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The BurmaNet News, August 30, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------     
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"     
The BurmaNet News: August 30, 1997        
Issue #809


July 1997 [excerpts only]

M O N   I N F O R M A T I O N   S E R V I C E

Continued Human Rights Violations in Burma
Special Emphasis on far southern and southeastern regions
[Tenasserim Division and Mon State]


All rice farmers in Burma are bound by law to pay a yearly paddy tax to the 
government under the name of selling paddy to the state, selling to the 
amounts set by the government fully and at unfair, low prices set by the 
government. Any rice farmers who cannot sell the tax paddy fully are 
viable to imprisonment or fines according to the law. Practically, all those 
rice farmers who were arrested and detained due to their inability to sell 
the tax paddy fully were not released until they had sold the tax paddy in 
full as required. That is to say if they do not obtain an adequate crop of 
paddy from their paddy fields, they must buy from the market all the 
amounts of paddy necessary to sell to the government at the government-
set, low prices equivalent to only around one fourth of current market 

In this respect, ethnic non-Burman rice farmers living in the Black Areas 
have relatively suffered far greater hardship than the rest of rice farmers in 
the country. Normally suspected of sympathizing and supporting the ethnic 
guerrilla forces by the Burmese Army, rice farmers living in the Black 
Areas are not allowed to go to their farms and do their own rice cultivation 
fully and freely by the Burmese Army. Besides, they can have their paddy 
fields, paddy stacks on their farms or their paddy granaries at their homes 
in the villages arbitrarily confiscated, burnt down or destroyed by the 
Burmese Army any time. Despite that they are normally not allowed to do 
their rice cultivation fully and freely by the Burmese Army and despite that 
they may already have had their paddy fields or paddy stacks burnt down 
or destroyed by the Burmese Army, they have to pay the yearly paddy tax 
to the Burmese government fully and unconditionally just like all other rice 
farmers in the country. In addition, when they are not able to pay the paddy 
tax fully, they are dealt with in any ruthless, brutal ways by the Burmese 
military enforcing the paddy tax law. 

Rice farmers from Mon State and Tenasserim Division have normally been 
required to sell to the SLORC government 10 to 12 baskets of paddy for 
every acre of their paddy fields each year. They were required to sell the 
tax paddy to SLORC at the SLORC-set price of 80 or 90 kyats per basket 
in the 1995-96 paddy tax year, vis-a-vis the current market price of 300 to 
350 kyats per basket; and at the SLORC-set price of 150 kyats per basket in 
the 1996-97 paddy tax year, vis-a-vis the current market price of 500 kyats 
or more per basket. Hundreds of rice farmers from Saw Hpyar, Mindat, 
Sonsin, Winwa and Chaungwabyin village tracts in Tenasserim Division's 
Thayet Chaung township were arrested during the first quarter of 1996 due 
to their inability to sell the tax paddy fully to SLORC. They were kept in 
the detention indefinitely until the tax paddy was sold by them to the full 
amounts as required. In the end, all these farmers had to buy paddy from 
the market paying 300 to 350 kyats per basket and sold it to SLORC at the 
SLORC-set low price of 80 or 90 kyats per basket for their respective 
release. Many of these farmers even had to sell off or mortgage their cattle 
or farmland so that they could pay the paddy tax fully.

A 42-year-old Tavoyan farmer, namely U Ni Pu from Thayet Chaung 
township's Sonsin Myalaybyin village fled with all his family on 3 
February 1996 to escape possible arrest and detention by the authorities as 
he was unable to pay the tax paddy fully. During a brief interview with our 
human rights workers, the Tavoyan farmer U Ni Pu expressed like this:    

I own a small rice field of 4 acres. The soil is sandy and naturally not good 
enough for rice cultivation. As I have no cattle of my own, I have to hire 
some from others for ploughing my rice field. This year, I only obtained a 
paddy crop of 95 baskets (produce of 23.75 baskets per acre); and was 
required to sell to the government a total of 48 baskets of paddy (12 baskets 
per acre) at the government-set, low price of 90 kyats per basket. I have 
already sold 23 baskets as a first installment. So, I am still having to pay 25 
more baskets but I just cannot afford to. Already, there has been nothing 
left for my family to subsist on after giving this first installment of tax 
paddy and paying all the cultivation cost for the year. I don't have a penny 
or any properties to sell off to buy paddy on the market for paying the rest 
of the tax. To escape possible arrest and detention by the authorities I fled 
from the village together with my family on the full-moon day of the 11th 
Burmese lunar month (3 February 1996), on hearing that the township 
LORC men, accompanied by their police personnel, came down to arrest 
local farmers who could not pay the paddy tax fully. I dare not go back 
home unless I can pay the remaining 25 baskets of the tax paddy. The 
previous year too, my family suffered great hardships of living because of 
the heavy paddy tax I had to pay the government. Likewise this year, we 
had to buy paddy from the market at the current price of 350 kyats per 
basket and sold it to the government at the then government-set price of 80 
kyats per basket. As a result, my family had been sinking deeper and 
deeper into debt. 

The people in Tenasserim Division who live by fishing, particularly those 
in Launglon township, have experienced great hardships of living because 
of systematic deprivation of their right to their own means of subsistence 
by the authorities. Over the years since it came to power in 1988, SLORC 
has sold many fishing concessions to Thai fishing companies to operate in 
the region. As a result, the local fisher population is banned from fishing 
in the wide sea area of the concessions granted to the foreign fishing 
companies. At the same time, SLORC has opened several field fish-buying 
centres in towns and villages across the region, including Kyauknimaw 
and Kanyawbyin villages in Launglon township, and has normally required 
the local fisher people to sell fish and prawn to it fully to the amounts it 
sets and at the cheap prices it sets. The SLORC-set prices are much lower 
than current market prices. Those of the local fisher people, who cannot 
sell the tax fish fully as required by the authorities are subjected to arrest, 
detention and fines by the SLORC authorities, likewise those of the rice 
and rubber farmers.

Moreover, the SLORC authorities have increasingly imposed taxes on the 
local fisher people - namely taxes on their fishing nets, on their fishing 
boats, on the engines of their fishing boats, etc. Local Tavoyan fisher 
people have expressed their common disappointment and concern that if 
the current trend continues for the next five years they will no longer see 
fish in their home region which was once rich in fish - let alone for them to 
make a living by fishing then. The cost of existence has become higher and 
higher. Even smallest and lowest-quality fish costs more than 150 kyats per 
viss (1.63 kilograms) on the current market, whereas good quality fish 
costs up to 700 kyats per viss. The poverty-stricken vast majority of the 
local population cannot afford good quality fish and prawn for their meals. 

In the detention centres in Launglon town alone, there have been a total of 
20 to 30 rice or rubber farmers and fishermen constantly seen being 
detained due to their inability to pay the rice, rubber or fish taxes fully as 
SLORC imposes on them. Those arrested farmers and fishermen were said 
to be confined in the detention for at least one month and have to pay a 
fine or bribe of no less than 10,000 kyats per person to the authorities for 
their respective release. 


Since it came to power in 1988, the Burmese military regime State Law  
and Order Restoration Council has been constructing or repairing motor 
roads and railway lines across the country by consistent, massive use of 
unpaid forced labour. Under the rule of SLORC, the practice of using 
forced labour has become more common in the country than ever before. 
Forced labour on infrastructure development projects and 'local areas 
development projects' - coupled with disgraceful exploitation by local 
levels of SLORC military and civil officials - is the commonest type of 
human rights abuse that has affected the entire populace in the country. 
Under the rule of SLORC, forced labour, coupled with  extortion, is the 
order of the day everywhere in the country. Forced labour for the military 
(including front-line portering labour) and portering-related extortion have 
been far more common in the rural regions than the urban areas. So, the 
rural population that makes two thirds of the entire population has 
relatively suffered more than the urban people in overall terms of forced 
labour and extortion.  

On all the infrastructure development projects, the (local) people are forced 
against their will to contribute hard labour. They are not paid for their 
labour. They have to provide their own foods, their own tools and their 
own transportation to work. They have to provide their own medical 
treatment if or when they get sick during working. Those who were killed 
out of bad accidents at the construction sites such as landslides, rock falls, 
etc. or who died from sicknesses as a result of the appalling working 
conditions were not provided with any compensation by SLORC. Any 
households that cannot contribute their own labour must either hire their 
own substitute labour or pay fines to the authorities. Under the high 
unemployment, deepened poverty and ever-escalating cost of living, a vast 
majority of the population have constantly found it hard to earn an 
adequate hand-to-mouth living. Added by the consistent forced labour and 
consistent extortion, innumerable households in the country can no longer 
afford even rice porridge for their meals. Many rice farmer families cannot 
afford adequate rice and many fishermen's families cannot afford good 
quality fish for their own meals. 

In Tenasserim Division alone, there are several infrastructure development 
projects for which the entire population in the region has been required to 
contribute both labour and money for the last 5 years till presently. 

Ye-Tavoy railway construction

It is a 110-mile-long new railway line linking Mon State's southernmost 
town Ye with Tenasserim Division's capital Tavoy. The construction of 
this railway line was started in the 1992 dry season, with the 12-mile-
long section from Tavoy to Yebyu being constructed first. Tens of 
thousands of forced labourers from towns and villages in Mon State and 
Tenasserim Division - men, women and children alike - have worked on 
the construction of this railway line. The local Mon, Karen and Tavoyan 
people have also had to contribute rails-bed stones, sleepers, bricks for 
the railway bridges, and so on.   

The construction of most part of this railway line has been completed 
currently. The railway construction as a whole, however, seems to take at 
least few more years to reach its practical completion and usable state. 
Because, on many completed sections of this railway line, the 
embankments still have not survived the test of the monsoon rains. For 
instance, freshly completed embankments on the railway route section in 
Yebyu township were eroded away just at the very onset of this monsoon 
season (June 1997). Immediately, the local SLORC military conscripted 
hundreds of Mon, Karen and Tavoyan people living at the several 
villages around and used them as unpaid forced labour to rebuild the 
eroded embankments.

Ye-Tavoy-Mergui existing motor road under repair

It is a 270-mile-long existing motor road connecting Ye town in Mon 
State and Tavoy and Mergui towns in Tenasserim Division. This motor 
road has been put under repair with the use of unpaid forced labour by 
SLORC since early 1996 - not the whole length at the same time but 
section by section. The forced labourers were also required to clear all 
the trees within the 150 feet both sides of the motor road for the SLORC 
military to cut the risk of guerrilla ambush attacks. The population in 
the region has also had to contribute stones - at a rate of two to three 
100-cubit-feet Kyins per household - for the motor road repair. 
Thousands, if not tens of thousands of forced labourers - men, women 
and children - from towns and villages in the region have daily worked 
on the repair of this motor road all through the dry season of each year 
till presently. 
Mergui-Kawthaung new motor road under construction

It is a 260-mile-long new motor road to link Mergui and the country's 
southernmost town Kawthaung. The construction of this motor road was 
started in February 1994. A total of estimated 10,000 forced labourers - 
men, women and children - from towns and villages in the region have 
daily worked on the construction of this motor road all through the dry 
season from the beginning of November through the end of May each 
year till presently. The local population has also had to contribute stones 
for the motor road construction, at a rate of two 100-cubit-feet Kyins per 

In constructing the Mergui-Kawthaung motor road, SLORC did not put the 
road's whole length under construction at the same time but divided the 
road into three main sections, and constructed one section after the other. 
The three sections are namely Section I from Mergui to Taninthayi, 
Section II from Taninthayi to Boak Pyin and Section III from Boak Pyin to 
Kawthaung. The Section I was reportedly completed by the end of 1994; on 
the Section II, the over 20 miles' length from Taninthayi to Thea-kwet 
village was completed by the end of 1996 while the rest part from Thea-
kwet to Boak Pyin was only completed as a rough dust road; the Section III 
has also been roughly completed. This roughly completed motor road as 
such - the whole length from Mergui through Kawthaung - is reportedly 
already usable to travel by trucks and motorbikes except during the rainy 
season of the year. During the rainy season, however, trucks and 
motorbikes can only run from Mergui through Thea-kwet, whereas from 
Thea-kwet to Kawthaung is only usable to travel on foot. 

In addition to the thousands of forced labourers conscripted from towns 
and villages in the region, SLORC has constantly used hundreds of a chain 
gang to work on the motor road construction since November 1995 till 
presently. At the construction site between Boak Pyin and Thea-kwet 
alone, there has been a chain gang of 1,200 seen daily working as slave 
labour on the motor road construction. By June 1997, only 800 of the chain 
gang were seen working on the motor road construction, whereas many out 
of the rest 400 of them may have died from sickness without medical 
treatment or out of bad accidents under the inhuman appalling working 
conditions or may have been subjected to arbitrary execution on their 
exhaustion or unsuccessful escape attempts by the SLORC military in 
control of the labour camp. Amongst the chain gang working on the motor 
road construction in June 1997, a 57-year-old Burmese man ( anonymity 
needed) from Rangoon, as he could not continue working there due to his 
serious sickness,  was left dying in a ditch by the paddy fields nearby the 
construction site by the SLORC military in control of the chain gang. 
Fortunately, this slave labour victim was came across and secretly rescued 
by a Tavoyan villager (anonymity needed) from Ngawun Chaung in 
Tanithayi township. After receiving medical treatment with the help of the 
rescuer, the slave labour victim recovered.     

Taninthayi-Moe Taung new motor road under construction

SLORC has constructed a new motor road to link Taninthayi town in 
Tenasserim Division with Moe Taung on the Burma-Thai border with the 
consistent use of unpaid forced labour conscripted from the town and the 
many villages in Taninthayi township since the dry season in 1994 till 
currently. This new motor road is estimated to be around 50 miles long. 
The construction of the rough route was reportedly completed in January 
1996. SLORC also required the local population to contribute and lay 
stones at a rate of two 100-cubit-feet Kyins per household for the motor 
road construction. There are a total of more than 10,000 households, 
predominantly ethnic Tavoyan, living in Taninthayi township. Those 
households and villages that could not or did not have to contribute labour 
to do the set work had to hire their own substitute labour paying 1,600 to 
1,900 kyats per Kyin of stones. [The cost of buying the stones = 1,000 to 
1,300 kyats per Kyin, the cost of transporting the stones = 300 kyats per 
Kyin and, the cost of laying the stones = 250 kyats per Kyin.] So, each of 
the many households in the township Taninthayi had to pay a total of 
3,500 to 4,000 kyats for the gathering and laying of the stones alone.         

Tavoy-Kanchaburi motor road 
planned to be constructed or already under construction 

In May 1997, the SLORC Army continued to conscript at random a total 
of more than 5,000 civilians from the towns and villages in Tenasserim 
Division's Yebyu, Tavoy, Launglon and Thayet Chaung townships as 
front-line portering labour for its over 2,000 troops from the 33rd 
infantry division to continue its offensive operation against the KNU, 
MDUF and ABSDF guerrilla forces in Tenasserim Division. These 
5,000 conscripts may also be used as slave labour on the planned 
construction of a motor road linking Tenasserim Division's capital Tavoy 
with Kanchanaburi in Thailand, according to informed local sources. 

Several motor roads in Mon State, including Kyaikhto-Beelin road, have 
also been under repair with the use of unpaid forced labour. SLORC's 
present construction and repair of the motor roads in Mon State and 
Tenasserim Division are part of its plan to realize the "Union Highway" 
which will link the southernmost town Kawthaung in Tenasserim Division 
with the northernmost town Putao in Kachin State, also connecting all the 
capital cities of the country's 14 States and Divisions. By realizing the 
Union Highway in Burma, SLORC has apparently tried to join it to the so-
called Asia Highway being planned to realize by the Southeast Asian 
countries and China. On the part of Burma SLORC has only used the 
unpaid forced labour as such to construct or repair roads gravely affecting 
the entire population, whereas modern road-building machines or at least, 
acceptably paid labour are used in all the other countries.  

Local areas development projects

Besides the large infrastructure projects, under the instructions of SLORC, 
SLORC's local authorities in any areas in the country have constructed or 
repaired shorter roads in each village or between villages by means of 
forced labour and forced monetary contributions from the local populace, 
but under the SLORC-composed slogan of "self-help" local areas 

To point out a few instances, local SLORC authorities have put a 5-
mile-long truck road between Khawza village and Magyi village in Mon 
State's Ye township under repair by means of forced labour and forced 
monetary contributions from the several Mon villages around such as 
Hangan, Khawza, Yinye, Yindein, Thabya, Kyonkanya, Mitawhlagyi, 
Mitawhlagale, Magyi, Taungkhon, Kyauktayan etc. since 15 April 1997, 
under the supervision of SLORC's local 304th infantry battalion. The 
labourers were required to contribute and lay stones at a rate of two to 
three 100-cubit-feet Kyins per household on a compulsory and 
unconditional basis. To get the stones, the labourers had to gather them 
from the forest or break them from the rocky hills miles distant from 
their villages and the truck road. Those households that did not own an 
ox cart have to hire one at their own expense to transport the gathered 
stones onto the truck road; and those households that could not do the 
work of their quotas themselves must hire their own substitute labour 
having to pay 550 to 600 kyats per Kyins of stones. 

A road in Ye township's Lamaing village, a road in Mudon township's 
Kamarwet village in Mon State and a 4-mile-long road between Thea 
Chaunggyi village and Sonsin Hpyar village in Tenasserim Division's 
Thayet Chaung township were also repaired few years ago by similar 
means of forced labour and forced monetary contributions from the 
respective villages under the name of "self-help" road repair. 

Where and when there is forced labour, on infrastructure development 
projects or whatever, there is always extortion from those households that 
cannot or do not have to contribute labour - extortion in the form of fines 
or under the name of paying the cost of hiring their substitute labour. A 
great deal of such instances and events have been reported on our several 
previous publications. Those households, villages, or towns that could not 
or did not have to contribute labour on the Ye-Tavoy railway construction 
for each 15-day round of their labour contribution duty were required to 
pay 1,500 to 3,000 kyats to the authorities. Similarly, those households, 
villages or towns that could not or did not have to contribute labour on the 
Tavoy-Mergui motor road repair were similarly required to pay 3,000 to 
4,000 kyats per household to the authorities. On the Ye-Tavoy railway 
construction alone, the money thus extorted from throughout the region by 
SLORC's local military and civil authorities over the years must have 
already totalled several hundred million kyats. Those local SLORC 
authorities have almost never hired any substituted labour for any of those 
households from which they have collected the money under the name of 
substitute labour-hiring cost. The money so extorted have just all gone into 
the pockets of the local SLORC military and civil officials implementing 
the projects. 

In a half-hearted attempt to ease mounting international condemnation 
over its consistent large-scale use of unpaid forced labour on the many 
infrastructure development projects in the country, by the second half of 
the year 1996, SLORC introduced a new system whereby it encouraged its 
local military to complete some work on the infrastructure development 
projects (particularly in Tenasserim Division) themselves without use of 
forced civilian labour. SLORC provided its several local battalions with 
some payment in advance  (reportedly 1 to 2 million kyats per battalion) 
for the work assigned to them, which mainly included the collecting and 
laying of stones on the railway construction and on the repair or 
construction of motor roads in Tenasserim Division. The newly introduced 
system, however, did not help to lessen the use of unpaid forced labour 
from its very first, as SLORC failed to stop its local military personnel that 
have already grown a deep-rooted habit of exploiting the local populace, 
from getting their own way.

On the Ye-Tavoy railway construction: 

** In mid October 1996, the SLORC military in Yebyu township suddenly 
stopped its use of unpaid forced labour on the railway construction; and 
instead used only its own soldiers to work there. The local SLORC 
battalions hired some local people and oxcarts, practically providing some 
payment this time. The SLORC battalions reportedly paid those hired 
civilian labourers 450 kyats per 100-cubit-feet Kyin of stones. However, at 
the beginning of 1997 the local SLORC military again continued the use of 
unpaid forced labour as usual. That is to say, the Mon, Karen and Tavoyan 
village people in Yebyu township enjoyed few months of a respite from the 
unpaid forced labour on the railway construction from mid October to the 
end of  1996.   

On the repair of the Tavoy-Mergui motor road: 

** The SLORC battalion made the forced civilian labourers collect and 
bring ready stones for it to do the stones-laying work. To have the large 
amount of stones ready for the SLORC battalion, the forced civilian 
labourers had to pick up and gather them from knee- to chest-deep streams 
miles distant then carry the gathered stones up to the designated places by 
the motor road providing their own transportation. The SLORC battalion 
also used the forced civilian labourers to do the stones-laying work along 
with its working soldiers. 

** The 280 battalion promised the forced civilian labourers a payment of 
950 kyats per 100-cubit-feet Kyin for the stones-gathering work and 3,000 
kyats per furlong for the stones-laying work. Despite its promise of 
payment, practically the SLORC battalion did not deliver the forced 
civilian labourers any payment at all. In addition, the local SLORC 
authorities required numerous households or villages, which could not or 
did not have to contribute their own labour on the motor road repair to pay 
3,000 to 5,000 kyats per household as fines or under the name of paying 
the cost of hiring their substitute labour. For instance, the local SLORC 
authorities required Palaw township's Kyauklongyi village tract, composed 
of 1150 households, to contribute a total of 5.2 million kyats in cash in 
August 1996 for the motor road repair. 

PO Box 8
Bangkok Noi 10700

Tel/Fax: (02) 410-7844


August 26, 1997

Myanmar Floods, Sitrep No. 2, 26 August 1997

## author     : mailer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
## date       : 27.08.97

DHAGVA - 97/0475

Myanmar - FLOODS
DHA-Geneva Situation Report No.2
26 August 1997


1. The UN Resident Coordinator in Yangon informs that the Government of
Myanmar appeals for international assistance in providing relief to the
population affected by floods which hit Myanmar due to heavy and
continuous rainfall since the second week of July 1997. In a letter
addressed to the UN Resident Coordinator, the Foreign Economic Relations
Department (Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development) requests
"emergency relief to provide any possible assistance to the people in the
flooded areas". The areas referred to are located in Mon State, and Bago and
Ayeyarwaddy Divisions.


2. The flooding in Myanmar has affected nine of Myanmar's fourteen
States and Divisions, with Mon State, and Bago and Ayeyarwaddy Divisions
being worst hit. Official figures for these three administrative units
indicate 68 deaths, with 103,650 persons from 20,851 households being
affected: 35,173 persons (6,636 households) in Mon State, 33,768 persons
(6,639 households) in Bago Division, and 34,709 persons (7,576
households) in Ayeyarwaddy Division.

3. Transportation links have been destroyed or severely damaged. Many
roads and bridges are still under repair, hampering the delivery of
relief goods. Thousands of acres of paddy fields have been inundated,
with the rice crop being seriously affected. In addition, the floods
have destroyed a large number of cattle and other livestock as well as
agricultural implements and household and personal belongings.

4. Mon State, Bago and Ayeyarwaddy Divisions, being the rice bowls of
the country, possess a strong agro-based economic infrastructure and are
densely populated. The flooding has adversely affected the
socio-economic base of the  population, predominantly subsistence
farmers and farm labourers. They will face serious difficulties to
return to their normal lives, if assistance is not provided in a timely

5. Local health authorities express concern over the possible outbreak
of water-related diseases, such as diarrhea and dysentery, once safe
drinking water becomes scarce in the affected areas.


6. Local relief committees organized by the Department of General
Administration (Ministry of Home Affairs), the Myanmar Red Cross Society and
citizens are assisting in relief measures. To date, the Department of Relief
and Resettlement has provided the following relief goods to Bago flood
victims: clothing ("longyis") for 10,000 people, 2,000
blankets, 3,000 yards of sheeting cloth, 2,000 cooking pots, 5,000 bowls
and 1,256 bags (50 kg each) of rice. The Myanmar Red Cross, with
donations from the Korean and Finnish Red Cross societies, has also
assisted over 100 flood-affected households by supplying T-shirts, wool
sweaters, shirts and soap.

7. Fifty four (54) relief camps are operating in Bago Division and
ninety (90) in the Ayeyarwaddy Division. They are providing emergency
assistance and receiving charitable contributions from neighbouring


8. Two needs assessment missions comprising national officers from the
United Nations Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) and representatives of an
international NGO (World Vision International) went to Bago and Ayeyarwaddy
Divisions for on-site assessment and to make recommendations for immediate
humanitarian relief.

9. Based on discussions with the flood victims, the missions recommend
the following priority humanitarian relief assistance to be provided to
the most seriously affected flood victims. It should be noted that the
list of needs presented below is preliminary and may have to be revised,
as more data become available and depending on the further development
of the situation.

Item Cost in USD
---- -----------

1. 3,000 bags of rice (USD 13 x 3,000):  USD 39,000
2. - 18,000 Longyis:  USD 30,000
   - 5,000 blankets (USD 3 x 5,000):  USD 15,000
3. Cooking utensils (6,000 sets):  USD 45,000
4. Farming implements (hoes and spades):  USD 36,000
5. School stationary:   USD 4,600
6. Fluorescent lamps:   USD 60,000

The missions also report that many of the primary education and village
health structures have been destroyed or damaged by the floods. It would
take the communities, who usually build these structures themselves, a
long time to be able to reconstruct/repair them without external
assistance. The missions therefore also recommend the provision of cash
contributions to assist the affected communities in this area:

7. Construction of primary schools (USD 20,000 x 12):
 USD 240,000
8. Construction of health clinics (USD 3,000 x 12):
 USD 36,000.

The total estimated budget for the assistance recommended based on the
preliminary findings amounts to USD 505,600.

10. The UN Resident Coordinator will invite the UN Country Team, the
local diplomatic community and interested international NGOs to a
meeting to discuss the flooding and assistance needs on Wednesday, 27
August 1997.

11. DHA has approved an emergency grant of US $30,000 for the immediate
purchase of relief supplies. An additional cash contribution of US $20,000
is granted from funds provided by the Government of Norway, held in reserve
by DHA.

12. As already mentioned in DHA sitrep No. 1, UNICEF and WHO are
providing medical and other emergency supplies (to the value of about US
$25,000 each) as requested by the Ministry of Health.

13. DHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions, to be
used during the immediate relief phase, in coordination/consultation
with relevant organizations of the United Nations system.  DHA provides
donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the
utilization of the funds contributed.

14. Donors wishing to channel their contributions through DHA should
transfer funds to DHA account no. CO.590.160.1 at the Swiss Bank
Corporation, Case Postale 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland, with
reference: Myanmar-floods.

15. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform DHA
Geneva, as indicated below, of relief missions/ pledges/ contributions
and their corresponding values by item.

Telephone number: +41-22-917-1234
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917-2010
Desk Officer: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack, direct tel: +41-22-917-2144/3200,
Press to contact: Ms. M. Moulin-Acevedo, direct tel: +41-22-917-2856
Telex: 414242 dha ch
Fax: +41-22-917-0023
E-mail: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxx



August 25, 1997

Dear Friend in the Dharma, 
This is a letter of appeal to all western Buddhists. Please forward a copy
to anyone who you think may be interested. It concerns the safety of 45
million Burmese people, who at this present moment may be risking their
lives for the right to choose their own destiny. 
Alan Clements 
Co-director The Burma Project USA

        "...I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited
freedoms I was allowed in prison when I knew my people were not free.
Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains
on all of them, the chains on all of them, were the chains on me."         
           Nelson Mandela
         You might know that Burma's military dictatorship, State law and
Restoration Council (SLORC), increases its repression of the people daily.
As Aung San Suu Kyi has said, "we are still prisoners in our own country."
The situation has deteriorated from dark to hellish. Just yesterday I was
informed that my close friend U Win Htein, Aung San Suu Kyi's personal
assistant (imprisoned for the second time in May 1996), has been moved 
from Insein Prison in Rangoon, the Hilton in comparison to the freezing 
hell realm he is now in 500 miles north of Mandalay. He lives in leg irons 
24 hours a day, pounds rock 14 of those hours, has one meal daily of 
uncooked roots in lukewarm water, with no medicines, blankets or 
clothing. His wife was allowed one visit and was unable to recognize him. 
He's severely sick, extremely weak and probably dying, while most likely 
being tortured beyond the daily horrors. U Win Htein is a beautiful man. 
Fifty- five years old. Father of  five. A devout Buddhist and vipassana 
meditator with a dharma heart of gold. There are many such stories, 
hundreds, perhaps thousands. In fact, entire villages are still being herded 
up and either forced into labor or sent to their deaths. Of course, there are 
continual threats of arresting Aung San Suu Kyi again, interspersed with 
the not so uncommon call for her death. An appeal for compassionate 
action is requested.  
        Upon hearing this news, and taking in to account the overall
picture, it became clear that my policy of supporting western dharma
students going to Burma to either travel and or practice meditation must be
revoked. Despite the hoped for benefits of practicing under the guidance of
 teachers in Burma (Burmese & Western), as valuable as that may be seen,
such thinking must be examined and hopefully abandoned. 
        All Burmese leaders of the democracy struggle have called for a
categorical international boycott of everything entering Burma, ie.
economic and human. In short, anything that provides SLORC with money 
and credibility must be cut. Obviously, the people of Burma, in one of their
darkest moments, need all the help they can get. I think it's time for all
of us as western Buddhists, vipassana teachers especially, and yogis, to
throw their full support behind Aung San Suu Kyi's urgent request for
"boycott." As she has said, "politics and spirituality are inseparable,
both have human dignity and freedom as its basis". 
        She has also called for the Sangha in Burma to act more fully on
behalf of the struggle. Since the Sangha has much more at stake in 
speaking out than we do, I think all western Buddhists could afford to help 
her and the people more than we are doing. 
        A western dharma student's act of discernment and restraint, rooted
in love and compassion, is in my thinking, a more solid foundation for
wisdom and freedom to arise, than practicing mindfulness blindly in the
context of a country where millions of people face unremitting repression
and other such cruelties that SLORC perpetuates as a matter of state
policy. A dharma student's statement of 'non-cooperation' by boycotting
SLORC's Burma sends a clear message to others and to the SLORC that 
their behavior is seen and will not be tolerated. Our love and respect of the
dharma will not allow us to practice in your country while you starve,
murder and torture your own people. My desire for liberation is less
important than supporting the liberation of the Burmese people. Therefore,
my travel to Burma would be tantamount to complicity with torture and
         As long as Burmese teachers can leave to teach in the west,
there is no need for westerns to go to Burma. Going there is just another
feather in SLORC's cap. As small as it may seem, it's still a feather. On
the other hand, every time we stand up for an ideal, every act of
compassionate protest, every voice of dissent, as insignificant as it may
seem, sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, "and crossing each other from a
million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a
current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression."  
        If you are a western Buddhist teacher I appeal to your heart and
sensibilities to start and or continue explaining to dharma students
desiring to practice in Burma to put compassion for the Burmese people
first, protest by boycotting, and see this noble act as a solid foundation
for freedom, rather than practicing awareness, compassion and love in a
land soaked in blood.   
        On my upcoming speaking tour for the release of my book with Aung
San Suu Kyi, The Voice of Hope, I'll be emphasizing this point, drawing
inspiration from the Tibetan movement in how successful the Dalai Lama 
has been in bringing western Buddhists on board to assist his cause. The 
same needs to be done for Burma, a sister Buddhist country.  And the most 
basic form of support western Buddhists can offer is to cut their funding of
SLORC (morally and financially) and any other forms of complicity and to
voice compassionate non-aggressive opposition to their maniacal behavior.  
Also, I'm aware that my policy may differ from certain teachers in Burma.
Nevertheless, it's my present truth, and at the least want it to be known
among dharma friends and colleagues, with the hope of gaining their
understanding and support.  I know that if  I were languishing in prison, I
would perhaps keep my sanity based on knowing  that my friends were 
doing everything within their means to support me, not my oppressors. To 
desire cultivating mindfulness, loving-kindness and compassion in 
SLORC's Burma is to be unmindful, unloving and uncompassionate 
towards the people of that country.  Perhaps if we understood this point 
more fully we would not have had a need for Holocaust museums.  

        "It is man's vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity
which leads him to dare to suffer to build societies free from want and
fear. Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as
trite when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless
Aung San Suu Kyi

August 29, 1997

I am please to announce that there are limited numbers of "Letters To A
Dictator" available for those of us in U.S.  The book is published by the
All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF).  It contains official
correspondence from NLD (National League for Democracy) Chairman U Aung Shwe
to SLORC Chairman Senior General Than Shwe, from December 1995 to March 1997.

You could purchase it by money order or check.  We ask US$10 for the book
and the shipping fee of US$3 for priority mail service. The 100% of your
purchase will contribute to the non-violent activities of ABSDF, such as for
the documentation department, the research department, and student
camps along the Thai-Burma border.  The first 15 orders will receive a
free copy of the book "BURMA: The Alternative Guide" published by the
Burma Action Group in London.  The theme of this guide is "Tourism and
Human Right Abuses."

Please write your check, payable to "Free Burma Campaign" and send it to:

Free Burma Campaign
Indiana University
Eigenmann 1025


August 25, 1997

>From the latest issue of Yachting Magazine, I compiled a short list of 
a few boat-building companies that are using teak. If you or anyone you 
know is in the area of any of these companies, please consider 
"adopting" one or more to follow up on the source(s) of their teak.

There are numerous other companies located around the world. I will 
be forwarding information when I get it. Yacht buiding is big in 
Italy and Taiwan as well as Fort Lauderdale, FL.

At this point, we are ignoring those companies that use plantation teak 
from South or Central America, Indonesia or Malaysia. However, things 
get fuzzy with Malaysia, since there may be some Burmese teak being 
imported and re-exported. We are still seeking further information on 

It is assumed that any teak coming from Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan or 
India is Burmese in origin.

Please keep us informed as to any developments with any of these 
companies so that we may coordinate efforts on actions.

Tim Keating
Burma UN Service Office and Rainforest Relief

Cat Harbor Boats
Dept. Y
9780 Rancho Road
Adelanto, CA 92301
Brumckmann Manufacturing Inc.
Dept. Y
2508 Lakeshore Road West
Bronet Harbor, Oakville, Ontario L6L 1H8
fax: 905/827-8154
Lightspeed marine Corporation
Fairhaven Marine Industrial Park
895 Harris Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
fax: 360/738-2028
Dynatech Industries, Inc.
Dept. Y
4313 SW Prot Way
Palm City, FL 34990
fax: 561/220-9632
>From what I can tell from the photo, THIS ONE USES A LOT OF TEAK:

Ta Shing Yacht Building Co. Ltd
Tainan, Taiwan, ROC
+886 6 2615 176
fax: +886 6 2644 672
Dept. Y
1909 Alden Landing
Protsmouth, RI 02871
fax: 401/683-3668