[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News: October 17, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
          October 17, 2001   Issue # 1900
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Reuters: UN envoy cuts short Myanmar trip for health reasons
*AFP: Myanmar aims to cast off pariah image with closer international 
*Xinhua: Myanmar Striving to Overcome Negative Impact on Economy: Leader
*AFP: UN rights envoy meets Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
*Shan Herald Agency for News:  Townspeople near projected bridge living 
in fear
*Kyodo: Myanmar youth devour religious books amid hazy future
*Network Media Group:  Two hundred prisoners replaced for 120 prisoners 
in hard labor camp 

MONEY _______
*In These Times:  Backing Out of Burma



*Shan Herald Agency for News: Alien Workers Registration way below 

*EarthRights International: Testimony at the hearing of the Development 
Committee of the European  Parliament on October 11th, 2001, on European 
Oil Companies in Burma


__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Reuters: UN envoy cuts short Myanmar trip for health reasons

By Aung Hla Tun 

 YANGON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The U.N.'s human rights envoy to Myanmar is 
cutting short a visit to the military-ruled country for health reasons, 
officials said on Wednesday. 

 They said Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the U.N.'s special rapporteur for 
human rights in Myanmar, would return to his native Brazil. He arrived 
on October 9 and had been due to stay until Saturday. 

 ``Mr Pinheiro is leaving Myanmar this evening,'' a United Nations 
official told Reuters. 

 Pinheiro declined to comment on his visit when contacted by Reuters by 

 ``It's a bit premature to comment. I'm preparing a press communique,'' 
he said. ``Our headquarters in Geneva will issue it today.''
 Pinheiro, making his second visit to the country, met senior government 
members before leaving for the Shan, Kachin and Mandalay areas of the 
country on October 13. 

 The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), which won elections 
in 1990 by a landslide but has never been allowed to govern, criticised 
Pinheiro for not doing enough on his current trip to investigate the 
human rights situation.
 ``During this visit, he shouldn't have spent so much time with 
government and other officials without investigating the basic human 
rights situation,'' NLD Secretary U Lwin told the BBC's Myanmar-language 

 U Lwin said Pinheiro had not met NLD leaders during his current visit. 


 Myanmar is regarded as a pariah state by much of the international 
community because of its human rights record and its treatment of the 

 NLD Secretary-General Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace 
Prize, has been held in de facto house arrest for more than a year.
 The government began regular confidential meetings with Suu Kyi a year 
ago, aimed at breaking the political deadlock. 

 The talks have not yielded any concrete political deal, but since they 
began the government has been steadily releasing political detainees.
 On the day Pinheiro arrived, five NLD prisoners were freed, bringing 
the total number of releases since the talks began to 174.
 Pinheiro first visited Myanmar in April after being appointed as 
special envoy in February by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
 A report written by Pinheiro and released by the U.N. earlier this 
month welcomed efforts by Myanmar's ruling military to improve human 
rights in the country, but repeated calls for the release of all 
political prisoners. 

 Amnesty International says there are more than 1,500 political 
detainees in Myanmar.
 Pinheiro's predecessor, Rajsoomer Lallah, was never allowed to visit 
Myanmar, and in his final report last year he accused the military of 
torturing, raping and executing civilians. 

 (With additional reporting by Andrew Marshall in Bangkok)



AFP: Myanmar aims to cast off pariah image with closer international 

BANGKOK, Oct 17 (AFP) - Myanmar will step up efforts to engage 
neighboring countries and the international community in an attempt to 
dispel "jaundiced views" that have cast it as a pariah state, the state 
media said Wednesday. 

 Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, the ruling junta's number-three leader, 
was quoted as saying the regime would "cooperate more closely with our 
neighbors in the political, economic and social fields". 

 "Just as emphasis is being given to bilateral relations, Myanmar will 
focus on achieving solidarity with regional organisations ... (and) seek 
to be more active in the international arena," he was quoted as saying. 

 The military intelligence chief was speaking to government officials at 
the close of a course on diplomacy at Myanmar's foreign ministry. 

 Khin Nyunt said Myanmar had shown "genuine sincerity" in cooperating 
with an International Labour Organisation (ILO) delegation that toured 
the country last month to inspect government attempts at eradicating 
forced labour.
 For the mission, the ILO insisted its four-member team of eminent 
jurists be given total freedom to carry out its survey, and the junta 
promised to give them unlimited access, even in the unstable border 

 The ILO mission came after the Geneva-based organisation last year made 
an unprecedented censure of Myanmar, and threatened to heap more 
sanctions on the country if it failed to curb forced labour. 

 "We wish to demonstrate our genuine sincerity in cooperating with the 
ILO and prove that accusations made by opposition groups, insurgents and 
expatriates are unfounded," Khin Nyunt said. 

 The military intelligence chief said the world economy was set to 
deteriorate further in light of the US-led war against terrorism, 
hitting small, weak countries such as Myanmar particularly hard. 

 He added that military authorities would continue efforts to improve 
the international community's "appreciation of Myanmar's objectives and 
policies," while diplomats should be "well acquainted" with policies of 
the state. 

 "At the same time as Myanmar enters the mainstream of international 
activities and plays an increasingly active role, those who are 
responsible for international relations must be highly qualified," he 

 One year ago this month, the junta embarked on historic talks with 
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in their first official contacts 
since 1994. 

 Amid hopes that the dialogue is paving the way for democratic reforms, 
the international community has muted its criticisms of Myanmar which 
for decades has been roundly condemned for its poor human rights record. 

 Over the past year the capital Yangon has witnessed an unprecedented 
flurry of diplomatic activity, with visits from the ILO, European Union, 
UN envoy Razali Ismail and UN human rights rapporteur Paulo Sergio 



Xinhua: Myanmar Striving to Overcome Negative Impact on Economy: Leader

YANGON, October 17 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is striving to overcome the 
negative impact on its economy arising out of the adverse effects on 
world economy due to vast transformation taking place in the world, said 
Myanmar's top leader on Tuesday. "There is no doubt that this situation 
will have a negative impact on small countries like ours that are not 
economically strong," noted Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the Myanmar 
State Peace and Development Council, at a graduation ceremony of 
officers in diplomacy course conducted by the foreign ministry, official 
newspaper The New Light of Myanmar reported Wednesday. He predicted that 
the world economic situation will deteriorate even further, saying that 
the condition is likely to last for some time. 

He warned that the adverse trends are bound to have negative impacts to 
certain extent on the regional economic situation, especially the 
Southeast Asia region which is just beginning to see hopeful signs of 
recovery from the 1997 financial crisis. In such a situation, he said, 
Myanmar is making its utmost efforts to overcome the adverse effects 
from the outside and to develop political, economic and foreign 
relations. With regard to Myanmar's foreign relations, he said that the 
country is actively engaged in international and regional affairs in 
keeping with its independent and active foreign policy, placing special 
emphasis on relations with neighboring countries and others in the 
region and pledging to cooperate more closely with them in the 
political, diplomatic, economic and social fields. 

The Myanmar leader said that his country will work hard in United 
Nations organizations and regional ones such as ASEAN ( Association of 
Southeast Asian Nations), BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri 
Lanka and Thailand-Economic Cooperation) and the Mekong-Ganga 
Cooperation. He stated that internal strife, which once hindered the 
development of Myanmar, is coming to an end, adding that "we have left 
the door open for those who have not yet returned to the legal fold." On 
the country's economic sector, Khin Nyunt noted that the Myanmar 
government has been endeavoring to improve its economy, to reduce the 
gap between the urban and the rural areas and for all the national races 
to enjoy the fruits of development equally.


AFP: UN rights envoy meets Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi 

YANGON, Oct 17 (AFP) - United Nations human rights envoy Paulo Sergio 
Pinheiro met Wednesday with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after 
cutting short an upcountry tour of Myanmar for health reasons, official 
sources said.
 The ageing Brazilian academic met with the Nobel peace laureate at her 
lakeside home for at least an hour, and was due to leave Yangon late 
Wednesday at the end of a nine-day visit. 

 Pinheiro travelled north from the Myanmar capital on Saturday to meet 
with ethnic minority and democratic opposition leaders, but called off 
trips to Myintkyina, in Kachin state, and the ancient city of Bagan. 

 The rights envoy visited Shan state and the city of Mandalay, 540 miles 
(860 kilometres) north of Yangon, but did not meet with representatives 
from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) as planned. 

 Pinheiro was not due back in Yangon until Friday, but returned early 
due to health problems, according to official sources. No details about 
his condition were available.
 He was originally expected to have spent the remainder of the tour in 
Kachin state, where he was due to meet Myanmar officials and leaders 
from the Kachin Independence Organisation.
 On Thursday, he was scheduled to visit the capital of southern Shan 
state for talks with another minority group that has signed a ceasefire 
pact with the government, the Pa-o National Organization. 

 The mission, originally slated to last 12 days, was the second by 
Pinheiro, who in April became the first UN human rights envoy to be 
given permission to travel to Myanmar in five years. 

 Both sides expressed satisfaction with the results of the April trip, 
and the working relationship was cemented last week when the junta 
released five top political prisoners to mark Pinheiro's arrival. 
 The releases, described as a "goodwill gesture by the government", 
bring to 174 the number of opposition National League for Democracy 
(NLD) members freed this year. 

 During his first visit Pinheiro was also allowed to see Aung San Suu 
Kyi, who has been under house arrest for the past year, and took part in 
landmark talks with the junta. 

 The UN Human Rights Commission passed a resolution in April with the 
support of 53 countries saying human rights abuses and persecution of 
the political opposition in Myanmar were unacceptable. 

 But the ruling junta insisted the resolution failed to accurately 
portray the situation, particularly because it relied on information 
supplied by the UN's previous rights rapporteur. 


Shan Herald Agency for News:  Townspeople near projected bridge living 
in fear

Oct. 17, 2001

Some 40 households living near the projected second friendship bridge  
across the river of Maesai between the Thai town that bears its name and 
 Shan State's Tachilek are undergoing a nightmare of their homes and 
land  being confiscated by their military authorities, reported two Shan 
social  workers in Chiangrai yesterday.

Foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai announced in August of the 
agreement  that was made between Rangoon and Bangkok of the plan. He 
held talks again  with Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt in Tachilek on 7 October on the 
construction plans  of the bridge, reported The New Light of Myanmar, 
Rangoon's official  bulletin, on 11 October.

The social workers said the area, once a large paddy field, was 
confiscated  several years ago and sold to the people who are now living 
there. "Many of  them now regret they had ever bought it from the 
authorities," one said.  "They also hope Bangkok might be able to 
persuade Rangoon to pay  compensations to the affected households."

Sources said there was one 4-storey building and the rest were either 2 
or  3-storeyed.

The bridge is due to finish within the next year, they said. 


Kyodo: Myanmar youth devour religious books amid hazy future

By Nattha Keenapan

RANGOON, Oct. 17, Kyodo - As the sun rises behind the Shwedagon Pagoda 
in Myanmar, hundreds of devoutly Buddhist locals gather to pray and 
meditate. Elsewhere in Rangoon, the sound of prayer echoes in 
monasteries situated along the capital's lush and clean roads.

Such daily scenes and the proliferation of Buddhist temples across 
Myanmar make it clear why the country has been dubbed the ''Land of 

Over the centuries, Buddhism and monks have played important roles in 
Myanmar and the country's rich Buddhist culture has been deeply absorbed 
into the minds of the majority of its people.

It should thus come as no surprise that bestsellers in most of Rangoon's 
bookstores are religious books, though it may surprise some that most of 
the buyers are youngsters.

Under the surface of Buddhist tranquillity, however, worries lurk in 
many people's minds and their future is vague.

Myanmar has been ruled since 1962 by the military, which has refused to 
hand over power to the victor of the 1990 general elections -- Aung San 
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy -- which won 80% of 
parliamentary seats.
Universities and colleges have been closed down intermittently since 
1962 due to periodic uprisings against the military regime, and for 
almost seven years following a 1988 bloody uprising they were completely 
shut down.
Since reopening, they have been relocated to remote areas, and students 
have been made to sign papers vowing they will not engage in dissident 

While schools are back in session, hundreds of thousands of students 
have slipped through the educational gap, failing to return to their 

The economy suffered severely under the 26 years of socialist 
mismanagement and has yet to fully recover.

Prices of major consumer goods have soared 25 times since 1988. Foreign 
investors have hesitated to come due to the government's inconsistent 
economic and trade policies and Western sanctions imposed over the 
junta's alleged violations of human rights.

''Everybody is going ahead, and we stand still. We still do not have 
Internet access and other facilities. We are not being provided with 
enough information,'' said a 25-year-old graduate student who asked not 
to be named for fear of the authorities.

''Whenever we meet people from abroad, like young people in the same age 
group, we can get depressed comparing our opportunities, our knowledge 
and ourselves. We're so far behind and we cannot do anything about it,'' 
the student said.

While youngsters in other troubled parts of the world may find respite 
from their worries through entertainment in nightclubs and other fun, 
there are few such diversions in Myanmar for those without means, a 
situation that has led many youth to seek solace in religious books.

A 54-year-old Burmese Buddhist monk, Sayadaw U Jotika, has in recent 
years become one of the most popular monks among Myanmar youth, with his 
books becoming bestsellers in most local bookstores.

A 27-year-old civil servant, Zin Zin, not her real name, who grew up in 
a devoutly good Buddhist family, said she started reading Jotika's books 
three years ago and found them to be a source of healing for her stress 
and frustration.

''It's true that the general situation in Myanmar makes me read this 
kind of book, let alone our own personal problems,'' she said.

She said the books taught her to prepare and cope with stress and 
depression in daily life, while they also taught her to pick up the 
habit of being mindful and trying to understand her own mind and the 
imperfection of herself and others.

''Stay calm. Wait. Be patient. Do whatever is possible at the moment. 
Nothing lasts forever. Things will change, possibly for the better, if 
you stay clear and calm,'' Jotika said in one of his books, following 
Buddha's teaching that everything is impermanent, including life, and 
that one should be with the present.

Zin Zin said Jotika's books are commonly given as presents. 
''We buy them as presents for others and they spread around, like a 
multiplier effect. Young people here find a better way to solve their 
problems compared to youths in other countries who may go out to 
nightclubs. We can't afford that. It's a different way of solving 
problems,'' she said. 

Jotika, however, views himself as an ordinary person rather than a monk 
although he has been ordained since the age of 27.

''I don't want people to just blindly follow my idea or my discussion 
because I don't think of myself as a preacher. I'm just a human being,'' 
he said.

''I understand that what most people feel and look for is what I've felt 
and been looking for all my life. What people really want is courage, 
confidence and spiritual strength, not money or fame,'' he said.

Jotika agreed that youth these days are facing difficulties with their 
own stress and social problems linked together. He urges his readers to 
try to understand the problems and find good solutions to heal society. 

''I don't encourage anyone to be violent. It will give a negative answer 
and cause more problems. We need a strong, peaceful and loving mind with 
deep understanding and real courage to take responsibility and to find 
solutions for social problems,'' he said.

''Don't act with anger, calm down,'' Jotika told a group of lay 
disciples who sought his advice.


Network Media Group:  Two hundred prisoners replaced for 120 prisoners 
in hard labor camp 

ICRC suggested some prisoners are not suitable for hard labor  

Moreh, October 17, 2001 

A total of 200 prisoners from Monywa are to be replaced for more than 
120 prisoners who were sent back to original prisons on October 15 with 
the suggestion of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from 
three hard labor camps in Tamu district near Indo-Myanmar border. 

The prisoners sent back to original prisons with the suggestion of ICRC 
consist of 39 from Oakpho hard-labor camp, 60 from Saya San camp and 24 
from Yazagyo 1 camp. They were suggested by ICRC, not to do hard labor 
due to their health conditions, old aged and some are too young. 

The conditions of the prisoners under so called "new life project" 
number 1 were deteriorated due to continuous hard work for the whole 
day, insufficient food and malaria. The mortality rate of the prisoners 
in these camp ranges from 24 to 30 percent every year, according to the 
reports of the directorate of prisons.  

An investigation team from ICRC visited these camps during last month 
and suggested some prisoners are not suitable for hard labor. The number 
of prisoners unsuitable for hard labor among new 200 prisoners to be 
replaced, is not yet known. 



In These Times:  Backing Out of Burma

October 29, 2001
Lauren Courcy
   Sara Lee, owner of Hanes, and Williams Sonoma, owner of Pottery Barn, 
both  promised this month to pull Burmese imports off their shelves.  
That makes 20  companies in the last 14 months to cut off production in 
Burma because of human  rights abuses by the ruling military regime.
   The International Labor Organization has called working conditions in 
Burma  "a modern form of slave labor." In 1997, the United States banned 
direct  investment in Burma by American corporations but did nothing to 
prevent those  corporations from licensing the production of their goods 
to factories run by  the military regime.  "We saw a gigantic spike in 
imports after the 1997 ban,"  says Jeremy Woodrum, director of the 
Washington office of the Free Burma  Coalition.  The companies pulled 
out under pressure from activist groups such as  the Free Burma 
Coalition, Global Exchange and the National Labor Committee.  

   "Doing business with a military regime is hard, a little bizarre," 
says Heidi  Quante, coordinator of Global Exchange's Burma Project.  
"It's a risky, unstable  environment.  I think that in itself serves as 
a deterrent."  

   Major American corporations that continue to import goods from Burma 
include  Crate and Barrel and Ames.  Federated Department Stores -- 
owner of  Bloomingdale's, Macys and Burdines and the single biggest 
clothing dealer in  America -- also continues to sell Burmese products 
in its stores. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Shan Herald Agency for News: Alien Workers Registration way below target

17 October 2001

No: 10 - 05:

The registration of migrant workers from Burma that began on 24 
September and to be ended tomorrow bagged 20,000 short of the minimum 
50,000 mark in Chiangmai, according to a Thai social worker. 
"Most of them don't have the money to pay for the work permit," he said. 
According to the conditions laid down by the Ministry of Labor and 
Social Welfare, it costs each applicant B. 3,250 for the first six 
months of the year and another B. 1,200 for the second six months. 
The majority, especially in Fang, Mae Ai and Chaiprakarn districts where 
there are large fruit plantations, receive pay only when there is work 
in the fields that demands additional labor, according to other sources. 
"There must be about 150,000 of them," said one social worker from Fang, 
160 km north of Chiangmai. 
The social worker from Bangkok, who speaks Thai, Shan and Burmese 
fluently, reported only 40% of the applicants could pay for themselves, 
while for 20% the fee is paid by the employer "who is going to cut it 
back from the employee later" and another 30% by loaning. "Only 10% of 
them were paid for in full by their employers, who consider them as 
'part of the family'," he said. 

The social worker also related how some applicants came to inquire 
whether they could apply for marriage certificates and driving licenses 
by using the work permits. "Of course, we had to advise them to seek 
answers from departmental officials under the Ministry of the Interior." 

The deadline of registration was extended from 13 October to 18 October. 

"The 30 government officials, assisted by the Migrant Assistance 
Program, an NGO based in Chiangmai, have been working through weekdays 
and weekends for 25-days in a row now," he said. 

Other details
a. Applicants by age
15-20 = 30%
20-35 = 50%
35-50 = 15%
50-60 = 5%

b. Applicants by sex:
Male 47%
Female 53%

c. Applicants by states:
Shan 97%
Karen 2%
Others 1%

d. Occupations
Agriculture comes on top followed by factories and small industries, 
housekeeping and entertainment. 


EarthRights International: Testimony at the hearing of the Development 
Committee of the European  Parliament on October 11th, 2001, on European 
Oil Companies in Burma


Marco Simons

         Over the past ten years, the Burmese military has committed  
widespread and egregious human rights abuses for the benefit of western 
oil  companies, including Premier Oil and TotalFinaElf.  The companies 
hired the  military to provide security and build infrastructure for 
their gas  pipeline projects even though they knew the military would 
commit abuses on  their behalf.  Despite these abuses, Premier and Total 
remain in  partnership with the Burmese government.  Burmese soldiers 
continue to  provide security for their pipelines, and continue to 
commit human rights  abuses for their benefit.

         We have ample evidence that Total and Premier have long known 
of  the dangers of using the Burmese military to provide security, yet 
went  ahead with their projects nonetheless.  A U.S. federal judge 
recently found  that there was evidence to show that partners in Total's 
pipeline knew of  the military's poor human rights record, hired the 
military to provide  security, and knew or should have known that the 
military would commit  human rights abuses in the course of providing 
security.  Additionally, an  impact assessment done for Premier's 
pipeline consortium, as well as  declassified cables from the U.S. 
embassy in Rangoon, demonstrate the  companies' knowledge of the 
likelihood of human rights abuses being  committed by the soldiers 
providing security.

         The military has provided at least three key services to the  
companies.  First, the military secured the region before work on the  
pipelines began.  As part of this effort, the military forcibly 
relocated  several villages and committed countless human rights abuses. 
 Second, as  onshore work was commencing, the military directed the 
construction of  service roads and helipads, as well as their own camps 
and barracks,  through the use of forced labor.

Finally, the military provides ongoing security for the  pipelines.  
According to deserters that we have interviewed, at least two  infantry 
battalions#273 and #282 were created specifically for pipeline  
security, in addition to several other battalions that patrol throughout 
 the region.  The fact that these battalions provide security for the  
pipeline is well known; for example, one villager interviewed this 
summer  described #273 and # 282 as the battalions hired by Total, and 
another  described both of them as providing security for the 

Recent interviews conducted by EarthRights  International confirms that 
the military units who provide security for the  pipelines are still 
procuring forced labor.  The worst form of this is  forced portering, 
where the soldiers force villagers to join them on  patrols, carrying 
heavy loads of supplies and ammunition, often beating  them or even 
leaving them to die.
        According to a villager from the pipeline region who we  
interviewed in July, a delegation from the Burmese government in Rangoon 
 came to his village earlier this year to explain to them that there 
would  be no more forced labor.  After this delegation left, the village 
was  visited by the captain of the local military unit.  The soldiers 
warned  them that they would be punished if they told anyone that they 
still had to  do forced labor and portering.

         We have multiple reports from villagers in the pipeline region  
that forced labor is in fact continuing; for example, three individuals  
from the same village told us that battalion #273, one of the battalions 
 created to guard the pipeline, has forced civilians to work for them 
within  the past few months.  One man from another village near the 
pipeline told  us earlier this year that, within the previous year, he 
had been forced to  porter ten times, mostly for battalions #273 and 
#282.  He was forced to  porter even after signs were posted in his 
village indicating that no one  would be required to porter anymore.  
While portering, he was beaten by  soldiers and witnessed another porter 
who had died.  Another villager from  the region told us that, in May of 
this year, soldiers from battalion #282  arrested several villagers and 
forced them to porter.  They were then  forced to help clear the local 
road for several miles.

         In addition to battalions #273 and #282, other battalions also  
patrol to provide security for the gas pipelines.  One man from a 
village  near the pipelines told us that battalion #410, which we had 
previously  confirmed as providing pipeline security, regularly 
conscripts porters to  patrol along the pipeline.

         In addition to interviews, we also have evidence of 
communications  between military units indicating that forced labor is 
continuing.  Soldiers have told each other to be wise when using forced  
labor, and have been instructed not to leave any written documentation 
of  forced labor orders; if they do give written orders to the village 
headmen,  they are instructed to get the orders back from them.

         Other abuses by the military also continue, though some have  
changed in subtle ways.  For example, villagers were formerly required 
to  pay a monthly portering fee directly to the local military 
commanders.  The  villagers still have to pay the armyin fact, one woman 
from a village near  the pipelines told us of three people being beaten 
by the soldiers from  battalion #282 because they refused to give money 
to the soldiersbut the  labels for the fees have now changed.  Instead 
of portering fees, villagers  are required to contribute to funds such 
as the Frontline Soldiers' Fund,  or the Police and Militia Security 

         Another ongoing problem for villagers in the pipeline region is 
 that the military does not allow them to come and go freely.  In order 
to  tend their farms in outlying areas, they must obtain passes from the 
 military.  These passes are not always given out, putting the 
villagers'  livelihood at risk.  We have also heard multiple reports of 
soldiers  forcing villagers to give them food, as well as confiscating 
rice paddies  for their own use.

         The activities of Premier Oil and TotalFinaElf in Burma are in  
flagrant violation of the companies' own internal standards, and in  
violation of international law.  For example, both Total's and Premier's 
 human rights policies indicates that the companies respect the 
Universal  Declaration of Human Rights, and Premier's indicates that it 
will withdraw  from relationships with business partners who do not make 
progress toward  implementing human rights standards.  Overwhelming 
evidence indicates that  the Burmese military, the business partner of 
the companies as well as  their agent for pipeline security, has 
committed massive human rights  abuses.  Accordingly, in keeping with 
its own policy, Premier should  terminate its partnership with the 
military and withdraw from its project.     
     Not only do Premier and Total fail to meet their own stated  
standards of behavior, they fail to meet basic standards of corporate  
accountability.  True corporate responsibility would require several  
elements.  Most importantly, the victims of human rights abuses must 
have  some form of redress.  International law, including the European 
Convention  on Human Rights and other major human rights treaties, 
requires that  victims of human rights abuses be provided with a remedy. 
 Redress itself  is therefore a human right.

Without providing redress to the victims of their actions, and  without 
a commitment to halt the conduct that causes ongoing violations of  
human rights, Premier and Total cannot claim that they are good 
corporate  citizens, regardless of what their new policies and codes of 
conduct may say. 


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:

(US) +1(413)604-9008


Burma News Summaries available by email or the web

There are three Burma news digest services available via either email or 
the web.

Burma News Update
Frequency: Biweekly
Availability: By fax or the web.
Viewable online at 
Cost: Free
Published by: Open Society Institute, Burma Project

The Burma Courier 
Frequency: Weekly 
Availability: E-mail, fax or post.  To subscribe or unsubscribe by email 
Viewable on line at: http://www.egroups.com/group/BurmaCourier
Cost: Free
Note: News sources are cited at the beginning of an article. 
Interpretive comments and background
details are often added.

Burma Today
Frequency: Weekly
Availability: E-mail
Viewable online at http://www.worldviewrights.org/pdburma/today.html
To subscribe, write to pdburma@xxxxxxxxx
Cost: Free
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!