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Burmanet News: October 9, 2001
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
October 9, 2001 Issue # 1895
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AFP: UN rights envoy arrives in Yangon for second historic mission
*AP: U.S. embassy closed in Myanmar for security reasons
*BBC: Burma frees prisoners as envoy arrives
*Bangkok Post: Economic talks in Rangoon start today
*Xinhua: Myanmar Airways to Extend Domestic Flights
*PR Newswire: Seabourn Spirit Adds More Cruises of Vietnam and Myanmar
*Bangkok Post: PDA makes peace move after clashes
*Mizzima: India steps up vigilance along Indo-Burma border
*European Union: Extension of EU Common Position (sanctions) on Burma
for six months
*Bangkok Post: The deadly danger of Aids and drugs
*Free Burma Coalition: New Date for Free Burma Coalition Conference
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP: UN rights envoy arrives in Yangon for second historic mission
YANGON, Oct 9 (AFP) - The United Nations' human rights envoy Paulo
Sergio Pinheiro arrived here Tuesday for a visit of nearly two weeks to
Myanmar, a military-run country which is accused of extensive rights
A UN official in Yangon confirmed that Pinheiro had begun the mission
which will run until October 20. But he declined to reveal details of
his schedule, which is being kept under tight wraps.
Pinheiro is visiting Myanmar at a time when year-long talks between the
junta and the democratic opposition have eased the atmosphere in Yangon
and raised hopes that political reforms may be on the horizon.
After his historic visit to Myanmar in April -- the first by a UN human
rights envoy in five years -- Pinheiro spoke of an atmosphere of
"cautious optimism" for possible change in the country.
"Every person that I met conveyed to me this impression, the government
gave me an impression of respect for the opposition," the Brazilian
academic said after talks with the generals and opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi.
Pinheiro said then that on his return to Myanmar he would like to meet
with leaders of opposition political parties and minority groups, and
visit the nation's detention and labour camps.
According to a UN report, he also indicated a wish to visit zones for
displaced people as well as the tense border regions.
Like most visiting dignitaries, it is likely that Pinheiro will again
be permitted to see democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his second
But observers said he may not enjoy the same unfettered access granted
to the International Labor Organisation (ILO) team which departed last
week after a thorough investigation of Yangon and the outlying
"Pinheiro will most probably be less independent than the ILO experts
because they came in two teams and he is by himself," one diplomat told
"The domain he is covering is larger because it covers all the human
rights issues including prisoners, whereas the ILO people were only
focused on forced labor.
"But as far as we can see, it is unlikely they will put obstacles in
the way of his program."
Pinheiro won plaudits during his first trip by adopting a
non-confrontational approach which was welcomed by the notoriously
touchy Yangon generals.
"We consider the visit of Mr. Pinheiro as constructive. We have
cooperated with him to our utmost," the foreign ministry said after his
"We regard him as an honest person," it said, in stark contrast to the
frosty language used to describe his predecessor, Rajsoomer Lallah, who
was never given permission to travel to Yangon.
AP: U.S. embassy closed in Myanmar for security reasons
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy and the American school in
Myanmar's capital were closed Tuesday because of security concerns.
Barbed wire barricades were erected and riot police have been deployed
outside the U.S. and British embassies since Monday, following the
military strikes against Afghanistan, witnesses said.
Traffic was blocked from a section of Merchant Street in downtown
Yangon near the U.S. Embassy, causing jams. Barricades and half a dozen
riot police were also in place outside the British embassy on nearby
Strand Road, the witnesses said.
A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in neighboring Bangkok, Thailand, said it
was not yet clear if the Yangon embassy would be still closed Wednesday.
She said the American school also was closed Tuesday because of security
Diplomats at the embassy in Yangon did not answer their phones but a
Myanmar staffer at the embassy said the offices are likely to be closed
Wednesday also. No other details were available.
The British embassy remained open, a diplomat in Bangkok there said.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a predominantly Buddhist country with
a small minority of Muslims. There have been isolated incidents of
religious unrest in recent years.
BBC: Burma frees prisoners as envoy arrives
Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
A United Nations human rights envoy has arrived in Burma, as the
military government released five jailed members of the opposition
National League for Democracy.
A government statement made no link between the arrival of Paulo Sergio
Pinheiro and the prisoner releases, which it called a goodwill gesture.
Mr Pinheiro is on a two-week visit during which he is expected to travel
outside the capital, Rangoon, to assess civil and political rights in
He is also expected to meet government officials and the opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
His visit comes just days after a team from the International Labour
Organisation ended a three-week trip investigating reports of forced
labour in Burma.
Mr Pinheiro became the first UN human rights rapporteur to go to Burma
in five years when he visited in April.
On that occasion also he met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her
home but was not allowed leave the capital.
This time, according to the UN , Mr Pinheiro will visit a number of
provinces over the next two weeks.
Burma' military rulers have been repeatedly criticised for human rights
abuses since they seized power in 1988. In 1990 the junta refused to
honour the result of democratic elections widely believed to have been
overwhelmingly won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been held under virtual house arrest since last
But Mr Pinheiro has spoken of "cautious optimism" within Burma that the
military are adopting a pragmatic approach on the issue of democracy.
A UN statement released at the weekend said: "This visit comes at a time
when Myanmar [Burma] has been taking steps... towards an important
dialogue both inside and outside of the country in the search for peace
and national reconciliation."
Bangkok Post: Economic talks in Rangoon start today
Gen Sanan to meet Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt
Three days of talks on economic co-operation between Thai
representatives and Burma's State Peace and Development Council First
Secretary Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, begin today in Rangoon.
Gen Sanan Kachornklam, secretary to the defence minister's advisory
team, has been assigned by Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to
lead a Thai delegation to discuss Thai-Burmese economic ties with Lt-Gen
Khin Nyunt on Oct 9-11.
Burma reportedly needs help from Thailand for the planned construction
of a port in Tavoy and many roads such as those linking the Three-Pagoda
checkpoint to Pok Pian, Kanchanaburi to Tavoy, and Tachilek to Keng
Tung, Gen Sanan said.
Gen Chavalit is pushing forward a trade and investment promotion plan by
starting with the setting up of economic affairs co-ordinating offices
at the border between Mae Sai and Tachilek, Mae Sot and Myawaddy, and
Ranong and Kawthaung.
After another trade talk will be held in Rangoon in November.
A Thai-Burmese friendship trade fair will be held in Tachilek in January
Gen Sanan's delegation is also expected to meet Burma's commerce and
fisheries ministers to seek fishery concessions for Thai trawlers to
fish in Burmese waters, following a two-year ban.
Xinhua: Myanmar Airways to Extend Domestic Flights
YANGON, October 9 (Xinhua) -- The Myanma Airways (MA), a state- run
Myanmar airline, will extend its domestic flights in addition to the
existing ones, commencing on October 18, according to sources at the MA
Tuesday. Under the new extended flight schedule, Fokker-27 aircraft of
the MA will fly from southern Bago division's Toungoo to six
destinations of Heho, Loikaw, Monghsat, Namsang, Tachilek and Yangon;
from northern Kachin state's Myitkyina to Bhamo and Putao; and from
northern city of Mandalay to ten destinations of Bagan, Nyaung U, Bhamo,
Heho, Kalay, Kengtung, Khanti, Magway, Myitkyina and Tachilek. In
addition to the state-owned MA, there are two other private- run
airlines in Myanmar -- Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways, operating on
internal flights. Meanwhile, the Myanmar Airways International (MAI),
the country 's single international carrier, has revised its flight
schedule beginning on October 1 along with the world's other carriers
following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and
cutting down some of its services to Bangkok and Singapore. At the same
time, the MAI has started collecting a surcharge of two U.S. dollars
from passengers to cover higher insurance premium due to huge losses by
insurers out of terrorist attacks.
PR Newswire: Seabourn Spirit Adds More Cruises of Vietnam and Myanmar
October 8, 2001 2:01pm
January, February Cruises Feature Free Economy Air, Business Class From
MIAMI, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Ultra luxury small-ship cruise specialist
Seabourn Cruise Line has announced added departures of its popular
cruises to Thailand and Vietnam and Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar in
January and February of 2002. The cruises aboard the yacht-like,
all-suite Seabourn Spirit replace two previously scheduled cruises that
had included visits to islands of the Indonesian Archipelago.
The first of the added cruises sails January 19, 2002 for twelve days,
roundtrip from Singapore to a variety of tropical Thai and Malaysian
islands, with a three-day call at Yangon, formerly Rangoon, in Myanmar,
the former Burma. The extended stay in this venerable Asian capital
allows exploration of the city's majestic gold-and-jewel-encrusted
Shwedagon Pagoda, as well as visits to Burma's"Plain of Temple" at
nearby Pagan. Guests will be treated to a complimentary Exclusively
Seabourn visit to the century-old Strand Hotel for refreshments and a
Burmese musical interlude, recapturing the romance of an era during
which the Strand was the hostelry of choice among royalty, nobility and
celebrities passing through the Far East.
Bangkok Post: PDA makes peace move after clashes
October 09, 2001.
A Burmese rebel group has extended an olive branch to the Rangoon-backed
Democratic Karen Buddhist Army after clashes late last month which left
``The Parliamentary Democracy Army has no animosity towards the DKBA and
it is not its policy to purposely attack DKBA units or its
representatives,'' a PDA statement said.
It further added that the PDA regarded the ``SPDC (the ruling military
junta) top brass as the sole enemy of our country and not its troops,
who have been indoctrinated into joining the army.''
After a week-long battle that ended on Sept 20 between the PDA-Karen
National Union and the DKBA and junta troops, the government forces
eventually withdrew with 31 killed and 11 wounded.
The PDA said it regretted the clashes and that no deliberate
confrontation should take place between its forces and the DKBA in the
Mizzima: India steps up vigilance along Indo-Burma border
By Our Special Correspondent
Guwahati, Oct. 9: Personnel of the Army, the Border Security Force
(BSF), and the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) engaged in guarding
the Indo-Burma border have intensified patrolling aftermath of the
US-led attack on Afghanistan. Five more companies of the CRPF have been
deployed as reinforcement along the Arunachal-Burma border. High-level
officials sources, not wanting to be named told Mizzima News
correspondent that the Indo-Burma border has remained sensitive in view
of spurt of activity of local militant groups.
"The Mon, Naklak and Laju areas of Nagaland (bordering Burma) have been
kept under strict surveillance so that underground outfits cannot sneak
into the area, taking advantage of the terrain", sources said . It was
also reported that security forces have been provided heavy arsenal to
thwart any possible attack of the miscreants.
?Apart from Nagaland, we are keeping a close watch on the Manipur?Burma
border where several militant groups are now active?, the correspondent
was told. A total of 15 BSF companies have been engaged in
counter-insurgency operations along the Manipur-Burma border. BSF
companies engaged in Counter-insurgency operations along the Indo-Bhutan
border were deployed in Manipur following violence perpetrated by the
There are seven Muslim militant groups led by Muslim United Liberation
of Tigers Association (MULTA) in the region. Sources revealed that
Muslim fundamentalists might try to create disturbance in the region in
collaboration with other militants groups in the region .
Meanwhile , the Director General of the BSF, Gurbachand Jagat, visited
the Indo-Burma (Myanmar) border on Sunday of last week in order to
assess the situation in Manipur. During his visit to Khonghampat and
Churachandpur in Manipur, Mr Jagat admitted that the issue of insurgent
militancy in the North East is more complex than the situation found in
Kashmir. He added that local people had failed to detect the movement
of militants, further complicating the counter-insurgency operation.
The DG also advocated the deployment of more BSF personnel along the
Indo-Burma border, keeping in view the increased volume of activities of
the militants who are taking advantage of neighbouring countries'
Security has also been tightened along the Indo-Bangladesh border
following the attack of the US-led coalition on Afghanistan. The DIG
(Director Inspector General) western range, SC Srivastab, stated that a
one hundred kilometer stretch of the border, from Mancachar to Ramrai
Kutti, has been kept under strict surveillance in order to prevent
Muslim fundamentalists from coming across the border. Mr Srivastab added
that the Indo-Bangladesh border is well under control, and BSF personnel
are ready to face any eventuality.
European Union: Extension of EU Common Position (sanctions) on Burma for
Council of the European Union
(General Affairs Council 08/10)
BURMA/MYANMAR: COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS
The European Union has long urged the restoration of democracy, the
pursuit of national reconciliation and the protection of human rights in
Burma/Myanmar in the interest of all the peoples of the country. The
European Union has been following recent developments in Burma/Myanmar
with close attention. The Council was cautiously encouraged by the
improvement in the political climate there. It welcomed the release of a
growing number of political prisoners, the opening of a number of NLD
party offices and the resumption of contacts with the International
Labour Organisation (ILO). It expressed its strong support for the
efforts of UN Special Envoy, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, to promote national
The Council recognised, however, at the same time that these contacts
and positive developments could only be the beginning of a wider and
deeper process, which should, in the Council's view, lead to a
transition to civilian democratic government. The Council called for the
acceleration of the ongoing process of liberation of all remaining
political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Council also
emphasised the importance of seeing a verifiable end to the practice of
forced labour, in line with the demands of the ILO General Conference.
The authorities in Burma/Myanmar should co-operate fully with the ILO
and grant the Organisation permanent access to the country. The Council
will analyse carefully and draw conclusions from the forthcoming report
of the high-level ILO mission to Burma/Myanmar and will also await with
interest the report of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in
The Council agreed to extend the common position of the European Union
for a further six months until 29 April 2002 while bringing it in line
with Member States' obligations under the UN Charter to grant visas to
allow attendance at United Nations meetings or conferences held within
their territory. The Council specifically stressed its readiness to
accompany the deepening of the reconciliation process with humanitarian
assistance which it regarded as entirely compatible with the common
position. The Council identified a number of positive measures designed
to recognise the process that has been set in motion in Burma/Myanmar in
expectation of further positive developments:
- In consultation with all relevant parties, including the NLD, the
European Union is prepared to play a more active role in helping
Burma/Myanmar confront the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The Council wished to
convey to the parties in Burma/Myanmar its view that the HIV/AIDS
situation is such that determined measures need to be taken urgently.
The Council therefore welcomed the Commission's intention to provide a
contribution of up to 5 MEuros to the activities identified in the
framework of the Joint Plan of Action elaborated by the UN Agencies in
response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Burma/Myanmar. This aid will be
delivered through independent non-governmental organisations or
international agencies with the view to reach the communities in the
most needy areas.
- EU Member States would also seek to make significant contributions to
these same UN activities;
- The European Union would invite the Foreign Minister of Burma/Myanmar
to the next EU-ASEAN Ministerial meeting, which is due to be held in
Europe in 2002. A visa would be granted to him for that purpose;
- Member States concerned will support Burma/Myanmar's application to
join the International Hydrographic Organisation;
- Member States concerned may consider and advise the authorities in
Burma/Myanmar of what steps Burma/Myanmar needs to take to qualify for
bilateral debt relief under the IMF/IBRD's "Heavily Indebted Poor
- The European Union is willing to send a further Troika mission before
the end of this year to explain these decisions, to discuss their
follow-up with the Government, SPDC, NLD and the ethnic nationalities
and to explore the prospects for further measures, which could follow
accelerated progress in Burma/Myanmar's national reconciliation process.
The Council agreed to reconsider the measures taken today, as well as
the common position, at any time should developments in Burma/Myanmar,
either positive or negative, so require.
Bangkok Post: The deadly danger of Aids and drugs
- October 09, 2001.
The greatest threat to Thailand and Southeast Asia is the two-headed
Hydra of drugs and Aids. Drug abuse and the killer syndrome are directly
linked. As one increases, so does the other. Risky abuse of drugs,
particularly the use of shared needles, directly spreads Aids. Drug
abusers are far less likely to worry about unprotected sex. The more
drugs, the more abuse _ the more abuse, the more Aids. These twin
attacks represent the greatest security threat to our country and
In recent weeks, the world has focussed on terrorism. Officials have
revived and increased anti-terrorist measures, particularly tracking and
blocking the accounts and transfers of terrorists' funds. The mass
killing of people from 80 countries in the United States on Sept 11 has
convinced people everywhere they must co-operate against the terrorists,
or they will be in increasing danger.
The ``wars'' against drugs and Aids must also be given high priority.
Although there are huge differences between the wars on terrorism and
drugs, some of the new emphasis on fighting terrorists can be turned
against the drug merchants, producers and traffickers. Attacks must be
made and stepped up on their bank accounts, financial resources,
ill-gotten gains and luxurious life styles. As with terrorists, we must
recognise that drug traffickers are great and present threats to our
people and the national security of Thailand and our neighbours. They
may not kill with bombs or hijackings, but drug traffickers kill and
ruin the lives of families just the same.
The war on drugs must be improved because it is being lost. The battle
against Aids is still undecided. Last week, the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/Aids reported bad news. While Thailand and Cambodia
have stalled the advance of HIV/Aids, much of the rest of Asia has not.
Indonesia, Vietnam and China have been so lackadaisical, so inefficient
and so inattentive that they already have epidemics in many regions. In
Ho Chi Minh City, 20% of sex workers and clients have tested positive
for HIV, and the rate is 26% in Jakarta and two other Indonesian cities.
In Guangxi, China, infections rose to 10.7% from 9.9% in the last six
months of last year.
Sharing information and experiences has seen great benefits in fighting
Aids. Health workers, NGOs, communities and governments have worked
together against a common enemy. It would seem logical that these same
leaders and community workers would realise the advantages, and attempt
to widen the scope. But they face the same old problems. It is no
accident that the secretive countries have the greatest Aids problems.
China's communists, Burma's dictators and Vietnam's security agents jail
citizens for sharing information.
Still, it has been eight years since the six nations at the centre of
the regional drug epidemic agreed to share information against drug
traffickers, money launderers and their minions. Unfortunately, Burma,
Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have failed to step up and
stamp out the drugs trade.
It is time they did. It would increase vigilance against cross-border
crime as part of urgent, new initiatives to combat terrorism. Properly
designed, with careful reporting procedures, it also would pursue drug
traffickers. It will be necessary to convince Burma to join this effort.
If necessary, officials must be prepared to ``go public'' with
information that links the Rangoon regime to drug dealers, just as
information now is being released on the bin Laden connection to
The battle against Aids has just begun. It cannot succeed in isolation;
it must be international in scope. And those involved must realise, and
combat, the links between the disease and illicit drugs.
Free Burma Coalition: New Date for Free Burma Coalition Conference
Dear Free Burma friends and colleagues,
We are happy to announce that "Our Cause", the Fifth Annual Working
Conference of the Free Burma Coalition, is scheduled from October 27-29,
2001, at American University in Washington, DC. The conference had
been previously scheduled for September 21-23 at the same location but
was postponed after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington,
Please note that the conference will be held on a Saturday, Sunday, and
Monday instead of Friday-Sunday as previously planned. Monday will be
dedicated to lobbying work at the Congress.
I will be re-posting the conference registration form on the FBC web
page tonight (Wednesday, October 3). Please re-register so we get a
good count of how many people are coming!
I am also working to reconstruct the schedule, and will post that as
soon as possible on the web page.
I'm excited to see you all there, and of course there is still free
housing for those who want it!
Free Burma Coalition
1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE, #204
Washington, DC 20003
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