Friday, June 12, 2009

FDB urges UN to address Karen refugee issue

by Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The ‘Forum for Democracy in Burma’ (FDB) in exile has urged the UN Security Council to tackle the Karen refugee issue by taking action on the grounds of crime against humanity.

The FDB made the demand yesterday after the combined forces of the Burmese Army and the DKBA launched a fresh offensive against the ‘Karen National Union’ (KNU) this month and about 4,000 refugees fled to Thailand.

“With innocent civilians feeling the war zone, we call upon the UN to address this problem at the earliest within the framework of ‘crimes against humanity’,” FDB General Secretary Dr. Naing Aung told Mizzima.

The FDB alleged that due to the failure of the junta to perform its duty, hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing from their homes. Besides there are the issues of the child soldiers, crime against humanity, including rampant assault and rape of women in Burma.

“The junta commits these crimes by virtue of having arms in their hands. The arms embargo should be imposed on them by the international community. The UN has to take effective measures to curb these crimes committed by the junta,” Dr. Naing Aung said.

In their demand made to the UN, besides the Karen refugee issue, the FDB pointed to other crimes such as rape of ethnic women as a result of irresponsibility by the junta. The statement also said that there were over 100,000 refugees in nine camps along Thai-Burma border and most of them are ethnic Karen.

The FDB Joint-Secretary Soe Aung also said that there were about 2,100 political prisoners languishing in prisons after the junta systematically imprisoned pro-democracy forces. The military junta will perpetuate and establish its stranglehold if national reconciliation is not achieved, he said. KNU is an armed ethnic organization which has waged war for the right to self-determination against successive Burmese governments for about half a century.

FDB comprises of seven pro-democracy organizations of students, youths and women’s organizations. It is a Thai-based organization into pro-democracy movements.

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