Daily News-September 12 - 2001- Wednesday

  • >A member of NLD (LA) Japan Branch practicing a hunger strike
  • Burmese Activists Criticize Japan
  • NCGUB welcomes release of five more opposition MPs
  • Third anniversary of student's arrest
  • Thailand to grant GSP rights to three neighbours
  • Col Tin Hlaing says NLD's rejection of "confrontational policy" led to talks

  • A member of NLD (LA) Japan Branch practicing a hunger strike in prison of Japan Immigration Bureau

    source : Arhara Burmese Library (Japan)

    A member of NLD (LA) Japan Branch was detained by Japan Immigration Bureau although he is a holder of the Permit for Provisional Release as a political asylum. His detention was on September 10 when he went to Tokyo Immigration Bureau to put a sign for his monthly regular extension of the permit. The name of the detainee is Lwin Toe.

    Now the Japan Immigration Bureau has brought to detain eight refugee claimers including Lwin Toe with no explanation or clear reason.

    The other seven detainees before Lwin Toe are Maw Thin, Soe Lwin, Toe Naing, Moe Kyaw, Maing Kyaw Oo, Win Kyaw, Ko Wunna Shin from NLD (LA) Japan Branch, and League for Democracy in Burma.

    But the last detained Lwin Toe, who is dauntless unlikely to the previous seven detainees, has been practicing a single hunger strike in the prison of Japan Immigration Bureau. He has been holding a paper sheet on which he has written what he needs. He has been claiming on three points.

    I need democracy and human rights of Burma
    I need the release of all democratic activists
    I against the Japanís ODA for Burma under the Junta

    It is unpredictable that till how long his hunger strike goes on and how the Japanese Immigration Bureau will handle this case.

    All Burmese democratic forces in Japan are now seeking to get the release of Lwin Toe and other detainees from prisons of JIB, with the help of UNHCR, Japan Association for Refugee (JAR), Amnesty International (London) and others.
    Burmese Activists Criticize Japan

    By Ko Thet
    source : The Irrawaddy

    September 11, 2001--Fifteen Burmese dissidents based in Japan held a protest yesterday in Tokyo condemning the Japanese government for financially supporting Burmaís military government with Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) money. The protest was held in front of Japanís Foreign Ministry Office and lasted for two hours, according to Win Aung, a Burmese activit in Japan.

    Dr. Min Nyo, a spokesman for the group, told The Irrawaddy, "The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has given no signs that democracy is coming to Burma anytime soon. There is still no freedom of the press in Burma and hundreds of political prisoners continue to be detained and are subsequently kept out of politics in Burma. For these reasons we feel that Japanís proposed aid is premature."

    In April of this year the Japanese government approved an aid package worth US $28 million for the reconstruction of turbines at the Lawpita hydropower dam in the Kayah (Karenni) State in Burma. The dam was built in 1952 by Japanese engineers on the Bi Loo River and is one of the most important electricity sources in Burma.

    The group also released a statement that said the ODA money will not have positive effects on Burmaís citizens but will help to perpetuate the military governmentís heavy-handed rule over the country. They also criticized the Japanese government for its treatment of Burmese activists seeking political asylum in Japan and asked the Japanese government to maintain fair and equal relations with both opposition groups and the SPDC.

    "The Japanese governmentís policy is not clear towards Burmese activists in Japan. Japan is already a developed country and has agreed with the UNHCR to accept refugees. But they (Japan) have arrested some Burmese asylum seekers for overstaying their visas. We demand that the Japanese government recognizes their own law," said Dr. Min Nyo.

    Protests were also held yesterday in front of the Japanese embassy in both India and the United Kingdom. Burmese activists in both countries called on the Japanese government to stop giving ODA money to the SPDC.

    The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP), based along the Thai-Burma border, also issued a statement to the Japanese government yesterday.

    "The financial support offered by the Japanese government will only strengthen the military dictatorship, which continues to violate human rights. Therefore we strongly denounce the current Japanese government for encouraging the Burmese juntaís oppression of the people," according to the statement.
    NCGUB welcomes release of five more opposition MPs

    Text of report by DVB on 10 September

    An SPDC spokesman said today that five NLD elected representatives [MPs] have been released from detention. They are: U Kyin Thein, Dr Aye Zan, U Hla Min, U Aung Kyin, and U Tun Kyi. Daw Khin Hla Htay, an ordinary NLD member, was also released together with them. The SPDC news release said all are in good health.

    But an independent NLD member from Rangoon said although a total of 167 NLD members have been released since January this year, they included about 80 NLD members who were detained for their involvement with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's planned trip to Mandalay and 33 MPs who were detained for over two years at Government Guest Houses without being charged.

    The total number of MPs released from jails numbered 15. The latest release of five MPs brought the total number of MPs still languishing in the junta's jails to 24. The release of this batch of MPs comes almost a month after Daw San San, an NLD elected representative from Seikkan Township in Rangoon Division, was released.

    DVB has learned that the constituencies of those released are; U Kyin Thein from Kya-in Seikkyi Township Constituency-2 in Karen State, U Tun Kyi from Mogaung Township Constituency in Kachin State, U Hla Min from Kawthaung Township Constituency in Tenasserim Division, Dr Aye Zan from Kyaikto Township Constituency-2 in Mon State, and U Aung Kyin from Myaungmya Township Constituency-1 in Irrawaddy Division.

    The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma as welcomed the release of the MPs and NCGUB Minister Dr Tint Swe gave the follow remarks to DVB relating the release.

    [Dr Tint Swe] The release of more MPs from its jails by the SPDC is a very good gesture and we welcome the move but many still remain incarcerated. The SPDC has been releasing political prisoners in batches and in dribs and drabs because of the prevailing political situation and international pressure. Tomorrow, the International Parliamentary Union [IPU] will begin hearings on the human rights abuses committed against parliamentarians worldwide. So, I was even wondering whether the release has something to do with that. The SPDC is used to releasing political prisoners whenever there are international meetings on important issues and trips of special guests [coming to Burma]. The IPU's move is also related to international pressure and international participation. I believe all the remaining political prisoners should be released unconditionally as soon as possible.
    Third anniversary of student's arrest

    source : The Nation
    Andrew Kearns

    September 14 marks the third anniversary of the arrest of Burmese student leader Myo Min Zaw, who is now serving a 52-year sentence at Pathein Prison, Ayeyarwady Division.His sentence, harsh even by Burmese standards, presumably was given in retaliation for his role in organising peaceful student demonstrations in June and September 1998.

    He is considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, imprisoned solely for his non-violent political beliefs. I appeal to all who do business with Burma and have contact with Burmese authorities to call for the immediate release of Myo Min Zaw and other prisoners of conscience.

    I also ask the media to keep the public informed of these cases. In spite of the recent releases of many members of the National League for Democracy, there are still hundreds of political prisoners who need your help.
    Thailand to grant GSP rights to three neighbours

    BANGKOK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Thai Finance Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on Tuesday Thailand would soon give preferential tariff treatment for products imported from Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

    Somkid told reporters reduced tariff rates under Thailand's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of zero to five percent would be adopted mostly for agricultural products and commodities bought from the three countries.

    He said the favoured tariffs would be effective after Thailand announced its decision at an AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) Council meeting in Hanoi on September 14.

    The minister said Thailand would give GSP rights to 24 Laotian products out of about 65 items sought by the country. Vietnam would be entitled to reduced tariffs for 19 products out of 65 requested items, and Myanmar, 30 out of 80.
    Col Tin Hlaing says NLD's rejection of "confrontational policy" led to talks

    Text of report by DVB on 10 September

    DVB has learned that SPDC Home Minister Col Tin Hlaing commented that the SPDC military government decided to hold talks with the National League for Democracy [NLD] because the NLD has abandoned its confrontational policy.

    He delivered the remarks at a recently held Home Ministry's first four-monthly coordination meeting with General Administration Department officials from the states and divisions. He added the permission to reopen NLD offices in various townships is also conditional and reminded the officials not to think the same circumstance is applicable nationwide. He reminded them to watch over not only the NLD but veteran politicians led by Bohmu Aung as well.

    Furthermore, he added that the SPDC finds it totally unacceptable at the moment to hold tripartite talks with the national races. He gave detailed instructions to make thorough preparations before the ILO delegation's scheduled visit to Burma in order to prove the nonexistence of forced labour practices in the country. He said Thai-Burma relations improved because Thai Prime Minister Thaksin himself came and apologized and Burma responded positively.