[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
BurmaNet News: October 3, 2001
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
October 3, 2001 Issue # 1890
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING: "While Unocal turns its back on the conditions
surrounding its pipeline, its partners, the illegal military junta, are
torturing, killing, raping, and enslaving thousands of people."
Nobel Laureates Jody Williams, Jose Ramos Horta, Rigoberta Menchu, The
Dalai Llama, Oscar Arias and Betty Williams. See An open letter to the
University of Virginia [condemning Unocal and calling for divestment]
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AFP: Myanmar authorities confiscate WTC attack video nasties
*BurmaNet: Burmese language news magazines in Burma cover terrorist
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Foreign Trade Up Sharply in First Half of 2001
*Xinhua: Foreign Investment in Myanmar Down 40 Percent in Six Months
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Plywood Production Down in First Half of 2001
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Sapphire Production Drops in First Half of 2001
*AFP: Twenty anti-government rebels exchange arms for peace
*Reuters: S'pore confirms Ne Win visit, counters death talk
*Kyodo: Former Myanmar leader Ne Win in Singapore after heart attack
*Reuters: U.N. sees some progress in Myanmar but wants more
*Bangkok Post: Friendship group plans trip to Burma next Tuesday
*Bangkok Post: Burma and Malaysia forge closer relations
*Free Burma Coalition: Nobel Laureates Declare Support for Divestment
*Jody Williams, Jose Ramos Horta, Rigoberta Menchu, The Dalai Llama,
Oscar Arias, Betty Williams: An open letter to the University of
Virginia [condemning Unocal and calling for divestment]
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP: Myanmar authorities confiscate WTC attack video nasties
YANGON, Oct 3 (AFP) - Myanmar authorities have confiscated pirated
videos of the World Trade Centre attacks from Yangon markets, sources
said Wednesday as the junta accused "unscrupulous" businessmen of
exploiting the tragedy.
A commentary carried in the state media said the shocking scenes were
being illegally copied from satellite television and sold at "exorbitant
prices" to the general public.
The commentary also admonished "greedy entrepreneurs" who were accused
of manipulating the prices of gold and black-market US currency in the
wake of the terrorist strikes.
Sources told AFP that the pirated tapes were confiscated on the grounds
that they had not passed official censorship.
The interest in footage of last month's attacks is likely due to the
state media's cursory coverage of the events which captured the interest
and sympathy of the entire world, including people in military-run
The official press made only a passing mention of the terrorist strikes
and the the ruling junta even delayed for several days the public
release of a letter of condolence sent by the nation's leader Senior
General Than Shwe to US President George W. Bush.
BurmaNet: Burmese language news magazines in Burma cover terrorist
October 3, 2001
The state press may be silent on the September 11 terrorist attacks but
Burmese language magazines are providing graphic coverage of the attacks
and the buildup to a US-led attack in Afghanistan. A survey of
magazines available at a Burmese town along the border with Burma found
coverage in several magazines and newspapers, including a full color
cover story in one magazine. In addition to coverage in the privately
owned Burmese language press, the availability of Thailand's UBC
satellite television service in towns along the border has resulted in
footage of the attacks being widely viewed there.
BurmaNet was not able to find copies of World Trade Center video but the
availability of western movies in DVD format has noticeably increased in
the last half year. Burmese language movies on VHS tape rent for
approximately 10-15 kyat along the border while western and Chinese
movies run about twice that price. The range of western movies for rent
is limited but a fairly wide range of western movies on DVD are for sale
at prices ranging from 1000 to 1500 kyat. Burmese language movies all
bear a stamp from the "Board of Video Censor" but foreign language VCD's
are routinely available with no evident attempt at censorship.
Xinhua: Myanmar's Foreign Trade Up Sharply in First Half of 2001
YANGON, October 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's foreign trade, including the
border trade, totaled 2,758.86 million U.S. dollars in the first half of
this year, up 93.14 percent from the same period of 2000, the country's
Central Statistical Organization ( CSO) said in its latest data. Of the
total trade volume during the first six-month period, imports were
valued at 1,541 million dollars, increasing by 13.95 percent, while
exports amounted to 1,217.86 million dollars, rising by 58.76 percent.
However, the trade deficit stood at 323.14 million dollars, the CSO
said. During the period, the import value of consumers goods,
intermediate goods and capital goods accounted for 38.5 percent, 30.9
percent and 30.6 percent of the otal imports respectively. The data show
that there are 14 countries and regions in the world with which Myanmar
is mainly trading. Of them, Thailand, Singapore, China, South Korea and
Japan stand in the leading position in Myanmar's international trade.
The statistics also show that Myanmar's bilateral trade with five member
countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) --
Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines -- totaled
1,262.57 million dollars in the first half of this year, up 50.34
percent from the same period of 2000. The regional bilateral trade
accounted for 45.76 percent of Myanmar's total foreign trade during the
six-month period with its import from these ASEAN members representing
727.14 million dollars and its exports taking up 535.43 million dollars.
The figures also indicate that Myanmar's private sector is playing a
leading role in the country's foreign trade. During the period, the
import value of the private sector made up 934.48 million dollars or
60.64 percent of the total imports, while its export value represented
610 million dollars or 50.08 percent of the total exports.
Xinhua: Foreign Investment in Myanmar Down 40 Percent in Six Months
YANGON, October 2 (Xinhua) -- Foreign investment in Myanmar totaled
44.49 million U.S. dollars in nine projects in the first half of this
year, reducing by 40 percent from the same period of 2000, according to
the latest figures issued by the country's Central Statistical
Organization. Of the investment, which came from seven countries and
regions during the period, Thailand took the lead with 25.75 million
dollars, followed by China's Hong Kong (7.5 million ), South Korea (4.21
million), Singapore (3.53 million), Malaysia and Indonesia ( 1.5 million
each) and Canada (0.5 million). Of the sectors injected by these foreign
investment, construction stood the highest with 20.5 million dollars,
followed by manufacturing (18.24 million), hotels and tourism (5.25
million) and mining (0.5 million). Meanwhile, investment drawn
specifically from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) amounted to 32. 28 million dollars in five projects
during the first six-month period, taking up 72.55 percent of Myanmar's
total foreign investment.
In 2000, there came a total of 152.8 million dollars' foreign investment
in Myanmar from nine countries and regions, mainly from South Korea,
Britain, China and Canada. These investment during the year were mostly
injected into the sectors of manufacturing, oil and gas, and
agriculture. According to official statistics, since opening to foreign
investment in late 1988, Myanmar had drawn a total of such contracted
investment of 7,385.253 million dollars in 365 projects as of the end of
June 2001. Of the leading foreign investors, Singapore ranked the first
with 1,507.53 million dollars, followed by Britain with 1,401 million
and Thailand with 1,289.75 million.
Xinhua: Myanmar's Plywood Production Down in First Half of 2001
YANGON, October 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's plywood production went down by
32 percent, yielding 3.96 million square-meters in the first half of
this year as compared with the same period of 2000 when it registered
5.83 million square-meters, according to the latest data of the
government-issued Economic Indicators. During the six-month period, the
country earned 6.81 million U. S. dollars' foreign exchange through the
export of plywood and veneer, 20.25 percent less than the corresponding
period of 2000. In 2000, Myanmar produced 8.649 million square-meters
plywood and exported 117 million dollars' worth of the goods.
Timber is known as Myanmar's second largest export goods after
agricultural products and foreign exchange earned through the export of
timber accounted for about 20 percent of Myanmar's total export earning.
The country exported 154,942.5 cubic-meters of teak and 149,141
cubic-meters of hardwood in the first half of this year, earning a total
of 116 million dollars, the statistics also show. Myanmar's forest
covers 50 percent of its total land area, of which 18.6 percent are
reserved and protected public forest. The percentage of it is being
targeted to increase to 30.
Xinhua: Myanmar's Sapphire Production Drops in First Half of 2001
YANGON, October 3 (Xinhua) -- The production of Myanmar's sapphire
reached 2.643 million carats in the first half of this year, down by 5.2
percent from the same period of 2000, according to the latest figures
published by the country's Central Statistical Organization. However,
ruby production went to 1.184 million carats during the period, up 13.19
percent from the same period of 2000. In addition, the country produced
69.645 tons of jade during the six-month period. Since its sapphire,
ruby and jade are well known in the world, Myanmar put them on sale
along with pearl and jewelry at its annual and mid-year gems emporiums
through competitive bidding, earning huge foreign exchange every year.
The state-sponsored emporiums allowed private gems merchants to
participate in and sell their gems products in recent years.
According to official statistics, the country has earned a total of over
330 million U.S. dollars from the last 38 annual and nine mid-year gems
emporiums which attracted annually hundreds of gems traders from over a
dozen countries and regions, mostly from China's Hong Kong, Thailand,
Japan and Singapore. The annual events, which are usually held in March,
started in 1964, while the mid-year ones, which used to take place in
October, were introduced in addition since 1992 to boost the country's
gems sale. Myanmar enacted the New Gemstone Law in September 1995,
allowing national entrepreneurs to mine, produce, transport and sell
finished gemstones and manufactured jewelry at home and abroad. Since
April 2000, the government has reportedly started mining of gems and
jade in joint venture with 10 private companies under profit sharing
AFP: Twenty anti-government rebels exchange arms for peace
BANGKOK, Oct 2 (AFP) - Twenty guerrillas fighting Myanmar's military
junta surrendered last month, state-run media quoted the defence
ministry as saying Tuesday.
They surrendered separately to three army commands and gave up their
arms, Radio Yangon said, citing the ministry's monthly report.
The guerrillas included remnants of former opium drug lord Khun Sa's
Mong Tai Army and members of militant pro-democracy student groups as
well as ethnic Karen and Rakhine minorities.
They surrendered after "realising the junta goodwill activities for
them and their destructive acts did not benefit the nation at all for a
long time", according to the report.
The militant student groups set up mobile camps in the jungles along
the border areas by pro-democracy students who fled Yangon and other
major cities after the current regime took power in a bloody coup in
Dozens of ethnic insurgency groups have been fighting the Yangon regime
for autonomy since the country gained independence from Britain in 1948.
But many of them signed ceasefire agreements with the ruling military
for development assistance in their regions.
Reuters: S'pore confirms Ne Win visit, counters death talk
SINGAPORE, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Singapore confirmed on Wednesday former
Myanmar military leader Ne Win was in the city state on a private visit
but said it knew of nothing to substantiate rumours in Yangon that the
91-year-old had died.
Ne Win, who ruled the reclusive country for more than 25 years, has
suffered strokes in the past and at times travelled secretly to
Singapore for medical treatment since relinquishing formal power in
``We understand that General Ne Win is currently in Singapore for a
private visit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not aware of his
programme here,'' a ministry spokesman told Reuters.
``Concerning the rumours that he has passed away, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs is aware of such rumours. We do not think it is true.''
Talk of Ne Win's death circulated in Myanmar's capital on Wednesday,
the latest rumours in recent times that he had died.
A source close to Ne Win's family told Reuters from Yangon on Monday
that he ``left for Singapore for medical treatment on September 29.''
Myanmar's embassy in Singapore declined to confirm whether Ne Win was
in the city state. Singapore General Hospital said his family had
requested that his whereabouts be kept secret.
Ne Win, then army commander, seized power in a coup in 1962 and ruled
the country until 1988, when he relinquished the leadership of the Burma
Socialist Programme Party.
Under his system of a ``Burmese Way to Socialism,'' the country went
from one of Asia's richest nations to one of the poorest.
Although he no longer had a formal political role, Ne Win is believed
to command influence among the current military rulers.
His last public appearance was in March, when he held a party at a
Yangon hotel and provided brunch for 99 monks.
Ne Win believes the number nine has mystical significance and in 1987
replaced Myanmar's banknotes with denominations which are multiples of
nine, such as 45-kyat and 90-kyat notes.
Kyodo: Former Myanmar leader Ne Win in Singapore after heart attack
SINGAPORE, Oct. 3, Kyodo - Former Myanmar military leader Ne Win was
rushed to Singapore for medical treatment last week after suffering a
heart attack, informed sources said Wednesday.
The 91-year-old general was in a serious condition when he checked in at
a Singapore hospital but has now recovered and is expected to return to
Myanmar soon, the sources told Kyodo News.
A Singapore Foreign Ministry spokesman only said that Ne Win is in
Singapore on a private visit.
''We know that he's in Singapore but it's more of a private visit. As to
his passing away, there are rumors, but we don't know whether they are
true or not,'' the spokesman said.
Reuters: U.N. sees some progress in Myanmar but wants more
Tuesday October 2, 11:38 PM
By Aung Hla Tun
YANGON (Reuters) - The United Nations on Tuesday welcomed efforts by
Myanmar's ruling military to improve human rights in the country, but
repeated calls for the release of all political prisoners.
A report written by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the special rapporteur of the
commission for human rights, also said more needed to be done for
"There have been some 'positive signals'...indicating the Government's
efforts to make progress," a U.N. press release said quoting Pinheiro.
"Those efforts include the dissemination of human rights standards for
public officials, progress by the governmental Committee on Human Rights
and releases of political detainees," it added.
But the statement went on to say Pinheiro had repeated calls for the
release of political detainees and for more to be done for ethnic
minorities and other vulnerable groups.
"With a sizeable number of political prisoners still in detention...the
special rapporteur stresses again that only the full release of such
individuals will pave the way to national reconciliation."
Pinheiro's report covered the situation in Myanmar from January up to
mid-August this year having paid his first official visit to the country
in April. He was appointed U.N. Special Rapporteur in February.
Rocky relations between the military and Aung San Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy (NLD) appear to have improved slightly over the
last year as the two sides continue landmark political talks, although
many obstacles remain.
Suu Kyi's NLD won Myanmar's last election in 1990 by a landslide but it
has never been allowed to govern while her party members have been
detained and harassed by the military.
The military government says it has released around 170 members of the
NLD, but Amnesty International says there are 1,500 political detainees
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, has been under de facto
house arrest for more than a year. Last week her party demanded their
leader's immediate and unconditional release.
The party also reaffirmed the mandate of Suu Kyi and NLD Chairman Aung
Shwe to carry on their duties in working for the emergence of democracy
Bangkok Post: Friendship group plans trip to Burma next Tuesday
October 03, 2001.
A Thai-Burmese friendship group will visit Burma next Tuesday to promote
business and cultural ties.
Gen Sanan Kajornklam, secretary-general of the Thai-Burmese Cultural and
Economic Co-operation Association, said the three-day trip was to
promote cultural exchange and enhance trade, fishery and tourism ties in
talks with their Burmese counterparts, led by Kyaw Than, Burma's former
air force commander-in-chief.
The group expects to meet Burmese ministers in charge of trade,
industry, culture, and hotel and tourism, as well as Brig-Gen David
Abel, minister attached to the Office of the Chairman of the State Peace
and Development Council.
The two countries would hold a trade fair at the Burmese border town of
Tachilek, opposite Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, next January, Gen
The visit by the 19-strong group will be the first organised by the
association, which was set up to promote bilateral ties between Thailand
The association's president is Pat Akkanibutr, a retired general.
Most of its 120 members are close to the New Aspiration party of
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, the defence minister. Gen Sanan is secretary to
the defence minister's advisory group. Gen Sanan yesterday quoted Lt-Gen
Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the ruling State Peace and Development
Council, as telling the Burmese media that such friendship associations
provided a channel for the private sectors of the two countries to boost
understanding and cultural ties.
Bangkok Post: Burma and Malaysia forge closer relations
October 03, 2001.
Mahathir Mohamad has been a strong defender of the Burmese junta, and
now Rangoon is looking at KL as a political model. LARRY JAGAN
Burmese military leader General Than Shwe and his country's intelligence
chief, Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt, have just returned from a
three-day official visit to Malaysia where politics and economics were
top of the agenda.
Although ostensibly in reciprocation of Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad's visit to Rangoon in January, the trip was much more
important than that, particularly as it came at a crucial time in the
Burmese junta's talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi _ when a
breakthrough is becoming more and more possible.
Burma's generals are increasingly turning to Malaysia for advice: both
on politics and economics. Dr Mahathir has proved to be a trusted ally.
Whenever Burma is criticised internationally, Dr Mahathir leaps to the
defence of the generals.
And politics was certainly high on the agenda in Kuala Lumpur. After
briefing Dr Mahathir, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Alber told
journalists that Burma should be allowed to introduce democratic change
at its own pace, free from international pressure.
This has been Dr Mahathir's position all along. The Malaysian prime
minister, according to senior foreign ministry officials, has always
backed the Burmese leaders publicly while urging them in private to
accommodate opposition leader Suu Kyi and introduce democratic reform.
Diplomats in Rangoon believe it was Dr Mahathir's intervention behind
the scenes last year that led to Rangoon starting the dialogue process
in the first place. The United Nations envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail of
Malaysia, who has acted as a facilitator for the talks, is known to be
close to Dr Mahathir and has his full backing.
Observers believe Mr Razali's periodic trips to Rangoon have helped the
talks move forward. Government officials in Kuala Lumpur said Dr
Mahathir urged Gen Than Shwe in Kuala Lumpur to allow the UN envoy to
make more frequent visits to help build up the momentum for democratic
Dr Mahathir has made no secret that he feels Burma must be allowed to
adopt political change in its own way and that constant international
criticism is harmful to that process. He also has said that the junta
should introduce political reforms appropriate to Burmese conditions and
not slavishly adopt a western model of democracy.
Burma's generals are looking for political models to adopt as they begin
to grapple with what sort of political change is acceptable. Indonesia's
constitution was once regarded as the model, but when former president
Suharto was thrown from power three years ago, Burma's generals began to
Dr Mahathir has promised Burma's military rulers all the help he can
give them, and has suggested that his United Malaysian National
Organisation political machine may provide a useful model. There is no
doubt that Burma's senior leaders took the opportunity of learning how
Umno works in practice and how the organisation has ensured political
stability in the country.
But economics more than politics was the chief concern of the Burmese
leaders while they were in Malaysia. Government officials said improving
economic ties with Burma was a key priority of the Dr Mahathir's
government. That's something the Burmese were also anxious to emphasise.
Gen Than Shwe spent much of his trip exploring ways of boosting
bilateral trade and investment, especially in the fishing,
manufacturing, petroleum and tourism sectors.
He visited the Multi-media Super Corridor _ Malaysia's equivalent to
California's Silicon Valley _ in Putrajaya just outside Kuala Lumpur as
well as the country's premier island resort Langkawi.
The two countries signed memorandums of understanding on tourism and
information exchange. But more crucially, they discussed ways of
increasing bilateral trade. A senior Malaysian official said that during
their talks the two countries agreed it was necessary to boost trade
across the Southeast Asian region to counter the likely downturn in the
US economy following the Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
The Malaysian foreign minister said after the talks that Burma and
Malaysia were exploring ways in which a form of barter trade could be
conducted, rather than constantly using foreign exchange for bilateral
After all, Burma has very limited foreign reserves and is keen to
conduct trade on a more informal basis. That is how much of the trade
with China is conducted. Thailand and Burma also are currently looking
at how trade might be conducted on that basis _ at least border trade.
The two trade ministers discussed this several months ago and, according
to Thai government officials, are close to reaching agreement after the
recent visit by Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt to Bangkok.
Trade between Burma and Malaysia is worth around $200 million (893
million baht) _ in Malaysia's favour. At present Malaysia is Burma's
third largest investor, with nearly $600 million (26.8 billion baht)
invested in manufacturing, oil and gas, tourism and real estate. The
Malaysian government expects investment in Burma to increase
significantly in the near future.
Gen Than Shwe appealed to Malaysian businessmen to relocate their labour
intensive industries to Burma to make use of the cheap labour. This is
reminiscent of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's plans to relocate
some of Thailand's industries across the border.
Construction and tourism are the areas most likely to be targetted by
new Malaysia investment, according to analysts. Sources in Kuala Lumpur
say the two countries are discussing ways to co-operate further in the
field of tourism. That is probably why Gen Than Shwe and his delegation
visited Dr Mahathir's pet project, the tourist resort of Langkawi _
which lies just south of Burma in the Andaman sea. The Malaysian
government is interested in linking the two areas into a major tourist
But Malaysian involvement in Burma's timber industry is already
beginning to raise concerns amongst environmental groups. There has been
heavy investment by Chinese Malaysians in the logging industry in Kachin
state; the timber is then exported to China. Recent visitors to the area
say trees are being felled at an alarming rate, fuelling fears that
there will lasting ecological damage to the region.
Larry Jagan is the BBC's regional editor for the Asia-Pacific Region. He
is currently based in Bangkok
Free Burma Coalition: Nobel Laureates Declare Support for Divestment
October 2, 2001
Move at University of Virginia "Unprecedented" in History of Student
(Charlottesville, Virginia) In a move unprecedented in the history of
student activism, six Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have written an open
letter to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors calling on the
administration to divest its holding in Unocal, a California-based oil
company. The letter supports a resolution passed by the UVA Student
Council last March and a subsequent resolution on September 18th, both
of which called for the UVA Board of Visitors to divest the University?s
50,000 shares of stock in Unocal on account of the company?s complicity
in human rights abuses in Burma.
"While Unocal turns its back on the conditions surrounding its pipeline,
its partners, the illegal military junta, are torturing, killing,
raping, and enslaving thousands of people," read the letter, which was
signed by Betty Williams (Ireland 1976), Oscar Arias (Costa Rica 1986),
His Holiness, The Dalai Llama (Tibet 1989), Rigoberta Menchu Tum
(Guatemala 1992), Jose Ramos Horta (East Timor 1996), and Jody Williams
(USA 1997-International Campaign to Ban Landmines). The laureates became
interested in UVA after speaking at a conference November 5-6, 1998
entitled "Bringing Together Great Hearts and Minds." Burma?s elected
leader and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has called
on companies such as Unocal to leave Burma but could not attend the 1998
conference because the country?s military dictatorship holds her under
"We wrote to the Laureates to ask for their support on this initiative
to demonstrate that UVA students, staff, and faculty are not the only
ones who find Unocal?s actions in Burma to be detestable" said Andrew
Price, President of the Virginia chapter of the Free Burma Coalition.
"The University did not tolerate financial support of South African
Apartheid in the 1980s and it should not tolerate slavery in Burma
EarthRights International, a Washington, DC-based non-governmental human
rights organization led by UVA law school graduates Katie Redford and
Tyler Gianini sued Unocal in a precedent-setting case on behalf of 12
Burmese villagers who have suffered abuses as a result of the pipeline
project. Two of the plaintiffs were severely sexually assaulted and one
plaintiff?s infant died after being kicked into a cooking fire by
Burmese soldiers providing security and building infrastructure for the
"This is an extraordinary and unprecedented move for the student-based
Free Burma movement," said Jeremy Woodrum, Director of the Washington
office of the Free Burma Coalition. "The University of Virginia would
join the ranks of some of the world's most prominent schools that have
already cut ties to companies that prop up Burma?s brutal regime."
Students at Harvard University, American University, University of
California, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Bucknell
University, and the London School of Economics convinced their schools
to take action against companies operating in Burma. Last April the
movement grew rapidly, as students at 95 colleges and universities
fasted for 24 hours, calling for their universities to stop doing
business with Burma.
For More Information:
Jeremy Woodrum, Washington Director of the Free Burma Coalition
Editor?s note: Please contact EarthRights Int?l for detailed information
on Unocal in Burma, 202.466.5188
Jody Williams, Jose Ramos Horta, Rigoberta Menchu, The Dalai Llama,
Oscar Arias, Betty Williams: An open letter to the University of
Virginia [condemning Unocal and calling for divestment]
As participants in the 1999 Nobel Peace Laureate Conference, we have
great respect and admiration for the University of Virginia. By virtue
of its exceptional academic program and the focus on civil liberties, as
prescribed by Thomas Jefferson, we know that the University produces
some of the finest young people in the country.
Notably absent from the conference was our fellow laureate, Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi of Burma. Despite having received the Nobel Peace Prize and
leading her party to victory in a national election, she remains under
house arrest. For merely advocating the liberties that many people
worldwide already enjoy, the regime has brutally isolated her from her
family, friends, and colleagues. She has consistently asked for
international support for her struggle and specifically asked all
companies to leave Burma. On numerous occasions, she has made statements
such as "Until we have a system that guarantees the rule of law and
basic democratic institutions, no amount of aid or foreign investment
will benefit our people." Indeed, the outside world has a moral
obligation to help Suu Kyi's fight for democracy.
Thus, we are writing to pledge support of the March 27th, 2001 Student
Council resolution to divest University of Virginia assets from Unocal.
Its pipeline will remain the lifeline by which the regime can cling to
power and keep Suu Kyi under house arrest. While Unocal turns its back
on the conditions surrounding its pipeline, its partners, the illegal
military junta, are torturing, killing, raping, and enslaving thousands
We, Aung San Suu Kyi's fellow Peace Laureates, remain steadfast in our
support of her courageous struggle to restore democracy and human rights
to Burma. Just as the divestment campaign against South Africa helped
bring down apartheid, so too will your action help free Aung San Suu Kyi
and restore democracy and the rule of law in Burma.
Jody Williams (USA 1997)
Jose Ramos Horta (East Timor 1996)
Rigoberta Menchu Tum (Guatemala 1992)
His Holiness, The Dalai Llama (Tibet 1989)
Oscar Arias (Costa Rica 1986)
Betty Williams (Ireland 1976)
The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive
coverage of news and opinion on Burma (Myanmar) from around the world.
If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our attention by
emailing it to strider@xxxxxxxxxxxx
To automatically subscribe to Burma's only free daily newspaper in
English, send an email to:
To subscribe to The BurmaNet News in Burmese, send an email to:
You can also contact BurmaNet by fax:
Burma News Summaries available by email or the web
There are three Burma news digest services available via either email or
Burma News Update
Availability: By fax or the web.
Viewable online at
Published by: Open Society Institute, Burma Project
The Burma Courier
Availability: E-mail, fax or post. To subscribe or unsubscribe by email
Viewable on line at: http://www.egroups.com/group/BurmaCourier
Note: News sources are cited at the beginning of an article.
Interpretive comments and background
details are often added.
Viewable online at http://www.worldviewrights.org/pdburma/today.html
To subscribe, write to pdburma@xxxxxxxxx
Published by: PD Burma (The International Network of Political Leaders
Promoting Democracy in Burma)
EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://igc.topica.com/u/?b1dbSX.b1CGhI
Or send an email To: burmanet-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
This email was sent to: reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxx
T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!