[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
[theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: Au
Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: August 24, 2000
-------------------------- eGroups Sponsor -------------------------~-~>
Free @Backup service! Click here for your free trial of @Backup.
@Backup is the most convenient way to securely protect and access
your files online. Try it now and receive 300 MyPoints.
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
_________August 24, 2000 Issue # 1603__________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AFP: Myanmar minister sacked over rare outburst against junta's
*Reuters: Myanmar govt hits back at Suu Kyi on universities
*The Nation: Stiff sentence for Thai (for entering Burma)
*Bakatha: Red Cross holding police baton in Burma
*The Sydney Morning Herald: Concern for education activists
*AFP: Myanmar regime not ready to relax oppression: leaked Australian
*Australian Broadcasting Corp: Burma warns Australia against optimism
for military regime
*Businessworld (Philippines) World Bank giving wildlife funds, burma
*Reuters: Myanmar workers flock to Thailand after job respite
*AFP: Thai military to shift focus of anti-narcotics campaign
*AP: Thai army, medical school, to open malaria center at Myanmar
*CFC: 23 Chin Refugees Taken To Falam, Burma
*Mizzima: Eminent personnel of India appeal for support to Burmese
*Tehelka (India): UNHCR cash crunch leaves refugees penniless
*Business Recorder (Pakistan): Direct import of lentils from Myanmar
*Karen Action Group: Conference in UK
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP: Myanmar minister sacked over rare outburst against junta's
YANGON, Aug 23 (AFP) - Myanmar's deputy planning and economy minister
Zaw Tun has been sacked for making a scathing public attack on the
junta which he accused of covering up the appalling state of the
nation's economy, sources said.
In an official speech delivered on July 7 the outspoken Zaw Tun said
the military's policies "lacked transparency and consistency" and
were aimed primarily at cementing its iron grip on the nation.
"Carrying on with a planned economy after announcing a free-market
economy is a manifestation of no success," he was quoted as saying at
a business seminar.
The junta's first secretary Khin Nyunt has said that Myanmar's
economy grew by 10 percent in the last financial year to March, but
Zaw Tun said it actually stood closer to six percent.
"In reality, the GDP growth was around six percent if calculated on
the three basic factors of production, expenditure and income," he
The government, anxious to maintain an impression of double-digit
growth, were calculating GDP based only on production, he said.
"When military commanders were ordered to compile GDP, the data
included the value of seized goods as well as taxes at the municipal
market which were full of inaccuracies," he said.
He recounted an incident where a divisional commander who had
attended a coordination meeting where GDP was discussed phoned up two
weeks later to enthusiastically report that GDP in his jurisdiction
had shot up five-fold.
"It is a case of killing me softly with the system," Zaw Tun quipped
in the speech.
His criticism cost him his job on August 10, and he was also
stripped of his home and other benefits that came with his job and
military rank of Brigadier General, sources in Yangon told AFP.
The sacking has not been officially announced.
"It's a pity because what he said made a lot of sense," one resident
diplomat said, adding that the news of his dismissal was no surprise.
"We always found him to be quite candid and outspoken whenever we
had occasion to meet with
him and this was rather refreshing."
The opposition Democratic Voice of Burma radio, monitored in London,
said the sacking was part of an ongoing purge within the State Peace
and Development Council (SPDC) leadership which was causing unease
among the military ranks.
It said Zaw Tun had taken his sacking philosophically and bade
farewell with the parting shot: "I am the poorest among the
The generals who rule Myanmar are widely accused of having little
idea how to run an economy.
The result is a primitive and informal system propped up by barter
and a pervasive black market in everything from currency to gasoline.
Myanmar's currency, the kyat, this month spiraled to an all-time low
against the dollar, triggering fears of a major government anti-
inflation intervention in the economy.
On the black market, the truest indicator of the value of the
currency, the kyat is now valued at about 400 to the dollar.
Physical signs of the decaying economy are obvious. Power cuts are a
daily headache for residents of Yangon and other cities and prices
rise and fall dramatically throughout the year.
Foreign investment has all but dried up owing to the Asian financial
crisis and the stigma attached to investing in a country blamed by
the West for serious human rights abuses.
Myanmar's ruling junta frequently blames its economic woes on
external influences and political
foes such as democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National
League for Democracy party.
Reuters: Myanmar govt hits back at Suu Kyi on universities
YANGON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government said on
Wednesday it regretted comments by opposition figurehead and Nobel
laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who said earlier this week the reopening
of universities in the country was a sham.
Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won elections in
May 1990 by a landslide but has never been allowed to govern, said in
a rare interview that education in Myanmar could not make progress
until the country achieved democracy.
But in a statement, the government insisted it was committed to both
education and democracy.
``It is quite regretful that the NLD has taken the stance of
condemning and criticising the government of Myanmar's endeavours in
encouraging students to peacefully pursue their education without
being sidetracked and exploited by certain quarters with vested
interests,'' it said.
``While the government of Myanmar warmly appreciates constructive
advice and criticism from the local and international community,
criticising and condemning others merely for the sake of engaging in
the act of confrontation should be totally avoided.''
In a videotaped interview in Yangon on Monday, Suu Kyi urged the
world's students to put pressure on their governments to push for
democracy in Myanmar.
``The consensus of opinion is that the universities have been
reopened because of pressure, external and internal, and this is a
mere surface job to make people think that there has been progress,''
``But in fact there has been no progress. The students have been
made to give undertakings to the effect that they will not engage in
politics, in short that they will do whatever the authorities require
them to do.''
Last month around 60,000 Myanmar students restarted classes with the
reopening of campuses shut down more than three years ago after pro-
Yangon's ruling generals ordered the closure of more than 30
universities and colleges a few days before final examinations in
December 1996, after student demonstrations at campuses and on the
streets of the capital.
In its statement on Wednesday, the government said it had taken
several steps to improve education, including upgrading facilities,
training teachers and raising their salaries by 500 percent.
``It is undeniable that a developing country like Myanmar faces many
difficulties and challenges during its transition from a one-party
socialism to a multi-party democracy,'' it said.
``But education being a national priority, the government has been
investing more and more in schools, not only to open the doors of
learning to all but also to obtain higher standards and better
quality of learning.''
The Nation: Stiff sentence for Thai (for entering Burma)
Aug 24, 2000.
A THAI man will spend four years in a Burmese jail for entering the
Yuthana Phromsaroh, 35, was sentenced yesterday by a Burmese court in
Myawaddy to the maximum prison term for entering the country
The sentence prompted outrage in Yuthana's home district, Mae Sot in
Tak province, which is adjacent Myawaddy.
The punishment was harsh and unfair, Mae Sot residents said.
The decision was biased and potentially damaging to cross-border
trade in the area, they said.
Yuthana's wife, 28-year-old Kritsana Thinamart, said the court was
using a double standard.
Thousands of Burmese people work illegally in Thailand, but receive
far more lenient sentences than her husband did for crossing the
border illegally, she said.
Kritsana said she had asked every possible authority to help her
husband, including the Joint Border Committee, a bilateral forum that
addresses local disputes and problems.
Yuthana was arrested on July 20.- The Nation. Police Colonel Rachot
Serbsai-un of the Mae Sot immigration office was reportedly looking
into the matter.
Bakatha: Red Cross holding police baton in Burma
( Burmese Students' Union )Release ( 16 / 2000 )
According to a group of Ahkatha ( Basic Education Student Union )
based inside Burma, we have known that in the police station , State
High School and State Middle School of some townships including
Thakayta , South Okkalar , North Okkalar , Thingunkyun , Dawpon ,
Latha , Lammadaw of Rangoon division ( Burma ) , MIS from MI ( 6 )
and other sponsored to train so call Union Solidarity and development
training and they trained their trainee with the methods to suppress
The training were trained in weekdays and there were two times , (
8 ) AM to ( 12 ) noon and ( 1 ) PM to ( 4 ) PM. The trainee were from
Red Cross, Fire Brigade , Union Solidarity and Development
Association and police force of Rangoon mayor . The training have
been started secretly since the middle of this year and some of them
have completed their course recently.
In the military machinery of SPDC ( State Peace and Development
Council ), there are power straggles and strong conflicts . In fact ,
Vice-Adm Nyunt Thein, navy commander in chief, was given retirement
and SPDC Deputy Minister for National Planning and Economic
Development Brig-Gen Zaw Tun was dismissed because of the power
straggles and strong conflicts among them . Meantime , the military
government is afraid to be a general strike as 8888 democracy
movement in Burma .Therefore , SPDC ( State Peace and Development
Council ) trained the voluntary teams such as Red Cross , Fire
Brigade and Union Solidarity and Development Association to suppress
People living in Rangoon are wondering whether or not ICRC (
International Committee of Red Cross ) has already known about this
training in which Burmese Red Cross were trained to suppress the
riots with police baton .
Foreign Affairs' Committee
All Burma federation of Student Unions .
The Sydney Morning Herald: Concern for education activists
Aug 23, 2000.
By CRAIG SKEHAN
Bangkok: Embassies in Rangoon have been asked to help prevent
official retaliation against Burmese democracy activists who
participated in a rare clandestine seminar attended by foreign
An Australian delegate, Ms Lucy Abbot, of the Burma Support Group,
said the overseas representatives had travelled secretly to Rangoon
for Monday's meeting.
But, she said, at one point up to 40 Burmese military intelligence
personnel were outside the venue, and locals warned that informers
had been planted inside.
"When we left they took photographs of participants and we were
followed," she said.
About 200 people, including representatives of Burma's ethnic
minorities, students and the democracy leader Ms Aung San Suu Kyi,
discussed the strict political controls on the country's education
Participants said they were worried that Burmese involved would be
persecuted through imprisonment, loss of employment or harassment of
They said security authorities at Rangoon international airport had
seized a "dummy" video tape of the meeting, while the real tape was
shown yesterday at a news conference in Bangkok.
In it, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was seen telling the seminar that the
military regime used education as a weapon.
"Education is not a right, it is conditional," the veteran democracy
campaigner said, in a reference to a requirement that students
attending universities recently reopened - some after more than a
decade - sign a statement of loyalty to the government.
Speakers said the 14 foreigners at the seminar were not detained
because the authorities wanted to minimise adverse publicity.
NLD: SPDC Destroys Chin Village
National League for Democracy
No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon
Statement 124 (8/00) (translation)
1. Between the townships of Kalemyo and Minkin (Sagaing Division)
there is a
long narrow row of hills under the jurisdiction of the Western
which is the dwelling place of the Auk-stan Zomi Chin people. This
invaded by military Kha La Ya battalion commander with 17 of his
and 22 members of the USDA on 2 June 2000. They pulled down the
the village claiming that this area was within the demarcated Kya-bin
land. When the villagers cried and begged them not to destroy their
the soldiers disdainfully responded by setting fire to the broken
houses and property of the villagers. The villagers had to run away
whatever could be saved dragging and carrying the young and the old.
took shelter in the church.
2. Because of this dastardly inhuman behaviour the Zomi Chin people
three churches, 63 houses and about 600 livestock (chicken and pigs).
total of about 300 are now homeless and penniless. Prior to that, on
January 2000, the authorities burnt down the Ah-ma-ka village school
had a staff of 4 teachers and a student population of 67. To this day
children have no school to attend.
3. Auk-sa-tan village on the hill was founded in 1969 with 80
a population of 300. They live peaceably and simply,cultivating crops
hill sides and cutting wood. Our information is that this is a
village.In March 2000 the Minkin authorities had given notice that
village was to be vacated the latest by 2 June 2000. Other Burmese
existing in this demarcated area have not been moved. We have been
understand that this is a deliberate move out of spite against the
village because they belong to the Chin ethnic group and are
Now, these people cannot grow any crops and have to take shelter in
neighboring villages or go deeper into the forest and live in
made with branches of trees exposed to wind and rain. Children have
and many are sick
4. In Burma today under the rule of the military dictators, if you
are not a
Burman Buddhist you are discriminated against. The military dictators
you as an enemy. They offend and disregard the provisions of Articles
13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares that
shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy,
home or correspondence etc. and Article 18 which gives everyone the
freedom of religion. We bitterly condemn them for their despicable
and attitude and demand that action be immediately taken against
offenders of the law.
Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy
7 August 2000.
AFP: Myanmar regime not ready to relax oppression: leaked Australian
Thursday, August 24 3:58 PM SGT
SYDNEY, Aug 24 (AFP) - Continued engagement with the military regime
in Yangon would do little to improve human rights in Myanmar,
Australia's ambassador to the country told Canberra in a leaked memo,
a report said Thursday.
Despite Trevor Wilson's advice, the Melbourne Age said Australia
would go ahead with plans to conduct the second of three human rights
workshops in Yangon next month with 75 members of the Myanmar
bureaucracy, hand-picked by the ruling junta.
Wilson's confidential memo said in part that "there are clearly no
grounds for optimism" that Myanmar would ease its oppression of
The cable, dated July 21, was sent to Prime Minister John Howard and
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, four days after the first
Australian-led human rights seminar.
"The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) shows no sign of
being interested in relinquishing power," the cable said.
"There are clearly no grounds for optimism in the SPDC's unchanging
approach to opponents of the regime.
"Rather, all the indicators point to the regime being determined to
remain in power at all cost, allowing only marginal reforms in the
economy and society."
Myanmar's leading dissident and democratically-elected leader, Aung
San Suu Kyi, had previously criticised Australia's contacts with the
junta, saying last year that it could be interpreted as de-facto
recognition of the regime's legitimacy.
Australia's Labor opposition party said Wilson's assessment destroyed
the basis of the Howard government's policy towards Myanmar.
Labor's foreign affairs spokesman Laurie Brereton said the
ambassador's "political assessment demolishes the credibility of the
Howard government's engagement with Burma's military regime".
"In the absence of any movement to restore democratic processes, the
human rights training course is a deeply misguided initiative likely
to only be welcomed by the regime as an act of appeasement."
He added that the junta responsible for the "torture, rape and
murder" of its opponents was "odious".
"We're the only country in the world cosying up to these people,"
Brereton said. "It's only giving legitimacy to this odious regime."
Downer though said government policies had helped persuade Yangon to
establish an independent human rights commission.
"There can be no argument about the extent of human rights abuses in
Burma," he said.
"Our approach to Burma arose from the repeated failure of other
approaches to improve the political and human rights situation there.
"Furthermore, Australia's ambassador to Burma does not oppose the
government's attempts to improve human rights in Burma," he said.
The military junta changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar
in 1989 although many nations refuse to recognise the change.
Australian Broadcasting Corp: Burma warns Australia against optimism
for military regime
This is a transcript of AM broadcast at 0800 AEST on local radio.
AM - Thursday, August24, 20008:13
COMPERE: A confidential cable from AustraliaÆs ambassador to Burma
warned the Federal Government that there are no grounds for optimism
the military regime will moderate its approach to dissidents.
While the top-level advice appears to question the value of the
governmentÆs policy of engaging BurmaÆs military regime, there are no
plans to abandon AustraliaÆs special human rights courses for Burmese
Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra:
ALEXANDRA KIRK: The cable from the new Ambassador to Burma, Trevor
says there are clearly no grounds for optimism in the Burmese
unchanging approach to opponents of the regime. Nor, he says, do
in Rangoon detect any sign the regime is willing to bend in the
of political dialogue. And he says nor are there any hints that
movement towards transition to a freely elected government is
The ambassador wrote just last month that, rather, all indicators
a regime being determined to remain in power at all cost, allowing
marginal reforms in the economy and society.
That assessment came just days after the first human rights and
international law workshops conducted by Australia for BurmaÆs
bureaucracy, with a third session to be run next month.
In April Shadow Foreign Minister Laurie Brereton expressed strong
reservations about the Howard governmentÆs plans to step up
with BurmaÆs military regime.
Mr Brereton says the ambassadorÆs assessment is now proof of that.
LAURIE BRERETON: Well the ambassador, of course, bells the cat and
the lie to this ridiculous embrace of the state peace and development
council. I mean, what Australia is doing at the moment is allowing
Burmese military to pick the people who will be in consultation and
courses with Australia. And these are the very same military who are
responsible for the torture, for the rape, for all the disappearances
have occurred, for the extra judicial killings.
ALEXANDRA KIRK: But the ambassador doesnÆt dismiss the Australian
rights course. In fact he doesnÆt really put the two together.
LAURIE BRERETON: Well, the ambassador says very clearly that this is
taking place when thereÆs no sign of any change whatsoever.
ALEXANDRA KIRK: So, is that any reason to give up?
LAURIE BRERETON: Well, is it a reason to get started in an embrace of
state peace and development council? ThatÆs the question. ThereÆs
been an adequate explanation of this. Labor believes very strongly
what the government is embarking upon is deeply misguided. ItÆs naive
itÆs very foolish. ItÆs only giving legitimacy to this odious regime.
WeÆre the only country in the world cosying up to these people. And
will take great comfort from that. They will see this as evidence
they donÆt need to change; that international criticism will diminish
time; that countries are prepared to talk to them and to deal with
a government-to-government basis.
ALEXANDRA KIRK: Foreign Minister Alexander DownerÆs office says human
rights improvement will be very slow and incremental; that the
is a strong supporter of the human rights course; and that his cable
primarily about the latest round of arrests and detention of
Mr DownerÆs spokesman says the course is not aimed at the top
BurmaÆs bureaucracy, so it will be some time before the course
participants become the countryÆs decision-makers.
COMPERE: Alexandra Kirk reporting from Canberra.
Businessworld (Philippines) World Bank giving wildlife funds, burma
August 23, 2000
A fund for wildlife conservation in 'hot spots' like RP
Three international institutions have banded together to set up a
$150-million fund that will finance wildlife conservation efforts in
countries threatened by environmental destruction.
The $150-million fund - created by the World Bank, environmental
International and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) - will
bankroll projects that will
protect endangered wildlife species in the world's 25 "biodiversity
hot spots," or areas where the rich variety of plants and animals is
severely threatened by environmental destruction.
Conservation International ranks the Philippines as the world's
significant biodiversity hot spot next to Madagascar.
The five other hot spots are Sundaland, Indonesia; Brazil's Atlantic
Caribbean; Indo-Burma; Western Ghats in Sri Lanka; the so-called
Eastern Arc and coastal
forests of Tanzania and Kenya.
In a joint statement released yesterday, the three organizations said
$150-million Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) will
initially benefit Madagascar, West Africa and the Tropical Andes
during its first year of implementation this year.
Biologist and Conservation International country manager for the
S. Ong said the managements of the three organizations included the
Philippines among the
beneficiary countries for the program's second year of
implementation. The World Bank, Conservation International and GEF
last night (Manila time) launched the CEPF program in California.
The three organizations each committed $25 million to the CEPF over
the next five
years. The remaining $75 million will be sourced from other donor
The World Bank, Conservation International and GEF said the fund can
be accessed by
organizations involved in wildlife conservation in the identified hot
"This is a new source of money exclusively for civil society groups
protect biodiversity in the hot spots," the joint statement by World
Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, Conservation International
chairman Peter A. Seligmann and GEF chairman Mohamed T. El-Ashry
By Earl Warren B. Castillo
Reuters: Myanmar workers flock to Thailand after job respite
MAESOT, Thailand, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Thousands of Myanmar workers on
the Thai border started to apply for re-entry permits for Thailand on
Thursday after the Thai government extended working rights for
Officials said Myanmar residents from Maewadee, opposite the western
Thai border town of Maesot, crossed the frontier to seek employment
after a Thai cabinet decision to allow them to work for Thai
businesses until August 2001.
A government spokesman said on Wednesday Thailand would permit about
106,000 illegal foreign workers, mostly from Myanmar and people of
Indian origin, to stay in the country for another year.
He said the illegal workers, spread out in 37 Thai provinces mostly
in areas bordering Myanmar, were employed in 18 sectors including
fishing, mining, farming and cottage industries.
But foreign workers seeking to stay for another year must apply for
a work permit and pay a 1,000 baht ($24) fee by November.
The government decision followed long-standing appeals from Thai
businesses for the authorities to relax restrictions on foreign
workers who had provided them with cheap labour that could not be
filled by Thais.
AFP: Thai military to shift focus of anti-narcotics campaign
BANGKOK, Aug 24 (AFP) - Thailand's military said Thursday it is to
shift the focus of its anti-narcotics campaign to the western border
with Myanmar and away from the eastern regions adjoining Laos and
Army chief of staff General Montrisak Boonkong said it would beef up
operations with more weapons and improved surveillance capability.
"We are doing this because we have a real problem with drug
smuggling there," he told reporters.
The four western provinces of Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai, Mae Hong Son
and Tak would become special targets for the military.
The eastern regions are now relatively calm, he said, although the
army is keeping a close watch on trouble spots including the Chong
Mek border crossing into Laos where anti-government rebels clashed
with Lao troops in July.
It is also monitoring reports of car smuggling into Laos from Sa
Thai military intelligence sources have said that the army's push to
close off the rugged northern reaches of the Thai-Myanmar border to
drug smugglers has forced illegal trade to be re-routed.
Traffickers have reportedly begun sending drugs by boat and plane
down Myanmar's west coast and into Thailand via the southern port of
Ranong, a much more efficient route than the bumpy overland trail.
The Thai military estimates 600 million amphetamine pills flooded
into Thailand last year across its 2,000 kilometer (1,240 mile)
border with Myanmar.
Community leaders say drug addiction is reaching crisis proportions,
with more than 600,000 Thai youths reportedly hooked on cheap
supplies of amphetamines.
AP: Thai army, medical school, to open malaria center at Myanmar
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand's army, in cooperation with the
country's top medical school, will open a malaria treatment and
research center near its border with Myanmar, an area where the
disease is widespread.
Some 50 medical students from around the world are expected to
participate in research projects at the center, which will aim to
stop the spread of malaria from the border to urban areas, the
official Thai News Agency reported Wednesday.
Malaria is a serious health problem in jungle areas along the
borders with Myanmar, also known as Burma, and Cambodia.
Many virulent strains of the disease are present, and researchers
from the U.S. and Australian armies often test malaria medicines in
The center will be jointly run by Mahidol University and will
provide medical treatment for villagers in the area in Ratchaburi
province, 140 kilometers (90 miles) west of Bangkok and 6 kilometers
(4 miles) from the border with Myanmar.
Construction began early this year and is due to completed next
month, the report said. It did not specify when it would officially
CFC: 23 Chin Refugees Taken To Falam, Burma
August 23, 2000
The Chin Freedom Coalition (CFC) received the following information
from a reliable source in Mizoram State of India regarding the 82
refugees deported on August 18, 2000.
The India government handed the refugees over to the Burmese Army at
Tio River, then the Burmese Army, on August 21, 2000, handed over 23
of these refugees to Burmese police. The Burmese police escorted them
to Falam town in Chin State where they will appear before the Burmese
Army. The CFC has learned that since the refugees have no Burmese
Identity Cards, they will be subject to severe punishment that will
include time in Prison Labor Camp in Kaleymyo, Sagaing Division.
This is the third deportation of Chin refugees to Burma carried out
by India totaling 196 refugees deported. The arrests continue in
Aizawl and in other towns such as in Lunglei.
Mizzima: Eminent personnel of India appeal for support to Burmese
New Delhi, August 24, 2000
Mizzima News Group
Some eminent personnel of India have appealed to the people of India
non-governmental organizations to extend emergency assistance to the
refugees from Burma, who are in immediate need of basic rations. About
eight hundred refugees from Burma, who are living in New Delhi are
facing economic hardship due to a delay in the monthly subsistence
allowance being paid to them by the office of United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India. These Burmese refugees
been in exile in India since 1988 after the military coup in Burma.
Though it is 24th today, UNHCR office has not paid the monthly
allowance, which in itself was reduced from Indian rupees 1,550 to
(US $ 32) two months ago. Among the eight hundred Burmese refugees in
Delhi, there are at least a hundred children.
In the appeal letter, the signatories have said that it is shocking to
see the refugees from Burma who are victims of one of the worst human
rights violations in history should be denied even this paltry
"They have no possible alternative means of buying basic rations or
paying for the rent of their house", said the appeal letter. The
landlords evict some refugees while children cannot pay their due fee
time and there are even families who are starving, as they have no
The prominent personnel of India have appealed to all individuals and
organizations that are committed to the values of democracy and human
rights to donate generously to the refugees from Burma.
These include noted journalist and Member of Parliament Mr. Kuldip
Nayar, well-known Gandhian Ms. Nirmala Deshpande, noted social
Swami Agnivesh, eminent socialist leader Mr. Surendra Mohan,
Mr. Gautam Navalakha, and Ms. Jaya Jaitly, women rights activist and
president of Samata Party, which is a partner in the ruling coalition
government in India.
Tehelka (India): UNHCR cash crunch leaves refugees penniless
Deprived of their subsistence allowance, foreign refugees in Delhi are
unable to pay rent and school fees, reports Yana Banerjee-Bey
New Delhi, August 22
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi
has withheld payment of subsistence allowance (SA) to refugees for
August, citing lack of funds. There is no indication when the payment
will be made, and a section of refugees plans to protest outside the
UNHCR office on August 24.
A majority of the over 16,000 Afghan, Burmese, Sudanese, Somali, Iraqi
and Iranian refugee families in Delhi are recognised as refugees by
UNHCR and receive the allowance. A huge number is totally dependant on
the allowance and, therefore, missed paying their rent and school fees
Refugees' representatives and NGOs working for them have been told by
the UNHCR that the delay is due to "the serious financial constraints
that the UNHCR is facing globally" and "overspending of funds". The
latter, points out E. Deena Dayalan, who runs an NGO working with
refugees, is a tacit admission of mismanagement.
"The question of mismanagement needs to be asked. To tackle the
crisis, I suggested that an appeal could be made to the embassies in
Delhi. But the UNHCR is not going to do it because the embassies will
start asking this very question. After all, their governments
to the UN," he says.
It appears the UNHCR has not endeared itself to those working for
refugees' welfare. Suhas Chakma of the South Asian Human Rights
Documentation Centre says brusquely, "We don't talk to the UNHCR. We
don't want to have anything to do with them."
There is some evidence, as refugees tell their stories, that the UNHCR
does not function quite as it should and human rights are not
safeguarded. A case in point is that of student leader Benjamin Tang
Neng (29) who crossed over the border into Mizoram illegally in 1991.
was later arrested in Calcutta for travelling without legal documents
and was sentenced to six months in jail. In the fifth month, an
from the UNHCR visited him. But he didn't hear from the UNHCR again
a year. He ended up spending 20 months in jail.
Business Recorder (Pakistan): Direct import of lentils from Myanmar
_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________
Business Recorder (Pakistan): Direct import of lentils from Myanmar
KARACHI (August 22) : The price of lentils for Pakistani importers
can be much cheaper if directly imported from Myanmar, says an
official report here on Monday.
At present, Pakistan is importing goods including lentils from
Myanmar via Singapore through third party arrangement.
A report compiled by the Pakistani embassy said that vast
opportunities existed for the trade promotion between the two
countries for direct trade.
It said that Myanmar occupies important position in the region but
trade relations with Pakistan are limited and for various reasons the
volume has remained insignificant in the past.
While identifying various products. for exports and imports, the
report said that bright prospect existed for enhancing trade with
It said Pakistan can directly import lentils from Myanmar while it
can export medicines to this highly prospective market in the region.
Pakistani businessmen can also invest in Myanmar as it is offering
attractive incentives to foreign investors, the report concluded
_____________________ OTHER _______________________
Karen Action Group: Conference in UK
The Karen Action Group (UK)
will be holding a Conference
on Saturday, 9th September, 2000
to be held at Uffculme School, Uffculme, Devon
(5 minutes from junction 27 on the M5)
from 10am to 4.45pm.
Anyone who is concerned about the situation in Burma
is welcome to come along.
The main speakers include:
Timothy Laklem, Director of ATM, based in Chiang Mai,
who works with Karen refugees along the Thai boarder.
David Mawdsley, father of James (who is currently
imprisoned in Burma).
Other speakers to be confirmed.
Cost: ú5.00 to include admission, refreshments and a
The Karen Action Group was formed in 1997 from people
who have a concern for what is happening in Burma at
the present time, with a special interest in the Karen
people. The group has a Christian base, but is open
to anyone who longs to see a change in Burma and the
Karen people able to return to their traditional
homelands. In the meantime, they lobby on behalf of
the people of Burma, raise money to help in these in
refugee camps (about ú100,000 has already been sent
out) and organise trips to Thailand to take aid and
encouragement the refugees.
If you like more details about the Conference,
instruction on how to find Uffculme or more
information about the Karen Action Group (including
being put on the mailing list) please email:
If you are interested in coming, could you please let
us know as it would help with the catering (although
there will be spare food - just in case).
The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive
coverage of news and opinion on Burma (Myanmar) from around the
world. If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our
attention by emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx
For a subscription to Burma's only free daily newspaper, write to:
You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:
Voice mail or fax (US) +1(202) 318-1261
You will be prompted to press 1 for a voice message or 2 to send a
fax. If you do neither, a fax tone will begin automatically.
Fax (Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143
To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: