Daily News- March 07- 2002- Thursday

  • Suffocation suspected in deaths of 13
  • Myanmar Releases 27 More Female Detainees
  • Peace delegates fail in their attempt to meet KNPP
  • Myanmar's Transport Infrastructure Improves

  • Suffocation suspected in deaths of 13

    The Bangkokpost

    The 13 Burmese nationals whose bodies were deserted at a dump in Prachin Buri may have suffocated to death while being smuggled into Thailand, police said.Wichit Samathiwat, commander of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, said autopsies found suffocation was the cause of death in all cases.

    No wounds were found on the bodies though there were bruises that may have been caused when they bumped against one another.

    Three men and seven women were found, aged about 18-30, and two boys and one girl. The bodies were stuffed in rice sacks and left in a 100-rai dump site in tambon Nonhom, Muang district.Police believe a gang smuggled the group into the country.

    Amnuay Petsiri, deputy national police chief, who oversees eastern and northern provinces, said searches for the gang were carried out simultaneously yesterday in Tak, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri and Nakhon Nayok. Police believed the gang smuggled the illegals from Mae Sot district of Tak to a factory in Prachin Buri.

    Charnvut Watcharabukka, a police commissioner who oversees alien labour suppression, said Mae Sot was a popular route for human smuggling. Burmese workers usually pay about 5,000 baht to people who smuggle them in.A civic group in Tak wants the government to stop human rights violations against alien labour. Last month, the bodies of 17 brutally murdered Karen workers were recovered from a Tak stream. Police believe the Karens were also working here illegally.

    Panithi Tangphati, of Tak Border Civil Society, said pictures of the victims should be distributed to Burmese labour communities on the border. The National Human Rights Commission and CARE, a NGO, would be asked to gather information. Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said the murders did not mean Burma was refusing to co-operate with efforts to repatriate illegal workers. The Ministry's Department of East Asian Affairs was working with police to see if the deaths stemmed from a business conflict or from people smuggling, Mr Surakiart said.

    Burma's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win would pay a courtesy call on Mr Surakiart today before co-chairing talks with Tej Bunnag, permanent secretary for foreign affairs, on the repatriation process. The two sides have agreed to build a holding centre in Myawaddy for Burmese workers returning from Thailand. Mr Surakiart said that if repatriation failed international confidence in bilateral efforts to solve the problem would be hurt.

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    Myanmar Releases 27 More Female Detainees

    YANGON, March 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The Myanmar government Wednesday released 27 more female detainees on humanitarian grounds, according to an official Information Sheet reaching here.Of the detainees, 19 are women with young children, while the rest are expectant mothers. They were incarcerated for various criminal activities and were freed from various "Correction Facilities", the information sheet said.

    The release was another batch in a series since the government granted amnesty to criminal offenders by releasing 68 prisoner since February 22 this year and the number of such release on humanitarian grounds has been brought to 147.

    In February this year, United Nations Human Rights envoy to Myanmar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro visited the country for ten days, and three days after his trip, the Myanmar government started releasing criminal offenders on humanitarian grounds.

    Meanwhile, the government has also been releasing members of the opposition National League for Democracy and its activists. The number of those freed since January 2001 has reached 227.

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    Peace delegates fail in their attempt to meet KNPP

    Network Media Group

    Mae Hong Son, March 6, :The negotiation team, led by Bishop Maw Lay, who were negotiating with the Burmese regime and a Karenni rebel group, was barred from crossing the border into Thailand by Thai border security police. The meeting between the negotiation team and the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) had to be postponed.

    KNPP only had the chance to meet with the forerunner delegation group of 7 people, instead of the 36 member negotiation team. The forerunner group only met with Karenni Prime Minister Aung Than Lay, Military Chief of Staff Be Htoo and Tactical Commander Sein Myint, as well as Minister of Home Affairs Shar Reh, also a member of KNPP Central Committee and the chairman of the preliminary negotiation committee.

    Rimond Htoo, secretary of KNPP, said that although they had a chance to talk with the forerunner group, the official meeting could not be held.

    "Meeting has not been occurred. We are going to hold a meeting including our party leaders. But, they cannot come. The forerunner group who got here has no responsibility to discuss. They cannot do anything except send the information from here to the team," Rimond Htoo told the Network Media Group in a telephone interview.

    When asked about the policy of KNPP on peace talk, Rimond Htoo said that KNPP believes that to solve the problems, it is not enough to talk with KNPP alone. There must be a countrywide ceasefire, which includes Shan, Karen, Chin and Arakan ethnic groups. Then, there must be a negotiation among the democratic forces, ethnic forces and military generals.

    The negotiation team is composed of 36 members who are representatives of their respective townships. These delegates have been putting pressure on KNPP to engage in a ceasefire with the military regime. The last meeting between KNPP and the negotiation team was during last December.

    Although the arranged meeting could not be held, the negotiation team informed KNPP that they would arrange a meeting in future. But, the date for this next meeting has not yet been fixed, said Rimond Htoo.The negotiation team went back to Kayah (Karenni) State on the morning of March 5, 2002 after the failed attempt to meet with KNPP.

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    Myanmar's Transport Infrastructure Improves

    YANGON, March 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar has been making progress in its transport infrastructure construction in an effort to promote the socio-economic development and to attract foreign investment.

    According to the latest figures released by the Myanmar Ministry of Transport, since 1988, Myanmar has spent 336 million U.S. dollars plus 93,634 million Kyats (over 200 million dollars) in building motor roads and bridges in the whole country.

    The total length of motor roads in Myanmar has now reached 28,759 kilometers (km), an extension of 6,820 km from 1988 when it was 21,939 km. Meanwhile, during the period, Myanmar has built 139 bridges.During the past 13 years, Myanmar also injected 398 million dollars plus 36,005 million kyats (about 100 million dollars) in building 1,606 km of railroads, extending its total length to 6,210 km.Besides, Myanmar is now also building 264 km of new railroads and another 828.6 km more of such roads are in the planning stage.

    With regard to the air transport sector, there are now 12 airports in Myanmar, up from only six in 1988 and construction of six more airports are underway. Regarding the water transport sector, Myanmar has so far built 11 container yards -- five at the existing Yangon Port and six others at the Thilawa Port, a newly developed one next to the Yangon Port.

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