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BurmaNet News: June 13, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         June 13, 2001   Issue # 1824
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*BBC: Forced labour mission off to Burma
*Reuters: Myanmar rejects rights group's labour report
*Telerama (France): Staying away from Burma

MONEY _______
*Boston Globe: Bills target rights violation--Would curb state pension 
investment connected to Burma
*The Nation :Goldmine for ACeS in Burma 
*BMA: Ivanhoe Plans $ 400 million Injection in Burma Mining Sector

*Bangkok Post: In brief: Rebels take Thais 
*Mizzima: Bullet smuggling rising on Bangladesh-Burma border

*Agence France Presse: Myanmar arrests 355 in drug raids 
*Bangkok Post: Chinese crew did not get to see drugs taken off boat

*AP: Human rights groups renew criticism of Myanmar over forced labor 
*AFP: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch say forced labor persists in Myanmar 
*AFP: Thai defence minister cancels Myanmar visit 
*AFP: ILO committee seeks guarantees for Myanmar forced labour probe 
*Bangkok Post: Forum-Asia places hope in PM's trip
*Bangkok Post: Maneeloy to close
*The Nation: Chavalit won't go to Burma 

*The Nation: Thaksin needs help to mend Burma ties 
*Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO): On Recent Anti-Muslim 
Riots and destruction of mosques in Burma
*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Why so unruly? 
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

BBC: Forced labour mission off to Burma

By regional analyst Larry Jagan 

12 June, 2001, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK 

The International Labour Organisation is keeping up the pressure on 
Burma to
stop the use of forced labour. The annual meeting in Geneva decided on
Monday to maintain the measures it adopted last year when it called on
member countries to consider taking tougher action against Burma --
including possible trade sanctions. Burma had asked for these measures 
to be
dropped. But the ILO did decided to go ahead with a planned three-week 
to Burma, to assess progress towards eliminating forced labour. Analysts 
the make-up and the itinerary of the ILO delegation will be determined 
Burma's leaders, and there are fears that there's no protection for the
witnesses who provide testimony to the delegation. Larry Jagan reports.)

The international community wants to impress on Burma that it regards 
use of forced labour as unacceptable. That's the main reason the ILO has
left the measures its already adopted in place until at least next year. 
according to the senior legal advisor at the ILO, the measures cannot be
changed until mid-2003 at the very earliest. And that, he said would 
on the recommendations made after the next mission to Burma. Last month 
senior ILO delegation visited Burma and were told that they would be 
to send a extensive monitoring team to Burma, for upto three weeks, in
September to review the effectiveness of the government's efforts to
eliminate forced labour. But analysts are concerned that the agreement
between Rangoon and the ILO effectively allows the Generals to decide 
membership of the delegation and where they go. The mission will not be
allowed to go places which the Burmese Generals regard as a security 
Analysts also fear that there is no protection for the witnesses who 
testimony to the delegation. This is always the case when the UN special
rapporteur interviews people in Burma and should apply to witnesses who
provide testimony to the ILO mission, a senior UN official told the BBC.
This issue is likely to be discussed again with Rangoon before the 
goes ahead. Sources in the ILO told the BBC that while the mission will
spend only three weeks in Burma, it will also spend time visiting the 
areas, particularly in Thailand interviewing refugees on force labour 
the confiscation of land. 

The ILO meeting concluded that one or two missions
would not be sufficient to determine whether the Burmese military rulers 
begun to eliminate forced labour, but that what was needed was a 
Privately the ILO says it wants to work towards setting up a permanent
presence in Rangoon, only then it says can it effectively monitor the
Burmese government's action on forced labour. The real test, according 
the ILO is whether the government punishes anyone found guilty of using
forced labour. Labour organistions and human rights groups all say they 
evidence that the use of force labour in Burma is still endemic. Human
Rights Watch Asia says the army still uses forced labour to dig trenches 
to build other military installations. Anyone who refuses is arrested 
beaten, they say. But for Rangoon the issue of forced labour hasn't been
shelved until after the next ILO mission, the UN's important Economic 
Social Council will discuss the issue when it meets in Geneva in July.

Reuters: Myanmar rejects rights group's labour report

BANGKOK, June 12 

 Myanmar's military government on Tuesday criticised a report by 
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch which accuses Yangon of using forced 
labour despite an official ban on the practice. 

 The rights group's report cited witnesses who had seen or taken part in 
forced labour this year, although Yangon had banned forced labour in 
October 2000. 

 Yangon condemned the report and Human Rights Watch. 

 ``Human Rights Watch's constant negative attitude, irresponsible 
actions and unrealistic expectations are in fact hampering and depriving 
the people of Myanmar of their rights to development and prosperity,'' a 
government spokesman said in a statement. 

 The statement said Myanmar was cooperating with the United Nations' 
International Labour Organisation (ILO) to reform labour practices and 
create ``appropriate jobs.'' 

 ``It is regretful to learn that Human Rights Watch is not aware of the 
developments taking place and the cooperation the Government of Myanmar 
has extended to the ILO,'' it said. 

 The statement gave no further details. 

 Human Rights Watch's report said migrants entering neighbouring 
Thailand from Mon, Karen and Arakan states, and Pegu and Rangoon 
Divisions of Myanmar said they had personally taken part in or had 
witnessed forced labor between February and May 2001. 

 Human Rights Watch on Monday urged business and labour leaders and ILO 
member states to press Myanmar to enforce the ban and allow independent 
monitors to verify compliance. 

 Myanmar issued its ban on forced labour in October. Previous orders 
prohibiting the practice in 1995 and 1999 were never enforced, according 
to the rights group. 


Telerama (France): Staying away from Burma

30th may 2001  

By Luc Le Chatelier 

[Translated by P. Pouvelle for Info-Birmanie.]

 Burma has it all.  Sun, blue seas, pagodas galore, 5-star hotels at 
rock-bottom prices, and a currency with an official exchange rate of 6 
to the dollar, or about 1000 on the black market.  What's more, the 
safety of tourists is guaranteed: on every street corner there are plain 
clothes policemen on the lookout, ready to collar any Burmese who might 
have contact with foreigners, other than that of a "brief, commercial" 
nature.  In short, a dream destination, promoted with just a passing nod 
to political correctness by the Hachette guide and Lonely Planet.  Even 
the "Guide du Routard", after devoting just 15 lines to the thorny 
question of "Should you visit or not?" answers in the positive, barely 
qualifying this with a few ethical recommendations.  

 And the French love it: out of a total of 150,000 tourists who 
compromise themselves by visiting Burma each year, 50,000 come from 
France.  It is high time they were told that behind this picture 
postcard paradise lurks a hell on earth. Before setting out they ought 
to spare a few minutes to read "Birmanie, mode d'emploi" (Burma, a 
handbook), the first non-guidebook for tourists, which lists all the 
good reasons for steering clear of this country rechristened Myanmar by 
a handful of bloodthirsty and corrupt generals.  The reader is reminded 
that since the 1990 election results were annulled (which gave 83% of 
the vote to the National League for Democracy and its leader, Nobel 
Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi), the ruling junta, implicated up 
to the hilt in drug trafficking, has been systematically destroying the 
country.  As in the Cambodia of Pol Pot, if in a more refined manner, 
any attempt at protest is crushed, the Shan and Karen minorities 
decimated, and intellectuals locked up, tortured or deported. The regime 
shut down the universities ten years ago and abandoned the schools - the 
latter only function thanks to parents' groups - and the army ranks have 
swollen from 400,000 to 800,000 men.  

 "Come when we are free!" is the cry of the rare survivors of the 
democratic opposition. A cry which is echoed by Annie Faure, a doctor 
and co-author of this little non-guidebook in which she reveals all.  
The 20,000 people, among them children as young as 8, enrolled by force 
to clean out the moat around Mandalay Palace with their bare hands, and 
with neither food nor pay; whole districts evacuated in the space of a 
few hours - 5,200 inhabitants of Pagan, nearly 200,000 in the capital, 
Rangoon - poor people shipped to the outskirts to leave the coast clear 
for luxury hotel development. Historic monuments are demolished, like 
the royal palace of Kengtung in Shan province, the emblem of this ethnic 
minority, razed in 1991 to make way for a hotel... which has never been 
built. As for the hasty, showy restoration of the centres of Burmese 
cultural heritage, all the archeologists who have visited the sites have 
come to the same conclusion as Aung San Suu Kyi, who calls it a "fascist 

 If, however, you have already booked your tickets and intend to go 
through with your trip, then this anti-guide suggests that you at least 
keep your eyes peeled. Be aware of forced labour, child exploitation and 
threats to the environment.  The book encourages -with caution- the 
reader to get off the beaten tourist track, and take one of the packed 
minibuses that rattle along to the outskirts of town. But do be careful. 
"Protect the Burmese" urges Annie Faure. "Do not openly enter into 
contact with them, respect their reticence and do not give them anything 
which might be misinterpreted by the police: I was told the story of a 
family who, for a 1 franc coin, given no doubt to a child by a tourist, 
found themselves in prison for illegal possession of foreign currency."  

 As in the Spain of Franco, who concreted the coasts and garrotted his 
opponents, or modern-day Tunisia, suffocating under a police regime, 
tourism, by lending support to dictatorships, can do more harm than 
good.  In Burma the peace that you find so enchanting is in fact a peace 
born  of fear.  

Birmanie : mode d?emploi  a new book by Action Birmanie (Belgium), 
Info-Birmanie (France) and Suisse Birmanie (Switzerland)  and edited by 
Balland (France) is now available.  The book is a new alternative guide 
on Burma in French. It gives an update on the general human Rights 
situation in Burma and explains the links between tourism and human 
rights.  There are also chapters on the three countries? governments? 
position on Burma.  Written with the collaboration of Claude Schauli, 
Brigitte Mac Donald and Francis Christophe.  You can order it by e-mail 
at one of these organizations for the price of 10$ (postage fees 
included)  Action-Birmanie :  www.birmanie.net 
Info Birmanie : info-birmanie@xxxxxxxxxxxx 
Suisse Birmanie :  asb@birmanie-int-ch 


Boston Globe: Bills target rights violation--Would curb state pension 
investment connected to Burma

By Dolores Kong
June 12, 2001

Several bills to make the $30 billion state pension fund more socially  
accountable - by requiring divestiture of investments in firms doing  
business in Burma and imposing proxy voting policies - will be the 
subject  of a State House hearing today.

The proposals are part of a longstanding effort to make the 
Massachusetts  plan more responsive to social concerns and reflect a 
growing interest in  so-called socially responsible investing.

The bills are among dozens of pension-related bills being heard at 1p.m. 
To address human rights violations in Burma, and in response to a US  
Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down a 1996 Massachusetts  
anti-Burma law, Representative Byron Rushing filed the bill to require 
the  pension fund to divest itself of companies doing business in Burma. 
The  high court said the Bay State law interfered with US foreign 

''We should be on record as continuing to support the restoration of  
democracy in Burma,'' said Rushing, a Boston Democrat.

The Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) board is bound to  
''invest state pension assets for the exclusive purpose of providing  
benefits to members of the retirement system,'' said Dwight Robson,  
spokesman for state Treasurer Shannon P. O'Brien, who is responsible for 
 the fund. But if the Legislature requires divestiture, ''then obviously 
 PRIM will implement that mandate,'' he said.

Three other bills would require the treasurer to make proxy votes 
public,  to vote against corporate boards that aren't diverse, and to 
vote in favor  of certain shareholder resolutions.

Robson said that the proxy votes are already public, and that while PRIM 
 supports equal opportunity, ''absent a specific mandate from the  
Legislature, it would be tough to achieve consensus on an actual 
policy''  on diversity.

Dolores Kong can be reached by e-mail at kong@xxxxxxxxxx

This story ran on page C2 of the Boston Globe on 6/12/2001. © Copyright 


The Nation :Goldmine for ACeS in Burma 

June 13, 2001

By Usanee Mongkolporn.

Burma's ethnic minorities think nothing of paying as much as Bt80,000 
for an ACeS handset and Bt40 per minute for calls. The amount is like 
small change to them.

Ethnic minority groups along the country's borders are a goldmine for 
regional satellite-based mobile-phone operator Asia Cellular Satellite 
(ACeS), said Somsak Padhana-anek, acting president of ACeS Regional 
Services (ARS), ACeS' service operator in Thailand and Indochina.

ARS is an offshoot of Jasmine International Plc, one of the four 
founders of ACeS.

ARS has 1,500 subscribers in the region, 80 per cent of them Thai. But 
the proportion is likely to change soon.

Somsak projected that by the end of this year ARS would sell 2,000 
handsets in Burma, up from 200 at present. Total sales in Indochina are 
forecast to reach 7,500.

The optimistic projection is based on strong demand among Burma's 
minority groups, who are in need of reliable communications devices as 
they live in tough border terrain and who have high purchasing power.

Demand is so high they are happy to pay between Bt70,000 and Bt80,000 
for ACeS handsets and Bt40 per minute in call charges.

ARS' Thai subscribers pay just Bt40,000 per handset and Bt18 per minute 
in connection charges.

Most ARS services are post-paid, but the firm will soon be switching to 
a pre-paid phone, which it says is easier to use.

The pre-paid phone service was launched in Burma last month.

ARS next plans to promote the service in Laos and Cambodia.

"We're negotiating a partnership deal with the Laotian government to 
jointly distribute ACeS handsets," Somsak said.

The countries of Indochina show strong potential because of their poor 
fixed-line facilities and low competition from other mobile-phone 

In a separate development, Jasmine's new president, Phongchai 
Sirinaruemitr, said the firm was considering selling all of its 33 
million shares, or 11.73-per-cent stake, in ACeS.

"If we can make a profit from the sale, it'll be interesting. But if we 
do, the sale will not affect ARS' business," he added.


BMA: Ivanhoe Plans $ 400 million Injection in Burma Mining Sector

Ivanhoe plans $400 million injections into Burma mining sector 
By Tin Maung Htoo
Burma Media Association (BMA)
June 11, 2001

The Canadian Mining Company that invested in Burma is now planning to 
inject huge amount of dollars into their ongoing mineral business with a 
new project, a move seemed to be a vital for hard-currency-starving 
Burmese regime while investments in Burma have sharply declined with 
52.54 percent early this year.  

"This would represent the single largest foreign investment in Burma 
since international oil cartels developed two offshore natural gas 
fields in Burma in the Andaman Sea in the mid-nineties," said Mr. Eric 
Mr. Snider, a leading shareholder activist in Vancouver, sent a letter 
to Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, the Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) at 
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, advising the 
minister hold on the government's support, until there has been a 
significant change in the country.  He also suggested the minister take 
necessary action in line with the ILO's resolution toward Burma, in 
which Canadian representatives took active role to pass the resolution 
at the conference.  

In 1998 Canadian government announced a limited economic sanction 
against Burma, restricting import and export, but no exact restriction 
upon further investment was specified.  According to some experts citing 
the existing Canadian constitution, Canada can only impose a full 
economic sanction against a foreign country under two special 
conditions; they are when the UN Security Council decides to do so or 
external elements come to threaten to Canadian' internal security.

The Secretary of State, also known as the junior minister responsible to 
Asia-Pacific region, is reportedly planning to meet with Ivanhoe's 
president Dan Kunz on June 13, 2001 to overview the company's proposed 
Meanwhile, Burma activists in Vancouver are planning to carry out a 
demonstration this Friday, as the 2001 shareholders meeting of Ivanhoe 
is to take place on June 15, 2001 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. 
"We are planning to hold Ivanhoe accountable for the unscrupulous 
behavior by staging a demonstration for the annual general meeting on 
June 15," Aaron James, the demonstration organizer, stated.

He explained that Ivanhoe's Monywa copper mine is one of the largest 
sources of foreign currency to the military regime, profiting from 
environmental destruction, slave labor, and exploitation of workers, and 
that is therefore, he said, undermining the foundations of life of the 
people of Burma. 

Last year September, Canadian Friends of Burma and Mining Watch Canada 
released a report about destructive effect of Ivanhoe's Monywa copper 
project, and that provoked the Ivanhoe company to challenge the pressure 
groups to withdraw the report or face with a lawsuit.  The company said, 
"the purpose of the documents is to try to influence decision makers in 
Canada and to try to hoodwink media."      

Amid mounting pressures, the company's stock promotion effort is still 
going on - not only merely to maintain the existing business, but also 
earnestly to stretch out with hundreds of millions of dollars - down 
playing any concern forwarded from pressure groups.  On June 6, 2001, 
the company president gave an interview with a local radio station in an 
attempt to lure more shareholders into a new project.  

"Letpadaung is a cornerstone of our strategy of building a low-cost, 
world-scale copper business.  The first phase, the S&K Mine, has been 
very successful, becoming one of the world's lowest-cost primary copper 
producers since its start-up in 1998." said in the company's report. 
The Letpadaung project, the second phase of Ivanhoe, is projected to 
value $ 389 million, and aimed at additional production of 125,000 
tonnes.  So far a Japanese and Chinese company are said to have interest 
to cover financing and construction.  The first phase of the S&K Mine 
Project is operated a 50/50 joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines and the 
state-owned Burma Mining Enterprise No. 1. It produced 20,715 tonnes in 
1999 and planed to increase by 40% to 35,000 tonnes a year.

The company stated, "there had never been a better time to be in the 
business of mining. While technology has changed many things, including 
mining, the need is greater than ever for basic metal such as copper and 
steel- essential building blocks of modern economies." 

Mr. Snider, however, warned shareholders "you have to have a strong 
stomach to invest in smaller resource companies. Unions, religious 
groups, ethical funds and others who get involved with this kind of 
thing with companies like Unocal steer away from the likes of Ivanhoe 
because of the risk involved."  

He also pointed the company's downing stock trend, "when Ivanhoe was 
just getting the Monywa mine set up in 97 the stock traded in the C$ 
17-19 range. Right now it's around C$ 2."  

According to the company's latest report, copper cathode production at 
the Monywa mine was down slightly in the first quarter of 2001 but 
expected to rise during the whole year to a level of 28,300 tonnes.

Nevertheless, Monywa copper project, one of the largest copper producers 
in Asia, is in fact not only vital for the existence of Burmese military 
rulers, but also indispensable for the Ivanhoe company since the major 
projects, its derived profit, and future prospect mainly locate in 


Bangkok Post: In brief: Rebels take Thais 

June 12, 2001 

Two Thai workers have been captured by Shan State Army rebels from a 
logging site opposite Mae Hong Son, a logging firm source said 

The two workers, one from Chiang Mai and the other from Lampang, were 
hired by a Thai company to drive tractors for a logging firm owned by 
Burma's Ho Mong chief Maha Jah. 

The SSA earlier sent a letter demanding 300,000 baht protection fee from 
Maha Jah but the demand was rejected. 

The capture of the Thais was believed to be a warning. 

Dhaka, June 12, 2001 

Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

            The smuggling of bullets across the Bangladesh-Burma border 
has been rampant in recent months and the Na Sa Ka personnel based in 
Maung Daw township in Arakan State of Burma are allegedly involved in 
the smuggling racket, sources in the border areas say.  
The sources added that some Na Sa Ka Burmese border security personnel 
are allegedly selling out the bullets to the petty smugglers in the 
border. A M-16/ AK-47/G-3 bullet can be bought with kyat 200 from Na Sa 
Ka forces and the same can be sold in Bangladesh side with taka 100-150 
(about kyat 1200-1800). As the bullet smuggling is paying wealth, many 
local people are now involved in this smuggling business.  

On May 26, two Rakhine nationals residing in Bangladesh were arrested 
along with 400 rounds of bullets at an army gate of Bangladesh Defence 
Rifles in Cox's Bazar. The local police said that the two had been doing 
this bullet smuggling for several months and they reportedly admitted 
that they sold the bullets to some Bangladeshi politicians in the area.  

Acting on the revelation of the arrested duo, the police have been 
searching for a Rakhine national living in Nilla village of Bangladesh 
border, who is believed to be the link between the Burmese Na Sa Ka and 
the smugglers. 


Agence France Presse: Myanmar arrests 355 in drug raids 

June 12, 2001, Tuesday 6:12 AM

Myanmar authorities arrested 355 people on drugs charges and seized 60.7 
kilograms (133.5 pounds) of raw opium and 9.7 kilograms (21.3 pounds) of 
heroin in April, state-run media reported Tuesday. 

Police and customs arrested 280 men and 75 women in 251 cases during a 
nationwide crackdown, TV Myanmar said in a broadcast monitored here. 

Nearly 920,000 amphetamine tablets and 4.8 kilos (10.5 pounds) of 
marijuana, as well as large quantities of heroin-refining chemicals and 
illegal medicines, were also confiscated. 

Myanmar's ruling junta has come under harsh international criticism, 
particularly from the United States and Thailand, for its alleged 
involvement in the narcotics trade and its failure to clamp down on 
illegal drug producers. The junta denies the charges. 	



Bangkok Post: Chinese crew did not get to see drugs taken off boat

 June: 13, 2001

By Teerawat Kumtita, Chiang Rai

Thai police yesterday questioned eight crew members of a Chinese vessel 
seized by Burmese troops on Sunday.

The boat, loaded with farm products from China, was searched while it 
was docked at Mueng Pong in Burma on its way down the Mekong river to 
Chiang Rai's Chiang Saen port.

The boat and its crew arrived in Chiang Saen yesterday following their 
release from Burma earlier in the day.

The boat was inspected by Pol Maj-Gen Somkid Boonthanom, chief of Chiang 
Rai police. The skipper and his men were invited in for questioning.

Skipper Wang Zuming, 38, said he had been hired by a Burmese man for 
2,000 baht to deliver 10 sacks weighing 50kg each from Mueng Pong in 
Burma to a port at Wat Pong Sanuk in Chiang Saen. The skipper said he 
accepted the job without knowing what was inside the sacks.

The boat was raided by Burmese soldiers after only three sacks were 
loaded onto the vessel. The Burmese hirer fled in a car, he said. The 
skipper said the Burmese soldiers claimed there were at least six 
million methamphetamine pills in the sacks. However, the crew was not 
allowed to see the drugs.

The skipper and his men were then taken to Tachilek town for 
questioning. They spent Monday night in a cell before their release 

Pol Lt-Col Kollachai Preechaona, the Chiang Saen immigration police 
inspector, said stricter measures might have to be imposed on foreign 
vessels visiting Chiang Saen port.

He said police were checking if Yang, or Saengmuang, Yipa, a Chinese Haw 
shareholder of a local shipping firm, was involved in drug smuggling. 
Police investigation showed the man had used the service of the Chinese 
vessel seized on Sunday.

The provincial police chief, Pol Maj-Gen Somkid Boonthanom, said 
authorities would keep a close watch on the eight crewmen as well as 
other people suspected of involvement in the smuggling of drugs by boat.

Border security would be stepped up ahead of the June 24 implementation 
of a policy to liberalise water transport.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AP: Human rights groups renew criticism of Myanmar over forced labor 

BANGKOK, Thailand - 2001-06-12 Tue 12:51 

 Two human-rights lobbying organizations on Tuesday renewed their 
criticism of Myanmar's military regime for its use of forced labor. 

 The statements by New York-based Human Rights Watch and London-based 
Amnesty International were released during the annual conference of the 
U.N.'s International Labor Organization in Geneva, which began last 

 In an unprecedented move last November, the ILO urged its 175 member 
governments to impose sanctions and review their dealings with Myanmar _ 
also known as Burma _ to ensure they are not abetting forced labor. 

 The body left it up to individual governments, organizations and labor 
unions to determine what they will do. 

 Myanmar has continued using forced labor even though it officially 
banned the practice more than eight months ago, Human Rights Watch 
charged Tuesday. 

 The government denies the allegation. Previously it defended the 
practice by describing such work as traditional voluntary community 

 In a news release, Human Rights Watch said it had evidence that forced 
labor was continuing as recently as last month. 

 The group urged business and labor leaders, as well as ILO member 
states, to press the Myanmar regime to take immediate action to enforce 
a ban on forced labor enacted in October last year and verify compliance 
through regular visits by independent monitors. 

 ``If Burmese authorities are serious about ending forced labor, they 
should mount a nationwide program to enforce their own ban,'' Sidney 
Jones, executive director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, 
was quoted saying. ``Then they should invite independent monitors in to 
see for themselves.'' 

 Jones said, ``The international community should keep up the pressure, 
and until all forced labor is ended and this has been independently 
verified, foreign companies should refrain from investing in Burma.'' 

 The ILO said Monday that it would send a team of investigators to 
Myanmar to assess progress in stopping forced labor in the country. 

 The ILO ``welcomed Myanmar's decision to renew cooperation'' with the 
organization, but ``deplored the lack of progress in eliminating forced 
labor,'' said John Doohan, spokesman for the U.N. labor agency. Myanmar 
threatened to end cooperation with the ILO after last November's finding 
against it. 

 Legal changes in Myanmar aimed at stopping the use of forced labor were 
``a relevant but insufficient basis'' for improving the situation 
there,'' Doohan said. 

 Amnesty International said Tuesday it had released a new report 
highlighting the use of forced labor against ethnic minorities in 

 ``Ethnic minorities continue to be targets of repression and suffer a 
wide range of human rights violations, but the most common abuse is 
forced labor duty,'' said Amnesty in a news release. 

 ``The military frequently forces men, women and children from ethnic 
minorities to carry heavy loads over tough terrain for days or weeks at 
a time or to work on construction projects such as building railways, 
roads and dams. Hundreds have died from exhaustion and beatings,'' it 


AFP: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch say forced labor persists in Myanmar 

BANGKOK, June 12 

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) Tuesday denounced the 
use of forced labor in Myanmar, saying the brutal practice persisted 
there despite an official ban introduced last year. 

 "If Burmese (Myanmar) authorities are serious about ending forced 
labor, they should mount a nationwide program to enforce their own ban," 
the US-based HRW said in a statement. 

 Amnesty said ethnic minority groups were a particular target for forced 
labor, especially in disputed zones where armed opposition groups 
continue to fight the military. 

 "The military frequently forces men, women and children from ethnic 
minorities to carry heavy loads over tough terrain for days or weeks at 
a time or to work on construction projects," it said in a statement. 

 "Hundreds have died from exhaustion and beatings." 

 The ruling State Peace and Development Council last year introduced 
legislation making forced labor a criminal offense, in a bid to head off 
a damning International Labor Organisation (ILO) resolution. 

 The ILO nevertheless called on its members to review their ties with 
Myanmar, an unprecedented step that paved the way for possible 

 HRW said that as recently as May, migrants coming into Thailand from 
Myanmar said they had taken part or witnessed forced labor projects 
overseen by military police who beat villagers to make them work faster. 

 Some of the workers were just 10 years old, the witnesses told HRW. 

 The rights group said it is "not aware of a single case in which a 
Burmese (Myanmar) official has been sanctioned for violating the order 
 .. which provides for a penalty of up to one year in prison, a fine or 

 HRW urged business, labor leaders and ILO member states "to press the 
Burmese government to take immediate action to enforce the October 27 
ban and verify compliance through regular access to Myanmar by 
independent monitors. 

 Myanmar's relations with the ILO have thawed since the November 
resolution, which prompted the generals in Yangon to declare they would 
completely withdraw cooperation with the organisation. 

 In May, an ILO technical team made an unpublicised visit to Myanmar to 
negotiate an accord on the eradication of forced labor, and another 
visit is to take place in September. 

 The ILO said last week that the September mission, which could last 
three weeks, is to review the impact of steps taken by Myanmar to end 
forced labour.
 Members of its Committee for the Application of Standards insisted the 
team be granted "broad powers, access to regions and information and 
witnesses, and that there be protection for those witnesses." 


AFP: Thai defence minister cancels Myanmar visit 

BANGKOK, June 12 

Thailand's Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Tuesday cancelled his 
plans to visit Myanmar to prepare for a much-awaited debut trip by Prime 
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. 

 Chavalit, who also serves as deputy premier, was due to fly to Yangon 
on Monday ahead of Thaksin's March 19-20 visit. 

 "Defence Minister Chavalit will not go to Myanmar as he has to be 
acting prime minister while Prime Minister Thaksin is away," deputy 
defence minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa said. 

 He did not explain why one of Thaksin's other four deputies could not 
stand in for the premier when he visits Cambodia on June 18 and 19. 

 The Myanmar trip is the most sensitive leg on a three-nation tour this 
month which will also take the prime minister to Laos on Wednesday and 

 Chavalit, a former army chief, is reputed to have a good working 
relationship with the generals in Yangon. These links had been expected 
to help foster cordial relations between the junta and Thaksin's 
administration which came to power in the January elections. 

 However, for most of this year the neighbours have been embroiled in an 
increasingly bitter row over who is responsible for the rampant border 
drugs trade. 

 Thaksin has repeatedly said he is confident the problems will be ironed 
out during his first visit to Myanmar. 

 On Tuesday he said that in meetings next week with his counterpart, 
Senior General Than Shwe, he expected to table the drugs issue, as well 
as border security and economic cooperation. 

 "Chavalit has coordinated well (with Myanmar) on many issues, thus my 
work is smooth and Myanmar's attitude is gradually becoming more 
positive," he said. 

 Thaksin said China will soon set a date for an upcoming four-nation 
drugs meeting with Thailand, Laos and Myanmar which is to be held in 
Chinese city of Kunming. 



AFP: ILO committee seeks guarantees for Myanmar forced labour probe 

GENEVA, June 11

An International Labour Organisation (ILO) committee on Monday sought 
extended powers for a mission it will send to Myanmar in September to 
review the impact of steps taken to end forced labour. 

 Meeting at the organisation's annual assembly, members of the Committee 
for the Application of Standards insisted the mission be granted "broad 
powers, access to regions and information and witnesses, and that there 
be protection for those witnesses," the ILO said. 

 Like all of the organisation's bodies, the committee is made up of 
country representatives, workers and employers. 

 The high-level ILO mission, which could last three weeks, would review 
the impact of steps taken by Myanmar to end forced labour, under a plan 
announced by Yangon in October, officials announced last week. 

 The Myanmar government agreed to the visit and said, according to a 
protocol accord released by the ILO last week, that team members would 
be free to travel and arrange meetings unless there were "valid security 

 The committee on Monday said it welcomed "the Myanmar government's 
decision to renew cooperation with the ILO," adding that it "nonetheless 
deplored the lack of progress in eliminating forced labour." 

 According to the ILO statement, "certain legislative changes that have 
been introduced since October last year ... were relevant but an 
insufficient basis for improving legislation." 

 The dozen or so members of the mission will be chosen for their 
impartiality and their knowledge of the region, and while Myanmar said 
it wanted to approve the envoys, its request was turned down. 

 The mission is expected to report to the Geneva-based ILO in November. 

 Last November, the ILO recommended that its members review their 
relations with Yangon, an unprecedented step paving the way for possible 

 Myanmar has been under fire in the ILO since 1998, when an inquiry 
commission said it had significant direct testimony of the systematic 
and general use of forced labour, particularly involving ethnic 


Bangkok Post: Forum-Asia places hope in PM's trip

June: 13, 2001

 By Achara Ashayagachat

A regional human rights group was confident Prime Minister Thaksin 
Shinawatra could forge closer ties with Burma during his visit to 

After a meeting yesterday with the Bangkok-based group, Foreign Minister 
Surakiart Sathirathai said the government hoped an increase in 
people-to-people contacts would bridge the gap between the two nations.

Gothom Arya, adviser to the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development 
(Forum-Asia), said bilateral dialogue should be promoted in various 
tracks both in secret and in the open.

"Exchanges of cultural and religious activities would be good 
channels."Ahead of the prime minister's visit to Rangoon on Tuesday, the 
Bangkok-based NGO insisted true peace and democracy would not be ensured 
unless the Burmese government co-operated with the opposition party and 
the ethnic minorities.

"We're willing to help support the reconciliation process, if we're 
allowed to do so," he said.

Mr Surakiart said the NGO could discuss the matter with Burmese 
diplomats in Thailand or Foreign Minister Win Aung, but it should not 
interfere with Burma's domestic affairs.

Any initiative should be in line with that of the United Nations 
secretary general's special envoy Ismail Razali, Mr Surakiart said.

Forum-Asia also pushed forward the establishment of the Asean human 
rights mechanism and hoped the Asean ministerial meeting in Hanoi would 
deal with the issue.

They raised the pending ratification of the Rome Statute, which would 
require Thailand to co-operate with other signatories to bring those who 
committed crimes against humanity to international trial.


Bangkok Post: Maneeloy to close

June: 13, 2001

The Maneeloy holding centre for Burmese students in exile will be closed 
in September, the Interior Ministry's foreign affairs division said.

The closure was discussed yesterday by Pairoj Promsan, deputy interior 
permanent secretary in charge of security, and Jahanshah Assadi, 
representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Nirand Kallayanamitr, head of the foreign affairs division, said the 
centre had sent 5,800 students to a third country since 1992. 

Only 400 students remain. The centre would be closed tentatively in 
September after the last batch leaves, Mr Nirand said.


The Nation: Chavalit won't go to Burma 

 June: 13, 2001

GENERAL CHAVALIT Yongchaiyudh has been at the forefront in Thai-Burmese 
relations, yet next week when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra heads to 
Rangoon, the deputy prime minister and defence minister will stay 

Instead, Chavalit will serve as acting prime minister in Thaksin's 
absence, a senior government official said yesterday.

Chavalit, whose personal diplomatic efforts helped Thaksin secure an 
earlier trip to Burma, is unable to accompany the premier to Rangoon on 
from June 19 to 20. 

He is scheduled to visit China at the invitation of his Chinese 
counterpart from June 20 to 24, Deputy Defence Minister General Yuthasak 
Sasiprapha said.

But his absence should not be a problem since he has already talked to 
Burmese authorities and laid the groundwork for Thaksin's visit, 
Yuthasak said.

The Foreign Ministry will be responsible for setting the agenda of the 
summit meeting.

The Defence Ministry, meanwhile, will deal with measures to build 
confidence between the two countries' armed forces, Yuthasak said.

General Chetta Thanajaro, who is an adviser to Thaksin and is a good 
friend of the Burmese junta's leader, will accompany the premier along 
with two other soldiers who have a good knowledge of Burma.

Chavalit, known for his rapport with Rangoon and an unpopular go-softly 
approach to Burma, was a no-show from the high-profile drug conference 
in Chiang Rai in March. He gave no details on the reason for his 

But sources close to the Chavalit said his absence from this trip was 
purely the call of duty.

PM's office minister General Thamarak Issarakura said Thaksin had 
personally requested Chavalit to remain in Thailand to look after the 
Cabinet meeting. 

Also, protocol does not require the first deputy prime minister to 
always accompany the premier, Thamarak said. 



TheNation: Thaksin needs help to mend Burma ties 

June: 13, 2001

By Vorapun Srivoranart.
After four months of conflict, with ties at their lowest ebb, the two 
countries must find new rules of engagement 

Every conflict yields a new set of rules governing the relationship of 
those involved, and that between Thailand and Burma is no exception. How 
the conflict is resolved will immediately become a benchmark for the 
future conduct of bilateral ties.

Too much has occurred during the past four months to permit turning the 
clock back to the time before the border clash between the respective 
armies at Pang Noon. The articles in the Burmese state mouthpiece, The 
New Light of Myanmar, slandering Thai kings and the introduction of a 
history textbook slighting the Thai people offer a glaring example of 
the new reality of Thai-Burmese relations.

These two incidents could be viewed as the culmination of problems 
emanating from different causes that have arisen in the interstate 
conflict. They also signify that a subtle alteration has been made to 
the rules of engagement between the two countries and hence new limits 
have been set.

One might dismiss the seriousness of the recent historical debate 
between the two sides as an over-reaction since history is a very 
subjective field and always open to interpretation. Academically, this 
might be true, but it is not the case in the present context when 
history is misrepresented through anachronism and selective emphasis for 
a political objective. Worse, the process is happening on both sides of 
the conflict.

The spat also reflects the nature of historiography in Southeast Asia, 
which is very biased and devised to foster a sense of nationalism and 
anti-colonialism. Indeed, history is significant for the life of a 
nation and more often than not becomes an effective political instrument 
due to its ability to shape the minds of its people.

For the sake of national unity and, to a greater extent the security of 
the ruling regime, a common enemy has to be produced, projected and 
sustained. In essence, the resulting conflict is often portrayed as a 
moral battle between dharma (virtue) and adharma (evil) according to the 
Theravada Buddhism prevalent in both Thailand and Burma.

In this environment, the manner in which the people of both countries 
relate to each other is through "negative identification", emphasising 
the differences between them rather than what they hold in common. The 
process will inevitably lead to a perception of "us versus them", which 
is not conducive to healthy relations.

Therefore, Rangoon's systematic campaign to project Thailand as a new 
enemy to the three pillars of Burmese history - national unity, 
anti-colonialism and the independence struggle - is a cause for serious 
concern. Before, Thailand rarely merited a place in Burmese history, not 
to mention a school textbook, because for them the chief enemy was 
always the British.

Therefore, a new history textbook on Thailand and Burma, hastily 
introduced, represents a crucial turning point in mutual relations. The 
effect will certainly not be immediate, but in the long run will 
gradually foster a new "bad guy" image, and be inscribed in popular 
perception as "our permanent and natural enemy".

On the other hand, a similar process had begun long ago in Thailand and 
the present tension only reaffirms the perception of a bellicose Burma 
arrayed against a benign Thailand. 

So why worry about a mere textbook instead of the articles in The New 
Light of Myanmar? The answer lies in the forceful effect the textbook 
will have on the socialisation of a future Burmese generation and their 
relation to their Thai counterparts which could do more harm than 
newspaper articles which no one believes are impartial. 

Moreover, one should also not overlook the political mentality of the 
Burmese of good conscience who have to endure the military regime's 
brutality and who harbour contempt for their actions. It was this 
political mentality that played a part in the landslide victory of the 
National League for Democracy in the 1990 election.

In anticipation of new problems, it is worthwhile to look back at the 
beginning of the conflict four months ago, and ask ourselves: How did 
things reach this state? What went wrong with foreign policy? For one 
thing, everyone has forgotten about the genesis of the conflict that has 
brought Thai-Burmese relations to the lowest point ever, since responses 
have been anything but coherent and tend to drift from problem to 

The signals sent out by both governments have been equally confusing as 
a result of competitive manipulation by various interest groups to gain 
primacy. So, it has been four months of disunity against disunity, 
resulting in chaos and the victory of a personality-driven approach. An 
interesting question here is whether the whole affair is a product of 
international relations or a product of domestic political disruption in 

A clear answer is needed before Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra boards 
a plane to Rangoon next week because foreign policy cannot afford to 
operate on a trial-and-error approach.

For now, it seems both Thaksin and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence 
Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh are following closely a popular theme of 
Thai history about the emergence of a great man. The future will judge 
whether their statesmanship is genuine or presumptuous . 

Regardless of the outcome of the conflict, the two nations have to move 
on and it is best for the people of both sides not to put their future 
only in the hands of a few leaders. The future belongs to everyone and 
it would be a noble dream if we the people of Thailand and Burma could 
one day live together in a "security community".


Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO): On Recent Anti-Muslim 
Riots and destruction of mosques in Burma

7th June 2001

In Burma frequent outburst of anti-Muslim riots in different parts of 
Arakan and Burma resulting in the death of Muslims and plundering their 
properties. The present ruling military junta State Peace and 
Development Council (SPDC) by and watched the looting of Muslim 

Several anti-Muslim riots took place in Sittwe (Akyab), from 4th to 8th 
February 2001, the provincial capital of Arakan,  and other towns of 
Kyaukpru, Pauktaw and Maybon.  In this riots at least 40 Muslims were 
dead and over 30 injured including one Buddhist monk. About 80 houses 
were burnt down including 30 shanty-houses of Buddhist community and 10 
shops, one boarding owned by Muslims were razed to the ground.

This riots continued for  5 days but military and the police did not 
stop the riots, though their camps are near the riots places. The 
military and police  also encouraged and physically participated at the  
side of the Buddhist rioters. The youths of Union Solidarity and 
Development Association (USDA) of ruling junta disguising as young 
Buddhist monks and their followers attacked the Muslim quarters.

It is the phenomena of the successive Burmese governments that whenever 
they are facing critical situation either of economical or political, 
they use to divert the situation into a riot between Buddhist and 
Muslims in which Muslims are  always made as a escape-goat. At present 
Arakan is like a big jail for the Rohingya Muslims. After happening the 
riots, travelling of all Rohingya Muslims from any parts of the Arakan 
to Akyab (Sittwe) are totally banned by the authority. The ruling junta 
has been creating anti-Muslim sentiment among the Buddhist of Arakan. It 
is widely believe that whatever  happenings in the form of riots in 
Arakan are not accidental but an act of pre-planned arrangement 
systematically being carried out throughout the time.

Recently in Maungdaw township 12 mosques attached with religious schools 
 in Ghodosara Village Tract, 10 Mosques with attached 5 religious 
schools in Baggona Village Tract, 2 mosques in Chairapara 
(Pa-Yaungbangyi), one Mosque in Kilaidaung (Cheradan), one mosque in 
Ludine (Dodan) Para, in total 26 Mosques including religious schools 
were destroyed by the Na.Sa.Ka authority from 13th to 20th May 2001. 
Many religious leaders who opposed against such action of ruling junta 
were beaten and detained while some were went into hiding. The Na.Sa.Ka 
authorities have also listed to destroyed many mosques and religious 
schools in near future particularly at Maungdaw north, Buthidaung and 
Rathedaung townships. 

In this regard, a team of religious leaders from Maungdaw township 
comprising of       Dr. Nurul Hoque, Chairman of Religious Council, Mr. 
Salim, Chairman of Myanma Muslim Organisation and Hafiz Noor Mohammed, 
an E.C Member of Jamaitul -Ullama met the Director General of Na.Sa.Ka, 
Headquarters at Kowarbil (Gyiganbin) and the Director told them that 
these were done by the order of the higher authority. He told them that 
he will summit this matters to the higher authorities not to occur in 

Similar anti-Muslim riots were broken out during the months of March and 
April in 1997. About 30 mosques were also demolished in the mainland 
Burma, particularly, in the cities of Rangoon, Mandalay, Toung Ngu, and 
Prome etc.. Earlier a number of mosques in Arakan including the historic 
Sandi Khan mosque built in 1430 C.E were razed to the ground.  In 1997 
alone atleast 42 mosques were demolished throughout the country.

On 15th May 2001, a group of Military Intelligence (MI) disguising of 
young Buddhist monks and hundreds of their followers from USDA came to 
Muslim quarters of Taung Ngu and suddenly attacked 14 mosques at a time 
while Muslims were praying. As a result 5 mosques and 200 Muslim houses 
were burnt down to ashes, destroyed many shops and restaurants owned by 
the Muslims. Two monks also were killed during the two days long riots. 
Among them 4 Muslim leaders died when the rioters cut their throats and 
the owner of a restaurant was beaten to death. Most of the Muslims of 
Taung Ngu  were compelled to flee to the neighbouring townships.

During this time, Muslim villages of Kywe Kyaw, Auk Nyein and other 
villages were also under the arson attacks. The Iman (who leads prayer 
in the mosque) Moulvi Anwar of Taung Ngu  Jam-e-Masjid was hacked into 3 
pieces and kept on Rangoon-Mandalay highway to make it known to the 
Buddhist public, as an act of timely needed one. 

The riots also spread  to Taunggyi, Thagaya, Swa and Pyu, Taungdwingyi, 
Yadashe and Nyaunglebin on 20th to 23rd of May 2001, resulting at least 
20 people dead, more than 100 houses were burnt down, and thousands of 
Muslims became homeless.

The above religious riots were instigated and pre-meditated by military 
intelligence against in a bid to divert attention from the current 
economic and political crisis of Burma. In the 2nd week of May, 2001, 
the value of the Kyat has been dropped to its lowest ever and now rests 
at about 885 Kyat to the one US$ on the black market. With the drop of 
the Kyat, the price of other basic commodities has skyrocketed. 
Additionally, the recent rationing of electricity has driven up the 
price of petrol, which is used to power small privately owned 

A Western diplomat in Rangoon said that it was a pretty big rampage by 
the young Buddhist monks and the Burmese ruling junta has ordered a 
curfew after anti-Muslim riots was over. The military junta had not 
immediately released official statement on the riots. But after passing 
a long time, the SPDC has carefully admitted the occurrence of 
anti-Muslim riots in Burma and the SPDC reasoned that it was an internal 
problem between the Muslim and  Buddhist community. According to 
Buddhist monk Khin Ma-Thara, President of the Young Monks Association of 
Burma, based on Thai-Burma border, the riots may continue up to 
September 2001 because these riots were organised under the direction of 
Regional Military commanders. The intelligence apparatus of ruling junta 
has been publishing and distributing pamphlets on which they stated that 
today in Burma the Muslim population is more than 20% of the total 
population. The pamphlet also indicates that Burma is turning into a 
Muslim country in a shot time if Muslims were let free.

Therefore, the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO), Arakan, 
strongly condemned the present ruling military junta SPDC of Burma  for 
creating such heinous anti-Muslim riots and destruction of religious 

I, on behalf of ARNO and the Rohingyas of Arakan in particular and the 
Muslims of Burma in general appeal to the International Community, the 
Governments of World and World Bodies including UNO, OIC, NAM, SAARC, 
ASEAN, NGOs, IGOs and other Humanitarian and Human Rights Organisations 
to help stop further escalation of the anti-Muslim riots in Burma and to 
investigate the real situation of Muslims and to raise the issue at an 
appropriate forum of the World Bodies.

We, also particularly appeal to our neighbouring  Bangladesh Government 
and the People of Bangladesh to press the present Burmese ruling junta 
to protect the mosques and the Islamic religious institutions in Arakan 
and Burma and also to ensure the security  of lives and properties of 
the Muslims. 

(Nurul Islam)
Arakan Rohingya National Organisation


The New light of Myanmar: Why so unruly? 

Friday, 8  June, 2001 


In the sports world, our coaches have often said "lay it hard, but not 
rough.  If you want to win, you must play hard. But you will be sent out 
if you play  unruly, and hitting others. 

Ó In this case, your unruly acts are too much. You hit other country's  
territory with heavy weapons and also with fighter-bombers. Do you think 
we  Myanmars are physically handicapped? 

Myanmars have always upheld the values of Myanmar society "Enhance 
amity,  diminish enmity". We Myanmars cannot be flattered to act in a 
funny way as  you do. 

In the past, they were known as Siamese but now they are called Thais. 
They  are highly civilized people. They greet people by putting their 
palms  together in a gesture of respect. 

During a festival in Tachilek in 1955, Thais came to the town to sponsor 
 gambling ventures and stage Lamon traditional dances and Thai boxing 
matches  at the festival. The song "Lele-kaw Mar-chin-laung" sung at the 
Lamon dance  show is still in my heart. 

Kayin soldiers from the Myanmar Tatmadaw also took part in the Thai 
boxing  matches. The winner got K 50 and the loser, K 30. As even a 
loser would get K  30, he could enjoy the festival together with his 
friends with his prize  money. 

In one match, Yin Maung, a Myanmar soldier, faced a young Thai boxer 
whose  height was five feet eight inches. But Yin Maung was only five 
feet four  inches tall. Thus, the Thai boxer had the advantage in weight 
as well as in  height. 

As soon as the first round began, the Thai boxer pressed hard to struck 
blows  on Yin Maung who was dodging in the ring. In the second round, 
the attacking  young Thai seemed to be a little tired. 

Yin Maung then made faces at the competitor as he had done during his 
fight  at the Myanmar traditional boxing championship match in Kayin 
State. The Thai  boxer was imitating his acts. Yin Maung then bent his 
legs, and when the Thai  boxer followed his posture, he jumped onto the 
Thai's lap, grabbed his head  and hit his chin with his knee. In a 
stunning situation, the young Thai boxer  who was caught by a surprise 
attack had to clean the blood from his mouth  with his hand and glanced 
at Yin Maung. 

Grabbing this right opportunity, Yin Maung gave left and right fly kicks 
at  the chin of the Thai boxer. The Thai youth fell onto the floor. When 
the  judge's count reached "eight", the Thai boxer put his palms 
together and told  Yin Maung that he was not able to continue the fight 
as Yin Maung was so  superior to him. 

This was the spirit of sportsmanship. In other words, as a Thai, he had 
shown  the civility of his people. 

I was wondering "From where did the barbarians arrive in Thailand and 
mingle  with the civilized Thais?" 

History stands witness to the fact that Myanmars were much friendly 
towards  the Thai people. 

The Burma Independence Army was founded in Bangkok on 16 December 1941 
to win  back independence. 

When the two nations were enjoying a closer bilateral friendly 
relations, who  tried to ruin the relations, and for what reason? The 
Myanmar people find it  amazing. 

But Thais are saying that Myanmars have intrusion into their territory  
throughout history. But who were the Jon invaders who attacked Bago 
during  the Bagan period? Who were the intruders that attacked 
Taninthayi Division  which had made King Bayintnaung to conquer Siam 
during his endeavours to  reunite the nation. 

According to Maha Yazawin (History), the Siamese troops attacked Dawei, 
Myeik  and Mottama and seized Myeik region during the reign of King Min 
Ye Kyaw Htin  (1673-1698). 

Who was the real culprit in history? When U Aungzeya (King Alaungphaya) 
was  reuniting the nation, he had to drive out the Siamese intruders 
from  Taninthayi. As the Siamese tried to defy the King, he had to chase 
the  enemies who fled into Siam. So, who was responsible for all this?  
Though Myanmars can forget these events with the conviction "Enhance 
amity,  diminish enmity", why can't the black sheep of Thailand have the 
wish to  enhance amity? 

I would like to raise a question. Why is the country thinking the wolf 
from  ten thousand miles away to be a noble person while refusing to 
have the  brethren spirit on its immediate neighbour? In Myanmar 
history, there was an  event. The event is "that the hero, Kyansittha, 
tried to rescue Prince Saw  Lu, who was taken prisoner by Ngayamangan, 
in much difficult condition. Saw  Lu, who had false hopes over the enemy 
shouted "Kyansittha is trying to take  me away". So, Kyansittha left him 
behind and ran away. But Saw Lu was  murdered by his enemy. A black mark 
was left in history because of mistrust.  
And now, we are brethren neighbours. The problems between us can be 
solved  through the diplomatic channel. Don't get rough due to the 
flattery of others.  

Author : Thila 


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