Daily News-August 12 - 2001- Sunday

  • More NLD Offices Allowed to Reopen
  • Mekong countries conclude meeting on counter-narcotics
  • Secretary-1 receives officials of UN agencies
  • Thailand to find new site to replace overcrowded Burmese Refugee camp

  • More NLD Offices Allowed to Reopen

    By Tin Maung Htoo
    Burma Media Association (www.bma-online.net)
    August 10, 2001

    More regional NLD offices were allowed to reopen in the country's States and Divisions in the second week of last month. Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Col. Than Htun came over to the NLD Headquarter on July 13 and delivered the following message to NLD officials, news obtained by BMA said.

    However, BMA learned that there have been no sign of additional offices reopened so far. And NLD officials are reported to put the offer on hold with the condition, asking Col. Than Htun to issue an official statement regarding the permission. But he reportedly refused to do so, and instead suggested that the rest of NLD offices reopened based on "mutual understanding".

    Within last two months starting from the end of June this year, 18 township offices were intermittently reopened in Rangoon Division after being closed down for several months. This is said to be a result of ongoing "reconciliation process" in the country after having a wide range of political stalemates.

    In the meanwhile, BMA noticed that the regime notably displays a number of photos taken from the reopening ceremonies of NLD offices on their official web site, with the heading of "Re-opening of NLD Offices in Yangoon Allowed by Local Authorities." However, whether the official announcement was made in public is unclear when those previous offices were allowed to reopen in Rangoon jurisdiction. But some observers said this is unscrupulous attempt to degrade the appearance and strength of NLD as a systematic method to unveil small number attendance in each reopening ceremony in order to compare with huge attendance in government-sponsored ceremonies or gatherings.

    Furthermore, the highlighted images of reopening offices built-up with the bamboo tents and attached to resident places are deliberate act of belittling NLD and creating, more or less, a doubtful for its potential role for governance, asserted some activists. However, other said it is good exposure to the world of how the military had badly destroyed the powerful election winning party and how they had improperly responded to the existence of difference and dissent in the country.

    While the reason for NLD to absent to reopen offices in States and Divisions is unknown yet, various assumptions and enumeration heightened among Burmese activists and observers. Some people said NLD is very feeble to reopen all branches in entire country and that would take some times to recover from its crippled condition extremely weaken for so many years under the various crackdowns.

    But others turn it down, saying the NLD has still strength and prevailing conditions to reopen most of its offices through out the country but the matter is to obtain an legal confirmation -- at least a paperwork but not a verbal word -- in order to prevent its members from further arrest, arbitrary act and repeated infringement on its legal rights.
    Mekong countries conclude meeting on counter-narcotics

    YANGON, Aug. 11, Kyodo - Senior officials from China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand concluded a meeting Saturday in Yangon on drug control cooperation in which they discussed supply and demand reduction and law enforcement.

    ''This meeting is...a demonstration to the world that we are politically committed to drug elimination,'' said Col. Kyaw Thein, a senior member of Myanmar's Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control.

    The meeting was held to prepare for a ministerial-level meeting in Beijing among the four countries of the Mekong sub-region, set to be held in Beijing on Aug. 27 to 28. Delegates at the meeting resolved to further collaborate to fight the drug menace in sub-region, and gave suggestions on the draft of a declaration to be issued at the Beijing meeting.

    Sources who attended the Yangon meeting said they also discussed a proposal for a shared database that would include information on suspected members of drug trafficking groups and the chemical composition of various stimulant drugs. They also discussed exchanging satellite images of drug production areas, crop substitution efforts and exchanges and joint exercises among authorities responsible for border area law enforcement. The four countries signed a drug control cooperation memorandum of understanding in 1993.
    Secretary-1 receives officials of UN agencies

    source : NLM

    Yangon, 10 Aug- Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt received Mr Patrice Coeur-Bizot of UNRC, Mr John B Mendis of UNICEF, Dr Agostino Borra of WHO, Mr Jean-Lue Lemahieu of UNDCP and officials at the guest house of the Ministry of Defence at 4 pm today.

    Also present at the call were Minister at the State Peace and Development Council Chairman's Office Brig-Gen Abel, Minister for Health Maj-Gen Ket Sein, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs U Khin Maung Win and Director-General of the Protocol Department Thura U Aung Htet.
    Thailand to find new site to replace overcrowded Burmese Refugee camp

    Source : Bangkok Post

    The National Security Council will hold talks on finding a new home for Burmese refugees at the overcrowded and health-threatened Tham Hin camp in Ratchaburi.

    A high-level official said a meeting would take views on whether there was a need for the relocation.

    Thailand has been asked to find a new place for refugees who live in crowded conditions and amid disease.

    Malaria, diarrhoea and other sanitary problems are common.

    The camp, which sits in the valley about 20km from the district town of Suan Phung and the same distance from the Thai-Burmese border, handles almost 8,250 refugees, says the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Most are Karen fleeing suppression and fighting inside Burma.

    UNHCR chief Sadako Ogata criticised conditions on a visit last year. She urged expansion but the government ruled out the option because the compound was surrounded by reserved areas. The 15-member European Union backed relocation. Its officials met NSC secretary-general Kachadpai Burusapatana last month about deteriorating situations at the camp.

    Thai agencies remain divided. Some say a new, better home could attract more Burmese incomers and trigger confrontations with local villagers.

    "We should not use Western standards such as those from the EU as a yardstick", the NSC official said, pointing to Thais living nearby whose lives were not better off. Moving the camp could cause trouble, he said.

    But another official overseeing the camp acknowledged the connection between overcrowding and health problems. "When the camp is jammed, the environment is vulnerable to health deterioration," he said.

    A new home would give refugees more breathing space and a better chance of improved health. Officials had found a possible site, a deserted rice field in the same district.

    Officials would have an easier time at that site controlling movements of refugees than at Ban Tham Hin, where they had trouble keeping the Burmese in check, he said.