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BurmaNet News: #284

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The BurmaNet News: November 22, 1995
Issue #284

Noted in Passing:
	While Suu Kyi and the NLD call for "national reconciliation" 
	implying talks leading to some compromise, the junta advocates 
	"national reconsolidation," suggesting a reinforcement of military 


November 21, 1995

Message from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 
in acceptance of the  1995 IRC Freedom Award
 21 November 1995

It is a signal honour to receive an award from an organization that has
been working effectively for more than half a century to alleviate human
suffering in all parts of the world. This award demonstrates that the
movement for democracy in Burma is recognized as one that seeks to
alleviate the sufferings of the people of our country. And it is in the
name of my people and my country that I accept with gratitude the 1995
Freedom Award of the International Rescue Committee. 

Albert Einstein who founded the International Rescue Committee
personally experienced the fate of a refugee when the rise of Nazism
forced him to leave his native Germany in 1933.  He would have known the
sense of dislocation and bereavement that makes refugees feel as
strangers on this earth, exiled from the only home they have ever known
and often unwelcome in lands where they are forced to find shelter. 

Surely it is no coincidence that the International Rescue Committee that
has worked over sixty years to help refugees is deeply committed to the
cause of human freedom.  Each year large numbers of people of many
different races and creeds are driven to an uncertain life as unwanted
refugees because of political and economic mismanagement under systems
that do not foster the two basic freedoms without which human beings
cannot lead dignified, meaningful lives: freedom from want and freedom
from fear. As long as there are parts of the world where the two
freedoms are not fostered there will be refugees. 

At present the International Rescue Committee is known to be providing
humanitarian aid to refugees in twenty-four countries, including
displaced Karenni people from Burma who have been forced to flee to
Thailand to escape fighting in their own lands. The Committee is also
engaged in helping over ten thousand refugees annually to begin new
lives in the United States. That the International Rescue Committee is
but one of a large number of organizations trying to cope with the
resettlement and relief of displaced persons is an indication of the
magnitude of the refugee problem. 

If the refugee problem is to be resolved it will have to be tackled at
its source. A refugee is one in search of refuge, of a shelter where he
will be safe from danger and suffering. There are the easily
recognizable refugees who live huddled in sad, sprawling camps dependent
on the charity of others. There are also the unacknowledged refugees,
men, women and children who live in constant insecurity in their own
homes because their rights as human beings are not

guaranteed by the law of the land.  It is only by creating societies
that provide adequate material and psychological protection for their
peoples that we shall be able to resolve the refugee problem

The International Rescue Committee was born of Dr. Einstein's personal
experience of injustices inflicted by the Nazi prior to the Second World
War. After the end of that war which caused such widespread devastation
the General Assembly of the United Nations, to full awareness that
"disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts
which have outraged the conscience of mankind," proclaimed the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.  If the Declaration were indeed accepted as
"a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations" there
would be no more refugees in our world. 

We in the movement for democracy in Burma recognize that democracy and
human rights are interdependent, that one cannot survive without the
other. In working for democracy and human rights we are striving to
establish political and social institutions and values that will free
our people from want and fear. We wish our country to be a genuine
refuge for all who come under its protection.  In our endeavours we are
strengthened by the support of organizations that have acquired
firsthand knowledge of the indissoluble links between freedom and

Shortly before his death, Dr. Einstein wrote: "What I seek to accomplish
is simply to serve with my feeble capacity truth and justice at the risk
of pleasing no one.  "Truth and justice are concepts which will never
lose their pristine force in the battle of humankind to make of our
planet a refuge large enough and compassionate enough for all its
inhabitants.  If everyone of us lived by Dr.  Einstein's simple dictum
the work of the International Rescue Committee would soon be brought to
a triumphant conclusion.  In the meantime there is much still to be

May I take the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to congratulate
the International Rescue Committee on their admirable achievements in
the cause of peace and freedom and to ensure them of our support for
their fine work with refugees.  I would like to conclude with a warm
expression of thanks to the Board of Directors of the International
Rescue Committee for honouring my people and my country by choosing me
as the recipient of the Freedom Award for 1995. 

Thank you. 


November 21, 1995

Office of the UN Mission
Suite 5H, 429 East 52nd Street, New York
Tel: (212) 751-5312   Fax: (202) 759-4149


by Dr Sein Win, Prime Minister, NCGUB 

Delivered to the International League for Human Rights 
Breakfast Meeting, November 21, 1995 

Honored guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Thank you for giving my delegation and me the opportunity to 
speak with you this morning.  As Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has 
been released it is crucial that we look critically at the 
true situation in Burma. To do this we must ask two questions: 
     1. Will the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi lead to a 
     better political climate, more freedom, easing of 
     restrictions placed on political parties and eventually 
     to dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, ethnic 
     leaders and the SLORC? and 
     2. Has the release signaled a change of policy on the 
     part of the SLORC and, therefore, will the human rights 
     situation improve? 
We all knew that it would take some time to answer these
questions following Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release, however, 
it is now four months and the answers are becoming very 
clear. Look at the facts: 
a)  Immediately following her release, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 
made it clear that she wanted to hold talks with the SLORC 
on any issue except the question of her leaving the country. 
She was also very diplomatic with the media hoping to create 
a political environment conducive to meaningful dialogue 
taking place. She has done everything in her power to 
convince the SLORC to talk, sadly without success. 
b)  At the time of her release the SLORC made it clear that 
she would be treated as any other citizen of Burma, not as 
the leader of the party which won the 1990 General Elections 
and not as the leader of the country's democratic movement. 
c)  Since August 1, the SLORC has started attacking Daw Aung 
San Sun Kyi using the state-owned media as the vehicle. 
Without using her name, SLORC has said she was jealous of 
their achievements, and in some articles, there are even indirect 
warnings to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National 
League for Democracy. 
d)  Following Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release SLORC sentenced 
U Thu Wai, Chairman of the Democracy Party and two other 
leading political figures to seven years imprisonment for 
allegedly distributing false information to foreign news agencies. 
e)  SLORC Foreign Minister, U Ohn Gyaw, in his address to 
the UNGA, mentioned Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's release, however, 
failed to make any mention of SLORC's commitment to 
democratic reform or improvements in the human rights 
situation. He spoke of national "reconsolidation" not 
"reconciliation" and 
f)  SLORC's Electoral Commission has rejected Daw Aung San 
Suu Kyi's reappointment as General Secretary of the National 
League for Democracy. 
If you consider these factors then it is clear to see that 
the answer to question No. 1. is, "No". 
If you consider that Amnesty International's and other human 
rights monitors confirm that there is wide spread use of 
slave labor, forced relocation, rape and land confiscation  
practiced by the SLORC army, hundreds of political prisoners 
remain languishing in Burmese prisons and the people of 
Burma are constantly subjected to fearful intimidation then you 
must say that the answer to question two is also clearly, "No." 
As Prime Minister of the National Coalition Government of 
the Union of Burma it is my duty to support the work of Aung 
San Suu Kyi and the NLD.  As a means to this end I have appointed 
Dr. Thaung Htun as our Permanent Representative to the United Nations. 
Thank you.


November 23, 1995

Government and opposition grow further apart

By Bertil Lintner in Bangkok

Aung San Suu Kyi doesn't like taking no for an answer, but
she may have to get used to it.  Since her release in July from
six years of house arrest, Burma's most prominent opposition
leader has sought some sort of dialogue with the military
government that imprisoned her.  The government has
steadfastly refused, even while tolerating Sun Kyi's renewed
high profile.

Alas, the generals seem to have tired of this delicate minuet,
and appear to be reverting to unbridled hostility.  The
clearest sign of their change in mood came on October 19
and 20, when the New Light of Myanmar, a government
mouthpiece, published two harsh attacks on Suu Kyi and the
movement she is trying to revive after years of repression.

One of the two pieces - both published under the
pseudonymous by - line U Phyo - lashed out at Rangoon
groups who "are cracking cheap jokes at will to satisfy the
average level of people, thereby engaging in destructive acts
 ... If I. U Phyo, were a police officer . . . I would certainly
have taken action against these people for obstructing traffic."

So much for reconciliation?  Many are starting to question
seriously whether there can be any accommodation between
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy and the ruling
junta, officially known as the State Law and Order Restoration 
Council, or Slorc.  What's more, some think, if the opposition 
doesn't soon produce something more tangible than mere words,
Sun Kyi, despite all the talk about her being "Asia's Mandela," 
could find herself discredited and marginalized.

Whether government and opposition are indeed moving
farther apart should become clearer on November 16, when
Burma celebrates its national day.  The two camps are already 
planning separate ceremonies, so the event may mark a parting of 
ways after the awkward truce of the last four months.

Even Suu Kyi herself won't say whether a dialogue is
becoming more or less likely. Speaking by telephone, she
told the REVIEW: "I don't want to be evasive, but you have
to wait for an official statement from the NLD."

One problem is that it remains unclear what a dialogue would
be about. So far, the two sides seems to be talking past each
other. While Suu Kyi and the NLD call for "national
reconciliation" implying talks leading to some compromise
the junta advocates "national reconsolidation," suggesting a
reinforcement of military rule.

"The problem is that they aren't even speaking the same
language," says a Bangkok - based Burma watcher.  

Since her release, Suu Kyi has delivered weekend speeches
from the gate of her compound on Rangoon's University
Avenue, attracting hundreds of people.  But she's in no
position to do much else.  Some fear the longer she and the
NLD go without some substantive accomplishment, the more
their credibility fades.

Even Suu Kyi herself states publicly that "I've been released,
that's all ... the situation hasn't changed."

Optimists in Rangoon believe negotiations are likely on
November 28, when the National Convention reconvenes to
consider a constitution that has been under discussion for
almost three years. "They will talk," says a Rangoon - based
diplomat. "It's in the interest of both parties to sort out their

Others aren't so sure. The military has picked most of the
700 delegates to the convention, which opponents dismiss as
a sham affair meant to legitimize Slorc's grip on power. 
They suspect the military hopes simply to string Suu Kyi
along until the public, with its high expectations of her,
inevitably becomes disenchanted.  "By making vague
promises of talks sometime in the future, but doing nothing
to facilitate such talks, the junta is playing a clever waiting
game which can only hurt Suu Kyi's chances of achieving her
political aims," says a Western businessman with years of
experience in Burma.

"To bring about a change, Suu Kyi would have to up the
ante," says a worker for a non - government organization in
Thailand who follows events in Burma.  "She just can't
continue calling for national reconciliation and a dialogue
which doesn't seem to materialize."

Raising the ante, however, requires confronting not only the
military rulers but also a powerful new lobby of foreign
businessmen who have poured millions of dollars into Burma
and have no interest in rocking the boat.

Indeed, money may be the only reason Suu Kyi is walking
free: By releasing her the military has opened the door to
foreign aid hitherto withheld.  In October, Japan resumed
grants- in - aid to Burma with a first allotment of 1.6 billion
yen  ($16 million).  Tokyo says it's willing to deliver more
aid to Burma on "a case - by - case basis." As the Burma-watcher
 in Bangkok notes, "even the IMF and the ADB have
said that they are prepared to wait for a political settlement,
but not indefinitely."

Edgardo Boeninger, a member of America's National
Democratic Institute who went to Burma in early November,
argues that unless Suu Kyi can prove that she is good for
business and the present government is not, there will be no
incentive to change the regime."

And if there isn't, Suu Kyi risks irrelevance.  "A year from
now, she could even be forgotten," says a Burmese source. 
"In a way, she was more dangerous when she, was under
house arrest than she is today, as a 'free' person who has to
obey the same severe restrictions as all other citizens, which
makes any overt political activity virtually impossible."

Most probably Slorc will continue ignoring appeals for a
dialogue until all parties, domestic and foreign, accept the
government on its own terms.  That, after all, has been the
regime's goal since it seized power seven years ago.


November 20, 1995    Rangoon
from mbeer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Barbed wire barriers placed infront of Aung San Suu Kyi's Rangoon residence
will not deter suppo rtersfrom attending the opposition leader's regular weekend
speeches, a memberof her staff said Monday.  ''The authorities have put up
barbed wire toallow traffic to move more easily,'' staffer Aye Win said in a
telephoneinterview from Suu Kyi's home along Rangoon's tree-lined University
Avenue.  ''It won't discourage people,'' he added, pointing out the size of the
crowd attending Sunday's speech was larger than previous gatherings at the
opposition leader's residence.  Police erected the barbed wire barricades Friday
night in what they said was an effort to ensure the smooth flow of traffic along
the road and prevent possible injuries of spectators.  Nevertheless, Aye Win
said it was the first time military authorities had openly interfered in Suu
K yi's speeches.  The gatherings have become the main focus of Burma's democracy
movement since Suu Kyi was released from nearly six years of house arrest July
10.  About 5,000 people, including many students and Buddhist monks, squeezed
between the barbed wire barriers and the wall surrounding Suu Kyi's home on
Sunday, cheering enthusiastically as their leader answered questions from
supporters.  Flanked by her senior colleagues U Tin U and U Kyi
Maung, vice
presidents of the National League for Democracy,  Suu Kyi appealed to the
audience to be disciplined and to confine themselves to the space allotted by
police.  Suu Kyi was reappointed general secretary of the NLD after her release
from house arrest, but military authorities have said the appointment wa s
invalid and have ignored her calls for a dialogue.  The ruling military junta,
known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council, is currently drafting a
new constitution institutionalizing military rule and prohibiting Suu Kyi from
holding office.  The junta has killed, imprisoned or exiled thousands of
democracy supporters since it seized power in a coup in 1988.  Responding to a
written question on whether ''fence-sitters'' were fit for democracy, Suu Kyi
said democratic principles should apply to everyone.  ''Everybody is fit for
democracy,'' she said. ''But in a democracy we need to try to reform those who
want to be 'clever' and that is why we have repeatedly said democracy does not
mean disappearance of all problems.'' Another question, submitted by letter,
asked her to define ''hero,'' to which she replied, ''To my mind, a hero is one
who works for the people and the country courageously, tirelessly and
outstandingly.'' Real heroes never die, she added, because they will live in
history and even if someone tries to distort history, the people will know the
truth.  ''History never lies. It puts on the record the good and the bad deeds
of everyone, so that even in the days of absolute monarchy, bad kings could not
black out from history their bad deeds,'' she said, drawing hearty applause.


November 17, 1995  by Peter Montagnon, London  

  The International Monetary Fund has offered to advise Burma on
policies needed to shift its economy away from central planning,
but is not yet ready to consider financial assistance.
  Bankers say that earlier this year the IMF presented the
government in Rangoon with a package of proposals, including
devaluation of the kyat, and offered to monitor their
implementation. But the package has not been endorsed by the fund's
board, which remains opposed to financial assistance. 


November 22, 1995
By Subin Khuenkaew and Nussara Sawatsawang

Opium warlord Khun Sa will today officially announce his 
intention to step down as chairman of the Shan State 
Administration Council at his Hua Mueng headquarters.

"I will absolutely quit," stressed the 61-year-old drug kingpin 
who commands the estimated 10,000-strong Mong Tai Army (MTA). 
Khun Sa told the Bangkok Post yesterday that during today's 
religious ceremony at his headquarters, deep inside Burma's Shan 
State some 80km from the Thai-Burmese border, he would make the 
announcement and return power to the Shan people.

Khun Sa said he had made it known publicly three months ago that 
he wanted to relinquish all power and wanted Shan State 
Administration Council, of which Zao Gun Jade is president, to 
find a person to replace him as chairman.

However, a disappointed Khun Sa said neither members in SSAC nor 
its president had contacted him over the matter. Khun Sa said he 
was tired of the fighting and felt sorry about an allegation 
made by some nationalists who accused him of being a Chinese and 
not a Shan. "I feel bitter over the allegation. It is like being 
stabbed with a sharp knife," said Khun Sa. (BP)


November 22, 1995

Officials from concerned agencies yesterday discussed measures 
to solve fishing problems in Burmese territorial waters 
following a series of conflicts recently between Rangoon 
authorities and Thai fishermen operating in the area.

The participants included Ranong fishery official Somporn 
Lohsawadikul, chief of the Fifth Regional Harbour Master Office 
Ranong Branch Capt Pradit Visuthinan, head of the sixth Thai-
Burmese border coordinating team Col Tharith Sunthorn and Ranong 
Fisheries Association president Charoon Silawongse.

According to Mr Somporn, the meeting came up with four 
preventive measures:

* Thai trawlers will have to be equipped with radio communications 
gear so their position in the sea can easily be traced.

* They will be required to report and to be inspected by the 
Harbour Department provincial official before setting out to sea.

* The radio communications centre of the Ranong fishery office 
will be allowed to communicate and inspect the position of Thai 
fishing boats at all times.

* Any company or person wishing to fish in Burmese territorial 
waters will have to ask for permission from the Fisheries 
Department and put up the stipulated guarantee money. The 
findings will be submitted to the Ranong and Victoria Point 
local joint border committee for Consideration and further action. (BP)


November 22, 1995
By Archara Ashayagachat

Representatives from Burma and China are to meet for the first 
time today to explore opportunities for cooperation with their 
counterparts from four other members of the Mekong River 
Commission in Ho Chi Minh City.

Officials from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam have been 
gathering in the southern Vietnamese city since Monday to 
present their work plans for next year to the donor community. 
An afternoon session has been scheduled today for the 
representatives to confer with the Burmese and Chinese officials.

Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam formed the Mekong River 
Commission in April, with their officials meeting under the 
joint committee which acts as its implementation arm.

At yesterday's meeting, the donor community including representatives 
from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme 
(UNDP), discussed their work plans for next year.

The 1994 projects on the drawing board, which are aimed at the 
harnessing the resources of the Mekong River, will require US$ 
232.32 million to implement. The four countries will contribute 
US$ 32.8 million of the total amount, while the remainder will 
be raised through external sources, said deputy resident UNDP 
representative in Vietnam Jordan Ryan.

"Out of external funding requirements totalling US$ 199.52 
million, some US$ 73.85 million has already been secured from 17 
major donor countries and agencies," he added. Denmark, Sweden 
and the Netherlands are among the key donors while the UNDP is 
the largest multilateral donor.

"As for the remaining US$ 125.67 million required in 
international aid, there has been a good response in terms of 
continued support from donor countries and agencies," said Mr  Ryan. (BP)


November 22, 1995          By Malee Trisawasdichai

The lower Mekong basin states hope navigational interest would 
be a contributing factor to getting China and Burma to join the 
Mekong River Commission. Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Ing 
Keith, who arrived here yesterday, said the commission welcomed 
China and Burma to jointly help develop the Mekong River, and 
navigation could an be a first step towards such cooperation.

"We want to welcome them. We hope they will be interested in 
becoming part of the MRC family," said Ing Keith, chairman of 
the Mekong Council, the MRC's decision-making body.

"We want to see the opening up of navigation along the Mekong 
River from the South China Sea up to Kunming and possibly deeper 
into China's mainland," Ing Keith said.

The MRC was formally re-established last April and consists of 
the four lower Mekong State _ Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and 
Vietnam. Ing Keith said there were many aspects of cooperation 
to be worked out between the upper and lower basin states. "The 
Mekong is not just a river. But a source of energy, 
transportation and trade, as well as the utilisation of its 
natural resources," Ing Keith said.

China plans to construct 15 mega-hydro-electric dams in the 
upper basin, one of which, the Manwan, has been completed. Two 
others, the Xiowan and Dachaosan, were under construction at the 
lower reach of the Mekong.

Hoang Trong Quang, permanent secretary of Vietnam National 
Mekong Committee, said his country would also welcome China, and 
has not objections to the construction of the dams.

"Basically, the dams in China would have a very small effects on 
Vietnam because they a long way from us. But they may affect 
countries that were closer," Quang said. Meanwhile, Thailand 
yesterday agreed to submit the controversial Kong-Chi-Mool water 
diversion project and follow the MRC's water usage rules, but 
would present the project under the "notification" category.

"The sub-committee on water use regulation will study the 
project and decide whether it should be submitted under the 
notification guidelines or not," said Quang.

The "notification" category was the minimum requirement for 
approval for projects under the MRC's water usage rule. The rule 
requires permission to be the maximum requirement for projects 
that divert water from the Mekong's main body into other basins 
in the dry season. (TN)


November 21, 1995

		A video documentary by IMAGES ASIA/Thailand
		Available on VHS PAL and NTSC systems
	Caught in the Crossfire is a stirring short documentary about the 
human rights abuses of women in Burma, perpetrated by the Burmese 
military.  The footage and interviews with Burmese women and Burmese 
soldiers, were documented along the Thailand-Burma border between 1994 
and 1995.  Many of the interviews were conducted after the release of Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi, and show that, as the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 
stated: "I have been released. That's all. Nothing else has changed."

	Told through the voices of the women themselves, this documentary 
emphasises the important experiences of women, their struggle, fear and 
courage.  These testimonies, inter-cut with sequences from their everyday 
lives in the war zones and refugee camps, clearly portray the reality of 
their situation.  These are contrated with United Nations conventions 
concerning women's rights, to further illustrat that women in Burma, 
especially in the border areas, are subject to wide-scale human rights 

	Caught in the Crossfire was designed as one in the three-part 
documentary video series, with study-guides, to be used as an education 
kit about the human rights and environmental situation in Burma.  Despite 
initial problems with the Chinese authorities, the video was premiered at 
the United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing in September 1995.  
IMAGES ASIA is a non-governmental organization which is currently in the 
process of completing parts one and three of the video series, and the 
accompanying study-guides.  Your support in purchasing this video as a 
lobbying and awareness-raising tool, will enable IMAGES ASIA to conclude 
this important work.  It will also enable other people to become 
interested and active about the human rights and environmental situation 
in Burma.

	To place and order please choosing your method of delivering, and 
send it to IMAGES ASIA.

	Images Asia
	P.O. Box 2, Phrasingha Post Office
	Muang, Chiangmai 50200

	Fax:(66-53) 406-155 or by E-mail above.
Price per video includes postage:

By Air:	within 2 weeks 
	North America		Europe/Scan	Asia/Pacific
	US$ 45			Pound 30 (U.K)	US$ 40

The payment can be in cashiers cheque to Images Asia, thank you in advance

Produced with the support of the Burma Information Group (B.I.G)
and the Research Department of the ABSDF {MTZ}  

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