Daily News-April 11- 2001- Wednesday

  • Ne Win makes first public appearance in 13 years
  • Suu Kyi refuses to accept court summons
  • NASAKA shoots 5 Bangladeshi fishermen in Bay
  • Junta maintains "no human rights violation in Burma"
  • Dance show by Japanese, Burmese artists staged in Yangon
  • Thais Arrest 500 Burmese Migrant Workers At Border
  • 24 Burmese Crews missing with S Korean Freighter off Japan Coast
  • Burmese poised for attack on Karenni
  • Burmese rebels to go New Delhi to petition UNHCR
  • Burma rejects 'EU bullying'

  • Ne Win makes first public appearance in 13 years

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Apr 10, 2001

    Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo

    Yangon [Rangoon], 10 April: Gen Ne Win, the longest ruling leader of Myanmar once known as the "Strongman of Burma," made his first major public appearance in 13 years on 21 March, sources close to the gathering confirmed Tuesday [10 April].

    The reclusive general offered lunch to 99 Buddhist monks and nearly 500 lay guests, many of them his former cronies, at a local hotel.

    After ruling Myanmar for 26 years from March 1962, first as president and later as chairman of the Socialist Party, Ne Win retired from politics in July1988. Since then, he has been seen in public only rarely, the exceptions being attendance at a handful of private social or religious functions of his close relatives.

    According to a former minister and a military commander in Ne Win's government who were close to him and present at the lunch, the 91-year-old general is in perfect health.

    "He walked into the hall without help, greeting old friends loudly. Though slow in movement, U Ne Win has a good memory, even recalling incidents from the past to former subordinates who retained little or no memory of the same," they said.

    The 21 March gathering was arranged by Ne Win's daughter Sandar Win. But many lay guests, mostly former colleagues and disciples who are now 80 years old or more, appeared to be there at his invitation. The younger guests were Sandar Win's friends.

    Of the four survivors of the "Thirty Comrades," 30 youths that included Aung San and Ne Win who secretly went to Japan in 1940 for military training to fight the British, he invited none.

    Ne Win himself, Bo Hmu Aung, Bo Ye Htut and Bo Kyaw Zaw are the only ones of the 30 still alive. Bo Kyaw Zaw lives in China; Bo Hmu Aung and Bo Ye Htut in Yangon.

    But all the surviving members of his Socialist Party government were at the lunch, prominent among them Brig-Gen Sein Lwin, the second last president, Gen Aye Ko, a former vice-president, and Col Tun Tin, last prime minister.

    Conspicuously absent were members of the current ruling junta.

    Since Ne Win's appearance at such a big gathering speculation about the motive behind the ceremony is rife in Yangon.

    Some believe it was an astrological move to lengthen his life to 99 years.Others believe it was to show he has no link with the present junta, while yet others speculate it was part of a strategy by Sandar Win in grooming her three sons for politics.

    Few in Myanmar believe it was simply a religious gathering.
    Suu Kyi refuses to accept court summons

    YANGON April 9 Kyodo - Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi refused Monday to accept a summons from the Yangon Division Court to appear in court April 23 in connection with a suit filed by her brother Aung San Oo for ownership of their parent's estate where Suu Kyi lives.

    The summons server left the summons on the gate to her house.

    Suu Kyi's brother, who lives in the United States, filed suit for ownership of the estate at 54-56 University Avenue where Suu Kyi has lived since 1988.

    A suit filed last year for partition of the estate was dismissed in January for procedural error. Under Burmese Buddhist Law, a claimant in an inheritance case must establish ownership before applying for partition. Aung San Oo's therefore lawyer filed a suit April 5 for ownership of the estate as first step in applying for partition.

    The siblings are expected to be represented in court by their legal counsel only. The estate in question is said by some to be worth several million dollars.
    NASAKA shoots 5 Bangladeshi fishermen in Bay, takes away 2 trawlers

    source : The Independent Bangladesh

    COX'S BAZAR, Apr 9: Myanmar border security force (NASAKA) today took away two Bangladeshi trawlers from the Bay of Bengal by shooting five fishermen, reports BSS.

    The NASAKA personnel entered Bangladesh sea-territory at dawn today and opened fire on 13 fishermen on board the two trawlers owned by Moktar Ahmed and Farid Alam, both residents of village Purbapara in the St. Martins island.

    The NASAKA captured both the trawlers from inside Bangladesh territory after chasing those and left the fishermen in the Bay. Later, another trawler rescued the fishermen from the Bay.

    The bullet-injured five fishermen Nurul Amin (25), Fazal Ahmed (22), Zafar Alam (24), Dudu Mia (40) and Rafiq Ahmad (21) were admitted to Teknaf Hospital.
    Junta maintains "no human rights violation in Burma"

    Geneva, April 9, 2001
    Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

    Despite internationally well-documented on human rights abuses in Burma, Burmese government continues to maintain that there is no human rights violation in the country but expresses its willingness to cooperate with the United Nations agencies.

    Speaking at the on-going United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, the head of the Burmese junta's delegation U Mya Than today reiterates his government's position that there is no human rights violation in the country.

    "For the first time in six years, the government of Myanmar has accepted the visit of the newly appointed special rapporteur Prof. Pinheiro",said U Mya Than who is the head of the Burmese Mission at UN. Quoting a major part of Mr. Pinheiro's intervention report of last Friday, U Mya Than praised Mr. Pinheiro's report as "balanced".

    "His presentation is fairly balanced and reflects the positive developments taking place in Myanmar", he said in his 15-miunte intervention. He also said that his government had no other choice but to categorically reject the visit of former special rapporteur Mr. Lallah as "his reports were very much biased".

    "There are also other activities going on in Myanmar by way of promoting human rights in raising awareness of human rights". He however maintained that there is no human rights violation in Burma and whatever has been said about the violations of human rights in Burma is portrayed by the anti-Burmese government elements in Western Media.

    Debby Stothard from Bangkok-based Altsean-Burma (Alternative Asean network on Burma), however, dismissed U Mya Than's report as "usual lie".

    "What Ambassador Mya Than said is very predictable. It is the same old song every year except that the SPDC now feel more confident that Prof. Pinheiro is their good friend because he did not refer on any human rights violations in Burma. But this is because his visit was an exploratory one in term of building up good will. It was not an investigatory one. So, we will really see what will happen in July in the next trip he goes there", said Debby Stothard.
    Dance show by Japanese, Burmese artists staged in Yangon

    YANGON April 10 Kyodo - The first cultural exchange dance show ever performed by both Japanese and Myanmar artists was staged Monday night at the National Theater in Yangon.

    The four-hour show was sponsored by the Myanmar-Japan Friendship Association of Myanmar, in cooperation with the Japan-Myanmar Friendship Association of Japan.

    A 54-member Japanese cultural delegation including 26 artists arrived April 3 in Yangon to participate in three days of joint performances. Japanese artists performed songs and dances accompanied by the drum, samisen and flute. Aikido and karate demonstrations drew long applause, and Myanmar artists performed native cultural dances and songs.

    Addressing the opening ceremony, Myanmar-Japan Friendship Association Chairman and Home Minister Col. Tin Hlaing said, ''The Cultural Exchange Variety Dance Show is the result of interrelations and cooperation between Japan and Myanmar, respecting and understanding each other's culture.'' Japanese Ambassador Shigeru Tsumori said, ''This cultural exchange dance show will certainly deepen the already firm social, economic and cultural ties that exist between the two nations.''
    Thais Arrest 500 Burmese Migrant Workers At Border

    MAE SOT, Thailand (AP)--Police arrested about 500 Burmese migrants near a textile factory in a Thai border town, officers and witnesses said Wednesday.

    The migrants were hiding in a rice field near the Champion Knitting factory at Mae Sot, 370 kilometers northwest of Bangkok, when they were rounded up by police late Tuesday.

    San Linn, 24, one of the arrested migrants, said the factory, that had employed more than 3,000 Burmese migrants, had been closed down earlier this month after Thai residents complained it was causing environmental pollution.

    "If we had gotten our last month's salary, we would have left for Burma, but we didn't have enough money to travel back. We're hungry. We eat nothing," San Linn said at the Mae Sot immigration detention center.

    Police said the migrants would be sent back to Burma. Mae Sot lies on the Thai side of the Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge.

    Hundreds of thousands of Burmese migrants stay illegally in Thailand, doing menial jobs for as little as 40 baht ($1=THB45.420) a day, a third of the Thai minimum wage. Thousands are deported every month, but many return.
    24 Burmese Crews missing with S Korean Freighter off Japan Coast

    TOKYO (AP)--A South Korean freighter with a crew of 28 was missing Wednesday in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southwestern Japan, the Coast Guard said. An air search found an empty lifeboat bearing the name of the Honghae Sanyo Wednesday morning at a point about 45 kilometers south of Kochi prefecture, said local Japan Coast Guard spokesman Katsuhiko Segawa.

    Kochi is about 625 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.

    An oil slick of undetermined size and believed to be from the freighter was sighted nearby, Segawa said. No distress call from the ship had been received, he said.

    There were four South Koreans and 24 crew members from Burma aboard the 22,725-ton Honghae Sanyo, Segawa said. The ship had been due to arrive at a port in Hyogo prefecture in western Japan by Tuesday evening, he said. The cargo vessel left the South Korean port of Incheon on Saturday.

    Two aircraft and two patrol boats were searching for the vessel, he said.
    Burmese poised for attack on Karenni

    Source : Bangkok Post

    Mae Hong Son---Thousands of Burmese troops have been deployed near the border to mount an offensive against the last stronghold of ethnic Karenni rebels.

    A border source said more than 1,000 guerrillas of the Karenni National Progressive Party were preparing to defend their stronghold in Burma's Kayah state, opposite Mae Hong Son.

    Four Burmese battalions have been deployed in the Khun Huay Dua area, opposite Muang district.

    The Karen National Union and the Shan State Army are also prepared to help their Karenni allies in the fighting, which is expected to force more than 1,000 refugees into Thailand next week.

    Thai soldiers of the 7th Infantry Regiment have been placed on alert.
    Burmese rebels to go New Delhi to petition UNHCR

    Source : BBC

    A court in India's eastern Andaman islands has allowed the leaders of a group of 36 Burmese rebels to go to Delhi to appeal for the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    The court said the five could stay in the capital for two months to present their case.

    The rebels, from the Arakan and Karen regions of Burma, have been held without trial on the Andaman Islands for more than three years.

    Their lawyer Nandita Haskar has asked the court to order their release, saying no charges have been brought against them.

    The rebels want UNHCR protection to ensure they are not deported to Burma where their lives might be in danger.
    Burma rejects 'EU bullying'

    Source : BBC

    The military government in Burma has rejected the extension of European sanctions on the country as bullying tactics.

    In a statement to the BBC, the Foreign Ministry says Burma will disregard foreign pressure, and that Burma is a dignified country which refuses to beg.

    On Monday, the European Union announced that continuing human rights abuses in Burma warranted the extension of sanctions for another six months.

    Europe has banned visits from ruling military generals, refused arms sales and suspended non-humanitarian aid.

    The sanctions remain under review and the European Union has welcomed signs of what it's described as meaningful dialogue between the leaders of the regime and the pro-democracy movement.