Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4,000 Burmese Migrants Arrested in June

The Irrawaddy News

Some 4,000 Burmese migrants were arrested by the Thai authorities in Thailand in June, according to a Thai Web site, www.manager.co.th.

The Thai news and entertainment Web site said that the Burmese migrants were arrested in different regions by the Thai authorities, but the majority were arrested in Phop Phra District in Tak Province.

It is believed that many of those arrested were sent back to Burma, while others are being detained or were released.

A Thai police officer in Phop Phra told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that many Burmese are coming to Thailand in the hope they can get new work permits, because a fresh registration of migrants in Thailand begins in early July.

The Thai government announced in June that the country needed some two million foreign workers for the multitude of jobs available, including those jobs known as the “3 Ds”—dirty, dangerous or degrading—which most Thai workers refuse.

There are up to five million Burmese migrants living and working in Thailand, says the Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) in Chiang Mai. However, only 500,000 registered at the Thai Ministry of Labor last year.

The Thai government is currently offering new one-year work permits to those who registered last year.

However, Jackie Pollock, a founding member of MAP, said that some migrants cannot afford to pay the 3,800 baht (US $112) fee for registration because they don’t have jobs due to the economic crisis in Thailand.

Moe Swe, the head of the Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association in Mae Sot in Tak Province, said that many of the Burmese migrants in Mae Sot couldn’t afford to pay the registration fees due to poor wages.

Burmese workers generally get paid about 1,500 baht ($44) per month working at a factory in Mae Sot, he said.

Thailand has recently tightened its border security to prevent an influx of Burmese migrants into the county. Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai, police have set up nighttime roadblocks as part of an ongoing campaign to crack down on Burmese migrants.

Meanwhile, the Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia and MAP Foundation in Thailand have called on the Malaysian and Thai governments to protect the rights of Burmese migrants and ensure that migrants can exercise their labor, social, cultural, economic and political rights.

In a joint statement released last week, the groups called for a halt to unjust, discriminatory and unconstitutional policies on migrants.

A report released by the US State Department in June claimed that Thailand had not complied with international labor laws and that Thai authorities frequently abused migrants’ rights.

READ MORE---> 4,000 Burmese Migrants Arrested in June...

Politicians need to keep quiet for sake of peace in South


(Bangkok Post - The government's proposed "politics guiding military" strategy in dealing with the southern insurgency is being called into question.

Critics say the strategy's meaning should be clearly defined to ensure a proper understanding by agencies before its implementation.

They said the slogan could be exploited by the government and politicians to win public backing for the strategy without practical action. If a huge budget is involved, the military would also stand to benefit in a big way.

The "politics guiding military" policy may have tasted success in fighting communism in the 1980s but the current "war" in the South is different.

Without addressing the southerners' basic human rights and, more importantly, recognising their aspirations, sustainable peace in the region should not be expected.

However, if the law is not strictly enforced in the three southernmost border provinces, the situation is not going to improve either.

So we need the military presence to remain strong in the region and the politicians to stay quiet as they have not made any positive contribution to the region for several years. Where the rule of law cannot prevail, security authorities must deal seriously with the insurgents to restore peace and stability.

But those in charge of security should not encourage a heavy-handed approach.

"As long as the southerners have trust in the judicial system, they will back the state. But if they are not certain that justice could be delivered, they will become allies of the insurgents," said a judge with experience in the southern provinces.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda has made it clear the "politics guiding military" policy was not being introduced to negotiate with the insurgents.

However, some scholars have advised agencies that they should explore other ideas that could help complete the jigsaw puzzle, including talks with groups sympathising with the militants.

Certainly, who to talk to is the key question for those advocating talking.

Officers with different hats now seem to agree on one basic fact: That unless the root cause of the problem is recognised, the government cannot easily address the anti-Siam attitudes and separatism.

But where to start? The local people don't seem to have much faith in the Democrat Party, but do believe in Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who once said the area should be made a special administration zone.

Last week, Malaysia's Task Force 2010 chief, Datuk Wan Abu Bakar Omar, suggested that the Organisation of Islamic Conference might be the best body if Thailand was looking for external help to quell the insurgency.

READ MORE---> Politicians need to keep quiet for sake of peace in South...

3 held for alleged attempt to export measuring instrument to Myanmar

YOKOHAMA, (Japan Today) — Police arrested three people Monday on suspicion of attempting to export a measuring instrument that could be converted to weapons production to Myanmar without a permit from the Japanese government, police officials said. The suspects, including the 41-year-old president of trading house Toko Boeki in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward and the president of a machinery maker, allegedly attempted to export in January a magnetic measuring instrument, which could be converted to produce missiles and other weapons of mass destruction, from Yokohama port in Kanagawa Prefecture to Myanmar via Malaysia, they said.

The attempted export was discovered before it took place, the Kanagawa police officials said. The Kanagawa police raided locations related to the case in February suspecting that North Korea, which maintains diplomatic relations with Myanmar, could be involved in the deal.

Japan thwarts suspect N Korea-Burma missile device deal

June 30, 2009 (DVB)–Japanese police have arrested three men on suspicion of attempting to illegally export into Burma heavy machinery that could be used in the development of missile systems.

The reports surfaced yesterday on the Japanese news website, Yomiuri Shimbun, who reported that the three men, all Japanese nationals, were charged under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law.

Concerns over Burma’s military ambitions have been heightened in recent weeks with reports that a North Korean ship suspected to be carrying arms was heading in the direction of Burma.

Similarly, photographs obtained by DVB show a network of tunnels built with North Korean assistance beneath the Burmese capital, with leaked documents revealing plans to hold large rockets and satellite communication command centers inside.

The Yomiuri quoted police as saying that the three men, who were working for a Hong Kong-based North Korean trading firm, were caught with a magnetic measuring device “believed necessary for developing long-range ballistic missile systems on instructions from North Korea”.

The export was attempted in January this year, at a cost of around seven million yen (US$73,000). Police reportedly believe that the same firm has transported similar machinery to Burma in the past.

According to the Yomiuri report, the firm’s office in North Korean capital Pyongyang is believed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to be involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Reporting by Francis Wade

READ MORE---> 3 held for alleged attempt to export measuring instrument to Myanmar...

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