Written by U Ne Oo on 1997-09-13

One of our colleague has recently pointed out the need to build up some form of dialogue, albeit in creative ways, with ASEAN leaders. Probably the major problem we found with most ASEAN leadersost ASEAN leaders (except to a few) are that of the non-forthrightness and non-transparency. Many of them preferred back-door discussions than public engagements when it comes to political matters. This non-openness in the political matters may also be attributed to Asian personality.

The other thing that must be accounted for is the generation gap of those ASEAN leaders. Many of them are born in 1920-30s [For example: President Suharto(1921- ); Dr Mahathir(1925- );General Chavalit(1932- ) and President Ramos (1928- ) etc.]. s (1928- ) etc.]. Many of them went through the period of independence struggle against the West. These leaders, therefore, are likely to maintain their views against the West: the world they see may be that of the divide between "Expansionist-Imperialist" and "us". These ASEAN leaders may not easily understand injustices being interpreted in terms of violation of human rights.

Nowadays, of course, it's nothing new to the world of the social/political movements of this kind. In recent times, we have seen these in Eastern Europe and South Africa. Movements, not only in their behaviour but also in their objectives, are different from interest-groups and political parties; and Movements do not operate as governments or political parties. As for many of those ASEAN leaders, such social/political movements may be quite unfamiliar to them. To those ASEAN leaders, the anti-apartheid movement of South Africa may be more understandable (therefore, likely to be more sympathetic) in comparison to human rights/political movements in other part of the part of the world. Therefore, in delivering our messages, we must try to translate, as much as possible, from the language of human rights to the language of those ASEAN leaders can understand.

For Burmese national activists, there are more avenues that we can chanalled our messages to. Try to explain your personal connection to the movement. For those ASEAN leaders, expressing concern for the fellow countrymen can be more understandable than that of your intention to improve human rights situation in Burma. --

Regards, U Ne Oo.

Letter to President Fidel Ramos

Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA 5042

September 9, 1997.

Fidel V Ramos
President of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
Manila, The Philippines.

Dear Mr President:

I am a Burmese national currently residing in Australia. I came to Australia in 1988 as a scholar to do Ph.D. degree in Physics at the University of Adelaide. In 1992, the Burmese military government canceled military government canceled my passport to become a refugee in Australia. Since then, I have been engaging in the advocacy for Burma's refugees, with the principal aim of alleviating sufferings of my fellow countrymen who are displaced in neighbouring countries. As Mr President may well aware, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced Burmese currently in Thailand and Bangladesh. I have been doing this advocacy work mainly in my personal capacity and am not affiliated with any political parties.

Because I believe in the huelieve in the humanitarianism of the ASEAN member countries, I am writing to you, the President of Philippines, for your help in regards to persuading the Military government of Myanmar (State Law and Order Restoration Council), the opposition party(National League for Democracy) and the ethnic nationalities to enter dialogue and to make national reconciliation. I believe that there are sufficient room for both government and opposition to compromise in order to achieve national reconciliation: i.e. in the immediate future, both milture, both military and civilian representatives are to be included in the government of Burma. In this connection, I enclosed my communication to the U.N.Secretary-General on 29-April-1997. with this letter. I am hoping that such initiative for political reconciliation in Burma will bring an end to the problem of refugees and displaced people.

With this note, I respectfully urge Mr President to encourage Thailand, as a member country of ASEAN, to hand over the affairs of Burma's refugees and dispefugees and displaced people to the United Nations High Commissioner for REfugees.

On this occasion, I also like to thank the members of ASEAN diplomatic circle for their valuable contributions that have been made since May-1993, in regards to solving Burma's Rohingya refugee problem. As in the enclosed information, the plight of Rohingyas being far from over and we, therefore, are continuing to seek support from ASEAN and international community for this matter.

In closing, I thank Mr President for your kind consideratir kind considerations to these matters. The helps that given by Mr President and the people of Philippines for the improvement of the situation in Burma are greatly appreciated by the Burmese people.

YOurs respectfully and sincerely
Sd. U Ne Oo


President Suharto

Sekretariat Negara RI

J1 Veteran, Jakarta

Republic of Indoneepublic of Indonesia.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Prime Minister

Jalan Dato Onn

50502 Kuala Lumper, Malaysia.
Mr Goh Chok Tong

Prime Minister

460 Alexandra Road

#37-00, PSA building

Singapore 119963
General Chavalit Yongchaiyut

Office of the Prime Minister

Government HOuse

Nakhorn Pathom Road

Bangkok 10300, Thailand.
Fidel V Ramos

President of Philippines

Malacanang Palace

Manila, The Philippines
Anwar Ibrahim

Deputy Prime Minister

Deputy PM's Office

Jalan Dato Onn

50502 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Sanoh Theinthong

Ministry of Interior

Asdang Road

Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Mr Ali Alatas

Foreign Minister

Department of Foreign Affairs

J1 Taman Pejambon No.6

Jakarta 10110, Indonesia.


H.E. Mr S Wiryano

Embassy of Republic of Indonesia

8 Darwin Avenuin Avenue


H.E. Ambassador

Malaysian High Commissioner

7 Perth Avenue

H.E. Ambassador

Embassy of the Philippines

1 Moonah Palace

Yarralumla ACT 2600
H.E. Ambassador

High Commission of Singapore

17 Forster Creeks

Yarralumla ACT 2600
H.E. Ambassador

Royal Thai Embassy

111 Empire Circuit

Yarralumla, ACT 2600

Letter to ASEAN leaders