Daily News- December 06 - 2001- Thursday

  • All Living Nobel Peace Laureates gather to honour Aung San Suu Kyi
  • One more Journalist blacklisted by Junta
  • Border trade panel seeks PTT's help
  • Myanmar Runs Short of Iron, Steel
  • Myanmar Implements 30-Year Education Plan
  • Burmese Democrats Feel Neglected following the September 11 terrorist attacks
  • Burmese Exiles fear deportation when student refugee camp closes

  • All Living Nobel Peace Laureates gather to honour Aung San Suu Kyi

    by Burma Campaign UK ( 2001-12-05)

    On 8th December 2001 all living Nobel Peace Laureates will gather in Oslo to honour fellow Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, at an occasion which will mark the 10th anniversary of her own Peace award and the centennial anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize itself. Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest in Burma.

    Aung San Suu Kyi‘s unrelenting commitment to the peaceful pursuit of democracy and human rights exemplifies all that the Peace Prize represents. The Oslo ceremony led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu will issue a call for her release, and that of 1500 other political prisoners detained by Burma‘s ruling military junta. U2‘s Bono is expected to send a personal message.

    The Burma Campaign UK and London‘s Burmese community will celebrate the occasion at London‘s Candid Gallery, with celebrity performances from Maureen Lipman, Mark Thomas and one of Burma‘s best-known pro-democracy singers Mun Awng.

    The London event will be linked to the Oslo ceremony and to at least thirty other events organized by over one hundred non-governmental organizations around the globe through satellite and the internet.

    Yvette Mahon, Director of the Burma Campaign UK said: "Aung San Suu Kyi remains in detention for the very reasons that won her the Peace Prize in 1991. She has no army or guns. She has never threatened violence. She is leader of an entirely peaceful revolution, and as such she continues to frighten one of the most ruthless military regimes in the world. She is wholly deserving of this honour and we are grateful to the Nobel Committee for choosing to salute her on this occasion."

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said: "Aung San Suu Kyi, your inspiring leadership is crucial. By your own determined passive resistance you encourage the finding of a peaceful, non-violent way for the forces of freedom, truth and democracy to emerge from the current atmosphere of unjust repression. I pray that your efforts may contribute to lasting world peace, for the practice of genuine non-violence is something of an experiment on this planet. If it ultimately succeeds in places like Burma, it will surely open the way to a far more peaceful world in the future."

    "While the world is taking a determined stand against international terrorism, it should not forget one of the world‘s most courageous and principled champions of human rights and democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi", said Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

    The international show of support comes during a stalemate between the ruling military regime and the democratically elected leadership of Burma. The regime and Aung San Suu Kyi began informal talks just over one year ago. There has been little discernible progress in the situation since that time.

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    One more Journalist blacklisted by Junta

    Network Media Group

    Chiang Mai, December 5, 2001 -A journalist and ex-embassy staff from Singapore was recently blacklisted by military regime of Burma, a source close to immigration officers reported.

    Junta for writing incorrect information about Burma blacklisted H. C. Matthew Sim, who wrote the book named "Myanmar on My Mind", the source said.

    "He was blacklisted and all the immigration departments and check points were instructed not to issue any kind of visa and not to permit him to enter into Burma," he continued.

    The book "Myanmar on My Mind", written by H.C. Matthew Sim, was commented by Bertil Lintner in the Far Eastern Economic Review's June 28 issue as "the politically most incorrect book of the year". "But he should be commended for telling the truth", Bertil also commented.

    "No word about torture of political prisoners, forced mass relocations of ethnic minorities, officially condoned drug trafficking, or military abuse of power," Bertil commented in his article about the book.

    In the book, Matthew pointed out how to procure "ladies of the night" and bribe customs officials to setting up an overseas company in Burma (Myanmar), mentioned in Bertil's article.

    H. C. Matthew is a marketing lecturer and he served as commercial first secretary at Singapore's embassy in Burma for 1995 to 1997, a source working on a media development program told NMG. NMG could not have yet confirmed about the blacklisting from any official source.

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    Border trade panel seeks PTT's help


    A border trade committee from Thong Pha Phum district yesterday called on the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) to help revive the local economy, saying it had been hurt by the building of the Thai-Burmese Yadana gas pipeline.

    The trade committee, PTT representatives, and members of the Kanchanaburi chamber of commerce held a meeting in Thong Pha Phum district yesterday.The meeting, chaired by district chief Manop Veera-archakul, was in response to a trade committee letter to PTT which claimed border trade had stagnated in Ban Etong where the gas pipeline was being laid.

    Ruengsak sae Chai, the committee chairman, told the meeting the local economy slowed after the project started and had since come to a halt.Mr Ruengsak said this was in contrast with the authority's promise that the scheme would bring prosperity to the local people.

    To help revive the local economy, Mr Ruengsak called on PTT to allow villagers to use the pipeline's route for trade.The gas pipeline was laid through the village to connect with a power plant in Ratchaburi.

    Chakkrit Lekthamai, a PTT representative, said the authority had initiated a number of projects to compensate for affected livelihoods.He said these included career training programmes for villages on the pipeline's route.

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    Myanmar Runs Short of Iron, Steel

    YANGON, Dec 5, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Myanmar is running short of iron and steel and still needs to rely mostly on the import, The Myanmar Times, a weekly journal, said in its latest issue.

    Quoting Vice-President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry U Htein Win, the journal said Myanmar has only one iron and steel factory which is situated at central Mandalay division's Pyin Oo Lwin township and produces 30, 000 tons of the metals annually.

    However, Myanmar's domestic demand for it is 400,000 tons a year, the majority of which is imported from Asian countries, it said, adding that the demand is expected to grow strong especially in the construction and industrial sectors.

    In order to obtain advanced technical support to boost its iron and steel industry, Myanmar joined the Southeast Asian Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI) in last November, becoming the seventh member of the organization which also groups Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

    The organization, which is based in Kuala Lumpur and had a total iron and steel production of nearly 10 million tons this year with its member countries, also receives technical support from Japan, south Korea, Australia, etc.

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    Myanmar Implements 30-Year Education Plan

    YANGON, Dec 5, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Myanmar is implementing a 30-year long-term plan for basic education from fiscal year 2001-02 to 2030-31, aiming at establishing an education system that can create learning society and meeting the challenges of the present knowledge age.

    According to the Myanmar Ministry of Education Wednesday, the 30-year basic education plan is being implemented in six phases each lasting for five years in an effort to bring about rapid development of qualified human resources in the country. Myanmar's basic education schools comprise primary, middle and high schools where 92.05 percent of school-going age children are pursuing the basic education.

    According to the ministry, Myanmar added 6,180 basic education schools in the whole country in 13 years' time since 1988 when the present government took office and the total number of such schools has reached 39,927 now. Meanwhile, the number of students receiving education in these basic education schools grew by 1.82 million during the 13-year period, reaching 7.05 million now.

    Besides the basic education schools, the Myanmar government built 110 universities and colleges during the period, bringing the total number of institutes of higher learning to 142 at present. During the 13 years' time, the number of students studying at these higher education institutions increased by 416, 719, bringing their total number to 556,456. In addition to the regular education, multi-media classrooms have been opened at 481 schools and 203 electronic learning centers have been set up in the whole country.

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    Burmese Democrats Feel Neglected following the September 11 terrorist attacks

    Source : Far Eastern Economic Review

    Burmese pro-democracy activists think the United States has put their cause on the back burner because of a reappraisal of its foreign-policy priorities following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    They say Washington has overreacted to recent claims by suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden that Burma was among the countries where his Al Qaeda organization has cells. The suspicion is that the U.S. has muted its criticism of the country's military government as a result.

    Some young men from Burma's Muslim Rohingya minority, who live near the border with Bangladesh, have been recruited by Al Qaeda and sent to Afghanistan for military training, say members of the community.

    They add that no more than a few dozen went and there was little support among the Rohingya community for bin Laden. The opposition complaints come shortly after United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail visited Rangoon for a sixth time to try to resuscitate talks between the junta and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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    Burmese Exiles fear deportation when student refugee camp closes

    Source : South China Morning post

    When Thailand closes its camp for Burmese political refugees later this month, at least 80 inmates face deportation to their homeland - the last place they want to be.

    ''I can't eat or sleep now,'' asylum seeker Sisimoe said from behind the razor wire perimetre fence. ''I know my country very well. I can't escape arrest by the military government.''

    Maneeloy Holding Centre in the western Ratchaburi province is the main camp in Thailand for former student activists who were at the forefront of a 1988 democracy uprising in Burma. Many of the students fled to Thailand after the uprising was crushed by the military in a crackdown that killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of civilians.

    Thai officials said the camp, which now holds less than 500 inmates - about 160 of them children - will be closed before Christmas. Sources say the closure could be as early as December 15.

    In most countries, Sisimoe, 40, who uses only one name, would be among the elite. She has a university education and is fluent in three languages. Instead, she lives in poverty and exile at the camp where slogans like ''Down With Dictatorship'' and ''We Want Human Rights'' are daubed in red on white walls.

    Some inmates wear t-shirts with pictures of Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party swept general elections in 1990 but was barred from power by the military junta.

    Since Maneeloy opened in 1992, nearly 4,000 inmates have been granted asylum in third countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and in Europe _ half of them in the past two years.

    Losing patience with Burmese dissidents on its soil, Thailand began pushing for their speedy resettlement after student radicals - including two former Maneeloy inmates - took hostages at gunpoint at the Burma Embassy in Bangkok in October 1999. The incident ended peacefully.

    Officials said 100 inmates at Maneeloy will be deported as illegal immigrants, including 80 whose asylum applications have been turned down by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR.

    The Thai government has warned it will use force if the inmates do not go back peacefully, and Interior Minister Purachai Piemsomboon recently described them as ''rubbish.''

    ''They want to go to third countries but nobody wants them. At the same time, they do not want to go back home because their own country does not want them,'' he said.

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