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The BurmaNet News, April 14, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------  
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"  
The BurmaNet News: April 14, 1997  
Issue #694


April 12, 1997 [received]
By Katsuhiko Meshino; staff writer

Recent Parcel Bomb Could Have Come From  Japan, He Says 

YANGON   Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, secretary 1 of the Myanmar State Law
and Order Restoration Council, accused Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the
National League for democracy, of assisting anti-government organizations
and calling for ethnic minority groups to take up arms against the government. 

In an exclusive interview last week with The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Khin
Nyunt stressed that he was reluctant to resume talks with Suu Kyi, saying
that she also boycotted the so-called constituent assembly that was
responsible for the drafting of a new constitution. 

Khin Nyunt said that an April 6 parcel bomb explosion at the home of
Lieutenant General Tin Oo was probably instigated by a Japan-based
anti-government group. "We have strong reasons to believe that an
anti-Myanmar government organization within Japan, with the collaboration of
an external organization," was involved in the attack, he said. "What we
cannot understand is how this bomb could come through the high-technology
security measures at Japanese airports. The general speculated that
anti-government forces may have used special route to send the bomb. He
suggested that the Japanese government conduct an investigation. The
general, however, declined to give details to support his assertion. When
asked about Japan's continued freeze of yen loans to Myanmar, the general
grumbled, then said he would welcome the resumption of such loans at any
time. The Myanmar government recently decided to go ahead with the country's
airport expansion project without the assistance of yen loans. While
conceding that allowing Myanmar into the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations was a decision for member states to make, Khin Nyunt said he is
confident that the country will be admitted soon. 

He also predicted that Myanmar will be admitted to the ASEAN free Trade Area
with "no difficulties."


April 12, 1997
Rangoon, AFP

Khin Nyunt rails at foreign intervention

The Burmese junta's powerful first secretary has accused the opposition at
home and abroad of plotting street violence and pacing the way for foreign
interference, the state-run press reported yesterday.

In a lengthy hard-hitting speech to teachers, Khin Nyunt said junta
opponents were using clandestine organisations, bogus social organisations
and even United Nations agencies against Burma's national interests.

He lashed out at foreign countries described as neo-colonialists, their
radio stations and the opposition for encouraging economic sanctions and
trying to block international aid in a bid to destabilise the country.

Minions of the colonialists were plotting to create street violence,
according to the New Light of Myanmar's account of the speech.

General Khin Nyunt blamed anti-government groups abroad, acting with the
support of some external organisations, for the parcel-bomb blast which
killed the daughter of a top general last Sunday.

The English-language daily carried no direct quotes in the page-one article,
but its reports traditionally reproduce the precise words of senior leaders.

General Khin Nyunt also drew a parallel between the current situation facing
Burma and the situation in 1988 when anti-government unrest exploded.

Analysts said the tone of the speech and the prominence it was given
indicated the level of concern among the top leadership over the security

The parcel-bomb blast was the latest in a series of incidents with security
implications in recent months some of which involved either militant
students of Buddhist monks.

Students and monks were active in anti-government demonstrations in 1998
which led the current junta, officially known as the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc), to take power.

Rangoon remained under tight security yesterday ahead of the annual four-day
Thingyan water festival at which the authorities reportedly feared possible

Roadblock were still in place in front of the defence ministry War Office
where the military hierarchy appeared to be holding regular meetings,
witnesses said.

Military personnel with the rank of lieutenant colonel or below were obliged
to leave their cars and walk into the War Office grounds, they said. It was
not immediately possible to reach officials for confirmation.

The parcel-bomb explosion last Sunday, which killed the daughter of junta
second secretary Tin Oo, was an indication of what was described as a
"cruel, wicked bid" to assassinate leading persons of the nation.

General Khin Nyunt was quoted as saying it was time to crush
"destructionists and terrorists" who were marring peace stability and
hindering development of the nation.


April 11, 1997
Aung Zaw


	At the beginning of the year a popular astrologer in Rangoon unveiled his
prophecy to close associates. " 1997 will be an inauspicious year for
Burma's top generals", he said. "The omens  suggest troubles await the country".
	His prediction gradually became public knowledge and shortly after he was
summoned and warned not to make further predictions about the future of the
country or the leaders of the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
	However, his prophetic power apparently should not be underestimated. The
recent bombing of a powerful Burmese general's house on Manawhari street has
so far proved the astrologer right.
	Last Sunday, at about 8:30 pm, Cho Lei Oo, a history professor at Rangoon
Arts and Science university (Hlaing Campus) received a parcel addressed to
her father Lt Gen Tin Oo, army chief of staff and secretary two of the
Slorc. As she unwrapped it a bomb inside the parcel exploded, cutting her in
two pieces. The general escaped.
	The masterminds behind the attack apparently missed their target. But such
a rare terrorist attack has shocked the junta and the opposition. Opposition
leader and secretary-general of the National League for Democracy, Aung San
Suu Kyi, who has been placed under severe restrictions from the junta called
the act "cowardly".
	As Burma watches pondered who the culprits were, the junta's military
intelligence service came out with a short statement two days after the
attack saying the parcel bomb was air mailed from Japan.
	The Japanese Embassy in Rangoon was informed of the findings.
	Japan-based anti-Slorc groups denied the charges.
	"This is baloney", said Aung Thu, a member of Voice of Burma in
Tokyo. "we don't believe using terrorism will restore democracy in our
country", he said. "In fact, it is they [the general] who violently crushed
and terrorised the innocent people."
	According to Burma Office in Australia" The military has to blame itself
for the latest bomb blast because it only understands the language of
violence and brute force". The dissidents in Japan have no history of such
terrorist attacks.
	"It would make more sense for the Slorc to claim that the parcel was
engineered and sent by rebel groups along the Thai-Burma border," one
dissident in Tokyo said.
	Shortly after the explosion, dissidents, including senior Karen rebels,
predicted that the junta would point the finger at the Karen National Union
(KNU) and the All Burma Students' Democratic Front, both based along the
Thai-Burma border, quickly announced that they had nothing to do with the
	All parcels are carefully X-rayed before being sent. Moreover, all parcel
mail undergoes a second examination in Rangoon before being delivered.
According to a statement issued by a joint action committee of Burmese
democracy activists:
"In Japan, the movement against the military regime has always been
peaceful, disciplined and within the bounds of Japanese law".
	" If I send a parcel to my family, it takes a few weeks to reach my home
because the Rangoon post office is very slow," said Kyi Win in Tokyo.
	But if there is a parcel for a VIP the arrangement would be faster, he said.
	" Apart from close associates and security officers people in Burma hardly
know where the generals live," one resident said.
	In any case, Japanese police are investigating dissidents' offices in
Tokyo. But the question is why the parcel was sent from Japan, if indeed
Japan is where it was sent from?
	Close relatives of Tin Oo are known to frequently visit Japan for shopping
and business. A source in Tokyo said: "I have heard that they are here at
the moment". That would explain why neither Tin Oo nor Cho Lei Oo would be
suspicious of the parcel that brought the deadly device into their home.
They would have assumed that it came from their close friends or relatives
in Japan.
	But one analyst suspected that local hit men in Burma may have stuck
Japanese stamps on the parcel and sent it to Tin Oo's house. To do so, the
bombers must have been well acquainted with Tin Oo's family.
	Analysts said Tin Oo had been targeted since December when two bombs
exploded at Rangoon's Kabaye pagoda killing five people. The first bomb went
off after Tin Oo visited the pagoda. SLORC blamed the KNU, but evidence for
the rebel group's involvement has never been presented.
	But why target Tin Oo? Some foreign observers have attributed the attack to
Tin Oo's repeated threats to " annihilate destructive elements and foreign
stooges". But opposition groups in exile said the bombing was the result of
a power struggle and business conflicts in the ruling junta.
	Several analysts in Rangoon, however disagreed. " If one faction wanted to
remove Tin Oo there are many other ways-that's not Slorc style," said one.  
	It is believed that the army faction and the military intelligence service
are at loggerheads.  Gen Maung Aye and Tin Oo, who lead the army army
faction, are rumoured to be rivals of Lt Gen Khin Nyunt who is secretary one
of SLORC and the country's intelligence chief.
	Some foreign analysts have also expressed doubt over whether rebel groups
or individuals would be capable of producing a parcel bomb and carrying out
the attack.
	But the recent case isn't the first bombing to rock the ruling elite. In
the early 1980s, a similar parcel bomb exploded at a police officer's house
in Myitkyina, Kachin state.  The officer escaped but his wife and five
family members died in the blast.  No one claimed responsibility.
	" A bomb is easy to make in Burma there are many explosive materials," said
a local source.
	Now it remains to be seen whether the bombing is the first in a series or a
on-off affair.
	While dissidents say publicly they are opposed to the use of terror
tactics, others note that some opponents are also growing weary with the
junta's inflexibility and heavy-handed treatment of the opposition
	Since Suu Kyi's father Gen Aung San and his cabinet ministers were
assassinated in 1947 the recent bombing was the first attempt to slaughter a
top army official. Meanwhile, Rangoon is rife with a rumour that Karen rebel
leader Bo Mya has sent his best 21 hit men to set off explosives water festival.
	"I"m not going to play water- my friends came and  told me about the Karen
and I'm going to the monastery instead," said one local resident, Thaung Win.
	There not also reports that all the country's famous movie stars and
singers who usually take part in country's new year festival, will be taken
to Pagan where they will play water and perform.
	A Rangoon-based diplomat said officials are trying to avoid more unrest and
terror attacks.
	In downtown Rangoon, security remains tight- people are not allowed to go
out after midnight.

April 11, 1997

Human Rights Violations Update
April 11, 1997

Papun District  KNU  5th Brigade Area

On March 24, 1997,  SLORC troops entered Leh Kee Village and spent two
nights there.  During this time, they burned 27 houses in the village, a
Christian church and devoured all the livestock in the village.

On March 28, 1997, SLORC troops entered and burned Ku Day village, including
13 barns and killed 28 buffaloes belonging to the villagers.

On March 29, 1997, SLORC Light Infantry Battalion 319 burned Ta Thoo Der

On April 1, 1997, SLORC troops burned down Hsaw Law village.

On April 2, 1997, SLORC troops burned down Peh Day village.

On April 3, 1997, SLORC Light Infantry Battelion 391 shot some villagers at
Doh Heh Der village and two villagers have been reported missing.  Later
that day, these troops burned down the village.  SLORC Light Infantry
Battalion 106 also burned down K'Ngaw Mu Der village on the same day.

Within one month of the SLORC's offensive in this area, 24 villages have
been burned down, about 10,000 baskets of rice were destroyed and 3726
villagers are homeless.  Starting from March 25, 1997, SLORC troops have
forcibly relocated villagers in this area to a designated place.  About 28
villages have been relocated so far.  Many villagers fleeing from the SLORC
troops hid in the jungle, but when they were found by the SLORC troops, they
were shot to death.

On April 4, 1997, the SLORC troops arrested 7 villagers from K'Paw Baw Kyo
Lu Koe village, including a woman with a 13 month old baby.  The SLORC
troops tied them and brutally beat them and took them away when they left
the village.  On the same day, they randomly shot at a house in the village
and wounded two villagers in the legs.

Naung Lin Bin District      KNU 3rd Brigade Area

Starting from March 27, 1997, SLORC Division No. 77, 111, and 105 operating
in the area have burned down 7 villages altogether.

On March 28, 1997, SLORC Tactical Operation Command 772, under Division 77,
attacked Day Daw Kee village and burned it.  The villagers fled
instantaneously before the attack, tragically two small children were left
behind in the village.  The SLORC soldiers took these two small children and
threw them into the burning houses.  These two charred children were
reported as Naw Mee Mee, age 3, and Saw Ta Pla Pla, age 4.

On April 1, 1997, SLORC Infantry Battalion 24, under Division 77, shot some
villagers who were hiding in a place called Maw Ta Ma Kee.  10 villagers
were reported missing.  The SLORC troops continue to mercilessly kill
villagers, rape women, burn down houses, barns, rice fields and destroy
livestock and properties belonging to the villagers.

Toungoon District           KNU 2nd Brigade Area

Starting March 15, 1997 to April 4, 1997, SLORC Strategic Command 3 of the
Western and Southern Region Headquarters forcibly took 20 private cars from
Kler La Kaw Thay Der area.  They are used daily to transport rations,
ammunition and military equipment from Toungoon town to military bases at
the front line.  In addition, they forcibly took villagers in this area to
be used as porters.  These villagers are denied time to attend to their own

On March 23, 1997, SLORC Infantry Battalion 34 commander Tin Shwe arrested
villagers from Kaw Thay Der village.   Among those arrested are Naw Ta Pweh,
age 53, and her son, Saw Carrie, age 22, Naw Kweh, age 50, with her son, Saw
Eh Hsoe, age 15, and her daughter, Naw Blu Ah, age 22.  These villagers who
were arbitrarily arrested were taken to Toungoon town.  These villages have
been accused of having relatives working for the KNU.

On April 2, 1997, the same SLORC commander, Tin Shwe, arrested Saw Baw Lay,
age 46, and Saw Way Ro, age 38, and accused them of having contact with the
KNU.  These villagers were sent to Naw Soe Military camp.  No news has been
heard about these villagers after they were taken away.

KNU Information Center


[translated from Burmese]
April 7, 1997

Yangon [Rangoon], 6 April -- The following is a supplication by
Religious Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Myo Nyunt to Sayadaw [Abbot]
Bhaddanta Dhammasara--who is the presiding patron of Shwepyitha Tawtaik
Dhammayeiktha [Religious Hall], a member of the Central Committee of the
Sangha Council, and a Pariyatti Patipatti Akyaw [learned teacher]--on the
occasion of the religious ceremony held in Shwepyitha Township, Yangon
Division at 0900 on 6 April to mark the reverend's birthday.
Dear Reverends:  I would first like to express my happiness and joy at
having this opportunity to venerate Reverend Sayadaw Bhaddanta Dhammasara,
the presiding patron of Shwepyitha Tawtaik Dhammayeiktha and a member of the
Central Committee of the Sangha Council and Pariyatti Patipatti Akyaw--and
other reverend abbots--on the occasion of the reverend's birthday.  [passage
If the sayadaws practice the religion in accordance with the religious
code and the congregation supports the propagation and development of
faith, then the Union of Myanmar [Burma] will definitely become an example
to the world for the development of Buddhism.  But if the sanghas make the
people unhappy by putting anger--which does not concern the sanghas--up
front, then, although the government and the congregation support the faith,
I am afraid this could leave a black mark on the religion. 
Therefore, I would like to supplicate the dear reverends to enlighten the
young abbots and monks to be vigilant and free of iniquity, and, for the
good of religion and for the good of our country, not to appease the wishes
of the destructionists. [passage omitted]


April 10, 1997

	Apparently referring to bands of Buddhist monks who have ransacked mosques,
Rangoon's military commander has asked senior Buddhist clergy to take action
against monks who are violating the law, a state-run newspaper said Thursday.
	''Authorities believed that the monks organization would take action
against the offenders, while the monks organization assumed the authorities
would take action,'' the New Light of Myanmar quoted Gen. Khin Maung Than as
telling the third meeting of the Rangoon Division Sangha, the clerical body
that oversees monks.
	In March and early April, Buddhist monks attacked mosques in several cities
following reports that Muslim men had raped a Buddhist girl in Mandalay, 560
kilometers (360 miles) north of Rangoon. A curfew is still in effect there.
	Burma  is more than 80 percent Buddhist, and most Muslims in the country
are of South Asian origin.
	''Both sides have ignored the matter,'' Khin Maung Than said.  ''Taking
advantage of the misunderstanding, violators stepped up their acts of
breaking the law.''
	Although some South Asian diplomats credited the government with responding
swiftly to the disturbances, photographs published Sunday in the Bangkok
newspaper The Nation showed soldiers standing idly by while monks wrecked a
mosque in Pegu, 65 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Rangoon.
	The government has said the religious unrest was stirred up by
''anti-government groups bent on sabotaging  Burma's  ASEAN bid.''
	Burma  is expecting to be admitted in July to the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations, a regional economic group. Indonesia and Malaysia, two
predominantly Muslim countries, have been the strongest advocates of
admitting  Burma  to the bloc.
	But reports also have surfaced in Bangkok that the monks in Mandalay were
angry with the Burmese army over the repair of a highly-revered Buddha image
in the Mahamuni temple.
	Several jewels from the image were reportedly stolen during the repairs,
Burmese exiles in Bangkok said. They said the monks vented their anger
against the Muslim community rather than stage a confrontation with the army.
	Buddhist monks participated in the 1988 democracy uprising and
have been at the forefront of several other uprisings in  Burma. 


April 11, 1997

   Myanmar's military authorities doubt that there is a single Karen
guerrilla within seven km of Ban-I-Thong, at the Thai border. That is the
crossing point for the controversial natural gas pipeline under construction
that will make its way from Myanmar's Yadana offshore natural gas field into
Thailand. And in the frontier provinces to the north, Karen fighters are
holed up, considering their options. This dry season's particularly harsh
government offensive against their 49-year-old insurgency hit them harder
than in previous years.

   In 1995, five civilian workers were killed and 11 others injured when the
Karen National Liberation Army attacked the joint Franco-American
Total-Unocal $ 1.06-billion pipeline project. Now, another major U.S.
player, Texaco, as part of another international consortium, is surveying
the route with an eye to laying its own parallel pipeline from a second
field in the Andman Sea, called Yedagun. But Texaco is playing it safe -- or
at least safer -- than Total or Unocal did at first. It has hired a U.S.
company, Ordsafe, to control security in the area in which it is working.
Ordsafe's orders are to evacuate all Texaco company personnel at the first
hint of trouble. At least half a dozen former members of the South African
military make up the 20-plus Ordsafe team. The U.S. oil companies have also
called on their friends in high places. In Bangkok, Karen representatives
were summoned by U.S. diplomats and advised that any
further attacks on U.S. commercial interests will be viewed as acts of war.


April 11, 1997
Supamart Kasem-tak

Two other inmates seriously ill

	A Burmese being held in Mae Sot prison has died of meningitis and two other
inmates are seriously ill.
	Mah Ma, 32, died on Tuesday at Mae Sot Hospital, where Ar Chue, 29 and
Wirat Jitrharn,41, have been in serious condition for a week.
	Veera Phupattanakul, Tak's public health chief, said Mah Ma and Ar Chue
were diagnosed with meningococcemia, and Wirat with neisseria meningitis,
which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
	To prevent the spread of the airborne disease, medical staff have kept 586
prisoners and officials under observation after taking saliva samples,
giving them check-up and vaccinations.
	Dr Veera said a student from the town district died of meningitis in
December 1995 and two of four Burmese prisoners who contracted
the disease in February have died.
	Preecha Hoonthong, the prison director, said inmate transfers have been
suspended and Burmese illegal immigrants would be detained outside the jail
until the outbreak is contained.
	Hospital authorities have also asked the prison to send inmates due for
release for check-ups.
	Symptoms of neisseria meningitis are a sore throat, headache and high fever
before it develops into meningitis. Bacteria in the blood can cause internal
bleeding, shock and death.

April 12, 1997
Aphaluck Bhatiasevi

	The increasing influx of Burmese immigrants into Thailand's border province
of Tak due to continuous fighting between Burmese soldiers and minority
groups has caused an increasing health burden to the country, Health
Minister Montri Pongpanich said yesterday.
	"The occurrence of illness among Burmese taking refuge in Thailand is 3-9
times higher than that of the local people," he said.
	Mr Montri said last year alone, as high as 60 percent of 35,315 Burmese
immigrants taking refuge at Tak province diseases like malaria, severe
diarrhoea and elephantiasis.
	It is estimated that there are over 50,000 Burmese taking refuge in Mae
Sot, Mae Ramad, Tha Song Yang, Pobphra and Umphang districts of Tak.
	The latest statistics obtained by Tak provincial health office shows that
since last year, 29,419 Burmese refugees suffered from malaria which is
seven times higher than the incidence among the local residents.
	The statistics also shows that 942 people were 117 reported cases of
elephantiasis last year, which has already infected 42 Thai citizens in the
same locality, said the health minister.
	Mr Montri said most of these patients reach the hospital in a severe
condition, thus increasing the burden of care required for the treatment.
	Meanwhile, Permanant Secretary of Health Vitura would seek financial
assistance from international organisations like the World Health
Organisation or the United Nations in treating Burmese immigrants.
	He said the military has already spent 7.6 million of the 25 million baht
budget on treatment of Burmese refugees.


April 12, 1997
Songsamorn Karnchanabutr

MANILA- Burma plans to host a meeting in October of senior officials from
Thailand, Laos, Burma and China's southern province of Yunnan to conclude a
commercial navigation pact on the upper Mekong River basin, a Burmese
official said yesterday.

U Win tian, Burma's deputy director for Water Transport, denied that several
previous postponements of the meeting by Rangoon were motivated by the fact
that Burma expected little benefit from the pact.

In fact, Burma's Shan State and the eastern region will benefit from such
cooperation, in particular the development of the notorious opium-growing
Golden Triangle and the Burmese port of Wan Pong, he said.

Thailand and Yunnan have been pushing hard for concluding the pact since
they will benefit from the transportation of goods and tourists between
Yunnan and Thailand. The draft agreement was finalised in Vientiane in 1994
and was later sent to Burma for consideration.

Win Tian said the delay was mainly due to Burma's careful consideration of
over 20 matters covered in the draft including those concerning the
environment, immigration and customs, and many government agencies had to
look closely at the issues raised. He also blamed several amendments to the
draft later proposed by Thailand, Laos and China for further delays.

Rangoon inked a bilateral pact in January with Yunnan on the transportation
of goods and passengers on the Mekong River.

The official said after the agreement is signed, a sub-regional working
group would be set up to train officials in navigation.

Within the next five years, 300-tonne ships will be able to navigate the
section of the river. At the moment 15-tonne ships cruise the river in the
dry season while 50-tonne ships can do so only during the rainy season.

Navigation on the Mekong River was on the agenda of the two-day ministerial
conference of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic
Cooperation (GMS) forum. The seventh meeting also discussed
environmental problems and the lack of funding to finance GMS projects.

Asian Development Bank programme director Norithado Morita yesterday denied
allegations by the US-based International River Network that the bank was
ignoring environmental problems triggered by the rapid development of Mekong

Morita said the bank's programmes included several human-resource
training activities concerning the environment. One of the projects is the
creation of a data base on the Mekong basin environment by the Institute of
Natural Resources Management.

He said the bank was also working closely with Mekong countries to reduce
deforestation and conserve river sources. Last year, the bank launched a
technical training programme to prevent the worsening of conditions at
Cambodia's Tonle Sap brought on by deforestation and contamination.


April 11, 1997
   Divestment in Myanmar

   Bottom Line: Human rights groups upset with Myanmar (formerly  Burma)
are pushing legislation that would prohibit the state from purchasing goods
or services from any company doing business with the country. 
   Chances: The bill faces heavy opposition from oil interests and business
advocates, but has the support of at least one key panel, the Assembly's
International Trade and Development Committee.
   Next Step: The bill is scheduled for an April 14 hearing before the
International Trade and Development Committee.
   Details: AB 888 author Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley) can be reached at (916)


April 12, 1997 (rec'd)

			R A I N F O R E S T    R E L I E F ' S
			T E A K   W E E K   O F   A C T I O N
				July 1 - July 7, 1997

Protesting the continuing oppression of the Burmese people and the
destruction of their rainforests by the SLORC. Burma is the source of the
majority of internationally traded teak. 


A military coup in Burma in 1962 began a reign of terror and oppression that
continues to this day. In 1988, after tens of thousands of Burmese rallied
for democracy, the military junta formed the SLORC (State Law and Order
Restoration Council) to "keep order", composed of numerous high-level
generals, and then  gunned down thousands of demonstrators. In the following
years continued protests brought about general elections. The democratic
party won over 80% of the Parliamentary seats. However, the military
declared the elections null and void and refused to yield power. The SLORC
generals use forced labor, rape, torture, forced relocation and intimidation
to control the people of Burma.

Until recently, large areas of southern and eastern Burma had remained 
relatively free from military rule due to resistance of numerous indigenous 
ethnic groups such as the Mon, Karen and Karenni. However, with massive
inputs  of new capital, largely from selling natural gas concessions
offshore, a  "cleansing" operation has ensued. Much of this capital has come
from the American energy giants, Unocal and Texaco; the French energy giant,
Total and a Thai company, PTT. The "cleansing" involves burning villages,
raping and torturing villagers, forced labor and forced relocation. Another
prize: the intact hardwood forests of the south.

Cases of forced labor have been documented by the SLORC in logging operations.


Burma is home to the world's last primary teak forests and some of the
largest virgin rainforests remaining in mainland Asia -- which are now being
liquidated to fund the SLORC's rule. Many of these forests are home to rare
species such as the Asian Rhino, Asian Elephant and others.

The SLORC is now once again increasing hardwood logging. Teak and hardwood
harvest increased dramatically in the early 1990, then fell when the borders
with Thailand were closed and is now again on the rise. State-run total
hardwood extraction in 1991-92 was over one million cubic tons. The
SLORC-controlled Minister for Forestry, Lieutenant General Chit Shwe,
recently stated that teak forests will be logged to increase economic
development, calling for full support of the private sector in the
development of "forestry". The SLORC is providing assistance to private
companies for expansion and investment, having exempted forestry products
exports from commercial tax since May, 1996.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, calls
this kind of economic "development" "crony capitalism". The generals and
their friends get rich, while the Burmese populace starves.

Taking advantage of the tax holiday, Sunwood Industries Plc's holding
company, the Sunti Forestry group, is building high-tech teak processing
factories in Burma which will provide a steady flow of teak furniture parts
for Sun, Thailand's largest exporter of teak furniture.

Sunti Forestry Group is one of the world's largest exporters of teak
furniture, mostly to markets in the United States, Europe and Japan.


IN the US, teak is used for indoor and outdoor furniture, interior trim, boat 
trim & decking and small consumer items like spice racks, salad bowls and
napkin holders.

Some of the largest buyers in Europe are the Scandinavian furniture 
manufacturers which supply Scandinavian furniture stores in the US and
Europe such as Scandinavian Design, Happy Viking, Scan Design, Dania, etc.
Most of these individually operated stores carry similar inventories, buying
from the same suppliers. They claim, of course, that selling teak helps the
people of "Myanmar" achieve economic "development" and gives them jobs but
fail to mention that the SLORC is using the money from the sale of teak to
buy more weapons to use against the very people the companies say they are

With the full support of the Burmese democratic government-in-exile,
Rainforest Relief has called for an international boycott of teak from
Burma. Since most of the teak exported from Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan
is Burmese in origin, this includes teak from those countries until they can
prove it is not from Burma.

Rainforest Relief is against the logging, export. import or purchase of
tropical rainforest woods unless they originate from an operation that has
been certified by an idependent organization accredited by the Forest
Stewardship Council.

			What You Can Do:

We can pressure Burmese teak logging by pressuring consumers in the US, 
Europe and Japan to stop buying teak furniture and other teak products from
Burmese teak.

Organize a demonstration at the Scandinavian furniture retailer nearest you
(you can find them in the phone book under Furniture -- Retail. Look for
"Scandinavian designs" or "teak" in the ads).

Go in and ask them where the wood comes from (they will probably have some
propaganda to hand you about sustainable production and plantations). 

Write to the heads of these stores asking them to cease selling teak (and 
mahogany) unless it is independently certified. Let them know you are
planning to demonstrate in July, and give them a reasonable date by which to
respond to your letter. They will either not respond, or they'll tell you to
take a hike (which you should do anyway, in a forest near you).

Organize rallies in front of these stores between July 1st and 7th. Signs can 
read: "Leave Burma's Teak Forests Alone", "[Store Name] Out of the
Rainforests", "Stop Funding Human Rights Abuses in Burma", "When You Buy
Teak, You Pay For Rape and Torture of the Burmese People", "No Teak For
Guns", "This Furniture is Stained With the Blood of Innocent Burmese", etc.

Contact Rainforest Relief for flyer originals and further information.

Get your town to pass a tropical timber resolution barring the use of
tropical hardwoods unless they are independently certified (call, write or
email us for sample ordinances). 

Get your school or workplace to pass a resolution to do the same.
Let's leave Burma's forests for the Burmese, the Rhinos and the Elephants.


When you buy a teak wood product you are funding the destruction of tropical
forests and the illegal military regime of Burma. The demand for teak is
fueling massive deforestation in Burma, having been responsible for the loss
of entire forests in many other countries. The repressive illegal regime of
Burma is selling off its teak and other hardwoods to pay for the purchase of
arms to quell the democracy movement.


Teak (Tectona grandis) is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia
and India. Teak logging began in earnest in the area during the British
colonial period. British demand for teak ships eliminated most teak in India
and eventually Thailand. Thailand and more recently Cambodia, have had to
institute bans on the export of unprocessed logs in an attempt to slow
deforestation that has led to massive flooding and drought in those
countries. Current teak production now comes almost entirely from Burma. 

Teak logging, like most tropical logging, causes extreme degradation to the 
tropical forest. Since teak trees are sporadically dispersed throughout the 
forest, loggers travel further into the primary forest creating miles of roads 
to haul logs to mills. Logging roads play a fundamental role in allowing
further deforestation of primary forests in Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

In addition, Burmese and Thai loggers use elephants to move logs around, 
drugging the animals with large amounts of amphetamines, to which they can
become addicted. Many elephants get sick and die because of overwork due to
the pressure to log teak at ever faster rates. 


In 1988, the Burmese military government gunned down thousands of 
pro-democracy demonstrators. Forced to have general elections in 1990, the
military declared the elections null and void when the democracy party, the
NLD, won over 80% of the Parliamentary seats. Since then, the military
regime in Burma renaming themselves the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) has ruled the country using repression, torture,
imprisonment, rape and murder to hold on to power. 

Additionally, it's estimated that half of the government's income is from 
trafficking in heroin, as Burma is the source for an estimated 60% of the
world trade.

Teak is the second largest legal money-maker for the SORC. In 1992-93, Burma
extracted nearly one million cubic tons of teak logs with state owned or
contracted operations, up from 700,000 in 1983. 

Claims that teak production helps the Burmese people are false, since the 
democratically elected government has never been allowed to take office, and
funds generated from teak and heroin sales are not going any further then
the pockets of the generals and their rich friends. 


China is the largest importer of teak logs from Burma, with Thailand the
second largest. Much of this teak is processed for re-export as furniture
and small consumer items. The United States and Europe are the final
destinations of large amounts of teak, either lumber or finished products.
Much of the teak lumber imports are used in construction of yachts and
boats, a luxury the Burmese can ill afford. 

				What You Should Do

By buying Burmese teak you are threatening the largest remaining pristine 
tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace
Prize laureate, has asked that other nations stop investing in Burma until
democracy can be restored.

Do not buy (or, if you are an architect or interior designer, do not specify) 
teak or other tropical hardwoods unless they are certified as coming from an
ecologically sound operation (less than 1% of production). If you have
questions about these claims, call Rainforest Relief for verification. We
can also supply you with information on sources of certified tropical woods.

Boycott stores that sell teak that is not certified. Common outlets include 
"Scandinavian" furniture stores. You probably have one in your area. Call 
Rainforest Relief to coordinate demonstrations and other actions at these