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burmese fishermen (r)

Well done. Keep it up. We were thinking where you were.
Give our  regards to your family also.
our e-mail is Osolnick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

On 9 Sep 1995 hag2@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> From: hag2@xxxxxxxxxxx (Htun aung gyaw)
>                     The Main Causes behind the killing of the Burmese Fisherman
>                                                           By
>                                                  Htun Aung Gyaw
>         On August 6,1995 more than four Burmese fishermen were murdered on
> a Thai fishing vessel owned by Myanma-Narong Canning Company.  The MNC is a
> joint venture between the Burmese government and the Narong Canning company
> of Thailand.  Because of this incident the Burmese authorities closed the
> border trade between Burma and Thailand.  The Thai fishermen killed the
> Burmese because some Burmese on the vessel informed the Burmese authorities
> that the Thais illegally transferred the fish to another vessel before
> their vessel arrive at Ranong.
>         But there are two main cause that led to the death of the Burmese
> fishemen. It is more deeper than that single incident.  In the past before
> 1988, the Burmese regime did not allow foreign fishing vessels to capture
> fish in Burmese water.  The Burmese fishermen use to catch fish by using
> small fishing boats and throwing fish nets by hand.  Even though they did
> not have  advance fishing equipment, they captured enough fish for their
> survival.  Because of the abundant fish in Burmese waters, Thai fishing
> boats occasionally would sneak into Burmese water and capture fish.
> Sometimes they were captured by the Burmese navy and their fishing vessels
> were confiscated.  The Thai crews were sentenced to 2 to 3 years at hard
> labour in the notorious Insein prison  in Burma.
>         Most of the Thai fishing vessels bribed the Burmese Navy to get
> illegal entry.  As a result, the navy commander in this region become very
> rich within one year.  Many senior and junior officers wanted to serve in
> this Ranong and Kawthaung region because of the illegal income.   Even
> though, the Thai fishing vessels would sneak into Burmese waters and
> capture fish, the Burmese fishermen survived because there was enough fish
> left for them.  But, when General Chaovalit Yongchaiyuth signed  logging
> and fishing deals with Burmese Generals on December 14, 1988, the life of
> the Burmese fishermen changed.
>         Because of the fishing contract made by Chaovalit and the Burmese
> military regime, more than 600 Thai fishing vessels entered  Burmese waters
> every day and captured fish by using sophisticated fishing methods.  Some
> vessels are equipped with sonar and radar.  The Thai vessels also used
> drift nets and small nets, which are not allowed in Burmese waters but they
> had the courage to do this because they paid bribes to the Burmese Navy.
> Moreover, the Thai vessels also captured fish in shallow water because the
> most profitable sea product, shrimps, are living in the shallow water.  But
> it is illegal for them to be captured in shallow water.
>         Besides that it is illegal, they captured the shrimps when they
> have an opportunity or they have an agreement with the Burmese navy
> commander.  As a result, Burmese fishermen could not capture enough fish in
> the area in which they used to capture fish before.  They could not compete
> with the Thais who have sophisticated fishing vessels.  For their survival,
> many Burmese fishermen came to Ranong and worked as illegal workers at the
> Ranong fishing port or worked as fishermen on the Thai fishing vessels.
> Because of their illegal status, they were bullied by the Thais and were
> paid only minimum wages.  In Ranong area 80% of the prostitute are Burmese
> women who came illegally and many were forced to serve as prostitutes.
> Most of the Burmese women who came to Ranong are from Tenneserim Division.
> Because of their illegal status and helpless condition the Ranong Thais do
> not care about the life of a person who is Burmese .
>         Another factor which changed the life of the Burmese fishermen in
> Tenneserim region is what is known as a "forced labour" as well as porter :
> illegal order imposed by the State Law and Order Restoration Council
> (SLORC).  SLORC's army forces the people who lived in the Tenesserim
> Division to build  railroads and work on the road for the gas pipeline.
> They work as  forced labour without pay.
>  Most of the people who live in this region are fishermen, mine workers,
> and farmers.  Many people fled because they were badly treated and
> sometimes killed by the army.  The Burmese army has been using human labour
> as a free gift for them for decades.  For the minorities who serve as
> porters under the army, it is a routine job.  The farmers and mine workers
> fled from their villages and entered Thailand, Kanchanaburi province and
> worked on the Thai farms as illegal workers.  On the other hand, the
> fishermen and their families fled to Ranong and found a job in the fishing
> industries as illegal immigrants.
>         These two factors are what caused the Burmese fishermen to work as
> illegal workers in the Thai fishing companies.  General Chavaolit became a
> very rich man because of his fishing and logging contract with Burma and
> became a successful politician.  He visited Burma on September 2nd to ease
> the tension between Burma and Thailand.  On the other hand, Burmese
> fishermen living in Ranong have an uncertain future.  Constructive
> engagement benefitted those who have power, but not the Burmese people in
> general.
> Htun Aung Gyaw  426 Winthrop Dr,Apt 6
> Graduate Student,       Ithaca, NY 14850
> Asian Studies, Cornell University       USA