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Burmanet News September 10, 1995

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The BurmaNet News: September 10, 1995
Issue# 221

Noted in Passing:
Japanese government aid should be gradual and conditional. 
I want to be absolutely certain that it is really in keeping with
the process of democratization, that the pace is strictly in
keeping with the democratization. - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi


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September 9, 1995         Kyodo

RANGOON _ Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said
yesterday the political situation in military-ruled Burma has not
improved since her release two months ago after six years of
house arrest.

"Of course I am now able to speak to the media and I am able to
present our views of the democratic forces to the world. But
there has been no lifting of regulations restricting the
political activities," Suu Kyi said in an interview with Kyodo
News Service at her lakeside residence in Rangoon.

Asked about the prospects of dialogue with the junta, one of her
key demands, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said, "In politics one
should always adopt an attitude of cautious optimism".

She said it is quite reasonable to expect some significant
changes "within a matter of months."

"All problems have to be solved  through dialogue. The sooner
the dialogue, the better for the people. Dialogue has to be
realized," she added.

Suu Kyi said that topping the agenda in talks with the junta
would be the question of recognizing the results of the 1990
general election, which was meant to reestablish the country's
legislature that, like other state organs, had been abolished
following the Sept 1988 military coup.

The election brought a landslide victory for the opposition
forces, including Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD).

But the junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (Slorc), which by then had already placed Suu Kyi under
house arrest, refused to convene the assembly, arguing that the
election was held to form a constitution-drafting constituent

The assembly will convene in October to discuss the draft
constitution. But Suu Kyi criticized the junta for severely
restricting open debate of the new constitution, saying a
constitution must be drawn up in dialogue with the people to
reflect their views.

On the resumption of Japanese loans to the Southeast Asian
country, Suu Kyi reiterated her warnings against hasty decisions
in response to her release.

"Japanese government aid should be gradual and conditional. I
want to be absolutely certain that it is really in keeping with
the process of democratization, that the pace is strictly in
keeping with the democratization," she said.

Japan was Burma's largest donor in the past, extending about
US$250 million dollars in loans annually. Financial assistance
was suspended following the military coup, but aid for ongoing
projects was resumed in February 1989.

Suu Kyi said no other political prisoners have been freed since
her own detention ended July 10.

But noting that the release of political dissidents who should
not have been detained in the first place represents only a small
step forward, she said the real yardstick for democratic progress
will be the realization of "meaningful" dialogue with the junta.


September 9, 1995         Rangoon, AP

(editor's note: virtually the same article was published in the Nation)

AMERICA'S UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright arrived in Burma
yesterday, becoming the highest ranking US official to visit the
country since the military violently seized power in 1988.

She met with Gen Khin Nyunt, said by many to be the most powerful
member of the ruling military council, and visited UN-funded
rural development projects.

Albright, who as UN Ambassador is a member of President Bill
Clinton's Cabinet, is to discuss with government and dissident
leaders ways to improve US relations with Burma.

A diplomatic source, who demanded anonymity, said in Bangkok that
Albright will press government leaders to begin a dialogue with
pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

She is scheduled to visit Suu Kyi at her lakeside home today.
Albright will also study the general political situation and
convey the US government's views, said a spokesman for the

Details of the meeting between Albright and Khin Nyunt, which
took place at a defence ministry guesthouse, were not released.
Khun Nyunt heads Burma's powerful military intelligence service
and serves as first secretary of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council, or SLORC.

The UN Ambassador had said that in her meetings with Burmese
government officials she would stress the need to restore
democracy and the importance of Burma's adherence to
internationally recognised norms of basic human rights.

A State Department official in Washington told a congressional
committee Thursday that Albright's visit does not represent a
warming of US relations with Burma.

Albright will tell Burmese leaders that their policies "fall far
short of what is needed," for improved relations, said Kent
Wiedemann, a deputy assistant secretary of state.

Western governments and human rights groups have accused Burma of
holding dissidents without trial, summary executions and
brutality against ethnic minorities.

Albright was also scheduled to meet with officials from the UN
Children's Fund and the UN Development Programme during her

She visited villages near Bago, 88 kilometres north of Rangoon,
and inspected water supply projects, health centers and schools.

[Typed by the Research Department of the ABSDF [MTZ] ]


September 9, 1995

Slorc has commissioned Charles Orchard, a British entrepreneur who has a
trading firm in Rangoon, to produce a coffee table color photo book which
is aimed at promoting 1996 Visit Myanmar Year. Major sponsors for the book
include Serge Pun Associates which carried out recent refurbishing of
Strand Hotel in Rangoon, and other South East Asian investors.

The book is to carry a Forward by Slorc's Tourism Minister Major General
Kyaw Ba.  It will cover all the unusual destinations with photos taken by
Burmese photographers and a text written by a Burmese writer.  The project
managers are looking to publish two versions of the book: one is to carry
the name "Burmese" to placate western readers and the other "Myanmar

Mr. Orchard, a major Slorc collaborator from Britain, has approached
Gillian Cripps, an Oxbridge-educated Freelance editor and specialist in
Cyprus, for editing work for the book project.  Although Ms Cripps
initially agreed to work on the Slorc project (she didn't know anything about
SLORC), she is in the process of withdrawing from the project for two
reasons.  First, she is concerned about the potential damage to her
reputation by working on a Slorc project. Second, the likely controversy
the book will cause is of major concern for her.  And third, she is also
worried about the payment from her untrustworthy business partner, Slorc.

It is learned that the book will be published by a Publishing Firm in
Italy, where Mr. Orchard's Italian girl friend works.

Slorc is getting smarter in hiring foreign hands for its whitewashing (PR)
projects abroad. A few years back, it hired a Washington-based PR firm
headed by Lestor Wolf, a former US congressman.  Recently there appeared a
pro-Slorc article in Soc.culture.burma "MYANMAR-IT IS TIME FOR A MORE
OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT by M.S Dobbs-higginson.  It is unclear whether Mr.
Dobbs-Higginson, former chairman of Merill Lynch (Asia-Pacific Region), is
Lestor Wolf's replacement or not.

Source:  Nicholas Greenwood (Author of Burma Now and Then, Bradts, 1995).
Nicholas Greenwood is a travel writer and activist on Boycott Visit Myanmar
Year owing to the use of slave labor in tourism projects in Burma.  For
more information on tourism and slave labor, please contact: Sue Wheat,
Burma Researcher, Tourism Concern, Southlands College, Wimbledon  Parkside,
London, SW 19 5NN UK.  Fax (0181)-944-6583 or Tel: (0181)-944-0464


The Main Causes Behind the Killing of the Burmese Fishermen
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

Htun Aung Gyaw  426 Winthrop Dr,Apt 6
Graduate Student,       Ithaca, NY 14850
Asian Studies, Cornell University       USA

Joint proposal of the ethnic and democratic forces for solving Burma's 
political questions by political means
The Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB) was formed in November 1988, 
following the September 1988 military coup which established the State 
Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), Burma's current ruling junta . 
The DAB comprised several armed ethnic opposition organizations and newly 
formed democratic opposition organizations such as the All Burma 
Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) and All Burma Young Monks Union (ABYMU).
One of the four objectives of the DAB was to establish a Federal Union of 
Burma. The members of the DAB were convinced that both the 1947 & 1974 
constitutions were incompatible with the real situation of Burma with its 
many ethnic nationalities. According to the DAB, an effective 
constitution for Burma must establish a federal union on the basic of 
equal rights and self-determination for all the various ethnic 
nationalities of Burma. The leaders of the DAB set out to collect the 
ideas of various organizations concerning a federal constitution and in 
1990 initiated a federal constitution drafting process.
A constitution drafting committee was formed composed of representatives 
of different organizations as well as lawyers with the purpose of 
drafting a constitution which would guarantee democratic and human 
rights  for all people as well as equal right for all ethnic 
nationalities in 1990. The constitution drafting committee systematically 
not only collected the ideas and wishes of the different organizations 
but also responded to the feelings and suffering of the people. It 
acknowledged the views of the National Democratic Front (NDF)- an 
umbrella organization consisting of ethnic revolutionary organizations 
such as the Karen National Union (KNU), Kachin Independent Organization 
(KIO), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Karenni National Progressive Party 
(KNPP), Shan State Organization (SSO), Palaung People's Liberation Front 
(PPLF), Wa National Organization (WNO), Pa-oh National Organization (PNO) 
In August 1990 the constitution drafting committee completed a first 
draft which was submitted to the DAB which went on to create a second 
draft. In December 1990 a meeting was convened  to further review the 
second draft and the resulting third draft was then published as (future) 
Federal Union of State of Burma Constitution, (DAB third draft, 
Constitution drafting committee, November 1991). This document circulated 
widely for analysis and comment.
In June 1992 a constitutional seminar was convened at which international 
legal and constitutional experts met with representatives of the leading 
opposition organizations, the DAB, the National Coalition Government of 
the Union of Burma  (NCGUB) and National League for Democracy-Liberated 
Area (NLD-LA). As a result of the seminar, the Third Draft was further 
amended and in July 1993 at the first congress of the DAB the amended 
third draft gained the formal approval (with certain exceptions) of the DAB.
Further steps were subsequently taken by the National Council of the 
Union of Burma (NCUB), the new umbrella organization composed of the DAB, 
NDF, NLD-LA and the elected representatives in 1990 May elections, in 
1993. All the members of Parliament elected in the 1990 May elections who 
arrived in the liberated area of  Burma are also recognised automatically 
as members of the NCUB. The NCUB plays the role of a parliament alongside 
the government-in-exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union 
of Burma (NCGUB).
In October 1994 a Constitution Seminar was convened at Marnaplaw, the 
liberated area headquarters , by the National Council of the Union of 
Burma. One hundred and fifty nine representatives and sixty six observers 
from 40 organizations around the world participated.The DAB's draft 
constitution was submitted to this Constitutional Seminar for further 
comment and suggestions. The NCUB expresses its gratitude to the 
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for its assistance to the constitutional 
activities of the democratic as well as the ethnic forces since 1990. 
On May 23rd 1995 the DAB constitution drafting committee was extended to 
become an NCUB committee responsible for continuing the efforts to 
achieve all accepted draft constitution on the base of the Federal Union 
of Burma Constitution (drafted by the DAB).
This joint effort of the ethnic and democratic forces which are 
struggling against the military dictatorship in Burma reflects a 
systematic attempt to solve the political questions of Burma by political 
means. Further analysis and suggestions from the people of Burma as well 
as from international organizations, constitutional experts and 
supporters of democracy, human rights and self-determination will 
continue to be sought and welcomed.
National Council of the Union of Burma
Dated- September 1, 1995