Daily News-September 17 - 2001- Monday

  • NLD marks 3rd anniversary of 'people's parliament'
  • Lwin Toe going on seventh day hunger strike in the prison
  • ILO mission to verify junta's promises on forced labour
  • Myanmar Leader On Sectoral Achievements Made in 13 Years
  • High costs mar Burma ventures
  • Myanmar's Rice Export Up Sharply in First Half of 2001
  • SEA Games :Myanmar Edge Indonesia For Bronze in men football
  • ILO starts mission to check Myanmar forced labour
  • ILO Team Visits Myanmar

  • NLD marks 3rd anniversary of 'people's parliament'

    YANGON, Sept. 16, Kyodo - Myanmar's main pro-democracy movement, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, held its third anniversary Sunday of its ''people's parliament'' at a working lunch at the party's headquarters.

    The NLD formed a 10-member panel known as the Committee Representing the People's Parliament on Sept. 16, 1998, to function as the parliament.

    Myanmar's junta refused to convene the legislature after the 1990 general elections, in which the NLD won more than 80% of seats.

    At the lunch meeting, NLD Chairman Aung Shwe, in a speech read by NLD Vice Chairman Tin Oo, said, ''Cooperation of the people's parliament...is necessary to shape the future of the country.''

    The speech, devoid of the usual reproachful remarks on the junta, noted only that the people's parliament will exist as long as is necessary.

    Asked by reporters on the progress of dialogue between the junta and Suu Kyi, Tin Oo said, ''It is still at the confidence-building stage, it is not the dialogue yet.''

    The lunch meeting was attended by more than 200 party adherents and ethnic group representatives.

    The second anniversary meeting last year resolved to draft the state constitution under supervision of Aung Shwe and Suu Kyi.Drafting of the constitution by anyone but the official National Convention is illegal under a 1996 law.
    Lwin Toe going on seventh day hunger strike in the prison

    source :Arhara Burmese Library (Japan)

    Japan Immigration Bureau detained two other refugee seekers

    Japan Immigration Bureau detained Lwin Toe, a member of NLD (LA- Japan) and a holder of the Permit for Provisional Release as a political asylum when he went to Tokyo Immigration Bureau to put a sign for his monthly regular extension of the permit on September 10.

    He has been practicing a hunger strike in the prison of Tokyo Immigration Bureau since when he was detained.While Lwin Toe is being on the third day hunger strike of his, two other refugee seekers were detained by JIB on September 12.

    They are Ma Khin Mar Kyi, a member and DawAye Thant Kyu, a former member of NLD (LA-Japan). Their detentions are similar to Lwin Toe's, when they went to TIB to put their signs for monthly regular extension of the permit for provisional release.

    Now the Japan Immigration Bureau has brought to detain 10 refugee claimers with no explanation or clear reason.

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

    All democratic forces in Japan held an emergency meeting over the detained refugee seekers on September 12. They made a resolution to attempt to get the release of all detainees with the help of UNHCR, Japan Association for Refugee (JAR), Amnesty International (London) and etc

    The democratic forces on Friday submitted an appeal letter through Burma Office (Japan) to the Ministry of Justice for reconsideration and recognition of refugee status of the detainees.

    Nobody knows when and how the Ministry of Justice will rule the appeal but for the time being the hunger strike of Lwin Toe in the prison has covered to seventh day. The longer his hunger strike, the paler his skin and the weaker his body.

    The striker, who is in a grey T shirt with the Noble Price winner Aung San Suu Kyi and her party NLD's flag designed on it, has been hanging a paper sheet over the neck, on which he has written three points that he wants to claim.

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

    His condition on Friday, the fifth day of hunger strike, is said that the body, the blood and flesh started to go down but his mind is still so strong. This week Saturday and Sunday are Japan official holidays during which no one can enter the detaining center so there cannot be known much else but that he has been on his hunger strike for the seventh day.

    Nevertheless many activists and Burmese people in Japan and from other countries who hear of Lwin Toe begin to be concerned about his health in the course of time.

    Lwin Toe was a fourth year psychology student from Yangon University of Burma and he fled to Thai-Myanmar border line before the military intelligence's capture to him due to his involvement in 1988 Democracy Cause.

    He is a hunger. A hunger for democracy of his country. In fact, all Burmese people are hungers for democracy.
    ILO mission to verify junta's promises on forced labour

    BANGKOK, Sept 16 (AFP) - An International Labour Organisation (ILO) team arrives in Myanmar Monday to determine whether the military regime has kept its promise to eradicate the brutal practice of forced labour.

    The three-week mission by a team of eminent jurists follows the ILO's unprecedented condemnation of Myanmar last year for its failure to clamp down on forced labor, a form of slavery condemned by international rights groups.

    Stung into action by threats that the ILO's members could increase the sanctions load on Myanmar, which has already brought the economy to its knees, the ruling junta has promised to give the mission every assistance.

    "The team will be given freedom of movement and we will not accompany them except to take care of their security," Deputy Labour Minister Brigadier-General Win Sein told the Myanmar Times.

    The Geneva-based ILO said it had been guaranteed the team will have "full discretion to establish a program of such contacts and visits as it considers appropriate across the country."

    In a bid to fend off the ILO censure, the junta last November made forced labour illegal for the first time and said its directive had been "circulated right down to the village level and posted in every police station." But it remains unclear how the ban is being enforced, and how effective it has been against military personnel fighting border insurgencies, who for decades have enlisted villagers to work as porters and guides.

    "The junta says: 'It is impossible for us to say there is no forced labour in Myanmar' and that it takes time to eliminate," said one diplomat in Yangon. "I know that forced labour is ongoing, but I don't think it is as widespread as before," he said. "The only way to clarify is to have an ILO mission."

    One front-line officer in Myanmar's cash-strapped forces told AFP recently that the army continued to need porters to carry supplies and weapons across rugged areas where not even elephants or mules can travel safely.

    "We have always used porters when we go on operations ... why make such a fuss now," he said. "We always treat them like fellow human beings ... not like animals ... because they are an essential part of our operations."

    However, rights groups say nearly a million Myanmar people have suffered from the practice, which has helped build roads, ports and tourist resorts as well as assisting in military manoeuvres on the unstable borders.

    A 1998 ILO committee of inquiry found the practice was "widespread and systematic" and targeted at ethnic minorities living in border regions. Refugees who escape into Thailand tell of military raids on villages, where even the old and infirm are rounded up and put to work for long hours with no pay and insufficient food, while their abandoned crops and livestock perish. In the worst cases those who are unable to keep up are beaten or killed.

    The ILO said its team will assess "the practical implementation and actual impact" of various government initiatives to wipe out forced labor, "with a view to determining whether these measures have been effective."

    Observers in Yangon say the military regime, which has spent most of the last year in landmark talks with the democratic opposition, is taking the mission very seriously and has prepared thoroughly for its arrival.

    The team will be led by Sir Ninian Stephen, a former governor-general of Australia and former judge at the International war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia. The other members are Jerzy Makarczyk, a European Court of Human Rights judge and former Polish foreign secretary; former Sri Lankan chief justice Kulatilaka Ranasinghe; and Nieves Roldan-Confesor, a former Philippines labour secretary. The mission's findings are due to be examined by the ILO's governing body in November.
    Myanmar Leader On Sectoral Achievements Made in 13 Years

    YANGON, September 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar has made some achievements in the sectors of education and irrigation in 13 years since the present government took over the power of state in late 1988, official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar Sunday quoted the country's top leader Senior-General Than Shwe as saying.

    The government views education as a very important investment for the nation's human resources development and has laid down a 30-year plan which is being implemented, noted Than Shwe at an annual general meeting of the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) held here.

    Than Shwe is Chairman of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council and the patron of the USDA.He told the meeting that there are 39,070 basic education schools in the country now, increasing by 5,323 from 1988 when there were 33,747.Meanwhile, there are 129 universities and colleges now, up from 1988 when there were only 32.

    With regard to the achievements made in the irrigation sector, he said during the 13-year period, Myanmar built 124 dams and reservoirs, bringing the total irrigated areas to 1.98 million hectares now from 1.02 million hectares in 1988.He called for efforts to build the nation into a modern one by turning the agro-based nation into an industrialized and developed one.
    High costs mar Burma ventures

    Wassana Nanuam
    source : Bangkokpost

    Fishing joint ventures between Thailand and Burma were unlikely to go ahead because of the anticipated high costs for Thai investors, a senior naval officer said.

    Amornchote Sujirat, director of the Thai-Burma Fishery Co-ordination Centre, said there were few possibilities for co-operation since 75% of the investment for each project would have to come from the Thai side. He said Thai investors were unlikely to agree to the conditions of the five fishery-related businesses, which required all marine animals be sent to Mergui port in Burma.

    Naval relations between the two countries were also poor, he said, with Burmese soldiers at Kawthaung, opposite Ranong, still refusing to contact Thai troops by radio. There were often delays even in the case of contacts through the Thai-Burmese township border committee in Ranong and Kawthaung. A meeting between Thai and Burmese naval officers would be held in Kawthaung next month in a bid to improve ties.

    Commodore Amornchote said Burma would again probably fail to send two officials to the Thai-Burma Fishery Co-ordination Centre in Ranong despite promising to do so at the recent 19th Regional Border Committee Meeting in Pattaya.Since Oct 6, 1999, Rangoon has banned Thai fishermen from Burmese waters following the siege of the Burmese embassy here. More than 50,000 Burmese workers are currently working for fisheries and related businesses in Ranong.
    Myanmar's Rice Export Up Sharply in First Half of 2001

    YANGON, September 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar exported a total of 215,100 tons of rice in the first half of this year, earning a foreign exchange of 24.87 million U.S. dollars, the country's Central Statistical Organization said in its latest data.

    The export volume and foreign exchange earning were respectively up 568 percent and 365.7 percent compared with the same period of 2000.Although Myanmar's rice export had dropped from 111,700 tons in 1998 to 63,700 tons in 1999, it rose to 141,600 tons in 2000.

    To meet its food demand and to export more rice, Myanmar has since November 1998 leased out 467,370 hectares of vacant, virgin, fallow and wetlands in the country for cultivation by private entrepreneurs.At the same time, it has also exempted the import customs duties levied on agricultural implements including pesticide, fertilizer, improved variety and machinery.

    Myanmar's cultivable land stretches 18.225 million hectares, of which 10.125 million have been put under crops, while 8.1 million remain to be utilized.The country's agriculture accounts for 37 percent of the gross domestic product and 25 percent of the export value.
    SEA Games :Myanmar Edge Indonesia For Bronze in men football

    KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 (Bernama) -- Myanmar beat Indonesia 1-0 in the SEA Games men's football bronze medal playoff at the MPPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya near here Saturday.

    Yang Paing scored the winner in the 44th minute. On receiving a pass in front of the goal from Soe Lin Tun, he unleashed a shot to beat the Indonesian goalkeeper. Both teams were slow to start and seldom ventured into their opponents' danger zone in the early stages.

    In the 35th minute, Indonesian goalkeeper Yandri Christian Pitoy was stretchered out after being injured in a collision with a Myanmar player. He was replaced by Achmad Kurniawan. Indonesia dominated play in the second half but failed to capitalise on the chances that came their way.

    Myanmar: 1-Aung Aung Oo, 12-Yan Paing, 15-Aung Kyaw Myint (16-Lwin Oo), 2-Min Thu, 3-Zaw Lynn Tun, 5-Soe Lim Tun, 17-Aung Tun Naing (9-Nay Thu Hlaing) (10-Tun Min Naing Min Naing) , 8-Aung Kyaw Moe, 6-Tint Naing Tun Thein, 13-Poll Cpl Min Thwin, 4-Soe Myat Min.


    Yesterday's medal tally showed the hosts capturing an overall 108 gold medals, 74 silver and 83 bronze. Thailand trailed with 101 golds, 84 silver and 86 bronze .While Myanmar is ranked No 7 out of 10 with 19 golds, 14 silvers and 53 bronze.

    Following are the medal winners on the ninth day of the 21 SEA Games


    1. Aye Aye Thin -- Judo Women Half Lightweight
    2. Thin Zar Soe -- Judo Women Extra Lightweight


    Pa Pa -- Women Marathon


    1. Chaw Su Thien -- Silat Puteri 75-80kg
    2. Yan Lin Aung -- Boxing 45kg
    3. Kyaw Swar Aung -- Boxing 48kg
    4. Nyiew Nyiew Aung -- Silat Puteri 45-50kg
    5. Myo Aung -- Silat Putera 80-85kg
    6. Aung Tun Lin -- Boxing 54kg
    7. Nay Zaw -- Boxing 57kg
    8. Paw Lu -- Silat Putera 75-80kg
    9. Htay Lwin -- Boxing 75kg
    10.Tin Thein -- Boxing 81kg
    11.Tin Oo -- Silat Putera 50-55kg
    12.Kyaw Soe Naing -- Judo Men Extra Lightweight
    13.Men Volleyball
    ILO starts mission to check Myanmar forced labour

    YANGON, Sept. 17 - A high level International Labour Organisation (ILO) mission arrived in Myanmar on Monday for a three-week visit to check the military government's pledge it has ended forced labour.

    The ILO last year called for governments and international bodies to impose fresh sanctions, saying its missions to the country found evidence of widespread and systematic use of forced labour.

    Myanmar bitterly attacked the ILO and said it would break off cooperation with the body. But the military government, which has been taking a more conciliatory stance this year, agreed to the latest visit by an ILO team. Myanmar says it banned forced labour in October 2000.

    A foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters the four-man ILO team was free to travel anywhere in the country, ''except in places where there is concern for...security,'' and meet anybody during the visit.

    The team is led by former Australian Governor General Sir Ninian Stephen, and includes former Philippines Labour Secretary Nieves Roldan-Confesor, former Sri Lankan Chief Justice Kulatilaka Ranasinghe and former Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Jerzy Makarczyk. The four will present their findings to a meeting of the ILO governing body in November.

    ''The decision of that meeting will have a very strong influence on the future policy of Western nations and international organisations towards Myanmar,'' a southeast Asian diplomat in Yangon told Reuters.

    Myanmar has been ruled in recent decades by a succession of military regimes which have faced widespread allegations of systematic human rights abuses. The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) ignored the result of elections in 1990, won in a landslide by the opposition National League For Democracy (NLD), and has harassed and imprisoned opposition politicians. The NLD's leader, Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has been held under de facto house arrest for a year. But following the start of confidential talks between the government and Suu Kyi, there have been signs of an easing of the military's iron grip. More than 150 political prisoners have been released and restrictions on top NLD members have been partially lifted. (With additional reporting by Andrew Marshall in Bangkok)
    ILO Team Visits Myanmar

    YANGON, September 17 (Xinhuanet) -- A high-level team of the International Labor Organization (ILO) arrived here Monday for a three-week visit to Myanmar to assess and determine the effectiveness of Myanmar government's measures on elimination of the practice of forced labor.

    The four-member ILO team is headed by former Australian Governor-General Ninian Stephen. The other three members are respectively Jerzy Makarozyk, judge at the European Commission Human Rights and former Polish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Kulatilaka Ranasinghe, former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, and Nieves Roldan-Confesor, former Philippines Secretary of Labor. The team will make an objective assessment of the implementation and actual impact of various legislative and executive measures announced by the Myanmar government in response to previous ILO action.

    Myanmar's standards on labor affairs are to be decided at the ILO governing body meeting due to be held in November, based on the findings of the team during the present Myanmar tour.

    In November last year, the ILO governing body voted overwhelmingly that Myanmar had not compiled with a global treaty on eradicating forced labor, urging its 174 member states, private companies and other international bodies to review their relations with Myanmar from then and take appropriate measures to ensure they were not abetting use of forced labor.

    Myanmar has rejected the then resolution against it on forced labor and announced dissociation of itself from the organization and any activities and effects connected with it. Myanmar, which agreed in June to receive the present ILO mission, says that the government had issued an order in October last year banning forced labor.

    An ILO inquiry mission in 1998 found forced labor was " widespread and systematic" in Myanmar. Meanwhile, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has charged that more than a million Myanmar people are subjected to forced labor on construction sites for roads, railways, military installations and tourism. Myanmar has been an ILO member since 1948.