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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________August 28, 2000   Issue # 1607__________

NOTED IN PASSING: "This is how foreigners on Burmese soil control the 
Burmese worker. `Like water in their hands'".  

The National League for Democracy on working conditions in foreign 
owned garment factories.  See NLD: Korean, Taiwanese garment 
factories exploiting Burmese workers

*DVB: Burma dismantling election offices after Democracy League 
branches close
*Nation:  Sergeant at arms?Interview with Yawd Serk
*The Guardian Weekly:  Twin boys who took on an army 

*Asian Age: India, Burma to start 7th national meet from Monday 
*CHRO: 54 Chin Refugees from Lunglei and Lawngtlai Deported 

*NLD: Korean, Taiwanese garment factories exploiting Burmese workers
*Myanmar Times: Good conditions the hallmark of industry
*Oil&Gas Journal: Thailand honors Yadana gas purchase agreement
OTHER _______
*IID: Delegation from Burma to Visit Philippines
*Radio Free Burma: The recent interview with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 
Dateline available

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

DVB: Burma dismantling election offices after Democracy League 
branches close

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
August 26, 2000, Saturday

DVB: Burma dismantling election offices after Democracy League 
branches close

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 23 Aug 00

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 23rd August

The SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] is reported to be 
dismantling ward and township-level NLD [National League for 
Democracy] offices as well as election subcommissions in townships 
which no longer have NLD branch offices.

DVB correspondent Myint Maung Maung sent the following dispatch.

An election office is the office which endorses the letters of 
resignation  of NLD members and petitions of no support for the NLD 
collected at rallies held  in various townships. These offices have 
to declare closure of NLD offices after the  NLD offices and 
signboards have been forcefully dismantled by SPDC lackeys. These 
township election offices accept and endorse resignation letters of 
NLD members who  have been threatened and intimidated by authorities 
to resign. The SPDC forced the people to sign petitions declaring no 
support for NLD and hold mass rallies to demand dissolution of NLD. 
The people were enticed with free rice, cooking oil, sugar, and soap 
to attend these rallies. It is learned that election offices in 
townships, where NLD branches have been dismantled, are no longer 
said to have their function.

It has been learned that the ongoing attempts to hold these mass 
rallies have been met with embarrassment. At a recent rally held in 
Kawthaung, the presiding chairman asked whether the people support 
the motion calling for disbanding of NLD and there was no response 
from the audience. Because of this incident, a rallyscheduled to be 
held in Mergui to call for dissolution of the NLD has been called off.


Nation:  Sergeant at arms?Interview with Yawd Serk

August 28, 2000
Once a partner of notorious drug warlord Khun Sa, Colonel Yawd Serk 
now  commands the Shan State Army. Following his split with Khun Sa 
in 1995, he  has based his army along the Burmese frontier, just 
across the border from  Thailand's Pang Mapha n Mae Hong Son 
province. He and his men have been  accused of involvement in drug 
production. But in an interview with The  Nation's Preecha Sa-
ardsorn, Yawd Serk claimed his army was attempting to  purge drugs 
from both Burma and Thailand and had recently destroyed two  large 
amphetamine laboratories. The following are edited excerpts from the  

How do you view the narcotics situation in Burma?
It has been difficult for the authorities so far. It will continue to 
be so  because their efforts are misdirected.

What do you mean by 'misdirected'?
The traffickers - the brains behind the trade. These people have 
never been  targeted. Only the small-fry - the carriers - are ever 
caught, while the  real traffickers always get away scot-free.

We need cooperation from all sides - the international community, 
Thailand,  the Shan State - to bring these bigwigs to justice.

Secondly, the international community must do more to help farmers  
dependent on opium for their income.

They must provide them with alternative means of livelihood. 
We also need democracy.

This is the only way to end trafficking in narcotics, its production 
and use. 
Is Thailand taking the right approach?
Thailand's efforts have been unilateral - vigorous but ineffective. 
All  sides need to cooperate.

Who are the main perpetrators of the drug trade?
I don't believe the drug problem is the responsibility of any 
particular  group. It is the handiwork of individuals. It would be 
racist to blame it  on any particular ethnic group.
This simply complicates the issue.
However, people must realise that the big drug traffickers are being  
assisted by the junta in Rangoon.

Is the Burmese government behind the drugs trade?
Vested interests are involved.
Bangkok and Rangoon have engaged in endless discussions about this 
problem  over several decades.
What's happened? Nothing.
In fact, the drug problem has grown worse. Burma has promised to work 
with  Thailand to fight the trade in drugs. But why is it that the 
drugs  production bases remain on Burmese soil?

How does this benefit Burma?
Rangoon would have suppressed the trade a long time ago if it didn't  
benefit from it. To maintain its international status, Rangoon 
encourages  individuals to produce drugs.
Burma also benefits from international efforts to fight the drug 
trade. It receives money to do so.
It actively raises money supposedly for fighting drugs trafficking. 
Instead, Rangoon has used the money to buy weapons.
Rangoon collects a percentage of the profits from the drug trade. 
Rangoon is waging a covert war on Thailand by flooding it with drugs. 

How long will it take Burma to win?
In 10 years' time, Thailand will become a nation of junkies. Arms 
will no  longer be necessary because everyone will be on 
amphetamines. One a haul of  1000 tablets was considered large - 
worthy of notice. Now, a million  tablets hardly raises an eyebrow.
The longer the narcotic situation persists, the more the country will 
be  devastated.

Given the chance of a talk with Thai authorities, what would you say? 
I would ask them to cooperate with us and find a common solution. 

Would not leave Thailand vulnerable to accusations that it is 
interferring  in Burma's internal affairs?
We would be joining hands to crack down on drugs, and the world 
community  should be encouraged to participate in our efforts. It is 
not a war of land  grabbing, but a war against narcotics. Such a task 
requires careful  planning and we have to trust each other.

How do you answer accusation that your own army is directly involved 
in  narcotics production?
Such rumours have been spread by journalists who have never been 
given a  true picture of life here, or any insight into our efforts 
to stop the drug  trade. We are always happy to provide information 
to the media. 

Why has the Shan State Army been tainted with these accusations? That 
is exactly what they are - 'accusations'. Our policy is to crackdown  
on narcotics. Traffickers are upset because there's a lot of money 
at  stake. Are you saying categorically that you are not involved in 
the  narcotics trade?
We have said so several times via the media.
We are not, however, in a position to explain that to Thailand's anti-
drug  agencies. But I believe the press will be able to deliver that 
message, in  a free and fair way.

Is it possible that some elements of the Shan State Army are involved 
in  narcotics trafficking?

It is possible for anyone to get involved in drugs - members of the 
Shan  State Army are no exception.

But it is unfair to accuse everyone.
Take the ethnic Wa for instance, you cannot accuse every Wa of being  
involved. Accusing us of being involved is unfair. We have 
consistently  cracked down on narcotics. Is mid-July we destroyed two 
amphetamine  factories, we set them on fire.

So what is the difference between the time when you worked with Khun 
Sa and  now?
Drug problems existed before Khun Sa, they existed when Khun Sa was 
active  and they exist now that Khun Sa is gone.

How do you regard Burma which you accuse of masterminding the drug 
trade? Burma has always been our enemy.
I do not fear the junta.


The Guardian Weekly:  Twin boys who took on an army 

August 10, 200

Johnny and Luther Htoo are fighting a hopeless war. The small band of 
guerrillas they command is up against 21,000 troops of the Burmese 
army who have wiped out or displaced their people, the Karen. But the 
war is also about the building of a gas pipeline. Maggie O'Kane went 
to their jungle hideaway

Twin boys who took on an army

There is a crunch of bamboo stalks underfoot, and the first of four 
bodyguards appears, wearing a black judo guerrilla uniform and a 
black headscarf. He scans the clearing. Then the 12-year-old 
commander of God's Army of the Holy Mountain arrives.

Luther Htoo is dressed in a short-sleeved khaki shirt with an 
Airforce One badge on his right arm. On his forearm is the tattoo of 
a fish pierced with a spear. He nods to one of the bodyguards, who 
passes him a lit cheroot, then he spits and climbs on to his 
bodyguard's knee. His special protector is called Rambo, a 28-year-
old fighter who has been with him for three years. He likes playing 
with Rambo's long, thick, black hair. Luther, the leader of the 
youngest and most desperate guerrilla army in the world, accepts a 
chocolate biscuit. He says his younger twin, Johnny, second in 
command of Burma's God's Army of the Holy Mountain, may be along 
later. Or he may not.

The meeting with the twins has taken two months to organise. The 
final part of the journey began in the middle of the night with a 
nervous, greedy taxi driver who could be bribed to drive to the 
jungle, but who played the Best Gospel Album In The World over and 
over to comfort himself. As he raced against the dawn to pass the 
last military checkpoint while its guards were still sleeping, a 
young Vera Lynn-like voice belted through Soul Of My Saviour again 
and again.

Then, mosquitoes and steamy jungle heat along a path that went up and 
up. A mountain jungle blocked by fallen trees, sprinkled with giant 
anthills and odd, empty cartons of UHT milk chucked into the bushes 
by passing guerrillas. God's Army of the Holy Mountain was born three 
years ago when the Burmese army moved in to swamp the route of a 
multimillion-dollar gas pipeline and clear thousands of people before 
them. For 50 years the army and the Karen, one of Burma's three main 
ethnic groups, had skirmished, but in the early 90s the army launched 
operation Spirit King. Its aim was to wipe out the Karen and secure 
the route of the pipeline. A hundred thousand Karen fled to refugee 
camps across the Thai border. The Jubilee Campaign, the London-based 
human rights organisation that is campaigning for the Karen, claims 
that at least 30,000 people have died in the military's secret 

The British consortium Premier Oil began pumping gas through Karen 
land in April. The UK energy consultant Wood McKenzie estimates that 
the pipeline will earn Premier Oil - whose partners in the project 
include Japanese and Thai oil companies and the brutal Burmese 
regime - almost $800m over the next 25 years.

The roof of the jungle is webbed in a fine green net from the ferns 
of the bamboo trees. Today a wind rattles the stalks of bamboo. When 
the wind stops there is complete silence. There are no birds: the 
people have eaten them, as they have eaten most of the jungle cats 
and monkeys. Luther and Johnny were discovered three years ago by a 
television crew who went looking for the Burmese students who had 
fled after taking over the Burmese embassy in Bangkok. The cameras 
found the students in the camp of the twins, who were nine years old 
at the time, and the myth of the guerrilla children who smoked 
cheroots and were scarcely big enough to hold an M16 rifle was born. 
In Canada, prompted by the TV pictures, a retired Playboy Bunny 
offered to adopt them.

Then the twins disappeared into the jungle. Now they keep 
disappearing in the middle of a question to slide down the river-
banks with the other boys in their group on the back of a cardboard 
box with the words "Instant Noodles in Sour Shrimp Paste" on it. 
Their army is an army of orphans, their camp a mobile foster home for 
the remnants of the Karen people's 50-year fight for independence 
from the Burmese.

Two years ago, at the end of 1998, God's Army had 500 soldiers, and 
Johnny and Luther were reported to be working miracles: landmines 
were jumping up in front of them, and soldiers who fought with them 
were able to brush off bullets like a jungle shower. The Baptist 
preachers who brought Christianity to the Burmese jungle from Salem, 
Massachusetts, 100 years ago also brought the cult of deliverance to 
a destroyed people. The Karen needed saviours.

In March 1997, in the Htaw Maimaw district of eastern Burma, a 
pastor, Thah Hpay, brought two illiterate nine-year-olds to the Karen 
military chief and said the Lord had spoken to them, and they would 
save the Karen people. News of the visitation passed 
 through an area where the army was cracking down after the Karen had 
killed eight pipeline workers.

The military chief gave the children a "pistol complete with bullets 
and everything", says Hpay, who also went with the twins into their 
first battle. "That morning there were 20 enthusiastic men there, and 
our commander, Luther, shouted, 'God's Army!' and everyone in the 
cart shouted back, 'God's Army!' At 6.20pm at the . . . church where 
the enemy was, we selected eight from among us to serve as commandos 
and we named them 'Jesus Commandos'. We attacked the enemy . . . and 
shot dead 24 of them. For the next battle, at Aimlat, we started to 
fight at 3pm, and the battle lasted for two hours. Those that 
attacked were 16, but the enemy were hundreds." So the beautiful myth 
of divine salvation for a desperate people was born, and the cult of 
the twins began to grow. The old Karen military had become corrupt, 
and the twins represented purity. Hovering in the background at the 
camp, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, is the twins' dwarf uncle, a man 
called Mr David, who reminds them of the rules: "No duck, no pork, no 
eggs, no swearing, no womanising."

Johnny doesn't smile much. He is dressed in a black judo suit and his 
long chestnut hair just covers his shoulders, where a badge 
reads: "Number One Military Commander".

Luther does the talking from his bodyguard's knee, swatting at a 
yellow butterfly that comes again and again to settle on his head. "I 
shoot the Burmese army because of what they do to our people," he 
says. "They beat and rape Karen women, they steal from us and burn 
down our houses. Some holy thing touched my heart and I became a 

How did the holy thing touch you? Did it come in the night? "No, in 
the   day." How did it touch you? "I don't remember."

Would you like to go in an aeroplane and see the world outside the 
jungle? "No, I want to stay here with my people. In my homeland, in 
my own area." What do you do all day? "I play - at fake battles, 
shooting birds. We use real guns."

When was your last real battle? "A month ago. We were gathering 
chillies in the field and we saw a Burmese army patrol and we killed 
two of them." Do you miss your mother? "Yes." She is in a refugee 
camp on the Thai border. "But I love my people more."

Luther is bored now with questions and wants to play with the tape 
recorder. "Give it to me and I will take it into the battle. I will 
tape the sounds of fighting on the battlefield, and when we capture a 
Burmese soldier I will ask him questions and give it to you."

There was nobody with a tape recorder to tape the sounds of the 
Burmese army arriving at the village of Ler Per Her last month. The 
only   sound there now is the plop, plop, plop of raindrops dripping 
through the holes in the roof of the schoolhouse that the army burned 
down. The remains of the lesson are still on the blackboard. The 
senior class was doing multiplication; the juniors were learning a 
song in English: "I'm a little teapot, short and stout. Pick me up 
and pour me out."

Now, like the other Karen villages that once lined the route of the 
pipeline, Ler Per Her is almost deserted. Its only remaining 
inhabitant, a woman named Wah Wah, is cooking rice in a hut in the 
afternoon downpour. She is tired of running; over the past 10 years 
she has been driven from four villages by the army.

Across the river that marks the Burma-Thailand border Dr Bill Greiser 
of the Christian fundamentalist group Strategic World Impact is one 
of the few aid workers treating the Karen who have escaped. "These 
people are mostly suffering from exhaustion and stress from being 
continually on the move," he says. "There's malaria, there's 
malnutrition, but mostly they are chronically depressed - they've 
been running like this for years." A preacher, a tall American in his 
30s, calls on these wet, miserable people who are covered in jungle 
muck to stand up and "take the Lord into their hearts". Under the 
leaking bamboo shelter he shares out anti-malaria pills with his big, 
warm, white hands, then raises them towards the roof and cries: "We 
thank the Lord for bringing us home to you." It was in a heaving, 
overcrowded refugee camp that Luther's bodyguard, Rambo, found God 
three years ago. He wears his Bible around his neck in a green silk 
purse. His only other valuable possession is a Burmese passport 
carefully wrapped in plastic, which tells him he  is a citizen of a 
country he is not allowed to live in. "Other young Karen men like me 
are trying to get out, to go to Australia, but God has told me to 
fight for my country and to follow Luther and Johnny."

It is Rambo's job to translate the Scriptures that the illiterate 
Luther can't read. He opens his Bible and in a halting, reverent 
voice reads from Corinthians: "'But God hath chosen the foolish 
things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the 
weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.'

"That's one of his favourites," says Rambo, searching again through 
his Bible wrapped in paper with pale pink roses. "He likes this one 
as well. Timothy, chapter 6, verse 12: 'Fight the good fight, lay 
hold on eternal life, where unto thou art also called.'"

When Luther is faced with a difficult question he turns to Rambo. On 
philosophical matters he is vague: "I say my prayers and the Lord 
inspires me."

Why did God choose you and your brother? Luther looks puzzled, and 
Rambo fills in: "God chooses the weakest to do his best for the 
people. It matches with what God says in the Book of Corinthians, 
chapter 1, verse 27." On military matters Luther is more precise: "We 
have lost 13 of our God's Army soldiers. They sacrificed themselves 
in the battle. Two of them were children. No, I am not afraid. I am 
serving my people."

Have you been wounded? "No, the Lord has protected me."

Even with God behind them Luther and Johnny Htoo can't fight the 
pipeline that brought 10 infantry battalions to their land. By 
January this year there were 21,000 troops in an area where there had 
once been 1,500. "Economically, the gas pipeline had to go through at 
all costs," says Sister Mary Roberts, a Roman Catholic nun from 
California who has been in the area since 1951. "The oil companies 
were very clever. They let the Burmese military do the dirty work and 
then pretended they didn't know anything about it."

Premier Oil, which is running one of two pipeline consortiums cutting 
through the Karen area, says it knows there were human rights abuses 
by the military, and it condemns them. The company's chief executive, 
Charles Jamieson, says: "We're satisfied that human rights abuse 
aren't taking place in the area we are responsible for. If we come 
across them we report them to the relevant authorities." The Jubilee 
Campaign says the "relevant authorities" are the Burmese military.

Johnny and Luther have tired of sliding on the cardboard box, and now 
the saviours of the Karen people are splashing in the river with 
other boys, just a little older, all lost in oversized military 
shirts from Thai army surplus shops. Their old Vietnamese guns lie on 
the river-bank. "For me there is no reason not to believe that at a 
time when people are being exterminated God should send someone to 
fight at their side," says Sister Roberts.
But over the past two years the soldiers of God's Army have began to 
drift away to find work in the fishing ports in Thailand that nobody 
else will do, supporting the Karen women and children who now 
permanently live in the refugee camps. "There are about 20 of us 
now," says Luther. But most of those 20 are children.

"If the army finds Luther and Johnny they will kill them," says 
Rambo. He looks like a man who would die trying to stop that happen. 
And he may have to. 

The Guardian Weekly 10-8-2000, page 22

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL____________________

Asian Age: India, Burma to start 7th national meet from Monday 

The Asian Age, New Delhi, Aug. 26: 

The seventh national level meeting between India and Burma under the 
umbrella of the memorandum of understanding signed by the two 
countries in 1994 will be held at Rangoon from august 28 to August 
31. The MoU had been signed for maintaining peace and tranquillity 
all along the Indo Burma border. 

According to a home ministry spokesperson, the Indian side will be 
led by Union home secretary Kamal Pande while from Burma 
representatives will be led by Brigadier General Thura U. Myint Maung 
who is hte deputy minister of home affairs. He added, "The meeting 
will further cement economec, trade and cultural relations between 
two friendly neighbouring countreis. India and Burma have sset up an 
excellent tradition of conducting national meetings in a spirit of 
friendship, mutual trust and understanding through the institutional 
mechanism of home secretary level meetings." 

The prime issue in the agenda will be discussion on effective curbing 
of all illegal and negative activities such as trans-border mevement 
of insurgents and other nefarious activities. Another important thing 
that will be discussed will be hte MoU on border crossing between the 
two countries. 
In addition to this, issues like prevention of drug trafficking and 
smuggling will be taken up besides strengthening of infra-structure 
and security to facilitate border trade between India and Burma. 

The spokesperson further said that the other issues which will figure 
in the four-day talks include the bridge on river Tiau, Indo-Burma 
border issues, Kaladan river project and Tamanthi hydro-electric 


CHRO: 54 Chin Refugees from Lunglei and Lawngtlai Deported 

27 August 2000


Chin Human Rights Organization received a report that the Mizoram 
continue the arrest and deportation of Chin refugees  in the town of 
Lunglei and Lawngtlai.

On 23 August 2000 Mizoram police deported 18 Chin refugees from 
Lunglei jail 
to the border town of Hnahthial.

The other group 36 Chin refugees from the town of Lawngtlai were 
deported to 
the border village of Vombuk ( Indian side ) on 25 August 2000. Now 
had already deported 250 refugees from Burma in this month. Indian 
handed 23 refugees to the hand of Burmese police on 21 August 2000 
and the 
Burmese authority sent them to the town of Falam, Chin State.

CHRO learned that Mizoram police arrested 6 more refugees in Aizawl 
on 25 
August 2000.The arrest of refugees from Burma is continue in the 
towns of 
Aizawl, Lunglei, Champhai, Lawngtlai and Saiha of Mizoram State.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

NLD: Korean, Taiwanese garment factories exploiting Burmese 

National League for Democracy
No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

Statement 130 (8/00) (translation)

1.  We have information about the exploitation, denial of workers 
rights and unjust treatment of the Burmese workers at the factories 
which are situated in the Hlaing-tha-ya industrial zone, Rangoon 
They are:
 the Myanmar Yes garment factory,  
 Apolo Garment (Taw-Win factory) and the 
 Jong Lih back-pack manufacturing factory.

2(a)  The Myanmar Yes factory is Korean owned (foreigner) employing a 
total of about 1400 workers.  Average wages is Kyats 10/- per hour.  
Though the working hours  are stipulated as 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
workers are compelled to do overtime work from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 
p.m. When demand is great they have to work into the morning hours 
the next day.  Default or fail to work overtime results in dismissal.

(b)  In addition to the absence of any form of  medical assistance 
there are  severe restrictions on toilet services in Myanmar-Yes. 
There is a range of 10 lines at this factory with over 100 workers in 
each line. Only one toilet card is given for each line. (Without the 
toilet card entry is denied). Cost of transportation provided by the 
employer is deducted from the wages.

(c)  On the 16 May, 2000, one Ma Moe Moe Htay (worker on Line 6) took 
seriously ill at her workplace while working. Permission to rest was 
refused so she cried and begged the supervisor who saw her condition. 
She was then asked to hide behind the stacks of garments so that the 
employer would not see her.  She was absent from works the next day. 
On 18 May 2000, clothed in the Myanmar Yes uniform, her dead body was 
found in the gutter running along the front right side of Na Wa De's 
house. The employer did nothing for her despite the circumstances of 
her death and the police did no investigation. This has made the 
other workers very disgruntled. 

3 (a)  The Taw-win garment factory is owned by Apolo Garment and is 
situated in the No 1 Hlaing-tha-yar industrial zone and belongs to a 
Taiwanese. About 700 workers are employed and basic pay is Kyats 1500 
a month. Working hours is from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and overtime to 
10:00 p.m. is compulsory every alternate day. If the day's production 
is over 100, an increase of one or two Kyats is paid at the 
discretion of the owner.  There is nothing fixed.

(b) In addition to the basic pay, a sum of Kyats 1600/- is paid for 
regular work but this is separated into two parts. Kyats 800/- is for 
the first fifteen days of the month (first part) and Kyats 800/- for 
the next fifteen days (second part). This entitlement is lost for one 
day of absence or failure to do overtime. No conversation, no 
flowers, no Thanaka, no make-up is allowed.

(c)  In this factory, there are only 2 days of closure a month. 
Officially declared public holidays and religious celebration 
holidays are not observed. The employer refused to allow the workers 
the day off on the 19 July 2000, the fifty-third anniversary of 
martyrs day. This caused the workers to be most aggrieved because 
martyrs day is a day which is observed by the whole country as a day 
of mourning so they made their request to the employer who insisted 
that they attend work or have their "regular work allowance" cut. 
When the workers said they were prepared to have the allowance cut, 
he reluctantly caved in and granted them the day off. 

4. (a) The Jong Lih back-pack manufacturing factory is situated in No 
4 industrial zone in Hlaing-tha-ya and is owned by a Taiwanese.  
About 750 workers are employed getting a basic salary of Kyats 7000/- 
a month.  There are three shifts and no overtime work.  The first 
shift is from 7:20 to 11:00 a.m., the second shift is from 12:50 to 
5:00 p.m. and the third shift is from 5:20 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

(b)  Workers can be dismissed for absence due sickness or if absence 
is due to a wife giving birth to a child. Very rigid and undesirable 
restrictions prevail at the workplace as for example only 6 minutes 
is permitted for bowel movement.  One extra minute attracts a fine 
of  K.30/-. 

(c)  This factory is closed for only 2 days in a month which is not 
fixed but declared at the discretion of the owner.   Workers were 
required to work on Waso full moon day and the 53 anniversary of 
Martyrs Day.  No holiday was granted. Workers eat and sleep at the 
factory.  No leave is granted on other than the two days in the 
month.  When the factory is not declared closed, workers have to 
remain on the premises and are not allowed to receive visitors.

5.  This is how foreigners on Burmese soil control the Burmese 
worker. "Like water in their hands".  With heads bowed they have to 
suffer this exploitation. The military anashins have completely 
ignored the rights of the Burmese workers and allowed the foreigners 
to do just as they please. There are no workers unions to defend the 
rights of the Burmese workers and this accounts for the abuses.  We 
therefore urge the military anashins to seriously consider the rights 
of the worker and permit the formation of workers unions.  Burma is a 
signatory to the International Labor Organization Communiqu? No 87 
with regard to the right to form unions and accordingly, permission 
should be granted to the Burmese workers to form such unions.

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy

14 August 2000.


Myanmar Times: Good conditions the hallmark of industry 

August 14-20 ,2000                        

MYANMAR'S garment industry is attracting increasing numbers of foreign
investors who are drawn by one key factor: the availability of skilled
labour at a regionally competitive price.Myanmar Guston Molinel runs a
factory employing more than 300 workers in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial
Zone, about 20 km west of downtown Yangon.Its administrative manager,
U Kyaw Win, said Myanmar textile workers' wages were marginally lower
than those of their Vietnamese counterparts, and had a productivity
rate that was "almost equal".
He said Guston Molinel workers were offered a range of incentives and
bonuses additional to their base wage because the company realised it
was important to keep staff turnover low.And like its competitors, the
company understood that its clients expected Guston to provide its
employees with a good working environment, he said.Myanmar Times
approached the privately-run company after claims by a United States
workers' union, reported by the Reuters news agency, that the local
textile industry used forced labour ("US' forced labour claims
irresponsible, says SPDC", MT, 7-13 August).

"Labour is recruited through the offices of the Labour Department
which has branches in all the townships in Yangon as well as in other
towns throughout the country," U Kyaw Win said."A worker from our
production line earns K7000-K9000 per month."Supervisors receive the
remuneration of K18,000-K23,000 per month.""They are entitled to free
general medical care.

"The company arranges daily commuting between the factory and homes of
the employees and snacks are given free in the afternoon," he
added.The company uses a system designed to both retain its workers,
and enable them to save some portion of their wages," he said.
"Bonuses are given at the end of every month for those who have had no
days of absence during the month.

"A separate bonus is handed out for good performance at the start of a
new calendar year."Most companies provide their workers with long-term
benefits like year-end bonuses and high performance bonuses to provide
them with a greater incentive.""Our clients want to make sure that no
controversial issue arises on account of labour," he said."We have to
make sure that we adhere to the standard rules and regulations."Our
clients want a continuous supply of products from us and they make
sure we are adhering to certain conditions from the outset."Sometimes,
they come and see for themselves the real working conditions of our

"What's more, we hold a general meeting once a month where anyone can
present his or her difficulties and desires," he said."This is unique
to Myanmar Guston Molinel."Asked about the Reuters allegations, U Kyaw
Win said: "Journalists of those media do not try to gain real access
to our work environment". "If a worker wants to resign, we have no
right to keep him," he said.MT spoke to one worker who had left
another company to work for Guston.

"I quit my former job to join Guston as more benefits, like casual
leave, are available to me," said Khin Khin Kyaw, a line supervisor of
Guston."Another advantage is that a worker of any level can talk
directly to the management."Another employee said his wages were
adjusted according to the price index. "Our employer cares about our
welfare," said Ko Moe Zaw. "The salaries are reviewed from time to
time to be commensurate with our performance and to be in line with
the price index."


Oil&Gas Journal: Thailand honors Yadana gas purchase agreement

Online Story (Aug 24, 2000) 


BANGKOK-After extensive deliberation and debate, Thailand has decided 
not to declare force majeure on its unfulfilled obligations to 
purchase gas from two Myanmar fields but instead to honor the 
commitment. The stance follows the recent completion of a thorough 
investigation by government agencies of the legal, economic, and 
political implications arising from the thorny issue.
Following the investigation, the National Energy Policy Office (NEPO) 
advised Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) to pay what is due to 
the groups developing the Yadana and Yetagun gas fields but at the 
same time to seek relaxation of the take-or-pay terms stipulated in 
the gas supply accords. NEPO's recommendations were used by the Thai 
state oil and gas enterprise as a guideline in negotiations with the 
Yadana gas consortium, led by France's TotalFinaElf SA, and the 
Yetagun gas group, headed by Premier Oil PLC of the UK.
Under its take-or-pay obligations, PTT must pay for the gas it has 
contracted to buy in full, although it has taken delivery of only a 
fraction of the quantities because of delays in the construction of 
the Ratchaburi power plant, built largely to run on gas piped from 
Myanmar's Gulf of Martaban (OGJ Online, May 2, 2000).
Following the NEPO ruling, PTT handed a $277 million check to the 
Yadana consortium to settled the overdue payment for Myanmar gas. The 
check was sent to the Yadana group July 31, 5 months after the Mar. 1 
due date, much to the delight of the Myanmar military junta, which 
had earlier warned Thailand that further delay in payment would 
damage the already rocky relationship between the two countries.
The Thai state oil firm, however, has refused for the moment to pay 
some $7 million to the consortium as interest accrued from the 
delayed payment of the 1999 gas bill, citing differences in 
interpretation of the calculation methods in the contract, according 
to PTT executives. But PTT hopes that the payment will improve the 
air of tedious negotiations in which the Thai outfit has been trying 
to persuade the Yadana group and Rangoon to make a series of 
amendments to the contract terms, not only for gas from Yadana but 
also for the other offshore Burmese gas field, Yetagun.
"The payment shows our goodwill to resolve sticky pending issues in 
an amicable manner," said a senior PTT official. "We hope Burma would 
appreciate our effort."
Interest owed
The payment came in the wake of the NEPO's assertion that the 
interest burdens arising from loans PTT has taken to make full 
payment for the Burmese gas should be split among the parties 
involved. The resolution put an end to the quarrel between PTT and 
Electric Generating Authority of Thailand as to who should be held 
responsible for the interest burdens.
Savit Bhotiwihok, minister of the prime minister's office in charge 
of energy policy, said the government should share the burden because 
it was the cabinet that approved the Yadana gas purchase contract 
with the consortium. Also, following the de facto devaluation of the 
baht in July 1997, he said, it was the cabinet that approved a 
decision allowing government contractors to delay completion dates 
for their projects by 180 days. One of the projects affected by that 
cabinet resolution was the Ratchaburi power plant.
The "economic system," a term used by Thai authorities to refer to 
the general public, is to share 48% of the total interest burden; the 
state, 27.8%; EGAT, 12.8%; and PTT, 11.4%. PTT and EGAT cannot pass 
on their respective interest burdens to consumers in the form of 
increased gas and electricity tariffs, although the burdens shared by 
the economic system and the state-totaling 75.8%-will be pushed into 
the gas price of PTT. That would result in a 35 satang/kw-hr rise in 
power tariffs in the base case, if no additional measures were taken 
to alleviate the take-or-pay gas obligations. But the power tariff 
could decline during 2001-11 if all the proposed changes take place.
Contract amendments sought
NEPO advised PTT to negotiate with the Myanmar gas producers certain 
points in the contracts in order to reduce the burdens Thailand must 
shoulder. NEPO said PTT should:
* Seek the right to double the make-up of gas volume-the amount of 
gas which is not taken in the failed period but can be recovered in 
the subsequent period-to 30% of contractual volumes, so that PTT can 
quickly collect all the gas it was not able to take in the failed 
* Ask to postpone the delivery of natural gas supply from Yetagun 
field's second stage development (OGJ, Jan. 17, 2000, p. 23).       
* Seek to cut the contractual volume of gas delivery for this year 
both from Yadana and Yetagun.
* Seek to revise the contractual rate of gas delivery in such a way 
that assures the same rate of return on investment for gas 
Internally, Thai concerned parties will take a number of actions 
aimed at speeding up the usage of the Myanmar gas. Among them are 
expediting the construction of the Electricity Generating Authority 
of Thailand's Ratchaburi power station as well as speeding up the 
laying of a new west-east gas pipeline from Ratchaburi to Wang Noi, 
so that part of the Myanmar gas can be diverted to an EGAT plant 
Other proposed actions include using natural gas to substitute for 
fuel oil at EGAT's South Bangkok and Bang Pakong power plants and 
promoting the use of natural gas in the industrial sector and for 

_____________________ OTHER  _______________________

IID: Delegation from Burma to Visit Philippines

Initiatives for International Dialogue 
63-2-911-0205  /  63-2-435-2900 (Telefax) 

August 28 - September 2, 2,000 

A delegation from the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) 
will visit the country on August 28 to September 2, 2000. The primary 
purpose of the visit is to seek the support of Philippine 
parliamentarians for their counterparts in Burma, who have been 
prevented by the military regime from fulfilling their mandate since 
their election in 1990.  Worldwide, 1214 MPs have expressed their 
solidarity with the parliamentarians of Burma. The visit also seeks 
to emphasize ASEAN's role in the pursuit of democracy in Burma, and 
highlight issues such as continued use of forced labor and the ILO 
resolution; the education crisis because of the prolonged closure of 
schools and the situation of women in armed conflict. 

The members of the delegation are: 
Mr. Teddy Buri, Minister Asia Pacific Affairs, National Coalition 
Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) 

Mr. Maung Maung, Secretary General, Free Trade Unions-Burma (FTUB) 

Mr. Sonny Mahinder, Assistant Secretary, Foreign Affairs Department, 
All Burma Student's Democratic Front (ABSDF) and 

Ms. Khin Ohmar, Foreign Relations, Women's League of Burma 

The delegation is available for interviews. 

The Inter-Parliamentarian's meeting is jointly organized by the 
Office of Representative Ranjit Shahani and Initiatives for 
International Dialogue (IID) Manila/ Free Burma Coalition-Philippines 
with the assistance of the Offices of Representatives Jose Lozada and 
Loretta Rosales 

28 AUGUST Monday 
   3:25 P.M.          ARRIVAL  from BANGKOK 
                         Media briefing at NAIA 

  6 P.M.             Meeting with Senator Raul Roco 
                            Visit at the Senate Session Hall 
                            Philippine Senate, Pasay City 
   NCUB delegation will be recognized at the Senate Floor 

   8: P.M.              Dinner with Representatives Shahani, Lozada 
and Rosales 
                             Hotel Rembrandt, Quezon City 
29 AUGUST  Tuesday 
  1 P.M.                 Joint Press Conference 
                     NCUB delegation and Representatives Shahani,  
Lozada and Rosales 
                           Venue:  Speaker's Conference Room 
                           House of Representatives 

  2:30 P.M.             Joint Committee Hearing 
                           Committees on Foreign Relations and Higher 
                           Venue: Speaker's Conference Room 
                           House of Representatives 

   4:30 P.M            Visit to the Session Hall 

30 AUGUST  Wednesday 
   10 A.M.           Meeting with President Dr. Francisco     
Nemenzo,  Vice Chancellor  Dr. Maria     Serena Diokno  and other UP  
System     Chancellors and Deans 
                        Venue: Office of the President, UP  
Diliman,     Q.C. 

   10 A.M.          Forum on OPEN SCHOOL CAMPAIGN* 
                        University of Santo Tomas, Manila 

   6:30 P.M.        DINNER CUM MEETING with 
                           Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats 

31 AUGUST Thursday 
 10 A.M.           Forum on FORCED LABOR 
                         Hyatt Regency Hotel, Manila 

1 SEPTEMBER  Friday 
   10 A.M.           Forum on WOMEN OF BURMA* 
                         sponsor: Representative Patricia Sarenas  
(ABANSE! Pinay) 
                            Venue: Hotel Rembrandt 

   1:30 P.M.         Forum with Labor Groups 
                           AMOSOP, Intramuros, Manila 

   6:30 P.M.        DINNER-DIALOGUE 
                         with  Free Burma Coalition-Philippines 
         Venue: Partnership Center, 59 C. Salvador St.,  Loyola 
Heights, Quezon City 

2 SEPTEMBER  Departure 

*Activity to be finalized. 

For details, please call Merci Ferrer or Karen Azupardo, IID Manila 
911-0205,  435-2900 (Telefax) 
Cellphone: 0919-8468376 
E-Mail: iidmnl@xxxxxxxxxxx 
Feny Solis, House of Representatives 931-6475 

Initiatives for International Dialogue 
63-2-911-0205  /  63-2-435-2900 (Telefax) 


Radio Free Burma: The recent interview with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 
Dateline available

August 28, 2000

The recent interview with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Dateline is 
available as a Real Video file from


Also interviewed was Yuzana Khin.

Peace and Courage,

Wrightson Tongue




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