Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thai government urged not to repatriate Karen refugees

by Usa Pichai

Chiang Mai (mizzima) – The government of Thailand has been urged by Asian lawmakers and activists not to repatriate Karen refugees, who recently fled to Thailand in the wake of fighting along the border.

Kraisak Chunhavan, chairman of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) expressed concern over the situation on the Thai-Burma border where the fighting between the Burmese Army and an ethnic armed group is on, resulting in several thousand Karen villagers fleeing for shelter on the Thai side.

Kraisak insisted that the Thai government should provide humanitarian aid to these villagers and AIPMC will propose to the Thai government, as the current chairman of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), to work with member countries to promote democracy and sustainable peace in Burma.

“We are worried because the situation is still vulnerable. Many more refugees are coming to Thailand and we believe that the Thai government will not send these people back while the fighting continues because it is the principle of the Asean Charter to protect the rights of the people,” Kraisak said.

On Monday, the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) released a statement expressing concern over the current situation of repatriation of families who recently arrived in Thailand in Tha Song Yang of Tak Province.

KWO said these women, if repatriated, will be vulnerable to abuses including sexual harassment and the children are already exhausted from running. Evidence of two Karen teenaged girls raped and killed is proof of a well founded fear of women being abused if they return. The group called on the international community to do whatever they can to stop possible repatriation by the Thai Army.

The group said, the Thai government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should urgently chalk out a procedure to obtain proper consent from the villagers, over the possibility of returning to their villages or to ask if they want to take refuge in Thailand. They should not be forced back in keeping with respect for international law.

"The Thai authorities should at least wait and observe the situation. Forcing back these people during the rainy season and to the place where they still have every reason to fear for their lives is inhuman and a violation of their rights," said Dah Eh Kler, the Secretary of KWO. "These people just fled to the border a few weeks ago from fear and fresh memories of attacks."

Similarly, Action Network for Migrants, a network of migrant workers activists and organization also in a statement urged the Thai government and related organizations to reconsider the policy that will not register new refugees to live in refugee camps along the borders. The authorities should allow non government organizations to provide education for the new comers children, which is a basic human right.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too