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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: August 31, 2000
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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
_________August 31, 2000 Issue # 1609__________
NOTED IN PASSING:
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi marks first week in stand-off drama
*IHT: Burma Draws an Internet Weapon in Its Fight Against Dissident
*AP: Myanmar public shows lukewarm interest in Suu Kyi standoff
*AP: Australian publisher of Myanmar newspaper defends coverage
*Far Eastern Economic Review: BURMA - Going Nowhere
*Bangkok Post: Deputy FM calls for end to stand-off, Suu Kyi crisis
could affect Vientiane meet
*AFP: Poland concerned about fate of Myanmar opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi
*Globe and Mail: Standoff in Myanmar draws Ottawa's ire
*Dow Jones: Myanmar To Privatize 11 More Enterprises - Report
*Guardian: Burmese days--The regime is using Orwellian methods
*Human Rights Watch: Burma: ASEAN Should Help End Standoff
*Singapore Democratic Party: Letter to SPDC regarding Aung San Suu
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi marks first week in stand-off drama
YANGON, Aug 31 (AFP) - Aung San Suu Kyi may not win her roadside
battle of wills with Myanmar's regime but she has already succeeded
in exposing it to renewed international scrutiny, observers said
Thursday as the ordeal went into its second week.
Aung San Suu Kyi and a dozen supporters have stood their ground
since August 24 when they were blocked from driving to a party
meeting in defiance of a ban on travel outside the capital.
Her National League for Democracy has vowed their 55-year-old leader
will fight a "war of endurance" over the right to move freely around
her own country and conduct legitimate party business.
Myanmar's generals have been equally stubborn, insisting that the
Nobel peace laureate was stopped for her own safety and must return
home or continue her "rest" outside "charming" Dallah township.
Despite its clumsy attempts to make light of the stand-off, the
government has been subjected to a barrage of criticism from the
international community, led by the United States and UN chief Kofi
And Southeast Asian neighbour Thailand has warned that if it does
not find a peaceful solution quickly, the junta will bring the whole
region into disrepute.
Even if Aung San Suu Kyi is forced to return home due to illness, as
in her last stand-off two years ago, she has severely embarrassed the
government just as it makes its faltering first steps towards the
"I'm not sure she will be able to achieve her ultimate goal of
forcing the military government to allow her to travel freely and
negotiate on political issues," said Chaiwat Khamchoo of Bangkok's
"But she has been very successful in terms of winning international
attention," said the dean of political science.
"The military government will now be careful not to overly
antagonise the international community when they decide how to handle
Diplomatic sources say the latest drama has swung the spotlight back
onto Myanmar after a long period out of the headlines.
"It has served to focus international attention once again on the
violations of basic human rights in Burma. What the outcome will be
though is anyone's guess," said one Western diplomat in Bangkok.
The junta's argument that it was protecting the opposition party
from the threat of "armed insurgent groups" by preventing it from
travelling on has been met with derision.
"We find it quite extraordinary to see the line taken by the Burmese
government propaganda machine on this, describing it as a camping
trip to a charming village outside Rangoon," the diplomat said.
"They've trapped this party in a mosquito-infested swamp and I don't
think there's any doubt in the outside world that that is what has
The protest is made more powerful by its timing ahead of the UN
millennium summit, and a crucial December meeting between the
European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Ties between the two blocs have been frosty since Myanmar was
admitted as a member in 1997 despite strong EU objections, and the
meeting had been aimed at giving a much-needed boost to the
The junta, which has been in control of Myanmar in various guises
since 1962, is widely accused by the international community of gross
human rights abuses, including slave labour, rape and torture.
It rejects these allegations and contends that it intends to make
democratic changes once peace and stability has been achieved.
IHT: Burma Draws an Internet Weapon in Its Fight Against Dissident
Paris, Thursday, August 31, 2000
By Thomas Crampton International Herald Tribune
HONG KONG - Leading her roadside confrontation with Burma's military
rulers into its seventh day Wednesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's tactics
appear identical to those she used in a similar protest two years
ago: Drive to the edge of Rangoon until blocked by the government and
then sit in the road for as long as possible.
For the rulers of Burma, however, things are different this time.
They have discovered the Internet.
Turning to the Web with the fervor of a recent convert, the Burmese
government has spent the past week sending out almost daily e-mails
to just about any journalist who has recently written about the
Using language that portrays Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's political
standoff as a jolly jaunt into the countryside, the government's e-
mail messages have included attached digital images of semi-nude
leaders of the National League for Democracy bathing in streams or
Captions to the digital images include: ''An afternoon dip in the
Sarpachaun stream''; ''Trying to put more food and other amenities
into an already overloaded trunk'' and ''Coming back from shopping at
nearby food stores in time for high tea.'' For higher-resolution
photographs of publication quality, the government spokesman's office
recommends that editors visit the junta's official Web site:
There, the government's graphic-intensive site plays tinny music,
claims more than 11,000 visitors since March and early this year
garnered a ''Best of Asia'' award from www.sintercom.org, a Singapore-
based Internet community.
Opponents of the Burmese government denigrate such efforts as e-
propaganda that stand in stark contrast to the continued tight
control of communication within Burma. Mobile telephones are
considered military equipment, ordinary citizens are not permitted
access to e-mail or the Internet, and those found in possession of an
unauthorized fax machine have faced lengthy prison terms.
More broadly, however, the rapid upgrading of Burma's official
information dissemination demonstrates how governments embroiled in
civil conflicts are now forced to confront their physical enemies in
The Internet-enabled confrontation with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the
country's leading opposition figure, contrasts sharply with two years
ago, when the only official information about the standoff came from
terse comments on government information sheets that were faxed out
to journalists specifically covering the story.
The only pictures available then were fleeting images taken from
passing cars by local journalists who risked stiff prison sentences
or foreign photographers who entered the country in stealth and
smuggled out their film. International news agencies are permitted to
hire government-approved local staff, but foreign journalists are
only allowed into Burma for brief visits at the government's
In the period since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's last roadside
confrontation, the government has been making a slow conversion from
faxing out information sheets to sending them via e-mail and posting
them on the official Web site.
These efforts have not been without setbacks. The official Web sites
have been targets of hackers, and at least one e-mail list was
hijacked by National League for Democracy supporters.
The Internet, and especially the Burmanet daily e-mail update, has
long been a highly effective tool used against the Rangoon government
by activists wishing to spread news and coordinate consumer boycotts
of Western companies investing in the country.
The government of Sri Lanka has a undergone similar experience in its
fight against overseas supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam, a group waging war for an ethnic Tamil homeland in Northern
Supporters of the Tamil Tigers and Tamil causes run a number of Web
sites, including www.tamilcanada.com, www.eelam.com and
Braced for heavy combat when he took over a battle command in May
1998, the first hostile volley to hit Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne of
the Sri Lankan Army came from the Internet.
Less than two weeks after he assumed command of 2,500 men on the
Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka, a Web site sympathetic to the
Tamil Tigers reported that Brigadier Karunaratne had used violence on
Brigadier Karunaratne had never before used the Internet and military
communications were still rudimentary, so he heard about the report
from a friend only shortly before the military launched an official
investigation into the allegations.
''I was not trained how to respond to an attack from the Internet,''
the brigadier said. In the past year, however, the Sri Lankan
government and military have begun to embrace the Internet.
Frontline generals in Jaffna use digital cameras and log on for e-
mail daily, the army's Psychological Operations Unit monitors all
Tamil Web sites and the Foreign Ministry runs a Web site
disseminating the government's viewpoint.
Recently promoted to military spokesman, Brigadier Karunaratne said
he intended to launch an official army Web site: ''On the government
side we must learn to use the Internet weapon as effectively as the
AP: Myanmar public shows lukewarm interest in Suu Kyi standoff
August 31, 2000
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ As the roadside standoff between opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar's military government entered its
second week Thursday, her fate seemed to be sparking less interest
among her fellow citizens than it has abroad.
The military junta has drawn strong criticism and statements of
concern from around the world for stopping Suu Kyi from traveling to
the countryside to carry out political organizing. However,
interviews conducted in Myanmar by The Associated Press indicated
that sentiment inside the country does not seem as passionate.
Suu Kyi, 55, two other senior members of her National League for
Democracy party,and 12 members of its youth wing were stopped by
police on Aug. 24, in the Yangon suburb of Dala. Blocked from
continuing to their countryside destination 50 kilometers (30 miles)
away, they have since been stranded there, camping out in their two
vehicles and refusing to return to the capital.
Suu Kyi _ the daughter of the country's late independence leader,
Gen. Aung San _ has led Myanmar's opposition movement since 1988,
when the military smashed mass pro-democracy demonstrations and
asserted its authoritarian rule. She won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize
for her non-violent political activities, but was held under house
arrest from 1989 to 1995.
The military held a general election in 1990, but refused to allow
parliament to convene after the NLD won a landslide victory. Since
then, her party members have suffered arrest and harassment from the
Interviews conducted at random in Myanmar supported the government's
claim on Wednesday that while the confrontation ``is making headlines
in the international media, the people of Yangon and Dala, both young
and old, seem indifferent to this incident and are carrying on with
their daily life, business and education as usual.''
True public sentiment is difficult to gauge in Myanmar because of
widespread fear of government retaliation for speaking out publicly
on political matters. Even those people willing to comment about the
standoff insisted on speaking on condition of anonymity.
But universities _ which the government fears are potential hotbeds
of unrest _ were quiet, and the situation in Dala was not the main
topic of discussion among students.
A history student told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the
talk among students was of an illegal lottery that is wildly popular
among all segments of society.
Meanwhile, local markets were as busy as usual. The black-market
exchange rate for the kyat strengthened to around 374 kyats per
dollar on Tuesday from 394 on Aug. 10, with dealers saying the boost
came from a recovery in neighboring Thailand's currency.
A Dala resident who comes to Yangon every day to sell beans said
that most people living in Dala are poor and more concerned with
their livelihood than the standoff.
A trishaw driver in Dala interviewed Thursday said _ with apparent
irony _ that the town's residents are happy and wish Suu Kyi to
remain in Dala because since her arrival they have had electricity
every day. A nationwide shortage of electricity means suburban areas
normally don't have it each day. But it has now been turned on in
Dala, apparently for security reasons.
The current standoff was triggered when Suu Kyi made her first
attempt to travel outside the capital since two years ago, when the
government blocked four such tries. On the last occasion, in August
1998, she stayed put in her vehicle for 13 days before returning home
for health reasons.
It seemed unlikely that the current standoff will be resolved soon.
A government statement Wednesday called on the National League for
Democracy to cooperate in ``a responsible and meaningful way to
(fulfill) national goals instead of flashing symbolic gestures
designed merely to attract attention.''
But a statement by the NLD vowed that Suu Kyi ``will definitely not
return to Yangon until she reaches her destination and accomplishes
party organizational duties.''
Neighboring Thailand warned Wednesday that the standoff could hurt
relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a
regional free-trade group, and the European Union, which imposes
sanctions on Myanmar for its human rights record. Myanmar, also known
as Burma, is a member of the 10-nation ASEAN.
On Tuesday, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Secretary-General Kofi
Annan ``is increasingly concerned about the well-being'' of Suu Kyi
and the other NLD leaders with her.
Eckhard noted that they ``have been denied freedom of movement.''
At an annual meeting of Nordic foreign ministers on Tuesday,
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden said they ``condemn the
Burmese government's infringement'' of Suu Kyi's democratic rights.
The United States, Britain and the European Union also weighed in
earlier with strong statements of concern.
AP: Australian publisher of Myanmar newspaper defends coverage
August 31, 2000
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ An Australian expatriate who is the only
foreign publisher in Myanmar defended himself Thursday against
allegations that his newspaper is soft on that country's military
Ross Dunkley, publisher of the weekly English-language Myanmar
Times, said the government is gradually learning the advantages of
freedom of the press.
Speaking at a seminar, Dunkley conceded that in Myanmar's current
political situation which pits a stubborn pro-democracy opposition
against an intransigent authoritarian junta _ ``we cannot publish
opposition or dissident opinion.''
However, he denied that his newspaper was merely a sophisticated
propaganda tool of the military government.
``I am not a crusader for the Myanmar (government), but I am a
crusader for my newspaper,'' he said.
Dunkley said he believed the government is slowly learning about the
advantages of press freedom and would be more open in the future in
communicating with the press.
With the exception of several dozen small, uncontroversial crime and
entertainment magazines, Myanmar's press is government-controlled.
The daily newspapers are similar to the old Soviet-style model,
publishing the official doings of the country's top brass along with
full texts of their speeches.
Their only lively features are opinion columns and cartoons which as
often as not are scurrilous attacks on the pro-democracy movement.
Dunkley admitted that there were many restrictions of press freedom
in Myanmar, especially censorship, but said his non-native status and
good relationship with the military has given him more opportunity
than the local press.
He said 98 percent of his newspaper's material went untouched by the
government's censorship unit.
``My philosophy ... is to show there is another face to Myanmar,''
said Dunkley, citing non-political issues such as the government's
attempt to suppress drugs, the opening of many small businesses and
attempts to improve the education system.
He criticized the British Broadcasting Corporation's Myanmar-
language radio service for being biased in favor of opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi, claiming it treated her as ``Suu Kyi the Great.''
The BBC sponsored the seminar, held in Bangkok, on the topic of
``the role of the media in promoting civil society.''
Dunkley said the Myanmar Times, which began publishing in March, has
a circulation of 10,000. He admitted that its two dollar price is too
expensive for most local residents.
Far Eastern Economic Review: BURMA - Going Nowhere
Issue cover-dated September 7, 2000
BURMA - Going Nowhere
By Shawn W. Crispin/BANGKOK
A roadside standoff points to tensions in the junta and the
weaknesses of the opposition
AFTER NEARLY two years off centre stage, Burmese opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi is grabbing the world's attention again. On August
24, Suu Kyi, in a two-vehicle convoy en route to a meeting with an
upcountry youth wing of her party, was stopped and barricaded by the
military government's police near the Rangoon suburb of Dala.
The standoff with Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, which
entered a seventh day as the REVIEW went to press, marks the first
time she has seriously upped the tempo of her opposition campaign
since insisting in 1998 that the parliament democratically elected in
1990 be convened.
At that time a similar confrontation ended violently after 13 days,
with the junta forcing the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner back to
Rangoon. Hundreds of party members were incarcerated and scores
pushed to abandon their party allegiances. Mindful of that precedent,
the United States, the European Union and Britain have weighed in,
heaping criticism on the junta for restricting Suu Kyi's movements.
Her protest came in reaction to a recent diplomatic warming towards
the junta, known as the State Peace and Development Council.
Considering leverage China has gained over Burma in recent years and
the spreading realization that U.S.-led economic sanctions aren't
loosening the junta's grip on power, many countries in the region--
including heavyweights Japan, India and Australia--have recalculated
the diplomatic arithmetic and adopted more accommodating relations
with the regime.
Japan in particular seems keen to re-open financial aid, on the
understanding that the SPDC shows movement towards greater openness.
It was Japanese carrots in the form of hints of aid that goaded the
SPDC into re-opening select universities in August. Similar
inducements seem to have convinced Rangoon that Australian-sponsored
human rights workshops for 50 Burmese officials in July made good
sense. Yet no substantive gestures have come toward opening dialogue
with Suu Kyi and the NLD.
JUNTA'S TIGHTER GRIP
Suu Kyi has recently been more strident in criticizing international
moves that win the junta domestic credibility. "Suu Kyi is trying to
remind the world that this is the same regime that opened fire on
democratic demonstrators in 1988 and annulled the results of
democratic elections in 1990," says Chayachoke Chulasiriwongs, a
professor of international relations at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn
University. "She's trying to show the world that the struggle is
Typically, Suu Kyi timed her push well. As in 1998, tensions are
rising inside the SPDC. In August, the deputy minister for national
planning and economic development, Brig.-Gen. Zaw Tun, was forced to
step down for giving an uncharacteristically candid description of
the country's economic rot at a seminar. And with rumours circulating
that SPDC Chairman Gen. Than Shwe is poised to step down for health
reasons, rival factions backing either the more outward-looking
intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Khin Nyunt or the more hardline former
army commander Gen. Maung Aye are aggressively jockeying for position.
Yet, Suu Kyi's actions are unlikely to push intra-junta tensions to
the breaking point. In the past five years, the junta has effectively
consolidated its grip on power. Except for pockets of resistance
among the ethnic Karen, all ceasefires brokered in the early and mid-
1990s still hold--albeit tenuously. "The SPDC believes it is winning
both externally as well as internally," says a Burmese
academic. "They now see themselves as a corporate identity that, even
as generals come and go, will keep policies relatively the same."
The NLD meanwhile is in dire straits. On June 7, Aye Tha Aung, the
representative of the NLD's four ethnic-minority branches, was
sentenced to 21 years in jail. Some analysts believe the systematic
and brutal emasculation of the NLD has split the party over how best
to proceed with resistance.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Suu Kyi's bet is that by
bringing the junta's hardline tactics back into the spotlight, the
NLD may regain hope at home and spur fresh international criticism.
Unfortunately for her, rumbles from the West seldom, if ever, effect
real change in Burma. And rumbles at home, history shows, only beget
Bangkok Post: Deputy FM calls for end to stand-off, Suu Kyi crisis
could affect Vientiane meet
August 31, 2000
Thailand has the right to voice concern over the stand-off in Burma
involving Aung San Suu Kyi and the military government, Deputy
Foreign Minister Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday.
The stand-off, now in its seventh day, had a bearing on Thai efforts
to re-establish talks between the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations and the European Union.
M.R. Sukhumbhand echoed the concern by Foreign Minister Surin
Pitsuwan that talks between Asean and EU foreign ministers could be
jeopardised by events in Burma.
The deputy minister said he was not interfering in Burmese affairs.
"Thailand, particularly this government, has strived since December,
1997, to move forward the disconnected Asean-EU ministerial meeting,
now scheduled in December in Vientiane," he said.
The government had a stake in the outcome and therefore had the right
to urge restraint on the parties, he said.
Talks between the two groupings have been postponed for years because
of the EU's refusal to bring Burma into the framework.
Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy, and 12 members
of her party have spent a week in a roadside stand-off on the
outskirts of Rangoon after being stopped as she tried to travel to a
About 400 exiled Burmese rallied in the Maneeloy holding centre in
Ratchaburi to demand the Rangoon junta allow Suu Kyi free passage.
A dozen cut their arms with razor blades and wrote a banner in
blood, "Free Suu Kyi".
A protest leader said 30 residents went on hunger strike.
AFP: Poland concerned about fate of Myanmar opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi
WARSAW, Aug 31 (AFP) - The Polish foreign ministry Thursday expressed
concern over the fate of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi,
who has been stranded alongside a road for a week as authorities
prevent her from leaving the capital Yangon.
"We consider the action of the Myanmar authorities to be a flagrant
violation of basic human rights and we would like to see a solution
to the situation to be found quickly," the ministry said in an
"We are in full solidarity with the ideas" of Aung San Suu Kyi said
the Polish foreign ministry, 20 years after the founding of the
Polish trade union Solidarity, the "symbol of the struggle for
democracy, civil and political rights."
The nobel laureate and a dozen supporters of her National League for
Democracy have stood their ground since August 24 when they were
blocked from driving to a party meeting in defiance of a ban on
travel outside the capital.
Globe and Mail: Standoff in Myanmar draws Ottawa's ire
Wednesday, August 30, 2000
Ottawa -- Canada condemned the military government of Myanmar
Burma) yesterday for its treatment of opposition democracy leader
Suu Kyi, who has been sitting with a group of supporters in two
the past five days.
Aun San Suu Kyi and 14 members of her National League for Democracy
stopped by police in the town of Dala on Thursday as they headed
the capital, Rangoon.
It was the first time Aun San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, had
leave Rangoon since another roadside confrontation in 1998 that ended
In May, 1990, the NLD won a landslide election victory but the
leaders refused to respect the result.
_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________
Dow Jones: Myanmar To Privatize 11 More Enterprises - Report
Thursday, August 31
BANGKOK (Dow Jones)--Myanmar's military government will be selling 11
more state enterprises of four ministries through competitive
bidding, China's Xinhua news agency reported from Yangon, citing
Thursday's state New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
The enterprises to be auctioned include one plot of land and two
warehouses of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, six cinemas of the
Ministry of Information, one timber shop of the Ministry of Forestry
and one ice factory of the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery, located
in nine townships around the country, the report said.
Myanmar has been implementing privatization of state-owned economic
enterprises since January 1995, through auctioning or leasing, or
establishment of joint ventures with local and foreign investors, the
The first enterprises to be privatized were factories, livestock
breeding farms and cinemas.
In 1999, a total of 118 enterprises comprising 15 factories, seven
rice mills, 85 cinemas and 11 hotels were privatized.
According to official statistics, there are 1,760 state enterprises
in Myanmar, most of them industrial enterprises, the report said.
Analysts said local partners of virtually all of the joint ventures
with foreign investors are companies controlled by military or
retired military personnel.
Guardian: Burmese days--The regime is using Orwellian methods
Thursday August 31, 2000
International protests have rightly broken out over the latest
outrage by the Burmese military junta against the country's democracy
leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Police blocked her car and let down its
tyres on the outskirts of Rangoon as she and several colleagues tried
to visit supporters of her party's youth wing.
For seven days they have been forced to camp in a mosquito-infested
field in broiling heat.
This sad confrontation is not new. Ms Suu Kyi attempted four similar
excursions in 1998 and each time was made to turn back after
suffering from dehydration. The latest clash may end the same way.
Even if it does not achieve its main purpose in allowing her to
encourage her party workers to continue their long campaign for
Burma's return to democratic rule, she will have reminded the world
how ruthless the regime remains.
Its statements on the stand-off have an Orwellian ring. They tell the
readers of their international website that Ms Suu Kyi is relaxing in
a scenic riverside town because security conditions do not permit her
to travel further, since so many Burmese hate her calls for tourists
and businesspeople to boycott her country. The fact that none of
Burma's state-owned press dares to publish this nonsense or indeed
any news about her thwarted excursion shows the regime does not
believe its own story. It knows it would arouse only more sympathy
for her if the truth were told.
The United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan has expressed concern
over the regime's denial of her freedom of movement and called on it
to resolve the issue peacefully. Britain, the United States, and
various members of the Association of South East Asian Nations have
also added their condemnation.
Ms Suu Kyi's mistreatment is by no means the worst aspect of the
junta's rule. Hundreds of Burmese political activists are in prison.
Thousands have been tortured. Burma was lucky to be accepted into
Asean in 1997, but if the military junta thought this would give it
international respectability it was wrong. The European Union refuses
to deal with Burma at international meetings. The United States has a
ban on investment there. Whether the latest confrontation will change
the regime's policies towards democratisation is doubtful. But it
will at least make it harder for the regime to find fissures in the
wall of international opposition.
Human Rights Watch: Burma: ASEAN Should Help End Standoff
(New York, August 30, 2000 ) In letters to Association of South East
Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers yesterday, Human Rights Watch
called on ASEAN governments to use their influence to persuade
Burma's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to end the current
standoff with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Noting that the actions of the SPDC violated the rights to freedom of
movement, expression, and assembly of Aung San Suu Kyi and fellow
members of the National League for Democracy, Human Rights Watch said
that ASEAN intervention would demonstrate the organization's
commitment to upholding basic freedoms.
The international monitoring organization urged the foreign ministers
to add their voices to that of Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan
in arguing for an end to the confrontation. In statements to the
Bangkok press on Monday, Foreign Minister Surin noted his concern
that the confrontation in Burma "may affect the image of ASEAN as a
whole" and could sour the December ASEAN-European Union foreign
Singapore Democratic Party: Letter to SPDC regarding Aung San Suu Kyi
30 August 2000
State Peace and Development Council
Via the Burmese Embassy
15 St Martin's Drive
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) wishes to register its deepest
consternation on the latest harassment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Your attempts to prevent the true leader of Burma in carrying out her
work are an affront to the decency of civilised human beings all over
the world. You do not seem to understand that your thuggish
occupation of the country is completely unacceptable and that it will
result in failure. The sooner you come to terms with reality and open
a dialogue with the elected leaders of Burma, the less painful the
end will be for the SPDC when it collapses, as it inevitably must.
For those who fail to read history are not only doomed to repeat it,
but must suffer the consequences when justice prevails. Ferdinand
Marcos of the Philippines, Chun Doo Hwan of South Korea, Pol Pot of
the Khmer Rouge, Suharto of Indonesia are just a few autocrats who
have learned this lesson the hard way.
The SDP joins in the democratic voice in denouncing the continued
oppression of the leaders of the National League for Democracy as
well as the people of Burma, and calls on you to immediately make
genuine efforts to restore democracy to Burma and bring freedom to
Chee Soon Juan
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