Written by U Ne Oo on 2000-01-10

Dr U Ne Oo

18 Shannon Place

Adelaide SA 5000

January 10, 2000.

Hon. Alexander Downer

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Parliament House

Canbarra ACT 2600


Dear Mr Downer:

re: The UNHCR and NGOs access to Burma

Firstly, I like to recall the letter to you on August 29, 1999 regarding with unhindered access for humanitarian organs for humanitarian organisations into Burma. As of recent, there has been a formal request made by 10,000 Karen Refugees to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist in their return (news items enclosed). Earlier on November 1999, the Thai National Security Council had requested the UNHCR to mediate the problem of Burma's ethnic minority refugees in Thailand. Whereas these brave refugees are making initiative for UN monitored return to their own places, I believe the international community must not fail to facilitating thacilitating this request by arranging unhindered access to the area in Burma for the UN Refugee Agency. I appeal Australian Government and international community to help, with their utmost diplomatic efforts, at the United Nations in arranging the UNHCR and all international humanitarian organisations getting access to Burma.

Secondly, I should like to request Australian government to impose rule on Australian NGOs (either private or government funded ones) regarding with their operations in Burma. I appeal Australian Gl Australian Government to request all NGOs, in mandatory, to consult and report their operations in Burma to the Committee Representing the People's Parliament. As a first step towards this end, the Australian Parliament should give formal recognition to the Committee Representing the People's Parliament. In this connection, I like to inform your government that on the 12th of November 1999 the 54th Session of UN General Assembly

(draft) Resolution (A/C.3/54/L.76) in Operational Paragraph (10) notes the existence of Coexistence of Committee Representing the People's Parliament in Burma. Therefore, it is timely that Australian Federal House of Representative as well as Senate to formally recognise CRPP as the "legitimate instrument of the will of Burmese people".

On 10 December 1999, the AAP has reported Australian Government is considering to post the Federal Police Officer to Burma to assist in anti-narcotics efforts. I am supportive to this initiative and I hope to see a proper co-operation from the Burmese side of law enforcement agenciesement agencies on this matter. I enclosed my personal view that was broadcasted to internet lists. I believe the Australian Federal Police, with the diplomatic assistance by Australian Government and international community, should push the Burmese government to arrest and prosecute the suspected drug traffickers in Burma.

In closing, I thank you for your kind attention to this matter. We continue to appreciate Australian Government and your efforts to help solve problems in Burma. May you have a happy and prosperous new yearperous new year of 2000.

Yours respectfully,

U Ne Oo


1. Ms Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

2. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General.

3. Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State,US Department of State.

Bangkok Post, January 4, 2000.


UN refugee agency urged to help

More than 10,000 Karen in Mae Hong Son are seeking help from the United Nations High Coted Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to repatriate them with support from the National Security Council.

NSC secretary-general Kachadpai Burusphat said more than 10,000 Karen refugees at shelters in Ban Mae Kong Kha and Ban Tha Sala in Mae Sariang district, had asked UNHCR staff who visited the shelters two months ago, to push for their repatriation to Burma. But the UNHCR representatives had told them to wait.

The refugees claimed they should be allowed to be allowed to return home as they were not members of the anti-Rangoon Karen National Union (KNU), he said.

"Now, the chief of the camp in Ban Mae Kong Kha is gathering the signatures of Karen war refugees who want to go home. The list will be submitted to the UNHCR for consideration.

"Most of these Karen fled fighting from areas opposite Ban Sop Moei and some from areas opposite Thong Pha Phum district, Kanchanaburi. We want to urge the UNHCR to take action swiftly as requested by these people," Mr Kachadpai said.

He also said authorities concerned have been put on alert for possible spillover of fighting between Burmese troops and rebels and an influx of refugees along the northern border, as the annual dry-season offensive by Burmese troops approaches.

The NSC chief said both local administration officials and military officers have been instructed to provide protection to Thais and, if necessary, use drastic measures to push back foreign troops.

Mr Khachadpai .

Mr Khachadpai said narcotics trafficking and possible incursions by foreign troops in the upper north have eased, following deployment of the Pha Muang Task Force in Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Tak, which is being supervised by the Naresuan Task Force. He also said the Third Army's psychological warfare operation against narcotics in the border

areas was progressing well.

Mr Khachadpai said the narcotics suppression campaign would be even more effective once the new structural organisation of the Internal SecurInternal Security Operations Command (Isoc) is completed.

Bangkok post , Jan 05, 2000


UN agency has no access to target area


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees yesterday said it could not repatriate Karen refugees as it had no access to areas in Burma to which they would likely return.

"Access to returnees is a major criterion for voluntary repatriation, as is a second factor of safety, and with no access, at least not at present, UNHCR cannot determine whether current conditions meet acceptable standards of safety," it said. The UNHCR was responding to a report that some 10,000 Karen in Mae Hong Son Mae Hong Son were seeking UNHCR help to repatriate.

"Our staff in that province are looking into the situation at Kong Kha and Tha Sala camps but issues more fundamental than the movement back across the border are involved," it said.

"They include lack of UNHCR presence in areas of Burma to which the refugees would likely return," it added.

Kachadpai Burusphat, secretary-general of the National Security Council, earlier said more than 10,000 Karen refugees at the two camps had askedcamps had asked UNHCR staff who visited them two months ago to push for their repatriation. But the UNHCR officials had told them to wait.

In yesterday's statement, the UNHCR said if refugees wishing to return submitted signed forms stating their willingness to do so, this would fulfil the criterion of voluntariness.

But the two other criteria, of access and safety, "would also have to be met for UNHCR to become involved".


Posted 13 Dec 99; 6:00am to Internet Discussion Lists

On the news of Australian Federal Police officer to be stationed in Burma to suppress illicit drugs ( especially Amphetamines tablets) I am not quite alarmed as one of our friend in Paris. In contrast to the earlier Australian initiative on Burmese junta to set-up a humanset-up a human rights commission, I think this initiative makes a lot more sense. It will be helpful if we know a little more about what kind of co-operation Australian/Thai police are seeking from Burmese authorities in this particular case.

In talking about co-operations, if Australian/Thai police are only looking to provide training and drug-detection equipment to Burmese, then we might just call this operation an "Australian Federal Police's Picnic to Rangoon". That kind of limited involvement will not help improve situat improve situation at all.

What we would like to see in co-operation is those criminal elements, not necessarily of that higher-up echelons, to be arrested and prosecuted. I think the Thai Police already have the list of drug trafficking criminals from Burmese side. I suspect that the Thais have been pushing on this line all along since early this year. It looks like because of no apparent moves were made from the Burmese side, the Australian -- other international players perhaps -- have now been brought into the matter. < the matter.

It is worth noting that, although the media and the activist circle have often quite rightly charged Burmese government rank-and-file of complicity in illicit drug trade, we have never been quite close to eventually proving anything. International intelligence circle may already have had some substantial information on illicit drug trade (for example, early this year, one ANU Professor wrote detailed report on drug related corruption in Burmese government). The US Government put few million dollar price on somerice on some high profile drug traffickers. But Burmese junta noted it to be a little more than US publicity stunt. To get things done, one has to keep closer to the target probably the Thai and Australian police seems to be doing.

The Australian government and the Federal Police should seriously push the Burmese authorities arresting drug traffickers on Burmese side (the Australian Government and Police can be rather casual and slack in some way: it is my impression). Should this push been successful, i.e. Burmese, i.e. Burmese begin to arrest and prosecute real traffickers, it will no doubt beneficial to all of us. But( i.e. my feeling) it is more likely that the Burmese side will eventually cancel the operation when time has come to carry out serious tasks. Until that time, let us wish well to the Australian and Thai police in their jobs. -- Regards, U Ne Oo.]


DATE:23:50 09-Dec-99

Aust Federal Police to be stationce to be stationed in Burma Burma AFP

BANGKOK, Dec 9 AAP- Federal police will be based in Burma for the first time to gauge the threat of a future flood of amphetamines into Australia.

Australian Federal Police official Mick Keelty said approval to station a liaison officer in Rangoon from January for a six-month trial was expected this week.

"We've planned to expand a number of our overseas posts in strategic areas throughout the world, and the opportunity has arisen for us ... to trial the posting oa an off posting oa an officer in Rangooon," Mr Keelty, general manager, national operaitons, said.

He was attending a three-day conference in Bangkok of a regional meeting of a national drug law enforcement agencies in Asia and the Pacific.

Thailand has been a base for AFP officers, with responsibilities to cover Burma and the flow of narcotics, mostly heroin, to Australia from the notorious Golden Triangle region of Burma, Thailand and Laos.

But there has been an explosion of amphetamine-type drug production, with over 200 m, with over 200 million tablets flooding into neighbouring Thailand.

Mr Keelty said the officer's role "will be to facilitate inquiries on behalf of Australian police agencies in Burma and to also identify opportunities to cooperate more closely with the law enforcement agencies in Burma".

Australia is planning to assist the RAngoon government in training, education and equipment to gain greater cooperation "to facilitate enquiries for amphetamine type substances and heroin that is coming out of that part of the world," he said.

Burmese officials said the Rangoon government was determined "to fight against the drug without or with any assistance from international assistance abroad".

"If we receive any international assistance we would be more successful in suppressing drug production and heroin production, "the official, speaking on behalf of Police Brigadier General Hla Tun, said from the central committee for drug abuse control. AAP rec/rds/br

Letter to Mr Downer on situation of Refugees, CRPP and Drug Suppression