Daily News- December 15 - 2001- Saturday

  • Thai camp for Myanmar dissidents to close by end of year: official
  • Over 200 students protest police brutality in Karen State
  • Non-Burmans back Shan leader's dialogue proposal
  • Myanmar ethnic militias clash along Thai border
  • Shots fired in warning
  • Myanmar Becomes Yunnan's Largest Trade Partner

  • Thai camp for Myanmar dissidents to close by end of year: official

    BANGKOK, Dec 14 (AFP) - A Thai camp housing political dissidents from Myanmar will close by the end of the year despite reports that it would shut this week, senior Thai government officials said Friday.

    Pairoj Promsarn, the interior ministry's deputy secretary for security, said in a televised interview that the government never intended to close the Maneeloy Holding Center on December 15, as had been widely reported.

    Since 1993, the center has played host to thousands of student dissidents from the Myanmar regime's 1988 crackdown on pro-democracy activists, many of whom have been resettled overseas by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    "We never said that the camp will close on December 15," Pairoj said. "The closure of the camp will happen when we have another place available to serve them."

    He said the Thai government had just received funding from the UN and needed about 10 days to prepare facilities for those dissidents not leaving the camp in western Thailand for resettlement in third countries. Some 2,100 students from the camp have been sent to third countries since October 1999, according to the UNHCR.

    Pairoj said some 156 refugees at the camp, where some Myanmar dissidents on Tuesday launched a hunger strike against the closure of the center that had been expected Saturday, were awaiting deportation to third countries.He added that 26 were being interviewed, and that only 15 refugees eligible for resettlement had not yet been granted asylum overseas. Some 130 people would face legal action and be sent back to Myanmar, Pairoj added.

    The UNHCR said earlier that about 200 people considered "persons of concern" at Maneeloy would be relocated to another location in Thailand.

    Dissident students on a hunger strike at the camp have refused to move to a different location closer to the border, fearing attacks by Myanmar soldiers. "It's located near the border, where Myanmar soldiers can cross to kill and go back to their country easily," one student said. "We have no way to fight them."

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    Over 200 students protest police brutality in Karen State

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Dec 14, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 13 December

    DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that students from Kawkareik Township State High School No 2 staged a protest in front of the police station in Kawkareik, Karen State on 11 and 12 December.

    Two police corporals sexually assaulted and robbed a 20-year old woman who returned from a pilgrimage from Tharmanya Hill. A high school student who tried to intervene was shot dead by the policemen. The students protested because responsible authorities failed to take any legal action. DVB correspondent Ma Sandar filed this report.

    [Ma Sandar - recording] A local resident related the following incident to DVB.

    [Unidentified resident] At 0630 [local time] on 9 December morning, Naw Mukhlu Saw, a villager from Khudon Village, while returning from Tharmanya Hill pilgrimage was sexually assaulted and robbed of 1,000 kyat [Burmese currency] by Police Corporal Zaw Oo and Police Lance Corporal Kyaw Saing at No 1 Chaungdaung Ward, Kawkareik Township police checkpoint.

    Maung Htay Win, a 10th standard student at Kawkareik Township State High School No 2, witnessed the incident. Maung Htay Win is also quite a popular traditional boxer whose professional name is Athekwe [broken heart].

    He is an ardent sportsman good in boxing, football, and track and field and has represented the township and Karen State in student sports festivals. When he intervened the policemen released the woman but had a squabble with him. When he fell Police Corporal Zaw Oo took out his gun and shot Maung Htay Win in the back killing him instantly.

    When the authorities failed to take any action, over 200 students went to the police station and staged a protest on 11 and 12 December.[Ma Sandar] According to latest reports there have been no response so far from the authorities over the students' protest and local residents are also dissatisfied with the current situation. [End of recording]

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    Non-Burmans back Shan leader's dialogue proposal

    Shan Herald Agency for News-No: 12 - 10:

    Non-Burman leaders attending the Oslo centennial celibrations of the Nobel Peace Prize all expressed their support for recent proposal to UN special envoy by the Shan leader, according to an overseas Shan organization.

    Sai Wansai, General Secretary of the Germany-based Shan Democratic Union, who returned from his trip to Norway, told S.H.A.N. he had met Padoe Saw Ba Thin, President of the Karen National Union and Chairman of the newly-formed Ethnic Nationalities Solidarity and Cooperation Committee, and Khu Hte Bupeh of the Karenni National Progressive Party and of the ENSCC at the Workshop on Burma held on 8 December and all of them had echoed the proposal presented by Khun Htoo Oo, President of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and "unofficial" spokesperson for the non-Burman states, on 27 November to Razali Ismail, the United Nations Special Envoy to Burma the first day of his week-long visit.

    "In order to allow non-Burman ethnic nationalities to work out a common position, he had called for:

    - A nationwide ceasefire,
    - The freedom of assembly and meeting,
    - A free passage for non-ceasefire groups like the SSA (South) and the KNU for consultations, and
    - The re-instatement of banned political parties," Wansai reported.

    The workshop was jointly hosted by the Norwegian Burma Committee, Norwegian Church Aid and World View Rights. The audience were mostly academics, NGOs, Norwegian government officials and representatives from activist organizations, among whom were Dr. Sein Win of the National Coalition Government, Harn Yawnghwe of the Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office and Gareth Evans, President of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and former Foreign Minister of Australia. The main topic of the workshop was "How can the non-Burmans be included in the ongoing talks?," according to Wansai.

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    Myanmar ethnic militias clash along Thai border

    MAE SOT, Thailand, Dec 14 (AFP) - Fighters from Myanmar's rebel Karen National Union (KNU) killed four troops from the pro-Yangon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) in an attack Friday, Thai military sources said.

    Three KNU fighters were also killed and two injured after about 100 of their ethnic militia set upon the DKBA's Khoke Ko camp along the Thai border, touching off a two-hour volley of mortarfire between the forces, they added.

    Some 10 local Myanmar villagers and DKBA troops were injured in the clash that broke out early Friday morning opposite Thailand's Mae Sot district.Thai military sources said some mortar rounds and gunfire strayed across the border into Thailand, but no Thais were hurt. The KNU has fought a 51-year battle for greater autonomy against the central government in Yangon and is one of the last major insurgent groups fighting the junta.

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    Shots fired in warning

    The Bangkokpost
    Supamart Kasem

    A border security force yesterday fired warning shots into Burma after artillery shells from fighting between Karen rebels and pro-Rangoon Buddhist Karen troops landed on Thai soil, border officials said.

    The 13th Infantry Regiment Task Force led by Col Archanao Srisuk fired smoke bombs into Burma opposite Ban Wang Pa in Mae Ramat district. Dozens of shells landed on Thai soil as Karen National Union troops and the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army clashed.

    The KNU's 7th Division launched an attack on the DKBA's 999th Brigade Special Battalion, Koko camp, opposite Ban Wang Pa about 2 am.The fighting involved M-79 and RPG rockets and rifles and machine guns. A KNU soldier was killed and two others wounded while the DKBA lost four men, border officials said.

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    Myanmar Becomes Yunnan's Largest Trade Partner

    KUNMING, Dec 14, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Myanmar is now the largest trade partner of southwest China's Yunnan Province thanks to sustained close economic cooperation between the two sides.

    At present, the export of Yunnan to Myanmar makes up 39 percent of its total export to the southeast Asian countries. The ratio of border trade between Yunnan and Myanmar is 14.5 percent of Yunnan's total foreign trade volume, said a provincial trade official.

    The general trade import and export of Yunnan in the first 10 months of this year rose 19.3 percent at 73.68 million U.S. dollars. But its border trade value with Myanmar dropped 15.9 percent to 20 million U.S. dollars.

    Yunnan shares 1,997 kilometers of border with Myanmar and the province has long been an important outlet of China to southeast Asia. China has opened three cross-border highways in Yunnan Province to connect with highways in Myanmar.

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