Written by U Ne Oo on 2000-05-18
[Added Note: Part of the following letter to Sydney Olympic Minister Michael Knight was published in the Australian newspaper on 22 May 2000. Thank you, Editors of the Australian, for your decision toyour decision to publish the letter. Lets hope the Olympic Minister stop ignoring our Burma pro-democracy groups' request. ]
Dr U Ne Oo
18 Shannon Place
Adelaide SA 5000
May 18, 2000.
The Hon. Michael Knight MP
Minister for Olympics
Level 34, Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place, Sydney NSW 2000.
I am a Burmese refugee currently residing in Adelaide. I like to call your attention t call your attention to the requests that have been made by Burmese pro-democracy groups to exclude Burma from participating in Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. As a Burmese national, I have no desire whatsoever to see Burmese athletes under control of the military junta participating in the Olympic Games. I therefore request that you ask International Olympic Committee Executives to ban Burma from participating in the Sydney 2000 Olympic games.
As you may be aware, Burmese military junta has been in collusion with international drug syndional drug syndicates in laundering drug-moneys as well as production and trafficking of illicit drugs such as heroin and amphetamines. Burmese military junta is also responsible for massive outflows of refugees to its neighbouring countries �Thailand, Bangladesh and India. Burmese military has also put the democratically elected parliamentarians under detention in order to prevent these MPs from convening a parliament. From these records, we can say that Burma is not a fit and proper party to participate in the Sydney 2000 OlSydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Because of military junta�s intensifying crackdown on civilian opposition, the European Union recently imposed visa restriction on the top 140 Burmese junta officials. I ask you and your federal colleagues take similar action by banning top military clique entering Australia.
In Australia a common view propagated by the governments and mass media is that Olympics should be free from politics. This propaganda seems to serve an unsophisticated view of Australian general public�s admiration for spmiration for sportsmanship and the respect for Olympics. The truth, however, is that nothing can be free from politics, including the Olympics. Respect for Olympics must not outweigh the need to redress injustices. Our request to expel Burma from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games is a fair and legitimate one and you therefore take immediate action by asking the IOC to do so.
In closing, I thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
(U Ne Oo)
1. Juan A. Samaranch, President, International Olympic Committee, P.O. Box 356, 1001 Lausanne, Switzerland.
2. Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600. Facsimile: (+612) 6273-4112
THE AUSTRALIAN, MAY 22, 2000.
Ban Burma from the Games
Dear Mr Knight, I am a Burmese refugee residing in Adelaide. I'd like to call your attention to the requests that have been made by B been made by Burmese pro-democracy groups to exclude Burma from participating in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
As a Burmese national, I have no desire to see Burmese athletes under the control of the military junta participating in the Olympic Games. I request that you ask the International Olympic Committee to ban Burma from participating in the Sydney Games.
As you may be aware, the Burmese junta has been in collusion with international drug syndicates in laundering drug-moneys as well as production and trafficking of illicit drugs, such as heroin and amphetamines. The junta is also responsible for massive outflows of refugees to Thailand, Bangladesh and India. The military has also put democratically elected parliamentarians under detention in order to n in order to prevent these MPs from convening a parliament. Burma is not fit to participate in the Games.
Dr U NE
Burmese pro-democracy group in Sydney asks SOCOG to request that the IOC ban the Burmese military regime for life from participation in the Olympics in the wake of the IOC�s promulgatioOC�s promulgation of an Anti-Doping Code.
The Friends of National League for Democracy Australia today will seek the support of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games in expelling Burma from the Sydney Olympics as a consequence of the Burmese military regime�s role in the trafficking of heroin.
A September 9, 1999 news report in the Far Eastern Rehe Far Eastern Review states that "Australia has emerged as a major destination for Burmese narcotics. Australian police say a plentiful supply of heroin has led to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths among the nation�s estimated 45,000 addicts. They say as many as 1,000 people could die this year from heroin overdoses -- 40% more than in 1998. Now amphetamines from Burma are also reaching Australia." Countless reports point to the complicity of the Burmese military regime in the drug trade. Despite some improvte some improvements in anti-drug actions, drug traffickers in Burma are involved in running ports, toll roads, airlines, banks and industries, often in joint ventures with the government. Immense heroin profits are allegedly laundered through Burma�s weak and ill-regulated banking system. Burmese banking regulations are notably pliant, permitting any amount of desperately needed foreign exchange to be deposited upon payment of a 30% tax, or less during periodic amnesties or if certified by the junta as "investmea as "investment for national development."
Methamphetamine and heroin, both prohibited doping substances in the Anti-Doping Code adopted by the IOC in November 1999, are both flooding out of Burma onto Sydney streets. Previous approaches to the NSW Minister for the Olympics by the FNLDA, to seek his support in banning Burma from the Sydney Olympics on the basis of the appalling human rights situation in Burma were unsuccessful.
The FNLDA is now seeking to draw the attention of the SOCOG to the inconsistency between the Anti-Doping Code of the Olympics and the participation of Burma in the Games. The Code makes no distinction between athletes and officials, medical or para-medical personnel working with athletes.
"Given what is known about who is allowed out of Burma by the military regime, it is extremely unlikely that any of the officials travelling with the athletes will be anything but members or associates of the military regime", said the Chair of FNLDA, Susan Locke. "We ask how the IOC and the SOCOG can uphold the Anti-Doping Code at the same time as it allows Burma to participate in the Games. The definition of trafficking in the Code clearly identifies the kind of activities that bodies such as the US State Department claim are carried outrtment claim are carried out by the Burmese military and its allies within Burma. Trafficking within the Code is said to occur when a person " manufactures, extracts, transforms, prepares, stores, expedites, transports, imports, exports, transits, offers subject to payment or free of charge, distributes, sells, exchanges, undertakes the brokerage of, obtains in any form, prescribes, commercializes, makes over, accepts, possesses, holds, buys or acquires in any manner prohibited doping substances."
FNLDA will request that the SOCOG seek the full application of the code to Burma. Ms Locke stated "The code states that "in the event of trafficking in Prohibited Substances the penalty will be suspension for life from participation in any sports organization, body, activity or event in any capacity whatsoever." We ask that the SOCOG ensure the integrity of the Anti-Doping Code is upheld by entering into discussions with the IOC Executive Board during its visit to Sits visit to Sydney to have Burma banned from the Sydney Games and all subsequent Games until the rightfully elected government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi takes up government". Suu Kyi�s party, the National League for Democracy, has been denied power by the military since the 1990 democratic elections where the NLD gained over 80% of the votes. NLD members since that time have been imprisoned, harassed, tortured and many have had to flee Burma in fear for their lives.
"If the horrendous abuse of human rights, and the turning of Burma into a virtual prison camp, is not sufficient reason to have Burma banned from the Games, maybe the thought of Sydney�s teenagers dying on the streets as a consequence of more potent and cheaper heroin from Burma might make the politicians take notice. If the politicians don�t think that banning one of the major players supporting the largest heroin trade in the world is appropriate, they should think should think again about the message that that gives to Australian kids" Ms Locke said.
Media contact: Trevor Edmond, Secretary, FNLDA, 0418 635 990