Myanmar (Burma)

Event: Pearl-MUN 2004

Student: Sara Al-Sayer



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The Myanmar (Burmese) National Anthem



Myanmar (Burma)





Country Profile

 

Political Structure

Burma is under a military regime. In 1989, the military government changed the name of Burma to Myanmar. The US. State Department does not recognize the name Myanmar or the military regime that represents it. The judicial branch is reminiscent of the British era; however, one cannot expect to have a fair trial at all times.

Burma's political parties and leaders: National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SHWE, chairman, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, general secretary]; National Unity Party or NUP (proregime) [THA KYAW]; Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [KHUN TUN OO]; Union Solidarity and Development Association or USDA (proregime, a social and political organization) [THAN AUNG, general secretary]; and other smaller parties.

Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence outside of the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as president, and later as political kingmaker.

Despite multiparty elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party winning a decisive victory, the ruling military junta refused to hand over power. Key opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, was again placed under house detention from September 2000 to May 2002 and again in May 2003; her supporters are routinely harassed or jailed.

 

Geography

Slightly smaller than Texas, Myanmar occupies the Thailand/Cambodia portion of the Indochinese peninsula. India lies to the northwest and China to the northeast. Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand are also neighbors. The Bay of Bengal touches the southwest coast. The fertile delta of the Irrawaddy River in the south contains a network of intercommunicating canals and nine principal river mouths.

A land of hills and valleys which are covered by subtropical forests, it is protected by a horseshoe of mountains in the north, east and west, creating profound climatic effects.
Enclosed within the mountain barrier are the flat lands and valleys where most of the country's agricultural activities and population are centered.

Myanmar has a monsoon climate with three main seasons, which varies from region to region due to the country's diverse geography. Summer is from February through May with the hottest period in April and May when temperatures can reach about 43°C in central Myanmar, 36.1°C in Northern Myanmar and between 29.4°C and 35°C on the Shan Plateau. Rainy season starts from May and lasts until October. The best time to visit Myanmar is in the winter season (November to February) as it is cool and dry. The coolest month is January where the temperature falls to 16°C - in the highlands of over 3,000 feet, temperature can drop below O°C. Extremes of temperature are rare.

 

Natural Resources

Burma's natural resources are petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, and hydropower. Burma's export partners are Thailand 31.4%, US 13%, India 7.4%, China 4.7% (2002)

Burma produces seven app. 7.35 billion cu m per year of natural gas out of which 5.2 billions are exported. Burma also exports wood products, pulses, beans, fish, and rice.

 

Cultural Factors

The Burmese population is estimated at 42,510,537. This estimate takes into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; resulting in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changing in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.

The population is divided into separate ethnic groups, the largest being the Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%. As for religion, the Buddhists are the largest group and they constitute 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%.

 

Economy

Thailand, US., India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are Burma's major trading partners.

Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from abject rural poverty. The military regime took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled. Burma has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including a steep inflation rate and an official exchange rate that overvalues the Burmese kyat by more than 100 times the market rate. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta suppressed the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 election.

The currency is Kyat (MMK) and the exchange rate per US dollar is around 6.6.

 

Defense

Burma has three military branches, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Both males and females are liable for military service at the age of 18. Every year, there are app. Half a million males and half a million females that reach military age. Burma spends around $40 million a year on its military.

Despite its poverty and extreme underdevelopment, Burma nevertheless has its own domestic small arms industry. Burma has the capacity to produce tens of millions of rounds of ammunition each year.   The army is believed to be almost self-sufficient in small caliber ammunition, and produces some of its own ordnance and light weapons.   These include assault rifles (two 56mm rifles, the MA-1 and MA-2), light machine guns (the MA-3), a range of 60mm and 81mm mortar bombs, and a variety of hand grenades.

Burma imports weapons from China, Singapore and India; other significant suppliers have, in the past, included Israel, Germany and Pakistan. There are no recorded instances of Myanmar exporting weapons to other countries. The domestic demand for small arms appears to exhaust the supply produced by the manufacturers. However, many arms end up for sale on the black market and are purchased by insurgent groups across South Asia.

 

Views on World Problems

Burma has had several conflicts with western governments, mainly the United States, Britain and Portugal. The heroin Burma exports every year has led to many confrontations.

Though Burma has been found to be in opposition to various human rights, it has become a member of ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations. The People’s Republic of China (PRC)—SLORC’s closest ally and primary diplomatic and financial supporter—has included $1.8 billion in military equipment for SLORC’s military modernization drive.

Burma has emerged as a major foreign policy issue. A nonaligned, economically autarkic, one-party state under harsh military rule since 1962, Burma has metamorphosed into a test case for action on several fronts: human rights in Southeast Asia, international trade relations and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the growing worldwide heroin epidemic, and the role of foreign investors in supporting dictatorships.

 

History

Burma became independent on Jan. 4, 1948. In 1962, left-wing general Ne Win staged a coup, banned political opposition, suspended the constitution, and introduced the "Burmese way of socialism." After 25 years of economic hardship and repression, the Burmese people held massive demonstrations in 1987 and 1988. These were brutally quashed by the State Law and Order Council (SLORC). In 1989, the military government officially changed the name of the country to Myanmar.

In May 1990 elections, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide. But the military, or SLORC, refused to recognize the election results. A new constitution was drafted in 1994 that called for an elected executive branch but appeared designed specifically to forbid Suu Kyi, the leader of the opposition and the daughter of the assassinated general Aung San who was revered as the father of Burmese independence. From becoming president, Suu Kyi continued to protest against the government, but almost every move she made was answered with a counterblow from SLORC.

Although the ruling junta has maintained a tight grip on Myanmar since 1988, it has not been able to subdue an insurgency in the country's south that has gone on for decades. The ethnic Karen movement has sought an independent homeland along Myanmar's southern border with Thailand. The economy has been in a state of collapse except for the junta-controlled heroin trade, the universities have remained closed, and the AIDS epidemic, unrecognized by the junta, has gripped the country.

From 2000 to 2002, Suu Kyi was again placed under house arrest. During this time the military regime and Suu Kyi began unprecedented talks, though signs of democratic reforms remain elusive. In spring 2003, the government cracked down once again on the democracy movement, detaining Suu Kyi and shuttering NLD headquarters. Today, the UN is exerting pressure to release Suu Kyi.

 

 

 

Policy Statement



The issue of the rights of displaced people:

As, unfortunately, Burma is having internal problems with some of its groups, the country is witnessing the displacement of a significant number of people.

This has resulted in creating refugees. Unfortunately, the international focus has turned towards the conditions of these refugees and their human rights. However, taking into consideration the reason behind their displacement and the fact that the government of Burma is applying all its effort to unify all its groups in the hope of a more integrated and productive society, the international focus should actually be on a more radical solution for the source of the problem rather than the condition that the refugees are putting themselves into.

The government of Burma is dedicated towards progress and modernization and is vehement about implementing its four-cuts program for urban resettlement and beautification projects, aimed at promoting tourism.

Further more, the government of Burma is dedicated towards safe guarding its citizens and therefore will not allow the Burmese to simply emigrate from the country. Government and citizens alike should work hand in hand for the amelioration of Burma as everybody's dedication is imperative for a better future.

 

The issue of the trade of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction:

As Burma is having internal problems and as it is surrounded by larger well-armed countries, the government of Burma and its people feel the need to strengthen their military abilities and to acquire weapons of the same nature and strength as those available in its neighboring countries.

Like any other independent state, Burma has the right to choose its own political structure and beliefs. And like any other country, Burma has the right to protect its political structure and beliefs. And just like any other country, Burma should be able to defend itself if and when it is necessary.

Burma seeks not power to offend but it seeks the right to protect itself. Such a right should be inalienable to a country and protected by the same people who seek the protection of human rights. Our society is human and our society has its rights to protect itself.

 

The issue and rights of generic drugs:

As Burma cares for human rights and the improvement of human condition, the Burmese government fully supports the use of generic drugs at lower prices for the elevation of suffering of less fortunate humans.

Poor countries will not be able to help themselves if they are not helped. It is the obligation of those who are living in better conditions to reach out and help those in desperate need. We all live in the same world and we all need to help one another if we are to progress as a human race.

The Burmese government has always believed in protecting the people and improving their way of life. Generic drugs are but one of the essential steps that wealthy countries and pharmaceutical companies should undertake for the amelioration of the human condition.

 

 

 

Resolution

Country: Myanmar/Burma
Delegate: Sara Al-Sayer
Issue: The issue of the trade of weapons of mass destruction

Defining the right of acquiring weapons of mass destruction as equivalent to the right to protect ones sovereignty,

Aware of the fact that some other countries around the world are already in possession of weapons of mass destruction,

Bearing in mind that many of the countries that possess such weapons are not being asked to disarm,

Noting that in order for a country to feel protected it has to acquire the same military capabilities available in other neighboring countries,

Strongly believes that every country should reserve the right to protect itself, even if that requires the possession of weapons of mass destruction,

1. Resolves that the UN will create an organization called the Rights to Self Preservation Organization (RSPO), which will have headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland;

2. Further resolves that the RSPO will hold a meeting every two months, during which all members will be briefed regarding any situation regarding the issues at hand, and schedule sudden meetings depending on any weapon crisis;

3. Affirms that RSPO membership will be open to all UN member countries, but would mostly hope that countries in need of protection join RSPO;

4. Further affirms that the RSPO will form many branches to cover all regions of the world:
a. To cover Europe will be Switzerland,
b. To cover Asia will be Japan,
c. To cover Africa will be South Africa,
d. To cover North America will be New York,
e. To cover South America will be Brazil;

5. Encourages all countries in need of protection to cooperate and unite to help in the implementation of this organization’s initiatives;

6. Emphasizes that countries wanting to be in the RSCPO should be:
a. Cooperative,
b. Countries in need of protection or are threatened by other countries,
c. Poor countries who cannot afford to acquire weapons,
d. Countries that need to acquire weapons but do not retain the right to do so.

 

 

 

Opening Speech

 

Honorable chair, fellow delegates

Welcome to the country that is host to a myriad of global ethnic groups, the country where the green hills, yellow valleys, and extraordinary tropical rain forests dominate the terrain. Behind all this beauty, lies a threatened soul; a soul that cannot be saved without the help of the strongest resources for protection in the world, nuclear weapons. This threatened soul is Burma's… Unfortunately, Burma does not reserve the right to own there protective weapons, and therefore does not reserve the resources to protect itself… Burma believes that the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty should be amended to accommodate the possession of nuclear weapons to all needing countries. Burma wishes everyone a successful and enjoyable event…

Thank you,