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BurmaNet News: November 4, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
          November 4, 2001   Issue # 1911
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Shan Herald Agency for News:  Forced labor for yet another death 
*Shan Human Rights Foundation: Killing at Forced Labour Site in 
*Irrawaddy: WGAD Cites Arbitrary Detention

MONEY _______
*Kyodo: Japan, Myanmar sign debt relief agreement

*Irrawaddy: KNU Denies Ceasefire Talks Taking Place

*Upstream: Truckers revving up in  Burma fight 

*ARNO: [Rohingya organisation rejects link with any terrorist 

*Far Eastern Economic Review: No Easy Cures For Burma's Ills

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Shan Herald Agency for News:  Forced labor for yet another death railway

November 02, 2001 

Sources that fled recently into Thailand told S.H.A.N. the Burma Army 
had  been conscripting people in southern Shan State for labor in the  
construction of a new railroad from Hsihseng to Kunhing.

They said the Burma Army had been busy recruiting laborers since the 
visit  to Kunhing by Gen Maung Aye, Vice Chairman of the ruling military 
council  and army commander, on 23 October.

"In Namzang township alone, 240 people, age between 18-55, have begun 
the  task of clearing the area for the railroad," said one of the 
sources, who,  along with others, requested anonymity. He said they were 
working under the  supervision of Captain Than Naing Oo, Company 5, IB 

Myanma Alin, the official bulletin, reported on 25 October that Gen 
Maung  Aye flew to Namzang, 62 miles east of Taunggyi, to inspect the 
project  sites and met with the officials concerned, including the 55th 
Light  Infantry Division.

Shan Human Rights Foundation reports in its illustrated The Shan Case  
(1993): The 102-mile long Loikaw-Aungban railway was built with the 
blood,  sweat, tears, lives, money, homes and lands of the people. And 
now, since  January 6 1993, the same has been happening with the 
Shwenyaung-Namsang  railroad. People of both sexes, aged between 15 and 
59, are being ordered  to work for weeks. Absentees are fined K. 3,000 


Irrawaddy: WGAD Cites Arbitrary Detention

By Zarny Win

November 03, 2001?The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary 
Detention (WGAD) has recently declared the imprisonment of seven 
political prisoners in Burma to be arbitrary, according to a statement 
released by the WGAD on October 26. 

In response to this declaration, the Assistance Association for 
Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) based in Mae Sot, Thailand, has 
called on Burma?s ruling military government to immediately and 
unconditionally release the seven prisoners.

The AAPP sent the WGAD a petition in February of this year asking the UN 
group to review the terms of the prisoners? continued incarceration, 
noting that their extended sentencing was in contradiction to 
international law. 

"The WGAD?s opinion will tell the regime that it is not acting in 
accordance with 
international law, and they (WGAD) have asked the country to rectify 
their position," 
said Ko Tate, secretary of the AAPP. He added that the AAPP is hoping 
the WGAD?s recent opinion may increase political pressure on Burma?s 
military regime to adopt a democratic system. 

The AAPP has said they will be releasing a statement soon concerning 
student leader Min Ko Naing?s continued detention despite completing his 
original sentence. Min Ko Naing?s case has been reviewed by the WGAD and 
his detention has also been deemed arbitrary. 

The group has already sent a petition to the WGAD asking for opposition 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi?s case to be reviewed as soon as possible. Suu 
Kyi remains under house arrest in Rangoon. The WGAD will review Suu 
Kyi?s case at their November session. 

Between 1991-1997, the WGAD has declared the detention of over 1,300 
prisoners around the world to be arbitrary. They have also ruled the 
detention of nineteen other prisoners to be legitimate. According to the 
WGAD, 335 of these prisoners have been released.

Since 1993, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has authorized 
the WGAD to take up cases on its own when sufficient evidence exists 
that substantiates allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The WGAD not only attempts to free arbitrarily detained individuals but 
above all seeks to have governments adopt the necessary legislation that 
would prevent any new cases of arbitrary detention. 




Shan Human Rights Foundation: Killing at Forced Labour Site in Murng-ton



        On 4.10.01, one of 17 villagers conscripted as forced labourers 
was brutally beaten to death by SPDC troops from LIB519 at a military 
camp in Wan Naa tract, Murng-Ton township.         

On the day of the incident, 17 villagers, 10 men and 7 women, from Naa 
Niu village in Wan Naa tract, Murng-Ton township, were conscripted by 
SPDC troops of Co. No.3 of LIB519, led by Capt. Maung Swe, to work at a 
military camp as unpaid forced labourers.         

One of the villagers, Lung Kaw, male, aged 53, was not feeling very 
well, but had to go because it was his turn and there was no one in his 
family to go in his place. 

        Lung Kaw was forced to dig a ditch at the military camp and he 
frequently needed to take a short rest because he got quickly tired and 
weak from his sickness.

         One of the SPDC troops overseeing the work site accused Lung 
Kaw of not wanting to work properly for the military and kicked him, 
causing him to fall down on the ground and lose unconscious. 

        As Lung Kaw regained consciousness and tried to get up, one of 
the soldiers beat him on the back of his neck with a stick, killing him 
instantly and throwing him down into the ditch he had been digging. 

        When it was sure that Lung Kaw was dead, Capt. Maung Swe warned 
all the rest of the forced labourers not to tell anyone about the 
beating, but to say that Lung Kaw had died from a severe stroke, and 
threatened to kill every one if any one of them dared to reveal the 
truth to other people.

         In addition, the other villagers were forced to pay 3,000 Kyat 
of money for a truck to take Lung Kaw?s body back to their village.


Kyodo: Japan, Myanmar sign debt relief agreement

YANGON, Nov. 2, Kyodo - Japan on Thursday agreed to provide Myanmar debt 
relief of 1.8 billion yen, the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar said Friday. 
Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar Shigeru Tsumori and Myanmar Deputy 
Finance Minister Brig. Gen. Than Tun signed and exchanged notes on the 
debt relief Thursday evening in Rangoon, according to a press release 
issued by the embassy.

Japan, Myanmar's largest aid donor, had extended 402.9 billion yen to 
Myanmar by the time it was declared a least developed country in 
December 1987. 

Since then, Japan has extended debt relief grants to Myanmar regularly 
to relieve the burden of debt owed by the Myanmar government. The 
arrangement is aimed at eventually writing off the entire debt.

Yangon and Tokyo signed the previous agreement for debt relief of nearly 
2 billion yen in March.


Irrawaddy: KNU Denies Ceasefire Talks Taking Place

By Ko Thet

October 31, 2001?The Karen National Union?s (KNU) supposed talks with 
the Burmese government regarding a ceasefire agreement have been 
fabricated, according to a KNU official. The rumor claimed that the two 
parties met in Bangkok last week, but KNU General Secretary Phado Mahn 
Sha denied the alleged meeting ever occurred. 

"The KNU did not talk with the regime; this news is just a rumor. Our 
troops are still fighting with government forces throughout our 
controlled areas. The government has actually stepped up efforts against 
us now that the rainy season is ending," Phado Mahn Sha told The 

The KNU is the most powerfully armed ethnic minority group in Burma that 
is currently fighting against government troops. The KNU has 12,000 
troops based along the Thai-Burma border. KNU officials met four times 
with military officials during 1995-1996 to discuss a ceasefire 
agreement but the two sides were never able to agree on a settlement. 

During the Burmese junta?s Secretary One Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt?s recent trip 
to Bangkok, he met with Thai Third Army Commander Gen Wattanachai to 
discuss Burmese insurgent groups operating from Thai soil. Phado Mahn 
Sha said that he has not heard anything from the Thai government 
regarding this meeting


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Upstream: Truckers revving up in  Burma fight 

October 12, 2001 

 from London 

 Teamsters protest to Amerada Hess over Premier's presence in country   
with poor record on human rights 

 PROTESTERS campaigning against oil company involvement in Burma   have 
attracted a new and somewhat unusual band of followers in the shape   of 
US truckers working for Amerada Hess. 

 The truckers, members of the US union the International Brotherhood of  
 Teamsters, are sending a strong message to chairman and chief executive 
  officer John B Hess imploring him to drop its stake in UK-based 
Premier   Oil. 

 The Hess Teamsters, wearing stickers which read "Hess out of Burma",   
argue the company is supporting brutal forced labour and the suppression 
  of democracy in Burma through its stake in Premier. 

 "Hess Teamsters are appalled that their company, whose success they   
help to create, would be connected in any way to the denial of human   
rights," said general president of the International Brotherhood of   
Teamsters, James P Hoffa. 

 Around 300 Teamsters - the majority of whom are truckers in the   
north-east US and South Carolina - have joined in the protest by sending 
  in "an appeal for justice" to Hess. Amerada points out its investment 
in   Premier is "ring fenced" and does not extend into Premier's 
interests in   Burma.
 "Our directors do not take part in any discussions on Burma assets," 
said a   company spokesman. 

 While oil companies have often been quite successful in countering the  
 protests of an assortment of pressure groups, some of them know through 
  bitter experience picking an argument with their own truckers can 
prove a   costly mistake. 


ARNO: [Rohingya organisation rejects link with any terrorist 

Arakan Rohingya National Organisation

[Text of press release issued by the Central Executive Committee of 
Arakan rohingya National Organization on 29 October] [FBIS Transcribed 
Text] Our attention has been drawn to the news item(s) appeared in 
BurmaNet dated October 23, 2001 and other international media, including 
the Burmese SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] press, 
implicating Rohingya groups to have connection with terrorist 
organisation. So far Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) is 
concerned, we strongly reject any direct or indirect link with any 
terrorist organisation. 

ARNO condemns the terrorist attacks in United State on 11 September 2001 
and believes that terrorism is an evil on earth that knows no homeland, 
nationality, religion, or race and so everybody must disown it and 
condemn it. At the same time, the importance of making distinction 
between terrorism or wanton killing of innocent people and freedom 
struggle or the right to fight against injustice must not be overlooked. 
Terrorism practiced by the state is most dangerous and, in this 
connection, it is to be mentioned that the Burmese SPDC is a terrorist 
military clique, which is practicing the most outrageous crimes and has 
killed hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians and democracy 
activists across the country. SPDC with the vested interests is now 
trying to exploit the grave situation the world is facing today, in the 
wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in United States, and is 
making conspiracy to discredit its oppositions particularly the Rohingya 
organisations--being Muslim groups--and to "tar them with the same 

It may here be mentioned that ARNO is one of the two component 
organisations of Arakan Independence Alliance (AIA) and the other is 
National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) which is made of largely Rakhine 
or Buddhist community of Arakan. AIA is a joint freedom movement of the 
all people of Arakan, without distinction as to race, colour, or 
religion in order to liberate and restore their lost independence. The 
former Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) is no more in existence as 
it was already dissolved and merged into ARNO. Thus the question of its 
alleged link with Osama Bin laden Network does not arise anymore. 

The Burmese military has subjected the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan to 
large scale persecution, ethnic cleansing, genocide and extermination. 
As a result, nearly half of their population have been in exile in many 
countries of the world while those still at home are counting their days 
in utter dismay and frustration, on account of SPDC's continued state 
terrorism. In recent weeks, Muslims in Burma have become vulnerable 
after terrorist attacks in the United States and conflict in 
Afghanistan. The military SPDC or citizens of other ethnic groups may 
think that they can justify anti-Muslim activities as part of "the war 
on terrorism." 

Increasing signs of Muslim and Islam hatred and climate of victimization 
of Muslims in Burma have been reported across the country. Persistent 
rioting and clashes between Muslims and Buddhists, destruction of Muslim 
shops and houses in towns and cities, tightening of travel and worship 
restrictions on the Muslims and stepping up of persecution of Rohingya 
Muslims in Arakan have taken place. SPDC is responsible for these 
violence on religious line. At this trying situation, we also condemn 
the Burmese military SPDC for perpetrating state terrorism. [Description 
of Source: Chittagong Arakan Rohingya National Organisation in English: 
Website advocating self-determination and Independence for Burma's 
Arakan State. Based in Bangladesh]


Far Eastern Economic Review: No Easy Cures For Burma's Ills

By Bertil Lintner

Issue cover-dated November 08, 2001

Burma: The State of Myanmar, by David Steinberg. Georgetown University 
Press. $67.50 Burma: The Curse of Independence, by Shelby Tucker. Pluto 
Press. £12.99 ($18.50) 

BURMESE WHO cherish their independence will not like the subtitle of 
Shelby Tucker's book--The Curse of Independence--but it is one of the 
most comprehensive accounts of modern Burmese history written in recent 
years. He outlines Burma's descent into chaos after independence from 
Britain in 1948, and gives his view on why the country has been engulfed 
since then in a civil war. 

Tucker, a British-based American lawyer and writer, walked through 
rebel-held areas in northern Burma from January to April 1989. This is 
his second book. His first, Among Insurgents, is a lively description of 
that trek, from China to India, across areas controlled by Burmese 
communists as well as ethnic rebels. 

David Steinberg's Burma covers a broader range of issues. It is an 
account of recent developments in the country, especially since the 
crisis of 1988, when massive street demonstrations almost toppled the 
military-dominated regime. It is also a serious attempt at a more 
objective look at the situation of "the sick man of Southeast Asia" by a 
scholar who has written numerous books and articles about that country. 

While Tucker's book is likely to make the Burmese government furious, 
Steinberg's suggestions that the outside world should create an 
atmosphere conducive to dialogue--by dampening criticism of Burma's 
human-rights record and restoring aid--is bound to be perceived by the 
opposition as pushing a policy of appeasement with the ruling junta. 

That contradiction in itself reflects the Burmese conundrum: Why is it 
that some sort of compromise has never been part of the Burmese 
equation? Why is the country still at war with itself? 

Tucker and Steinberg seem to agree on a few points. One is that both 
consider Burma's ethnic issue to be at the root of the country's many 
problems. Burma, with its present borders, is a colonial creation, 
linking people who have little or nothing in common other than that 

The authors, both eager to see peace, normality and democracy restored 
in this troubled nation, have entirely different outlooks. 

Steinberg identifies areas where he believes Burma's many opposing 
groups and parties could find common ground. Among his suggestions are 
that the outside world should guarantee Burma's territorial integrity to 
"assuage fears of national dismemberment." But that assumes that a main 
reason why the military holds on to power is its fear of the country 
breaking apart. 

Tucker, on the other hand, writes that he has "little faith in 
fundamental change happening through peace as an inherent dynamic of 
healing and reconciliation, or trust-building by economic and social 
progress." The generals' vested interests in continuing the existing 
system is too entrenched and their fear of reprisals for what they have 
done to the population too strong, he argues. 

Perhaps there is no solution, and Burma may survive by hobbling on from 
crisis to crisis. That is at least the impression gleaned from reading 
these two different accounts of the background to the situation in Burma 

What the books have in common is that neither offers convincing 
arguments that change is possible. But that is not the fault of the 


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