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/* Written 13 Nov 6:00am 1995 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx(DR U NE OO) in igc:reg.burma */
/* -------------" Report on Communications (31/10/95) "-------------- */


31 October 1995

Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road

Dear Dr U Ne Oo

Thank  you  for  your  letter  and  attachments  of 12 October addressed to
Senator Evans concerning the situation of people who have fled from Myanmar
and obtained sanctury in neighbouring countries. Senator Evans has asked me
to reply on his behalf.

The Australian Government shares your concern about the situation of people
who have fled Myanmar to escape human rights abuses, military activity  and
civil  strife.  We  will  continue  to  urge  the  Government of Myanmar to
undertake reforms that will permit people from Myanmar to return  to  their
country  in  safety  and dignity. As you are probably aware, the Australian
Government assists people in the border camps in Thailand and Bangladesh by
funding humanitarian assistance that is delivered through NGOs.

The Australian Government publicly welcomed the release of Aung San Suu Kyi
on 10  July  1995.  Her  release  is  an  important  step  by  the  Myanmar
Government, but we believe it needs to do a lot more to demonstrate that it
is  serious about fundamental political and human rights reform. Of the ten
benchmarks identified by Senator Evans at the 1994 ASEAN  Post  Ministerial
Conference  in  Bangkok as means to gauge progress in Myanmar, only one has
been achieved: the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Myanmar Government  has
made little or no substantive progress against the other benchmarks, and in
some  instances  - such as access by the International Committee of the Red
Cross to prisoners - things have actually gone backwards.

We share your concern at the slow pace of political reform in  Myanmar  and
agree  that  it  is important to maintain the pressure on the Government of
Myanmar. Australian policy will remain unchanged while we monitor events in
Myanmar over the coming months to ascertain whether the Myanmar  Government
is   genuinely   committed   to   political   reform   and   true  national
reconciliation. We will continue to use all  available  avenues,  including
the  UN,  and  the forthcoming debate on Myanmar at the UN General Assembly
next month to promote positive change in Myanmar.

YOurs sincerely
Sd. Frank Milne
Assistant Secretary
Mainland South-East Asia Branch.

/* Endreport */