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HUMAN RIGHTS SUBMISSION FROM TRW PA
Subject: HUMAN RIGHTS SUBMISSION FROM TRW PART 2 REPOSTED.
/* posted Mar 5 12:23:38 CST 1995 uneoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on igc:reg.burma-l */
/* --------------" HRSUB: Tribal Refugee Welfare "---------------*/
[Subject: To inquire into and report on the human rights situation
and lack of progress towards democracy in Myanmar(Burma) by the
Human Rights Sub-committee of the parliament of Australia.
Submissions to this enquiry by various people and
organisations are re-posted here.
This section is redistributed to Internet/PeaceNet with
permission from the Tribal Refugee Welfare in SE Asia, P.O.box 215
Mirrabooka Western Australia 6061. -- U Ne Oo]
# SUBMISSION NO. 1.
Part 2 of 2.
THE TRIBAL REFUGEE WELFARE IN SOUTH EAST ASIA (INC)
& 6 ATTACHMENTS
LETTER TO THE UNHCR
Mr Pierre-Michel Fontaine
Regional Representative, Australia New Zeland and
9 Terrigal Crescent
O'Malley ACT 2606.
Dated 4th August 1994
I have recently received information relating to events at
Halockhanee on the Burma-Thai border which occurred on 21st and
22nd July, in which the Mon refugee camp was overrun by Burmese
troops and the camp burnt to the ground.
The report has been confirmed by a number of well informed
NGO sources in Bangkok, by reports in the Bangkok media and by the
Australian Department of Foreign affairs.
There events come at a time when the ruling authorities of
Burma are actively promoting their position as being open to
dialogue with the ethnic nationalities, and as deserving of
acceptance by the international community. The Burmese Foreign
Minister himself claimed in a statement to UN officials at the time
of the ASEAN conference that "there are no problems of human rights
It is of great concern to me and my agency that human
rights abuses continue to occur both with Burma and along the
I am therefore now writing to seek your assurance that the
UNHCR representative in Bangkok will take up this incident in
dialogue with relevant parties and agencies in the region
particularly in Bangkok and Rangoon. I would greatly appreciate
your advising me of any follow up which you receive relevant to
Yours sincerely, (C. de Mello) Vice-chairman
LETTER FROM THE UNHCR TO TRW
22 August 1994
Dear Mr de Mello,
I refer to your letter of 4th August 1994 which outlines
your concerns over recent incidents in Halockhani Camp on the
UNHCR become aware of the incident on 21st July 1994 when
approximately 100 Myanmar soldiers, from its 62nd battalion,
entered the camp, torched about 100 houses and took 16 (by some
account 18) hostages. The facts of the incident, while somewhat at
variance, indicate that the burning of the camp and hostage -
takings were an an act of revenge in retribution for the earlier
killing of two Myanmar soldiers by the Mon refugees in reaction to
a threat against a Mon woman, which of course does not excuse these
actions by the Myanmar soldiers. The burning of the camp appears
likewise to have occurred in the context of the Myanmar army's
search for the dead soldiers' missing weapons.
It should be noted that while UNHCR considers the site of
the attack, Bledhun Phait, to be a part of Halockhani Camp, the
Thai authorities have on various occasions taken the view that it
is a Mon village in Myanmar. It has thus proven difficult to
persuade the Thai authorities that the incident was a violation of
the security that the Thais have offered the Mon refugees within
As of 3 August 1994 UNHCR had received reports that the
SLORC had released some or all of the hostages, although it was
reported that two of them may have died of natural causes.
Subsequently received advice is that four of the 16 hostages have
returned to the camp but the others, while not yet in camp, are
understood to have been released.
As a result of the incident, and in light of previous
assurances given by the Royal Thai government with regard to
providing for the physical security of these refugees, UNHCR's
Branch Office Thailand has written to General Charan Kullavanijaya,
Secretary General of the National Security Council, requesting that
the refugees be permitted to remain in site further inside
Thailand then Bledhum Phait/Halockhani Camp. while no official
reply has yet been noted, the Thai Government has publicly stated
that the refugees would be permitted to remain inside Thailand
until such time as it is safe for them to return to Halockhani.
As you are undoubted aware, the matter of the situation of
the Mon refugees from Halockhani Camp is evolving day by day. We
can say at the present time that the Thai government has so far not
forcibly returned the refugees.
It is clear that what happened in Halockhani Camp was a
violation of the physical security of the sort condemned by UNHCR's
Ececutive committee in EXCOM conclusions No. 45 ( XXXVII) and No.
48 (XXXVIII) on Military and Armed Attacks on Refugees Camps and
Settlements. UNHCR is seeking from all concerned parties adherence
to these basic principles and in the meantime trusts that the
permission granted by the Thai Government to allow the refugees to
reside some distance away from the site of the incursion will serve
to protect the refugees. UNHCR is in close contact with the
National Security Council and has made absolutely clear our
position that forcible return to an area that is presently unsafe
should not occur.
I sincerely wish to thank you for your interest in this
matter and I have forwarded your correspondence to our Office in
Thailand and Headquarters so that they too might be aware of the
NGOs community's desire for such incidents not to be repeated.
Signed. Pierre-Michel Fontaine
cc UNHCR Headquarters, Geneva
UNHCR Branch Office, BAngkok
LETTER TO THE ROYAL THAI EMBASSY FROM TRW
Ambassador Dr Rongpet Sucharitkul
Royal Thai Embassy
111 Empire Circuit
Yarralumla ACT 2600
Dated 4th August 1994
I am writing to you to express the concern of many
Australians about the situation of refugees from Burma in Thailand.
I ask that you forward our concern and messages of support to Prime
Minister Chuan Leekpai.
As your Government is aware, on the 21st and 22nd July
1994, Burmese troops entered the Mon refugee camp of Halockhanee,
near Sanklaburi district, and fighting in that area resulted in the
inhabitants of the camp fleeing to seek protection on Thai soil and
in the camp being burnt down.
Members of my organization and partner organizations in
South East Asia have long been concerned about the security of
Burmese and Thai people along the border, where fighting in the
past has led to the loss of life and property. We are strong
believers in the need for protection for displaced and refugee
people and appreciate the efforts of the Royal Thai Government to
meet the needs of those communities.
We seek your assurances that the Royal Thai Government will
undertake to offer protection to the Mon and other who have fled
fighting and forced labour and who at this time are not able to
live in security in Burma.
During the time of the ASEAN meetings in Bangkok, we also
became aware of the concerns of non-government and community
organizations in Thailand who wanted to convey their messages to
the Prime Minister in support of human rights and democracy as a
priority in developing international relations. We support the Thai
people in these views and hope that your Government will pursue
them in your relations with ASEAN members and particularly in
regard to your relations with Burma.
I would be very appreciative of your forwarding me any
information which you can provide relevant to the matters raised in
Signed. (C. de Mello) Vice-Chairman.
1. REUTER, JULY 23: BURMESE REFUGEES REFUSE TO RETURN AFTER ARMY
2. AFP, AUGUST 9: UNHCR SEEKS HALT TO PLANNED EXPULSION OF MONS
REFUGEES TO BURMA.
3. REUTER, AUGUST 10: BURMESE REFUGEES DEFY THAI DEADLINE TO GO
4. AAP, AUGUST 9: AID GROUPS WANT PROTECTION FOR bURMESE REFUGEES.
5. AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FOR OVERSEAS AID (ACFOA), AUGUST 9: PRESS
6. DAWN NEWS BULLETIN: ONGOING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
Part 2 of 2.
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