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The BurmaNet News, April 23, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------  
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"  
The BurmaNet News: April 23, 1997  
Issue #701


Noted in Passing:

"We urge nations around the world to join in the call for a peaceful
transition in Burma government that reflects -- rather than rejects -- the
will of the people."--US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

"Now the challenge for the administration is to get European and Asian
nations to isolate Burma as well."--Editor, The New York Times


Dear Subscribers,

The igc server computer system crashed on April 20, and the system operators
have said that it will not be fully functional until April 24.  Until the
system operators fix the problem we will only be able to send out issues of
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send the BurmaNet News issues from April 21-24 as soon as the system is
running again.  

Thank you for your patience.

- BurmaNet

April 22, 1997

[The following is Statement by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of
State Madeleine K. Albright concerning Investment Sanctions Against

Office of the Press Secretary
 For Immediate Release
 April 22, 1997
 Investment Sanctions in Burma
        Today I am announcing my decision to impose a ban on new
 U.S. investment in Burma.
        I have taken this step in response to a constant and continuing
pattern of severe repression by the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC) in Burma. During the past seven months, the SLORC has arrested and
detained large numbers of students and opposition supporters, sentenced
dozens to long- term imprisonment, and prevented the expression of political
views by the democratic opposition, including Aung San Suu Kyi and the
National League for Democracy (NLD).
        I have therefore imposed sanctions under the terms of the
"Cohen-Feinstein" Amendment, a bipartisan measure that I fully support. As
contained in the Burma policy provision of the Consolidated Appropriations
Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (Public Law 104-208), this amendment calls for
investment sanctions if the Government of Burma has physically harmed,
rearrested for political acts, or exiled Aung San Suu Kyi, or has committed
large-scale repression of or violence against the democratic opposition. It
is my judgement that recent actions by the regime in Rangoon constitute such
        Beyond its pattern of' repressive human rights practices, the
Burmese authorities also have committed serious abuses in their recent
military campaign against Burma's Karen minority, forcibly conscripting
civilians and compelling thousands to flee into Thailand. The SLORC regime
has overturned the Burmese people's democratically elected leadership. Under
this brutal military regime, Burma remains the world's leading producer of
opium and heroin, and tolerates drug trafficking and traffickers in defiance
the views of the international community. The regime has shown little
political will to stop the narcotics exports from Burma and prevent illicit
drug money from enriching those who would flaunt International rules and
profit by destroying the lives of millions.
       The United States and other members of the international community
have firmly and repeatedly taken steps to encourage democratization and
human rights in Burma. Through our action today, we seek to keep faith with
the people of Burma, who made clear their support  for human rights and
democracy in 1990 elections which the regime chose to disregard. We join
with many others in the international community calling for reform in Burma,
and we emphasize that the U.S.-Burma relationship will improve only as there
is progress on democratization and respect for human rights.
        In particular, we once again urge the authorities in Burma to lift
restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi and the political Opposition, respect the
rights of free expression, assembly and association, and undertake a
dialogue on Burma's political future that includes leaders of the NLD and
the ethic minorities.
 (as prepared for delivery)
 Statement of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
 Concerning Investment Sanctions Against Burma
                April 22, 1997
  I am announcing today that President Clinton has decided to impose a ban
on new investment by Americans in Burma. This action is being taken under
provisions of law authorised senator Dianne Feinstein and former Senator and
now Secretary of Defense William Cohen:
 The decision is based on the President's judgement that the repression by
the military authorities of the democratic opposition in Burma has deepened
since enactment of the Cohen-Feinstein provisions this past September 30,
and that a state of large-scale repression exists.
 As the sponsors intended, we have used the prospect of new investment
sanctions as a tool to encourage change. Specifically. we have urged the
military authorities in Burma to begin a serious political dialogue with the
National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and with
representatives of Burma's many ethnic minorities. In addition to our own
discussions, we have worked with friends in Asia and Europe to make clear to
Burma the potential international benefits of a more democratic approach.
 Unfortunately, the military leaders in Rangoon have chosen not to listen.
Instead, they have clamped down further on democratic political activity.
They have severely restricted Aung San Suu Kyi's ability to address her
supporters publicly, closed political party offices, arrested peaceful
demonstrators and harassed and intimidated those espousing democratic
principles. The military has also continued a range of other repressive
policies, including violence against civilians and forcible conscription.
 Regrettably, the Burmese Government shows no signs of moderating its
insecure and we believe -- ultimately doomed -- authoritarian policies. It
remains embarked upon a course that can lead only to greater isolation,
reduced economic vibrancy and steadily increased pressure for political
change. This is a dangerous and disappointing direction.
 The ban on now U.S. investment in Burma is the latest in a series of
sanctions the United States has imposed in response to the utter lack of
political freedom in that country, and because its government has failed to
cooperate in the war against drugs.
 In combination with the earlier actions we and other nations have taken,
and shareholder concerns around the world, we believe this step will deal a
further blow to investor confidence in Burma. It will send a message to the
military that it will not attract the investment it clearly craves, unless
it begins a genuine dialogue with its own people.
 We remain ready to review these measures and our overall policy towards
Burma should events there warrant. We continue to express our admiration and
support for Burma's courageous democratic leaders. And we urge nations
around the world to join in the call for a peaceful transition in Burma
government that reflects -- rather than rejects -- the will of the people.


April 22, 1997
Steven Erlanger

WASHINGTON -- After weeks of internal debate, President Clinton has approved
a ban on new American investment in Burma because of  human-rights abuses by
the Burmese military government, a senior administration official said Monday.

Clinton acted under the terms of a law signed last fall that mandates
sanctions if the Burmese military commits "large scale repression" against
the democratic opposition or if it again detains the opposition leader, Aung
San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been back under
effective house arrest since November.

The details of when the sanctions would go into effect and their exact
nature are being worked out. The sanctions are not retroactive, allowing
previous contracts to stand, the official said. The one major American
investment in Burma is in a billion-dollar energy partnership with a French

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was expected to announce the ban on

Some State Department officials have felt that the administration was
dragging its feet on ordering sanctions because to do so would open
Clinton to further criticism of his China policy because of the contrast it
would present.

On China, Clinton has divorced trade from human rights considerations,
arguing that Washington's relationship with Beijing is too complicated and
strategically important to be held hostage to any one issue.

Burma is small and of considerably less strategic importance. It is,
therefore, easier for administration officials to criticize the Burmese
military government for its repressive acts.

The Burmese military refused to recognize elections won by Mrs. Suu Kyi and
her party in 1988, instead seizing all power and putting her under house
arrest for six years. During and after that internment, efforts to
promote a dialogue between the military rulers and Mrs. Suu Kyi failed. She
has now been put back under effective house arrest, and she herself has
called for the imposition of sanctions.

Last year, the Burmese military made more than 2,000 political arrests and
about 260 party activists are now in prison. In January, the military
government attacked the ethnic Karens near Thailand, driving some 18,000
refugees across the border in what American officials have testified was an
assault on part of the democratic opposition.

The United States is the fourth-largest investor in Burma, after France,
Singapore and Thailand. Most French and American investment is in the energy
sector. The largest American investor is Unocal Corp., which
is in a $1.2  billion partnership with the French company, Total, to
explore and develop fields of natural gas off the coast and is building a
pipeline to pump the gas to Thailand.

At the end of January, Unocal signed a deal to expand its exploration and
development rights. The signing came the same day that the State Department,
in its annual review of human rights around the world,
condemned the killing and torture of dissidents and ethnic minorities in
Burma, and officials spoke about imminent sanctions. At the time, Unocal
spokesmen denied any connection and said the company opposed sanctions.

One reason for the administration's delay was a similar argument, that
unilateral sanctions would not produce an improvement in human rights in
Burma, but have the reverse effect because it might stir resentment on the
part of the Burmese military.

The threat of sanctions is sometimes a better instrument than the sanctions
themselves, some officials have argued, and unilateral sanctions can have
more symbolic impact than real force.

"But our efforts to make this pressure multilateral hasn't worked all that
well," an official admitted, "and it was the president's judgment that doing
it now fulfulls the law, which he is obligated to do, and may stimulate
further action by others."

The administration has been trying to persuade Japan and the Southeast Asian
countries to join in any sanctions, but with little success. Japanese Prime
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto comes to Washington to meet Clinton on Friday,
and the Japanese have been pressing Clinton not to go ahead
with sanctions. Tokyo has been trying to promote dialogue between the
military and Mrs. Suu Kyi.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has also warned against
unilateral sanctions. The Association holds its 30th anniversary meeting
in Kuala Lumpur this July, and the Malaysians would like to invite Laos,
Cambodia and Burma to join the organization then, arguing that engagement is
a better inducement to improved behavior than isolation.

Clinton is acting under the Cohen-Feinstein law, named after its sponsors,
William Cohen, now secretary of defense, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
That bill, negotiated with the White House and signed last autumn, was a
softer version of language offered by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., which demanded immediate sanctions.

Another reason for the White House to act now may be new legislation
drafted by McConnell and Moynihan, now being passed around both the House
and Senate for co-sponors, that would demand tougher sanctions that would
affect Unocal's current investment and restrict royalties
from existing investments and shareholdings. The senators plan to introduce
the bill by the end of next week.


April 23, 1997

Nine months after Congress passed a law banning new American
investment in Burma if the regime there staged a crackdown on democratic
rights, President Clinton has finally, and rightly, invoked the law's

With hundreds of democracy activists in jail and their leader, Aung San Suu
Kyi, under effective house arrest, conditions for sanctions were more than
met. Now the challenge for the administration is to get European and Asian
nations to isolate Burma as well.

Although the United States stands alone for the moment, these sanctions can
still help change things in Burma. The United States is one of the larger
investors in Burma. Companies from various nations are pulling out due to
negative publicity and the country's pervasive corruption.

By showing that Washington is serious, Clinton may now persuade other
nations to demand change or join the exodus. The sanctions may also give the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations pause before deciding it wants to
give Burma a full embrace this year.

The president's decision sends an important signal to dictators worldwide
that Washington can occasionally get tough. The promotion of American
business abroad has so dominated the Clinton foreign policy, especially in
Asia, that repressive but wealthy countries no longer take Washington's
statements about human rights and democracy seriously.

True, impoverished Burma is getting much tougher treatment than Indonesia
and China, which are far more important trading partners.
Sanctions on Burma may thus not be a dramatic statement about human rights
from Washington. The failure to impose them, however, would have

April 22, 1997
By Deborah Charles

    BANGKOK, April 22 (Reuter) - Exiled Burmese dissidents on Tuesday
applauded a United States decision to impose economic sanctions on Burma,
but there was no official comment from the military government in Rangoon.
    "Oh great, this is good news. We are very happy," said Aung Naing Oo,
foreign affairs secretary for the students group, the All Burma Students'
Democratic Front (ABSDF).
    The ABSDF and other exile groups in Thailand and elsewhere have urged
the United States and other governments to stop investing in Burma because
of human rights abuses there.
    Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has been
accused by human rights organisations, the United Nations and many Western
governments of human rights abuses like summary executions, using forced
labour and employing repressive tactics against the opposition.
    "Since the SLORC came into power through a bloody military coup in 1988,
they have enjoyed assistance from the business community, which has enabled
them to consolidate power and accelerate their campaign of terror against
the people of Burma," Aung Naing Oo told Reuters.
    The SLORC has also been condemned for failing to recognise the
democratically elected government of the National League for Democracy (NLD)
party co-founded by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
    The U.S. State Department was due to announce economic sanctions on
Burma later on Tuesday, an administration official said in Washington.
    The sanctions will ban new U.S. investment in Burma. Several American
companies have pulled out of Burma over the past few years due to pressure
by human rights organisations.
    Major companies still doing business there include oil companies Unocal
and Atlantic Richfield Co.
    Attempts to reach Burmese government officials were unsuccessful on Tuesday.
    Last week a Burmese government official told Reuters that U.S. sanctions
were like a weapon aimed at destroying the human rights of the Burmese people.
    "If the U.S. is so genuinely concerned about the human rights of the
Myanmar (Burmese) people, why is it so necessary to deprive one of the most
essential rights of the Myanmar people -- the right to earn a living and
support the family?" he asked.
    Suu Kyi, who served six years of house arrest for her outspoken attacks
on the military government, could not be reached for comment. Her telephone
line appeared to have been cut.
    In the past she has urged investors to stay away from Burma and has said
she supported the idea of U.S. sanctions.
    The United States is the fourth-largest investor in Burma in terms of
approved foreign investment.
    Diplomats said the sanctions would likely cause investors from the
United States and other countries to be more cautious in coming to Burma.
    "They'll have to think a lot harder. Some companies may decide not to
come in. It adds political risk," one diplomat said.


April 22, 1997

     BANGKOK, April 22 Kyodo - The United States' decision to impose
economic sanctions against Myanmar may have ramifications for the timing of
its admission into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a
Thai Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.
     ''ASEAN has been concerned that Myanmar's admission may cause
ties between ASEAN and dialogue partners like the U.S. to deteriorate,''
said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
     But the official declined to characterize the U.S. move as a warning to
ASEAN that it should delay the timing of Myanmar's admission.  ASEAN follows
a policy of ''constructive engagement'' toward Myanmar.
     The official said the imminent U.S. sanctions would be discussed at an
informal meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers scheduled to be held in Kuala
Lumpur on May 31 to arrive at a final decision on the timing of the three
countries' admission.
     The official expressed doubt the sanctions will further the cause of
fostering democracy in Myanmar and added that all they will probably do is
hurt American economic interests in Myanmar.
     ''It is hard to see Myanmar concede to the U.S.,'' he said.


April 22, 1997

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) _ Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he
wants something more permanent than the action of Clinton, who invoked his
privilege under an existing law to ban new American investment in Burma.
Clinton cited the ruling military junta's ``continuing pattern of
repression,'' intended to the squelch the nation's democratic movement.
	McConnell says that ``overdue'' decision is ``an important step in our
effort to restore democracy in Burma.''
	But he says he wants the sanctions couched in law since Clinton's action
``is an executive order which can be rescinded as quickly as it was
issued.'' The Kentucky lawmaker says that would ``keep the pressure on and
eventually convert policy into law.''
	McConnell's bill would go further than Clinton, banning U.S. investment in
Burma and prohibiting U.S. assistance through international lending
institutions. The president's move would not affect current American
projects in Burma.
	McConnell says those economic threats, to be followed by possible action,
will help force the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council to
acknowledge its ouster with the 1991 election of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu
Kyi and National League for Democracy to office.


April 22, 1997
Grant Peck

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) --In an interview in Bangkok with the Dow Jones News
Service,  Beach called the decision a ``temporary setback'' to Unocal's
business plans in Burma but said ``it won't change our strategy one iota.''
	Like the Unocal chairman, other U.S. executives had expressed criticism at
a meeting in Singapore, saying only free trade with Burma will induce its
military rulers to allow human rights and democracy.
	``Constructive engagement is much more important for the United States. We
shouldn't lose what little influence we have by pulling out,'' Lloyd
Bentsen, former secretary of the treasury, said last month.
	U.S. businessmen ``tenaciously and passionately believe in human rights,
workers' rights and democracy ... but we don't believe in unilateral
sanctions,'' added George David, chairman of United Technologies Corp.
	Since the military government opened Burma to foreign investment in 1988,
foreign firms have announced plans for nearly $4 billion worth of projects,
although less than one-third of that has actually come in to date.
	If Clinton's move ``bars only new American investment, the government will
just laugh,'' said a Burmese businessman involved in a joint-venture factory
who spoke on condition he not be named. ``As long as Unocal and Texaco are
in town, they (the government) will not be bothered.''
	Tin Oo, vice-chairman of the opposition National League for Democracy, said
in a telephone interview from Rangoon, the Burmese capital, that the U.S.
move ``is one we have very much longingly hoped would happen.''


April 22, 1997

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Unocal Corporation today
issued the following statement in response to the implementation of
sanctions by the Clinton Administration against new investment in Myanmar

    We are disappointed that the Clinton Administration has chosen a policy
of isolation and sanctions concerning new investments in Myanmar under the
Cohen-Feinstein amendment of the 1997 Foreign Operations Appropriations law.
    Unocal, of course, will abide by the Administration's order.  We will
review the order once it is made available to us.  We do not expect that the
Administration's directive against new investments in Myanmar will have a
material affect on our current involvement in the Yadana natural gas project.
    Unocal remains focused on investment in Central and Southeast Asia.  The
Administration's action will not change the company's long-term strategic
direction of developing major energy-related projects throughout this region.
    Historically, unilateral sanctions have proven to be ineffective.
Economic engagement, not isolation, is the best way to promote positive
change in countries such as Myanmar.
    During our 30-year history in Asia, we've seen that responsible foreign
investment is the most effective way to promote long-term economic and
social development in countries throughout the region.  We are concerned
that the Administration's action may impede, rather than advance, these
developments in Myanmar.
    The Yadana project is already providing significant benefits to the
35,000 people who live near the pipeline area -- an extremely poor and
undeveloped region of Myanmar.  In addition to creating more than 2,000
jobs, the project has begun a three-year, $6 million program to provide
improved medical care, new and refurbished schools, electrical power, and
agricultural development in the pipeline region.

SOURCE  Unocal Corp.
CONTACT: Barry Lane of Unocal Corp., 310-726-7731


April 22, 1997

KENGTUNG, Burma(Reuter) - One of Burma's military leaders said Tuesday his
government would not be swayed by U.S. economic sanctions against his
country and denied Western allegations of human rights abuses. 

``It's not a problem for us,'' Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt told foreign
journalists accompanying a government trip to the Golden Triangle area in
eastern Shan state.

Burma has approved a total of $6.05 billion in foreign investment since 
it opened up the economy in 1988. Diplomats say a little more than half 
that has actually been invested. 

Diplomats said the sanctions would likely cause U.S. and other investors 
to be more cautious in coming to Burma. 

``They'll have to think a lot harder. Some companies may decide not to 
come in. It adds political risk,'' a diplomat said. 

Diplomats from member nations in the Association of Southeast Asian 
Nations (ASEAN) said the sanctions will not likely affect Burma's 
efforts to join the seven-member group. 

They said ASEAN, which follows a policy of non-interference in the 
politics of its neighbors, continued to oppose Western intervention in 


April 22, 1997
                                   Date: 22 April, 1997

The ABSDF welcomes the decision by the US Government to impose
economic sanctions on the SLORC regime for its continued human
rights violations and repression of the people of Burma. 

The decision, reported to have been made by US President Bill Clinton within
the last few days, is to be formally announced by US Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright. The sanctions will involve banning any new US investment
with Burma.

The decision to impose sanctions is a major step towards forcing SLORC to
recognize the democratically elected government of Burma led by Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi. 

It also greatly increases pressure on SLORC to reconsider their hard-line
stance against the democratic movement and to solve the country's political
problems through political means.

The imposition of sanctions shows that the US Government considers
economic investment in Burma merely supports the SLORC regime and
its generals. The move is an important affirmation that foreign companies
such as UNOCAL, Arco, Texaco and TOTAL currently doing business in Burma are
propping up an illegal regime with an atrocious human rights record.

For more information please contact Aung Naing Oo or Zaw Min
at 300 0631 or 01654 4984

All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)  


April 16, 1997
Yvan Cohen, Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Mae Klong Mai, Thailand
	Wearing an olive-green combat jacket, with the letters ABSDF 
marked in black capitals on his shoulder, Moe Thee Zun, vice chairman of 
the All  Burma Students Democratic Front, looks worried.
 	"We're trying to eavesdrop on enemy communications," explains 
the student leader as he listens to a radio scanner. In the half light of the 
operations room, Mr. Moe's tousled mop of black hair and his dark 
moustache conjure up echoes of a Burmese-style Che Guevara.
 	A few miles from here, on the other side of the Thai border, 
thousands of Burmese troops are massed against ethnic Karen rebels and 
their Burmese student allies - the ABSDF. "We're still fighting and have 
had to take up defensive positions. But it's not over yet," explains the 
guerrilla commander.
 	For Moe, and some 2,000 or so members of the ABSDF, it has 
been a long and bitter war. For almost a decade, the guerrilla army has 
pitted itself against the Goliath of  Burma's  war machine, comprising an 
estimated force of up to 300,000 men. The roots of the conflict go back to 
1988, when frustration at decades of political repression and economic 
hardship in  Burma  spilled over in the form of pro-democracy protests 
against military rule.
 	At the time the trouble started, Moe was a physics student at 
Rangoon University. A prominent activist campaigning alongside  Burma's  
most famous dissident, Aung San Suu Kyi, he witnessed the slaughter of 
unarmed protesters gunned down in the street by government troops.
 	Less than a year later, he joined a growing number of rebel 
students in the jungles along the Thai-Burmese border. A young urban 
intellectual, he was unprepared for the rigors of life in the forest and 
unversed in the techniques of war. "When we arrived, we faced a lot of 
personal difficulties," he remembers. "But we did feel that we were free.
 	"We felt we had a future. In Rangoon there was no hope. Here, 
there is hope," he adds.
 	Over time, however, the ABSDF has slid from the public eye. "In 
1990-1992 we had all we needed. Now food is not so good. We've been 
isolated for a long time," explains Win Htein, a former student who gleans 
news from a shortwave radio.
 	Despite international condemnation of  Burma's  junta, the 
ABSDF has been virtually abandoned. The students and their families 
survive on two meals a day. There is no electricity or running water, and 
essentials, like mosquito nets, are scarce.
 	For many, the hardship and isolation of life in the jungle proved 
too much. Of the 10,000 or so students who originally fled to the border, 
around 8,000 have since traveled overseas to become refugees in the West.
 	"Most of the students overseas are supporting us in some way," 
says Myo Min, a bespectacled ASBDF official, who returned to the jungle 
after completing a master's degree in human rights at New York's 
Columbia University. Even so, the loss of many members has weakened the 
ABSDF, which has seen new arrivals from inside  Burma  slow to a trickle.
 	Early on, the movement was wracked by internal tensions. After 
one witch hunt for informers and spies, about 50 people were executed, 
recounts a human rights observer with in-depth knowledge of the ABSDF. 
"It's certainly a lot more mature as a movement," adds a Western aid 
worker. "In the early 1990s they were hopeless as soldiers. But now they 
can hold their own alongside the Karen fighters. In the beginning, they 
couldn't even cook their own food. They were just middle-class kids."
 	For all its bravado and courage, the ABSDF is up against 
desperate odds. Last February, some 5,000 Burmese troops swept down 
along the Thai border, destroying student and Karen camps in their wake.
 	Unable to match the government's firepower, the ABSDF is using 
a new, and perhaps more powerful weapon: ideology. Political defiance is 
the new watchword of these plucky rebels. The junta's "greatest weakness 
is its politics,"explains Moe, who advocates combining guerrilla warfare 
with political-information campaigns.  As the battlefield shifts from the 
jungle trails to the hearts and minds of ordinary Burmese, men like Yeni, a 
writer and singer, will likely constitute the ABSDF's front-line fighters. 
Each month, Yeni produces tape-recorded pro-democracy "radio shows" 
that are distributed through an underground network in  Burma.  "I can see 
that the world is changing. So  Burma  should change, too," says Yeni, 
expressing an optimism that is a hallmark of ABSDF fighters.


Oil Chemical, Atomic Workers Union (OCAW) & The Free Burma Coalition (FBC)

For Immediate Release
April 22, 1997					

OCAW Contacts: Joe Drexler or Rod Rogers (303) 987-2229	
FBC Contact:       Zarni (608) 827-7734
Madison, Wisc., April 22-- The leaders of America's oil workers union and
the U.S. based Free Burma Coalition established to restore democracy in
Burma today jointly applauded the Clinton Administration's decision to
impose economic sanctions on Burma. 

Robert E. Wages, president of the 90,000-member Oil, Chemical and Atomic
Workers International Union (OCAW), said: "The decision reflects a major
victory in the struggle to make multinational corporations accountable for
their actions at home and abroad.  The repercussions of the decision to
impose sanctions extend far beyond Burma and would not have been possible
without an upsurge from workers, students and community activists, along
with the brave actions of the Burmese people in fighting repression." 

The announcement of the sanctions occurred on the eve of the "3 Days for
Burma" campaign on April 22-24, which was planned by OCAW to occur at 400
work places around the country and now has participation from over 60
college campuses and communities across the U.S.  A central focus of the 3
Days for Burma campaign was a petition drive calling on the Clinton
Administration to impose sanctions on Burma. 

Zarni, a Burmese exile and founder of the Free Burma Coalition, said, "We
believe the mass mobilization planned for the 3 Days for Burma campaign and
the fact that workers are joining together with students and community
activists propelled the grass roots campaign to new heights and our voices
were finally heard by the Clinton Administration." 

"The theme of our campaign has become: Justice for American Workers and
Freedom for the Burmese People," said Zar Ni. 

Zarni cautioned that the imposition of limited economic sanctions, while a
major victory, will not put an end to Burma's dictatorship and its
atrocities.  "We will now concentrate our efforts on the major oil companies
who are providing a lifeline to the dictatorship as they downsize their U.S.
operations, lay off thousands of U.S. workers and make oil refineries
unsafe," he said. 

In February, OCAW introduced a resolution passed unanimously by the
Executive Council of the AFL-CIO which called on President Clinton to impose
sanctions and for the labor movement to become directly involved in the
effort to restore democracy in Burma.  This was followed by a letter in
March from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to President Clinton again asking
him to impose sanctions.


April 23, 1997


Senator Meg Lees
Australian Democrats
Deputy Leader

April 23, 1997			MEDIA RELEASE			97/270


The Australian Democrats have welcomed the imposition of United States
trade sanctions against Burma.

"At last!" Democrat Deputy Leader Senator Meg Lees said.

"For years the Democrats have been calling on our successive governments
to impose these sanctions.

"The Federal Government must act now to follow the US example and to
impose immediate Australian trade and investment sanctions against

"There can be no doubt that SLORC, the military junta which controls
Burma, is one of the most repressive, brutal and vicious regimes on

"It is morally wrong to do business with these murderous thugs who so
blatantly deprive the Burmese people of the basic human rights, rights
which we enjoy and take for granted.

"The Democrats believe that the international community, including the
Australian Government, has a responsibility to do everything in its
power to help the victims of SLORC.

"For that reason we commend the US Government for its initiative and
urge the Australian Government to immediately follow their example.

"Trade sanctions work.  As in the case of South Africa and apartheid, a
coordinated international effort which includes sanctions, is the most
effective way of achieving democracy in Burma.

"Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has called on Australia and other
countries to stop doing business with these people.

"We call on the Coalition to heed her voice and impose sanctions now."



April 22, 1997
Media Release


22nd April 1997

Today President Clinton has agreed to impose sanctions on Burma due to human
rights abuses by the military government.

The Australia Burma Council applauds the decision and calls on the
Australian Government to follow suit.  Further, the Australia Burma Council
congratulates colleagues in the US for their dedication which led to this
outstanding result.

While the people of Burma suffer the most horrendous violations of human
rights in the world they ask not that we fight their battles for them, but
they we lend them the moral support they need to fight their own battles.
The National League for Democracy, led by Nobel Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, has asked that nations of the world not rush in to Burma with trade,
investment or aid until genuine reforms are made and until the State Law and
Order Restoration Council agrees to hold talks with their political opposition.

Australia, as a member of the Asian region and one of the most democratic
countries in the world, should take the responsibility of supporting the
democratic movement of Burma, supporting the National League for Democracy
and supporting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. 


Media Information:		Terrell Oung, 
				Co-ordinator ABC  (02) 9620 7007
				Minn Aung Myint, 
				Co-ordinator Burma Office 					0412230737

				U Daniel Aung, Director, 
				Burma Office (02)9264 7694
				Amanda Zappia, 
				Aust. Rep. NCGUB,  FTUB  
				 (06) 297 7734