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BurmaNet News: November 16, 2000
- Subject: BurmaNet News: November 16, 2000
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 07:34:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
________November 16, 2000 Issue # 1663__________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*SCMP: Aung San Suu Kyi faces new eviction threat
*Agence France Presse: Almost one million forced labourers in Myanmar:
*Nation: Thais oppose Asean bid to fend off ILO move
*SCMP: India's First Lady refused to meet the Maung Aye's wife
*Nation: Illegals do it tough in Samut Sakhon
*Mizzima: Maung Aye's Itinerary in India
*Mizzima: Delhi Police detained Burmese activists
*PD Burma: Calendar of events
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi faces new eviction threat
YANGON, Nov 16
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party faces losing its
Yangon headquarters, is now threatened with eviction from her own home
after her brother filed a lawsuit for half-ownership, sources said
The Nobel laureate has been subpoenaed to appear in Yangon District
Court next Tuesday, but it is not known whether the military authorities
who have held her under house arrest for nearly two months will allow
her to go.
It would be her first public appearance since September 22 when the
junta slapped the restrictions on her after she attempted to board a
train to Mandalay in defiance of a travel ban.
Aung San Suu Kyi's US-based brother Aung San Oo's legal representative
in Yangon posted the subpoena on the gate of her house Tuesday.
It was the latest blow to hit the National League for Democracy (NLD)
leader who has been subjected to more than a decade of harassment by the
military, which refuses to recognise her resounding 1988 election
Aung San Oo has never played a political role in Myanmar but makes
regular low-key personal and business trips here. He is much less
critical of the regime than his sister and the two are known not to be
It is believed that their mother Khin Kyi expressed the wish that after
her death, the house would be equally shared between her two surviving
children. A younger brother died in a drowning accident as a child.
Khin Kyi also stipulated that if the house was sold the proceeds should
be donated to charity.
Myanmar law states that such inheritance disputes must be settled within
12 years, and it is now only a month before the 12th anniversary of Khin
It appears that Aung San Oo's legal move is aimed at staking his claim
over the two-storey lakeside property before the deadline expires.
However, the timing is unfortunate for Aung San Suu Kyi, coming only
weeks after the owner of the NLD's Yangon headquarters gave notice to
her high-profile tenants.
The order was temporarily withdrawn in late October because party
officials were unable to pass the eviction letter on to Aung San Suu Kyi
or chairman Aung Shwe, who with other senior members remain under house
Agence France Presse: Almost one million forced labourers in Myanmar:
November 16, 2000
Nearly one million people are currently subjected to forced labour in
Myanmar, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
said on Wednesday, a day before the International Labour Organisation
(ILO) was due to decide on whether to impose sanctions on the country.
The ICFTU, made up of 216 trade unions in 145 countries, said it had
based its estimate on 580 cases of forced labour in Myanmar and more
than 2,000 cases of repression.
The Brussels-based organisation said it had also examined more than 400
labour requisition orders issued by members of the army and several
dozen witness statements since June.
The governing body of the ILO was due to decide on Thursday on possible
sanctions against Myanmar over the use of forced labour. The sanctions
were agreed in principle in June but put on hold until November to allow
Myanmar to take action.
The ICFTU highlights a case of a forced labourer who managed to flee on
November 10 and described the killing by a corporal of one of his co
workers who had fallen to the ground, exhausted and ill with malaria
after three months of forced work in a combat area along the frontier
The organisation also claims that figures show 80 percent of the 1.5
million Burmese refugees in Thailand have been forced to work before
People in Myanmar are forced to work on building sites, on roads,
railways and military installations, it said.
It cites information, collected in November, saying that villagers in
the region of Win Ye in the south-east of Myanmar, are forced to work
for the 343 light infantry battalion. Agence France Presse
Nation: Thais oppose Asean bid to fend off ILO move
November 16, 2000, Thursday
THE governments of Malaysia and Singapore are urging all Asean members
to unite and come up with a common position to fend off condemnation by
the International Labor Organization of the Burmese junta's practice of
forced labor, a senior Thai government official said yesterday.
The move came as the ILO's governing body was meeting in Geneva to
consider whether to impose sanctions on Burma over its use of forced
labor. The 56 delegates on the panel - 28 from member governments, 14
from labor organizations, and 14 from employer groups - will decide
today whether the Burmese junta has done enough to eliminate forced
labor in the country. The meeting will conclude today.
However, the Thai official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
efforts by Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to push for an Asean position
would be fruitless as Thailand has already said it will object to the
idea of a common voice on the matter. Asean operates on the basis of
consensus and has a policy of non-interference.
According to the source, Bangkok has instructed its ambassador to Geneva
that unless the following four points are included in the Asean
statement, Thailand will not support the joint statement:
Burma must allow the ILO to establish a presence in the country;
The ILO's technical cooperation mission be given permission to conduct
regular visits to Burma without having to notify Rangoon ahead of time;
A credible mechanism be created that can receive complaints from
individuals or groups over violation of laws concerning forced labor;
Sanctions against Burma should not be lifted until the international
community is satisfied with administrative and legal measures issued by
the ruling junta and that all legal measures undertaken by regime
produces real results.
According to the source, Asean envoys posted to Geneva on Tuesday met
the ILO secretary general, and urged him to go soft on Rangoon and to
convince the ILO's governing body to extend the deadline to consider
sanctions against the military regime.
The effort proved futile, the source said, quoting the ILO chief as
saying the matter was out of his hands.
At their meeting last June when the ILO adopted a resolution with an
overwhelming majority calling on Rangoon to "take concrete action" to
implement the commission of inquiry's recommendations, Thailand
abstained from the vote, while all other Asean members voted against it.
The deadline for Rangoon to implement these measures is the end of this
Moreover, the official said, a number of Asean members had at the June
meeting violated the long-standing rule of consensus by issuing a
statement supporting Burma even after Thailand opposed it.
But this time round, the governing body may recommend that the ILO
director-general invoke Article 33 of the ILO Charter to give him a free
hand to take necessary action in order to secure compliance if the body
is not satisfied with the measures taken by the Rangoon regime.
Article 33 empowers the ILO to recommend that the United Nations
Economic and Social Council and other international organizations
review, and if necessary, downgrade or cut their ties with Burma. If the
article is invoked, it will be for the first time in the ILO's 80-year
According to the Thai official, Thailand could not support Burma in this
matter as it would prolong the problem of one million illegal Burmese
workers who have fled to the country because they "cannot tolerate the
slave labor in Burma".
"We have no objection to other Asean members showing sympathy. But they
should know that they don't face the same kind of problems that we
face," the official said.
According to the source, Thailand believes Burma has not been sincere
about its efforts to solve the problem. The ILO team was not allowed
into the country until October, the source said, when in fact they had
asked to come to make their assessment last June.
Moreover, said the source, Burma only issued a last-minute Supplementary
Order on October 19, one day before the ILO team entered the country, to
show that the public were informed that forced labor in Burma was in
fact illegal. "If they were sincere, they would have done something six
months ago," the official said.
SCMP: India's First Lady refused to meet the Maung Aye's wife
South China Morning Post
S. N. M. ABDI in New Delhi
SCMP, Thursday, November 16, 2000
The state visit to India by General Maung Aye, the second most powerful
man in Burma's ruling junta, who arrived in New Delhi yesterday, has
divided the Indian establishment. Leading the protests in New Delhi
against the visit is the First Lady, Usha Narayanan, the wife of
President Kocheril Raman Narayanan. She has refused to receive General
Maung Aye and his delegation when they call on her husband at the
Presidential Palace on Monday, the Indian Express newspaper reported.
Mrs Narayanan, who is of Burmese origin, had also refused to meet the
General's wife, Mya Mya San, and their daughter, Nander Aye, according
to the report.
The five-day visit by General Maung Aye is the first by a Burmese
official to India since the military seized power in 1987. New Delhi
claims the dynamic shift in its policy towards its controversial
neighbour has been dictated by its strategic interest in clamping down
on rebels in its northeastern region bordering Burma, and to counter
Beijing's influence in Rangoon.
New Delhi has rolled out the red carpet for the visiting general and is
sparing no effort to make his trip a success.
The Telegraph newspaper reported that to prevent any embarrassment,
Naing Aung, a Burmese pro-democracy leader who arrived at New Delhi's
international airport on November 12, was detained at the airport,
denied permission to contact anyone and sent back to Bangkok.
Nation: Illegals do it tough in Samut Sakhon
November 16, 2000, Thursday
ILLEGAL Burmese workers must endure tough working conditions and
frequent police harassment just to make a living in Samut Sakhon, the
Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (TACDB) said yesterday.
TACDB official Adisorn Kerdmongkol, speaking at the release of a survey
his committee carried out on living and working conditions of the
estimated 60,000 illegal Burmese workers in Samut Sakhon, said
mistreatment of the workers was widespread.
Adisorn said some employers used violence to control their workers.
"Those not doing what they are told or caught slacking are beaten," he
said, adding that in some small factories they were forced to live and
work in filthy conditions, leading to the spread of disease.
He said ill workers did not seek medical treatment at hospitals, though,
for fear that they might be deported, increasing the risk of diseases
One Burmese worker said he was not entitled to take a day off even if he
was sick. If he did his employer would deduct Bt500 from his salary, he
Some unscrupulous employers even arranged to have their workers arrested
on the day before pay-day so won't have to pay them, Adisorn said.
Sexual assaults against female workers were a serious problem, he said,
but most victims refused to speak out for fear of the consequences.
Employers, police and others took advantage of the women, he said,
threatening them if they dared to complain.
"I've heard that some female illegal workers were caught by police and
never heard of again, while others came back but did not say anything
about what happened," Adisorn said.
Corruption among the authorities was a major obstacle to tackling the
problem, he said, as police officers were also involved in smuggling
people into the country.
"We asked some workers how they entered the country and they said they
arrived in police cars," he said.
One Burmese worker said his employer would deduct Bt50 a week from his
wages to pay to police as a bribe.
"But that money only helps us when we are in the factory. If we get
caught outside, we have to solve the problem on our own," he said.
Most illegal workers said police demanded money from them. One illegal
worker said police arrested a group he was with in July. One of the
group was then allowed to go free so that he could get money to release
"The officers demanded Bt3,000 per head, including those of us carrying
legal licenses. They the police said they were fakes," the worker said.
In another incident, the same worker said police officers beat up a
friend who had a license, and demanded Bt2,000. When he had to go to the
hospital to get his injuries treated he was too afraid to tell anyone
how he was hurt.
Employers also have to pay the police, normally Bt3,000 per laborer, to
get arrested Burmese freed.
Police Immigration Bureau Office deputy commander Pol Maj. Gen. Charnwut
Watcharapruk said he would take drastic action against any subordinates
found extorting money from foreign workers.
"The offending officers will face both disciplinary and criminal
punishment," the police officer said.
Charnwut, however, said some gangsters may pose as bureau officers to
extort money from illegal workers.
He said a recent investigation into a similar complaint found that the
extortionists were criminals pretending to be police officers.
Meanwhile, Employment Department director-general Wanchai Padungsupalai
said his department has awarded 106,684 work licenses, which are valid
for another year, but stressed that employers must register their
"Foreign workers can register until November 30, but up until now only
some 20,000 have," he said.
Wanchai said the PM's Office was considering a proposal to set up a
special agency to take responsibility of labor problems and illegal
Mizzima: Maung Aye's Itinerary in India
November 15, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
Vice-President of the BurmaÆs ruling State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) General Maung Aye is currently on a state visit to India from
November 14 to 21 at the invitation of Indian Vice President Mr. Krishan
General Maung Aye who is number two in the military junta and also chief
of armed forces is being accompanied by senior Burmese leaders including
Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Tin Hla, Foreign Minister U Win Aung, and
ministers for Industry, Finance & Revenue, Science & Technology and
General Maung Aye himself heads three trade related committees in Burma,
the National Trade Committee, National Industrial Development Committee
and National Agriculture and Economic Development Committee.
The Burmese delegation began its trip to India by landing at Patna
Airport on November 14 and proceeded to Bodh Gaya in Bihar State for
pilgrimage. The delegation is scheduled to arrive Delhi on November 16
evening and a red carpet ceremonial welcome will be given by the Indian
government in the morning of November 17 (Friday).
The Burmese delegation will interact with Indian Business leaders from
various sectors during a luncheon meeting in New Delhi on November 17
afternoon, which will be organized by Confederation of Indian Industry
Indian Vice President Krishan Kant is hosting a dinner for Burmese
delegation on November 17. Moreover, out of the original scheduled plan,
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will host a dinner for General Maung
Aye and his entourage on November 20 (Monday). Vajpayee was scheduled to
have a mere half-hour call on the visiting Burmese General on Monday.
Home Minister L.K Advani and former Army Chief V.P Malik will also call
on the Burmese General.
However, Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes who is a well-known
supporter of Burmese democracy movement was not meeting the Burmese
delegation. A daily newspaper in India on November 15 said that the wife
of Indian President Ms. Usha Narayanan (Burmese name: Daw Tint Tint) has
refused to receive General Maung Aye and his party, when they call on
the Indian President on the evening of November 20.
ôNor she will meet the GeneralÆs wife, Daw Mya Mya San, or their
daughter Daw Nander Aye, who are part of the official delegation,ö wrote
The Indian Express newspaper.
During the eight-day visit, General Maung Aye is scheduled to visit
other cities of India including Bangalore, Udaipur and AgraÆs Taj Mahal.
Besides having discussions on intensifying bilateral economic
relationship and cooperation to crack down on illegal drug trafficking
and insurgency along the 1600 km-long Indo-Burma border (on November 17
and 20), the two sides will sign a line of credit of US $ 15 million
towards Burma during Maung AyeÆs visit.
General Maung Aye is the first highest-level Burmese official to visit
to India in the last twelve years. His visit to Shillong in January was
merely one-day visit at the invitation of Indian Army Chief.
Defending IndiaÆs decision to invite the Burmese General, a senior
foreign ministry officer said that India is committed to democratic
principles, but any changes in Myanmar have to come from within.
Burmese pro-democracy activists in India are planning to stage a
demonstration in New Delhi on November 16 (tomorrow) against the visit
of Burmese delegation.
Mizzima: Delhi Police detained Burmese activists
November 16, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
Delhi Police detained the Burmese activists who were staging a
demonstration against the visit of Burmese military general to India.
The police arrested about 60 slogan-shouting Burmese pro-democracy
activists who held the protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi today. As
the protestors marched towards Parliament building from Jantar Mantar
around 12 noon, Delhi police stopped them and took them inside the
Parliament Police Station.
When heard about the incident, a Member of Parliament Mr. N. Dasari from
the Communist Party of India (CPI) came to the police station to show
his partyÆs solidarity and support with the democracy activists. The MP
asked the police to release the Burmese immediately as they were doing a
One of the demonstrators told Mizzima over telephone from the police
station that the police took their names, addresses and their
fingerprints. The police finally released the demonstrators around 2
The Burmese activists were demonstrating against the visit of General
Maung Aye who is second most powerful man in the military junta. Maung
Aye is paying an official visit to India at the invitation of Indian
Vice President Mr. Krishan Kant.
Maung Aye, who is Vice-Chairman of the ruling State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC) is accompanied by senior cabinet ministers of
the regime, including its deputy prime minister Lt. Gen. Tin Hla and
foreign minister U Win Aung.
The Burmese democracy activists based in India are outraged that India
which awarded their leader Aung San Suu Kyi with its highest civilian
honour, the Jawaharlal Nehru Prize for Peace and Understanding in 1995
is now embracing with the generals from Burma. ôIt (military junta)
continues to suppress the democratic aspirations of the people. More
than a thousand political activists were imprisoned last year aloneö,
said their press statement issued today.
The activists also protested over IndiaÆs assistance to constructing the
Tamu-Kalaymyo motor road in Sagaing Division in Burma. ôIf new roads are
to be constructed with IndiaÆs assistance, the poor people of Burma will
be again subjected to forced labour. It is well founded by the
International Labour Organization (ILO) that forced labour is widespread
in Burma under this regimeö, the statement continued. The road, which
has been constructed by Border Road Organizations of India is scheduled
to complete in few weeks.
In an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today,
the Burmese pro-democracy groups in India urged him to raise the issue
of ôsystematic violations of civil, political, economic, social and
cultural rights by the SPDCö in his meetings with the visiting Burmese
delegates. They also requested the Indian Prime Minister to urge the
Burmese generals to take steps towards restoration of democracy in
_____________________ OTHER ______________________
PD Burma: Calendar of events
Nov 16, 2000
╖ November 2-17th : 279th Session of the Governing
Body and its committees, Geneva
╖ November 14-17th : the 24th meeting of Heads of
National Drug Law
Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Burma
╖ November 17th : Global Day of Action on Open Schools
╖ November 10-11th : Meeting of the Council of the
Socialist International, Maputo
╖ December 11-12th : EU and ASEAN Ministerial-level
╖ December : Japan-Burma panel on reform of
Burma's economic structure,
╖ January 2001 : Sweden takes over EU Presidency
╖ February : Meeting of Solidarity Groups,
╖ March/April : Teachers/ Students Union
╖ March/April : EU Common Position Review
╖ March/April : UN Human Rights Commission,
╖ May/June : Meeting of Solidarity Groups
╖ July : Belgium takes over EU Presidency
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