Written by U Ne Oo on 1996-02-26

Dr U Ne Oo

48/2 Ayliffes Road

St Marys SA 5042


February 26, 1996.

Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali

The Secretary-General of the United Nations

38th Floor, U.N. Secretariat

United Natitariat

United Nations New York 10017

United States of America.

Dear Secretary-General:



As a follow-up to the communication made to the Secretary-General on 31 January 1995 and to the members of United Nations Security Council on 20 February 1995 and 12 October 1995, I appeal the U.N. Secretary-General to make appropriate measures in solving Burma's refugee problem and mediating political and military conflicts conflicts in Burma. These political and military conflicts must be solved urgently so that it will create an environment conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Myanmar. Although Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been released, there have not been any improvements in human rights situation which may create safe environment for the Burma's refugees to return. We continue to receive reports of the further outflows of Burma's refugees and displaced people into neighbouring countries, especially Thaila Thailand. Therefore, I appeal the U.N. Secretary-General and Security Council to demand the Military Government of Myanmar (GOM) to take necessary steps, as the GOM's contribution to the international peace and security, towards the improvement of the human rights situation and solving refugee problem in Burma. Followings are my observation about the developments in the human rights and political situation in Burma since the communication to you in January last year.

I. Armed Attacks on Refugen Refugees and Displaced People

After the fall of Karen National Union's headquarters Manerplaw in January 1995, we continue to receive reports of armed attacks on the refugees and displaced people by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Organization (DKBO) - the breakaway faction of the Karen National Union(KNU). Various international human rights organizations have reported of the abductions and killings of refugees; and attacks on displaced people and refugee camps on the Thai soil by the DKBO [1,2]. The motive of thve of the abduction of refugees and attacks on the camps appears to be to force the Karen refugees back to Burma.

The Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, Professor Yozo Yokota, has also reported above incidents to the U.N. General Assembly in his interim report on 16 October 1995 [3]. According to the SLORC, the Burmese army has provided logistics supports to the DKBO since its defection from the KNU in December 1994. However, the SLORC denied Burmese army's involvements in abducting refugees andgees and attacking refugee camps [4].

Although the DKBO is reportedly responsible for those attacks on Karen refugees, it has been revealed at the closer investigations that those border incursions were actively supported by the Burmese army. The reports by Amnesty International [5] and Far Eastern Economic Review [6] indicate that Burmese regular army is responsible for the attacks on the refugee camps in Thailand. Refugees from the camps said that the attackers were Burmese soldiers wearing the uniform aniform and insignia of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

Continuing incidents of violent conflicts by these disputing parties as well as the attacks on refugees attract attention from the Thai authorities. Often, these conflicts create tensions between the Burmese army and Thai security forces.

In recent months, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army has stepped up their campaign in terrorizing Karen refugees and displaced people, and attacking on refugee camps along the Thai border [7]. The fight The fighting between DKBO and KNU has also been reported [8]. These incidents led to the deployment of Thai security forces along the Thailand-Burma border in early February 1996 [9,10].

Such frequent occurrence of tensions between Thai security forces and Burma's armed forces; and repeated attacks on refugees and displaced people call for your urgent attention to the situation. The international community must help in promoting a peaceful solution to the problems between DKBO, KNU and the Burmese armymese army.

II. Treatment to the former combatants in Shan State

On 5 January 1996 the drug warlord Khun Sa and his Mong Tai Army in Burma's eastern Shan State have surrendered to the Burmese army. After the ceasefire, the former combatants from the Mong Tai Army were forcibly taken to work on government road projects [11].

The rebel sources have indicated that the ceasefire terms include the amnesty as well as rehabilitation for the rebel soldiers [12]. Such degrading treatments to tents to the former combatants by Burmese army are unacceptable and therefore the international community must make measures to ensure these former rebels are treated fairly.

III. Refusing to make reconciliation with the Opposition

On 10 July 1995 the leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was released after numerous requests made by the international community. Since her release from the detention, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has made several appeals to the to the leaders of ruling military council, State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), to make reconciliation with civilian opposition. In spite of those appeals and the U.N. General Assembly resolutions [13], the ruling military council still refuse to hold talk with the opposition leader.

The opposition party, NLD, has also made request to redress the process of drafting constitution. Current process of framing constitution do not allow the full participation of elected people's representatives. The NL The NLD therefore said that such constitution will not guarantee to meet democratic aspiration of the people of Burma [14]. On 29 November 1995, the National League for Democracy formally withdrew their support for the Military Government sponsored National Convention.

I believe a constitution which accommodate the democratic aspirations of all indigenous nationalities of Burma is essential for future peace and stability in Burma. Recently, the opposition National League for Democracy has voiced its views ts views that a federal form of constitution may be suitable for future Burma [15]. The ethnic nationalities, particularly the Karen National Union, has been requesting for their participation at the National Convention as necessary condition to formally end the armed struggle against the central government. Therefore, the U.N. agencies should provide the necessary helps in drafting Burma's constitution.

IV. Humanitarian Situation in Burma

Burma is known to have been at the stage of developing internag internal crisis by the U.N.D.P. since June 1994 [16]. In this year, there appears to be a sharp decline in people's living standard due to inflation, scarcity of work opportunities and high price of basic food items such as rice. The poor Burmese families who cannot afford normal meals are reportedly having the 'Rice Water'[17] - reflecting the extent of poverty.

Burma's large army and its spending on the purchase of weapons are the major contributing factors in this economic decline. Burma spend 35 perd 35 per cent of its national budget in maintaining the army (300,000 personnel). For a longer term stability and economic growth, it is necessary to transform those army personnel to normal work force. I believe the influence by the U.N. Security Council will be most essential to achieve this objective.

V. Voluntary Repatriation for Refugees

After the Burmese army took over Manerplaw in January 1995, 10,000 Karen refugees have fled to the camps in Thailand, totaling the refugeee refugee population to 74,000. Furthermore, the Burmese people at their desperation inside the country have also been pouring into Thailand as illegal immigrants throughout the year. The total number of displaced Burmese in Thailand is now more than 300,000.

The State Law and Order Restoration Council is refusing to cooperate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the safe and voluntary return of the Karen and other refugees from Myanmar. The Burma's refugee community have given supiven support to the UNHCR's voluntary repatriation programme. On January 1996, the Mon National Relief Committee have again requested the assistance from the UNHCR in repatriation [18]. The Karen refugee community have express their willingness to repatriate to Burma with the assistance of international community once peace is restored in Burma [19,20]. The Royal Thai Government has also requested the UNHCR to help solve the Burma's refugee problem [21].

I believe the Military Government of Myanmar has an obls an obligation to redress the mistakes made on Burma's refugees and displaced people. The international community must demand the Military Government of Myanmar to solve its refugee problem. First and foremost, the Military Government of Myanmar must make reconciliation with the civilian opposition and ethnic rebels as its contribution to the regional and international peace and security.

I therefore call upon the United Nations Security Council, through the Secretary-General's office,(1) to ,(1) to promote a nation-wide ceasefire, (2) to impose the international arms embargo and (3) to set up Security Zones for returnees and refugees in Burma.


I call upon the U.N. Security Council to,

1. DEMANDS all parties to the military conflict in Burma immediately cease hostilities.

Currently, 15 rebel groups have signed ceasefire agreements with the Burmese army. The remaining rebel groups include Karen National Union, Karenni National Progressive Party and DKBO [2y and DKBO [22].

2. RECOMMENDS the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to monitor the existing ceasefires between Burmese army and the ethnic rebels. Particular attention should be given in monitoring the rehabilitation and humane treatment to the former combatants.

The Burmese army signed ceasefire with the Wa and Kokang rebels in 1989 in Shan State. The ICRC should especially monitor the ceasefire by those rebels.

3. RECOMMENDS the ICRC to monitor the ceasefire between DKBO/SLORC and KNU i and KNU in Karen State, and Burmese army and Karenni National Progressive Party in Kayah State.

4. REQUESTS all rebels and Burmese army to formulate appropriate strategies to reduce army personnel and to demobilize and disarm their armies.


I call upon the U.N. Security Council to,

1. INSTITUTES an international arms embargo that applicable to all parties to the conflict in Myanmar/Burma.

2. ENCOURAGES neighbouring States to make measures to stop illegal arms flows toarms flows to the rebels, especially to the drug warlords, in Myanmar/Burma.


I call upon the U.N. Security Council to,

1. DEMANDS the Military Government of Myanmar, as its contribution to promote peace and stability in the region, to end the repressive measures against Burmese people and take immediate step to solve political and military conflicts by dialogue.

2. DEMANDS Military Government of Myanmar allows free and unhindered access to the United Nations High Commissioner ommissioner for Refugees, independent human rights monitors and Non-Government Organizations to the people of Burma, particularly, internationally displaced people, returnees and refugees.

3. REQUESTS Burmese Army, the rebels in Shan State and the elected representatives to cooperate fully with U.N. Agencies and Non-Government Organizations in eliminating drug problems.

4. RECOMMENDS the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and appropriate U.N. Agencies to supervise the process of drafting federal constitu constitution.

5. RECOMMENDS the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to supervise the voluntary repatriation of returnees and refugees to Burma.

6. RECOMMENDS all U.N. agencies and NGOs engaging in Burma to promote a greater respect for human rights in Burma.

Yours respectfully and sincerely,

Sd. U Ne Oo.

copy to:

1. Ms Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 Depot, Switzerland.

2. Mr Alvaro de Soto, U.N.de Soto, U.N. Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, U.N. Department of Political Affairs, United Nations New York NY 10017, U.S.A.

3. Mr Jan Eliasson, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations New York NY 10017, U.S.A


[1] Amnesty International, "Myanmar: No Place to Hide", AI INDEX: ASA 16/13/95, June 1995.

[2] Human Rights Watch/Asia, "BURMA: ABUSES LINKED TO THE FALL OF MANERPLAW", Vol. 7. No 5, March 19 5, March 1995.

[3] Professor Yozo Yokota, Interim report to General Assembly by Special Rapporteur, General Assembly A/50/568, 16 October 1995.

[4] ibid., para 31, 32.

[5] Amnesty International, "Myanmar: No Place to Hide", AI INDEX: ASA 16/13/95, June 1995.

[6] Far Eastern Economic Review, "Burma: It's Rangoon, NOt Rebels", May 18, 1995 pp21.

[7] The Nation, "Karen rebels threaten to attack Thai refugee camps", 21 January 1996.

[8] The Nation, "Reuters: 20 Killed as rival Karen groups clasaren groups clashes in south eastern Burma", 23 January 1996.

[9] The Nation, 30 January 1996.

[10] Bangkok Post, "Rival Karen factions in fierce fighting near border", 3 February 1996.

[11] Reuters, 30 January 1996.

[12] Far Eastern Economic Review, 25 January 1996; Bangkok Post, 26 January 1996.

[13] United Nations General Assembly, Fiftieth session (1995), A/C.3/50/L.52.

[14] The press release by the National League for Democracy, 22 November 1995.

[15] Bangkok Post, "Different RoPost, "Different Roads to Unity", 21 February 1996.

[16] Associated Press, 1 June 1994.

[17] Rice Water (Hta-min-ye in Burmese): A form of rice-gruel, extracted out when the rice is cooked. Burmese people do not normally consume Rice Water, but use it to feed domestic animals.

[18] Mon National Relief Committee, January 1996.

[19] Karen Refugee Committee, "Statement of the Karen Refugee Committee on the present situation with regard to the Karen Refugee Problem and Question of Repatriation", 20 June 1995.

[20] Bangkok Post, 8 February 1996.

[21] Bangkok Post, 13 January 1996.

[22] According to Burmese army, the DKBO haven't still signed a ceasefire, although its defection to the government.

Letter to UN Secretary General Butros Ghali