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"Green" Groups work with SLORC




As The Observer's March 23, 1997 article entitled "Burma's Junta Goes 
Green: Save the rhino, kill the people" points out, the NY-based 
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Smithsonian Institution (SI) 
have become the first environmental NGOs, unconscionably, to work with 
Burma's military dictatorship (SLORC) since the massacre of thousands 
of unarmed civilians there in 1988.

WCS and SI are directly collaborating with Burma's junta on two 
projects.  One is the Myinmoletkat Nature Reserve in the territory of 
the indigenous Karen, the last of about a dozen ethnic groups to 
actively resist SLORC, which continues to launch a genocidal assault 
against them.  The other is the Lanbi Island Marine National Park, the 
first step of a plan to open up 200 miles of coral islands (the Mergui 
archipelago) to mass tourism. 

Since February, "The Burmese army has murdered 2,000 people and driven 
30,000 from their homes to prepare for the nature reserves...Tens of 
thousands have been forced to work, unpaid and unfed...," The Observer 
notes of the most recent atrocities of what is virtually the worst human 
rights violator in the world (the US. State Dept., Amnesty Intl., 
AFL-CIO, environmental, and religious organizations have repeatedly 
criticized SLORC). 

The New York Times has referred to Burma as "the South Africa of the 
90s."  A dozen cities have enacted selective purchasing legislation 
against Burma (New York City is pending), federal sanctions have been 
signed into law, and international business and tourism boycotts have 
been initiated.  Just last week, the European Union revoked Burma's GSP 
trade privileges.  

Where else are millions, children through elderly, relocated to 
impromptu forced labor camps, often beaten/tortured to death, with 
women conscripts also subject to mass rape nightly?  There are few 
conscientious firms -- much less NGOs -- that would do business with 
the genocidal dictatorship of Burma.

WCS science director Josh Ginsberg claims that WCS does not sanction 
human rights abuses, "But we have no control over the government," and 
that walking away from Burma "wouldn't do any good for anybody."  
However, WCS could choose to withdraw from its partnership with SLORC 
and deny it future tourist revenues -- 2/3 of which would be allocated 
to the military - before WCS taints its name with more blood of the 
military's innocent victims.

Dr. William Conway, President & General Director
Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10460
718-220-5102 (phone); 718-563-2289 (fax)

Please also send a copy of your letter to
Burma UN Service Office
777 UN Plaza
6th Floor
New York, NY 10017
fax: 212/238-0049
phone: 212/338-0048
email: <burma1un@xxxxxxx>