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Free Burma Coalition to Malaysia: S

Subject: Free Burma Coalition to Malaysia: Stop Oppressing the Muslims of

To:  "Burma Net-l @igc.apc.org" <burmanet-l@xxxxxxxxxxx>,
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For Immediate Release				May 26, 1999

Contact: Ted Hobart, DC Burma Action Network <thobart@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
(703) 524-9773

Free Burma Coalition to Malaysia: 
Stop Oppressing the Muslims of Burma

Demonstration at Malaysian Embassy in Washington, D.C. - U.S.A.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Burmese and American democracy supporters will
protest the Malaysian government's support for the narco-dictatorship in
Burma, with a demonstration today at the Malaysian embassy in
Washington.  The demonstration will begin at 4:30 p.m., at S St. and
Massachussets Ave. Four percent of Burma's population is Muslim, and the
military government has systematically persecuted them, along with
Christian and other minority groups.  Beginning in 1992, an estimated
250,000 Muslims from Myanmar's western province of Arakan fled to
Bangladesh to escape attacks by the Burmese military.  While many of the
refugees have been forced back into Burma, others continue to resist
being repatriated.

In March 1997, there were attacks on Muslims and mosques in Mandalay and
other cities, reportedly provoked by government provocateurs.

While most American and European companies have been pulling out of
Burma, Malaysian companies such as Bousted Shipping Agencies Sdn. Bhd.
and Petronas the Malaysian state-owned oil company have been actively
financial support to Burma's generals.

Burma's entry into ASEAN in 1997 damaged relations between ASEAN and the
European Union.  Burma's generals are barred from setting foot in the
EU, which almost forced the cancellation of recent ASEAN-EU meetings. 
The Malaysian government's support for allowing Burma into ASEAN was
protested by groups such as the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia

The generals illegally running Burma have been condemned by the U.N.,
U.S. government, the E.U. , and many non-governmental organizations for
widespread human rights abuses. These violations include summary
executions, torture, forced relocations, systematic rape and the
persecution of ethnic minorities. The U.S. Department of Labor recently
documented the massive use of slave labor by the generals. 

Under the generals' rule, Burma has become the world's largest heroin
exporter, and a global center for drug money laundering, according to
U.S. State Department.