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BurmaNet News: May 28, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         May 28, 2001   Issue # 1812
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

NOTED IN PASSING:  "Sexy but prickly" 

The caption of postcards showing a woman in a barbed wire bra.  The 
postcards urge a boycott of Triumph, a lingerie manufacturer the sources 
from Burma.  See AFP: Dutch group: target Triumph bras from Myanmar

*Mizzima: Aung San Suu Kyi not allowed to participate in the NLD 
*Shan EU News:  Leader of the Shan Sangha passed away
*DVB : SPDC blames internal, external destructive elements for Toungoo 
religious riots
*DVB: Inter-religious clashes spreading
*DVB : Junta claims Toungoo riots "not instigated" by Military 
*The Hindu (New Delhi): India to maintain Myanmar road
*New Light of Myanmar: e-English Summer Courses launched

MONEY _______
*Burma Courier: Cooking Oil Queues Stir up Consumer Resentment
*Kyodo: Keidanren, Myanmar begin talks on trade, investment 
*AFP: Dutch group target Triumph bras from Myanmar

*DVB: Burma-- Pro-government Karen, Wa "urgently" drafting new recruits 
*AP: Myanmar cancels border talks with Thailand

*AFP: Thai PM says goodwill visit should help end Myanmar spat 
*Mizzima: MP asks UN to help Burmese asylum seekers
*Times of London: Veterans of Burma on parade for last time

*Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma): On the MPs 
elect in Burmese Prisons

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Mizzima: Aung San Suu Kyi not allowed to participate in the NLD function 

May 27, 2001 

Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

Leader of the Burmese democratic movement Aung San Suu Kyi was not 
allowed to take part in her party function today, which celebrates the 
NLD?s victory in the general elections held eleven years ago, sources in 
Rangoon said.  

The National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in the 
1990 elections, winning more than 82 percent of the parliamentary seats. 
However, the military government refuses to recognize the result of the 
elections. More than a thousand political prisoners and over a thirty 
Members of Parliament remain jailed while the regime continues to 
violate fundamental rights of the people including using the people for 
forced labor throughout the country.  

To mark the 11th anniversary of the general lections, the NLD held a 
low-profile ceremony this morning at its headquarters in Shwegondine, 
Bahan Township in the capital. Most of the NLD leaders and their 
supporters participated in the function. However, Aung San Suu Kyi did 
not participate in the function. ?Daw Suu was not allowed to participate 
(by the authorities)?, said the source close to NLD. 
In the function, there was no discussion on the current ?talks? between 
Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese regime. Some sources say that the NLD 
will issue an official announcement on the ?talks? on coming June 19, 
Aung San Suu Kyi?s birthday.  
The military junta and Aung San Suu Kyi have been reportedly holding 
?talks? since October last year but both sides remain silent on the 
details and development of the talks. 


Shan EU News:  Leader of the Shan Sangha passed away

26 May 2001

A reliable source from inside Shan State reported the untimely departure 
of Sao Sra Guna, a well known and respected Shan monk. Venerable 
Gunapiya, known among his disciples as Sao Sra Guna passed away 
yesterday morning (26.5.01) in Pubbarama Buddhist Institute, Loikaw, 
Kayah State. He was just over seventy years of age. 

He was the president of the Tai Tipitaka Translation Association founded 
by the late Venerables Pannyabhoga of Mongsu, Aloka of Senwi, the 
spiritual tutors of Saopha Mongsu and Senwi respectively. The 
Association was supported by two of the most wel known Shan leaders, Sao 
Shwe Thaik of Yawnghwe who was the first President of the Union of Burma 
and Sao Noom of Laikha, also a signature of Panglong Treaty. 
Sao Sra Guna studied in leading Buddhist institutes like Ale-tawya, in 
Rangoon where he gained in degree in Buddhist literature with honours. 
After his study, he was trying to set up a Buddhist institute in 
Mongpan, his hometwon to promote advance study of Buddhism. He was 
opposed by conservative members of the monastic community there for the 
reason that he was trained in Burma. Mongpan was then dominated by the 
Lanna tradition of Buddhism. 

He went to Loikaw to set up an institute, camed Pubbarama in 1970; The 
institute has now more than two hundred students studying Buddhist 
scriptures. He was one of the state acclestiastical judges at the 
highest court housed in the Kabha-aye compound, Rangoon. 

He was conferred on the Aggamahapandita (An Excellent Great Scholar) 
tiltle by the government of Burma. He was very strict in his practice of 
monastic disciplines and was reputed as tough but compassionate teacher, 
whose achievement reaches national standard with many students all over 
Karenni and Shan States seeking for admission in his institute, the 
largest of its kind in Karenni State. Much respected and loved by his 
pupils and followers, his demise left a vacuum among tha Sangha in both 
Shan and Karenni States. 


DVB : SPDC blames internal, external destructive elements for Toungoo 
religious riots

The SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] authorities have issued a 
notification urging various townships to hold ceremonies to explain that 
the religious riots which erupted in Toungoo and other towns were 
instigated by internal and external destructive elements. The 
notification issued a few days ago noted that at a time when the Defence 
Services Government is mainly concerned with defending the nation from 
an external threat, internal and external destructive elements are 
collaborating to instigate unrest and instability inside the country. 
Their destructive acts include instigating religious riots, planting 
bombs, and spreading fabricated rumours. The responsible township 
authorities are advised to hold public rallies urging the people not to 
believe the rumours but instead join hands with the Defence Services.

Furthermore, the authorities are ordered to closely monitor monasteries 
and mosques, to list the monks who do not follow the code of conduct, 
and to closely watch activities of the people from out of town. These 
are to be carried out by the Kyant Phut [derogatory term for the Union 
Solidarity and Development Association] members.

According to latest reports, Muslim brethren from Mergui were summoned 
to the Mergui District Peace and Development Council Office on 18 May 
where the District police chief explained about the notification. They 
were made to sign an undertaking. Similar meetings were held at 
Thayetchaung in Tenasserim Division and Tamu in Sagaing Division on 21 
May. This report was filed by DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] 
correspondent Sai Pyi Aye.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 23 May 01


DVB: Inter-religious clashes spreading 

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 22 May

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has already reported on Saturday [19 
May] about the religious riots which broke out between Muslims and 
Buddhists in Toungoo [Pegu Division, in central Burma]. A few people 
died and several were wounded. A curfew was imposed and many were 
detained by the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] Military 
Intelligence [MI] personnel. 

Today, an SPDC spokesman issued a statement and admitted that the news 
was true. The SPDC statement noted that a night curfew is still in force 
today in order to control the situation. They have also studied the 
circumstances and investigations are under way. According to latest 
reports received by DVB, although the situation is calm in Toungoo, the 
riots have spread to Swa [north of Toungoo], Pyu [south of Toungoo] and 
other rural towns. 

The riots in Toungoo started near the Yantha Mosque when a group of 
Muslim youths that harassed a young Buddhist nun going on her alms 
collecting rounds clashed with a group of Buddhist youths. Altogether 24 
monks died and about 50 were injured but the number of those detained at 
the Southern Military Command is not yet known.

A Toungoo resident remarked that it is strange for the authorities 
especially Toungoo-based Southern Military Command to let the riots 
continue instead of controlling the situation. Meanwhile, exiled 
opposition groups attributed the riots to the SPDC MI's carefully 
planned ploy to divert the people's attention away from the current 
political impasse, economic hardship and border tensions. In the past 
too, the SPDC have used similar tactics to divert attention from 
political and other problems. 
DVB contacted a leader of an exiled Muslim liberation organization at 
the Thai-Burma border and an exiled Buddhist monk and asked them about 
their views.

[U Kyaw Hla] According to the news we received about Toungoo, on 6 May 
Capt Khin Maung Yin from MI Unit No. 3 met with some MI officers and 
planned this plot. They used the Kyant Phut [derogatory term for Union 
Solidarity and Development Association] members disguised as bogus 
Buddhist monks and they protested to destroy (?Yantha) mosque in 
Toungoo. We felt sad about the whole thing because the nationalities 
regardless of the religious belief, are our own brethren. If only the 
government intervened in this matter it would have been solved earlier. 
Because of the government's neglect the problems are occurring. There 
was a similar riot in Arakan State some time ago and now here in 
Toungoo. This goes to show that no effective action has been taken by 
the government.

[Ashin Uttara] The most important thing is not to become a religious 
extremist. Both the Muslim side and the Buddhist side, avoiding the 
extremes, should find the root cause of the problem, discussed it with a 
cool head and you will definitely find the right answer. But if a person 
did it and you labelled it as a group or a religious organization or a 
social organization then it is a problem. There could be no problems in 
Burma if we solve them in an unbiased and unprejudiced manner. But 
unfortunately in Burma all the problems are not solved in that manner so 
it is a very sad situation. [end of recording]

Those were the views of U Kyaw Hla, chairman of the Muslim Liberation 
Organization of Burma, based at the Thai-Burma border and Ashin Uttara, 
abbot of Waterloo Monastery in London, urging all to solve the problems 
in Toungoo by peaceful means and not to be easily influenced by the MI's 

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 22 May 01 


DVB : Junta claims Toungoo riots "not instigated" by Military 

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed 
the following report concerning the riot control meetings held at Mergui 
and Kawthaung in Tenasserim Division.

[Begin Myint Maung Maung recording] Lt-Col Myat Tun Saing, chairman of 
Kawthaung District Peace and Development Council, met with Muslim 
clerics and mosque elders from five mosques in Kawthaung Township at 
0900 [all times local] today [23 May].

At the meeting Lt-Col Myat Tun Saing said the Toungoo riot has no 
connection with the destruction of the Buddha Statutes in Afghanistan 
and it was not instigated by the Military Intelligence. It happened 
because it was meant to happen. He told the Muslim clerics and mosque 
elders to take necessary precautions and threatened them with immediate 
arrest if anything should happen.

Similarly, Lt-Col Khin Maung Kywe, chairman of Mergui District Peace and 
Development Council, met with Muslim clerics and mosque elders from 
seven mosques in Mergui Township at 0900 today and threatened them in a 
similar manner.

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 23 May 01


The Hindu (New Delhi): India to maintain Myanmar road

May 26, 2001 

By Amit Baruah 

SINGAPORE, MAY 25. India and Myanmar today signed a memorandum of 
understanding (MoU) for the maintenance of the 160 km-long 
Tamu-Kalemyo-Kalewa road, inaugurated by the External Affairs Minister, 
Mr. Jaswant Singh, on February 13.  
"Under the terms of the MoU, the Government of India has undertaken the 
responsibility of maintenance of the road for the first six years by 
providing the services of an Indian Road Maintenance Force, along with 
necessary material and manpower," a statement from the Indian Embassy in 
Yangon said. After six years (in 2007), the Government of Myanmar would 
maintain the road itself, the release said.  
Ms. Leela Ponappa, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, 
who signed the MoU on India's behalf, said through the road project 
India had "demonstrated its commitment to developing all-round 
cooperation with the Government and people of Myanmar". The 
Tamu-Kalemyo-Kalewa road, she siad, would benefit people of both 
countries and facilitate travel, trade and tourism links. "This (road) 
and other projects such as the construction of the bridge over the Tiau 
river could contribute to the development and strengthening of friendly 
relations between both countries" the official added.    



New Light of Myanmar: e-English Summer Courses launched

Yangon, 22 May?The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the 
Ministry of Information has been creating new learning environment with 
the use of electronic data broadcasting system at e-Education Learning 
Centres all over the country. 
Under the national education promotion programme, the e-English Summer 
Course was launched at e-Education Learning Centres in High Schools and 
Education Colleges today. The courses are being broadcast from the main 
studio of the University of Distant Education of Myanmar Education 
Research Bureau from 9 am to noon except Sunday till 31 May. 

Students are attending the course at 163 learning centres all over the 
country including centres at No 4 BEHS, Hlaing Township, No 1 BEHS, 
Kamayut Township, No 2 BEHS, Bahan Township and No 4 BEHS, Ahlone 
Township in Yangon Division and No 1 BEHS, Myeik in Taninthayi Division. 


Burma Courier: Cooking Oil Queues Stir up Consumer Resentment

By Min Zin in Irrawaddy On-line (edited with additions): Updated to May 
24, 2001

RANGOON -- In the latest sign of Burma's dire economic straits, cooking 
oil has joined petrol and electricity on the list of essential items 
being rationed by the country's military regime.

Sources inside Burma report that the parlous state of the country's 
foreign exchange reserves has forced hundreds of consumers into the 
streets, as the authorities attempt to conserve rapidly diminishing 
supplies of this staple of the Burmese diet.

"Since the government hasn't allocated any hard currency for the import 
of cooking oil, the distribution system has suddenly become quota-based, 
forcing people to wait in long queues to buy their rations," said one 
cooking-oil dealer in Rangoon.

Imported palm oil, an indispensable ingredient in oily Burmese curries, 
has been in short supply for several weeks now, according to business 
sources in Rangoon.  Major distributors around the country say they 
can't meet demand because supplies from the Myanmar Economic Holdings 
(MEH), a military-owned corporation, have virtually dried up.  MEH holds 
a monopoly in edible oils and other imported commodities.

According to vendors, the MEH has ordered distributors to sell rationed 
oil at 350 kyat (US$ 0.45) per viss (approximately 1.5 kg), in an 
apparent bid to avert the threat of social unrest over rapidly rising 
prices.  Until recently, palm oil sold on the open market for around 400 
kyat per viss, but has since more than doubled to over 800 kyat per 
viss. The rationed oil, drawn from MEH reserves, is available only to 
consumers who present household registration documents and certificates 
issued by local authorities.

"The worst thing is that now we have to wait in long queues of over 400 
people during the hottest time of the day just to get our half-viss 
ration per household," complained one housewife in Rangoon's Bahan 
Township. "The country is going straight to hell. Everyone is frustrated 
with living here." 

Such sentiments have been gaining force in recent months, as a growing 
number of goods and services become increasingly inaccessible to the 
general public.  Since last month, strict limits on the availability of 
petrol and electricity have been imposed, fuelling speculation about how 
far recent public dissatisfaction with the state of the economy might 
go.  "No one can rule out the possibility of street protests against the 
current economic catastrophe," remarked one Rangoon-based political 
analyst. "It might have nothing to do with politics, but people's daily 
hardships have pushed them to the limit."

Cooking oil has served as an indicator of Burma's economic health in the 
past. Since the early 1990s, palm oil has largely replaced the more 
traditional -- and healthieR -- peanut oil as a cheaper alternative. 
According to one health ministry official, after the privately held 
military company took over as the sole importer of palm oil in the late 
1990s, doctors and other medical professionals were instructed not to 
warn their patients about the health risks of excessive palm oil 

Burma imports about half of its annual consumption of a half million 
tonnes of edible oil from Malaysia at a cost of about US$ 100 million.  
Corporate farming in southern Tennasserim is expanding the acreage of 
palm oil trees under cultivation, but it will be years before the 
initiatives taken there come to fruition.  Major new investment in 
refining plants is also needed. Estimates of the capital required to set 
up a mill range between US$ 4-10 million.

According to the state press, Malaysia's Minister of Domestic Trade was 
in Rangoon this week for consultations with officials of the military 
government's Ministry of Commerce.


Kyodo: Keidanren, Myanmar begin talks on trade, investment

YANGON, May 28 Kyodo

Japan's Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), its most 
powerful business lobby, and the Myanmar government began a two-day 
meeting Monday to explore ways to promote economic cooperation between 
Tokyo and Yangon.

The talks follow Tokyo's decision last month to provide a grant to 
repair an aging hydroelectric power station in Myanmar after the Yangon 
junta last October resumed dialogue with pro-democracy leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi for the first time in seven years.

The meeting is meant to step up private-sector economic cooperation, 
especially in the fields of trade and investment, and help push the 
regime to hold dialogue with Suu Kyi, Keidanren officials said.

Delegates from Keidanren and the Myanmar government are scheduled to 
discuss how to promote information technology-related businesses in 
Myanmar and accelerate Japanese firms' trade and investment in the 
country, the officials said.


AFP: Dutch group: target Triumph bras from Myanmar 

AMSTERDAM, May 28 (AFP) - Several Dutch humanitarian organisations and 
the main trade union FNV launched a campaign on Monday against lingerie 
made in Myanmar by the Swiss firm Triumph International.
 The organizers are distributing around 240,000 postcards showing a 
woman in a barbed wire bra for their "Sexy but prickly" campaign. 

 "The barbed wire represents the military regime in Myanmar that uses 
forced labour to build roads and military objects," the FNV said in a 

 "Myanmar is one of the worst dictatorships in the world. Foreign 
investments help the military regime", the union added. 

 The organizers also asked the Dutch retail group Vendex KBB to stop 
selling lingerie made in the southeast Asian country. 

 The Dutch action is part of a larger campaign against Triumph started 
in January by the Clean Clothes Campaign, a non-governmental 
organisation that works to improve the working conditions in the garment 
industry world-wide. 


Kyodo: Keidanren, Myanmar begin talks on trade, investment  

YANGON, May 28 Kyodo 

Japan's Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), its most 
powerful business lobby, and the Myanmar government began a two-day 
meeting Monday to explore ways to promote economic cooperation between 
Tokyo and Yangon. 

The talks follow Tokyo's decision last month to provide a grant to 
repair an aging hydroelectric power station in Myanmar after the Yangon 
junta last October resumed  dialogue with pro-democracy leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi for the first time in seven years. 

The meeting is meant to step up private-sector economic cooperation, 
especially in the fields of trade and investment, and help push the 
regime to hold dialogue with Suu Kyi, Keidanren officials said.

Delegates from Keidanren and the Myanmar government are scheduled to 
discuss how to promoteinformation technology-related businesses in 
Myanmar and accelerate
Japanese firms' trade andinvestment in the country, the officials said.


DVB: Burma-- Pro-government Karen, Wa "urgently" drafting new recruits 

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 21 May

Amid growing criticisms over the People's Republic of China [PRC] 
premier's visit to Thailand, the PRC government's displeasure over the 
Thai and US troops' joint military exercise near the Thai-Burma border, 
and increasing tension at the Thai-Burma border over anti-narcotics 
activities, the remnant Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, DKBA, and the 
drug-producing United Wa State Army, UWSA, have been spending lots of 
money for the urgent conscription of new recruits. Thailand-based DVB 
[Democratic Voice of Burma] correspondent Maung Tu filed this report.

[Maung Tu] A Karen State resident told DVB that the DKBA, the remnant 
Karen rebel group, and the UWSA, the Wa armed group, are urgently 
drafting new recruits by giving 100,000 kyat [Burmese currency unit] and 
a gold chain weighing one tical [16.4 g] to every new recruit in Pa-an, 
Hlaingbwe, Kawkareik and Myawadi townships in Karen State. Not only were 
the new recruits given incentives but those who brought along the new 
recruits were also rewarded with 2,000 kyat per person. Due to this 
method of recruiting new blood, the DKBA managed to get 500 new recruits 
in 20 days - from early May to date.

The DKBA forces split from the Karen National Union, KNU, and joined 
hands with the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] in 1994. 
Similarly, the Wa troops laid down their weapons to the SPDC earlier 
than the DKBA. Later, the SPDC military clique granted all the national 
races groups with cartes blanches to engage in any business. News began 
to emerge that the DKBA and the Wa group started engaging in all kinds 
of businesses, from ordinary trading to illegal drug trafficking.

Earlier this month there were some incursions into Thailand by the DKBA 
and Wa troops. Meanwhile, the Thai army is becoming very anxious and is 
keeping a close watch on the DKBA and the Wa group's urgent conscripting 
of new recruits.

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 21 May 01 


AP: Myanmar cancels border talks with Thailand 

May 28, 2001

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Myanmar refused to attend a scheduled round of 
border talks with Thailand Monday, an official said, leaving relations 
between the two countries at high tension following weeks of skirmishes 
between their armies. 

 Maj. Udomsak Kamsaisaeng, the chief Thai coordinator for the border 
talks, said he called the Myanmar officials Monday morning to remind 
them of the talks, scheduled to be held later in the day in the northern 
Thai border town of Mae Sai. 

 ``But they said they wanted to cancel the meeting. They gave no 
reason,'' Udomsak told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. 

 ``They also said they will send a formal letter informing that they 
want the meeting to be canceled and that they will schedule the next 
meeting soon,'' he said from Mae Sai, about 740 kilometers (450 miles) 
north of Bangkok. 

 Myanmar officials did not immediately confirm the report. 

 The Thai-Myanmar Regional Border Committee, meant to convene every six 
months to iron out border problems, held its first meeting in three 
years only on April 2. 

 That meeting, in the Myanmar border town of Keng Tung, failed to make 
much headway. Since then relations have plunged even further because of 
intensifying border fights. The two sides have been firing at each other 
since February. 

 The strain in ties is principally over Thai allegations that Myanmar's 
military regime allow an ethnic Wa army, which has reached a cease-fire 
with the junta, to produce the illegal drug methamphetamine at the 
border and smuggle it for sale in Thailand. Myanmar denies the charge. 

 The relations hit the lowest point in years last weeks after Myanmar 
shelled a border area in Chiang Rai province, narrowly missing a royal 

 On Thursday, Thailand's Foreign Ministry summoned Myanmar's ambassador, 
Myo Myint, to formally protest articles that appeared in a state-run 
Myanmar newspaper that Thai officials say insulted their monarchy, a 
revered institution.  

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AFP: Thai PM says goodwill visit should help end Myanmar spat 

BANGKOK, May 28 (AFP) - Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said 
Monday he was optimistic that an escalating row with Myanmar will be 
resolved when he makes his first visit to the military-run neighbour. 

 Thailand's ambassador to Myanmar briefed his colleagues on the 
bilateral relationship during a meeting Monday of all the nation's top 
diplomats who gathered here for the first time since the new government 
was sworn in. 

 "During the meeting Thailand's ambassador to Yangon expressed concern 
over the situation but said he was confident the problem will be solved 
when I go there," Thaksin told reporters. 

 "There is no better way (to solve problems) than to have the leaders 
talk to each other ... I am ready to go, but I must wait for diplomatic 
procedures to be sorted out." 
 Thaksin has been talking about paying a visit to Myanmar virtually 
since he came to power in the January general elections. However, no 
date has yet been set for the trip. 
 His Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai travelled to Yangon earlier 
this month for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting 
and a tagged-on official visit but the war of words raged on regardless. 

 Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh joined in the spat between the 
two neighbours Saturday, saying that an article in the state-run press 
which criticised the revered Thai monarchy was an "insult". 

 "The Thai people will not tolerate such insults against our beloved 
institution," Chavalit said of last week's New Light of Myanmar article 
which took aim at mid-19th century monarch King Mongkut. 

 "We will fight if we have to," said the former prime minister and army 
chief who in the past has risen to Myanmar's defense. 

 Chavalit said Monday that he would visit Yangon in the next few weeks 
to tackle the 
brewing row. 

 "I expect to go to Myanmar by early or mid next month to discuss the 
serious problems we have," he told reporters. 

 Chavalit said the two neighbours should come to grips with the 
contentious issue of narcotics trafficking along their common border, 
which originally sparked off the angry exchanges earlier this year. 

 "We should stop complaining to each other about the drugs issue, and 
instead we should find a way to solve the problem," he said. 


Mizzima: MP asks UN to help Burmese asylum seekers

New Delhi, May 28, 2001
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

A Member of Parliament from India has recently written to the United 
Nations  High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in India to 
"sympathetically"  consider the plight of 24 Burmese asylum seekers for 
the refugee status. Mr.  S. Ramachandran Pillai, a Raja Sabha (Upper 
House) MP also requested the  UNHCR-India Chief of Mission Mr. Augustine 
Mahiga to expedite the interviews  of the Burmese.

"Given the internal situation in Burma, their request for refugee status 
 should be sympathetically considered. I therefore request you to 
expedite  the interviews and other formalities in this regard", said the 
letter dated  May 22.

Twenty-four Burmese asylum seekers staged a hunger strike in front of 
the  UNHCR office in New Delhi early this month, claiming that UNHCR has 
 neglected their plight for protection. They said that they left their 
native  places in Burma due to the repression of the military 
government. All of  them belong to Chin ethnic nationalities of Burma.

After a week of the hunger strike, UNHCR office has agreed to interview 
all  the 24 asylum seekers for their refugee status. Mizzima has learnt 
that  UNHCR has been interviewing the 24 Burmese over the last two 
weeks. The  interviews will be completed tomorrow and the results are 
expected to follow  soon.


Times of London: Veterans of Burma on parade for last time

MONDAY MAY 28 2001 
OLD soldiers never die; they just become pensioners who increasingly 
find an annual reunion weekend in London too taxing and too expensive. 
Yesterday the Burma Star Association, survivors of the forgotten war of 
the Far East, marked their 50th anniversary with the usual annual parade 
and wreath-laying at the Cenotaph and a service in Westminster Abbey. It 
will be their last. 

Comradeship will endure to the last man among the association?s 170 
local branches around the country, and a few overseas, whose combined 
surviving membership of 13,000 represents a tiny fraction of what was 
the largest British army ? a million men of many nationalities ? ever 
assembled for one campaign. 

But, like the Dunkirk veterans who last year abandoned regular 
pilgrimages to the French beaches, the men of Burma are getting too old 
to sustain a major annual commemoration. 

The Burma Star is among the commonest of all campaign medals, given to 
men of all three services who fought the Japanese in the Burmese theatre 
between Singapore?s fall in 1942 and the enemy?s defeat at Rangoon in 

But the medal is also one of the proudest. Yesterday the Duke of 
Edinburgh, president of the association and a bona fide Burma Star 
holder because he was serving in the destroyer HMS Whelp off the Burmese 
coast, walked down Whitehall to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph before 
taking the salute of his comrades. 

Viscount Slim, the president of Burma Star and son of the popular 
general who commanded the British 14th Army in the Burmese jungle, said 
yesterday: ?These men felt isolated and forgotten. They were far away 
and bottom of the list for manpower and supplies because everything was 
being concentrated on the invasion of Normandy in 1944.? 

Bill Towill, now aged 80 and living in Tadworth, Surrey, was a 
23-year-old adjutant with the 9th Gurkha Rifles in 1944 when he was 
recruited for General Orde Wingate?s legendary Chindits and spent five 
months in the jungle behind enemy lines blowing up Japanese supply 
routes. ?We were starving for days at a time and desperately short of 
ammunition. And we were never sure where the enemy was; quite often he 
would just come out of the jungle at us.? 

Douglas Burford, 79, was a Royal Engineers lieutenant who travelled most 
of the 1,000-mile retreat from Singapore to the Indian border, and back 
again to the eventual capture of Rangoon. ?Our greatest fear was of 
falling ill; malaria and typhoid claimed far more men than enemy action. 
In the early months of the campaign at least, we had virtually no drugs 
to combat these jungle diseases.? 

Roy Miller, 77, was a leading seaman in the aircraft carrier HMS 
Indomitable, dodging Japanese kamikaze raids off Burma. He was sad that 
yesterday?s national parade was the last, though he believed he would 
find comradeship at his Burma Star branch in Epsom for years to come. 
?The strain of these parades is becoming too much; we are getting too 
old to carry our standards.?



Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma): On the MPs elect 
in Burmese Prisons

May 27, 2001

After the general election in 1990, hundreds of Members of Parliament 
(MPs) were detained and imprisoned, there are currently (88) MPs in 
prison, military camps and under house arrest. Since the military 
refused to create a People's Parliament for the elected representatives 
and return to their military barracks, many MPs-elect were given long 
prison terms because of their continuing activities to promote democracy 
and human rights.  
At present, (50) MPs-elect are imprisoned.  (See the Appendix-). Some 
were released and then re-arrested and imprisoned. (eg. Dr. Aung Khin 
Sint, U Min Swe, Daw San San (female), U Soe Thein @ Maung Wuntha). 
The authorities detained hundreds of MPs elect before the NLD and other 
ethnic political parties founded the Committee Representing the Peoples' 
Parliament (CRPP) on September 18, 1998.  The CRPP was founded as a 
result of the military ignoring the general election results for 8 
years. In some cases MPs were detained but the authorities claimed that 
they had only been invited to stay at guesthouses for dialogue. There 
are now, (37) MPs in military camps around Burma although many have been 
conditionally released. (See in the Appendix-). 

           According to our information, 3 MPs-elect died in prison 
between 1990 and 1999 due to torture and ill treatment, poor prison 
conditions and inadequate medical care. (See in the Appendix-). Some 
died soon after they were released.  (eg. Architect U Kyaw Min) 
Therefore, we are very concerned about the health of the MPs staying in 
prison and military camps, which the authorities call guesthouses, as 
they have been living in poor conditions for years.  

We want the international governments and organizations to know that the 
current Burmese authorities have been putting the MPs elect in prison 
rather than calling parliament according to the 1990 election results. 
We also request the International governments and organizations to put 
more pressure on the military regime to free the MPs elect.  

We urge the Burmese authorities to release the MPs that have been 
imprisoned for years because of their peaceful activities. We also urge 
them to release the MPs that have been held in military camps for the 
past two years with the excuse that they are being held for the purposes 
of holding dialogue.  

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)

MPs-elect in prisons

(1) Aung Khin Sint, Dr., Constituency - Mingala Taungnyunt (1), Sentence 
Duration-12 Years, Current Prison - Insein (2) Aung Kyin (U),   
Myaungmya (1),   -- Years, -- Prison
(3) Aung Myint (U), Letpadan (1), -- Years, Insein Prison
(4) Aye Kyu, Dr., Labutta (2), 2 Years, Myaungmya Prison
(5) Aye Than(U), Paung-de (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(6) Chit Htway (U), Myothit (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(7) Doe Htaung (U), Kalay (1), -- Years, Mandalay Prison
(8) Duwa Zaw Aung, Waingmaw, 7 Years, Mandalay Prison
(9) Hla Min (U), Kawthaung, 7 Years, Myingyan Prison
(10) Hla Myint (U), Maubin (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(11) Hlaing Aye (U), Pakokku (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(12) Khin Maung Swe (U), Sanchaung, 7 Years, Myingyan Prison (13) Khin 
Maung Win (U), Oaktwin (2), 20 Years, Taungoo Prison (14) Khun Myint Tun 
(U), Thaton (1), 7 Years, Kalay Prison (15) Kyaw Khin (U),  Taunggyi 
(1), 10 Years, Thayet Prison (16) Kyaw Min (U), Buthidaung (1), -- 
Years, -- Prison
(17) Kyaw San (U), Taze (1), 7 Years, Insein Prison
(18) Kyi Lwin (U), Ngape, -- Years, -- Prison
(19) Kyi Myint (U), Latha, 20 Years, Myingyan Prison
(20) Kyi Win (U), Labutta (1), 10 Years, -- Prison
(21) Kyi Win, Dr @ Min Kyi Win, Mu Don (2), -- Years, Moulmein Prison 
(22) Kyin Thein (U), Kya-in-Seikkyi (2), -- Years, Taungoo Prison (23) 
May Win Myint, Dr. (female), Mayangon (2), 7 Years, Insein Prison (24) 
Min Soe Lin, Dr., Ye (1), 7 Years, Moulmein Prison
(25) Min Swe (U), Pyapon (2), 3 Years, -- Prison
(26) Myint Naing, Dr., Kanbalu (2), 25 Years, Thayet Prison (27) Myo 
Nyunt, Dr., Dedaye (1), 7 Years, Tharawaddy Prison (28) Naing Tun Thein 
(U), Thanbyuzayat (2), 7 Years, -- Prison (29) Nine Nine (U), 
Pazundaung, 21 Years, Insein Prison
(30) Nyunt Aye (U), Letpadan (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(31) Nyunt Hlaing (U), Myede (1), 5 Years, Thayet Prison
(32) Ohn Kyaing (U), Mandalay Southeast (2), 17 Years, Taungoo Prison 
(33) Ohn Maung (U) @ Sai Ohn Maung, Yaunghwe (2), 12 Years, -- Prison 
(34) Ohn Maung (U), Nyaunglebin (1), 7 Years, Tharawaddy Prison (35) Ohn 
Naing (U), Paung-de (1), -- Years, -- Prison
(36) San San (Daw) (female), Seikkan, 25 Years, Insein Prison (37) Saw 
Oo Reh (U), Hpruhso, 10 Years, Insein Prison
(38) Sein Hla Oo (U), Insein (2), 7 Years, Myitkyina Prison (39) Soe 
Myint (U), Minbu (1), 7 Years, Bassein Prison
(40) Soe Thein (U) @ Maung Wuntha, Waw (2), -- Years, Insein Prison (41) 
Than Lwin (U), Madaya (2), 9 Years, Mandalay Prison
(42) Than Nyein, Dr., Kyauktan (1), 7 Years, Insein Prison (43) Thaung 
Myint (U), Khin-U (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(44) Thein Zan, Mye-de (2), -- Years, -- Prison
(45) Tin Aung (U), Wakema (1), 4 Years, -- Prison
(46) Toe Po (U), Yebyu, 7 Years, Insein Prison
(47) Tun Kyi (U), Mogaung, -- Years, -- Prison
(48) Tun Win (U),  Mindon, -- Years, -- Prison
(49) Yaw Hsi, Puta-O, -- Years, -- Prison
(50) Zaw Myint Maung Dr., Amarapura (1), 25+7+5 Years, Myitkyina Prison 
MPs-elect under detention in the so-called guesthouses
(1) Aung Moe Nyo Dr., Pwintbyu (2) Constituency 
(2) Aung Myint Thein (U), Natmauk (2)
(3) Aung Soe (U), Magwe (2)
(4) Aung Soe Myint (U), Taungoo (1) 
(5) Aye (U), Gyobingauk (2)
(6) Ba Swe (U), Kawhmu
(7) Han Zaw (U), Sinbaungwe
(8) Hla Thein (U), Tamwe(1)
(9) Kan Oo (U), Salin (2)
(10) Khin Kyaw Han @ Kyaw Kyaw (U), Yenanchaung (2)
(11) Kyaw Myint (U), Magwe (1)
(12) Kyaw Myint (U), Zalun 1
(13) Maung Aye (U), Tharawaddy (2)
(14) Myint Kyi (U), Katha
(15) Myint Thein (U), Chauk (1)
(16) Myint Thein (U), Kyaikmaraw (1)
(17) Myo Win, Dr., Kawa (1)
(18) Nyan Win (U), Paung (1)
(19) Pike Chon (U), Shwedaung (2)
(20) Saw Hlaing (U), Indaw
(21) Saw Mra Aung, Dr., Mrauk-U (1)
(22) Sein Win, Dr., Seikkyi Kanaungto
(23) Soe Maung (U), Phyu (2)
(24) Tar (U), Salin (1)
(25) Tha Saing (U), Twante (1)
(26) Tha Aung (U), Myothit (1)
(27) Tha Maung (U), Okpo (2)
(28) Thein Myint (U), Tamwe (2)
(29) Thein Nyunt (U), Thingangyun (1)
(30) Thein Oo, Oaktwin 1
(31) Tin Htut Oo (U), Lewe (1)
(32) Tin Shwe (U), Waw (1)
(33) Tun Kywe (U), Nyaunglebin (2)
(34) Tun Tun Hein (U), Nawngcho
(35) Win Myint (U), Danubyu (1)
(36) Win Myint Aung (U), Tebayin (2)
(37) Win Naing, Dr., Tanyin (1)

MP-elect in house arrest
Aung Shwe (U), Mayangon (1) Constituency

MPs-elect died in prisons 
  (1) Hla Than (U), Coco Island Constituency 
  (2) Saw Win (U) @ Kyaw Zaw Lin (U), Htilin 
  (3)        Tin Maung Win (U), Kayan (2)



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