Daily News- December 09 - 2001- Sunday

  • Indian MPs urge Government for open support to democracy in Burma
  • More than 3,000 International MPs signs the declaration of Burmese MPs in exile
  • OSLO: Nobel peace laureates join call for release of Aung San Suu Kyi
  • US:President George W. Bush Supports the Campaign
  • Bangladesh: Civil society expressed support with Burmese people for democracy
  • India: Campaign launched in support of democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Thailand:Activists want Suu Kyi freed on peace prize anniversary
  • Japan:Ceremony held for 10th anniversary of Suu Kyi's Nobel Prize
  • Burmese closing in on Shan
  • Bangladesh tightens security on its border with Burma
  • Nudism Comes To Burma

  • Indian MPs urge Government for open support to democracy in Burma

    Mizzima News (www.mizzima.com)

    New Delhi, December 8, 2001- An International Solidarity Campaign for Democracy in Burma was launched today in New Delhi to coincide with the 10th Anniversary of Burma's democratic leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as Nobel Laureate.

    Members of Parliament, leaders of political parties, human rights activists and representatives of the civil society in India today joined together in expressing their support and solidarity with the struggle for democracy in Burma and its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her 10th anniversary as Nobel Laureate. They joined with over a hundred Burma's pro-democracy activists who are living in exile in India at a function held at India International Center (ICC) this morning.

    The function was jointly organized by the India-based All Burma Students League (ABSL) and Women's League of Burma (WLB), which have been launching international campaign on solidarity for democracy in Burma along with several various Burma support groups throughout the world.

    Eminent political leaders such as Mr. Ram Jethmalani, former law minister and a Member of Parliament, Raja Sabha Member of Parliament Mr. Kuldip Nayar, Ms. Madhu Kishwar, editor of Manushi magazine, Dr. D. Raja from Communist Party of India, Dr. Shambu Sharan Shrivastava from Samata party, Mr. Holkhomang Haokip, a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Manipur, well-known Gandhian and former Member of Parliament Ms. Nimala Deshpandey and President of All Burma Students League Mr. Kyaw Than.

    Urging the Government of India to openly come out in favour of democracy in Burma, Mr. Kuldip Nayar released the signatures of Members of Parliament (India) who have signed in support of Declaration on Burma. Total one hundred and sixteen Members of parliament belonging to 18 political parties (both ruling coalition parties and opposition parties) have signed the declaration, which had been endorsed by more than 3,000 Members of Parliament from 89 countries.

    The declaration has called upon the Burmese military junta to immediately and unconditionally release all MPs-elect and end all violations of human rights imposed on the people of Burma. Speaking at the function, former Minister Mr. Ram Jethmalani said that India must consider at war with a terrorist state in Burma. "Every regime which is not best upon the well-being of the people but is best upon military force and which regime suppresses the democracy and its leaders is a terrorist state. India must consider itself at war with the terrorist state in Burma".

    "Aung San Suu Kyi is the most significant and important political leader of our time and this is the kind of politics we women in India should represent", said Madhu Kishwar adding that, women organizations in India have not responded much to the call for democracy in Burma.

    Speaking strongly in favor of the return of democracy in the neighboring country, Mr. Holkhomang Haokip criticized the policy of Indian government towards Burma. "The present government said one thing against Pakistan but they never said anything against Burma which is still ruled by the military government", he said.

    Expressing his party's support and solidarity with the people of Burma and the democratic movement, Dr. D. Raja said that both India and China should review their current policies on Burma. "Whatever happens in Burma affect us. Burmese people have due right to choose who should rule Burma and what should be their government", he said.

    "India cannot be an island of democracy and prosperity when we are surrounded by the authoritarian regimes", said Dr. Shambu Srivastava, spokesperson of Samata Party. Similar view was expressed by Gandhian and peace activist Ms. Nimala Deshpandey that "out freedom cannot be complete unless there is a democracy in the neighboring countries, especially in Burma".

    Recalling the close cultural and historical links between Burma and India, Mr. Kyaw Than, President of the All Burma Students League expressed his disappointment with the policies of the neighboring countries towards Burma. "Our neighbors have moral duty to support Burmese people. However, they have failed to address this duty and they instead adopted double-standard policy towards Generals", he said. "It is the need of hour that our neighboring countries to step forward to solve political crisis in Burma. Only then, there will be a sustainable peace and stability in the region", he added.

    The function was followed by a cultural program presented by Burma's different nationalities. Moreover, the Delhi-based Tibetan Women Association (TWA) also presented Tibetan cultural dance.

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    More than 3,000 International MPs signs the declaration of Burmese MPs in exile

    Network Media Group

    Chiang Mai, December 8, 2001- More than 3,000 Members of Parliament all over the world have already signed the Declaration of National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB), announced the Members of Parliament Union (MPU) today, December 8.

    A total of 3252 members of Parliament from 94 countries including 224 MPs of the European Parliament and 65 members of the United States Congress signed the "Declaration", mentioned on the web site of NCGUB.

    "I am hoping more signatures from Japan and some countries soon", said Dr. Myint Cho, special assistant to Chairman of MPU, Terri Buri.

    The signature collection campaign for the agreement on the "Declaration of Members of Parliament Throughout the World in Solidarity with the Democratically Elected Members of the Parliament of Burma" has been launched since year 2000 October, said Terri Buri, chairman of the Members of Parliament Union.

    "During the tenth anniversary year of democratic elections of Burma, it is very important to demonstrate international resolve and increase the pressure on the military regime. More than ever, the military leaders of Burma need to know that there is no alternative to entering negotiations toward a peaceful transition to democracy", mentioned Dr. Sein Win, Prime Minister of the NCGUB in his letter to international MPs.

    According to the "Declaration", signed MPs around the world agreed to "support for and solidarity with the elected members of parliament of Burma and call upon the military government of Burma to release immediately and unconditionally all MPs-elected and end all violations of human rights imposed on the people on Burma, to recognize the right of the duly elected representatives of Burma to convene the parliament and immediately cease all restrictions against them and to agree to join the National League for Democracy and the representatives of ethnic nationalities in a dialogue to achieve a peaceful transition to democracy".

    Burmese military government ignored the result of 1990 election for more than 10 years where pro-democratic opposition party, National League for Democracy, won landslide victory with more than 80 percent of the seat in parliament.

    Trust building talks between military government of Burma and democratic opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been started since October 2000 with the initiative of the United Nations special envoy Mr. Razali Ismail. But, no progress has been announced from both side of the dialogue for more than one year.

    Announcement of MPU appeared on the occasion of celebrating the 10th Nobel Peace Prize winning anniversary for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which will be held in Oslo, Norway starts from today, December 8 led by more than 30 Nobel Peace Laureates all over the world. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1991.

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    OSLO: Nobel peace laureates join call for release of Aung San Suu Kyi

    by David Millikin

    OSLO, Dec 8 (AFP) - Twenty Nobel Peace Prize winners led a worldwide appeal Saturday demanding that Myanmar's military rulers release 1991 Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and free 1,500 other political detainees.

    The laureates, led by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and East Timor independence leader Jose Ramos-Horta, signed the appeal here as the highlight of a worldwide series of ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary Saturday of Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel award.

    Gathered under a winter drizzle in front of Norway's parliament, the laureates demanded that Burmese military ruler General Than Swe "release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political detainees, providing for their freedom of speech, movement and association without restriction."

    Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik backed the appeal, while US President George W. Bush issued a statement here praising her as a "tireless champion for democracy and human rights," but stopping short of joining the demand for release of Myanmar political prisoners.

    "Her actions demonstrate how a life of quiet dignity can serve as a powerful force for good," he said of the democracy campaigner, who has been under house arrest for 15 months and has not left Myanmar for more than a decade for fear the army will bar her return.

    Tutu, in Oslo with the other Nobel Peace laureates for five days of events marking the centennial of the prize, said of the diminutive activist: "In moral stature, she is a giant. "Big men are scared of her. Armed to the teeth and they still run scared."

    Bondevik, who visited Aung San Suu Kyi in the Myanmar capital of Yangon in 1997, lamented that she had never been able to travel to Norway to receive her prize, awarded in 1991. "Her decades-long efforts for non-violent political change are a flame of hope for all democracy," Bondevik said.

    Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, gathered with other US dignitaries in Washington, addressed the assembly by video link saying, "We stand together, united across lines of party and confession, nation and race, gender and creed to honor her cause and call for her freedom and that of her people."

    "To Burma's leaders, our message is this: 'You and you alone are repsonsible for your nation's isolation and misery. "'Your time is not forever and you will be remembered with contempt unless you begin now to move towards democractic change."

    The Nobel letter called on Than Swe, head of the ruling military "State Peace and Development Council," to comply with UN resolutions demanding negotiations with political parties and ethnic minorities on a return to democracy.

    Tibetan spritual leader Dalai Lama, former Polish president Lech Walesa, and writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel were among the other Nobel laureats who signed the letter.

    In parallel with the Oslo ceremony, gatherings were organised Saturday in some 35 other cities, from Tokyo to London and Washington, broadcast by satellite to 140 locations and available over the Internet, organizers said.

    In Yangon, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) reopened a key office Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi's prize. In their letter, the Nobel Peace laureates welcomed recent steps by Myanmar authorities such as the release of some political prisoners and easing of some curbs on political activities. But they noted that, according to Amnesty International, 1,500 NLD supporters remain in detention, including 19 elected members of parliament.

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    US:President George W. Bush Supports the Campaign

    by Worldview 2001-12-08

    President George W. Bush has sent a letter of support for the campaign. "Aung San Suu Kyi inspires countless people around the world who strive for peace, justice and freedom", Bush said.

    The Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign for Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday received a statement from President George W. Bush of the United States oTf America. The letter reads:

    "I am pleased to send warm greetings to those commemorating the Nobel Prize Centennial and the 10th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi."

    "As a tireless champion for democracy and human rights in Burma, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi inspires countless people around the world who strive for peace, justice and freedom. In the face of great hardship, she has never wavered in her commitment to peaceful change and a process of national reconcilation in Burma. Her actions demonstrate how a life of quiet dignity can serve as a powerful force for good. I commend Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for her determination and resolve."

    Best wishes on this memorable occasion

    George W. Bush

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    Bangladesh: Civil society expressed support with Burmese people for democracy

    Dhaka, December 8, 2001 Mizzima News Group

    The Committee of Concerned Citizens organized a solidarity program for the restoration of democracy in Burma today at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity Auditorium. Dr. C. R Abrar, co-founder of the organization and Assistant Professor at the Dhaka University presented a paper on the "Struggle for Democracy in Burma Today".

    "Burmese authorities are yet to show any indication about their readiness to engage in a serious dialogue with the political opposition for restoration of democracy in Burma. Therefore, there is an urgent need to exert pressure on the junta to hand over the state power to the duly elected people of Burma from all quarters", said Dr. Abrar at the function. He also urged the citizens of Bangladesh to express total support with the Burma pro-democracy activists.

    Later, a panel discussion was chaired by Barrister Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed, former member of Caretaker Government and first Attorney General of Bangladesh. Eminent academic and literatteur Prof. Sirajul Islam Chowdhury, Member of Bangladesh Law Council and Secretary General of Bangladesh Society for Enforcement of Human Rights Advocate Sigma Huda and senior journalist and T.V commentator Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury participated in the discussion. The panel was moderated by Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Advocate, and Supreme Court of Bangladesh.

    The participants expressed solidarity with the Burmese people and called for unconditional handing over of power to the duly elected representatives of the Burmese people.

    Terming Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Joan of Arc of our age, the meeting called for lifting of all forms of restriction imposed on her. Participants also for called on the regime to create conditions so that all Burmese refugees, asylum seekers and others currently staying overseas can return home and lead a life in dignity.

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    India: Campaign launched in support of democracy in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 8, 2001
    Text of report by Indian news agency PTI

    New Delhi, 8 December: An international solidarity campaign for restoration of democracy in Myanmar [Burma] and immediate release of Nobel laureate [and National League for Democracy leader], Aung San Suu Kyi, was launched here on Saturday [8 December].

    The solidarity campaign was joined by Indian MPs, leaders of political parties, human rights activists and representatives of the civil society in the country to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Suu Kyi receiving the Nobel prize.

    Urging India to openly come out in favour of democracy in Myanmar, noted journalist Kuldip Nayyar released the signatures of MPs who have signed in support of Declaration on Burma at a function here.

    The function, jointly organized by the India-based All Burma Students League and Women's League of Burma, was among others, attended by former federal law minister, Ram Jethmalani, CPI (M) leader, D. Raja, and Samata Party leader, Shambu Sharan Shrivastava.

    The declaration has called upon the Burma's military junta to immediately and unconditionally release all MPs-elect and end alleged human rights violation there.

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    Thailand:Activists want Suu Kyi freed on peace prize anniversary

    Supamart Kasem
    The Bangkokpost

    Burmese pro-democracy groups have demanded the release of the country's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to mark the 10th anniversary of her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    About 100 members of more than 20 pro-democracy groups made the call during celebrations marking the Nobel Prize's centenary and tomorrow's 10th anniversary of Mrs Suu Kyi's prize.The celebrations were at a fair held by the National Council of the Union of Burma, the country's parliament in exile, in Tak, near the Thai-Burmese border.

    Among participants were the Karen National Union's supreme commander Gen Tamalabaw, the NCUB's health minister, and representatives from the All Burma Students' Democratic Front.

    Burma's military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has held the opposition leader under house arrest since September last year. It is the second time Mrs Suu Kyi leader of Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy has been under house arrest. A NCUB statement said the celebrations were aimed at showing the world that Burmese people would continue pushing for democracy.

    ``We consider Aung San Suu Kyi as the people's leader. She deserves the world's great honour for her sacrifice, bravery and fight for better things democracy and peace for the Burmese people,'' the statement read.

    Rangoon should release her and all of the country's estimated 1,500 political prisoners without condition and allow Burmese political parties to organise political activities freely, the statement read. NCUB secretary-general Maung Maung Aye said there was no sign the Burmese regime would free up the country with no progress in talks between the NLD and the council.

    ``More than 1,500 political prisoners, including many MPs, are in jail. Ten of them were recently sentenced to seven more years in prison. Bans have been imposed on activities by political parties. This shows that the SPDC does not want democracy in Burma.''

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    Japan:Ceremony held for 10th anniversary of Suu Kyi's Nobel Prize

    TOKYO, Dec. 9 Kyodo - A ceremony was held Saturday in Tokyo to mark the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's receipt of the Nobel Peace prize.

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    Burmese closing in on Shan

    The Nation
    Wiwatchai Somkum

    Almost a thousand Burmese soldiers and their Wa allies are moving in on rebel Shan positions along the Thai-Burmese border, and Thai troops are on high alert to prevent fighting from spilling across the border.Army officials yesterday said they believed the large mustering of troops could be the prelude to the beginning of all-out fighting.

    About 20 flatbed trucks, each carrying about 50 Burmese and Wa soldiers from the border town of Tachilek, are heading towards a Shan State Army (SSA) stronghold in Mong Kan, about 35 kilometres north of Tachilek.Many had mortars and all were armed with light assault weapons, said one Thai Army officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Border officers said Thai troops had been placed on high alert, amid growing fears fighting could spill over the border into Thailand.The officer said Thai soldiers had spotted Wa troops digging deep into positions along the border road near Mae Fah Luang district. The Wa are said to be preparing for a possible assault by Shan rebels.

    The area, exposed on a hilltop with little room to manoeuvre or escape, has come under attack by the SSA in the past, resulting in heavy casualties on the government side.Sporadic clashes between the Shan rebels and the Burmese have occurred during the past three weeks. But the current mobilisation of troops could very well be "the beginning of an all-out offensive by the Burmese side," the officer said.The SSA is reinforcing troops in the area, he added.

    The ethnic Wa soldiers are members of the United Wa State Army (UWSA), a pro-Rangoon group that signed a cease-fire with the military government in 1989 in return for autonomy. Headquartered in Panghsang, on the Burma-China border, the UWSA has during the past decade expanded its operations along the Thai border, as well as relocating ethnic Wa and Chinese from the northern areas to newly created towns adjacent to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces.

    Previous Thai governments have declared the UWSA a threat to the nation's security and closed off border checkpoints leading to the group's southern strongholds. But the current administration has reversed the policy by establishing dialogue with the drug army.Thai officials have reportedly promised to help the Wa drug army with financing what they claim is a major crop-substitution scheme.

    And yet some observers have suggested the scheme is destined for failure because the UWSA itself, not local villagers, is in direct control of Burma's massive illicit drug industry.Methamphetamine, opium and refined heroin are smuggled across the porous Thai-Burmese border in vast amounts each year.

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    Bangladesh tightens security on its border with Burma

    ABC Radio Australia News

    Bangladesh has tightened security on its border with Burma to stop "illegal" infiltration. More than 280,000 Burmese Muslims entered Bangladesh in 1991, claiming they were victims of repression and human rights violations, a charge denied by Burma's military junta.

    Most were repatriated by 1993 under two agreements between the neighbours and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. More than 20,000 remain in two camps in southeastern Cox's Bazar district where little progress has been to secure their repatriation.

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    Nudism Comes To Burma


    Holidaymakers who want to bare all will soon be able to do so in Burma, courtesy of the country's military rulers.

    A Thai company has been sold a 45-year-lease on an island by the junta after noticing how tourists, particularly from northern Europe, liked to strip off on Thai beaches.

    Vikrom Isiri, who is a senator in the Thai Parliament and will perform the official opening ceremony, said the practice had caused offence to local people in Thailand.


    Company spokesman Chairat Meksukree said: "Now tourists can go naked without causing any offence. In fact they will have to go naked, there is no choice.".

    The company is to develop St Luke's, a two kilometre square island located between Victoria Point, Burma's most southerly tip, and the southern Thai town of Ranong. It is being billed as Asia's first nudist resort.

    A Burmese dissident was quoted in a Thai newspaper as saying: "Now Burmese MI (military intelligence) will have something more worthwhile to spy on."

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