Written by U Ne Oo on 1996-05-09
May 9, 1996.
Hon Warren Christopher
Secretary of State
Main State Building - Room 7226
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520-7512
United States of America
RE: UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION ON BURMA
I call the Hon. Secretary's attention to the political and military conflict in Burma and also the continuing plight of refugees and displaced people in Thailand. With this letter, I enclosed (1) a copy of letter from the Chairman of National League for Democracy party to the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council and (2) my letter to the U.N. Secretary-general.
CEASEFIRE AND PEACE SETTLEMENT
1. Regarding with the ceasefire between Karen National Unionn Karen National Union and Burmese army, major difficulties have arisen because of SLORC's refusal to declare a nation-wide ceasefire and to make a political dialogue, with definite time frame, following signing of the ceasefire agreement. The Karen National Union has requested political dialogues to start within 30 days after signing of the ceasefire.
On previous ceasefire talks in December 1995 and February 1996, the Karen National Union and SLORC had not engaged in substantive issues in discussion. On 29 April 1996, the Karen N 1996, the Karen National Union's negotiation team is again to meet with SLORC for ceasefire talk. In this time again, the SLORC appears fail to take a concrete step towards implementing ceasefire and peace settlements with Karen National Union.
2. Ethnic freedom fighters have threaten to use armed engagement if the situation is not changed in their favour. It is well known that Burma's armed conflicts have been at low level guerrilla warefare. This means that the Burmese army will be unable to suppress - as in the last 40 yearshe last 40 years - the resistance of the ethnic minorities; although the minorities attack may not be able to threaten central authorities in Rangoon.
3. Such an escalation of conflict will not make an environment conducive to the voluntary return of refugees from Burma. On contrary, the further outflows of refugees will occur as a result of the fightings, forced porterage and forced relocations.
THE NLD'S REQUEST TO FORM LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
4. On 25 March 1996, the Chairman of the National League for Democracy, League for Democracy, U Aung Shwe, wrote to the Chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, Senior General Than Shwe, informing the NLD's intention to convene the People's Legislative Assembly in accordance with the result of the 27-May-1990 election.
5. On the issue of dialogue with the National League for Democracy and the representatives of ethnic leaders, the SLORC in principle has agreed to use the constitutional convention as a forum for such dialogue. However, SLORC's promise for dialogue with the Opposition ah the Opposition as well as its approach to ceasefire with ethnim minorities are vague; it is clear that SLORC has been deliberately delaying to engage in these negotiations.
THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT SEEKING ASSISTANCE FROM IMF
6. The SLORC has requested a review of U.S. policy regarding the IMF assistance to make reform on Burmese currency.
APPEAL FOR THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT'S INITATIVES
7. Regarding the implementation of ceasefire and arms embargo for Burma, I appeal the Government of the United States nt of the United States to take a leading role at the United Nations Security Council. The U.N. Department of Political Affairs has communicated on 10 March 1996 that such U.N. Security Council actions are up to the decisions of the permanent members. I believe the U.N. Security Council's attention will put the ceasefire and political negotiations in Burma on the right track.
8. The International Committee of the Red Cross should be recommended to supervise the nation-wide ceasefire. This is particularly important for Burma's easterr Burma's eastern Shan State where the present ceasefire agreements are fragile. The peace initiative in Shan State is urgent to curb the increase in drug productions. The U.N. Security Council can only pave ways for getting un-hindered access to those humanitarian organizations, UNDCP, the UNHCR and NGOs throughout Burma.
9. With regards to the repatriation of refugees, there has been continuing concerns by the international Non-Government Organizations and Human Rights groups. The Burmese military government through its locathrough its local Law and Order Restoration Councils are making use of the practices on a wide-scale of (1) forced labour (2) informal taxations and forced procurement of agricultural products and (3) lawless activities such as confiscation of private properties. The NGOs concerns are that unless those lawless practices in Burma are being changed, there can be no improvement of situation for the refugees and displaced people to return to Burma.
10. According to the NLD's letter of 25 March 1996, the Election Commission stillCommission still need to formally announced the result of 27-May-1990 multi-party election. Regarding to the request by the NLD to convene the People's legislative Assembly, appropriate measures must be made at a later time so that the elected representatives can exercise their legislative power to the full. This must be done in accordance with U.N. General Assembly resolutions. However, it is more urgent in transition period for the elected representatives to exercise legislative power specifically to protect the population from hulation from human rights abuses cited in para 9. The U.N. Security Council should take a note of the fact that because of the nature of these human rights abuses, it could only be protected by the legislative measures.
11. Regarding the Military Government's request of assistance from IMF to have the currency reform, there is no dispute on the need of such a reform. However, the International Financial Institutions should be aware that the Military Government of Myanmar is illegitimate and have no authority to make borrowi to make borrowing from foreign Banks on behalf of the people of Burma. Whoever make the borrowing now, the monies will have to be repaid by the people of Burma later. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the openness in financial borrowings in future and that the elected representatives should be allowed to scrutinize in the country's financial matters. Even if the elected representatives might not be able to exercise legislative power on the financial matters in the interim period, they still must have the power to scrutinize the crutinize the financial matters. There is a true danger of the SLORC become using the loans to procure its military hardware.
Therefore, the International Financial Institutions should make considerations of loans to Burma only at the ocndition of openness made to the elected representatives in financial matters.
In closing, I thank you and the Government of United States for your continuing attention to Burma matters.
Yours respectfully and sincerely
Sd. U Ne Oo.
1. Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, United Nations, New York NY 10017, USA.
2. Mr Alvaro de Soto, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, United Nations, New York NY 10017, USA.
3. Ms Sadako Ogata, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 Depot, Switzerland.
4. Professor Yozo Yokota, U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, c/- U.N. Center for Human Rights, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland.
5. The Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister for r, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 for information.
1. Letter from U Aung Shwe, Chairman of National League for Democracy, to Senior General Than Shwe, State Law and Order Restoration Council, dated 25 March 1996.
2. Letter to Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, U.N. Secretary-General, Dated 26 February 1996.
Letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross
May 16, 1996.
Head of South Asia Desk
International Committee BR> International Committee of the Red Cross
Dear Mr Hadorn,
Thank you for your letter of 22 February 1996 and clarifications of ICRC's position regarding operations in Burma. Enclosed letter is my appeal to the Secretary of the United States, Warren Christopher, to take appropriate measures in regards to U.N. Security Council action on Government of Myanmar. The military government of Myanmer has constantly refusing to allow the operation of humanitarian organizations, such as UNHCR and ICRC, throughout Burma. My hope is that the Security Council's attention may pave ways for getting the un-hindered access for these humanitarian organizations to the people who are in need of help.
The ICRC's continuing attention to situation in Burma and its efforts made in regards to increased operation in Burma are most appreciated by us - the people of Burma.
Sd. U Ne Oo.