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        "E.  Insurgent activities at the Thai/Myanmar border areas
"28. The Manerplaw area has long been a stronghold from where the 
Karen National Union (KNU) has conducted insurgent activities. 
Other opposition groups have reportedly also operated inside 
Myanmar from Manerplaw. In December 1994, the Myanmar Government
reported  that a breakaway faction of KNU had formed the
Democratic Kayin Buddhist Organization (DKBO).
"29. Following the fall of Manerplaw and Kawmoora (both
srongholds of KNU)in January and February 1995, several sources
reported widespread human rights abuses, e.g., reprisals against
civilians following insurgent ambushes, looting and forced
relocations. As a result of the unrest in the areas, over 10,000
persons belonging to the Karen minority reportedly fled over the
Thai/Myanmar border. Preoccupied by this situation, the Special
Rapporteur addressed, on 30 January 1995, the following letter to
the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar:
  'I would like to draw your attention to the situation which is 
currently prevailing along the Thai/Myanmar border. According to
several reliable sources, the Myanmar Government has launched a 
largescale military offensive in the Kayeni area along large 
stretches of the Thai/Myanmar border. The sources claim that the 
offensive is directed at ethnic nationalities and student camps
along the border, and that over 30,000 well-armed soldiers from
the Myanmar Army are taking part in the offensive. The civilian
population in the area is said to be fleeing and seeking refuge 
across the border. The Myanmar Army is said to be positioned
immediately across the river from the refugee village Htoo Wah
Lu. Refugees also fear that they will not be allowed to enter 
Thailand to escape the hostilities.
  'These  reports appear to contradict the statements made by
your government representatives in Myanmar during my previous
visits. I have understood that your Government is committed to
the policy of strengthening national unity and solidarity and 
therefore is pursuing a policy of national reconciliation which 
seeks to return to the legal fold all minority groups with which
the Government is presently in conflict. As a first step towards 
national reconciliation, I have also understood that your
Government is seeking to obtain peaceful settlements through
negotiated cease-fires.
  'Given the above, you will understand my preoccupation with 
these reported incidents which would seem to constitute serious 
human rights violations against civilians and, in particular, an
ethnic minority.'
"30.  At the time of the armed conflict in the Manerplaw area,
between the Myanmar Army and Karen armed groups, the Special
Rapporteur issued a press release (HR/954 of 7 February 1994) 
expressing his concern that  'the prevailing situation might give 
rise to serious human rights violations affecting both the local 
population and captured members of Karen armed groups'. The
Special Rapporteur was also 'concerned that vulnerable civilians,
in particular women and children and the sick and wounded, may
have special humanitarian needs'. He called upon the Government 
'to resolve peacefully its difficulties with ethnic minorities
and to take all appropriate  measures to ensure respect for human
rights and humanitarian obligations in this region'.
"31.  Since 19 April 1995, DKBO, apparently accompanied by the
Myanmar Army, has reportedly launched several attacks on  Karen
refugee  camps located in Thailand in order to force the refugees
to  return to Myanmar. Numerous refugees are said to have been
killed, the material damage inflicted on the camps and also on
nearby Thai villages is said to have  been extensive and some
refugees are reported to have been forcibly abducted to Myanmar.
Several sources indicate that representatives of the Government
of Myanmar regularly meet with DKBO leaders and that the
Government has provided financial and military assistance to 
DKBO. The connection between the Myanmar Government and DKBO is
not clear, but the Government reportedly admits to having
assisted the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army with logistical
support. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur addressed the
following letter on 29 May 1995 to the Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Myanmar:
      'In my capacity as Special Rapporteur, I would like to
    express my particular concern about the current situation
    along the Thai/Myanmar border. Since the fall of KNU bases at
    Manerplaw in January 1995 and following the split in KNU in
    December 1994, several reliable sources have reported that
    DKBO has committed  widespread human rights abuses, e.g.,
    reprisals against civilians  following insurgent ambushes,
    looting and forced relocations. As a result, over 10,000
    persons belonging to the Karen minority have reportedly fled
    over the Thai border. Some refugees are reported to have been
    forcibly abducted back to Myanmar. 
      'In a letter dated 13 February 1995 from the Permanent
    Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Office at
    Geneva addressed to the Assistant Secretary-General for 
    Human Rights, your Government acknowledges that the Tatmadaw
    provided necessary logistical support to DKBO.
        'With due regard to my responsibilities, I appeal to your
    Government to use all the necessary means to ensure that DKBO 
    ceases its attacks on refugees in Thailand and its reprisals 
    against civilians in Myanmar, and that individuals abducted 
    from refugee camps in Thailand are released. I also call upon
    your Government to protect and guarantee security and safety
    for the civilians who are returning either voluntarily or
    forcibly from Thailand to their country and also to
    investigate, prosecute and punish agents responsible for such
        'I look forward to receiving your Government's comments
    on these matters at its earliest convenience.'
"32. On 13 June 1995, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar
addressed the following letter to the Special Rapporteur:
        'On behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of
    Myanmar, I have the honour to refer to your letter of 29 May
    1995, addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of
    Myanmar, expressing your concern about the current situation
    along the Thai/Myanmar border. 
        'In this connection, I should like to respond to your
    letter and  to apprise you of the true situation and recent
    events that have occurred in some of the so-called KNU
    refugee camps in Thailand, and in certain  border areas of
    Kayin state of the Union of Myanmar.
        'As you are fully aware, the discontent of those within
    KNU who wanted to live in peace and see the development of
    their region led to the formation of DKBO towards the end  of
    1994. When KNU forces still loyal to Bo Mya launched a
    massive offensive against DKBO, during which hundreds of
    people including civilians were killed, the local inhabitants
    requested assistance from the Myanmar Armed Forces.
        'In connection with DKBO's sincere and genuine desire for
    peace and stability of the region, which falls in line with
    the objectives of the Government, the Myanmar Armed Forces
    provided necessary logistic support while DKBO launched its
    assault on KNU camps and units of the Armed Forces secured
    the rear with the aim of protecting nearby villages from
    attacks by KNU remnants.
         'Since the fall of KNU camps along the border to DKBO
    forces, peace and security have been restored in these areas
    and Kayin nationals who were living in the "refugee" camps of
    KNU in  Thailand are returning to Myanmar, in spite of
    attempts by KNU to hinder their return. The people in the
    camps are family members, relatives and sympathizers of KNU,
    DKBO and a few other armed groups. As of today, more than
    10,000 persons have returned to Myanmar and more are expected
    to return. 
        'The people who have returned to Myanmar are given a warm
    welcome by officials and the local populace, and are settled 
    systematically in their villages. All necessary assistance,
    such  as shelter, food, clothing and medical care, are being
    provided to them. The main village, Kamamoung, is being
    upgraded to a township village level and Myaing-Gyi-ngu is
    being rebuilt as a model village.  Amenities such as housing,
    police station, hospital and health clinics and primary
    schools are being developed. Steps are also being taken to
    alleviate poverty, such as help to the villagers in land
    cultivation and agriculture. Most importantly, the security
    of the returnees has been protected and consolidated by the
        'Armed clashes have broken out at times between the
    forces of KNU and DKBO entering the camps, and preventing
    DKBO from taking relatives and families back to Myanmar
        'As the Government has not yet held any official peace
    talks with DKBO, and as DKBO still has yet to return to the
    legal fold, the Myanmar authorities have no control over
    DKBO, and are not responsible for their activities. The
    incidents that have occurred recently at the KNU "refugee"
    camps and in certain areas of Kayin state arise from
    conflicts between the Kayin armed groups. The Government of
    Myanmar does not play any part in these matters.
        'The Government of Myanmar cannot and should not be held
    responsible for the alleged human rights violations that
    occur beyond the control and jurisdiction of the Myanmar
    authorities and that are allegedly perpetrated by individuals
    belonging to an armed group over which it has no control.
        'As such, the Government of Myanmar is unable to
    comprehend your concern about the current situation along the
    Thai/Myanmar border.'
"33.  The Special Rapporteur would appreciate receiving  from the
Government indications about the situation currently prevailing
along the Myanmar/Thai border, whether the Government of Myanmar
has signed a peace agreement with DKBO and what is the status of
peace talks between the State Law and Order Restoration Council 
(SLORC) and KNU. In pursuance of its policy to continue to extend
its peace offer to those groups who join the legal fold, the
Special Rapporteur would appreciate knowing if the New Mon State 
Party will be participating in the National Convention now that
it has agreed to a cease-fire with SLORC.
                        "F.  The situation of women
"34. The Special Rapporteur addressed the question of violations
of the rights of women in his reports of 17 February 1993
(E/CN.4/1993/37, paras. 77, 78, 95 and  96), 16 February 1994
(E/CN.4/1994/57, para. 49) and 28 October 1994 (A/49/594, para. 9
"35.  Traditionally, women in Myanmar appear to have enjoyed
equal rights with men. This tradition enables women to
participate equally in the development of the economy. Employment
opportunities for women are said to be good, and it is reported
that 40 per cent of  the total labour  force in Myanmar consists
of women.
"36. With  regard to  human rights  violations, it appears that
women are generally treated less harshly than men. Some of the
allegations received indicate, however, that women are not spared
from torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, summary
execution, portering or other forced labour.
"37.  The Special Rapporteur has continued to receive information 
from various sources describing sexual or sex-related violations
committed by representatives of the authorities against women.   
These include the undressing of women in public, touching breasts
or sucking nipples, raping and gang-raping women individually or
in groups. The rape of women serving in forced labour camps or as 
porters is said to  be common. Some of the allegations received
indicate that soldiers view rape as a right, and that sometimes
it is encouraged by officers. It has also been alleged that women 
are sometimes singled out for portering or other forced labour in
order to be raped. No consideration is reportedly being shown to 
the victim's marital status or condition of pregnancy. Soldiers
are said to prefer young, unmarried girls. Some examples of
allegations received are as follows:
  "(a)  In the evening of 25 September 1994, members of a joint 
military column of Local Infantry Battalion Nos. 206 and 208,
under the command of Nyi Nyi Aung, were said to have intimidated
a woman in Mi Ka Tit village, Kayin state, and ordered her to
strip off her sarong and to uncover the lower part of her body;
  "(b)  On 1 January 1995, troops from Local Infantry Battalion 
No. 410 allegedly entered Ta Yoke Taung  village, Ye township,
and raped five women, one of whom was pregnant at the time;
  "(c)  In October 1994, the SLORC local council of Pong Kyun 
quarter, Tavoy, allegedly ordered a woman who was six months
pregnant to contribute labour at the Zim Bar construction site in
lieu of her sick husband. She was apparently assigned to dig an
earthen pit. Other pregnant women were allegedly also
contributing labour to the construction site, and some suffered
miscarriages as a result. The women at the site were aged between
15 and 65 years.
"38. The Special Rapporteur would appreciate receiving a
description of any investigations into these allegations
undertaken by the Government, and information as to whether any
military personnel have been tried and sentenced, dismissed from
duty or otherwise sanctioned for their part in any verified
violations. The Special Rapporteur would further appreciate
knowing whether the Government of Myanmar intends to become a
party to the Convention on the  Elimination of All Forms of 
Discrimination against Women."
13.   By a note verbale dated 4 October 1995, the Permanent
Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations Office at Geneva
transmitted the responses of the Government of Myanmar to the 
summary of allegations received by the Special Rapporteur.
14.  The following is the full text of the Government of
Myanmar's response to the summary of allegations received by the
Special Rapporteur:
       "Observations and rebuttals on the summary of allegations
       "A.  Allegations of summary or arbitrary execution
       "C.  Allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or          
            degrading treatment
"1.  No instances of summary or arbitrary execution can be
permitted in Myanmar and no provision is made in the law for
"2. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are 
also illegal in Myanmar.
"3.  Under section 330 of the Penal Code, whoever voluntarily 
causes hurt for the purpose of extorting confession shall be
punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven 
years and shall be liable to fine. Under section 24 of the
Evidence Act, a confession made by an accused person is
irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if the making of confession
appears to the court to have been caused by any inducement,
threat or reward.
"4.  Under section 43 of the Police Act, whoever tortures any 
detainee is liable to both imprisonment and fine. Under the
Myanmar Police Manual, police officers of all ranks are
rigorously required not to do anything that might tarnish the 
image of the police force, even by the slightest show of
harshness or violence in the treatment of persons in custody. 
The maltreatment of defenceless persons will lead to the
dismissal of the guilty police officer.
"5.   Members of the Armed Forces have to observe strictly not
only the Defence Services Act and the Defence Services Rules, but
also the Civil and Criminal Procedures. A member of the Armed
Forces who breaks the law is punished both by the military and
civil  courts.  According to the Defence Services Act, murder and 
rape are crimes for which the maximum sentence of the death
penalty can be meted out. 
"6.   It is therefore clear that torture and other cruel, inhuman 
or degrading treatment are prohibited by the relevant laws in
"7.   In Myanmar, legal action is always taken and punishment
meted out to those who are proved guilty of committing any crime. 
This also applies to members of the Security Forces. As in any
country there exist some cases of members of the Armed Forces who
break the law and legal action has been taken against them. In
this regard,  specific cases in which action was taken against
those members of the Armed Forces who violated the law in various
instances have been provided to the Special Rapporteur by the
Government of Myanmar to help dispel misconception and false
allegations that no action is taken against members of the Armed 
Forces who break the law.
"8.  With regard to the examples of allegations contained in
sections A and C of the summary of allegations, no reports from
the civil or military have been  received and  no information 
about the alleged incidences has been received from the local 
populace. They are unfounded allegations originating from sources 
outside the country bearing ulterior political motives.
       "B.  Allegations of arbitrary arrest and detention
"9.   In Myanmar, a person cannot be arrested and detained if it
is not in accordance with the law. It is provided in section 61
of  the Code of Criminal Procedure that no police officer shall
detain in custody a person for a period exceeding 24 hours. Where 
it is necessary  to detain such an accused for more than 24
hours, a  special order of a magistrate has to be obtained under
section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The arrested
person has the right of defence and the right to have legal
defence counsel.  Moreover, the arrested or detained person has
the right to apply freely for bail to the magistrate  concerned
and the court may grant him bail according to the merits of the
"10.  Provision is made under section 40 of the Prisons Act for 
the admission, at proper times and under proper restrictions,
into every prison of persons with whom civil or unconvicted
criminal prisoners may desire to communicate, care being taken
that, so far as may be consistent with the interests of justice,
prisoners under trial may see their duly qualified legal
"11. Provisions such as section 330 of the Penal Code, section 24 
of the Evidence Act and section 43 of the Police Act are enacted 
to protect a person under detention from torture and inhuman
[Reference:  paragraph 10]
 "12. U  Tun Shwe, U Thu Wai and U Htwe Myint were charged  under
section 5(j) of the Emergency Provisions Act for collecting and
distributing  anti-government seditious  pamphlets, and were
sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 3 July 1995 after due
process of law. Action was taken against these individuals not
because of their contacts with resident foreigners as alleged,
but because they transgressed existing laws.
[Reference:  paragraph 11]
"13.  Legal action has been taken against certain epresentatives-
elect for their infringement of the existing laws of the country. 
Information with regard to the cases of 15 individuals mentioned 
in the summary of allegations is provided as follows:
"(a) U Ohn Kyaing (Mandalay South-east-2)
  "Sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 17 October 1990 for
sending a letter defying the authority of the Government;
    "Sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on 15 May 1991 for
co-authorship of a seditious paper entitled 'Three Ways to Attain
  "(b)  U Tin Htut (Einme-1)
    "Sentenced to seven  years' imprisonment on 15 May 1991 for 
co-authorship of a seditious paper entitled 'Three Ways to Attain
  "(c)U Win Hlaing (Tatkon-2), U Naing Naing (Pazundaung), U Mya 
Win (Ingapu-1) and U Hla Tun (Kyimyindine) 
    "Sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on 30 April 1991 for
their involvement in organizing a meeting for setting up an 
illegal parallel Government;
    "(d)U Tin Aung Aung (Mandalay  North-west-1), U Zaw Myint
Aung (Amarapura-1), U Zaw Myint (Henzada-2) and U Hla Than (Cocos
    "Sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment on 30 April 1991 for
their involvement in organizing a meeting for setting up an
illegal parallel Government;
    "(e)Dr. Myint Aung (Latha)
    "No person by the name of Dr. Myint Aung has been detained;
    "(f)U Tin Soe (Kyauktada)
    "Sentenced to  two years' imprisonment and was fined 300 
kyats on 25 August 1993 for criminal trespass into U Khin Maung
Htay's premises at No. 107, Myanma Gon Ye Street, Mingala Taung
Nyunt Township in October 1992. In the course of a squabble
between them over the sale of an  apartment, U Tin Soe used
abusive language and took photographs without the latter's 
express  consent.  U Khin Maung Htay reported the incident to the
Mingala Taung Nyunt Police Station, whereby U Tin Soe was charged 
by the police under sections 447, 294 and 506 with criminal
trespass. The court found him guilty of the charge;
    "Released  from  detention on 9 March 1995 upon completion 
of his sentence;
    "(g)U San Win (Htilin)
    "Sentenced to 11 years'imprisonment on 23 August 1991 for
misappropriation of teakwood which was to be supplied to the 
Thanlyin bridge project;
    "(h)U Khin Maung Swe and U Sein Hla Oo
    "Sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 6 October 1994 for 
their collaboration with Dr. Khin Zaw Win in writing and
distributing false news that would jeopardize the security of the
  [Reference:  paragraph 13]
"14. With regard to the allegation that 50 young activists were
arrested at the funeral of former Prime Minister U Nu, only 9
persons, namely Aung Zeya, Tin Than Oo, Nyunt Myaing, Moe Maung 
Maung, Maung Maung Oo, Moe Myat Thu,  Moe Kalayar Oo, Cho Nwe Oo
and Aye  Aye Moe, were taken into custody. Action is being taken
against them under section 5(j) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions 
Act for having created disturbances at the funeral with the aim
of disrupting it and for having instigated the people to unrest. 
Yi Yi Tun and Maung Maung Win were not detained as alleged.
"15. There should exist no anxiety or fear of torture or ill
treatment in detention as such practices are strictly prohibited
in the Prison Manual and the Police Act, and the authorities
concerned scrupulously follow the regulations laid down.
  [Reference:  paragraph 19]
"16. The  health of the prisoners serving sentences is taken 
care of by prison medical officers. When emergency and serious 
illnesses arise, arrangements are made for the patients to
receive the necessary treatment at general or specialized 
hospitals. As such, allegations that certain prisoners are 
generally not given access to proper medical treatment is totally
"17.  With regard to visits by ICRC to places of detention in
Myanmar, negotiations have taken place with a view to signing, 
at an appropriate time, a memorandum of understanding between 
the Government  of Myanmar and ICRC. The Myanmar side has 
already intimated to ICRC its readiness to continue ongoing 
dialogue in this regard. ICRC maintains its regular contacts and
cooperation with the Government and the Myanmar Red Cross Society
through its regional office at New Delhi.
"18. As a party to the Geneva Conventions and as a nation
respecting and adhering to the principles and objectives of the 
Red Cross  Movement, Myanmar will continue to cooperate with ICRC
in the future.
                     "D.  Allegations of forced labour
"19. Since Myanmar regained independence in 1948, various armed
groups have been engaged in armed conflict against successive 
Governments. Basing themselves in remote and relatively
inaccessible areas, these armed groups have terrorized and
endangered the lives of ordinary citizens of the nation. In 
order to protect the lives and property of the civilians, and in
order to maintain  peace and security, the  Armed Forces of
Myanmar have had to launch  military operations against the 
armed groups. Since the terrain inhabited by the armed groups is
mountainous and thickly forested, many places are not accessible
to  motorized vehicles and the Armed Forcers have had to recruit 
civilian labourers. The use of labourers in Myanmar has been
practised since the time of colonial rule, during which time laws
in connection with this were promulgated by the colonial rulers. 
Following independence, successive Governments have continued
this practice according to the law.
"20.  Recruitment and employment of civilian labourers are in
accordance with the Village Act of 1908 and the  Towns Act of
1907, and is based on the following three criteria:
    "(a)  They must be unemployed;
    "(b)  They must be physically fit;
    "(c)  They must be paid a reasonable amount of wages, fixed   
          and agreed upon beforehand.
"21. The labourers must be paid from the time they leave their
respective homes until they return, on completion of their duty. 
Apart from daily wages, they are entitled to receive rail and
steamer travelling warrants or cash to cover the actual cost of
transport between their homes and the operation area. The 
respective military unit has the responsibility of providing 
accommodation, messing and medical cover for the recruited
labourers. Daily wages must be commensurate with those prevailing
in the area. They are never required to accompany the troops to
the actual scene of battle, nor are they exposed to danger. In
the unlikely event of loss of life or limb, they or their
families are compensated in accordance with the Workmen's
Compensation Act of 1923.
 "22. In order to overcome the problem of having to recruit
civilian labourers by the Armed Forces, amongst other reasons, 
the Government of Myanmar has been inviting armed groups to
return to the legal fold, as part of the national reconciliation
effort  undertaken by the Government.  As a result, 15 of the 16 
armed groups have done so, and the problem of having to use
recruited civilian labourers no longer exists in the areas where
these armed groups once operated.
"23. The areas once inhabited by the armed groups that have
returned to the legal fold  now enjoy  peace  and  can look 
forward to  being part of the development activities that are
taking  place in other parts of the country. The Ministry for 
Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development 
Affairs has been able to lay down and to implement programmes
for the development of  border areas and national races. To
alleviate the socio-economic conditions of the people in the  
whole country, infrastructures for economic and social
development in  various sectors, such as transportation,
agriculture, forestry, livestock breeding, energy, water supply, 
education and health are being developed and upgraded.
Nowhere is this more needed than in the  border areas where 
development in all fields has lagged behind owing to the presence
of the armed groups.
"24. It has always been a tradition in Myanmar culture to donate
labour in the building of pagodas, monasteries, roads and bridges
and in the digging and clearing of wells, ponds, dams and canals. 
A  belief exists that doing so leads to mental and physical
well-being. Those who can afford to donate money do so while
those who cannot, donate their labour. This is all part of
community work that raises the standard  of living, both
materially  and spiritually. As such, the local populace, members 
of the local military units, government servants, as well as
members of the armed groups who have returned to the legal fold,  
participate enthusiastically and conscientiously. United Nations 
agencies, foreign and local non-governmental organizations are
also involved in these projects. The local populace is already
enjoying the benefits of their own endeavours.
"25. For their contribution towards community development,
remuneration is given to the workers either on a piece-rate
basis, or at prevailing wage rates. In some cases, the
authorities disburse a lump sum of money to be used for the
benefit of the whole community.
"26. As examples, the following references can be made to the 
various railroad projects of how much money the Government has 
spent for contributed labour. The following amounts of money 
have been paid out by the Government to the local villagers for
their contribution of labour:
  "(a)  Tada U-Myaingthar sector:  1.4 million kyats;
  "(b)    Aungban-Pinlaung  sector:   K10  million  for  the 
villagers and K2,843,000 for the compensation of land taken up by
the rail line;
  "(c)  Pinlaung-Loikaw sector:  K10 million for the villagers
and K912,000 for the compensation of land and houses taken up by
the rail line;
   "(d)   Chaung U-MagyeeBoke sector and Pakokku-Minywa  sector: 
K8.29 million;
  "(e)  Pakokku-Gangaw-Kalay sector:  K30 million;
  "(f)  Shwenyaung-Namsan sector:  K10.38 million;
  "(g)  Ye-Dawai sector:  K12.46 million.
"27. A medical doctor was assigned to each of the sections by the 
Myanmar Railways during the construction of rail lines and the
Chief Medical Officer toured the area regularly in order to
provide health care for the local populace. In cases of injuries 
arising from the construction works, compensation is paid by the
Myanmar Railways to the persons concerned.
"28. The  development projects undertaken by the Government are
solely for the benefit of the people of the region. It is the
people who live in the area and who have contributed labour who
directly enjoy the fruits of their endeavours.
"29. It would of course be ideal if the Government did not have 
to depend upon the labour contribution of the local populace in
order to complete the projects in their respective areas. 
Lacking sufficient financial resources to complete independently 
projects that would bring development and progress to areas that 
would otherwise remain undeveloped, the Government has had to
rely on the  means available in order to improve the lives of the
people. The Government does pay for contributed labour as far as
its financial resources permit, and in accordance with prevailing
local rates. If the Government did not try to raise  the standard
of living of the people with the means at its disposal, the
people would remain victims of the circumstances in which they 
would otherwise be bound forever, unable to raise their standard
of living.
"30.  There are other projects taking  place in Myanmar besides
those pertaining to the improvement of infrastructure. 
Construction  of hotels, business and commercial centres, and 
development of holiday resorts constitute some of the projects 
taken on as joint ventures, with either local or foreign
companies. Work is undertaken by private construction companies
who hire and employ workers of their choice. These companies
operate within the bounds of a market economy and have to pay the
workers competitively. As for the renovation of monuments of
importance to Myanmar's cultural heritage, the work is so
specialized that only highly skilled workers can be  used. These 
workers command premium rates. Thus, allegations that forced
labour is used in projects that promote tourism and international
trade have no basis of truth. 
"31. The  ILO Committee of Experts has taken note of the
conclusions and recommendations made by the Tripartite Committee 
set up  by the Governing Body to examine the representation made
by  the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU),
alleging non-observance by Myanmar of the Forced Labour
Convention No. 29. The Committee of Experts has accordingly
expressed the hope, with regard to public works projects as well
as regarding porterage services, that the powers vested in the 
authorities under the Village Act and the Towns Act will be
"32. The two laws in question, administered by the General
Administration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, are
among the list of laws that were first reviewed on 29 January
1995, and again on 16 May 1995, by a Board comprising the Deputy
Minister for Labour as the Chairman, and with representatives
from the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the Attorney-General's  Office and the General
Administration Department as its members.
"33. The Board found that the two laws were no longer in
conformity with the prevailing conditions in the  country,
besides not being in line with the provisions of Convention No.
29. This finding is in agreement with the conclusion drawn by the 
Tripartite Committee set up by the Governing Body of ILO.
"34.  Consequently, the Government of Myanmar, in compliance with 
the request from the Governing Body, 'to ensure that the relevant
legislative texts, in particular, the Village Act and the Towns
Act, are brought in line with the Convention and to ensure that 
formal repeal of powers to impose compulsory labour be followed 
up in practice and that those resorting to coercion in the 
recruitment of labour be punished', has started the process of
amending those two laws.
"35.  This development was presented to the Committee on the
Application of Standards at the eighty-second session of the 
International Labour Conference by a member of the Myanmar
        "E.  Insurgent activities at the Thai/Myanmar border areas
"36. The true situation and recent events that have occurred in
some KNU refugee camps in Thailand and in certain border areas of 
Kayin state in Myanmar has been conveyed to the Special
Rapporteur by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar in
letter No. 252/3-27/29 of 13 June 1995 of the Permanent Mission
of Myanmar,  an extract of which appeared in section E  of the
summary of allegations.
"37. The  Government has not yet held any official peace talks
with  DKBO, and as DKBO has yet to return to the legal fold, the
Myanmar authorities have no control over DKBO  and are not
responsible for its activities. The presence of government
security forces along some sections of the eastern border are for 
the prevention of spill-over effects, and to provide security for
local inhabitants who have requested such security assurances, as
various factions of the Kayin armed groups continue to be in
conflict with each other.
"38. The Government of Myanmar, in the spirit of national
reconsolidation, continues to extend its peace offer to the 
remaining few to return to the legal fold and to work together
with the people and the Government in building a peaceful and
modern State.
                        "F.  The situation of women
"39. According to Myanmar customs and traditional culture, as
well as under State constitutions adopted during consecutive 
eras, Myanmar women have always had equal rights with men. 
Existing laws of the country guarantee that all citizens,
irrespective of race, religion, status, culture, place of birth
or gender, are equal before the law. 
"40. Moreover, specific provisions are made in some of the laws
in order to protect women and children, and the following four
laws in particular ensure the protection of the rights of women
in Myanmar:
  "(a)   The Myanmar Buddhist Women's Special Marriage and
Succession Act (1954);
  "(b)  The Suppression of Prostitution Act (1949);
  "(c)  The Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association Law;
  "(d)  The Nursing and Maternity Law.
"41.  Provisions are also included in the Penal Code to protect
women against rape, illicit intercourse, torture, causing
miscarriage without one's consent, seduction and enticement.
"42. There are also certain laws which have specific provisions
for women labourers. There are provisions relating to the
protection of  modesty, prevention of hazards to life and
accidents and the rights of women during confinement. Protection
is given to all women prisoners. 
"43. Women in Myanmar are not only protected  by such laws  and
provisions, they are also protected by Myanmar traditions and 
customs, as well as customary law, religious beliefs and
practices. Women's rights constitute human rights and Myanmar
women fully enjoy fundamental rights.
"44.  Myanmar people are well known for their culture, tolerance
and compassion. In Myanmar society, men and women have a
symbiotic relationship, mutually depending upon one another. They
believe that they have equal and shared responsibilities towards
the family and society. The men have a deep respect for women.
"45. The members of the Myanmar Armed Forces are but the sons and 
daughters of Myanmar nationals. They emerged from this society in 
which they were born and brought up. How can anyone from this 
society commit such outrageous crimes that were mentioned in the
summary of allegations? Neither will such acts be knowingly
condoned by persons in responsible positions.
"46. It is clear that these allegations are  unfounded, emanating
from anti-government sources and terrorist groups, with the aim 
of discrediting the Government as well as the Armed Forces of
Myanmar. In the unlikely event that there is any truth in these
allegations, it can only be repeated that unless and until the
alleged victims bring their cases to the notice of the
authorities concerned, nothing can  be done to redress what they
claim to have suffered."