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Reuters-Myanmar rejects drugs, laun
- Subject: Reuters-Myanmar rejects drugs, laun
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 22:18:00
Subject: Reuters-Myanmar rejects drugs, laundering, rights charges
Myanmar rejects drugs, laundering, rights charges
05:45 a.m. Jun 23, 1999 Eastern
YANGON, June 23 (Reuters) - Myanmar, hosting a meeting on regional crime on
Wednesday, rejected Western charges that it harbours drug traffickers,
permits money laundering and is guilty of massive human rights abuses.
Its powerful military intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt put
up the defence in an address to a meeting in Yangon of interior ministers
from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
``We are consistently vigilant against money laundering, arms smuggling and
terrorism, and are taking necessary measures to combat them,'' said Khin
Nyunt, who is widely regarded as the most powerful figure in the military
``There are stringent regulations against money laundering and therefore,
allegations against Myanmar of such practices are completely without
basis,'' he added.
He said the government had confiscated more than 96 million kyat worth of
assets from those guilty of the crime in the past 10 years. At the
unofficial exchange rate of around 350 to the dollar that is about $275,000.
Myanmar is one of the world's largest sources of heroin.
Khin Nyunt also defended his government's human rights record, which has
provoked widespread condemnation and EU and U.S. sanctions.
``There have been accusations that the authorities have taken unwarranted
actions against certain individuals. I wish to put on record that this is
completely untrue and that only people who transgress the law have had
action taken against them.''
The sanctions were provoked by the military's treatment of the pro-democracy
opposition, which won a 1990 election by a landslide but has never been
allowed to govern. The government has detained large numbers of opposition
Khin Nyunt highlighted the government's recent decision to allow the
International Committee of the Red Cross to carry out prison visits to check
on conditions and treatment of prisoners.
He also defended Myanmar's record in suppressing the cross border
trafficking of women.
``The allegations made against Myanmar regarding trafficking in women are
completely false and have been deliberately spread by malicious elements,''
He said the problem needed to be tackled jointly by countries of origin,
transit and destination.
Myanmar has been working to boost its image by holding international
meetings dealing with abuses it is accused of. The meeting on crime is the
second ASEAN ministerial meeting it has held this year. It joined the bloc
It hosted an ASEAN Labour Ministers' meeting in May, provoking a storm of
criticism from human rights activists who accuse it of making widespread use
of forced labour. In February it hosted an Interpol meeting on narcotics.
ASEAN groups Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia.