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BurmaNet News: November 28, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: November 28, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 08:24:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
November 28, 2001 Issue # 1927
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING: "If the news that members of ARNO [Arakan Rohingya
National Organization] had been trained at bin Laden?s camps in
Afghanistan were really true, you would have seen major operations by
Rohingya militants along the border."
Thet Lwin Oo, a spokesperson for the Muslim Information Committee of
Burma. See The Irrawaddy: The Rohingya: A Muslim Menace?
INSIDE BURMA _______
*The Irrawaddy: The Rohingya: A Muslim Menace?
*Network Media Group: Explosion and fire kills 9 people and destroys
tens of millions of Kyats worth properties in Pharkant, Kachin State
*AFP: Bangladesh, Myanmar discuss prospect of air, road links with China
*DVB: Burmese opposition says junta joins terrorist nations by accepting
scientists Burmese opposition says junta joins terrorist nations by
*AP: Myanmar asks Thailand to return seven soldiers
*BurmaNet: Situation Report of the Northern Karen Districts
*DVB: Porter shortage affects junta troops search for Mon splinter group
*Reuters: Four percent of Thais addicted to drugs - govt
*AP: Thai soldiers kill alleged drug trafficker near Myanmar border
*Korea Times: Facility Offers Aid to Migrant Workers
*AFP: UN envoy upbeat on eventual progress in Myanmar peace talks
*The Nation [U.S.]: Strange Boardfellows
*Burma Peace Campaign: The Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
The Irrawaddy: The Rohingya: A Muslim Menace?
by Maung Maung Oo
Much of the concern about possible Islamic radicalism in Burma has
centered on Rohingya organizations based along the country?s western
border with Bangladesh. When Osama bin Laden spoke of having agents
"from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan
and from Burma to Kashmir" in a recent interview, the governments of
both countries immediately directed their attentions to their troubled
common border, even as they denied that they were harboring terrorist
cells belonging to bin Laden?s Al-Qaeda network.
Rohingya groups have been fighting against Rangoon for years, but this
in itself offers little evidence that they are part of a pan-Islamic
movement; after all, Burma has been riddled with ethnic and ideological
insurgencies of various descriptions since it attained independence in
1948. Two of these groups?the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) and
the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO)?joined forces in 1988, and
later set up the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO). The group
is currently believed to have about 200 militant members.
According to Thet Lwin Oo, a spokesperson for the Muslim Information
Committee of Burma (MICB), it is unlikely that ARNO or any of its
associated groups are involved with bin Laden. "If the news that members
of ARNO had been trained at bin Laden?s camps in Afghanistan were really
true, you would have seen major operations by Rohingya militants along
the border. But in reality, their activities are very limited. This
proves that they don?t have any connection with bin Laden," maintained
Thet Lwin Oo.
While ARNO faces growing pressure from Burmese and Bangladeshi
authorities, other, non-militant Rohingya groups continue to receive
discriminatory treatment from within Burma?s pro-democracy movement.
Rohingya organizations seeking to join other exiled dissidents in the
struggle to restore democracy are routinely barred from umbrella groups,
usually at the insistence of ethnic Arakanese, who say that the Rohingya
have never been recognized as a Burmese ethnic group.
Network Media Group: Explosion and fire kills 9 people and destroys tens
of millions of Kyats worth properties in Pharkant, Kachin State
Chiang Mai, November 25, 2001
An explosion due to fire in Pharkant jade mine killed 9 people, injured
24 others and destroyed tens of millions of Kyats worth properties on
A fire induced explosion at New Jade Company, in Quarter 3 of Seikmu
village in Pharkant jade mine area, killed the company owner U Ar Sait
and other 8 people and injured another 24 people. The explosion also
destroyed three other houses and a fire brigade truck. The lost value in
the explosion reached more than 40 million Kyats, said a source close to
authorities. Two carrier trucks and a van were also included in the lost
The explosion, from the gasoline barrels and large amount of gunpowder
sticks, occurred while a fire brigade and people were trying to kill the
fire. A source said that the gunpowder sticks in the company were bought
from Military Tactical Headquarters number 2 to use in excavating jades.
About 7 million Kyats worth gunpowder sticks were exploded, a source
close to the company said.
New Jade Company is one of the biggest company working on Jade business
in Pharkant, said the source.
The injured persons were hospitalized in Pharkant hospital and one
serious patient was sent to Mandalay General Hospital for further
treatment. The company paid the compensations of (500,000) Kyats each
for those who lost their lives in the incident, through Pharkant
Township Peace and Development Council.
The fire was started at 3 PM and subsided around 4 PM on November 19.
AFP: Bangladesh, Myanmar discuss prospect of air, road links with China
DHAKA, Nov 27 (AFP) - Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed here Tuesday to
explore the possibility of extending their air and highway links with
The prospects of opening the Beijing-Kuming-Yangon-Chittagong air and
road links under the proposed Asian highway were discussed during a
meeting between Myanmar ambassador Ohn Thwin and new Bangladesh Foreign
Minister Morshed Khan, the official BSS news agency reported.
This will "further contribute to economic, commercial and
infrastructure development between Bangladesh and Myanmar," the official
agency said without further details.
Bangladesh's southeastern port city of Chittagong is close to
northwestern Myanmar and is already linked by air with Yangon.
Bangladesh has long-standing relations with China and also with its
southeastern neighbour Myanmar.
DVB: Burmese opposition says junta joins terrorist nations by accepting
scientists Burmese opposition says junta joins terrorist nations by
Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 24 November
Indian newspapers have reported that two Pakistani scientists - Dr
Suleiman Asad and Dr Mohammad Ali Mukhtar - both alleged to have links
with terrorist Usamah Bin-Ladin, have been granted political asylum by
the SPDC military government. India-based DVB correspondent Thet Naing
filed this report.
[Thet Naing] The news cited that the two scientists were accepted by the
SPDC military junta following a request from the Pakistani Government.
The SPDC has kept the two Pakistani scientists under house arrest
somewhere in Burma's Sagaing Division. When DVB inquired about the
opinion of Dr Tint Swe, minister of the exiled National Coalition
Government of the Union of Burma, regarding the scientists he replied:
[Dr Tint Swe] According to the news, it is proof that Burma's SPDC
military government has grandly entered the global world of terrorism
which is currently the hottest news of today. It is quite strange for
them to enter Sagaing Division by plane. But there is one precedent,
when SPDC Secretary-2 Lt Gen Tin Oo was assassinated, two survivors who
were eyewitnesses were brought blindfolded to Kale Jail in Sagaing
Division. If you draw a conclusion, you can say that the SPDC has
widened the gap with the world and international media with such news.
[Thet Naing] When he was asked whether the SPDC's granting of sanctuary
to Pakistani nuclear scientists who are intimate with the world's
terrorist leader amount to support of terrorism, he answered as follows:
[Dr Tint Swe] I think it is not wrong to say that the acceptance of two
nuclear scientists show that Burma has not only slightly but
wholeheartedly joined the world's terrorist group. That is why, just as
the Burmese military government has governed the country with terror, it
is also a country that supports world terrorism.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 24 Nov 01
AP: Myanmar asks Thailand to return seven soldiers
MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) _ Myanmar on Wednesday demanded the return of
seven of its soldiers who it claims fled to Thailand by crossing the
land border this month, Thai officials said.
Thai Col. Saksin Klansanoh said he had no knowledge of the seven
soldiers, but would check if they were being held by the Thai army or
Saksin was speaking after a bilateral township border committee meeting
held in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, 370 kilometers (230 miles)
northwest of Bangkok.
It was the first such gathering in two years at this often tense
Lt. Col. Tin Aye, Myanmar's chief of delegation, urged Thailand not to
grant sanctuary to leaders and fighters of the rebel Karen National
Union, or KNU, which it claimed had been firing on Myanmar positions
from Thai soil.
The KNU, which has been fighting Myanmar's military regime for decades,
says that the seven missing soldiers are among 10 currently sheltering
at a KNU base on the Myanmar soil who deserted because of hunger and
bullying by their commander.
The KNU lost its last swathes of territory in Myanmar in 1997, but
maintains guerrilla resistance along the border.
Saksin denied that the KNU operated in Thailand.
BurmaNet: Situation Report of the Northern Karen Districts
[This report was written and submitted to BurmaNet by an aid worker who
was part of a just completed relief mission to the internally displaced
people in these areas described. The identity of the author and
organization is being withheld so as not to jeopardize their ability to
operate in the future.]
The Burma Army continues its attacks against the Karen people of Papun,
Taungoo and Nyaunglebin districts (northern Karen state, Burma),
destroying rice supplies, torturing and executing villagers, looting
villages, relocating people by force, conducting forced labor, and
terrorizing the population by the systematic laying of land mines
throughout each district.
This has resulted in an increase in the numbers of internally displaced
in these areas as well as a potential increase in refugees who may
arrive in Thailand due to this displacement.
37,007 Karen remain displaced in Papun district while over 50 villages
remained forceably relocated. Many IDPs from Nyaunglebin, Taungoo and
Thaton districts are still in Papun district since they fled their
districts during Burma Army attacks last year. This has put a strain on
the people of this district as they struggle to help feed these new
arrivals from their own stocks. Over 1,000 IDPs from Nyaunglebin (of the
2,000+) who fled between Nov 2000 and Feb 2001, remain in Papun
district, while an additional 1,000 IDPs who had hoped to remain in this
area had to go to refugee camps in Thailand due to the shortage of food.
The SPDC continues its work on the Kauk Kyi to Saw Hta road using forced
labor from nearby villages. The road is out-posted every 200 meters and
mines have been planted all along both sides of the road. The road
itself is an unimproved dirt road currently only usable in the dry
season (Dec-June). It connects Saw Hta on the Salween river to the east
with the town of Kauk Kyi 100kms to the west.
The Burma Army is currently re-supplying their units in Papun district
with rice for an expected dry season offensive. With over 20 Burma Army
battalions in the area the people live in fear yet they persevere.
The Karen Army continues to provide protection for the villagers and
IDPs as well as they can and schools and churches in Papun district
function well. Relief teams provide limited assistance and the
district's clinics meet some of the peoples' basic needs. "Please find a
way for us", was the plea of one IDP.
The people of Nyaunglebin were some of the hardest hit by the Burma
Army's 2000-2001 offensive.
Over 2,000 IDPs fled into Papun district between November 2000 and
February 2001. 13,000 IDPs remain in central and eastern Nyaunglebin
district and 370,000 are displaced in relocation sites in the western
lowlands of the district. Of the 13,000 IDPs in the central and eastern
areas, 5,450 are from Mone, 3550 from Ler Doh and 4,000 from Hsaw Hti
They fled because of the forced labor and "special" taxation as well as
direct attacks of the Burma Army.
Since November 2000, 83 villages were forced to move to 12 relocation
Forced labor is practiced by the Burma Army on the road project between
Shwygin in the southwest and Bye Gyi Ma They in central Nyaunglebin
district. The road is not yet complete. Around the larger towns and
villages of the district, the SSS or "short pants", (terror squads that
work to intimidate villagers and execute suspected KNU supporters),
continue to operate, terrorizing the populace. These units are
controlled directly from Rangoon and operate independently from the
15 Battalions of the Burma Army conduct operations in the district with
orders to "destroy all rice supplies and disrupt the population in the
mountains". They were also ordered to attack villages and IDP hide
sites, but were given the order, " do not burn down the houses because
human rights organizations are will take photographs and accuse us".
In September 2001, as 10 IDP families were attempting to flee the Mae
Yae area, Burma Army troops captured them and sent them to the
relocation site at Win Maung on the Bilin river. Win Maung is a major
main forced relocation site along the southern border area of
Nyaunglebin and Papun districts. The following villages were forced to
move to another relocation site at Ma Way (north of Win Maung, also on
the Bilin river) ; Wah Tho Ko,Ler Wah Ko,Klo Kee, Pwa Ya Kee, To Ko Kaw
Kee, Day Law Po,Mae Tha Ko Hta and Wah Tho Lo.
While a relief team was in the area in October 2001, Burma Army units
attacked a village, and close by, shot a 16 year old villager who was
gathering firewood.This same relief team also came across the skeletons
of two porters (one of whom was beaten to death), who were used by the
LIB 367 and LIB 368 commanded by Ltc. Ko Ko Aung, and then left to die,
during their November 2000 offensive in this area. In this district,
since November 2000, 50 villagers have been killed by the Burma Army,
over 100 injured during attacks and 20 women raped.
In spite of this, the people of Nyaunglebin district have not given up
and continue to rebuild their lives and farms. Where this is not
possible they have moved deeper into the mountains to start new
villages. Here they have also re-opened their schools and as of
November, 2001, there are 27 primary schools and 3 middle schools in
operation. There are also mobile clinics and a public health program in
place. The churches too continue to function as places of worship and
hope as well as providing social organizations that provide assistance
to the people.
The IDP population of Taungoo district is now over 9,600 and with a
increase of Burma Army activity in the district (mainly related to
forced labor for road construction), this number will probably increase.
There are three major road projects ongoing in the eastern part of
Toungoo district. Each of these road projects entail the use of forced
labor. Near Mawchi in the Karenni state.
The SPDC is building a road from the city of Taungoo (site of a
Divisional HQ), to the city of Mawchi in Karenni State. The road is not
yet complete but when it is it will connect the two areas with a year
around road. There are still 27 miles of un-navigable tract. (Near
Mawchi in the Karenni State, the SPDC force villagers to do road work,
however they do pay each village headman 8,000 kyat and 2 sacks of rice
for each mile of road cleared-70 feet wide by 1 mile long. This amount
must be divided among the entire village and the entire village must
work. No villager willing works as this amounts to almost nothing per
person. The work is not only difficult it also takes the villagers away
from their fields and farms, jeopardizing their harvest).
The second road is from Toungoo to Siday in the south central part of
Toungoo district. This road also serves Bu Sa Kee where a Strategic
Command HQ is located. The third road is a branch road off the
Taungoo-Mawchi road, that when complete will link Taungoo with Thandaung
in the northeast. Thandaung is important as it quarters a Training HQ
for officer, NCO, Land mine operations, guerrilla and SSS training
programs. These roads in the north and central areas combined with the
highway system to the west and the Kauk Kyi- Saw Hta road to the south,
will when complete, enable the Burma army to exert greater pressure on
the resistance forces as well IDPs hiding in the mountains.
There are now 15 battalions operating in this district. They conduct
road building security missions, patrols and sweeps to find IDPs. The
smallest force they usually travel with is 30 men and most often they
operate with no less than a column of 100 men. Each column has at least
1 60mm mortor, 2-5 RPG-7s, M91 rifle grenadiers, 1-3 crew served light
7.62 machine guns and 5.56 automatic rifles of Burma manufacture (copies
of G-3s and AK 47s). NCOs often carry M1 carbines. They also carry
locally produced MM1 and MM2 anti-personnel mines (copies of Chinese
mines) as well as mines supplied by China. There is a contingent of SSS
("short pants"-terror units). The SSS operate in mobile teams of 10 men
(each of these 10 man units belong to a larger mobile force of 65-85
men), terrorizing villagers with summary executions, brutal
interrogations, and the planting of land mines on village paths
suspected to be used by the resistant forces. Each team is equipped with
automatic weapons as well as 2 land mines each to place as needed.
"They have a list of suspects and enter the village at midnight, tie up
the victim, torture and interrogate him, then take to the riverside and
kill him, throwing his body in the river....this is very terrifying for
the people...they also lay in wait and capture people on the way to the
market and kill them if they have a flashlight or plastic sheet as these
items are thought to be headed to Karen resistance soldier.....on July
24 near Yee Thu Gyi village they killed two men on the trail, Mr. Apollo
age 30 and another man I did not know, they were only farmers not Karen
soldiers.", statement by a Karen man , Mae Ii, age 60, from Taungoo
Each battalion of infantry must supply 10-20 men for the SSS program
which is under the direct control of General Maung Ne who is in turn
under the command of General Khin Nyunt in Rangoon.
There are 9 relocation sites around Taungoo and 6 new relocation sites.
In one of the newest ones (Yee-Tha-Gong/ Klaw Mee Dur), the IDPs were
forced to fence in the site, live under a curfew and are forced to
provide labor for local road projects. This site is under the direct
control of LIB 73. LIB 73 was also the battalion that on August 27th
looted Yee Da Gong village and stole all the money from the church. The
6 new sites are; Aung Myin Ywa , Tha Bya Nyu, Ye Tha Go, Daw Ga Li
Gyi,Na Ka Mau, and Ya Za Ka.
In the Thandaung area only one original village remains, the rest have
been abandoned or their inhabitants forced to enter relocation sites. In
the Tantabin area there are only 2 original villages remaining.
As in the other Karen districts the people still resist the Burma Army
and try not to be forced to leave thier homes. If they are forced to
leave most try to hide in the mountains and to start new farms. IDP
schools, clinics and churches continue to serve the people. There are 3
mobile clinics, 50 primary schools, 3 middle schools and numerous
However, due to the strength of the Burma Army in the surrounding area
as well as the heavily mined and almost un-crossable Kauk Kyi- Saw Hta
road to south, it is very dangerous for anyone who does want to escape
DVB: Porter shortage affects junta troops search for Mon splinter group
DVB has learned that 32 prisoners have died and another 127 have
absconded from the 500 prisoner labourers recruited to work at the
construction site of the new headquarters for Military Operations
Management Command [MOMC] No 19 in Mon State's Ye Township.
The 500 prisoners were recruited from Moulmein prison in October. They
were not only used as labourers at the construction site but also as
porters for the front-line military columns. It is believed that the
many deaths and desertions of prisoner labourers and porters could
seriously affect the MOMC-19's search for the NMSP [New Mon State
Party] splinter group led by Nai Pan Nyunt.
Thus, the MOMC-19 has requested the Mon State Prisons Department for an
emergency supply of another 500 prisoner porters to be recruited
immediately in order to continue with the military operation.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 25 Nov 01
Reuters: Four percent of Thais addicted to drugs - govt
BANGKOK, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Thailand said on Wednesday more than four
percent of its 62-million population, were drug addicts, mostly hooked
The Ministry of Public Health said a nationwide survey in September
showed 91 percent of the 2.65 million addicts used cheaply made
methamphetamine, known as ``Ya ba,'' or ``crazy medicine.''
More common street names for the drug are speed, meth, crank, or
``The overall picture shows narcotic drugs have spread to every single
village of the 70,000 nationwide,'' Public Health Minister Sudarat
Keyuraphun said in the statement.
She said drug addicts were in all age ranges from as young as five
years to 68 years old, but the most prone ages was between 15 and 24
Methamphetamine pills are increasingly supplanting heroin as the main
drug produced in the infamous ``Golden Triangle'' region -- where the
borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge.
Thai authorities say most of the pills are produced by the United Wa
State Army, a militia allied to the Yangon government in neighbouring
Thailand is expected to be flooded with over 900 million
methamphetamine pills next year, 200 million more than this year, due to
higher demand and new plants in Laos.
Sudarat said the survey showed the two least popular drugs now used
were heroin and opium.
AP: Thai soldiers kill alleged drug trafficker near Myanmar border
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thai soldiers killed a man Wednesday in an
armed clash with alleged drug traffickers from neighboring Myanmar, an
army officer said.
The fight, with uniformed members of a group belonging to Myanmar's Wa
ethnic minority, took place one kilometer (a half mile) inside Thai
territory in Chiang Mai province, 590 kilometers (360 miles) north of
Bangkok, said Capt. Krisda Thawornwat.
Twelve Thai soldiers ambushed the intruders after a tip-off that drug
traffickers would be crossing the border, he said. As the Wa guerrillas
came in sight, the soldiers opened fire, triggering a 10-minute
gunfight. The intruders fled, leaving behind one dead man and an AK-47
assault rifle, Krisda said.
Krisda said the intruders' route was a popular one for Wa drug
traffickers, and the ambushed men were believed to be surveying it ahead
of actual smuggling.
``In dry season this route is especially convenient so they'd rather
take a risk to cut costs even if the patrolling has increased
drastically,'' he said. Dry season begin around November.
The area is notorious for the smuggling of drugs, especially the
illegal stimulant methamphetamine.
Nearby, on the Myanmar side of the border is the town of Mong Yawn,
which Thai officials say is a major center for production of
Mong Yawn is under the administration of the United Wa State Army, a
former ethnic rebel group, which reached a peace agreement in 1989 with
the government of Myanmar, also known as Burma.
The Thai military and government believe Myanmar's military government
turns a blind eye to the drug trafficking in return for continued peace.
Soon after taking office in February, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra declared drug traffickers to be the nation's biggest public
Korea Times: Facility Offers Aid to Migrant Workers
November 22, 2001
Tun Tun, who came to South Korea from Myanmar in 1993, didn't want to
talk about his missing finger. He had lost it in an accident at a
cardboard box- manufacturing factory in Yongin, Kyonggi Province several
"Now that we all work like brothers, I don't want to bring it up," he
said, refusing to give details about how his finger was cut off. Tun
Tun, 42, said the company provided him money to get medical treatment.
For a migrant worker here, he is lucky.
"I am happy because my son and daughter completed their college
educations with the money I sent to them from here," he told The Korea
Formerly a company worker back home, where his salary was about 10, 000
won ($8) per month, he now earns 80 to 90 times more.
He has been working here to support his wife and three children in
Myanmar, whom he has not met since he left.
"If I go home now, there would be no job, and I would not be able to
support my family."
His first few months in Korea were not easy. But when he had problems,
Tun Tun, like many other migrant workers here, came to the Migrant
Workers' House in Songnam, Kyonggi Province, to consult with Lee
Sang-rin, education director of the house.
Since 1994, Lee, as a volunteer worker, has been assisting migrant
workers in finding jobs, getting back pay, receiving medical treatment
and so on.
The facility now is also home for about 80 workers from Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka, Morocco and China.
There are similar houses for migrant workers in Kuri, southwestern
Seoul, and in Ansan, Kyonggi Province.
"Although we have no means to promote our services, we receive about 70
phone calls and 10 to 50 visits by foreign workers who seek help or
consultation each day," Lee said. He is assisting some 300 migrant
workers to find new or better jobs.
Tun Tun is one of about 480,000 migrant workers in South Korea, who are
mostly from developing countries such as China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Around 200,000 of them
are overstaying their visas, according to a government tally.
For such workers coming from different cultures, there are "almost
always" some problems, most of which start with communication barriers.
"Because they cannot communicate effectively with the locals, among
other things, they usually have a hard time finding jobs," Lee said. "
Even after they find places to work, they are often unpaid for months,
while unprotected from industrial accidents," he said.
Lee said he is trying to investigate and help settle problems the
immigrant workers have.
Poor communication sometimes develops into frustration and even
violence, because "migrant workers don't understand what their employers
want them to do, for example, meeting a product deadline or doing some
extra work," Lee said.
Tun Tun said when he arrived here, he knew nobody and didn't speak the
language, "so the first few months were really difficult."
But he now speaks Korean fluently enough to give the interview in Korean
_ and understands even better how Koreans speak badly to him in their
"When I didn't understand the language, I was okay with being yelled at,
because I didn't know what it was about," he said. "But now that I know
what they are talking about, it sometimes hurts my feelings," he said.
Shahmaz, 29, who came from Pakistan in 1999, agreed. "Some Korean men
behave very badly towards foreign workers," said Shahmaz, who is doing
woodwork. He came here after studying commerce at a college back home.
"Even though I have a proper working visa and often work overtime, I get
paid half the amount my Korean colleagues receive," he said, admitting
the amount is still about five times larger than the wage that a college
graduate would receive in his country.
Despite all these difficulties, some of them, like Chung Bong-yol from
China, can't simply go back home, as they came here after spending about
5 million to 15 million won for brokerage commissions, a huge sum of
money that they had to borrow from others.
Chung, an ethnic Korean, came here in 1997 and got a ligament sprain in
his right knee while working for a textile factory. From 1998, he spent
two years trying to get medical treatments, after which he was left
jobless and his visa expired.
Although he now wants to return home, Chung said that he isn't able to
do that. "Before I earn enough money to get out of debt and make some
more to support my parents at home, I wouldn't go back."
Chung seemed determined in saying that he would dissuade anyone from
home who wants to come work here.
"People here kind of look down upon us from China, although we share the
same ethnicity," he said. "They often call us names, saying, 'You' re
from China and you're an illegal resident here.' There is no point in
incurring a huge debt to leave home, just to be treated that way."
Because of those few Koreans behaving badly towards foreign workers, the
image of Koreans worsens, Chung said, adding, "I hope people here won't
discriminate against foreign workers any more."
Lee of the Songnam Migrant Workers' House said he hoped the government
would pay more attention to the problems faced by the foreign workers.
"Just as the migrant workers come here to make money, Korea needs them
to work in sectors that Koreans shun," he said.
"That's why we need to treat them with warm heart," Lee added.
AFP: UN envoy upbeat on eventual progress in Myanmar peace talks
YANGON, Nov 28 (AFP) - UN envoy Razali Ismail got down to work Wednesday
with a clear mandate to accelerate the pace of reconciliation between
Myanmar's democratic opposition and ruling junta, sources here said.
Razali, who arrived in the military-ruled country Tuesday met with the
executive council of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD)
He was scheduled to hold talks with Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, the
head of the junta's powerful military intelligence, later in the day,
sources in Yangon said.
Speaking for the first time of a time-table for progress in the bogged
down peace process, the Malaysian diplomat said Tuesday he hoped to see
"a clear guide-map by 2002."
He was addressing a grouping of ethnic party leaders shortly after
arriving in the military-run country on his sixth trip to facilitate
talks between the NLD and the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
which began in October 2000.
He adopted a similar upbeat tone after his meeting with the NLD's
executive committee, including chairman Aung Shwe and vice chairman Tin
Oo, both of whom were released from house arrest earlier this year.
Razali described the discussions as "good" but did not elaborate.
Apart from the release from prison this year of nearly 200 members of
the NLD, the last few months have brought little progress, local
analysts have said.
But Razali said he was "optimistic about the eventual outcome of the
talks," adding that in his role as a "facilitator" he had to be positive
in his approach.
As well as his political mandate, sources in Yangon said international
aid for Myanmar could be on Razali's agenda, although how far he would
go in linking progress on reconciliation with aid for the country was
Myanmar has faced stifling economic sanctions since its suppression of
the democracy movement in 1988, its staunch refusal to recognise the
NLD's landslide victory in the 1990 elections and systematic use of
The sanctions have led to virtual isolation of the country and the
drying up of international aid. NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi has
consistently said that she would welcome aid for the country as long as
it did not end up in the wrong hands, according to local sources.
Razali is expected to meet Thursday with Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been
under loose house arrest for the last 14 months, before he leaves on
The Nation [U.S.]: Strange Boardfellows
Week of November 12, 2001
by Eric Scigliano
What goes down comes around. Amidst all the attention to United
Airlines' post-September 11 woes, no one noticed the ringing irony of
its tapping John W. Creighton Jr. as the new CEO to pull it out of a
downward spiral. John Creighton is best known as the Weyerhaeuser
president who turned the timber giant around in the early 1990s, but
he's held another position closer to the events that sent one United jet
crashing into the World Trade Center and another into the Pennsylvania
countryside two months ago. Creighton has sat on the board of the
California-based oil multinational Unocal since 1995--the period in
which Unocal became the main American corporate suitor seeking to do
business with the Taliban.
When it comes to building in war zones and dealing with unsavory
regimes, Unocal has long been renowned as what Burma democracy activist
Larry Dohrs calls "the bottom feeder of the oil business." It completed
a billion-dollar gas pipeline in Burma even after Texaco and Arco bowed
to environmental and human rights protests. And in 1995, during the
scramble for Central Asia's newly opened oil and gas bonanza, it
conceived an audacious plan: a pipeline from Turkmenistan through
Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. It enlisted Saudi,
Pakistani, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian partners. And it embarked on
a fossil-fuel version of the Great Game against the Argentine firm
Bridas, which also sought the pipeline franchise.
In December 1997 Unocal hosted Taliban delegates in Texas and even took
them to the beach. It also gave nearly $1 million to a job-training
program in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, out of up to $20 million
it spent on the pipeline effort. It hired former US ambassador to
Pakistan Robert Oakley to press its case; hired special ambassador John
J. Maresca to, in Unocal spokesman Barry Lane's words, "look at
corporate responsibility globally"; and hired Henry Kissinger to cap the
Turkmenistan side of the deal. "We didn't focus on the Taliban," Lane
insists. "We also sponsored a training program in Northern Afghanistan,"
and hosted some of the warlords now in the Northern Alliance. But with
the Taliban gaining, and controlling the pipeline's southern route, the
focus was inevitable. "If the Taliban leads to stability and
international recognition," Unocal executive vice president Chris
Taggart declared after the Taliban took Kabul in 1996, "then it's
That merely mirrored the US government's complacent, fumbling Afghan
dealings; Lane claims, and Ahmed Rashid confirms, in his book Taliban:
Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, that Unocal even
disadvantaged itself against Bridas by admonishing the Taliban on human
rights. But the company hung in even after women's groups protested,
after Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called Taliban practices
"despicable" in 1997 and after Taliban guest Osama bin Laden declared a
fatwa against the United States in 1998. After the summer 1998 embassy
bombings and US missile reprisals, Unocal had to pull out of
Afghanistan. In December 1998 it formally withdrew from the project.
Jack Creighton became Unocal board chairman in 2001 but stepped down on
August 31. Unocal spokespeople will say only that this resignation was
prompted by his United Airlines appointment. His new office at United
will say only that "Any inquiries regarding Unocal or its business
practices--past, present or future--should properly be directed to the
Unocal Corporation." Creighton remains on Unocal's board.
Burma Peace Campaign: The Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign
The Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign for Aung San Suu Kyi and the People of
This new web site www.burmapeacecampaign.org are linking citizens from
throughout the world who are answering the call of Archbishop Desmond
Tutu and other Nobel Peace Laureates to support and salute the
extraordinary champion of human rights and democracy in Burma, Aung San
Suu Kyi, on the 10th anniversary of her being awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize, 8 December. This comes at a critical time for Burma and Aung San
Suu Kyi - a time when international attention and support could make a
The Nobel Institute in Oslo will host a major celebration of this
anniversary in front of the Norwegian parliament building in Oslo on 8
December. Every living Nobel Peace Laureate has been invited to attend
as part of the centennial celebration of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thirty-four Nobel Peace Laureates have accepted. Supporters from
throughout the world will be joining the celebration live through the
Internet. It will be a demonstration of international support for Aung
San Suu Kyi and a free and democratic Burma. Please visit our web at
www.burmapeacecampaign.org and learn how you can become a part of the
campaign. You can begin by helping us to spread the word! Kindly e-mail
your friends, link the site to your own and, if possible, include the
logo of the campaign on your home page!
Please visit our web site NOW to sign the Citizens Declaration of
Support for Aung San Suu Ky and register for the Nobel Institute's Oslo
ceremony for Aung San Suu Kyi on 8 December at 14:30 PM Oslo time - live
via the Internet.
For comments and suggestions, please send us an e-mail at
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