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BurmaNet News April 28, 1997

 ------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------  
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"  
The BurmaNet News: April 28, 1997  
Issue #706


April 26, 1997
Thanatchaporn K and Rutchanee U

BANGKOK : The official visit to Burma by Prime Minister Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh, which was tentatively scheduled for May 3-4, has been 
indefinitely postponed due to the "unpreparedness" of the Burmese 
government, an aide to the premier said yesterday.
	"Burma has informed us that it is not ready to receive the Thai
leader," the premier's Secretary General, Boonchong Veesommai, quoted 
Saroj Chavanaviraj, permanent -secretary of the Foreign Ministry, as 
saying. Saroj returned from Burma yesterday after a two day visit to 
Rangoon to discuss preparations for the premier's trip.
	Boonchong said the Burmese government did not give any
explanation as to why it is not prepared for the meeting, but denied 
allegations that the suspension was related to a recent statement from the 
	Chavalit told reporters last week that Burmese leader Gen Than
Shwe plans to step down after clearing up internal military conflicts. The 
comments were believed to provoke dissatisfactions within the Burmese 
military junta.
 	A Foreign Ministry source said Burma did say that it will not be
ready on May 3-4, because it was too soon and it will also receive another 
three foreign delegations at that time.
	The source added that Burma said it will be available after May
5. However, because Coronation Day falls on that day, the premier is 
unlikely to visit Burma then.
	Two bilateral agreements are to be signed during the visit. Both
are related to ongoing border issues between the two countries.


April 24, 1997
Guy de Jonquieres

Hard on the heels of their bitter dispute over the Helms-Burton anti-Cuba
law, Brussels and Washington are seeking to head off a US attempt to use
trade sanctions to achieve foreign policy goals. This time, controversy
centres on legislation passed not by the US Congress, but the state of

The European Union is protesting about a Massachusetts law enacted last
year which prohibits purchases by state-owned bodies from companies 
"doing business" in Burma. The state has black-listed about 150 foreign 
companies, including Honda, Nestle, Siemens and Unilever, and some 40 
US concerns, including Mobil, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. None of 
the companies is reported to have been excluded from bidding for a state 
contract so far, but the EU says the law violates a World Trade 
Organisation agreement committing Massachusetts and 36 other US states 
to open public procurement to international competition. The EU is 
threatening to challenge the law in the WTO's disputes procedures.

Neither Washington nor Brussels wants such a confrontation, since it could
force the federal government to defend in the WTO a law which manifestly
embarrasses it.

US diplomats have been in talks with Massachusetts authorities and will
meet European Commission officials in Washington on Monday, hoping to 
reach a compromise.

The dispute is regarded as an important test case, because the 
Massachusetts legislation reflects a growing trend. By some counts, more 
than 30 US states, counties and cities have enacted or plan sanctions laws. 
Most aim to put pressure on Burma over its human rights record.

Recently, the range of targets has widened. The Massachusetts state
assembly is working on a bill designed to penalise Indonesia for its
repression of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor. New Jersey,
Chicago and the state and city of New York are considering sanctions
against Switzerland because of its role in the Nazi gold affair.

Many of the proposals call for secondary boycotts against companies with
business interests in the target countries. The New Jersey bill is
particularly sensitive; several Swiss companies, including Ciba-Geigy and
Novartis, have their US hedquarters and extensive operations in the state.

Sanctions enthusiasts insist they are acting legally. "We have the right
and ability to use state-level restrictions to respond to legitimate public
concerns," says Mr. Marc Pacheco, a Massachusetts senator co-sponsoring 
the state's Indonesia bill. But critics say the laws are crude weapons crafted
by politicians seeking votes.

Growing alarm has led US and foreign companies, and several foreign
governments, to mountlobbying campaigns in Washington and state 
capitals. They say sanctions hurt US exporters, have little effect on target
governments, risk international retaliation and discourage foreign
investments on which many US state economies depend.

Signs are these arguments are having some impact. California recently
deferred consideration of a Burma sanctions bill; Senator Pacheco plans to
re-work his Indonesia proposal to bring it into line with WTO rules. There
is also talk of a similar amendment to Massachusetts' Burma law.

That might settle the immediate dispute with the EU. But it could merely
encourage a switch to other, equally controversial, measures not prohibited
by WTO rules, such as state bans on investments in companies with 
business links to countries accused of human rights abuses. Mr. Pacheco is
considering inserting such a ban in his Indonesia bill.

US supporters of sanctions laws do not accept they are ineffective or
self-defeating. They claim US state investment bans against South Africa
helped bring about its change of government, and recent anti-Burma laws
have prompted companies such as PepsiCo and Apple Compter to sever 
ties with the country.

Opponents fear US President Clinton's imposition this week of federal
sanctions on Burma will add fuel to the fire. Some think his action will be
seen as vindicating sanctions, and encourage human rights groups and 
ethnic communities to press state legislators to pass further discriminatory 

"There is a danger that any group which cares about political conditions
anywhere in the world will be pushing its own sanctions proposal, directed
against Greece, Turkey, Pakistan or wherever," says Mr. Tod Malan, head 
of the Organisation for International Investment, a Washington-based body
which represents multinational companies.

Opponents say state sanctions laws are unconstitutional becuse they
encroach on the federal government's right to determine foreign policy.
They claim the administration could easily halt such legislation by
challenging it in court, but has shrunk from doing so.

"Washington is scared to death because it does not want to be accused of
being soft on human rights," says one state government official. Some
observers believe controversies about foreign campaign contributions have
also weakened the administration's will to act.

"If President Clinton sued Massachusetts over its Indonesia sanctions
bill," said one, "his political opponents might allege that he was doing so
because Indonesian interests had helped fund his re-election campaign."

But unless Washington decides to lay down the law, some companies 
believe their only hope of stemming the sanctions tide may be to turn to the 
US courts themselves.


April 25, 1997  Agencies

Rangoon - Three areas in northeastern Burma where opium poppies once
flourished have been officially declared "opium free zones," with a 
museum opened to commemorate eradication efforts.

At a ceremony there on Tuesday to mark the occasion, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, 
a top member of the country's ruling junta, lashed out at Western countries
for denigrating Burma's drug eradication efforts.

"Despite our efforts to eliminate the drug menace in the country, some
Western countries are deliberately turning a blind eye to our efforts and
spread fabricated rumours accusing us," he said.

Referring to the US State Department's 1996 international narcotics 
strategy report accusing Burma of not cooperating in drug eradication 
efforts, Khin Nyunt said, "The United States is deliberately turning a blind 
eye to Burma's anti-drug effort, basing its allegations on unfounded reports."

He said that instead of blaming each other, countries should cooperate to
solve the problem of the world's drug menace.

The Burmese general said at the ceremony in Mongla on Tuesday to mark 
the occasion, that the government is trying to eradicate drug production in
border areas stage by stage to eventually create drug free zones. 

The event was attended by Burmese officials and ambassadors from several
countries, including Japan, China and South Korea, and representatives of 
UN agencies and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Journalists 
and others who attended the ceremony returned from the remote area 

The US has been the main critic of Burma's efforts to curb the drug trade,
which was one of six countries listed by President Bill Clinton last month
as major drug source or transit countries whose governments are failing to
cooperate in the war against the illicit trade. Such countries are
ineligible for some US economic aid.

US experts say about 60 per cent of the heroin in the United States
originates from Burma. Washington says Burma is the world's biggest 
producer of opium, from which heroin is derived. The US also is critical of 
the country's military regime because of its human rights abuses, and on 
Tuesday Clinton banned new investment in Burma by US companies.

Declared opium-free zones and Mongla, site of the new anti-drug museum.
Mongla was controlled by the opium-trading Burmese Communist Party 
until its guerrillas from the Kokang and Wa minorities rebelled in 1989.

A new guerrilla group, the National Democratic Alliance Army, took over
local power and reached a ceasefire with the government.

With the help of the central government and UN development agencies, 
the new alliance built up the legitimate economy and began drug 
eradication efforts.

Opium plantations and refineries were destroyed and crop substitution
programmes introduced. (TN)


April 27, 1997

Uncertainty: the explosion, earlier this month, that  killed the daughter of a 
general form burma's ruling junta has prompted observers to question 
whether the end is high for the military regime - or if a further outbreak of 
brutality is imminent?  (Myint Shwe)

Apparently, the bomb was meant for the farther. But it was the
daughter who took the blow. Paying for her father's sins one
might put it. For Burma watchers worldwide, the question is: Has
the final hour arrived for the ruling generals of Burma's much
hated and despised military junta, or is it now entering a new
era in this zero sum game?

It seems that their self-assertion in holding on to power
vanished after the withdrawal of the National League for
Democracy after the failure to map out the country's new constitution.

Furthermore, a power struggle looms as Ne Win, the evil old man
counts down his final hours. Council are close to having a mental
breakdown following the latest bloody incident: the Sunday bomb
blast early this month which claimed the life of General Tin Oo's daughter.

This attack against a family member of a fellow officer has no
doubt had a very demoralising affect on Slorc whose members are
usually unfazed by many of the pitfalls they have faced in the past.

Even this year's foreign currency reserves of $183 million, an
all time low compared to last year's $688 million, did not shake
them, but the latest incident has sent shock waves throughout the
rank and file of a brutal military regime. It has hit them hard.

The latest bomb blast follows in the wake of the one on Christmas
Eve at one of the most revered Buddhist shrines on the outskirts
of Rangoon which killed four people. That bomb attack, it is
believed, was meant to kill Gen Tin Oo, one of the four most
powerful Slorc generals.

These attacks have caused more damage to the reputation of the
military regime, than the number of deaths it caused.

It has mocked the name of the government, the state-wise council
that is supposed to restore peace and order to the country.

It appears that in following in the generals' footsteps, who has
run the country with guns and brute force, the ordinary Burmese
have now taken the law into their own hands.

This has proved to the international community that the brutal
junta, just like the ordinary Burmese who have been subjected to
arbitrary arrests, mass killings, torture, rape, forced labour
and unlawful imprisonment, are of flesh and blood like anybody
else and therefore vulnerable to sufferings.

It is difficult to pinpoint the source  of the latest bomb
attack since nobody has admitted liability.

Claiming responsibility will have a "boomerang affect" and will
therefore be an obsolete mode of operation. Moreover, Slorc has
45 million enemies at home and many more abroad.

Among them are ethnic minority guerrillas who have signed
ceasefire agreement with Slorc. However they have yet to realise
their political aspirations, and with their explosive know how
they are now freely roaming the streets of Rangoon and other
major towns. Who knows they could resume the civil war, this time
in literally civilian surroundings.

It would be an additional headache for Slorc should they decide
to take up arms again.

However the junta is pointing an accusing finger at Burmese
dissidents in Japan. Their justification for the accusation was
the parcel bomb was wrapped in paper containing Japanese
characters and it bored Japanese postage stamps.

But Burmese dissidents in Japan, who have been helping the
victims of the junta's brutality since 1988, have denied any
involvement in the brutal and deadly bomb attack.

He said: "It is just a fight to the death between the vipers of intelligence 
and the hyenas of the army - vile cunning versus cruel brute force." This
 indicates there is definitely a power struggle within.

Only last month, the junta had to shoot and kill one monk and
disrobe 150 others who were at odds with Muslims over Burma's
smooth entrance into Asean.

Under Slorc the people are restless, suffering economic misery
and tense relations with the ever increasing non Burmese
speaking, Chinese who have taken over their homes and markets.

The country has been under tight security since the last 2,000
strong student protest. Universities are still closed.

Among intimidating measures are tanks that are now permanently
docked in the heart of downtown Rangoon in front of the City
Hall- the place where the tragic massacre of 8888 took place on
that fateful night of August 8, 1988.

For tourists who are enticed by the call of Tourist Myanmar Year
1996, the tanks will be a photo opportunity and a privilege to
experience at first hand the rule of what real dictatorship
means, a rarity since the year when the Soviet Union fell.

Besides Burma, North Korea is the only other place where they
could hark back to another page of history.

Now the number of tourists visiting Burma is gradually dwindling
partly due to worldwide anti-Slorc campaigns, causing a slump in
hotel prices.

In the past month, five hundred kilometres North of Rangoon, in
Dapayinn, 3,000 peasants staged a march to the local Slorc office
to demand an end to the practice of the forced an end to the
practice of the forced buying of their paddies by the government
at ridiculously low price.

Also, the state's Irrigation Department employees are asking
exorbitant bribes for water supplies which the farmers are
entitled to free to charge.

In addition fertilizer, controlled by the government's
Agricultural Corporation No.1, is constantly in short supply
because it has to be imported from abroad.

There had been no peasant unrest in Burma since the Saya San
Peasant Revolt against the British during the Great Depression
years. Naturally conservative peasants in every country love
peace and order more than any other section of the population.

Thought it is easy to be stir-up their sentiments against foreign
rule, it is difficult for the rural population to rise up against an indigenous 
regime, despotic or democratic. There has been no peasant unrest in the 
last thirty five years of army rule. The current open show of discontent 
among peasants has marked a new low for Slorc.

Further north, in Tamu, a town bordering India, local members of
the opposition National League for Democracy were beaten to a
pulp by soldiers. Their only sin was holding a meeting without
the knowledge of the local army unit. The meeting was smaller
than a weekend party held in a private home where less than ten
people showed up.

Their charismatic leader in Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi, was unable
to help her followers. For she herself is under heavy military surveillance. 
Her every movement is closely watched: all her foreign visitors, even an 
ambassador to Burma, were stopped and turned away at her gate."

The tight control of the country is unbelievable. When travelling
in the country, citizens have report their travel itinerary to
the local Slorc office.

Travel means trouble, both to visitor and host. It does not
matter whether one is visiting his mother in law  next door or
visiting friends and relatives in far away places.

When these artificial restraints are added to forced labour
recruits for development projects, plus the forced beautifying of
private homes in which empty bellied citizens live, it seems that
the sole purpose of the existence of Slorc is to make life
difficult for the populace.

Burmese used to laugh at such vicissitudes of their uneasy life giving 
foreigners a false impression that these are an easy going people, taking 
everything light heartedly. But if one could approach them wisely and win 
their confidence, they will sarcastically tell him that they are laughing 
simply because they don't want to cry.

But resistance is not dead. New generations are more practical.
They were born and brought up under a regime that taught them
that "might is right". 

Since the early 1989 explosion inside Rangoon's City Hall, in
which no less than a dozen died including Army officers, last
month's bomb blast inside the Sixth Buddhist Synod Cave in
Rangoon, has discredited the Slorc ability to rule efficiently.
The four that died in that blast and the injured were ex-soldiers
who were re-employed n the police force.

The New Light of Myanmar, the mouthpiece of the junta ran a
report after the latest explosion which killed Lt Gen Tin Oo's
daughter, comforting the families of those who died in the
service of Slorc. Diplomats in Rangoon wondered whether it was
part of a grand strategy or just a separate conspiracy. They wanted to 
find out if the Burmese were ready to set foot on another plane. They
by now must be pretty sure something is in the air.

Terrorism has never been popular for left-leaning Burmese society
in the past. It used to be defined as an act of cowardice or of
hope lost. It does not conform with democracy either because it
excludes mass participation and relies on selfish heroism.

In the early 1970s, many of U Nu's commandos who had blasted
bombs around Rangoon went to the gallows. Their arrests were
possible mainly due to the help of the neutral civilians. In
1983, the North Koreans also were hounded by the angry citizens
of Rangoon as their revered leader, Aung San's, grave was
destroyed by the demolition.

But things have changed. Since the 1970s, the popular support of
the regime has sunk to its lowest low. Unlike the former Burma
Socialist Programme Party that at least had a mask in the form of
ideology, Slorc's current rule is naked dictatorship. Its
oppression is unbearable. It seems violence and terrorism are the
only answers left in overthrowing the regime.

The Burmese have proved their potential in this direction through
symbolic hijacks carried out in early 1989.

But this time, if it were to happen, it could be different. A
different scenario could emerge leading to Burma becoming the
third Theravada Buddhist country in Asia after Sri Lanka and
Cambodia, to become a violent society.

Some fear that this might give Slorc an excuse to impose further
brutalities. The tanks docked and primed to fire could be used.

However, others see things in a different light. They say that with or 
without excuses, Slorc has been brutalising the country for years.

The 1988 pro-democracy protests were quite peaceful and orderly
but they were put suppressed ruthlessly.

Those who were in their teens in 1962 Burma still remember that
it was the army who first set off explosives in the country. They
dynamited the Student Union building on the Rangoon University
campus killing no less than thirty students who were buried alive
under the debris.

Scholars and theorists may shake their heads, but for those who
are under Slorc, the question of choosing the mode of struggle
may not arise. Because it is life, not academic arguments, that
decide the mode of struggle.

For better or for worse , the struggle of the Burmese populace has been 
revived of late. Some eased their minds through thoughts that the tanks 
docked in front of the City Hall were just playing a mind game.

But Ne Win said in 1988 that when the army shoots, it shoots to
hit, it does not shoot into the sky. By witnessing the brutal manner in 
which the popular democracy uprising was crushed in by the Burmese army, 
it is more likely to become a real game rather than a mind game.

The only questions is whether those who challenged Slorc's
atrocities in the same manner really meant it by what they did at
the Kaba Aye Shrine at the very door step of a junta leader. Who
knows? But the tension is rising rapidly.


April 27, 1997 (excerpts)

THAILAND was unswayed by a US appeal for member states of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to turn down Burma's 
entry into the grouping, a government spokesmen said yesterday.

Whatever happens, Thailand maintains its standpoint to support
Burma in becoming a member of Asean because we have already made
the decision," said Tinakorn Kanasuta, deputy spokesman for foreign affairs.

Former foreign minister Thanat Khoman has suggested that Asean
delay its decision to admit Burma, Laos and Cambodia into the
regional grouping. 

In a letter to the Foreign Ministry, Thanat said that Asean
should privately and discreetly persuade the three candidates to
back off from joining the group.

However, Thanat, who has been critical of US foreign policy, said
that the decision should not be influenced by pressure from outside.

Although personally I feel that the decision on admission should,
in the interest of the organisation itself, be delayed for a
while as the candidates do not appear ready to fulfil their
obligations ... the delay should not be linked to a measure taken
by an outside government ... which does not deserve to be taken
into consideration," the letter said.


April 27, 1997

Dr Sein Win, Prime Minister of the National Coalition Government of the 
Union of Burma (NCGUB) and senior colleagues, including representatives 
the National Democratic Front and groups in Shan State, were in Paris for a 
few days last week to meet French Government officials, deputies,
senators, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media.

One highlight was a reception at the Senate, addressed by Dr Sein Win 
and Ambassador Hessel, former Permanent Representative of France at the 
United Nations in Geneva.  According to one French government official, 
this was the NCGUB's most successful visit so far to Paris. Their programme
was organised by a collective of French NGOs.  The delegation came from the 
UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, where their presence had made 
an important contribution to the strong resolution on Burma adopted this year 
by the Commission. From Paris they continued to the Netherlands. The
following interview with Dr Sein Win was made by "Le Monde" Asia-Pacific 
chief,  Bruno Philip.
     "The Burmese regime is afraid of a new uprising. The junta continues 
to refuse dialogue and the situation is very tense". The Burmese Prime 
Minister of the "National Coalition Government in Exile", Dr Sein Win, 
judges that conditions today are the same as in 1988, before the army's bloody
suppression of the Rangoon uprising.  "The economic situation continues to 
deteriorate, ... it is even worse than in 1988.  The economic opening sought by 
the junta only benefits a small handful of people". The most recent report by 
Amnesty International estimates that 1996 was a particularly black year for 
human rights in Burma, with the arrest of thousands of democracy activists, 
the harassment of opposition figures, and constant pressure on the opposition 
leader, Nobel Peace Laureate Mme Aung San Suu Kyi.
     Dr Sein Win is Mme Aung San Suu Kyi's cousin. His father, U Ba Win, 
was the brother of Independence hero Aung San. They were both assassinated 
by soldiers in 1947. Elected in the 1990 Elections, which were overwhelmingly 
won by the National League for Democracy (NLD), M. Win ended by escaping 
into the jungle with a dozen other elected representatives, after the regime 
refused to honour the election results. He has lived in the United States since 
1992. Meanwhile, the headquarters of  his government in exile had to be moved
following the fall in 1995 of Manerplaw, the base of the Karen rebels, with 
whom Dr Sein Win's government was associated. 
     This 53 year-old mathematician, passing through France last week, refuses 
the whole array of theories of "constructive engagement".  On the question of 
whether foreign investment in Burma is preparing the ground for a restoration
of democracy: "If we look at what has happened since 1988, we see that this 
theory does not hold. In nine years, the army has grown from 185,000 to 
350,000 men. The regime has bought 1.4 billion dollars worth of arms, 
which amounts to half the national budget. Heroin production has grown 
from 800 tons in 1988 to 2560 tons in 1996. And the military is directly
involved in this traffic. As for spending in the social sector, it represents 
less than 10% of the budget". And furthermore, "Foreign investments are 
helping the regime get rich, modernise its army and ensure its own survival".
     The attitude of the French Government, which has more or less the same 
views as the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
 --  which will soon include Burma -- on the theory of "constructive
is criticised by Dr Sein Win: "in spite of the positions taken by the European 
Union on human rights, the policy of France is one of increasing engagement 
with Burma". And it is true that the construction of a gas pipeline by Total, 
which is accused by human rights organisations of bankrolling a regime which
uses forced labour, leaves the French no other choice but to justify such a
In contrast with the choice made by the United States, which has just
American companies from investing in Burma. 
Bruno Philip. 
"Le Monde" 27-28 April 1997
(Unofficial translation from French)

April 25, 1997 

CHICAGO, April 25 (Reuter) - Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc confirmed Friday 
that it suspended exports of its Budweiser brand beer to Burma after the 
United States government enacted trade sanctions against the country. 

"Anheuser-Busch suspended its exports of Budweiser to Burma April 22 
when the U.S. government enacted trade sanctions," said Stephen Burrows, 
president and chief operating officer of Anheuser-Busch International Inc, 
a subsidiary of the St. Louis-based brewer. 

"Budweiser had been exported for two years to the country without any
company investment or employees working in Burma," he added in a statement. 

Burma activists had said earlier that Anheuser had pulled out of that country. 


April 22, 1997  (Australian Associated Press)

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says Australia 
will give another $1.8 million to help Burmese refugees.  Mr Downer's 
announcement coincides with US President  Bill Clinton's approval of 
economic sanctions against Burma over human  rights abuses by the 
Burmese military government.

Mr Downer says $1 million will go to the World Food  Program and
 another $300,000 to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
 for the resettlement of Burmese refugees.  Another $500,000 will go to 
the Australian arm of Doctors  Without Borders, a non-government 
organisation. They're replacing medical supplies and equipment destroyed 
in an attack on camps along the Thai border earlier this year.

Mr Downer says the grants lift total Australian aid to Burmese
 refugees since 1991 to $6.6 million.


April 24, 1997

The following excerpt is from the Boston Globe, April 6, 1997.  Note that
the Northwest spokesman was quoted as saying they were not involved in 
the Heroin Hotel promotion, which was, according to the article, not true.

Companies need to be held to their word.  If not, we'll get lots of rhetoric 
and no real action.  Activists can contact Northwest VP Rick Dow, to ask 
why Northwest was quoted in the press stating something that was apparently 

Mr. Rick Dow 
612-727-6465 ph, 612-726-0343 fax
Dept. A6810, 5101 Northwest Drive
St. Paul, MN  55111-3034

Cc the Minneapolis Star Tribune at opinion@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
or by fax at 612-673-4359.

By Dennis Bernstein and Leslie Kean
	Burma is swiftly becoming a full-fledged narco-dictatorship, with 
all aspects of the central government either heavily influenced by or 
directly incorporated into the burgeoning drug trade. "Drug traffickers 
have become the leading investors in Burma's new market economy and 
leading lights in Burma's new political order," says Robert S. Gelbard, 
an assistant US secretary of state.
	``Burma is the world's largest producer of opium poppy by far, 
particularly since...the SLORC took over the country,'' says Gelbard, 
and is ``responsible for the vast majority of heroin on the streets of 
the United States.''
	Evidence now shows that foreign corporations investing in Burma 
not only prop up the military junta financially, but they allow for the 
expansion of the drug trade by providing convenient conduits for money 
	Other US companies are dealing directly with the drug traffickers 
through a company known as Asia World, which is controlled by the 
legendary Han. Under pressure from human rights activists, California's 
Wente Vineyards last November canceled its contract with the company.
	In December, Northwest Airlines offered bonus miles to travelers 
staying at the Trader's Hotel in Rangoon, which is co-owned by Asia 
World. Last week,a spokesman for Northwest said that the promotion was 
discontinued ``sometime after the first of the year.'' But a 
representative answering the hotel's reservation line provided written 
confirmation that the policy was still in place.
	"That the Burmese economy is based on narco-dollars is quite 
obvious," says Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of Burma's Government in 
exile. ``It is incredible that a US company would promote a business 
owned by known drug dealers.''


April 26, 1997



1.	Prevent the forcible repatriation of more than 100,000 Burma 
refugees currently in Thailand.
2.	Persuade the authorities of Thailand to grant temporary asylum to 
new refugees fleeing the current SLORC military regime's offensive in 
Karen state.


On March 11, Thailand's National Security Council announced its 
resolution to repatriate all Burma refugees when the situation became 
"safe".  There are at least 100,000 refugees currently camped in Thailand 
along its border with Burma.  It appears that Thai authorities have already 
begun preparations for the mass repatriation. 

These preparations are taking place at the same time that thousands of
newly arriving refugees (fleeing renewed attacks by the SLORC) are either
being prevented from entering Thailand or are being repatriated.  Those
newly-arrived refugees who were allowed to enter Thailand are now being
told that their repatriation is imminent.  They are being confined to
camps without adequate care, shelter or access to medical assistance.  The
Thai military refuse to recognise these people as refugees acid are
severely limiting access by NG0s and relief agencies.

Foreign officials have been told that the Thai army will not send the
refugees back against their however, recent military activities on the
border contradict these assurances and give grave cause for concern that
this is indeed taking place. 

The refugee communities are now in a state of extreme fear and anxiety. 
It is clearly unsafe for them to return to Burma.  The SLORC has tightened
security throughout Burma and has increased its harassment and violations
against the peoples of Burma.  De spite SLORC assurances that its troops
will not harm villages, human rights organisations report that most homes
were looted in SLORC-occupied villages.  Many civilians have been forced
to work for the military as slave labour.  There have also been numer ous
instances of rape and murder.  International organisations, including, UN
agencies, have not received any indication that the SLORC intends to
decrease its oppressive campaign against ethnic nationalities, the
democracy movement and civilian citizens of Burma. 


1.	Lodge your grave concern at the crisis
2.	Seek the suspension of repatriation activities until
	a) the Slorc ceases violating the rights of people in Burma
	b) the Slorc ceases to loot villages , and commit violence, 
	including rape and murder upon villages
	c) the Slorc engages in tripartite dialogue with the democracy 
	led by Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic nationalities
	d) international relief and monitoring agencies are allowed into 
Burma as
	well as the Thai-Burma border areas without obstruction
	e) it is guaranteed that any repatriation can be implemented in full
	accordance with the standards if international practice.
3.	Seek that the government of Thailand recognise the new arrivals 
as refugees and accord ALL refugees access to monitoring and aid agencies 
in accordance with international standards.
4.	Emphasise that refugees YA continue to be forced to flee their 
homes until genuine peace and justice is restored to Burma.

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:  His Majesty King Bhumibol 
Adulyadej c/o the
Royal Secretary Fax: 66 2 225 8156 - 8, 225 3457 The Grand Palace Phra
Chan Road Bangkok 10200 (Salutation: Your Majesty)  Note: It is
traditional practice for people to seek the King's intervention to resolve
difficult crises and problems.  Historically, the King of Thailand always
showed compassion to refugees from neighbouring countries, so please
respectfully refer to this Royal practice.  Please thank His Majesty for
his compassion and generosity in welcoming refugees in the past and call
upon him to continue exercising this compassion by intervening to
alleviate this crisis. 

Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Fax: 66 2 281 4358, 280 1443
(Salutation: Dear Prime Minister) 

Ale Secretary-General
National Security Council of Thailand
Fax:	66 2 280 1681
(Salutation: Dear Sir)

The Chairperson Human Rights Standing Committee, of the House of
Representatives, Parliament of Thailand Fax: 66 2 244 1625 - 6
(Salutation: Dear Sir) 

Your government's Foreign Affairs Ministry

The local representative office of the UNHCR Ale Bangkok Post (Fax: 66 2
240 3666, email: postbag@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) and The Nation (Fax: 66 2 
317 2071, email: editor@,nation.nationgroup.com)  If possible, please send a
delegation your closest Thai diplomatic mission to present a copy of your
letter.  This would be an opportunity to focus your local media on the issue. 


April 25, 1997

A Great Victory Day in Washington, DC

The demonstration in front of the SLORC's Embassy in Washington, DC 
on April 24th at 6.00 P.M. was successfully ended with the slogans: "Long 
Live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi!; Long Live President Clinton!; Long Live 
Workers  from Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW)!.
Community leaders from New York and New Jersey also joined the 

The demonstration was aired to Burma by Voice of America (VOA-
Burmese Program) and  Radio Free Asia (RFA-Burmese Program).

The demonstrators chanted the slogans to stop attacking the students' 
camps near the  Thai-Burma border and to hold dialogue with Daw Aung 
San Suu Kyi.

A former student leader well known as Pegu Kyi Win delivered a speech 
during the demonstration, and he cited as saying that Inns and Hotels in Burma 
do not give any benefit for those who reside in Pegu division. "The sanction
imposed by U.S. President affects only the SLORC and its a handful of
affiliates," he said.

Yin Aye, a student from Johns Hopkins University and member of 
Democratic Burmese Students Organization (DBSO-USA), thanked the 
students from Free Burma Coalition (FBC) and workers from the OCAW, 
who initiated the "3 days for Burma. "Today is the last day of the campaign 
and we celebrated for our victory that Mr. Clinton pronounced the economic 
sanction against the SLORC," he said. "It is our collective efforts of "justice 
for American workers and freedom for Burma, and we really made it," he 
went on.

"The SLORC has to decide now whether it will hold dialogue with Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi or will be faced more tragedies," Nyi Nyi Lwin, a student 
from University of Maryland, said.

A statement released by DBSO on April 24th and called the SLORC to halt
militarily attacking the students' camps along the Thai-Burma border. The
statement said aggressively attacking the students by the brutal SLORC 
will never end the light of democratization in Burma.

"When a student remains alive, the struggling for democracy in Burma is
still alive,  Michael A. Beer, director of Nonviolence International, said
during the demonstration. 

"We sent a massage of the "3 days for Burma" campaign directly to 48 
million Burmese inside Burma that workers joined by our Burmese students 
today  is a big victory day," Ko Yin Aye said. "But it was just a first
step, and 
we have to work harder than ever to change Burma," he added.  

This information is released by a Washington, DC based monthly news 
journal known as The Rangoon Post so that it has a full responsibility of the
coverage of the news. To contact the Rangoon Post, please call at (301)
984-6271 or e-mail at BurmaJapan@xxxxxxxx

We also invite you to send us news, press release, and announcements.

Thank you very much.
- Editors of RP