Written by U Ne Oo on 1997-12-09
1. SLORC renamed SPDC:
On 15-Nov-1997, State Law and Order Restoration Council(SLORC), Burma's ruling junta since 1988, renamed itself to become lf to become State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The new ruling council, SPDC, consists of two separate bodies: a 14-member Cabinet and a 14-member advisory board (report enclosed).
2. Military reconsolidating its position: The military's creation of new ruling body, SPDC, is seen by some analysts as the SLORC reconsolidating its position. By creating SPDC, the military has made counter-measures against growing disunity within the SLORC. Reportedly, there were two factions within SLORC: one led by Lt-General Khineral Khin Nyunt and another by General Maung Aye. There were speculations that Lt-Gen.Khin Nyunt faction has been more moderate and it therefore can be encouraged to enter dialogue with National League for Democracy.
3. Military try to improve its political legitimacy: There has also been a slight possibility that the ruling junta wish to take a new direction (possibly a change in policy) and therefore SLORC has "sunk-the-old-ship". Following announcement of SPDC, the ruling group reportedly launched investigations inttions into alleged corruptions by former SLORC ministers. This can be seen as SPDC/SLORC trying to improve its domestic political legitimacy.
4. Collective pressure will be needed: Because of creation of SPDC, the pressures need to exert on ruling group as a whole instead of pressures aiming towards one faction, in order to initiate dialogue. On the possibility of SPDC/SLORC changing policy, it will require more time to evaluate military's true intention.
5. New body is more conducive to transition: The ne The new ruling body, SPDC, nonetheless appear to have more convenient structure than that of SLORC in regards to political transition. It is possible to separate, in the new SPDC, between the executive branch (14-member Cabinet) and `Legislative Council'(advisory board). The elected NLD representatives should look into forming a (transitional) Legislative body which may include SPDC's advisory board. The (transitional) Legislative body may carry out various tasks such as writing constitution, proposing new legislation and tion and promoting new economic/social policy in the transitional period.
6. Encouraging initiatives by the UNGA'97: The UN General Assembly appears to have taken new steps in this years Burma resolution. ONe noticeable point is the General Assembly's endorsement of all recommendations made by Human Rights Special Rapporteur (see para.13 of Resolution A/C.3/52/L.63 enclosed). The Special Rapporteur did not make any bold initiatives, such as recommending to send in-country human rights monitors Burma. However, the Sver, the S.R.'s recommendations are quite encouraging in that the recommendation (A/52/484 enclosed) spell out a very fine and small details that may prove to be practical steps towards improvement of human rights situation in Burma.
7. The two remaining issues: There are two remaining issues that need our attention. Firstly, initiatives are needed to divert the money from the sale of natural gas to Thailand. The pipeline is due to complete on Mid-1998 which annual sale of $400 million. A physical obstruction of opera of operation of the pipeline (especially, inside of the Burmese border) is not a good option. We will need to look into possible methods of delaying/blocking/diverting the money flowing into SPDC/SLORC coffers.
Secondly, the long standing issue of protection of our refugees in Thailand. It is vital that our refugees in Thailand get a proper UNHCR attention. The Royal Thai Government has yet to make appropriate measures in this regards.
8. Visit of Special Rapporteur to Burma: Since his appointment in 1996, the Spe6, the Special Rapporteur has been denied of visit to Burma by the SLORC. This will amount to Burmese junta not cooperating with United Nations in improving its human rights records. Pressures need to exert on SPDC/SLORC to get Human Rights Special Rapporteur unhindered access to Burma.
9. DASSK agreeable to ASEAN mediation: According to diplomatic sources, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is agreeable to ASEAN help in promoting dialogue with Burmese military. A further co-ordinations by ASEAN and its dialogue partners and democratic forces are needed to look into possible helps.
With best regards, U Ne Oo.