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Letter to the UN Special Rapporteur

To  : reg.burma-list subscribers

Note: Please do not repost this mail to any other public nets.

Dear Friends:

I have sent following letter to Professor Yozo Yokota, the Special Rapporteur
for Human Rights in Myanmar. I have also requested various NGOs and Expatriate
Burmese to send letter to Special Rapporteur to urge taking action regarding
this. The United Nations General Assembly will start in late September( 3rd 
week I think) therefore the time is appropriate to lobby the UN officials.

Please write letters to Professor, and raise your concerns regarding with human
rights violations in Burma.

With Best Regards,
U Ne Oo.
\headheight=0cm \headsep=0in
\begin{letter}{Professor Yozo Yokota,\\ The Special Rapporteur\\ \hspace{1cm}for Human
Rights in Myanmar,\\ Case Postale 2500,\\CH-1211 Geneva 2
\address{Dr  U Ne Oo\\48/2 Ayliffes Road\\St. Marys SA 5042\\Adelaide, AUSTRALIA.}
\date{September 7, 1994.}
\signature{(U Ne Oo)}
\opening{Dear Professor Yokota,}
\underline{RE: Human rights situation in south-eastern part of Burma}

I wish to call the UN Special Rapporteur's attention to the human rights
abuses in south-eastern part of Myanmar. I enclosed the field reports by 
the human rights workers with this letter. These reports mostly concern 
with the Military Government of Myanmar's abuses upon the populations 
of Karen and Mon States; and Tenasserim Division. Reports also indicate 
that these human rights abuses are the main causes of the refugees' flight 
into Thailand.

With this letter, I also enclosed the paper ``Operational Guideline
Proposal for United Nations Agencies in Myanmar".

It  observed that the first form of human rights abuses are
the military authorities' forced relocation and
illegal confinement of the villagers. There have been  incidences
that the Burmese military  forced villagers to move into the
concentration camps without compensation. Because of the restriction on
the movement of the villagers whose farms are located at distance from 
relocated camps, the villagers cannot do their normal farming activities.
This caused the displaced villagers to face extreme hardship and poverty.
As a result, the villagers are suffering malnutritions; and
childrens reportedly died.

Another form of abuses are slave labour for the rural
populations. The military government used such forced-unpaid labour in 
building of large infrastructure development projects, such as Ye-Tavoy
railway project;  building of military encampments and
guarding of the roads. This have caused much disruption to the
villagers' livelihoods. There are also reports of forced portering of the
villagers. The consequences of such disruptions to the villagers'
livelihoods have brought much further gloom to the rural populace,
who could merely support theirself of subsistent livings.

There are also reports of local military authorities collecting
of taxes in excessive amounts; and Burmese Army has been extorting monies 
from the villagers. The local Law and Order Restoration Council frequently 
demand villagers to give fees such as `development fees', `porter fees' 
and various other fees, that are clearly
excessive in  amount for these village communities. On occasions, Burmese
Army demanded compensation from villagers for the losses of army properties
in their operation. These practices by military authorities has brought
further poverty and insecurity to the life of villagers. Consequently, some
have fled to the refugee camps.

Reported also are  the civilians, instead of rebels, have been
targeted in the military operations. The Burmese army took revenge on 
the  neighbouring civilians in the events of skirmishes. The army
demand `compensation' from the villagers as a punishment in
events of the army's trucks and equipments damaged. The
execution without trial to the villagers who were suspected of as rebels
have also been reported.

These human rights abuses described are responsible for the flight of
refugees into Thailand. Concerned with the growing crisis of Burmese
refugees in Thailand, the UNHCR  expressed its willingness, on June 21 1994,
to monitor and assist on the return  of refugees to Burma.
I wish to urge the Special Rapporteur
to make initiatives in improving human rights situation in those
above areas. This will help in creating conducive environment for refugees
to return voluntarily from Thailand.
Since these abuses stemmed, partly, from the weaknesses in Burma's 
legislative and institutional sectors,  the efforts to improve human rights
should be directed at the long-term institution building in Burma.

I wish the Special Rapporteur recommand the following measures within the
context of improving human rights situation in Myanmar.

1. All parties in conflict must urgently seek the cessation of civil war,
which is the root cause for various human rights abuses in Myanmar. The 
abolishment of the `free-fire zones' and concentration camps must be 
made subsequently.

2. A  tribunal must be set-up and operating under the supervision
of the United Nations. Various compensation claims:  the losses
of properties in having to move to concentration camps, the monies demanded
by military for the losses of army's properties, etc, should be assessed
by this tribunal and the Military Government of Myanmar give
compensation to these villagers. Efforts should be made to initiate the
judicial reform in Myanmar and the UNCHR should offer its helps in this.

3. A special committee, consisting of respective government ministry, the UN
agencies, local leaders and regional army commander, should be formed to
determine the maximum amount of taxes that should be raised from the people. 
A guideline must be drawn and urged the Myanmar Military Government to 
follow it in taxations. The UN agency should ensure that the taxation is 
not excessive. The respective UN agencies, such as UNDP, should also 
offer their helps in reforming the taxation department and training of 
the staffs.

4. Myanmar Military government must reimbust the monies 
owed to the villagers along the Ye-Tavoy railway routes as well as other
development projects for their contributed labour.

5. Investigations must be made into the incidences of extra-judicial
killings that occurred within the context of military operations.
 The compensations must be given by Myanmar government to those killed 
in these incidences.

In order to create a smooth operation in implementing above measures,
formation of a working committee, which is similar to the {\em Reception
Committee} in Arakan State, should also be recommended.
I also wish the Special Rapporteur recommends various UN Agencies,
regardless of their formal mandate, to promote human rights in Myanmar 
as described in the enclosed paper. The non-governmental organisations, 
which are willing to work in collaboration with the UN Agencies in Myanmar, 
should also be recommended to follow the guideline.

Finally, I should like to thank the Special Rapporteur for your kindness 
towards Burmese people and helps in their struggle for democracy and freedom.

\closing{Yours faithfully and sincerely,}
\underline{copy to:}\\
1. Ms Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Case Postale 2500,
CH-1211 Geneve 2 Depot, Switzerland.

2. Mr Jan Eliasson, The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs,
UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations New York 10017, USA.

3. Senator the Hon. Gareth Evans, The Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Parliament House, Canberra A.C.T. 2600, for information.