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The BurmaNet News: May 26, 1999

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
 "Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 26, 1999
Issue #1279

NLD: STATEMENT 65 (5/99) 

22 May, 1999 

We, the Central Executive Committee of the Muslim Liberation Organization of
Burma (MLOB), would like to appeal to peace and justice-loving people of the
world, World Muslim leaders, Buddhist monks and Buddhist brethren of Burma, to
kindly prevent the ruling military junta, SLORC/SPDC, from again inhumanely
creating anti-Muslim riots in Burma in the near future.

The ruling military junta's agents have been distributing, in Rangoon and
parts of Burma, two anti-Muslim booklets alleging that the Muslims are trying
to subvert all other religions. The booklets further refer to what has
in Iraq and Indonesia in claiming that the Muslims in Burma are about to turn
Burma into an Islamic state. (Please see also Far Eastern Economic Review,
13, 1999, page 8).

The allegation in the booklets by the ruling junta is both totally inhumane
impossible as the Muslims in Burma are very much a minority, who are
continuously persecuted, brutalized and even restricted from moving freely in
many areas of Burma. The Muslims have been living in Burma peacefully for
several hundred years side by side with their sister communities. The junta's
allegation is politically motivated and it is a harbinger of the military
dictatorship's plan to make the Muslims as scapegoats for the junta's failure
to resolve Burma's mixed problems created by the junta itself.

The innocent Muslims have been made scapegoats many times before, by the
military rulers. In February-April, 1997, the junta created anti-Muslim riots
in central Burma which later spread even to Rangoon, resulting in 43 mosques
alone, many religious institutions and public properties being destroyed or
ablaze.  The inhuman brutality was consciously planned and executed by the
junta to divert the attention of the Buddhist monks who had started to
demonstrate against the junta, as the junta's officials had stolen precious
stones and gold from Mahamyatmunee Buddha statue in Mandalay.

Similarly, in 1991, SLORC created anti-Muslim riots in Arakan forcing 300,000
Rohingyas to flee into Bangladesh, in order to detract the people's attention
from dissatisfaction over the refusal by the junta to hand over power to the
NLD following the elections in 1990.

Now Burma is again at a critical juncture with soaring inflation, collapsing
economy and health services, and an uneducated generation of young people with
no hope for the future.  To better understand the junta, it is helpful to know
that the junta took over power in 1988 by massacring several thousand innocent
civilians, marching in peaceful demonstrations for democracy and human rights.
The 1999 session of the UN commission on human rights is an appropriate
background against which to consider the brutalities of the military junta.

As reported by the Special Rapporteur, the military junta continues to violate
all human rights, engaging in extra-judicial and arbitrary executions,
disappearances, rape, arbitrary seizures of land and property, forced labour,
arrests, torture, detention without trial, inhuman treatment of prisoners
leading to illness and death in custody, forced relocations, directed against
the ethnic and minorities resulting in flows of refugees to neighbouring
countries, restrictions on movement faced by Muslims in Arakan, the continued
harassment , arrest and detention of opposition NLD members led by Nobel
laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and students, all  when most of the Burmese people
are  starving.

The people of Burma are (or) have become totally dissatisfied with the
junta. The situation of Burma is very explosive and it is assumed that
mass-uprisings all over Burma against the military junta will take place
the end of the year, 1999.  The military junta is well aware of the situation
and they want to make the innocent minority Muslims again scapegoats for their
failures to solve Burma's political, economic, social, ethnic problems and the
people's dissatisfactions.

The junta's systematic distribution of anti-Muslim booklets is nothing other
than a dirty trick to create hatred between Muslims and non-Muslim communities
and instigate anti-Muslim riots as before, in order to divert the
attentions of
the people from forthcoming mass-uprisings against the junta in Burma.

We, therefore, would like to sincerely urge all world communities, world
leaders, Burma's Buddhist monks and Buddhist brethren to kindly stop the
military junta from creating further brutalities against the innocent Muslims
in Burma.

The Central Executive Committee,
Muslim Liberation Organization of Burma.


11 May, 1999 

1. Information received is that every individual of every household in Bogalay
township, is required to give forced labour for the construction of a road
linking Paechaung and Kadone Ka-ne villages in Bogalay township, Irrawaddy

2. The car road will be 32 miles long. It will involves crossing six river
tributaries with a span of approximately 600 feet, five chaungs (big creeks)
with that of approximately 200 feet, and ten small streams. This road is to be
imposing and massively constructed.

3. The residents of the town, villages and wards have been given notice that
they will have to give personal or substitute labour.

4. Substitute labour will cost a household between five to ten thousand kyats.
The road will cut across jungles and forests and mangrove swamps. Water under
the surface is salty and drinking water is difficult to obtain. Road
construction will be most arduous. Moreover, it being the beginning of the
rainy season, the cultivators need to be working on their fields. Those who
live in the towns have to work to live from day to day.  A lot of them sell
their petty wares as hawkers (carrying goods on their heads or carting them
around).  In no way can these people give their own labour or pay someone else
as a substitute.

5.  Our information is that this road has not been planned by the Central or
Divisional PDC, but has been initiated by Sayadaw U Kawlatha assisted by the
army and the township authorities. The reason given is to facilitate pilgrims
to reach the site where the sayadaw has constructed the One Thousand Gangaw
Pagoda. This car road is not really needed because it is a day's journey by
waterway to and from Bogalay town to Kadone Ka-ne village.

6.  U Aung Khin Bo and U Aung Myint (Chairman and member of the township NLD
organising committee) who reported these circumstances to us have been
illegally arrested and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment by those who hold
power.  This action is downright unjustifiable. They were only performing
duty as required by the rules and regulations of a legally constituted
political party.  This is a travesty and miscarriage of justice.

7. We vehemently denounce such unfair inequitable practices.

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy


25 May, 1999

YANGON, May 25 (Reuters) - Alexander Aris, the elder son of Myanmar's
pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her late British academic husband,
arrived in Yangon on Tuesday to see her for the first time in several years. 

Aris, 26, was met by his mother at the airport, eyewitnesses said. Suu Kyi's
younger son, Kim, visited her from April 16 to April 30. 

Their father Michael Aris died in England of prostate cancer on March 27
been denied a visa to visit his wife for the past three years. 

Aris applied for a visa to visit Suu Kyi in Myanmar shortly before his death,
but the military government did not grant it despite a flurry of international
representations on his behalf. 

The government, which has long sought a way to get Suu Kyi out of the country,
instead encouraged her to go to England to see her husband. She refused,
fearing she would not be allowed back into Myanmar after the visit.


May, 1999 Vol 7 No 4 by Aung Zaw


The Burmese generals recently renovated Shwedagon Pagoda. Under the junta's
guidance intensive restoration of ancient pagodas and temples is being carried
out all over Burma. As people throughout the country donate gold, diamonds and
rubies to pagodas, the generals pay daily visits to sacred shrines. But
what is
the reason behind all this?

Do the generals really believe they can atone for their past in this way, or
are they simply trying to whitewash their sins? Aung Zaw writes.

It was in 1870, some 129 years ago that a small gathering of senior monks and
members of the Burmese elite held a meeting at a monastery in Rangoon. By that
time the British had already taken over Lower Burma. The meeting was called to
discuss Shwedagon Pagoda. Sayadaw U Pyar and the laymen wanted to restore the
Htidaw or "umbrella" which crowns Shwedagon, Burma's most sacred pagoda. The
Htidaw had last been renovated 85 years earlier by King Muay Du. But the monks
and other Burmese did not want to ask the British authorities for assistance,
as a signal that they did not recognize their occupation of the country.
Instead, they requested the assistance of King Mindon, who still ruled Upper
Burma. King Mindon in Mandalay Palace immediately accepted the request from
Rangoon and began restoration work on the Htidaw.

It took over a year to complete the task. In October 1871, the king had the
golden crown transported to Shwedagon, where, according to tradition, eight
strands of the Buddha's hair are enshrined. The king's ceremonial
steamer carrying the diamond-studded Htidaw arrived in Rangoon on October 22.
Hundreds of thousands of Burmese participated in ceremonies to mark the
restoration of the Htidaw.

"The British were not pleased by the ruler's statement of independence, but
were powerless to stop the action," noted one historian.

Shwedagon has often been a center of political activity. During British rule,
students gathered at the pagoda to call for boycotts against the foreign
rulers. After the country achieved independence, Shwedagon continued to be
as a center point for politically active students who took refuge there from
the dictatorial regime. In 1988, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi gave her
first public speech at Shwedagon.

Now Burma's military rulers are using Shwedagon to serve their own ends. Last
year they consulted senior monks to discuss plans to refurbish the pagoda, and
especially the Htidaw, which has not undergone any repairs since 1970. Most
people are suspicious about their motives, but the generals went ahead with
their plan anyway.

At first, it seemed that Shwedagon itself did not agree with the idea. When
generals tried to remove the Htidaw, an earthquake shook the pagoda.

"That was a strong indication that Shwedagon wouldn't accept the generals'
plan," commented one monk. "But later they tried again and again and the
earthquakes stopped."

All Burmese, including the generals, regard Shwedagon as a symbol of the
country. The regime knows that making merit by doing work on the sacred temple
may also be a good way to restore their image within the country. Suddenly
Burmese are seeing a steady stream of images in the state-owned media showing
generals roaming around temples and consulting monks. The regime even
established a "Leading Committee for Perpetual All-round Renovation of
Shwedagon Pagoda," headed by SPDC Secretary One Lt Gen Khin Nyunt.

"This has become a serious business, as if they have nothing else to do,"
remarked one Burmese observer.


Looking at all the gold, jewels, money, and valuable items that people have
donated towards the latest restoration of Shwedagon, one might find it hard to
believe that in 1987 Burma was designated a "Least Developed Country" by the
United Nations. Many people simply removed rings and jewelry and donated them
while others looked on. As one Burmese person explained to a foreign
journalist, "Contributions whether in cash or kind or service and in whatever
amounts to such a sacred pagoda will help us be reborn into peaceful
lives and will certainly be conducive to attaining our final goal of Nirvana."

As of March 1999, groups and individuals had contributed a total of 43,275
items of jewelry and other precious possessions. Donations also came in from
outside of the country. According to Reuters news agency, Singapore's Golden
Pagoda Temple donated 132 gold bells and a gold bowl weighing more than six

"People are so confused. Elderly people were delighted to have a chance to see
the sacred umbrella restored in their life time," said one observer.  "The
generals know very well how to play the game."

But as the day to place the Htidaw back on the top of the pagoda grew closer,
it was clear that Burmese were divided into three groups. One group was
pleased with the generals' work at Shwedagon. The second group took a neutral
stance, choosing not to link the issue to politics. The third group did not
support or like it at all.

It is believed that senior monks in the Sangha Council even had a heated
amongst themselves about whether the unpopular generals should have been
permitted to hoist the Htidaw.

Some members of the public suggested that the regime didn't deserve this
opportunity to make merit. Others expressed concern that the generals might
steal the valuables they had collected for the restoration.

In 1997, news spread about the junta's systematic looting of pagoda treasures
at several temples in Upper Burma. In one infamous incident, authorities broke
open the famous Mahamuni Buddha image in Mandalay to search for a legendary
ruby. When monks protested against the junta's mishandling of the statue, the
army sent troops to Mandalay and stirred up anti-Muslim riots to distract
people's attention.

Some Buddhist scholars in Rangoon disagreed with the junta's restoration of
Htidaw. One senior academic said, "They don't understand the meaning of
restoration and preservation. What they are doing now is destroying history
removing all valuable sculptures. They did the same things in Pagan."

The junta, however, claimed that the ancient pagodas and temples in Pagan had
been restored to their original styles. But the "patriotic" generals
refused to
replace some sculptures because the British built them during the colonial


Many people in Burma said they believed the generals were simply preparing for
hard times when they decided to renovate Shwedagon. A middle-aged man in
downtown Rangoon said, "They are very superstitious. I am sure they are doing

Yadaya is a form of magic widely practiced in Burma to ward off evil spirits
and weaken one's enemies. It is well known that many SPDC generals practice
yadaya and rely on the advice of astrologers. Recently there has even been a
rumor that Khin Nyunt has been attempting to "steal" Aung San Suu Kyi's power
by dressing in women's clothing, complete with a flower in his hair.

Some analysts in Rangoon have suggested that the renovation was an attempt by
the generals to demonstrate their superiority to Suu Kyi, since women are not
permitted to climb to the top of Shwedagon.

However, the sight of Khin Nyunt climbing to the top of the pagoda in his
military uniform provoked anger in some younger Burmese. When he and several
other generals started shouting "Aung Pyi! Aung Pyi! " ("We won! We won!")
reaching the top, some wondered whether they were referring to their victory
over Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, or the people of Burma.

In any case, when hundreds of thousands of Burmese showed up for the three-day
ceremony to mark the renovation of the pagoda, their numbers included NLD
members. Even opposition leaders who had been detained by the regime were
permitted to attend.

"I am out here because we made a special request to the authorities. For
Buddhists this is the event of a lifetime."

Initially, it was believed that a general amnesty for political and other
prisoners might be announced to mark the occasion. However, this did not

After hoisting the Htidaw, a state-run newspaper declared that this was a
victory" for the people of Burma. "The ceremony can be marked as a
milestone in
all-round nation- building endeavors of the patriotic Tatmadaw (armed forces)
to ensure secure and prosperous life for the nationalities since September
1988." The date refers to the coup and subsequent crackdown on pro-democracy
protesters that marked the beginnings of the current regime's reign.

The same article also noted favorable signs that the renovation had met with
divine approval. "The climate that was dry and hot since the start of summer
had changed due to showers of rain beginning from 7 April till New Year
Day. It
is a good omen for the people of Myanmar that there will be peace and
tranquility in the nation in the coming year and they will be able to strive
not only for the interests of the nation and the people but also for the
benefit of the world."

But in military-ruled Burma, good omens don't last long. Five days after the
three-day ceremony was held, a fire broke out in the eastern stairway of
Shwedagon. The fire was extinguished 15 minutes after it was spotted by
pilgrims. One veteran reporter in Rangoon said that it was lucky that rain
started falling soon after the fire broke out. Some attributed this to
Shwedagon's tago, or power.

Damage was slight, but the official media was quick to place the blame on its
opponents. "It can be speculated as to who is responsible. It is those who
committed similar things a number of times." The next day, a more explicit
article lashed out at the NLD and underground elements for starting the fire.

However, analysts in Rangoon said that sabotage by one of the regime's many
enemies was unlikely. They noted that Shwedagon has been heavily guarded since
top leaders, especially Khin Nyunt, started visiting almost every day. "No one
could enter the ceiling and set a fire as the area is well guarded," said one
veteran journalist.

A police officer who had been assigned to guard the temple for decades said
that the security of the temple is completely controlled by the army and
intelligence units.

Some believe that the government itself lit the fire so that it could place
blame on the opposition. "Now that they are the heroes of Shwedagon, they need
to find a villain. It was like Hitler who set fire to the Reichstag and blamed
the communists," remarked prominent dissident Moe Thee Zun.

"No one in Rangoon is convinced that this is the work of rebels or the NLD,"
said one lawyer in Rangoon. "Some don't even believe that the fire took place.
They think it was just made-up."

The junta likened the incident to the December 1996 bombing at Kaba Aye
where a tooth relic from China was being displayed. Five people were killed
many others were injured. The junta blamed Karen rebels and the opposition
time, too, but it never presented any evidence to back up the accusation.

Some Burmese have even expressed disappointment that disaster hasn't befallen
the generals. Many believe that such a scenario is still possible. "Something
will happen to them or their family members because they are not the real
rulers of the country," said one person.

It is believed that the junta planned to hoist the Htidaw on the first of
March. The plan was withdrawn after astrologers suggested it was not the right
time. They were right. Lightening struck Rangoon seven times on that day and
the generals decided to stay away from Shwedagon.

A Burmese monk in Thailand said that the generals'motives for renovating the
pagoda were different from those of King Mindon. "It was just a facelift for
the government. They are using Shwedagon as a shield and to whitewash their

The renovation has kindled many hopes and expectations, but no one should be
surprised to discover that the junta's wishes and those of the rest of the
Burmese people are at odds with each other. It remains to be seen whose wishes
will be answered.

Aung Zaw is the editor of the Irrawaddy.


21 May, 1999 

TOKYO, May 21 (AFP) - Myanmar's military junta does not trust democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi to take over power until a new constitution is in place, its
ambassador to Japan U Khin Maung Thein said Friday.

He gave no timetable for drawing up a constitution, however.

U Khin Maung Thein also told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan he was a
reluctant politician and would really prefer "going back to my village and my
mountain, my jungle, my birthplace."

"The military "don't want to do this job but we cannot give it to somebody
which is not... who does not know about the country and ethnics and the
background history of our country," he said.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate, only knew about "Western ideology," he
said, adding that rulers in Myanmar must not show animosity to neighbours or
ethnic groups.

"It must be a very firm constitution that ethnic groups should not fight each
(other) again. When politicians cannot solve the problem they use the military
to fight, like NATO.... this is what we don't like."

In 1990, two years after the military killed thousands of protesters during a
pro-democracy uprising, Aung San Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory in
Myanmar's first democratic election in almost 30 years.

But the junta has refused to give up power, saying it must first draft a
constitution through a convention of handpicked supporters.

The ambassador said army rulers had delivered peace and stability to Myanmar,
denying television reports to the contrary by stations such as CNN and the BBC
as distortions or inventions.

"Of the little that is known almost half of all the information (that) appears
in all foreign media tends to be distorted, exaggerated, sometimes made up,
sometimes trimmed, sometimes cut to suit the purpose of certain designers
ultimate aim is to defame and vilify Myanmar's image," he said.

The ambassador complained about US television news station CNN's coverage of
Aung San Suu Kyi's British husband, who died of cancer in March. The junta
refused him a visa to see her and she did not want to leave Myanmar, fearful
she would not be allowed back in.

"On CNN they showed a public uprising in Yangon but all the pictures were
showed were a mob in front of the embassy in Bangkok," said the Myanmar

Other media invented human rights violations, he said.

During the 1988 "crisis," a BBC reporter had set up an interview with some
students by handing them "the paper to read out and make a very good
story," he

"Those students after the crisis explained to the government that they were
knowing that all these papers reading out were affecting the reputation of the

"But actual thing never happen, no rape case, no torture."

The UN Human Rights Commission last month condemned Myanmar for sweeping human
rights violations.

A resolution contained a long list of abuses ranging from summary executions,
torture, and abuse of women to systematic programmes of forced relocation and
widespread use of forced labour.

The resolution also highlighted increasing numbers of arbitrary and
motivated arrests and detentions without trials.

"Now our people are happily engaged in their daily lives without repression,
without fear and anxiety," said the Myanmar ambassador.

"I wish also to state categorically that allegations about human rights
violations in Myanmar are completely groundless."


25 May, 1999 by William Barnes

The European Union and all 10 Asean countries yesterday began a meeting
for 19 months under a cloud labelled Burma.

Only by fudging the terms of Burma's attendance was the meeting able to go

Thai diplomats claimed that Burma, along with new members Cambodia and Laos,
had the right to speak out on general issues.

"Essentially they have a positive role to play in the meeting," said one
Foreign Ministry official.

But Michel Caillouet, the head of the European Union delegation in Bangkok,
said that representatives of the military regime may be seen but they will not
be heard.

"Burma is a passive participant . . . there will be no negotiation with
he said.

The two sides have been careful not to publicise the meeting's ground rules,
leaving many observers with the impression that the European Union's executive
eventually bowed to Asean sensibilities.

Many of the region's governments are privately critical of the regime in
Rangoon, but they feel that if Asean has any worth at all it must stick

"For better or worse, Burma is an Asean member," conceded one Western

The EU tried to exclude Burma by arguing that it had formal relations only
the original seven Asean signatories to a joint co-operation agreement.

An Asean-EU foreign ministers' meeting in Berlin was cancelled earlier this
year because the Europeans wanted to maintain a visa ban on all junta

The EU suspicion that Rangoon is getting too easy an international ride under
the Asean flag has been strongly fuelled by a surprise ban last week on a
union conference to discuss how to bring democracy to Burma.

The Thai authorities said the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
was putting together a blatantly political meeting that could offend Burma.


24 May, 1999

Protesters Outside Parade Giant Effigies of CEO Beach and Burmese General

Brea, CA -- May 24, 1999 -- Controversy raged in Unocal's Annual meeting today
as shareholders confronted CEO Roger Beach with accounts of forced labor and
other human rights abuses, as well as poor planning and inefficiency connected
to the company's Yadana pipeline project, which was intended to bring natural
gas from Burma to Thailand.

In front of the meeting venue, 12 ft. tall moving puppet-like effigies of the
CEO and a gun-toting General of Burma's ruling junta "greeted" meeting
attendees and exchanged handshakes with bloodstained hands. Refugees from
displayed a banner reading "Unocal: A New Breed of Corporate Greed!"

Mr. Larry Dohrs, of the Free Burma Coalition, presented a resolution (which
received a 7.1 percent shareholder vote) calling for an accounting of the
effects of Unocal's Burma involvement. Citing reports by the International
Labor Organization and US Dept. of Labor about the pervasiveness of forced
labor in the region where Unocal's pipeline cuts across Burma, Mr. Dohrs
commented, "You just don't make money on the backs of forced laborers, not in
the modern world." Addressing Mr. Beach and the three members of the Board of
Directors who attended the meeting, Mr. Dohrs continued, "You will be held to
account, and it will not take fifty years, because the institutional
that will hold you accountable are now stronger than ever."

Dr. Pyi Nyein, an exiled Burmese dissident, said of the pipeline area
residents, "All they know is fear. Your pipeline project has brought my people
such a terrible heartbreak that many thousands of people have to flee the
area." Mr. Beach responded to his comments with:  "Your facts are not the
that predominate in that region." Mr. Ka Hsaw Wa, a human rights researcher
from Burma who raised similar accusations at last year's Unocal meeting, which
were similarly dismissed, was recently the recipient of both the Reebok Human
Rights Award and the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

Unocal's Yadana pipeline project has been dogged by negative publicity, which
was extensively cited in the meeting, as well as by substantial delays in
coming online.  Father Joe La Mar of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
Corporate Social Responsibility program asked: "The power plant is not on
there's a token production of gas, comments are that it's not as
high-valued as
it was expected to be. Also Thailand's need for gas and oil for power is
considerably reduced."  Thailand, the recipient of the pipeline's gas has been
widely reported to be experiencing a "gas glut." In response, Mr. Beach
admitted, "We need to get that gas flowing."

Recent annual meetings of Burma-involved European oil companies, Total
(France), Fina (Belgium), and Premier (UK) were also dominated by Burma
protests amid a growing European boycott movement.  The major US oil
Texaco, Amoco and ARCO, have all left Burma, leaving Unocal conspicuous by its
presence in a reviled military dictatorship. Ms. Vicki Middleton, wife of a
senior ARCO executive spoke of ARCO's experience: "They got out of Burma, they
became a more desirable company."

Shareholders also referred to the ongoing petition by California citizens
groups and State Senator Tom Hayden, calling for the revocation of Unocal's
corporate charter because of a clear pattern of environmental irresponsibility
and ties to human rights violations. They also mentioned that Unocal was
recently ranked dead last for environmental performance in a study of 13
leading oil companies by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, a Wall Street
Unocal's pollution of villages in East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) was also
commented on in the meeting.


25 May, 1999 

YANGON, May 25 (Reuters) - Myanmar Foreign Minister Win Aung will make an
official visit to South Korea this month at the invitation of his counterpart
Hong Soon-young, the official Myanmar News Agency reported on Tuesday.

A Foreign Ministry official said Win Aung would leave for Seoul on May 28 and
hold bilateral talks there.

South Korean businesses have been among the foreign investors in

Last year South Korea was among a group of eight countries that urged
generals, who have been widely criticised for their human rights record, to
enter a dialogue with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a call they have
so far resisted.

Win Aung is due to travel on to Japan to attend an economics-orientated
in Tokyo sponsored by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper.

The seminar is also expected to be attended by Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad, Philippine President Joseph Estrada and Indonesian Foreign
Minister Ali Alatas, an official of the Japanese embassy said.

The official said he did not know whether Win Aung would meet his Japanese
counterpart Masahiko Komura in Japan.


25 May, 1999

A group of Burmese opposition politicians arrived in the Philippines yesterday
to seek support in their fight against the ruling junta's efforts to draft a
new constitution, organisers said.

The group, which claims to represent the "legitimate government of Burma," has
lined up meetings with government officials, diplomats, legislators and
non-government organisations.

The group comprised politicians elected to Burma's parliament in 1990
won by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy but
who were never allowed to assume power by army generals who continued to rule.

The Free Burma Coalition, which organised the visit, said the visitors
"will be
here to campaign against the efforts of the military junta to strengthen their
legitimacy by enforcing a bogus constitution".

It identified the group's leader as Teddy Buri, chairman of the foreign
committee of the National Council of the Union of Burma.

Burma was admitted to Asean despite the junta's alleged record of massive
rights abuses.


23 May, 1999 from <altsean@xxxxxxxxxx> 

Since 1997, Burma activists and their supporters have celebrated June 19, Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday, as Women of Burma Day.

Women of Burma Day is a time for all of us to express our solidarity and
support for women of all backgrounds who have been resisting the military
regime in Burma. These women of different ethnicity, religion, educational
background and occupation continue to work for peace and democracy while
inside Burma, in the border camps, or in exile.

Last year, the NLD endorsed this day by declaring June 19 as National Women's
Day inside Burma. The military regime was so upset that they "retaliated" by
declaring July 3 as Myanmar Women's Day. We hope you will celebrate the
women's day on June 19.


* NEW POSTER "Women of Burma ~ Resisting the Military Regime" (sorry, text is
in English only). Cost US$7 for set of 5. Altsean-Burma is happy to send them
FREE if you plan to organise an event, however, you will have to cover the
of delivery (post/courier).

* NEW POSTCARD: Daw Suu on Women's Solidarity. Cost US$4 for 5, $6 for 10.

* REPRINT of "Burma: Voices of Women In the Struggle" (separate English
and Burmese editions). Cost US$7 each.

* REPORT CARD: Situation of Women in Burma. Cost US$2 each.

* POSTCARD & BADGES: Yellow flowers for democracy. Cost US$7 for 20 postcards
and 5 badges.

All prices include postage and handling. Discounts available for bulk orders.


Last year, Burma support groups and women's groups worked together to
a range of activities around the world, e.g.:

* A launch of Burma: Voices of Women in the Struggle - this year you can
the new poster

* A statement, press release or letter to the media to mark Women of Burma
Generate articles and discussions about women in Burma.

* A silent protest (and in one case, even a tea party!) outside the nearest
Burmese diplomatic mission wearing a mask of a prominent political prisoner or
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

* An intimate gathering to read works of women from Burma, view videos and
share experiences.

Please email us at <altsean@xxxxxxxxxx> for further information.


24 May, 1999 from <anaing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 

The Joint Action Committee for a Democratic Burma (Sydney-Australia) would
to invite people of Burma, friends, and supporters to attend a "Public Meeting
on 9th Anniversary of 1990 General Elections" in Burma.

Date: 29 May, 1999 
Time: 10:00 am 
Place: LHMU Auditorium, 187 Thomas St, Haymarket, Sydney

Speakers: U Tin Tut, elected MP for Ein Me constituency representing the
National League for Democracy and U Daniel Aung, elected MP for Mong Ping
constituency representing the Lahu National Development Party