Monday, September 14, 2009

Crackdown on Burmese Dissidents in Chiang Mai


Thai police officers on Sunday raided the offices of several exiled Burmese opposition groups including the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, the Burmese Women’s Union and the National Health and Education Committee.

A Burmese source confirmed that 10 Burmese women from the Burmese Women’s Union who were attending a capacity-building workshop in Chiang Mai were apprehended and are now in custody.

The police came with information and photos of the locations of Burmese offices. The arrests took place on Sunday when many offices were closed for the weekend.

The offices of several Chiang Mai-based Burmese opposition groups and media organizations have remained temporarily closed on Monday. The motive for the arrests and the reason why Burmese human rights workers and dissidents have been targeted is not yet known.

Several exiled Burmese and foreign groups have opened NGOs and advocacy offices in Chiang Mai in recent years.

Burmese groups faced the most repressive times under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration in the early 2000s. Many offices were shut down for several weeks due to fears of intimidation and crackdowns.

International human rights groups and Western governments expressed concern for the safety of exiled Burmese dissidents living in Thailand at the time.

Under the current Thai government, Burmese groups in Thailand have enjoyed relative freedom without any major harassment.

According to diplomatic sources, Western embassies in Bangkok are closely watching the situation.

Burma Newscasts - Crackdown on Burmese Dissidents in Chiang Mai
Monday, September 14, 2009

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