BurmaNet News, September 2, 2004
editor at burmanet.org
Thu Sep 2 12:43:30 EDT 2004
September 2, 2004, Issue # 2551
DVB: USDA members attack Burmese student
Network Media Group: Burma includes 'Road Map' in HR curriculum
ON THE BORDER
Irrawaddy: Child trafficking gang arrested in Mae Sot
Radio Myanmar via BBC: Burmese authorities seize 54 kg heroin in Lashio
The Nation: Thai Govt wants World Bank to help fund removal of landmines
The Nation: Exim Bank: Govt forced us to lend to ShinSat project
AFP: EU hopes to break deadlock over ASEM summit
OPINION / OTHER
FT: Asean's institutions are still in poor shape
S.H.A.N.: Should EU give in to Burmas participation in ASEM?
Kaladan Press: ARNO Press Release
Frontline: Can Sanctions Bring Democracy?
September 2, Democratic Voice of Burma
USDA members attack Burmese student
Members of Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) beat up a
Burmese student without provocation at Prome, Pegu Division in central
Burma on 30 August.
First year Chemistry student Maung Ye Naing was attacked by Aung Moe Zin,
Ko Ko Htaik and Ko Mu while he was returning to his hostel.
Fortunately, he was rescued by other students. He is recovering in the
The parents of the victim reported the incident to the local police and a
spokesman there told DVB that two of the attackers are now being detained.
USDA is the youth wing of Burmas military junta, State Peace and
Development Council (SPDC) comparable to Hitlers Brown Shirts responsible
for attacking pro-democracy activists and intimidating civilians in Burma.
September 2, Network Media Group
Burma includes 'Road Map' in HR curriculum
Human rights education group yesterday accused Burmese government trying
to lengthen the dictatorial system by adding seven steps 'road map' in
"Human Rights" curriculum.
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) made a statement
yesterday that Burmese government was insincere in formulating the first
ever curriculum of Human Rights for high school students which came out
"Teaching 'Road Map' has no relation to human rights. By doing that, I
believe that Burmese government is forcing the students to accept their
'road map' using the name of Human Rights education'', said Aung Myo Min,
director of HREIB.
Burmese government in August has drawn up a curriculum for "Ethical
teaching and Human Opportunities" to teach in 8th and 9th grades. In the
curriculum government included their seven steps 'road map' with the title
of 'Towards the Peaceful and Develop Nation'.
Aung Myo Min also pointed out using the name of 'Human Opportunities'
instead of 'Human Rights' was a human rights abuse excluding the rights
concerning government duties in Universal Human Rights Declaration.
"The meaning of 'human opportunities' is different from the meaning of
equalities in human rights. As the 'opportunity' is different for
individuals in different situations, the use of word 'Human Opportunities'
itself is a human rights abuse," said Aung Myo Min.
Being under pressure by international community for human rights abuses,
Burmese government decided to teach Human Rights for the first time in
Burmese Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt announced seven step 'road map'
on August 30 last year claming the way to democratic changes in Burma in
response to the international pressure after arrest of Nobel laureate
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But, the 'Road Map' was opposed by the
democratic oppositions by boycotting the reconvening of 'National
Convention' which was the first step in announced 'road map'.
ON THE BORDER
September 2, Irrawaddy
Child trafficking gang arrested in Mae Sot - Aung Su Shin/Mae Sot
A Burmese child trafficking gang was arrested in Mae Sot, district police
said on Thursday.
Based on a tip-off, police rounded up Be Be, aged 23, from Mae La refugee
camp, who was about to sell her four-day old baby for 5,000 baht to three
womenSuda, aged 35, Fatamabi, 49 and Jamjara, 19, said Police Captain
Patompong Kawparapirom. All three women are from Burma and hold Thai
refugee pink cards. Be Be has a displaced persons card.
This gang was going to sell the baby to their contact in Ratchburi for
20,000 baht and from there to Malaysia, said Pol Capt Patompong.
According to officials at the refugee camp, 80 to 120 babies are born
every month at Mae La.
Mae Sot police are currently investigating the extent of child
trafficking, according to Pol Col Somjit Thongtheng, the district police
chief. This is the first time that we have arrested child traffickers. We
do not know how many children from the refugee camp have been trafficked,
he told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.
This sort of crime carries a sentence of up to seven years in jail, said
Pol Capt Patompong Kawparapirom.
September 1, Radio Myanmar via BBC
Burmese authorities seize 54 kg heroin in Lashio
A combined team comprising members of the local intelligence unit and the
Lashio Special Anti-Drug Squad, acting on information, searched the cars
at a vehicle inspection point in Hsenwi Township, Lashio District on 25
The team searched a white Hilux pickup which was heading for Muse from
Lashio with driver Low Yin Htike alias Kyaw Aung alias Nyi Nyi, and
passenger Ma Tin Kwelyan and found 55 packets of heroin weighing 54 kg
hidden in a secret compartment under the flooring of the back part of the
In connection with the case, action is being taken against Low Yin Htike
alias Kyaw Aung alias Nyi Nyi, son of U Yin Hpo who resides at No 709, 8th
Mile Junction Housings in Yangon Rangoon , and Ma Tin Kwelyan, daughter of
U Htin Kyin Lin from Ta Mong Mge Village in Kutkai Township, by the No 1
Police Station of Lashio, which opened first narcotics information report
No 131/2004 under Sections of 15/19(A)21 of Narcotic Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances Law.
September 2, The Nation
Govt wants World Bank to help fund removal of landmines
Thailand is seeking World Bank assistance to fund the clearing of
landmines in border provinces, which are still littered with the deadly
remains of former conflicts.
Foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai revealed this week that preliminary
discussions had already been held to determine what the World Bank can
contribute to mine action.
Next month I will be seeing president [James] Wolfensohn of the World
Bank myself and will convince the World Bank of the benefit to become more
on board to lend support and assistance to mine action, Surakiart said at
the opening of a three-day landmine conference in Bangkok, which ended
The World Bank can provide grants from its Post Conflict Reconstruction
Fund for capacity building in mine action. The World Bank should look at
landmine actions more as a development issue than just a humanitarian
issue. In that light, the bank will find itself a better development
partner in many more parts of the world.
So far, we have had encouraging and positive indications from the bank.
The Kingdom has a surprisingly large landmine problem, with mines in 27
provinces, mainly along its borders with Cambodia, Laos and Burma.
There are four military units working to clear landmines in Sa Kaew,
Chantaburi, Surin and another in the Central region near Phetchabun and
the border with Laos. But their work is badly hampered by a lack of funds.
This year the government has allocated a paltry Bt32 million to landmine
clearance, despite the fact more than half a million Thais live in
communities adjacent to areas with mines.
In the first five months of this year, two people were killed and at least
10 more injured by mines. Last year 25 people were injured and four
killed. Most of the victims come from poor farming families.
International delegates attending this weeks conference preparing for
the big Nairobi Summit in November, to review the first five years of the
International Convention Against Landmines voiced mixed opinions at the
governments moves in regard to mine action.
Thailand is one of more than 140 states that has signed and ratified the
Ottawa convention. In April 2003 it destroyed the bulk of its mine
stockpile, as all signatories are required to do.
Thailand has also done a lot internationally to push the convention by
lobbying states that have yet to sign on such as Laos, Vietnam, Burma
and Singapore as well as hosting last years summit on the Mine Ban
However, ironically, it has done little to confront its own considerable
landmine problem, delegates said.
Previous assistance from foreign donors appears to have deterred the
government from confronting the problem, they said, and that has been a
serious impediment to economic development in marginalised border
Thailand is not seen as doing a lot at home, despite having considerable
more capacity [than neighbouring states] to address the problem, one
North American official said.
In terms of mine clearance, it is so much more sophisticated in Cambodia,
where they have established a national plan, the official said.
A spokesman for Thailands Mine Action Centre told the Foreign
Correspondents Club of Thailand on Monday that TMAC intended to have a
master plan ready by the Nairobi summit so we can tell sponsors how much
we need for mine clearance.
A spokeswoman for the Thailand Campaign to Ban Landmines said the worst
affected area was adjacent
to the Cambodian border, where some1,943 square kilometres have been
deemed mine-affected (mined or possibly mined).
On the northern Laos border, some 212 sq km is affected, although these
areas are more remote.
Along the western Burma border, another 400 sq km is classed as
contaminated by mines. The situation on this border was described as
tense, making it difficult to extend humanitarian mine action, partly
because this is the only region where new mines are being laid.
Mines are also laid around military areas in jungle terrain in the South,
but these are marked and not deemed a significant danger to civilians, she
September 2, The Nation
Exim Bank: Govt forced us to lend to ShinSat project - Prapasri Osathanon
The Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank) yesterday testified to a
Senate committee that it had been forced by the government to grant loans
to the controversial Shin Satellite broadband satellite system project in
We have no choice but to follow government policy. Although it was not a
written order, it could be understood verbally, Exim Bank president
Sataporn Jinachitra told the Senate committee on foreign affairs. This is
not a business to which the Exim Bank usually grants loans, he said.
The Exim Bank approved the Bt600-million loan for the Burmese government
to buy into the broadband satellite system that Shin Satellite, the firm
partly owned by the Shinawatra family, was chosen to supply.
The project was proposed as part of the Bt4-billion credit line Thailand
extended to Burma to help develop its infrastructure, with the condition
that materials be purchased from the Kingdom and loans be repaid within 12
years at interest of 3 per cent.
It has been suggested Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra used foreign
policy to benefit his familys communications empire.
Kraisak Chonhavan, chairman of the Senate panel, raised doubts that the
cash-strapped regime would be able to repay the loans, given US and
European economic sanctions against Rangoon after it detained opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi last year.
Kraisak also raised concerns that the Exim Bank could be inadvertently
engaged in the laundering of drug money because Burmese financial
institutions have allegedly been used to launder drug money in the past.
Sathaporn said the Exim Bank had no duty to solve corruption in Burma,
adding that Burma had always been a good debtor.
He reiterated that the procurement process was the sole responsibility of
Rangoon and the Exim Bank had nothing to do with it.
Despite repeated calls from various agencies for the Exim Bank to fully
disclose its contract, the bank has refused.
September 2, Agency France Press
EU hopes to break deadlock over ASEM summit
EU foreign ministers hope to agree a compromise Friday to allow a summit
with key Asian partners to go ahead despite fierce differences over
military-ruled Myanmar, diplomats said Thursday.
The European Union (EU) ministers are to meet for two days of informal
talks in the southern Netherlands, with the Myanmar deadlock the first
item on the agenda.
"I think we are close to an agreement," said one diplomat. "All efforts
are going to be made to ensure that we can maintain the summit and to
ensure that Burma knows what it has to do."
The row centres on EU reluctance to allow Myanmar to attend the so-called
ASEM summit -- gathering the EU and seven members of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and South Korea -- in
Hanoi on October 8-9.
ASEAN wants its newer members -- Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar -- to be
included in the summit in return for the participation of 10 new EU
members who joined the EU in May.
But the European Union has a visa ban in place against the Myanmar regime.
Britain, the colonial ruler of what was then Burma, is the EU's harshest
opponent of having any dealings with Yangon.
EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said in June that the
Myanmar regime had overseen a "calamitous" deterioration in the life of
its impoverished people, and had failed to deliver on promises of
Those broken promises included keeping democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
under house arrest, and refusing to allow her National League for
Democracy unfettered participation in a national political convention, he
Some diplomats suggest one hoped-for solution could involve the EU
agreeing to attend the summit but only if military-ruled Myanmar is
represented at a junior level.
Former Dutch foreign minister Hans van den Broek, the EU's special envoy
on the issue who has visited the region in recent weeks, will debrief the
weekend EU meeting at a castle outside the Dutch town of Maastricht.
"I don't think anybody in the EU wants the Hanoi summit cancelled ...
These are incredibly important countries for the EU," said one source,
voicing hope that "we will be able to reach a compromise to ensure the
meeting takes place."
Current Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country currently holds
the European Union's presidency, has said he hopes for a decision at the
"I hope that we will ... be able to work towards a consensus on the
question of participation in the ASEM summit," he said in a letter of
invitation to his EU counterparts, a copy of which was seen by AFP.
In fact the weekend meeting cannot take a formal decision since they are
traditional, twice-yearly informal talks called the Gymnich meeting, named
after the west German town where the first such gathering took place.
But any informal agreement would doubtless be followed by a decision at
the foreign ministers' next formal meeting in Brussels on September 13-14.
"We expect the ministers will be able to prepare for a formal agreement
later on," said the diplomat, adding that, whatever is agreed, "the
interests and the positions of our Asian partners will be taken into
OPINION / OTHER
September 2, Financial Times
Asean's institutions are still in poor shape Yasheng Huang and Bernard
There is universal consensus among academic researchers that the main
underlying cause of the 1997 Asian financial crisis was the poor quality
of the afflicted countries' economic institutions. Yet seven years on, the
overall institutional quality of the members of the Association of
South-East Asian Nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - has
deteriorated. This is a worrying development.
Malaysia, which faced financial disaster in 1997, is a case in point.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the US think-tank, Malaysia suffered
the second biggest fall in economic freedom of all the countries covered
by its global index of economic freedom (the first was Venezuela). On a
scale of one (the best) to five (the worst), Malaysia scored 2.45 in 1995
but 3.16 in 2004. Rankings by other organisations point the same way. The
"rule of law" index devised by the PRS Group's International Country Risk
Guide shows a substantial decline for Malaysia since the late 1990s.
Similarly, the World Bank's "governance indicators" for Malaysia showed
decline in all six categories between 1997 and 2001.
But Malaysia is not alone. Between 2003 and 2004, Indonesia experienced
one of the sharpest falls in economic freedom as measured by the Heritage
Foundation's index. In the 1980s and 1990s, Suharto's regime epitomised
crony capitalism. Yet Indonesia now appears to be doing even more badly.
On the World Bank's "control of corruption" index - one of the six
governance indicators - Indonesia's score declined from -0.8 in 1997 to -1
in 2001. Similarly, the Philippines, never a paragon of governance, has
also put in a worse performance since 1997. Overall, on the economic
freedom index the average for Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and
the Philippines rose from 3.2 in 1997 to 3.5 in 2004.
Asean suffered greatly in the 1997 crisis but it appears not to have
heeded the advice to improve corporate governance and strengthen broad
economic institutions. Its policy priorities have been regional
integration in trade and efforts to encourage foreign direct investment.
According to the World Bank, Asean's average common effective preferential
tariffs fell from about 13 per cent in 1993 to about 2.9 per cent in 2002.
Within Asean, tariffs are even lower. About 90 per cent of intra-Asean
trade now falls within the 0-5 per cent tariff range.
The prevailing view in the region is that free trade or greater market access
- especially to China - is Asean's best hope for the future. President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines has pointed out that combining
the Asean and Chinese economies "would give birth to a market of 1.8bn
consumers". Driven by this belief, the October 2003 summit of Asean
countries concluded a series of agreements with China to allow
preferential market access to China for Asean by 2010.
There is nothing wrong with trade liberalisation in and of itself. But the
strategy of pursuing a trade liberalisation agenda in lieu or even at the
expense of institutional reforms will backfire for several reasons. One is
that these trade agreements and negotiations are easy hostages to often
unpredictable geopolitical developments. China has already threatened to
suspend negotiations to create a free trade zone with Singapore in
retaliation for the visit to Taiwan by Lee Hsien Loong, a trip he made
before he ascended to Singapore's premiership. Another reason is that the
financial foundation for China's growth is extremely fragile. It is unwise
for the region to tie its future so closely to a country struggling with
its own, similar, institutional problems.
The most fundamental concern is that liberalisation of trade and FDI does
not address the institutional deficiencies of the Asean countries. In the
1990s, Asean was already one of the regions most dependent on foreign
trade and FDI. The crisis did not happen because the region lacked capital
and export opportunities but because poor corporate governance and rampant
corruption led to massive wastage of capital and inefficiencies in the
corporate sector. Without institutional reforms, economic integration
among Asean countries can only exacerbate those flaws. Singapore, the only
Asean country whose institutional quality is among the best in the world,
could easily be engulfed in a domino-like financial crisis.
In Asean countries, as elsewhere, fluctuations in market opportunities and
capital supplies are a way of life. This is where strong institutions can
really help: they serve as buffers that absorb the shocks that come from
being integrated into the global economy. The best way forward for Asean
is for it to combine its market expansion measures with deep and sustained
institutional reforms. The question is whether the region's leaders have
the necessary vision and courage. The record so far does not give much
ground for optimism.
Yasheng Huang is a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management. Bernard
Yeung is a professor at New York University's Stern Business School
September 2, S.H.A.N.
Should EU give in to Burmas participation in ASEM? - Sai Wansai
The daunting task of the EU is to stand firm on its democratic principle
and apply it evenly, even if this means an economic short-term
disadvantage. Giving in to such incentive could amount to losing sight of
a bigger picture, which could be translated into turning the back on
promotion of democracy, rights of self-determination, universal human
rights and equality.
Looking at the scenarios in Darfur and Burma, also known as Myanmar, two
notions of international norms - territorial integrity and
non-intervention - have been increasingly and commonly used as arguments
to defend the accusations and sanctions by the dictatorial and tyrannical
If one looks at Burma, for instance, its arguments has always been that
the international community have no right to interfere in its domestic
affairs and the international norms of territorial integrity and
non-intervention have to be observed.
But the problem with granting such privilege should be tied to responsible
members of international community only and not any tyrannical or tin-pot
dictatorial regime. Otherwise, it would be like letting the wolf to look
after the chickens; it would only terrorize and slaughter them.
The Burmese military regime falls into this category, where it holds
political power through military coup and denies governance to the
democratic oppositions, led by National League for Democracy and
ethnic-based political parties like Shan Nationalities League for
Democracy and United Nationalities Alliance, which won the military's
supervised 1990 nation-wide election in 1990 by 91% vote-count; the
military-back party, the National Unity Party, lost out miserably.
Ever since, the military regime has been committing gross human rights
violations like extra-judicial execution, detention, forced-labour,
forced-relocation, ethnic cleansing, using rape as a weapon of war,
employing child soldiers etc., just to name a few.
It also tried to legitimise its military rule by calling national
convention lately, by appointing handpicked delegates and excluding all
political parties that had won a landslide nation-wide 1990 election. It
is clear that its intention is to buy legitimacy with a few democratic
trappings, designed to give the military's hold on to power indefinitely.
Against this backdrop, it is almost impossible to agree for the
international stakeholders, especially the U.S. and EU, that the two
notions, territorial integrity and non-intervention, also applies to this
After all, legitimacy could only be granted or applicable to regime with
responsibility, which looks after the well being of its population and not
the one that terrorizes and perpetrates all sorts of gross human rights
Thus, the military regime is an illegitimate one and should not be
entitled to or allowed to hide behind the internationally accepted norms
of territorial integrity and non-intervention. As such, the international
community should be more open to all applicable interventions, in the name
of "crime against humanity" and applies whatever measure is needed to
rescue the people of Burma from this tyrannical regime.
The EU should start with banning the Burmese military regime from ASEM for
two reasons. One is to show the determination that EU does not tolerate
such oppressive regime among its rank and the other, to live up to its
commitments and democratic value, which is the whole rallying point for
the formation of European Union and beyond. Deciding otherwise or to give
in one little bit would signal the message that EU is not living up to its
September 1, Kaladan Press
ARNO Press Release
We protest the concocted information about Arakan Rohingya National
Organisation (ARNO) in a series of news items appeared in a Bangla Daily
Protom Alo dated August 14,15,16,17 & 18 and Bangla weekly Magazine
Shaptahik 2000 dated August 27, both published from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The freedom movement of the Rohingya is not recent emergence but is more
than five decades old. The activities of the ARNO are confined within
Arakan, Burma and its people. It is never involved in the politics of
Bangladesh or in any activities to the detriment of Bangladesh and her
people. Neither it has any link or relationship with Harkatul-Jihad
Al-lslami nor with any terrorist individuals or organizations.
ARNO is an organization advocating democracy, peace, justice, equality and
human rights in Burma. It has been struggling in alliance with National
United Party of Arakan (NUPA), which represents the Rakhaings or Buddhists
of Arakan, to achieve self-determination of the people of indivisible
Arakan. It is also working together with all ethnic and democratic forces
of the country for establishing a genuine Federal Union of Burma.
NUPA is an organization of the Arakanese Buddhists. The report that NUPA
is an alleged Rohingya organization having deep relationship with Darul
Uloom Madrassa is a blatant lie. The alleged participation of Madrassa
teachers and students of Bangladesh at the Rohingya National Convention
(RNC) held between 14-16 May 2004 is baseless and devoid of truth.
Similarly, the "Working Committee" that was reported to have been
allegedly formed to train selected students of various madrassahs of
Bangladesh is cock-and-bull story. As expressed in its Declaration of
May 16 and Press Release of May 18, 2004, the RNC was convened exclusively
with Rohingya leaders, elites, academics and professionals and
representatives of various Rohingya organizations. Also the "Working
Committee" was formed by RNC only for the purpose of building consensus
among the people of Arakan and drafting Arakan State Constitution, in a
manner consistent to democracy and federalism. It has nothing to do with
the madrassahs or madrassah students of Bangladesh. Therefore, these false
and fabricated allegations are believed to have been made with the worst
of intentions to damage the image of the Rohingya freedom movement as well
as self-determination struggle of the whole people of Arakan.
It is deplorable that the photos printed in the said issue of Shaptahik
2000 alleging to be pictures of ARNO members and its President Nurul
Islam are false and open lies. They are not the pictures of any members of
ARNO. It is scandalous to describe one of the three persons in a group
photo as ARNO President Nurul Islam. In fact, it is not the picture of
Nurul Islam. It is a proven evidence that the reports were not made
We do not expect such an irresponsible reporting by esteemed foreign news
media like Protom Alo and Shaptahik 2000. Being persecuted by the
Burmese military regime, we solicit the support of the brotherly people of
Bangladesh and international community in our just struggle for
September 2, Frontline
Burma: Can Sanctions Bring Democracy?
This week on our Web site we feature correspondent Joan Bieder's story
from Burma, a country ruled by a military dictatorship since 1962. In
Burma, they no longer bother with holding elections.
In an effort to force Burma's military junta to allow free elections and
release opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi
from house arrest, the United States has imposed strong economic
sanctions. Unlike the war in Iraq, which has led to fierce debate, the
sanctions against Burma are overwhelmingly supported by both parties in
Congress, as well as presidential candidates John Kerry and George W.
"We are a mismanaged country and the people are suffering," a young
Burmese man tells FRONTLINE/World correspondent Joan Bieder. "America is
the only country that stands up and openly supports us against the regime.
We like the sanctions."
But in her Web-exclusive report, "Can Sanctions Bring Democracy?" Bieder
says, "There is a growing suspicion in Burma that the sanctions aimed at
forcefully shoving the regime toward democracy are missing their target
and punishing the poor."
The problem is that other countries -- especially China, as well as
Singapore and Thailand -- are ignoring the U.S. sanctions and trading
openly with Burma's military regime. The generals have grown rich,
skimming a percentage from the international deals and profiting from the
lucrative opium trade. With the permission of the generals, foreign
countries are plundering Burma's natural resources. There has been
widespread deforestation of Burma's teak trees.
"The [U.S.] sanctions won't work as long as China is backing the Burmese
military regime," one pro-democracy activist tells Bieder, and as long as
other nations continue to trade with Burma.
There is no free speech in Burma, which the military renamed Myanmar in
1989, and people are afraid of reprisals if they criticize the regime. But
once Bieder agreed not to reveal their names, she found that people spoke
more candidly than she expected about the miseries of daily life and their
continued hope that somehow the U.S. sanctions will help them establish a
Burma is "off-limits" to most journalists, since it is hard to gain access
to the country, and even then restrictions are tight, but the military
junta is trying to encourage tourism in a bid to generate revenue. Bieder
provides a sense of what tourists will see, and what they won't see, if
they visit a country that she says is stagnating, even moving backward.
See the dispatch at:
More information about the Burmanet