanwhile is waiting for some proof of the 
generals' sincerity, like a mass release of prisoners or the lifting of 
restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi and her two top aides who are also in 

 But the moment of truth -- when the "pseudo dialogue" is transformed 
into a real political process -- is approaching just at the start of a 
series of important diplomatic events which are expected to have a 
bearing on the talks. 

 Myanmar's generals, long reviled on the world stage for their appalling 
human rights record and refusal to brook democratic reforms, have never 
had such a busy schedule as over the next few weeks. 

 Razali, the Malaysian diplomat who spearheaded the talks, is expected 
in Yangon at the end of the month, and a team from the International 
Labour Organisation (ILO) will fly in to assess the extent of forced 

 A European Union mission will make a visit in the autumn, and the UN's 
special rapporteur on human rights, the Brazilian Sergio Pinheiro, will 
make his second trip to Yangon. 

 Just as significant are plans for the junta's number-one, Senior 
General Than Shwe, to visit his staunch ally Malaysian Prime Minister 
Mahathir Mohamad, and attend the next UN General Assembly in September. 

 The military regime has implicitly linked hints of progress in the 
talks with moves to lift the heavy sanctions placed on Myanmar. 

 It is unlikely that the European Union or the United States will lift 
their sanctions any time in the near future, but the international 
community has indicated it is willing to make a gesture if the generals 
begin moving towards democracy. 

 In what appeared to be an implicit gesture of encouragement, the heads 
of the UN agencies in Yangon recently signed a joint letter urging more 
international aid to cope with Myanmar's "humanitarian crisis". 

 Despite the considerable hurdles, no one in Yangon expects either side 
to walk away from the dialogue. Aung San Suu Kyi has put her reputation 
on the line by sitting down with her enemies, and the junta's pariah 
status would become permanent if it allowed the process to collapse. 

 "They do not have any alternatives," diplomats in Yangon say in unison. 


Kyodo: Japan-donated high school building opens in Myanmar

YANGON, Aug. 18, Kyodo - A high school building built with a nearly 
$95,000 Japanese government grant was inaugurated in Kyaunggone, 130 
kilometers northwest of Yangon, in the Ayeyarwaddy delta Saturday. 

The two-story concrete building was transferred to the Education 
Department at a ceremony attended by Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, number three 
in Myanmar's ruling junta, other ministers and the Japanese ambassador 
to Myanmar. 

''I want to thank the Japanese government for extending grassroots 
assistance for development projects in Myanmar despite sanctions by 
western countries and the (European Union),'' the general said. 

Japanese Ambassador Shigeru Tsumori said the school building was ''a 
symbol of friendship and cooperation by the people of Japan toward the 
people of Myanmar.'' 

The cost of the new school building was $115,000, of which about $95,000 
was donated by the Japanese government and $20,000 by Kyodo News 
correspondent Sein Win. 


AFP: Myanmar's economy remains hopelessly mired in crisis 

YANGON, Aug 19 (AFP) - Paralysed for years by the twin burdens of 
appalling management and international sanctions, Myanmar's economy 
remains hopelessly enmired in crisis even as the ruling junta embarks on 
landmark talks with the democratic opposition. 

 Property developments that have sprung up in the capital Yangon, as 
well as official claims of five percent annual economic growth, give a 
misleading impression of dynamism in the military-run nation. 

 But conversations with ordinary Myanmar citizens tell a very different 
tale of continual price rises, rationing and a daily struggle to gather 
the necessities of life. 
 "There is mass national depression because of the economy," said a 
Western diplomat who accused the regime of "incomptence and lack of 
understanding of a free market economy." 

 Despite being "ruled by generals who give commands," the economy would 
probably continue to stumble along, greased by the black market as well 
as the fortune in drug money funnelled in from ethnic warlords. 

 "There isn't enough economy to collapse," the diplomat quipped. 

 Apart from rice, which the government keeps in plentiful supply to 
avoid the prospect of hunger-fuelled dissent, the price of basic 
commodities has doubled or tripled this year alone, according to aid 

 "The price of cooking oil has tripled, as well as other items vital to 
people's lives," said one, on condition of anonymity. 

 In the towns and cities, Myanmar citizens endure annual inflation rates 
as high as 50 percent, the alarming depreciation of the kyat currency 
and constantly changing rules on rationing of items like gasoline. 

 Tax-free markets set up a couple of years ago to ease the burden on 
low-wage earners, including the legion of government employees, offer 
fresh produce at discounted prices but in very limited amounts. 

 As a result, an industry has sprung up among "professional queuers" who 
can be seen lining up well before dawn to purchase their quotas and sell 
them at a healthy profit to oil merchants or harried housewives. 

 "In a single day I can get to queue up again at least four times and 
invest 350 kyats, from which I can get a profit of 500 kyats (one 
dollar) at the end of the day ... not bad for eight hours of queuing 
up," one jobless man said. 

 Ironically, the government's plan to help consumers by distributing 
rationed staples like cooking oil through the markets has served only to 
line the pockets of big-time oil merchants. 

 "I don't know if Than Shwe understands how bad it is, it is getting 
worse ... and people are becoming impoverished," a Western diplomat said 
of Myanmar's military leader. 
 The junta meanwhile insists that the creaking economy is functioning 
adequately, ignoring the mechanisms like the thriving black market that 
have emerged to fill the gaps in the official economy. 

 "Nobody is starving here, nobody is homeless," a senior spokesman for 
the government told AFP. 

 Foreign observers posted in Yangon remain pessimistic. "The ticking 
bomb now is energy now ... They can't supply the electricity necessary 
to run the industries," said one expert. 

 "In the countryside, people will continue to live like they did in the 
feudal times." 
 Foreign investment remains extremely weak, and what funds do make their 
way to Myanmar are centred on speculative sectors like property or 
tourism, rather than industry or manufacturing. 

 Businesspeople lured by the prospect of rich natural resources lying 
untapped in Myanmar's energy fields, mines and forests, as well as cheap 
labour and a solid legal system inherited from the British colonial 
rulers, have become disenchanted after seeing the economy at close 

 "Investors don't come, because investors want to make money. People 
have pulled out, like the Singaporeans out of oil, others out of 
textiles," one analyst said. 

 International sanctions are also a major deterrent to foreign companies 
investing here, and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will 
not consider giving assistance while the current regime is in change. 

 But despite the sanctions, which have contributed to Myanmar remaining 
one of the world's poorest nations while its Southeast Asian neighbours 
prosper, the government insists it is not concerned. 

 "We have built infrastructure, thousands of new roads, reservoirs and 
dams, even without the help of the international institutions," said Tin 
Winn, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office. 

 Tourism may not be the saviour it was hoped to be, due to the 1997 
regional financial crisis and calls from democracy activists for 
holiday-makers to stay away while Myanmar remains under military rule. 

 The stunning new five-star hotels built in Yangon, with their luxurious 
ballrooms, expansive swimming pools and plentiful staff, are nearly 
deserted with occupation rates running at a miserable eight percent. 

 "It is the worst July they have ever had, even Laos is getting better 
figures," one diplomat exclaimed. 

 In spite of the malaise, observers do not believe that the "desperation 
factor", which fuelled the bloody uprising of 1988 after three currency 
devaluations, exists today. 
 Hopes for the future rest on the landmark dialogue between the junta 
and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi which began last October. 

 "The only way to make any reform in this country -- whether in the 
economy, social or health sectors -- is to start with political reform," 
says one observer. 


Xinhua: Myanmar Produces More Paper in First Quarter

YANGON, August 19 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar produced 4,270 tons of all sorts 
of paper in the first quarter of this year, 4.73 percent more than the 
same period of 2000, the latest data of the country' s Central 
Statistical Organization show. During the period, Myanmar imported 18.9 
million U.S. dollars worth of paper goods, an increase of 34 percent 
compared with the corresponding period of 2000, to meet its domestic 
demand. In 2000, the country produced 16,894 tons of paper and imported 
48.1 million dollars worth of paper manufactures. There is a major paper 
mill known as the Sittoung Paper Mill in Myanmar's southern Mon state 
operating since 1994 and mainly supplying paper for domestic use. 
Meanwhile, a Chinese Tianjin Company concluded a 3-million- dollar 
contract with Myanmar in September 1999 to build a 25-ton- 
daily-capacity newsprint mill in Paleik, the country's central Mandalay 


Xinhua: Myanmar to Train Chinese Language Tourist Guides

YANGON, August 17 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has planned to conduct a special 
training course, aimed at producing qualified Chinese language tourist 
guides as part of its measures to promote the country's tourism industry 
and provide systematic guide to tourists coming from neighboring China. 
The special course, to be conducted by the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels 
and Tourism, will commence in the beginning of September, according to 
sources at the ministry Friday. The measure came eight months after 
Myanmar reached a memorandum of understanding with China in December 
last year on the implementation plan for outbound travel to Myanmar by 
Chinese citizens at their own expenses. China, along with Thailand, is a 
main supplier of tourists to Myanmar from its neighboring countries. 
According to official statistics, the number of registered tourist 
guides in Myanmar, who speak different foreign languages, reached 3,768 
so far, of whom Chinese guides accounted for 222. The other languages 
guides cover English, Japanese and French. The statistics show that 
234,900 foreign tourists visited Myanmar in 2000, falling by 9.9 percent 
from 1999 and the number of those who travelled the country in the first 
quarter of this year came to 42,998, also dropping by 37.8 percent 
compared with the same period of 2000. Myanmar's short-term target is to 
draw 500,000 foreign tourists annually. Enditem


AP: Naga tribespeople seek unification of predominantly Naga areas in 

GAUHATI, India (AP) _ Leaders of the Naga tribespeople in northeastern 
India have adopted a declaration seeking unification of all areas 
inhabited by the predominantly Christian tribal community under a single 
administrative unit, community leaders said Sunday 

 ``The Nagas, wherever they are, are one people. We have, therefore, 
resolved to press hard for unification and integration of all Naga 
inhabited areas in the region,'' said M. Vero, chief of the Naga Hoho, 
the group's top decision-making body, in a statement. 
 The Nagas are concentrated in Nagaland, but a sizable population is 
spread over the adjoining states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal 

 The declaration seeking the unification of all Naga areas was adopted 
at a consultative meeting of Naga leaders organized by the Naga Hoho at 
Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, on Saturday. 

 Vero presided over the seven-hour meeting attended by about 150 
delegates representing different Naga tribes, church leaders and 
non-governmental organizations comprising student and human rights 

 The National Socialist Council of Nagaland, the separatist group 
fighting for an independent Naga homeland, and the federal government 
signed an agreement in Bangkok on June 14 broadening a 1997 cease-fire 
and extending it to all the Naga inhabited areas in northeastern India. 

 The extension of the truce sparked violent protests in neighboring 
Manipur province, where 17 people were killed in the past month. 
Protesters in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh _ where Nagas are a 
minority _ fear the truce extension was the first step before the parts 
of their states where Nagas are concentrated would be carved off and 
merged into Nagaland. 

 The NSCN is engaged in peace talks with New Delhi to try to end the 
54-year-old Naga insurrection through a ``political dialogue.'' The two 
sides are locked in a dispute over the cease-fire jurisdiction. 

 Groups in Manipur and Assam accuse the Nagas and the NSCN of pursuing 
``expansionist designs.'' 

 Saturday's declaration by the Naga council calling for unification of 
all Naga areas in northeastern India under a single political and 
administrative unit is likely to heighten tension in the frontier 
states, wedged between Myanmar, China, Bhutan and Bangladesh.


Reuters: Interview-Myanmar Warlord Says He's Fighting Drugs

By Prapan Chankaew 

 TONGKYI, Myanmar, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Yod Suk, commander of an ethnic 
militia battling the Myanmar military in remote jungles near the Thai 
border, has been branded a criminal and narcotics trafficker, but he 
insists he is fighting to stamp out drugs. 

 The Shan State Army (SSA) leader told Reuters at his headquarters in 
Myanmar that his soldiers were doing their best to intercept drug 
convoys bound for Thailand, where hundreds of millions of 
methamphetamine pills are sold every year. 

 ``The reason why we are focused on intercepting drugs at the moment is 
because narcotics are not only affecting Thailand and the outside world. 
It is directly threatening and affecting our own Shan people as well,'' 
Yod Suk said. 

 ``If many of our people become addicted to drugs, we won't be able to 
achieve the goals we are fighting for, so eradicating drugs is our 

 Thai anti-drugs officials say the United Wa State Army (UWSA), an 
ethnic army allied with the Yangon government, is the main producer of 
the methamphetamine pills flooding Thailand. 

 Methamphetamines are increasingly supplanting heroin as the main drug 
produced in the infamous Golden Triangle region where the borders of 
Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. 

 The Myanmar government insists the UWSA is not involved in drug 
production or trafficking, and says Yod Suk and the SSA are the main 
culprits. It has accused the Thai military of siding with the SSA and of 
profiting from the drugs trade. 
 Yod Suk was formerly part of the Mong Tai Army of drug warlord Khun Sa, 
who surrendered to Myanmar troops in 1996 and now lives in Yangon under 
government protection. 

 Yod Suk says there are some 20,000 soldiers in his army, including 
thousands of new recruits. The SSA, which has been fighting for 
independence from Myanmar for more than 40 years, is the most powerful 
anti-government militia in the country. 

 Myanmar's ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has made 
peace with 17 ethnic militia groups in recent years, allowing many of 
them, like the UWSA, considerable autonomy in return for dropping their 
struggle against Yangon. 
 But the SSA, as well as the Karen National Union (KNU), are still 
fighting the government, saying they want independence for their people. 

 During recent months clashes between the SSA and soldiers of the UWSA 
and Myanmar military have intensified along the mountainous border with 
 Relations between two countries have soured this year, boiling over in 
February when Thai and Myanmar soldiers clashed and dozens were killed. 

 Since then, the two countries have tried to patch up ties. Yod Suk said 
the detente was unlikely to last for long. 

 ``I see relations between Thailand and Myanmar as on and off. Whenever 
the relationship has improved, it didn't last for long and was always 
fragile,'' he said. 


AP: Taiwanese gets death sentence in Myanmar for drug trafficking 

August 19, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ A Yangon district court has sentenced to death a 
Taiwanese man on drug trafficking charges, a newspaper reported. 

 The 45-year-old man, identified as Yu Ming Yu, was arrested with 500 
grams (17.5 ounces) of heroin at the Yangon International airport on 
June 2, the state-run New Light of Myanmar reported. 

 It said in its Saturday's edition that he was handed the death sentence 
on July 31. There was no explanation why the case was reported late. 
Court officials were not available to confirm the report on Sunday. 

 Under Myanmar law, anyone found guilty of importing and exporting a 
narcotic drug may be punished with a minimum 15 years imprisonment to a 
maximum of death sentence. However, death sentences are rarely carried 
out in Myanmar. ^aaw/vj< 


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AFP: Thai official blasts UN over stance on Myanmar illegal immigrants 

BANGKOK, Aug 19 (AFP) - A Thai official rejected a request by the United 
Nations' refugee agency that some 4,300 illegal immigrants from Myanmar 
be allowed to stay in Thailand, a report said Sunday. 

 National Security Council Secretary General Khajadpai Buruspatana said 
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) proposal would 
only prolong Thailand's refugee crisis and attract new waves of asylum 

 "The UNHCR wants these people to be refugees so that it can take care 
of them," he was quoted as saying by the Nation daily. 

 "Despite that the war (in Myanmar) is over, they want to make them stay 
here on grounds that these people may be affected by the ramifications 
of the war," Khajadpai said, referring to ethnic fighting along the 

 He said recognising the current group of Myanmar illegal immigrants, 
who are mostly ethnic Karen, as refugees could draw thousands of other 
ethnic asylum seekers escaping fighting along the border. 

 "If we toe the agency's line, thousands of Shan people may flood into 
Thailand," he said. "Our policy is to close refugee camps and send them 
back home." 
 UNHCR deputy representative Janvier De Riedmatten said last week that 
the 4,300 illegal immigrants had been turned away from the Mae La 
refugee camp in Thailand's western Tak province despite UNHCR requests 
to let them stay. 

 De Riedmatten said as the Thai government had rejected requests for 
political asylum the group would likely be deported, although no action 
has yet been taken. 

 The would-be migrants arrived at the Mae La camp over a six-month 
period ending early this year. The camp is one of the largest along the 
Thai border and shelters more than 30,000 Myanmar refugees. 

 A second group of 1,600 people who arrived over the past three to four 
months are also at the camp, awaiting a decision on their fate by Thai 
authorities, De Riedmatten said. 

 Many of Thailand's 120,000-strong refugee population are members of the 
Karen minority group, who are escaping fighting along the border between 
the rebel Karen National Union (KNU) and Myanmar government forces. 


AFL-CIO: U Maung Maung named recipient of 2001 George Meany-Lane 
Kirkland Human Rights Award 

 August 1, 2001

The 2001 George Meany - Lane Kirkland Human Rights award was awarded to 
U Maung Maung, founder of the Federation of Trade Unions in Burma 
(FTUB), for bringing the plight of Burmese workers to the attention of 
the world. 

     Chicago, Illinois

      2001 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award                 

In 1988, students, monks, civil servants and workers by the hundreds of 
thousands took to the streets in cities all over Burma demanding an end 
to 25 years of brutal military rule. Tragically, the military responded 
by opening fire on the peaceful protests, massacring thousands. Many 
others were forced to flee the country.   

              Now 13 years later, Burma?s military regime desperately 
clings to power after having been singled out by the international 
community as one of the worst violators of basic human rights in the 
world. Last year, the International Labor Organization (ILO) agreed to 
implement measures it had never imposed against a member state in its 
80-year history to compel the military regime to end its widespread use 
of forced labor. Freedom of association does not exist anywhere in Burma 
despite the fact that Burma ratified ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of 
Association over 40 years ago. Any attempt to organize an independent 
trade union is repressed with violence.  

              One of the participants in the 1988 demonstrations was U 
Maung Maung. A geologist by trade, Brother Maung Maung?s trade union 
activism brought him to the pro-democracy movement. As the elected 
president of the Ministry of Mines Union, he and six other union leaders 
were fired from their jobs for participating in the 1988 protests. He 
was forced to flee his home and escape to the Thai-Burma border in 
December of that year after the Military Intelligence came looking for 
him at his in-law?s home.   

              Two years after fleeing Burma, Brother Maung Maung helped 
to form the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB). In doing so, he 
mobilized other exiled workers to come together to protect basic worker 
rights, while simultaneously acting to restore democracy in Burma. 
Beginning with virtually no resources, Maung Maung has built an 
effective grassroots organization that has had a tremendous impact on 
bringing the plight of Burmese workers to the attention of the world. 
The AFL-CIO is proud of the solidarity support we have been providing to 
the FTUB for many years.   

              Now based in Bangkok, the FTUB is the only effective voice 
for the over 1.5 million Burmese migrants working in Thailand. It has 
successfully organized underground unions inside Burma, often at great 
peril and sacrifice of its leaders. Two FTUB activists, arrested in 
Rangoon over four years ago, have not been seen since in spite of an 
international trade union campaign demanding their release. The FTUB has 
also supported the organization of trade unions in many of Burma?s 
ethnic states. The ethnic trade unions represent the first democratic 
institutions organized in these areas.  

              When he fled Burma in 1988, U Maung Maung left behind a 
wife and young son. He has not seen either of them for 13 years and 
avoids any communication with them for their own protection. His ability 
to remain optimistic in his belief that one day democracy will come to 
Burma and that he will be reunited with his family and friends in a 
democratic Burma is truly remarkable. For his inspiration, leadership, 
and personal sacrifice, the AFL-CIO is pleased to award the 2001 George 
Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to Brother U Maung Maung. 


BurmaNet: Official refugee population in Thailand tops 136,000

August 19, 2001

As of the end of July, 136,124 people from Burma were officially 
registered as being in refugee camps in Thailand as well as some who are 
in resettlement camps along the border.  The figure does not include 
people who fled their homes but remain inside Burma or refugees in 
Thailand who live outside the camps.  The number of refugees outside the 
camps is regularly estimated at being between 500,000 and one million.  
Some 800,000 are estimated to be internally displaced.


Announcement for the Burmese Literature and Art Symposium 2001

The following  speakers will participate in the Burmese Literature and 
Art Symposium and everyone is invited to attend. 
Speakers:  (1)  U Tin Moe (Poet)
           (2)  U Win Pe (Author, Artist, Movie Director)
	   (3)  U Tin Maung Than (Journalist)

Where:  First Parish in Brookline Church
	  382 Walnut Street
	  Brookline, Boston

When: September 2nd 2001, Sunday
            2:00 PM  to  5:30 PM

A commemorative magazine 'Tha-Byay-Nyo' will be published and 
distributed on the same day. It can be obtained from: 
Ko Lay
35 Chestnut Street, Apt #2
Malden  MA 02148

eddress:  kolay@xxxxxxxxxx
fax:  1-781-388-0038

Price:  One issue of magazine (paperback):  US $7.00
           One issue of magazine  (CD version): US $10.00


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