BurmaNet News, August 13, 2004
editor at burmanet.org
Fri Aug 13 10:58:15 EDT 2004
August 13, 2004, Issue # 2538
DVB: Burma junta still pressing NLD to stop peaceful petition campaign
ON THE BORDER
Irrawaddy: KNU president calls for peace
Thai News Service: Long-neck Karens registered as immigrant workers
AIDS / HEALTH
NewsRx.com: HIV/AIDS Funding; Report: Myanmar to receive US$35.6 million
from Global Fund
BP: Heroin, 'ice' haul; Three nabbed after big drugs find
BUSINESS / MONEY
Times of India: Dhaka softens stand on allowing Indian pipeline
OAPNA: Deportation for 571 illegal workers.
FT: Economic boost is top priority
Irrawaddy: Can NLD turn the tides?
New Light of Myanmar: Those who darent show their face
August 12, Democratic Voice of Burma
Burma junta still pressing NLD to stop peaceful petition campaign
The local authorities of Burmas military junta, State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC) are still putting more pressures on members of
National League for Democracy (NLD) to stop the signature collecting
campaign calling for the release of all political prisoners including Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy U Tin Oo, and the reopening of all NLD
Three NLD leaders at Minhla, Pegu Division in central Burma were summoned
and warned to stop the campaign on the pain of severe punishments by the
local military authorities and intelligence personnel.
The elected representative of Minhla Township Daw Hla Hla Moe told DVB
that three NLD leaders there were told by the authorities the campaign
could cause disturbances among the populace.
The authorities accused them of pressurising people to sign the petition
but they retorted by saying that they have neither guns nor power to do
She added that the people volunteer to sign the petition out of their own
free will because they sympathise with political prisoners and their
U Hla Myint, the vice-chairman of Yenangyaung Township in Magwe Division
said that NLD leaders there had also been summoned and warned for the
third time by the local authorities on 7 August.
The authorities threatened the NLD leaders with arrests by police and
Despite intimidations from the authorities the peaceful campaign is
gaining momentum and support from the people throughout Burma.
ON THE BORDER
August 13, Irrawaddy
KNU President Calls for Peace - Shah Paung
In a speech marking the 54th anniversary of Karen Martyrs Day on August
12, the president of the Karen National Union, or KNU, reiterated the
groups desire to find a peaceful solution to the countrys ethnic
nationality problem and the half century conflict between the KNU and the
As [the military government] always demanded us to lay down arms and
enter their legal fold, our peaceful endeavor failed and we still have to
be in the battlefield, said KNU president Ba Thin Sein, in a statement
issued on Tuesday.
Ba Thin Sein was unable to attend the ceremony because he is receiving
medical treatment in a hospital in the Thai town of Mae Sot. His statement
was read at Martyrs Day ceremonies, which were held at several locations
along the Thai-Burma border early yesterday morning. KNU deputy chairman
and army commander Gen Bo Mya was also unable to attend because of
About 200 people, including Buddhist monks, attended the ceremony in the
KNU Seventh Brigade area. Ethnic Karen living abroad also commemorated the
In his statement, the KNU president said, We will continue our effort to
find a peaceful way to resolve our Karen and the ethnic nationality
He also said that a peace agreement must be established on principles,
guaranteeing the rights of Karen people, [and] agreed upon by the two
The KNU has been fighting the Burmese military for 55 years but in
October, the junta announced it was ready to formally reconcile with the
Karen insurgents. The parties have met three times since negotiations
began last December. The KNU and the junta have originally agreed to hold
the fourth round of ceasefire talks in the third week of August, but the
meeting has been rescheduled for early September, said the KNU foreign
affairs secretary, David Taw.
In January KNU deputy chairman and army commander Gen Bo Mya led a
delegation to Rangoon for the second round of talks, in which the two
sides agreed to a gentlemans ceasefire. Despite the informal agreement
to halt fighting, the two sides have engaged in small-scale skirmishes
throughout KNU-controlled territory.
On August 12, 1950 KNU founder president Saw Ba U Gyi was gunned down
along with eight of his colleagues in Kawkareik, Karen State, while
fighting against the Burma Army.
Martyrs Day honors fallen leaders, soldiers, and civilians that have lost
their lives during the conflict.
August 13, Long-neck Karens registered as immigrant workers
Thai News Service
The long-neck Karens' origins are in Myanmar, but decades of civil war
there has forced them to seek refuge in Mae Hong Song.
The governor of Mae Hong Song province has ordered an investigation into
the registration of the long-neck Karens.
But the Mae Eye District Officer authorities have refused to say on what
grounds they accepted the registration applications of long-neck Karens as
illegal workers from Myanmar.
It is possible to trace any illegal relocation of the long-neck Karens.
The relocation of these people would also require official permission.
The Mae Hong Song provincial officials say the National Security Council
(NSC) guidelines for the registration of foreign workers clearly states
that refugees are not entitled to be registered.
"There will be problems if employers have registered long-neck Karens as
immigrant workers, as they may actually be war refugees, or high plains
residents", a local labour official Onchon Rattanamanee told TNA on
Meanwhile, the Mae Hong Song local authorities have dismissed the
registration of long-neck Karens as immigrant workers, as they regard them
as high-plains residents
Long-neck Karens are often employed in both of these occupations.
There are only two types of authorised work which registered immigrant
workers can perform -- as labourers and household maids.
Work permits cannot be issued to immigrant workers until they are approved
by governors in their respective provinces.
There are 18 categories for registration as immigrant workers under the
jurisdiction of the Department of Provincial Administration.
However, the work permits for the long-neck Karens will have less
privileges than work permits issued to other immigrant workers, as they
did not have any other identification documents prior to their
It is now up to the Labour Department to determine which type of jobs they
will be allowed to do.
They did not sneak into Thailand at the nearby province of Mae Hong Song,
according to their employers.
The long-neck Karens, often categorised as Myanmar workers, had emigrated
from the northern Chiang Rai Province before 1 July, when the month-long
registration period for illegal foreign workers started.
These applications have been accepted, he said.
According to the Mae Eye district chief, Adisorn Kamnertsiri, applications
from 20 long-neck Karens was supported by two local employers.
Meanwhile, the Chiang Mai Labour Department says it will speed up the
verification of their data to allow them to be issued with work permits.
Section: General News - The Mae Eye district in Thailand's northern
province of Chiang Mai has reported the registration of long-neck Karens
as immigrant workers.
AIDS / HEALTH
Aug 17, HIV/AIDS Funding; Report: Myanmar to receive US$35.6 million from
2004 AUG 17 - (NewsRx.com & NewsRx.net) -- Myanmar will begin receiving a
US$35.6 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria in September, a semiofficial newspaper has reported.
The money will be administered by the United Nations Development Program
(UNDP) and will be disbursed over 2 years, with US$19.2 million for
campaigns against HIV/AIDS, US$9.4 for malaria and US$7 million for
tuberculosis, the Myanmar Times reported.
The UNDP will distribute the money to government agencies, nongovernmental
organizations and international groups. The World Health Organization in
Myanmar, which helped prepare the proposal for the grant 2 years ago, will
be a technical adviser, it said.
It was unclear exactly how the funds would be spent.
WHO resident representative Dr. Agostino Borra said Myanmar's programs to
fight the diseases are currently underfunded, according to the Myanmar
The Geneva-based Global Fund is a public-private partnership that receives
most of its funding from donor governments.
This article was prepared by TB & Outbreaks Week editors from staff and
other reports. Copyright 2004, TB & Outbreaks Week via NewsRx.com &
August 13, HEROIN, 'ICE' HAUL; Three nabbed after big drugs find
Chiang Rai -- Two women and a man have been arrested for having in
possession with intent to sell 3.8 kilogrammes of crystal amphetamine or
"ice" and 2.9kg of heroin smuggled from Burma.
Narin Panichkij, the provincial governor, identified the three as Thidarat
Chaiya, 20, Pimchanok Khaodong, 20, and Thiti Kongtoey, 25, all of Muang
district, Chiang Mai.
Customs officials of Mae Sai district searched Ms Thidarat on Wednesday
while she was returning from Tachilek, the Burmese border town. They found
3.8kg of "ice" in her suitcase.
Police say she gave them information which led them to a room at Amporn
Resort in Mae Sai where they found another suitcase with 2.9kg of heroin
Ms Pimchanok, an alleged accomplice, was nabbed from a bus at a checkpoint
in tambon Mae Chedi in Wiang Pa Pao district. Her husband, Thiti, was
arrested later in Chiang Mai. They told police they were hired for 10,000
baht each to smuggle the drugs into the country.
Pol Maj-Gen Chamnong Kaewsiri, the Chiang Rai police chief, said more
heroin was being smuggled in than methamphetamines. The drugs were
believed to have been stored inside Burma during the government's war on
August 13, Dhaka softens stand on allowing Indian pipeline
The Times of India - Sanjay Dutta
NEW DELHI: Bangladesh is softening its stand on allowing an Indian
pipeline through its territory for wheeling gas from Myanmar, proposing an
opportunity-based tariff instead of transportation charges based on the
The proposal was brought up by Bangladesh foreign minister Morshed Khan
during his June meeting with oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, a top
petroleum ministry official said.
Opportunity-based tariff means India will have to share the savings with
Bangladesh as the other options of an undersea pipeline or onland through
the treacherous north-eastern region will cost many times more and is
physically not feasible.
This is evident as ONGC has had to cap production from its Tripura fields
at 10 lakh cubic metres of gas daily against a capacity of 45 lakh cubic
metres as it found a north-east pipeline for feeding the gas into the
national network unworkable.
"The Bangladesh idea provides a point of discussion. We need to change our
mindsets. A pipeline through Bangladesh will be an example for our outlook
on the two proposed transnational pipelines on the western side," the
The Bangladesh proposal means India will pay a little extra. But even then
transportation costs will be much lower than shipping gas as LNG as it
involves manufacturing processes of liquefaction and reconversion.
The extra pipeline tariff will be offset as this pipeline will also unlock
ONGC's Tripura gas besides binging Delhi and Dhaka closer.
ONGC had long back proposed a 345-km pipeline from Akhauro near Agartala
to Bongaon near
Kolkata, via Komilla in Bangladesh. Gas from Tripura fields can be pooled
into a pipeline network linking the fields using Konaban, Agartala Dome,
Baramura and Manikyanagar as nodal points.
A Bangladesh construction company, Mohona Holding Ltd, had also sought
Dhaka's permission to build a similar pipeline. It had also sounded out
Gail on this.
ONGC's overseas investment arm, OVL, and Gail together hold 30% in a huge
gasfield in Myanmar. They are now considering building LNG terminal for
transporting the gas in ships.
August 13, Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
Deportation for 571 illegal workers.
BANGKOK, Aug 13 (TNA) - Nearly 600 illegal immigrants who failed to take
advantage of the government's foreign worker registration process were
yesterday given a free lunch by the Immigration Bureau in honor of the
72nd birthday of Her Majesty the Queen - before being deported.
Presiding over the lunch for the 571 immigrant workers from Cambodia, Laos
and Myanmar was Pol. Maj. Gen. Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the Deputy
Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau.
"On this important occasion, the Immigration Bureau is providing lunch for
the detainees from three countries. All of these people who illegally
entered the country will have to be deported in accordance with the law.
During their time in detention, they are being treated humanitarianly, and
are in good conditions", he said.
"These people are not criminals, but our neighbours who escaped from the
heat to the cool. By deporting them, we will allow them to come face to
face with their families once again".
All the immigrants had been rounded up by the police following the expiry
of the government's effective amnesty for foreign labourers at the end of
Pol. Maj. Gen. Pongsapat said that all the workers, of whom 437 are male
and 134 female, would then be deported.
He also warned of stiff penalties for employers who continued to employ
A total of 1,269,074 foreign workers took advantage of the government's
registration scheme last month, of whom 902,881 were from Myanmar, 181,614
from Laos, and 181,579 from Cambodia. (TNA)-E006.
OPINION / OTHER
August 13, Financial Times
Economic boost is top priority - Jeffrey D Sachs
Sir, Aung Din (Letters, August 9) claims my analysis "parrots the
revisionist claims by Burma's military rulers that the 1990 election (won
by a landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy)
was about writing a new constitution - it was most certainly not".
Yet, in the lead-up to the May 27 1990 election, the ruling state council
had emphasised that a new constitution would be required. On May 19 1990,
The Economist reported: "The main job of the elected assembly will be to
write a constitution on which there will be a referendum. This will be
followed by an election to form a new government. The whole process is
expected to take two years, during which the state council will continue
The Independent newspaper, the Associated Press and other international
media issued similar reports before the election. Indeed, Aung San Suu Kyi
made the same point on July 1 1989 in an interview reprinted in her essays
Freedom from Fear. Asked what would happen after elections, she answered:
"Whoever is elected will first have to draw up a constitution that will
have to be adopted before the transfer of power. They haven't said how the
constitution will be adopted. It could be through a referendum, but that
could mean months and months, if not years."
The NLD, in the wake of its landslide victory, proposed to come to power
within weeks by reintroducing the 1947 constitution. The army rejected
this, arguing that a new constitution should be ratified by referendum, in
part to secure the support of the ethnic minorities. According to The
Independent, the army also wanted to revise the constitution to eliminate
"any possibility of secession for ethnic minority states around the
Burmese borders". In the event, politics failed, and a devastating
Rather than sanctions, Myanmar needs an economic recovery supported by
international trade and investment, and a recovery of political dialogue.
A step-by-step process could consolidate the regime's success in
negotiating the end of the ethnic insurgencies, establish a new
constitution and succeed in the long-delayed transition to democracy.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New
York, NY 10027, US
August 13, Irrawaddy
Can NLD turn the tides? - Aung Naing Oo
The May 30 attack in Depayin last year crippled Burmas main opposition
party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD. The partys leader, Aung
San Suu Kyi, is in detention and even the partys big uncles, who remain
free, have been unable to initiate anything in her absence.
But this may be changing.
First, in late July, the party launched a nationwide signature campaign,
calling for the release of political prisoners, including Suu Kyi, and the
reopening of NLD offices across Burma. Reportedly, students, monks and
even well-known artists have endorsed the petition. The junta has warned
the campaign might stir tensions among the NLDs opponents.
Second, NLD leaders in the states and divisions have held soul-searching
meetings in most of its offices around the country. Even the Sagaing
Division NLD, still nursing its wounds from the Depayin massacre against
the NLDs supporters, has concluded its meeting. The good news is that the
big uncles are said to have responded positively to suggestions from
Third, and most important, the big uncles, or NLD executive branch, may
expand its ranks to include newer and younger members. Whether the
decision resulted from mounting pressure from within and outside the
party, it is a welcome and long overdue move.
But is this enough to reverse the oppositions declining fortunes?
So far, the pro-active stance is gaining support across the country. The
junta has also not clamped down on the NLD as harshly as might be
expected. However, intelligence agents are closely monitoring the partys
members and quietly disrupting their activities to keep the momentum in
The coming few months will be crucial. The September 18, 1988 memorial,
the anniversary of the NLDs founding, the ASEM meeting in Hanoi in
October (in which some European countries warn may be derailed by Burmas
attendance), and the reconvening of the constitution-drafting National
Convention in November are significant dates on Burmas political
The junta would be foolhardy to crackdown on the NLD at this time and
invite additional international criticism. Thus, unless the NLD gains too
much ground, the Burmese generals will wait patiently.
On the other hand, the move, which may have been taken without the
approval of Suu Kyi, is a sign that for the first time in 16 years the
party is likely to forge ahead without her. If the partys leaders can
carry the party during her absence, it will certainly earn kudos from
other opposition groups and the militarys critics. It will also gain the
juntas attention. Critics may no longer talk of the need for a new
political force to replace the NLD.
Will the new strategy be a success? It depends on non-NLD political
forces, the general population and above all, the regimes usual blunder,
said Nyo Ohn Myint, a foreign affairs official of the NLD in exile.
However, he adds that he has faith in the new strategy.
It seems the NLD has developed a resistance to the juntas repression. It
seems as if the party is ready to take on something new.
Realistically, however, even if the NLD succeeds in turning up pressure on
the junta, it is unlikely that the regime would enter into negotiations.
Getting them to negotiate can only work through a combination of pressure
and a clear and comprehensive negotiation strategy.
The bottom line is that if the NLD wants to turn the political tides
around, it must act decisively and without delay, preferably within these
three months, which have traditionally been the months of political
defiance in Burma. If these dates pass without incident, people will lose
even more interest in Burmese politics. Thus, it behooves the NLD to up
the tempo now. Opportunity does not knock twice.
August 13, Those who darent show their face
The New Light of Myanmar
As they are making wicked lies and slanders one after another, the BBC and
the VOA have become skilled in creating fabrication. At 6 am on 26 July
2004, the BBC aired an interview with Ko Teik Naing of the AAPP concerning
the demise of poet U Kyi Tin Oo. The VOA also broadcast an interview with
his daughter at 9 pm on the same day.
The brief account of the fabrication was that the BBC interviewed the
so-called secretary of the AAPP about U Kyi Tin Oo, who was released from
jail on 26 March 2004 and who died on 24 July. Teik Naing told the BBC
that U Kyi Tin Oo died of hypertension, cardiac disorder and diabetes,
which he was suffering from, while serving his jail term. Teik Naing also
said that his toe was already decomposed; and that bits of bamboo were
found inside his body as he was stabbed and hit with pointed bamboo sticks
during the interrogation.
But during the VOA interview, her daughter said that his father was
suffering from hypertension since before he was sentenced. She even said
that her father underwent medical treatment at Insein Hospital before he
was released from prison.
So, it has become quite clear. What the so-called secretary of the AAPP,
an organization that is located at a far corner in a remote border area,
said about U Kyi Tin Oo was nothing but lies to make the matter worse.
Such a person who is skilled in creating lies and fabricated sad stories
will be very rare.
The acts of the expatriates and fugitives of the AAPP and the corrupt
politicians from inside the country attacking Myanmar and her Government
on all fronts to the degree beyond imagination to make political gains
were so mean.
Whenever a person dies after he was released from prison for a period of a
month or a year or ten years, the AAPP and the corrupt politicians always
create a sad story, with fabrications, saying that the said person died of
the effects of tortures in the prison or during interrogation or died of a
certain illness or diseases due to lack of prison health care services.
And if he died in prison, they slander the Government for not releasing
him sooner for enabling him to undergo medical treatment in time. In
reality, those persons are very pitiful for they are constantly under the
influence of the greed to grab power.
Man is not free from death, sufferings and illness. Death may come at any
time. So, a prisoner or an ordinary person can die at any time. Moreover,
a person can be contracted by some kind of disease while he is in prison
or at his house. But a prisoner like U Kyi Tin Oo is sentenced to
imprisonment without hard labour. U Kyi Tin Oo was so comfortable in the
prison, enjoying sound sleep every night and daily meals served at the
right time. The prison doctors provide regular medical check-ups for
inmates, and give them medical treatment. If necessary, specialist
surgeons make medical check-up on and gave medical treatment to them. The
prisoners are even treated at public hospitals outside the prison. So, the
accusations that a prisoner is stricken with a certain kind of illness or
disease while serving his jail term are just lies. And the liars create
the slanderous accusations not because of their goodwill for the
prisoners, but just because of their greed to earn dollars.
A prisoner like U Kyi Tin Oo enjoys a comfortable life in jail. But when
he is released from prison, he has to make much physical and mental
efforts to earn his living and solve his family, social and economic
problems. He may lose appetite or suffer from insomnia for his worries.
Such social problems may make him suffer from a certain kind of illness or
worsen his chronic disease.
U Kyi Tin Oo was not a bed-ridden person after he was released from prison
on 26 March 2004. He was seen in a normal condition and active within his
community in Yangon. He could be seen sitting at tea shops in Yangon
chatting with his companions.
But a person like U Kyi Tin Oo should take care of his health to recover
from his chronic disease he had been suffering from since before he was
sentenced to jail. Carelessness would worsen his health condition and
invite other related diseases.
In short, the Government has no concern at all with the death of U Kyi Tin
Oo. He died not because of the disease he was stricken while serving jail
term as said by the BBC, the VOA and the AAPP, but because of the chronic
disease he had already been suffering from. During the four months after
he was released on 26 March, he was in normal condition.
He suffered from a stroke only on 18 July and was sent to hospital. When
physicians made a medical check up on him, they found out that in addition
to the chronic disease he was suffering from for a long time, he was also
stricken with diabetes and coronary artery disease. He died of coronary
artery disease on 24 July.
As I believe that the matter has become crystal clear now, I am going to
conclude my article. The expatriates and fugitives of the AAPP are
committing sins with wickedness and the BBC and VOA are attacking Myanmar
and her Government with all kinds of fabrications. And now, they are even
trying to make political gains out of the death of U Kyi Tin Oo. Thus, I
would like to say that they are like the persons who darent show their
face in public because of their sins.
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