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BurmaNet News: May 31, 2001 (r)

 ______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
     An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           May 31, 2001 Issue # 1814
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________


The number of Thai citizens killed along the border by the Burma army 
and its allies in recent years.  See Project Maje: Body Count--Summary 
of Thai Casualties of Burma Army and its allies

*Bangkok Post: Keeping the Faith
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu leader--Junta employing a different 
forced relocation program
*Bangkok Post: Old Roots for New Troubles
*The Nation: What's Behind Junta's Anti-Thai Campaign?

MONEY _______
*Independent Mon News Agency: SPDC Plans to Construct a Gas-pipeline to 

*Project Maje: Body Count--Summary of Thai Casualties of Burma Army and 
its allies
*The Nation: If Thaksin Fails in Rangoon, it Could Mean War
*Freedom News (SSA): Excerpt on interviews with Sao Yawd Serk

*DVB : Palaung region reportedly permitted to grow poppies for road 
repair fund
*Bangkok Post: Drug Suppression--plans for a Wa State Could Threaten 
National Security

*The Nation: PM's Burma Surprise
*The Nation: Thaksin Plays it Cool over Burma
*Kyodo: Japan--Trade unions set up office to help promote democracy in 

*Energy Day: Fuelling Oppression
*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Wish they do not to cry their heart 
out like BanyaU 

*PD Burma: Calendar of events
*Amnesty International: Myanmar Country Report 2001

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Bangkok Post: Keeping the Faith

 Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Jews in Buddhist Burma live freely but for how long?


Rangoon, Burma, AP

Moses Samuels refuses to migrate to Israel. He has a legacy to tend to.

The caretaker of Burma's only synagogue, Samuels is the standard bearer 
for the country's rapidly shrinking Jewish community, now just 20 souls 
and in danger of disappearing in another generation.

In this predominantly Buddhist country, Samuels, 50, is as much an icon 
of Judaism as the 105-year-old Musmeah Yeshua synagogue, one of 
Rangoon's most distinctive buildings with its blue Star of David and 
brown window shutters.

&;If I leave, who will look after this place? asks Samuels, who 
inherited the voluntary care taker's job from his father. 
'This is our heritage. It is more important to me than Israel. Nobody 
can force me to emigrate, he says while walking a visitor through the 

The two-storey, whitewashed synagogue was built between 1893 and 1896 in 
typical British colonial architecture, replacing an earlier wooden 
structure erected in 1846.

Its interior offers a vivid contrast between the old and the new. On the 
walls hang Israeli tourism posters and an oil painting of the Western 
Wall in Jerusalem's Old City looking down on colonial-era teak benches 
with woven wicker seats.

Two 100-year-old copies of the Torah, Judaism's holy book, are encased 
in Oriental silver cylinders. Quartz clocks with Star of David faces 
cram the shelves in an antechamber that serves as Samuels' office.

The Jews of Burma are descendants of 19th century migrants from Iraq, 
Europe and India who came either with the British colonial army or as 
teak, rice and cotton traders.

Before World War Two, more than 2,500 Jews lived in Burma, most of them 
with roots in Baghdad, Iraq, which once had a thriving Jewish community 
among its predominantly Muslim population.

By 1969, the number of Jews here had dwindled to 500, and now only eight 
families remain. The rest moved to the United States, Australia, India 
and Israel in search of better lives or drawn by their faith to the 
Promised Land.

Jews have fared well in military-ruled Burma, says Amir Shaviv of the 
New York-based American Joint Distribution Committee, a nonpolitical 
Jewish relief group.

Burma's junta is widely criticised for its human rights record against 
political opponents such as democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and her 
followers. But it is generally acknowledged that the government permits 
freedom of worship to all faiths.

The politics of Burma has not affected the status of the Jewish 
community at all. They don't suffer as Jews, says Shaviv, whose group 
has been helping Jews here for 50 years.

The real threat to the Jewish community comes from a circle of 
self-destruction. Emigration has made it harder for young members to 
find spouses, leading to more migration and marriages outside the 

Demographically speaking it seems that the community faces extinction, 
Shaviv says. However, in our experiences many communities that were 
labelled extinct have come to life when circumstances changed rapidly.

For example, he says, political change in Burma could spur business, 
bringing foreign businessmen including Jews who could re-establish a 
community just as others did two centuries ago. 
But until then, the future looks gloomy.

Among Burma's 20 Jews, only five are unmarried: Samuels' 20-year-old son 
and 22- and 25-year-old daughters, and a 38-year-old woman. None has any 
immediate plans to marry.

Sammy Samuels, the youngest of Burma's Jews who recently returned after 
spending a year in Israel at a kibbutz, plans to go to college in the 
United States to study computer software.

But if I marry, I would want to her to move to Burma. Otherwise I won't 
marry,  he says.

With such a small community, Friday prayers are subdued affairs, 
attended by four or five people. Always in attendance are Samuels and 
his son. The synagogue hasn't had a rabbi since 1968, so Sammy leads the 
prayers, being the only person who can read Hebrew.

During high holidays the synagogue comes alive, transforming into an 
interfaith assembly of Jews and well-wishers that include non-Jew 
spouses and Samuels' neighbours and friends in the predominantly ethnic 
Indian neighbourhood where Samuels lives.

On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Samuels organises a feast, 
serving typical Jewish food such as falafel, pita bread and roast 
chicken. His Indian friends, who are Muslims and Hindus, bring Indian 
savories such as samosas and rasgulla sweets.

The synagogue is in downtown Rangoon near the end of a narrow one-way 
street lined on both sides with hardware stores owned mostly by ethnic 

Samuels says money for the old synagogue's upkeep is always a problem. 
He depends mostly on donations and help from the Joint Distribution 

Samuels, who has Iraqi, Iranian and British heritage, often ends up 
using money from his family's party-furniture rental business. 
My father made me promise that I would never allow the synagogue to 
close down as long as I live. I can't let him down, Samuels says.


Shan Herald Agency for News: Lahu leader--Junta employing a different 
forced relocation program

30 May 2001

A leader of a Lahu opposition group told S.H.A.N. recently that Rangoon 
had  changed its tactics of getting rid of the Shan population by forced 
 relocations that was in force in 1996-98.

"This time it is to make life so miserable for the Shans that they have 
no  choice but to flee", said Japhet a.k.a. Jakui, 54, newly elected 
General  Secretary of the Lahu Democratic Front, an opposition group 
from the Shan  State.

"For instance, Mongpak and Mongkhawn near Kengtung used to be populous 
and  thriving villages in the past. But now hundreds of families have 
gone, many  of them into Thailand. Yet still many chose to flee to the 
distant  mountains and forests in order to be free to exorbitant 
extortions and  demands from the local Burmese forces", he said.

According to Japhet, although violations are also committed in non-Shan  
sectors, they are "most severe" against the Shans. "The Burmese rarely 
levy  porters from the Lahu villages, but Shan villagers are constantly 
on the  demand not only for free portering but also for free labor in 
building  roads, barracks and all they can think of", he said.

Moreover, they are still expected to sell rice to the authorities in  
accordance with the quota fixed earlier, which was clearly impossible 
for  most of them to meet. Others agreed with Japhet. "They faced 
imprisonment  on the one side and unpayable debts on the other, so most 
of them chose to  flee", said one of his colleague.

"Another reason is the confiscation of ricefields from the people 
thereby  depriving them of the means to make a living".

"It is happening in many parts of eastern Shan State", said another, an  
ex-university student from Mongkhark, north of Kengtung. "It has forced  
hundreds of thousands of Shans to leave their native places". 
He thought that many people must have fled to Thailand though he heard  
reports about some small Shan settlements popping up in remote mountains 
 and valleys.

According to Dispossessed, a report published by the Shan Human Rights  
Foundation in 1998, some 15,000 villages comprising 300,000 villagers in 
 central Shan State during the Burmese Army's campaign against the Shan  
State Army of Yawdserk.


Bangkok Post: Old Roots for New Troubles

 Thursday, May 31, 2001

As if things weren't bad enough along our border with Burma, a couple of 
generals in Rangoon are having a row and this is just making things 
worse. - 
A good old-fashioned struggle between the forces of change, in the shape 
of Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the sinisterly titled State 
Peace and Development Council, and the forces of keeping things just the 
way they are, in the form of Gen Maung Aye, the Burmese army 
commander-in-chief, is being blamed for the present oppressive mood 
along the border dividing Thailand from Burma.

The recent shelling of a royal project in Chiang Mai's Fang district 
from across the border and sharp criticisms of two past Thai monarchs by 
Burma's state-owned New Light of Myanmar newspaper can be traced back to 
this conflict in Rangoon, according to knowing sources. 
The sharp criticism of the Thai kings came as a real surprise, said one 
senior member of the Thai cabinet. Rangoon should be well aware that 
this kind of attack on our highest institution must worsen ties between 
our two countries.

The minister is convinced that the recent escalation of tensions along 
the border are the direct result of the intensifying power struggle in 
Rangoon between Gen Maung Aye and Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt. The latter is the 
head of the Burmese military intelligence and No.3 in the overall junta 

Among the pair's differences was Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt's strong opposition 
to Gen Maung Aye's efforts to name Lt-Gen Tin 
Oo, who died in a helicopter crash near our border in late February, as 
his successor.

One veteran border watcher said the Stalinist New Light of Myanmar was 
under the direct command of Gen Maung Aye.

It was Gen Maung Aye, the State Peace and Development Council's 
vice-chairman, who accused Thailand early this month of bombing and 
firing rockets from an F-16 jet fighter at Burmese troops posted near 
the disputed Hua Lone hill. The claim has been rejected by the top Thai 
government and military chieftains.

It is widely believed among border watchers that Gen Maung Aye was also 
a prime mover behind Rangoon's surprise demand for the Thai army to 
withdraw its troops from the disputed Doi Lang in Chiang Mai's Mae Ai 

There are real concerns here that the Burmese troop build-up along parts 
of the border, including the rugged terrain 
around Doi Lang, could degenerate into military confrontation. 
But a lieutenant to Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh quoted 
the boss as saying he thought things could be worked out through the 
process of informal discussions.
There are some encouraging developments from above that the situation 
will soon return to normal, said the go-for.  
Neither side will benefit from a worsening border situation, so the 
defence minister is trying his utmost to prevent tensions  from turning 


The Nation: What's Behind Junta's Anti-thai Campaign?

Thursday, May 31, 2001

By border clashes and media smerars, the Burmese military seeks to 
distract attention from drug trafficking, quieten the opposition and 
demonise Thais

Geoffrey Hock

The trip to Burma by UN special envoy Ismail Razali may give a hint 
about the junta's motivation behind the border clashes and the anti-Thai 
campaign in the state-owned Burmese media. The last minute cancellation 
of a Township Border committee meeting prompted Burma observers to 
seriously scrutinise the juta's internal politics.

We might first assume that the increasing tension between the Thai and 
Burmese military is simply a consequence of the bordr clashes. Or 
perhaps the junta is henuinely concrned about foreign invasion. There 
assumptions see no political motivation behind the current conflict 
between the two nations.

But some observers and most of the exiled political forces reject this 
perception. Rather, the y see the current media affronts to Thailand or 
the threat of war between the two nations as instruments used by the 
military  to accomplish a certain political agenda. The list of their 
motivations include: to enforce their bargaining position in the 
territorial despute at the border; to change the nature of conflict from 
drug trafficking to a national clash implicating history and 
anti-imperialism; to shift the public discontent on the exonomy, 
education and politics to a foreign enemy; to push Aung San Suu Kyi and 
the National League for Democracy to accept a certain political agenda; 
to perpare for the total crushing of opposition forces as a consequence 
of the failure of this dialogue.

In Burma, when the word yodaya- a colloquial but historically 
contemptuous word for Thais - appears on a page, the censor's office 
usually asks an editor to delete it and use Thai before public 
distribution. 'But in the April issue of Myanmar Dana magazine, I found 
a sentence printed on the editorial page that read yodaya instead of 

recently too, the junta went too far by publishing a profane article 
about a Thai monarch.

Had the conflict been simply a border clash, the junta would clearly be 
seen to have over-reacted. However, the Thailand government should 
review its policy on sanctions of strategic connodities in the border 
trade in order to ensure that it has not provoked a violent backlash by 
the junta.

In fact, it hurts the Burmese pwople and Thai merchants more than the 
United Wa State Army (UWSA). Furthermore, it is just a symbolic and not 
a practical tgesture since the drutg warriors already have sound 
knowledge of border routes and a network inside Thailand to transport 
their commodities. Without trageting sanctions nrewly to hurt the UWSA, 
the policy can be interpreted by the Burmese military as intent of 
invasion. Obviously, it also gave the political elite room enough to 
manipulate the nature of the drug conflict into a problem of national 
sovereignty - a sensitive issue to any army in the world.

concern for an invasion is not just professional, but forms the sole 
self-justified legitimacy of the Burmese military since its performance 
in exonomy and politics after 1962 has been such a messy failure. In 
October 2000, I called a friend who is a close friend of one of the 
tactical commanders of Regional command in lower Burma. According to my 
friend, a confidential internal memo reported that a colonel from the 
CIA visited Rangoon in September 2000 as a tourist in order to spot 
sites for air raids. Almost at the some time, another friend told me 
that a colonel at military head-quarters warned him of  a possible 
disastrous event in Rangoon. Only the CIA is able to verify this 
information. Anyway, it indicates either the junta's concern or phoney 
manipulation of politics.

A public appearance on May 18 by Ne Win, well known as the Master 
Manipulator in Burmese politics, may also be significant in the current 
situation of the junta. General Maung Aye, Lt-General Khin Nyunt and 
military and former party leaders attended a religious cermony held by 
Ne Win at Mahawizaya Temple.

According to Dr Maung Maung, the last chairman of Burmese Socialist 
Programme Party, Ne Win promised him to hold nimself ready to help in 
the trasition, even after he had retired, if matters fell into violent 

Teneral David Abel, minister of the prime minister's office, told 
Barbara Victor, author of  The Lady: Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, published 
in 1998, that  on several sccasions they tried to consult him. Clearly 
the dialogue between Suu Kyi and the military leaders and the 
Thailand-Burma conflict are serious enough to be included on the list of 
the several occasions for the junta.

His political map has laid out a multiparty system provided that the 
country is in order through military control. Keen observers take his 
appearance as a sign of a political turn in the dialogue and an enforced 
call for unity in the army. Whether this is good or bad for Burmese 
politics should be looked at after Razali's trip.

Rationally, the Burmese military leaders cannot afford to stage a war 
against Thailand in the current situation of domestic politico-economic 
distress. But when it needs to consolidate its power primarily as an 
institution, a war- at least, an imaginary one against foreigners - is 
essential for its survival. Both hard-liners and moderates in the 
military chose this path in the past.

Thailand policy makers should look closely at the twists and turns of 
Burmese dialogue. Should Razali's comments be negative, people of both 
countries should expect the worst. Otherwise, the current media campaign 
may just be a fatuous manipulation by the junta to serve its political 
ends- territorial quiet or both.

*Geoffery Hock is the pseudonym of a Burmese graduate student.


Independent Mon News Agency: SPDC Plans to Construct a Gas-pipeline to 

Lands and Houses are Confiscated

[Internet posting May 30, 2001]

Tenasserim Division, Mon State

Since November 19, 2000, SPDC s some government departments and army 
have planned to construct a gas-pipeline to bring natural gas from 
Yadana gas field via Kanbauk area of Tenasserim Division to Pa-an 
township of Karen State to provide the required energy for an extent 
cement production factor in Myaing-kalay area of Pa-an township of Karen 
State. There is an existing cement factory there and now SPDC has 
extended another factory and so for the operation of this factory, SPDC 
planned to construct a gas pipeline from Tenasserim Division, passing 
into Mon State and then connecting into Karen State. 
To implement this pipeline construction project, SPDC s Nationality Race 
and Border Area Development Ministry, Construction Ministry (Minister Oo 
Win) and Southeast Region Military Command (Southeast Command) have 
coordinated each other and formed a gas pipeline constructing 
corporation and planned all rough construction processes to complete 
within 7 months. Thus, the concerned ministries department and army 
battalions have participated in this project. 

The corporation have planned to construct the pipeline along Yebyu-Ye 
motor road that connects Tenasserim Division and Mon State; between Ye 
and Moulmein motor and railways roads; along Moulmein-Kyaikmayaw motor 
road by passing Attaran river bridge; from Kyaikmayaw township of Mon 
State into Pa-an township of Karen State by passing Gyaing river bridge. 

When corporation officials cleared the route for pipeline along Yebyu-Ye 
motor road, it had passed into Yapu village tract and the lands and 
fruit plantations owned by villagers were also confiscated by the 
authorities. When the route passes into villages, the officials ordered 
to cut down trees that lied in front of their house surrounding. The 
bushes and trees along the motor road were also cleared by villagers 
without payment. 

When the route passed between Ye Moulmein motor and railway roads, some 
paddy farmlands in these areas have been also confiscated. When the 
route into a Mon village near Thanbyuzayat town, called Wae-rat, about 
20 houses and their gardens were also confiscated by officials on 
November 27 and the villagers were ordered to destroy their houses, cut 
their trees and leave from their houses within three days. The villagers 
have been homeless and landless within 3 days. 

Similarly when the route passed Wae-thun-chaung village, near Thanbyuzat 
town, about 10 houses and lands were confiscated on November 29 and the 
villagers were ordered to destroy their houses, cut their trees and 
leave their houses within three days. Among the villagers, the houses 
and lands owned by (1) Nai Mun Tin; (2) Nai Nai Nyan Sein; (3) Nai Ai; 
(4) Nai Pyin; (5) Nai Kyaw Aye; (6) Nai Ohn; and (7) Nai Sein were also 
confiscated and they became homeless within three days. Nai Sein had 
lost totally about 0.7 million Kyats. As common abuse by government 
authorities in Burma, no land and house owned by villager were 
compensated and they also did not provide any new space of lands. Then, 
the villagers suddenly displaced due to this government development 

Accordingly to villagers, these confiscated lands have price about 0.5 
million Kyat to 2 million Kyat per plot of lands. The lands price 
differs because of different land spaces and trees have been grown in 
lands. The villagers have been resided with their families in these 
spaces of lands for over one hundred year and now they displaced within 
3 days. 

Then, when the route passes into Kyaikmayaw township along the motor 
road, although it does not cross into a village, about 50 feet of lands 
which have some fruit trees and paddy farmlands owned by the villagers 
in Kyaikmayaw township were confiscated. As estimation, about 200 acres 
of lands with fruit trees and rice-fields along the motor road are 
confiscated in Kyaikmayaw township and nobody received any compensated 

Therefore in the official pipeline construction conducted by SPDC, some 
hundreds of civilians in Tenasserim Division, Mon State and Karen State 
have lost their lands, trees and houses. The government officials never 
take responsibility for these victims and just gave a complaint that all 
lands in Burma are own by the State. 


Project Maje: Body Count--Summary of Thai Casualties of Burma Army and 
its allies

May 30, 2001

The willingness of Burma's regime to slaughter "its own" citizens of all 
ethnicities is notorious. Less well-known is the rather substantial body 
count of Thai nationals. The deaths of Thai women, men and children; 
civilians, soldiers and police, at the hands of official Burma military 
units and their proxy militia (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, 
primarily) have gone largely unremarked on over the years. Compensation 
is not paid to the victims' families, apologies are not issued, and the 
arbitrary execution of these citizens of a neighboring free nation is 
glossed over. The smooth commercial nature of Thai/Burmese relations 
never seems to suffer for a moment. Imagine another sovereign state's 
reaction if the troops and militia of a neighbor casually killed a dozen 
or more of its people. One would think relations would grow icy if not 
into full scale conflict.

The Thai "body count" below was researched on the BurmaNet news archive 
using key words such as "Thai" "villager" "killed" "shelled" and "shot." 
It is certainly not a comprehensive list. It covers 1995-1997; with a 
few quite recent additions. There are many other examples, such as the 
mid-90s shooting in the back of a mentally retarded Thai man by Burma 
soldiers aiming across the northern border river. One hopes that these 
victims will be remembered, not just by their grieving families, but by 
those who understand the repressive nature of Burma's regime and how 
widespread is the harm it does. 

These reports are not all verified, but they give an indication of the 
scope of the problem. Not included are the numerous instances in which 
Thais were wounded and maimed by Burma regime troops and militia, or 
were robbed of property or had their homes destroyed. As with the 
marketing of methamphetamine and heroin, the heinous Yadana gas swindle, 
and the all too symbolic bombardment of a particular peach orchard, 
Burma's military junta apparently feels it can do anything it wishes to 
Thailand, and receive nothing but ASEAN brotherly unconditional love in 


1. April , 1995: "unconfirmed reports that 1 Thai soldier was killed" by 
"intruders" at a refugee camp.

2. November 11, 1995: DKBA assault on a truck in Thailand, 9 year old 
girl (Thai?) killed.

3. November 26, 1995: Driver (Thai?) of tourist van killed by DKBA. 
4, 5. December 10, 1995: DKBA kills a Border Patrol officer and an 
6. December 27, 1995: DKBA kills an 8 year old girl, Suda Panyasupatho; 
near Mae Sot)

January 4, 1996 report: "6 Thais have been killed, including a Border 
Patrol Police officer and three children" by the DKBA; since November, 4 
incidents on the Mae Sot-Mae Sarieng Highway and 2 in Pop Phra district. 

7. early February, 1996: Senior Sergeant Major Chamnong Charoenying 
killed by DKBA. 

8, 9, 10, 11,12,13. March 29, 1996 report: "Since last August... 6 Thais 
were killed in 2 major clashes at sea" with Burmese Navy. (Asiaweek) 
14. April 19, 1996: DKBA kills driver of pickup truck, Ms. Rungthip 
Khampradit, 26, on Mae Ramat-Than Song Yang Highway.

15, 16, 17. August 1996: DKBA kills 3 Thais, including a Buddhist monk, 
in Tha Song Yang

18, 19. August 30, 1996: "Recent killings of 2 Thai... workers by the 
Burmese Navy." Wit Khan-ngern 39, Thanet Changmek, 35.

20. January 1997: DKBA raid on Don Pa Kiang (Huay Bong) refugee camp, 
one Thai villager reported killed.

21. January 28/29, 1997: A Thai merchant is killed as DKBA raiders burn 
refugee camp in Tak Province.

22, 23, 24. January 31, 1997: DKBA attacks police post and monastery, 
killing a police officer, a Buddhist monk, and a villager.

25. February 18, 1997: NCUB claims that "a member of the Thai forces was 
killed" during attack by SLORC troops.

26. May 30, 1997: DKBA kills Suthep Chankhamsaeng, 32, in raid on Thai 
refugee camp.

27, 28, 29, 30. August 28, 1997: Thai helicopter reportedly shot down by 
SLORC Light Infantry Division 32; crew of 4 killed.


31. January 11, 2001: Sgt. Maj. Suvit Rungarunkarn killed by military 
32, 33. February 10?, 2001: Two Thai villagers killed by Burma military 
34, 35, 36. May 2, 2001: Three Thais are killed by DKBA, Phop Phra, 
Molithai village.

Compiled by Project Maje, May 2001


The Nation: If Thaksin Fails in Rangoon, it Could Mean War

Thursday, May 31, 2001

Kulachada Chaipipat

The prime minister's trip to Burma will have crucial consequences 
regarding hostilities, drug measures and redress for media insults  
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's eagerness to visit Rangoon could be 
a diplomatic catastrophe in the making for Thailand since it could be 
construed as a sign of weakness in dealing with the dictatorial Burmese 

Without being considered nationalistic, the highest-level visit should 
only take place after Rangoon sends a clear signal that it really wants 
to make peace with its eastern neighbour.

Moreover, the dust should settle here over who is taking charge of 
executing Thai foreign policy towards Burma. 

Apparently, at the moment, the army is speaking very loud and clear - if 
war fits, wear it! - while Thaksin as a leader 
cannot calm the discord between Defence Minister General Chavalit and 
the aggressive army.

Apparently, Rangoon's prime concern is its domestic politics. Its 
fragile political dialogue with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi would 
have a far-reaching impact on the survival of military rule. Given high 
expectations for these talks, both inside and outside the country, their 
failure could be detrimental to the country's stability. 
Nevertheless, a series of border spates with Thailand which began in 
February have temporarily shifted the focus of attention away from the 
talks, if not completely. By fanning the hatred of the Burmese against 
Thailand through the revival of historic hostility, Rangoon hopes to 
gain popularity among its people. And if the internal rifts within the 
top echelons of the Burmese leadership are real, a potential war with 
Thailand could be the only reason for them to keep united.  
Similarly, scepticism is high and rising here among military observers 
that the Thai army is using the same tactic, deliberately or not, to 
garner political support for the military institution whose image was 
badly tarnished in the May 1992 crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

In the broader picture, the Thai army is worrying about its diminishing 
strength amid the perceived existence of a cold war among regional 
powers, each struggling to wield their political and economic muscles. 

It should go down on record that, in no time at all, about six aide 
memoires about border incidents and media attacks were exchanged by both 
sides over the past month as if they were mere correspondence with no 
diplomatic weight. There were at least three known border skirmishes 
between Thai and Burmese troops and/or Rangoon-allied minority groups.

Against this backdrop, however, Burma is negotiating with Thailand from 
a position of strength since it still speaks with one voice. 
As for Thailand, the perceived successful anti-drug campaign has now 
degenerated into a mere trap used by Rangoon to provoke border incidents 
over the past few months. 

Military observers warn the tide of nationalism fanned on both sides of 
the border has reached a level of danger that it could be used to 
justify the rise of militarism in the two countries. They say the use of 
force, however, had but one effect: torpedoing the current fragile unity 
of Asean, to which both nations are members and which might eventually 
invite third parties to intervene.
Nevertheless this begs a question about why Rangoon dared to allow its 
mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar, to publish two articles affronting 
the Thai monarchy despite the fact that the junta knows how sensitive 
the issue is to the Thai people. 

Moreover, Burmese shells that landed on a royal agricultural project at 
Doi Aungkhang on May 22 was a deliberate act to fan nationalism on the 
Thai side. 

Both cases provide enough justification for the Thai army, as an 
institution closely linked to the monarchy, to react by force. But what 
are they waiting for?

In the conduct of international relations, military means will be used 
only when all diplomatic avenues are exhausted. In this case, Thaksin's 
trip to Burma is Thailand's only trump card after two ministerial trips 
to Burma and three diplomatic protest notes failed to quell border 
tensions. If he fails, hostilities could escalate into war. 
When the prime minister sits down with foreign affairs and security 
policy makers tomorrow, he should define clearly what is the current 
Thai national interest vis-a-vis his anti-drug campaign, which has now 
proven to be only a short-term gain for the government since its effects 
have snowballed on the border. 

Thus there are only three reasons justifying Thaksin's trip to Burma. 
Border retaliation and spins on nationalism should end on both sides. 
The Burmese should make a sincere effort to fight the drug flows 
originating in the territory of its allied minority groups.

After that, Thaksin should get a clear gesture from Rangoon on what is 
an appropriate remedy to the damage caused by the Burmese media's 
insults to the monarchy.


Freedom News (SSA): Excerpt on interviews with Sao Yawd Serk

Shan State Army

31 May 2001


(21st May 2001)

On the Anniversary of Shan Armed Resistance Day Ceremony held at Loi Tai 
Leng, on 21st May 2001, foreign reporters interviewed Sao Yawd Serk, 
Chairman of the RCSS (Restoration Council of Shan State). The following 
are some main contents from the interviews in summarized version: 

On the Task Force 399 

We welcome the joint US-Thai military operation against drugs. But they 
should raid where the drugs are, instead of confining their targets in 
Thailand alone. Thailand is only a transit point and is not where it is 
manufactured, therefore operating in Thailand alone will not be enough 
to wipe out the drugs in the golden triangle area. 

Policy of SSA 

The struggle for freedom not being an individual task that could be 
overcome, every single inhabitant has the duty to serve his land and 
nation. So long as there is a nation, a standing army is an essential 
structural need to protect the people. The existence of SSA is thus born 
out of such necessity. 

After Khun Sa's surrender in 1996, we reviewed our past policy and came 
to the conclusion that the renewal of our policy is needed for the past 
policy is not bringing us any near to our goal. During the past 43 years 
of struggle for freedom, the cunning Burmese military dictators have 
divided our indigenous people into many factions, using narcotic drugs 
as their weapons, they had branded patriots with bad names, such as drug 
lords, narco-army and so on, in order to undermine their political 

At the same time, most of these armed resistance group leaders dare not 
oppose drugs openly, fearing it could hurt the financial support for 
their men. 

We can generally put our struggle into several phases; during the time 
of freeing our country from the invaders, we need to cut down our 
expenses as much as possible so that we can rely on our people for 
provisions without putting much pressure on them. Once a liberated area 
is established, the army can take care of themselves. After sovereignty 
of the Shan State is restored, with the consent of the people we can 
arrange development plans for the country where mass investment will be 

During this time of struggling for freedom, we cannot spend much money. 
We also want to make sure that we stay within the bounds of accepted 
international law and moral obligation. That is why we have changed our 

Inter-ethnic problems 

With the inter-ethnic problems created by the Burmese junta, we will try 
to avoid conflicts as much as possible. Peaceful solution and political 
means will be used to solve these problems. Military solution will be 
employed only as a last resort. 

Aung San Suu Kyi and Her movement for Democracy 

We admired Aung San Suu Kyi, but she is not representing the Shan 
people. Sao Khun Htoon Oo, the chairman of the SNLD (Shan National 
League for Democracy) whose party has won the 2nd largest votes in 1990 
election is the only person representing the Shan State and Shan people, 
for the people have given him their trust through ballots. Once our 
sovereignty is restored, we will respect the rights of our electorate in 
accordance with the democratic norms. 

The Shan Armed Resistance Day 

There will be Shan Armed Resistance Day ceremony annually, where 
everybody including reporters and observers from international 
communities will be invite for observation. This year we are glad to 
receive foreign reporters. We are truly glad to host the Thai singer and 
composer, Nga Caravan and his team as well as gifts from Add Karabao. If 
we are just a bunch of lawless bandits, these guests won't be here. We 
found that they believe in human rights and democracy, they were 
appalled to witness the suffering of our poor people who have fled their 
ancestral homeland. This is the reason why they are here. 

Thai Support 

That the Thais are supporting SSA, according to the Burmese news is 
totally false. There is no military or political support from the Thais. 
But the Thais, as a progressive and civilized nation, believe in human 
rights and democracy and that's why we could live along the border. We 
have not come to make war with the Thais because they are not our 
enemies. We respect the Thai law and avoid offending them, that's why 
Thais do not harm us. If we are involved in drugs which are devastating 
Thai social fabric, violate their human rights and offend the Thai law, 
there is no way they will keep us unharmed. 

Anti-narcotic policy 

To eradicate drugs in our homelands, we have appealed for international 
support several times. Drugs cannot be eradicated from the Golden 
Triangle, without the co-operation from the people of Shan State. 
Listening to the Burmese military dictators alone is not enough. If the 
Burmese military dictators truly want to get rid of drugs, they should 
negotiate and co-operate with the SSA. 

Border problems 

As long as the internal problems of Burma persist and the Burmese 
soldiers still stationed along the Thai border, the border problems 
could not be solved, and drug problems will persist. Such problems could 
not be solved through military means, but only through political 
initiatives. The Thai Army's 3rd Region commander is an honest patriot 
doing his duty to protect the sovereignty and his motherland. On the 
opinion concerning General Chavalit, it is an internal affairs of 
Thailand and I have nothing to comment. If Thai support us, our struggle 
for freedom won't need to have lasted for 43 years. Only when a free 
democratic Shan State is established, the border problems as we have 
witnessed for decades can be solved. 

After Independence 

For now, my duty is to achieve freedom for Shan State and I will do my 
best. In this period we need to make sure and clear, who are our friends 
and who are foes. After independence it's up to the people to decide how 
our country should be run. But as this is the time of struggle for 
freedom, it is hardly possible to put in place the practice of 
administration like countries with full sovereignty. 


DVB : Palaung region reportedly permitted to grow poppies for road 
repair fund

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that poppies are cultivated 
on a large scale in the Palaung region with approval from Lt-Gen Khin 
Nyunt [secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council, SPDC]. 
Anti-Insurgent Organization, AIO, is also urging the Palaung people to 
grow poppies. DVB correspondent Maung Too filed this report.

[Maung Too] Lackeys of U Kyaw Myint, the head of the Pan Sin Village 
AIO, have been urging local people from over 30 villages including 
Namhpakka, Manaung, Tarlu, Parpyin, and 12-Mile-Market Village in 
Namhkam Township in the Palaung region to grow poppies on a large scale.

U Kyaw Myint, the AIO head of Pan Sin Village, asked permission from 
SPDC Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt to grow poppies to raise funds for 
the renovation of the Namhkam-Namhpakka strategic road in the Palaung 
region. According to the local people most of the paddy, tea, and 
vegetable plantations have now been transformed into poppy fields. 
Because of the Palaung region poppy fields, the local AIOs have become 
rich with the taxes while there is no end in sight for the renovation of 
the Namhkam-Namhpakka strategic road. At the same time, when anti-drug 
squads came the local poppy farmers would bribe them with eight to 10m 
kyat [Burmese currency unit] to destroy only the bad crops.

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


Bangkok Post: Drug Suppression--plans for a Wa State Could Threaten 
National Security

Thursday, May 31, 2001

Drug production expected to increase

Wassana Nanuam

The Wa tribal minority's plan for a Wa state could pose a threat to 
national security, says the Third Army commander.
Lt-Gen Watanachai Chaimuanwong said the United Wa State Army would need 
more money to pay for its plans and a huge increase in drug production 
could be expected.

The United Nations Development Programme had moved 50,000-100,000 Wa 
people from Burma's northern border to areas opposite Chiang Mai to stop 
them making opium.

They had turned to making methamphetamines for the Red Wa, since help 
with occupational development was rather slow, Lt-Gen Watanachai said.

Drug factories in Mong Yawn were moved into jungles near the Salween 
river and that was why Thai officials on a recent trip to the 
Wa-controlled town did not spot any drug activity.

There were a lot of mobile factories which could be moved anywhere, he 

The Red Wa also moved some factories to border areas opposite Tak and 
used the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army to make and sell 

Lt-Gen Wattanachai said some reports suggested that five factories were 
operating in a military base in Laos, which used a resort owned by a 
Burmese as a front.

He said Thailand was intercepting only 10% of drugs from Burma. An 
estimated 600-700 million pills would be made this year. 
Lt-Gen Watanachai said special task force 399, set up to deal 
specifically with drugs and trained by American soldiers, would not 
cross the border to crack down on manufacturers because that violated 
international law.

Drug factories would have all been gone if we really launched 
cross-border operations, he said. But we won't do that because it is not 

He appointed a panel to investigate officers who allowed six trucks to 
enter Burma through a closed border pass in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai 
district on Tuesday. Some officers in border areas were corrupt, he said

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

The Nation: PM's Burma Surprise

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will seek to visit Rangoon next month 
without waiting for diplomatic clearance, deputy premier and Defence 
Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday. 

Chavalit's announcement of Thaksin's hastily scheduled visit to Burma 
caught Foreign Ministry officials off guard. They had anticipated a trip 
to Thailand by Burmese Foreign Minister Win Aung, scheduled for the 
third week of June, would be the last hurdle to clear before the Thai 
leader's first visit to Burma.

Thaksin had said on Monday that he would go to Burma only when the 
timing was right and protocol permitted.

Border tensions with Burma escalated in February, owing partially to the 
Thai government's stepped-up anti-drugs campaign. They have not subsided 
despite separate visits to Rangoon last month by Foreign Minister 
Surakiart Sathirathai and PM's Office Minister Thamarak Isarangura. 

Chavalit said Thaksin's visit was meant as a goodwill gesture 
demonstrating that Thailand wanted to restore bilateral relations 
quickly. The sooner the better for both countries, said the minister, 
who will travel with Thaksin.

The minister, who favours a personal approach to relations with Burma, 
cited the damage caused to bilateral relations by a series of articles 
published in the Burmese state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar over 
the past week as one of several reasons that Thaksin's visit was 
urgently needed as the articles contained an affront to the Thai 

Chavalit's aides told The Nation that permission for Thaksin's visit had 
been requested through personal channels in Rangoon. A Burmese response 
was expected within two weeks.

In the latest of a series of articles, all by the same author, the New 
Light of Myanmar on Monday accused King Rama V of turning the country 
into a Royal guest house for all and sundry during the period of Western 

Rangoon on the same day lodged a written protest against what it said 
was a vicious smear campaign on the part of the Thai media intended to 
denigrate Burma. The malicious attacks have reached new heights with 
articles aimed at destroying national unity, tarnishing the image of the 
country and the government and inciting instability and unrest, the 
protest said.

It was apparently prompted by reports in two Thai newspapers published 
on May 18 and 21.

It also warned Thai authorities: If such a campaign is allowed to 
continue unabated, it could adversely affect relations between [Burma] 
and Thailand. The apparent tit-for-tat diplomatic move comes after the 
Thai government escalated its diplomatic offensive against Burma over 
the past two weeks.

Surakiart yesterday called on Burma to take quick and appropriate action 
to remedy serious damage caused by its official media's attack on the 
Thai monarchy.

We reiterated that if this matter was not attended to it would damage 
relations between the two nations and peoples severely, Surakiart said 
after meeting Burmese Ambassador Myo Myint. 

It was Myo Myint's first visit to Surakiart since being summoned twice 
to the Foreign Ministry in the past two weeks to receive protest notes. 


The Nation: Thaksin Plays it Cool over Burma

Thursday, May 31, 2001

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday dismissed his deputy's claim 
that his trip to Burma to mend deteriorating relations had been 
scheduled for next month.

The trip was being prepared, but no date had been set, said  Thaksin.

The Burmese government wants to talk to me, he added. If we have time to 
talk, we should stop [the tensions]. But I can't give the exact date at 
the moment. We have to go through the protocol and diplomatic procedure.

On Tuesday, to the surprise of the Foreign Ministry, Deputy Prime 
Minister and Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said that Thaksin 
would visit Burma next month. He said the trip would help reduce the 
rising border tension between Thailand and Burma.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Commi-ttee 
conceded that the problems between Thailand and Burma are too 
complicated to be resolved soon and that the best solution lies in 
promoting democracy in the latter. 

Speaking after a meeting of Foreign Ministry and Senate officials, 
Kraisak Choonhavan said he expected that a summit 
negotiation between leaders of the two nations would reduce the tension.

But he said Thaksin should visit Rangoon after a visit to Bangkok by 
Burmese Foreign Minister Win Aung scheduled for the third week of June. 
Kraisak said that two Thai leaders, Foreign Minister Sura-kiart 
Sathirathai and PM's Office Minister Thammarak Issarangu-ra, had already 
visited Burma, but to no lasting effect.

He said issues concerning the neighbouring countries were discussed at 
length during the meeting. Among them were narcotics, double taxation 
and high transportation costs for exported goods. 

He presented a study by a special working group to the foreign minister 
about the situation in the Kokang area of Burma, an area he described as 
a semi-autonomous state over which Burmese authorities have little 

Mong Yawn, he noted, is a satellite town whose centre at Pangh-sang is 
crowded with modern facilities and casinos.

Moreover, he urged a serious review of non-interference policy, saying 
Thailand should start talking tough with the Burmese and pursue a long 
term policy that promotes people-to-people relations aimed at promoting 


Kyodo: Japan--Trade unions set up office to help promote democracy in 

Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0321 gmt 29 May 01

Tokyo, 29 May: The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) said 
Tuesday 29 May it has set up an office in Tokyo to help promote 
democracy in Myanmar Burma .

The Burma Office (Japan) is jointly run with the Federation of Trade 
Unions-Burma, the League for Democracy in Burma and the National League 
for Democracy (Liberated Area), Japan branch - all outlawed in Myanmar - 
Rengo officials said.

"Myanmar's junta cracks down on trade unions, too. We would like to help 
support democratization," a Rengo official said.

Rengo will finance the running cost of the office, to which it will 
dispatch a senior official, the officials said.

Rengo will ask the Foreign Ministry in the near future to suspend a 
government plan to resume official development assistance to Myanmar. It 
will also make similar appeals to political parties and economic groups. 

The office, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, will publish in-house magazines in 
Japanese and English, the officials said.

The International Labour Organization in November adopted a resolution 
to impose sanctions on Myanmar, saying the ruling junta has failed to 
scrap its forced labour practices.


Energy Day: Fuelling Oppression

 28 May 2001

By Yvette Mahon, Director, The Burma Campaign UK

Directors of most reputable companies would rather forgo their annual 
bonuses than invest in Burma. Not so the Directors of Premier Oil for 
whom the military dictatorship's appalling human rights record presents 
no bar to business, and who once again drew the wrath of both 
institutional and private shareholders at the AGM this May over their 
continued refusal to withdraw from the country. 

Premier is defiant. Never mind that the legitimate government of Burma 
led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has repeatedly urged them to 
leave. Never mind the British Government's view that Premier's 
investment helps underwrite repression and undermine efforts to restore 
democracy, or abuses of Burma's people so terrible they warrant the UN 
label "a crime against humanity". 8 million people, including children, 
are used as forced labour each year on pain of torture, murder and rape. 
One and a half million others have been forcibly displaced from their 
homes. Death in custody, arbitrary arrest and detention are routine. 

Premier's exploitation of the Yetagun gas field will make a few people 
very rich indeed. Partners including the state owned Myanmar Oil and Gas 
Enterprise, stand to make profits in excess of $820 million. This 
revenue will enable a junta, which spends half its annual budget on 
defence, to further expand its vast army whilst its people are pushed 
further into poverty. Once a rich country Burma now has UN Least 
Developed Country status. 

Military occupation of the pipeline area to provide 'security' for the 
project has also proved controversial. First hand testimony from 
victims, witnesses and army defectors from the pipeline corridor, 
testify to a litany of abuses including forced labour, forced 
relocation, torture and rape carried out by pipeline security troops. A 
1996 impact assessment report warned Premier and partners of potential 
problems: "the local people have and probably will continue to be 
subject to heavy levies of money and food from the military. Military 
security will not only need to be maintained at its current levels, but 
will have to be increased or relocated to enable the pipeline to be 
built. There is a potential for any continuation of the past harsh 
policies of the army to be blamed on companies involved in the project." 
Premier and its partners wittingly contracted troops renowned for their 
extreme brutality to provide them security - in an area where hundreds 
of families were living. 

In November 2000, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) urged its 
member governments, employers and unions to "review their relations with 
Burma" to "ensure that such relations do not perpetuate the system of 
forced or compulsory labour". A recent proclamation by the International 
Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) 
calls on oil and gas companies to "cease investment in Burma while the 
use of forced labour continues." 

Premier is unmoved. Instead it has taken to staking out the high moral 
ground using the language of 'development' and 'social responsibility'. 
A Social Audit commissioned by Premier explores the 'benefits' the 
company's investment has brought. That the exercise has so far neglected 
to include engagement with those forced to flee abuses in the pipeline 
area, says more than enough about the sincerity of the process for most 
concerned humanitarian organisations. The report also fails to employ a 
methodology appropriate for canvassing the views of communities living 
in Burma's oppressive political climate. Warwick Business School - who 
verified Premier's social auditing process - agrees that the repressive 
environment: "unavoidably compromises the ability of Premier Oil's 
community stakeholders to be fully expressive". The report makes almost 
as much of a mockery of Premier's stated commitment to human rights as 
does the company's presence in Burma. 

In Burma the case for 'constructive engagement' is turned on its head. 
In the context of business all 'engagement' with Burma's Generals can 
only be destructive. In attempting to prick Premier's conscience in this 
regard, a Burmese proverb springs to mind: "it's harder to wake someone 
who is pretending to be asleep." Premier knows all too well the degree 
to which it is responsible for misery-making, but to the necessity to 
act responsibly and withdraw, the company is making a clear choice to 
keep its eyes wide shut. 


The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Wish they do not to cry their heart out 
like BanyaU 

Tuesday, 29 May, 2001 


You all may be wondering why I have suddenly changed my trend to Mon 
King BanyaU while presenting Siam (Thailand). It is hardly surprising. 
Siam is closer to Lower Myanmar. According to the geographical 
condition, Siameses and Mons have been very near since the early times. 
Siameses are pretending that they had been victimized by Myanmars and 
putting on an air of victims. As I would like to say about it, I have to 
write this article. 

 When Jun marauders attacked Oktha Bago in Bagan Period, the king of 
Oktha Bago appealed to the king of Bagan for help. Therefore, Kyansittha 
and his men went there. You all will remember how Jun marauders were 
defeated. Jun marauders were a group of men coming from Siam. They were 
assumed to be relations of Cambodians. It is sure that they came from 

When the king of Oktha Bago repulsed the attempts of Jun marauders to 
invade Oktha Bago, he presented his daughter Manisanda to King 
Anawrahta. King Anawrahta understood that the dignity of the king of 
Oktha Bago and the dignity of Oktha Bago were tied to the princess. So 
he did not give the hand of the princess even to Kyansittha, and he 
himself took her to wife. 

After Oktha Bago collapsed and before Hanthawady was established, the 
kings of Mons had to settle themselves at Mottama. At that time, the 
king of Chiang Mai attacked Mottama. BanyaU repulsed the attack of the 
king of Chiang Mai. At that time, BanyaU had a white elephant and put 
too much reliance on it. When the elephant died, he thought that he 
conquered Chiang Mai and it was because of that white elephant, and that 
he needed to have another white elephant. It was for four months that he 
entered the forest and were searching for a white elephant. After these 
four months, he got the news that his relatives seized Mottama. So he 
attempted to retake Mottama. He lost many heroes but could not conquer 

Then, BanyaU went to Donwun and lived there. Although he was living 
away, Byahtaba planned to attack Donwun. While the two brothers were 
attempting to defeat each other, the king of Chiang Mai was invited. It 
was reported that the king of Chiang Mai was also preparing his troops. 
BanyaU thought that if Byahtaba and the king of Chiang Mai were allied, 
he would not be able to oppose them. And BanyaU consulted his ministers. 
According to the counsel of his ministers, BanyaU gave five young 
elephants, ten viss of gold and his daughter to the king of Chiang Mai. 
BanyaU requested the king of Chiang Mai not to take sides with Byahtaba. 
The king of Chiang Mai did not join the troops of Byahtaba. But the 
daughter of BanyaU, Talamaythiri was tortured cruelly. 

 After fighting against his brothers for six years, BanyaU fled to the 
region now called Bago. When he established Hanthawady Bago, the 
political situation became stable. However, he got a letter to the 
effect that his daughter, Talamaythiri was tortured mentally and 
physically and nearing her death. The princess sent the message to him 
after having gone through her ordeal for six years as a scapegoat. 
BanyaU was at his wits' end. He was afraid that the king of Chiang Mai 
would meddle in the military affairs if he took back his daughter while 
he was under attack by his brothers. 

He wrote a letter to his brothers to the effect that they were now in 
high position because he promoted them; they were attacking him, and so 
their niece Talamaythiri was in great trouble; he urged them to stop 
attacking him; only then could he get back his daughter. His brothers 
also replied that if he did not take their possessions and punish them, 
they would stop attacking him; in the case of bringing back their niece, 
they also helped him. 

 He had to give 10 young elephants and ten viss of gold to the king of 
Chiang Mai to bring back his daughter. It was a very bad matter. 
Byahtaba also gave five viss of gold. When the king of Chiang Mai got 
these things, he returned the princess Talamaythiri. On seeing his 
daughter, BanyaU was choking with emotion. 

Then, hugging each other, the father and the daughter cried. Those who 
saw them, who heard about them and who read about them were deeply 
touched. King BanyaU nurtured Talamaythiri with great affection. Later, 
a hero called Thameinmaru asked for the hand of the princess. The one 
who did not dare to look up at the princess in the past even asked for 
her hand. 

BanyaU thought hard. As his daughter had lived with the king of Chiang 
Mai, her reputation was tarnished. Any princes would not ask for her 
hand. He thought that a courageous man like Thameinmaru was suited to 
his daughter. Then, he married his daughter off. The princess, who 
became the wife of Thameinmaru, was just a puppet. Before BanyaU passed 
away, Banyanwe, who would later become Razadariz, left for Dagon, now 
Yangon, and rose in rebellion. When BanyaU died, Banyanwe seized Bago. 
Talamaythiri and Thameinmaru were arrested. Talamaythiri was not to 
blame. Thameinmaru devised so many wicked plans to take the throne even 
before Banyanwe became king. That was why they were arrested and killed. 
It was the very tragic life of Talamaythiri. If BanyaU had known all 
about it, he would have burst into crying again. If it is said that 
Talamaythiri was unfortunate, other people will say in chorus that she 
was unfortunate. The answer will not be found. If all things are 
considered, it is because of disunity of brothers, reliance on outsiders 
and establishment of alliance with others. ThatÕs why Talamaythiri had 
bad luck. When she was released, her father and his brothers were 
united. It can be concluded that she was released due to the unity of 
her father and his brothers. 

I write this historical event not for the sake of sympathy. In Myanmar, 
there were many people like BanyaU. Considering only profits, they 
sacrificed their sons and daughters. A friend of mine lived in a town 
near the border. He visited his native town very often as his relatives 
lived there. Whenever he came to his native town, he said that the 
children from his town went to Siam and worked there; as they earned a 
little in their town, no one wanted to work; parents also wanted their 
children to go to the other side. Although I did not feel happy, I kept 
silent and just listened to him. I could not say anything to BanyaU 
since he had already died nor reply to the parents who sacrificed their 
children. During last Thingyan, my friend went back to his town. When he 
returned, I heard him crying like BanyaU and telling bad news. Let me 
relate it in his tone. 

" I know now that Siam has never been a good place for our Myanmars. 
They got the children from our town to work with low wages. The children 
did not have to eat enough food. They secretly put stimulant tablets 
called Yaba into drinking water and food. After drinking that water and 
eating that food, the children had to work hard. When their health 
failed and they got addicted to that drug, they were sacked. When these 
children arrived back home, their health condition was not normal. They 
got addicted to drugs. As there were drug addicts, there were drug 
pushers. When drugs were seized, it was found that they came from Siam." 

While I am writing about this, I am feeling unhappy. Since an agreement 
was signed with Bowring, Siameses have been familiar with opium free of 
custom duty flowing into Siam. As it began in 1855, it has been for a 
long time. It is common knowledge that they bear prejudice against 

Some people know all these bad things. They say that their children 
cannot make a living here and they send their children to the other side 
to work there. I would like to warn these people. Perhaps, the amount of 
profits may be small. If there are no bad consequences, they will not 
lose their investment. If there are a lot of profits with their 
attendant bad consequences, they will have to cry their hearts out like 
BanyaU. Beware of it. 

Author : Dr Ma Tin Tin Win ( Institute of Education ) 


PD Burma: Calendar of events

As of May 27, 2001

May 27th : 11th Anniversary of the 1990 election in Burma 

May  : ARF Senior Official Meeting, Hanoi 
May 31th ? June 1st :International Conference on Burma After The 
Military Dictatorship, Berlin. 

June  : Meeting in the Governing Body of the ILO 
June 1-4  : UN special envoy Razali Ismail is to visit Burma. 
June  : Meeting of the Socialist International Council, Lisbon 
June 8-10th : Burma Desk during the Italian Forum for Responsible 
Tourism, Venice ? Italy   More info., contact r.brusadin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

June 19th  : Aung San Suu Kyi birthday party and Burmese Women's Day 

July  : Belgium takes over EU Presidency 

July  : 8th RFA Ministerial Meeting, Hanoi 
July  : 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post-Ministerial Conference 

July  : ASEAN Summit 

Aug. 31st- Sep.7th : World Conference against Racism and Racial 
Discrimination, Xenophobia and related  intolerance, South Africa 

December 1st : Worlds Aids Day 

December 10th : 10th Year Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize for Aung 
San Suu Kyi 
February 2002 : The fourth Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka and 
Thailand-Economic Cooperation (BIMST-     EC) meeting, Colombo 


Amnesty International: Myanmar Country Report 2001

Covering events from January - December 2000

May 2001


 Union of Myanmar

 Head of state and government: General Than Shwe Capital: Yangon 
 Population: 46.8 million Official language: Burmese Death penalty: 

 Hundreds of people, including more than 200 members of political 
parties and young activists, were arrested for political reasons. Ten 
others were known to have been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment 
after unfair trials. At least 1,500 political prisoners arrested in 
previous years, including more than 100 prisoners of conscience and 
hundreds of possible prisoners of conscience, remained in prison. Daw 
Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy 
(NLD) were placed under de facto house arrest after being prevented by 
the military from travelling outside Yangon to visit other NLD members. 
Prison conditions constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and 
torture of political prisoners was reported. The military continued to 
seize ethnic minority civilians for forced labour duties and to kill 
members of ethnic minorities during counter-insurgency operations in the 
Shan, Kayah, and Kayin states. Five people were sentenced to death in 
2000 for drug trafficking. 


 As in previous years, the army continued to engage in skirmishes with 
the Karen National Union (KNU), the Karenni National Progressive Party 
(KNPP), and the Shan State Army-South (SSA-South). Sixteen cease-fire 
agreements negotiated in previous years between the State Peace and 
Development Council (SPDC) and various ethnic minority armed opposition 
groups were maintained.

 Continuing political stalemate In spite of international and domestic 
efforts, the military government of the SPDC refused to engage in 
dialogue with the NLD. In August Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD 
leaders left Yangon to visit NLD members. They were detained on the road 
in Dalah township by the military authorities for 10 days before being 
forcibly returned to Yangon. They were then held incommunicado under 
house arrest for 12 days. The NLD headquarters in Yangon were raided and 
documents reportedly confiscated. In September, when Daw Aung San Suu 
Kyi and NLD Vice-chairman U Tin Oo attempted to travel by train to 
Mandalay, they were forcibly removed from the Yangon train station. U 
Tin Oo was taken to Yemon Military Intelligence Base and detained there; 
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and eight other NLD Central Executive Committee 
members were placed under house arrest where they remained at the end of 
the year. Almost 100 NLD members were arrested in connection with the 
two attempted NLD trips, including NLD supporters who had gathered to 
greet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the train station. 

 Political prisoners

 At least 1,700 people remained imprisoned for political reasons, 
including 37 NLD members of parliament-elect. An additional 45 members 
of parliament-elect arrested in September 1998, 43 of them members of 
the NLD, continued to be held without charge in ''government 
guesthouses''. They had been arrested in a pre-emptive move to prevent 
them from convening a parliament after the SPDC's refusal to do so. Saw 
Naing Naing, an NLD member of parliament-elect from Pazundaung township, 
Yangon, who had been released in January 1999, was rearrested in 
September 2000.

 Ten political prisoners were known to have been released, including 
five elderly men released after the Special Envoy of the UN 
Secretary-General for Myanmar visited the country in October. 
 In the run-up to the 10th anniversary in May of the NLD election 
victory, hundreds of NLD supporters were arrested. In press conferences 
held in May and July, the SPDC accused the NLD of having links with 
exiled opposition groups which it claimed were involved in ''terrorist'' 
 U Than Lwin, an NLD member of parliament-elect from Constituency 2, 
Madaya township, Mandalay Division, was arrested and sentenced in May to 
nine years' imprisonment for sending a letter to the local authorities. 
The letter protested against a demonstration held against him in March, 
staged by the authorities, who reportedly forced people to attend. In 
May scores of NLD members from Taungdwingyi township, Magwe Division, 
were arrested for attending a party meeting; seven were sentenced to 
eight years' imprisonment. U Aye Tha Aung, a prisoner of conscience and 
leader of the Arakan League for Democracy, was arrested in April and 
sentenced to 21 years' imprisonment. His health deteriorated 
significantly following his arrest. He was the Secretary of the 
10-member Committee Representing the People's Parliament which the NLD 
and other opposition parties formed in 1998, and represented four ethnic 
minority opposition parties, including his own. Seven Rohingyas, 
including Serajudin bin Nurislam, were arrested in June for attempting 
to travel to Yangon. They were later sentenced to between eight and 12 
years' imprisonment and were held in Sittwe, capital of the Rakhine 
State. Rohingyas, who are Muslims living in the Rakhine State, are 
forbidden from travelling outside their home townships.

 Prison conditions

 The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continued visiting 
prisons, ''government guesthouses'' where members of parliament-elect 
were detained, and some labour camps. However they were not known to 
have had access to Military Intelligence Headquarters where torture was 
most frequently reported. In April the ICRC announced that it had 
identified some 1,500 ''security detainees''. Conditions in most prisons 
were extremely poor, owing to lack of adequate food, water, sanitation, 
and medical care. Myingyan Prison in Mandalay Division and Tharawaddy 
Prison in Bago Division were known to be particularly harsh. 

 Daw San San Nweh, prisoner of conscience and well-known writer, 
suffered from high blood pressure, arthritic rheumatism and kidney 
problems, but did not receive appropriate medical treatment. Poor prison 
conditions in Myanmar's largest facility, Insein Prison, further 
exacerbated her health problems. 


 Torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners continued to be 
reported. Methods of torture included severe beatings and kicks with 
boots; an iron bar being rolled repeatedly up and down the shins until 
the skin peeled off; near-suffocation; and ''the airplane'', where 
prisoners are suspended from the ceiling, spun around and beaten. 

 A Karenni Christian farmer from Loikaw township, Kayah State, reported 
that he was arrested by the army and accused of working with the KNPP 
after a battle between the two forces in February. He was beaten with 
rifle butts, punched in the face and kicked in the head so severely that 
his hearing was permanently damaged. He was then forced to accompany 
troops as a guide for one week during which time he was beaten every day 
with sticks and tied with a rope.

 Forced labour

 The army continued to seize ethnic minority civilians from the Shan, 
Karen and Karenni ethnic minorities for forced labour. They were made to 
work on infrastructure projects and to carry equipment for patrolling 
troops. Forced labour of criminal prisoners in labour camps, who were 
made to break rocks or to work as porters for the army, was also 
 A Shan woman from Laikha township, Shan State, reported that in 
February she had regularly been forced to cut bamboo, build fences, and 
maintain military camps and roads. 

 Extrajudicial executions Extrajudicial executions of ethnic minority 
civilians taking no active part in the hostilities continued to be 
reported. In Kunhing township, Shan State, more than 100 Shan and hill 
tribe people were believed to have been killed in January, February and 
May. The SSA-South was reportedly active in Kunhing township.

 International responses

 The SPDC presented its initial report to the UN Committee on the 
Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Committee expressed 
concern about, among other things, violations against ethnic minority 
women and the plight of women in custody. 

 At the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conference in June, the 
ILO gave the SPDC until 30 November to enact ''concrete and detailed 
measures'' to comply with ILO Convention No. 29 on forced labour, to 
which Myanmar became a party in 1955. If the SPDC was found not to 
comply, the ILO recommended, among other things, that ILO members should 
review ''the[ir] relations... to ensure that [the SPDC] cannot take 
advantage of such relations to perpetuate or extend the system''. In 
November the ILO's governing body met and decided that sufficient 
concrete measures had not been taken by the SPDC to comply with 
Convention No. 29 and therefore it upheld the ILO measures adopted in 

 In April the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted by consensus its 
ninth resolution extending the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on 
Myanmar for another year and deploring ''the continuing pattern of gross 
and systematic violations of human rights in Myanmar''. A strongly 
worded resolution was also adopted by consensus at the UN General 
Assembly in December. In April the UN Secretary-General appointed a new 
Special Envoy for Myanmar, whose mandate is to ensure implementation of 
the 1999 General Assembly Resolution on Myanmar. He visited the country 
in June and July, and again in October, when he met with General Than 
Shwe and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on 
Myanmar resigned; during his four-year tenure he had never been 
permitted by the SPDC to enter the country. 

 In May the USA renewed limited economic sanctions. In April the 
European Union (EU) strengthened its Common Position to include freezing 
the funds of SPDC members and other government officials in EU 
countries; this was renewed in October. The SPDC postponed an EU troika 
visit which was to have taken place in October, but the meeting between 
the EU and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which 
the SPDC attended, took place in Laos in December. 


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