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DAWN excerpt Sep/Nov

Editorial:                      Towards genuine dialogue 
        The morale of the democratic forces in Burma has been greatly 
boosted by the unexpected  
release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who despite spending six years of house 
arrest, is as determined as  
ever to bring democracy to Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi's release only marks 
the beginning of  
another round of struggle and hence the democracy movement cannot afford 
to let its guard down.  
This is because apart from her release, nothing else has changed. 
Immediately following the release  
of Aung San Suu Kyi, the inernational community was hopeful that this 
event might indicate a  
willingness on the part of the SLORC military dictatorship to begin the 
process of dialogue and  
political reconciliation. Unfortunately, SLORC, until now, has not 
responded to Daw Aung San  
Suu Kyi's offer of a dialogue, and the people of Burma, under laws and 
orders designed to serve   
SLORC, are still being intimidated and restricted from freely 
participating in the political process.    
        For a country like Burma, with a history of over forty years of 
civil war, a substantive  
dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi as well as with other representatives of 
all political organizations  
and ethnic nationalities is a must if the country is to make the 
transition todemocracy. Genuine  
political dialogue will lead to democracy because the overwhelming 
majority of the Burmese  
people--inside Burma as well as at the border areas--want democracy.     
        There are some preconditions that must be met before a tripartite 
meeting in Burma can  
occur. Prior to the tripartite meeting, SLORC must show its sincerity by 
taking the following  
- Unconditionally releasing all political prisoners. 
- Abolishing all unlawful acts and restrictions on political activities. 
- Stopping the so-called National Convention. 
- Ceasing all forms of human rights violations (including force 
porterage, forced labor). 
- Instituting a nationwide cease-fire so all ethnic forces can be 
involved in the national  
reconciliation process. 
        Comprehensive political dialogue between SLORC, the democratic 
forces led by Aung San  
Suu Kyi (both from inside Burma and from the liberated areas), and the 
ethnic forces (including the  
groups which have already had cease-fires with SLORC and those from the 
liberated areas) is the  
only means of proceeding with democratization and true national 
reconciliation in Burma. With  
equality, respect for dignity, openness, and security, a tripartite 
national dialogue could achieve a  
consensus among the peoples of Burma regarding a timely transfer of power 
to the people and their  
elected representatives. 
        Accordingly, the international community and the Burmese 
democratic forces must  
increase the level of pressure on SLORC to open a sincere tripartite 
dialogue in Burma, to release  
all political prisoners, and to dissolve the fraudulent National 
Convention. If we allow the surprise  
release of Aung San Suu Kyi to lower the volume of the call for democracy 
in Burma, we will be  
playing right into SLORC's hands and helping its strategy for long term 
military domination of  
Burma to succeed. Any hesitation in our action will only give SLORC a 
tactical advantage and  
diminish the chances for achieving a dialogue for national reconciliation.
Article: "Burmese Women's voices heard in Beijing"      
        The pursuit of equality and freedom for Burmese women is 
inextricably intertwined with the 
ongoing struggle for democracy and peace in Burma. Burmese women are at 
te forefront of this political 
struggle as eminently illustrated by the leadership and vision of Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi. The release of 
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from a six-year house arrest has brought great joy 
and hope to the women and 
men fighting for freedom in Burma. The release, however, only signals the 
beginning of a new round of 
struggle, because nothing else has changed in the country.
        Violence against girls and women is pervasive under the command 
of State Law and Order 
Restoration Council (SLORC): rape during military offenses against ethnic 
nationalities; rape of female 
porters who are forced to serve as human mine sweepers and to carry arms 
and ammunition  for the 
Slorc's army; and trafficking of girls and women into  prostitution.
        Women in Burma also bear the brunt of SLORC' policies of forced 
relocation, where families are 
expelled from their homes to new satellite towns which lack electricity, 
clean water, and access to 
transportation. Being the primary caretaker of most families, women face 
great difficulties meeting the 
most basic needs of the household. In preparation for the 1996 "Visit 
Myanmar Year", many women, 
including ones who are pregnant, are among the hundreds of thousands of 
people being forced to work as 
slave laborers in "beautification" projects and construction of railways, 
roads, bridges, and airports.
        The United Nations held its Fourth World Conference on Women in 
Beijing, China om 
September 4-15. The gathering of women however occurred a week prior to 
the official conference at he 
NGO Forum which opened on August 31 in Hoirou, a hour and a half drive 
outside of Beijing. An 11-day 
UN World Conference on Women, aimed at resolving key problems for women, 
ranging from birth 
control and violence to education and discrimination against women. 
Despite the differences of race, 
language, and culture, the majority of the participants managed to bridge 
these gaps and achieve mutual 
understanding. As the plight of Burmese people continues to be obscure in 
the world's eyes, the Women 
Conference provided a critical opportunity to highlight the abuses 
against women perpetrated by the 
Burmese military junta.
        "This is a long awaited day, a milestone in the continuing 
struggle for women's liberation, 
empowerment, dignity and equality, a moment to affirm that the power, 
rights and contributions of 
women can no longer be denied," Gertrude Mongella, the conference's 
secretary-general, said at the 
opening ceremony in Beijing's Olympic Stadium on  August 30, 1995.
        The NGO Forum officially opened on August 31 with a message from 
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 
whose courage and unwavering commitment to human rights and nonviolent 
discipline are an inspiration 
to all women throughout the world. The speech by Aung San Suu Kyi could 
draw more than 3,000 
cheering, applauding women that made jam inside a cinema hall and left 
thousands fuming outside.  In 
her speech, she devoted much of her 15-minute speech to women's role as 
peace-makers. The plan to 
record the keynote speech of the Burma main opposition leader by the 
Forum Convener Supatra Masdit in 
person was thwarted when the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok did not issue an 
entry visa for her and her 
crew members. Supatra Masdit who is also a democrat MP in Thai parliament 
visited Daw Aung San S 
Kyi in early August after her release from her almost six year house 
arrest and conveyed the invitation her 
to attend the Forum. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi declined an invitation saying 
she was not yet accepting 
invitations to travel abroad. But she agreed to make a speech via 
videotape. Her video tape was smuggled 
out to Beijing later. 
        "Look at the world through women's eyes" was the overall theme of 
the more than 3,000 
activities at the NGO Forum. The broad range of activities had three 
major aims: to set the agenda for the 
global women's movement, to network and to influence the United Nations 
conference in Beijing. 
        Representing the Burmese Women Union, Thin Myat Thu and Hnin Hnin 
Pyne attended both the 
Forum and the Conference. They were joined by other women activists from 
Thailand and Norway. The 
main objectives were to inform the press and the public about the 
situation in Burma, to rally support for 
the pro-democracy movement, to establish networks with NGOs and 
individual women from other parts of 
the world, and to counter Slorc's attempts to distort the ugly reality 
faced by Burmese girls and women 
under the regime.
        In order to achieve these objectives, they set up an exhibition 
booth, held two workshops, 
participated in demonstrations on ending violence against women, and 
established contacts and networks 
with other NGOs and with individual women interested in working for 
democracy and human rights in 
Burma. The exhibition booth displayed posters that informed the public 
about the history of Burma's 
democratic movement, human rights abuses in the coutry, in particular 
violence against women and 
girls, and the vision of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They also disseminated 
booklets and publications on the 
plight of Burmese women and on the Burmese Women Union, and distributed 
buttons showing support 
for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and for democratic Burma. 
        September 3 and 8 were designated as "Burma Days" and extensive 
campaign on release of all 
political prisoners in Burma and support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were 
launched. BWU collected the 
thousands of signatures of the participants for the petition letter to 
Slorc. The letter demanded the Slorc to 
release all political prisoners in Burma including Dr. Ma Thida  who has 
been sentenced to twenty years 
for her political activities. 
        Posters and buttons with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and "Support Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi for a 
democratic Burma" title were seen everywhere in the site of form.  Many 
representatives of forum 
including Rigoberta Menchu, 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate and Winnie Mendela, 
wife of 1993 Nobel Peace 
Laureate Nelson Mendela put on the button with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's photo.
        Attended by more than fifty people, the first workshop presented 
two videos. The first video, focused on the human rights abuses 
perpetrated by the Burmese 
military along the Thai-Burma border, whereas the second by Hseng Noung 
Lintner, depicted the plight of 
girls and women who are trafficked from Burma into Thai brothels. These 
poignant documentaries led to 
fervent discussions and keen interest among the audience. In this 
session, the plight of Burmese women 
and children who are trafficked into Thailand and abused by pimps, 
procurers, and corrupt officials were 
revealed. Forum participants discussed that the Thai government and those 
of other countries involved in 
trafficking in women take more responsibility for these victimized women 
by relaxing their immigration 
laws to accommodate them. Forced prostitutes, it was emphasized, are 
victims in need of protection- not 
criminals.  During the second workshop, they showed Aung San Suu Kyi's 
video presentation at the 
opening of the NGO Forum and discussed what the international community 
can do to support the 
democratization of Burma. Women from Thailand, Japan, the United States, 
India, and Norway presented 
their work of promoting democracy in Burma. Despite the rain and being on 
the last day of forum, this 
workshop was attended by more than 150 women and men.
        Hnin Hnin Pyne revealed that she has found herself at risk 
because of their campaign for the 
plight of Burmese women. The BWU representatives were constantly followed 
and photographed by 
unknown people when they were interviewing with the media and in their 
campaign. She also said that 
during the forum, she and her group made an effort to discuss women's 
issues with delegates from the 
Burmese government. "But they refused to talk to us", she said perplexed.
        Among the almost 300,000 participants who came from around the 
world, man-led delegation of 
Slorc was headed by Maj-Gen Soe Myint, Minister of social welfare, relief 
and resettlement. Before 
leaving for Beijing, the delegation was briefed by Slorc Secretary-1 
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt. They have been 
asked to explain to the meeting how Burmese women are already equal to 
men and so have no need to 
demand more equality.  Khin Nyunt told the Burmese delegation it does not 
need to demand the rights 
and equality called for any other women at the conference. The Burmese 
representation at the Beijing 
conference is not to make demands for Burmese women, but to present 
objective conditions of the rights 
they enjoy. If there were any accusations laid against Burma at the 
conference, the delegates need to 
explain the rights of Burmese women enjoy and refute any accusations most 
firmly, he said. 
        The Burmese Women Union and the Norwegian Burma Council agreed 
with Slorc that in Burma 
today there is no discrimination against Burmese women, as they are 
treated equally to their fellow 
Burmese men. They too are subjected to summary executions, arbitrary 
arrest, forced labor, forced 
portering, denial of participation in the political process, religious 
persecution, and forced relocation and 
displacement. In addition girls and women in Burma, especially those who 
are ethnic minorities, receive 
unique treatment from Slorc: rape during military offensive, rape during 
porterage, and trafficking into 
        During the Slorc speech on September 11, a banner spelling out 
"Free the People of Burma" was 
dropped from the balcony of the auditorium. Although the demonstration 
was almost immediately ceased 
by the UN Security, members of the Slorc delegation were reminded that 
the world knows the truth about 
        The Beijing Conference provided an invaluable opportunity for 
Burmese pro-democracy activists 
to network  and strategize with women from all over the world in order to 
halt and deter the human rights 
abuses committed against girls and women by the Burmese military and 
support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 
and the process of national reconciliation through constructive dialogue. 
Article:        "It is not the time to rush" 
        The unexpected release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  from her six-year 
house arrest  
on 10th July was a welcome move on the part of the State Law and Order 
Council (Slorc). While western countries were quick to send messages 
applauding the  
release in a sprit of "cautious optimism"- as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 
herself put it- and  
Asian governments including Japan welcomed the move as "substantive 
Apparently some in Japan are very anxious significant indication that 
Burma is "moving  
towards democracy." To date, unfortunately, all evidence points to the 
conclusion. Slorc's behavior since the release of Aung San Suu Kyi 
indicates it has no  
intention of moving towards democracy, and in fact, the evidence 
indicates that Slorc  
intends to use the release of Aung San Suu Kyi as part of its on-going 
campaign to  
maintain indefinite military rule in Burma. 
        After the Second World War, the diplomatic relationship between 
Japan and  
Burma can be characterized as that of the donor of the Official  
including war compensation, and the recipient of that aid. Burma was the 
first one to  
receive the Japan war compensation in 1955 among the Asian nations.  From 
through 1965, the Japanese government paid 72 billion yen ( 200 million 
US$) in goods  
and services. A major portion of these funds were used for the 
construction of Baluchaung  
Dam in karenni State and four major industrialization projects; light 
vehicle production,  
heavy vehicle production, farming machinery production, and electrical 
production. These compensation ended in 1977 and Japan began promoting 
Development Aid (ODA) from 1975. 
        The total amount of Japanese ODA to Burma that includes loan aid, 
grant aid and  
technical co-operation from the time Japan began funding until 1988 
amounted to 511.7  
billion yen.  Burma was the number one recipient of Japanese aid. For 
example, Burma  
received 332.71 million dollar in bilateral aid in 1988, of which 78 per 
cent of this amount  
was from Japan. 
        Japan suspended all new ODA to Burma following the 1988 brutal 
suppression on  
the democracy uprising. It was later resumed but limited to parts of 
on-going projects,  
technical co-operation, and emergency humanitarian assistance. A freeze 
was put on new  
aid and even for those projects that were resumed, they were based on the 
principles of  
starting with "problem-free projects", "gradually", "destructively" and 
        Japan has been behaving itself as "a good friend', persuading 
Slorc to open up  
Burma's economy as well as to move towards democracy and stop human 
rights violation.  
The Japanese government expects the Burmese military regime to change on 
its own, even  
though sometimes it has been irritated by Slorc's stubbornness.  
        But pressure from the Japanese business community has been 
growing to resume  
ODA and now that Aung San Suu Kyi has been released, that pressure is 
likely to  
increase. China's increasing influence in Burma not only economically but 
also militarily  
since 1989 has made Japan nervous. The Japanese government began to urge 
Burma more  
strongly to enter the international community and to decisively adopt the 
economic policy. This position is basically shared by the members of 
ASEAN and India;  
the countries that must fear China's penetration into Southeast Asia and 
the India Ocean.  
        The powerful Japanese business organization Keidanren (Federation 
of Economic  
Organization) set up a "study group" in January 1995 to examine aid 
policies and assess  
the prospects for economic cooperation with Burma, following a trade 
mission it sent to  
Burma in June 1994. A number of Japanese trading and construction 
companies have sent  
their own mission to Burma. In February 1995, Marubeni became the first 
trading company to sign a broad agreement with Slorc to promote joint 
ventures, act as a  
coordinator for various Burmese infrastructure projects, and assist with 
development of  
the oil, steel and gas industries.  
        Japan announced an agreement to give Burma an US$ 11 million 
grant for  
"agricultural development". Japanese justified the decision on the 
grounds that the funds  
were to be used for humanitarian purposes to increase food production; 
also that was  
intended as a positive signal to "help promote the country's 
pro-democracy movement and  
human rights improvement efforts." At the same time, Japan also granted 
Burma debt  
relief worth $ 4 million. US government officials denounced the move, 
calling it "a  
        The release of  Aung San Suu Kyi was immediately welcomed by 
Japanese Prime  
Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who added, " I hope democratization with 
proceed further."  
Foreign Minister Yohei Kono announced the Tokyo was eager to begin 
discussions with  
Slorc regarding resumption of ODA "once they (Burma) are ready to do so," 
and later  
said he would visit Burma soon -- the highest ranking Japanese official 
to go to Rangoon  
since 1988. Foreign Ministry officials indicated that high priority ODA 
projects being  
considered include a $287 million expansion of the Rangoon airport and 
aid to Burma's  
telecommunications system.  It is also considering giving grants of 1.5-2 
billion yen to  
repair nursing schools in Rangoon, a foreign ministry official said in 
September. The final  
decision on the grant is expected in October, following the visit to 
Rangoon by foreign  
ministry study missions in June and in late August-early September.  
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt  
also announced Japan will donate US$ 400,000 to Burma to build schools in 
border areas. 
        For the Burmese people and democratic forces, the resuming of 
Japanese ODA in  
not an appropriate time for Burma.  Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
said her release  
from house arrest is no indication of change in Burma and that it should 
not result in an  
torrent of foreign investment and aid for the current military regime. 
She urged foreign  
countries as soon as she was released, not to rush to improve relations 
with Burma  
following her release because "nothing else" has changed under military 
        The guide line for the ODA require that those funds be used only 
if the recipient  
country, "is moving towards democracy." But the is no points saying that 
Burma and  
Slorc is moving towards democracy. Evidence of this fact can clearly be 
seen by  
contrasting the release from prison of Nlson mandela in South Africa and 
the release of  
Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. In South Africa, soon after Nelson Mandela was 
the white apartheid government entered into a serious dialogue with him 
as head of the  
African National Congress to discuss and negotiate the conditions for the 
transition to  
democracy in that country. It was not the release of Nelson Mandela that 
showed the  
sincerity of the apartheid government, it was the beginning of the 
dialogue after the release  
that indicated the apartheid government wanted to move in the direction 
of democracy. In  
contract, In Burma, the Slorc military dictatorship reportedly said t 
would not discuss  
political reforms with Aung San Suu Kyi, according to U Tin Win, 
Rangoon's ambassador  
to Thailand.  
        Slorc, therefore, has given every indication that it intends to 
contain and silence  
Aung San Suu Kyi, not enter into any type of dialogue with her, and  in 
this regard the  
release of Nelson Mandela and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi could not 
be more  
different from each other. The South African government released Mandela 
as a signal  
that it was now ready to begin the dialogue over the transition to 
democracy. The Slorc  
military dictatorship released Aung San Suu Kyi to lower the level of 
pressure, with no sign of  any intention of opening a dialogue or taking 
any steps to  
transition towards democracy. 
        Further evidence of Slorc's true attitude towards "moving towards 
can be seen by the fact tht since the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, 
Burmese opposition  
activists U Thu Wai, U Tun Shwe and Htwe Myint were all rearrested and 
sentenced to  
seven years in Rangoon's dreaded Insein prison with no reason for their 
rearrest being  
given. More recently, Ye Htut, a Burmese student was arrested on 
September 27, 1995  
for sending "incriminating documents" to opposition news groups in 
Thailand. The arrest  
was solely for having sent information to friends and contacts abroad. 
Under international  
law, this cannot be characterized as criminal behavior. 
        Slorc continues its military offensives against minority ethnic 
groups like Karen  
and Karenni forcg thousands of refugees over the border into Thailand. 
the barbaric  
system of using forced human labor on Slorc infrastructure construction 
projects and  
forced human porters on Slorc military campaigns continues unabated, also 
the other  
serious categories of human rights abuses such as torture, rape and 
killing documented by  
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch/ Asia as well as United 
Nations. None of  
these human rights abuses have abated in the least since the release of 
Aung San Suu Kyi.   
Japanese government should answer this question: what evidence can be 
pointed to that  
the Slorc military dictatorship is "moving towards democracy?" Releasing 
the leader of  
opposition from illegal arrest and then refusing to talk to her about 
democracy is certainly  
no an indication of a government moving towards democracy. On the 
contrary, it is an  
indication of an international public relations ploy devoid of any 
political substance  
        The full extent of Slorc's strategy to avoid democratization and 
to institutionalize  
long term military rule in Burma can only be understood by understanding 
the role of  
Slorc's so-called National Convention plays in the strategy. In May 1990, 
Aung San Suu  
Kyi's political party, National League for Democracy won 80 per centof 
the seats at stake  
in the election. Even though Slorc refused to hand over power, the 
military dictatorship  
was faced with a long term problem because by refusing to honor the will 
of the people  
clearly expressed in a free election. The military dictatorship was 
illegal under the new  
emerging standards of international law. Slorc's attempted  solution to 
this problem was  
to call a so-called "National Convention" to write a new constitution for 
Burma. Actually  
the term National Convention is a complete misnomer. It is really not a 
Convention at all; it is a "Military" Convention. It was called by the 
military; all of the  
delegates were hand-picked by the military; its day-to-day deliberations 
are supervised by  
the military; and even more outrageously, the military has given a 
written order to the  
convention instructing it turn out anstitution that guarantee the 
military the leading role  
in the national politics in the future of Burma. This so-called National 
Convention is  
nothing more than a transparent farce designed to permanently 
institutionalize military rule  
in Burma. UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, Mr. Yozo Yokota said in last 
year "It is  
difficult to assume that, in the National Convention, open and free 
exchange of views and  
opinions are taking place in order to produce a truly democratic 
constitution." Despite  
repeated calls in UN resolutions for the Slorc to give a timetable for 
the convention, there  
is still no sign of the convention coming to an end two and half years 
after the process  
began. The last  session on April 8, 1995 was adjourned until October 24. 
But again it was  
adjourned another month. 
        Japan has a very special responsibility when it comes to helping 
prevent this planed  
institutionalization of military rule from suffering in Burma. Japan 
knows full well the  
evils, the horror and the death that can befall a nation politically 
controlled by its own  
armed forces. The period of military domination of Japanese political 
life in the 1930s and  
1940s brought death, destruction and defeat upon the Japanese nation. 
Additionally, a  
conquering Japanese soldiers, under the control of these military 
dictators, brought killing,  
rape, torture and destruction to many conquered lands including Burma, 
which suffered  
greatly in World War II. For Japan, a country that has suffered 
grievously at the hands of  
its previous military rulers, it would be unconscionable to now help and 
assist Burma'  
military ulers to solidify their control over Burma. Japan should 
remember that Burma is  
completely unique in Southeast Asia. Burma is the only country in the 
entire region that is  
still a military dictatorship. Japan, therefore has a special 
responsibility to move cautiously  
in Burma. To assist Slorc to institutionalize long term military control 
in Burma by giving  
ODA to Slorc would be a complete betrayal of Japan's own history. The 
Burmese people  
appreciate the recent apology of the Japanese Prime Minister concerning 
certain measures  
taken by Japan's military rulers in the Second World War. Now the Burmese 
people ask  
that the Japanese government does not assist Burma's military rulers to 
solidify their long  
term control of Burma by giving those military rulers direc development 
        In trying to decide what course of action to take in regards the 
release of Aung  
San Suu Kyi, Japanese government must turn to the words of Aung San Suu 
Kyi herself,  
given during a recent taped interview: 
        "..... During this wait-and-see period, where we want to see in 
which way the  
(Slorc)authorities wish to move and where we want to give them every 
opportunty to be  
able to come to the negotiation table with a clear conscience, and with 
the best will  
possible. I think this is something we wait and see. I have said that 
this is not th time to  
rush in with investment, please wait and see, that I said from the very 
first week, please  
wait and see before rushing in with new investment..." 
        If during this wait and see period Slorc were unexpectedly to 
begin a dialogue with  
Aung San Suu Kyi; if Slorc were to release all political prisoners; if 
Slorc were to  
announce a policy of discontinuing human rights abuses, particularly in 
areas inhabited by  
ethnic minorities; if  Slorc were to dissolve bogus National Convention, 
then it would be  
time for the Japanese government to reexamine the situation and see if 
one or more of  
these Slorc actions satisfied the "moving towards democracy" requirement 
contained in  
the ODA guidelines. But until the Slorc military dictatorship make such 
genuine and  
sincere moves, Japanese government should heed the urgent words of Aung 
San Suu Kyi:  
"Please wait."
Article: "Lack of Trade Union, Full of Labor Rights Violation"  
        " Thin Baw Tha", the Burmeseword literally means the "Sailor or 
seafarer", but in 
Burmese meaning, it means greatly wider; a person who fortunately gets 
the job on the 
foreign flagships, earns a big money and has the chance to go and see the 
outside world 
that is a common dream of almost all Burmese who are locked up inside 
their homeland. 
More importantly, they are the one who can leave legally the country in 
despair or fear. 
Bur very few people know the hardships and problems of the Burmese 
seafarers in terms 
of their social and how they are working below the standards recognized 
by the 
international labor organization. Their plights are unseen and their 
voice are unheard inside 
Burma due to the banning of trade union. Moreover, it is a grievous fact 
the how the 
Burmese authorities has committed flagrant violations of human rights and 
trade union 
rights through its oppression of Burmese seafarers serving on foreign 
flagships. Instead of 
protection the Burmese seafarers' rights, the Burmese authorities has 
collaborated with 
the immoral shipping companies and manning agents in the labor rights 
        Burma is legally bounded in ILO Convention. Burma has ratified 
the ILO 
Convention No.87 concerning freedom of association and protection of the 
right to 
organized adopted on 9 July 1948 at ILO's thirty-first session.  Its 
article 2 mention 
"Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the 
right to establish 
and , subject only to the rules of the organization concerned, to join 
organizations of their 
own choosing without previous authorization.". But in reality, like other 
laborers, the 
seafarers are not allowed to establish the trade union that can work for 
their own welfare 
and voice their words.
        In Burma, Seaman Employment Control Division (SECD) which 
operates under 
the auspices of the Department of Marine Administration works for the 
placement of all 
Burmese seafarers. This agency in turn comes under the responsibility of 
the Ministry of 
Transport and communications. No single representative of seafarer 
includes and it is 
totally controlled by the Burmese government over the placement of all 
seafarers. Likewise other departments, since military has lunched a 
militarilization by replacing almost all the intellectual civilian posts 
with the officers in 
uniform, most of the senior official in SECD are ex-military officers. 
Burmese seafarer 
have to work with whatever pay and conditions the flags of convenience 
ships they work 
for offer. That would be no surprise to see the actual wage they receive 
is much less than 
the international labor organization recommended minimum wage.
        Burmese seafarers are in good demand by the shipping companies 
for their 
hardworking and good technical experience compare to the others from 
other Asian 
countries. But without the trade union that can bargain the minimum wage 
wth the 
company, the Burmese are paid less than the other crew. There would be a 
unseen reason 
of good demand since the Burmese seafarer have no voice of complain for 
discrimination. They cannot claim their rights or accept assistance from 
international labor 
organizations which fight for the rights of laborers to improve their 
wages and working 
condition that result a abuse and intimidation by. The works are so hard 
that no  
body want to work there. They are ordered to cut the trees and saw it 
into pieces for  
building the military barracks and gust house for the officers from the 
gaspipe project.  
They also have to build a helicopter field there. There are many other 
people from other  
villages and some prisoners working forced conscription. 
        Local people are also forced to work for the construction of LIB 
267 and LIB 273  
which are taking security responsiblities for Total field office in Kan 
Bauk. One person  
from each household has to work for cleaning the surface, digging the 
ditches and building  
up the military barracks. In addition to that forced labor, local people 
are levied numerous  
tax such as porter fee, railway fee, Boke island fee, military troop fee 
and emergency  
porter fee that forced many people to abadon their homes in Burma and 
leave for  
        From another source, TOTAL is paying 400,000 kyats to Slorc for 
using heli- 
copter in the region a day, it is learnt.  
ABSDF (South) 
Forced beautificationfor the "Students' Sport Festival" in Loikaw 
        Since Slorc is preparing the "Students' Sport Festival" in 
December in Loikaw,  
Karenni State, they have ordered that all the residents on the main roads 
must build the  
wall by 15 November to meet modernization codes.  In Loikaw, 365 kms 
northeast of  
Rangoon,  it will cost between 20,000 to 30,000 kyats. Those who could 
not afford to  
build the concrete buildings Slorc ordered,  had to borrow from other or 
sell at very low  
cost.  Slorc is doing these forced beautification across the country 
intending to show he  
tourists and foreign diplomats that Burma is on her way to being a 
developed country.  
        Similarly, Slorc also ordered to relocate the some house for the 
road extention in  
last July. Slorc has never arranged to provide assistance for these 
distresses nor offered to  
pay compensation. Moveover, people from Loikaw including students are 
ordered to give  
some "donation" for the festival and to work forced labor at the 
construction of festival.