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                             URGENT PRESS RELEASE

                              9th October, 1997.

        Thai Ministry of Interior (MOI)  officials inciting violence 
                   against Burmese residents of a  UNHCR
                          administered 'safe camp'.

For immediate release.

BANGKOK- Troubles at the Ministry of Interior run 'Burmese Students Center',
commonly known as the 'Safe Area', have reached crisis levels in recent
days. An alleged beating of a camp resident, Ko Wai Moe, by the Camp
Commander, Pi Moo, on the 3rd of October has outraged residents who are
calling upon the Thai government to take measures to ensure their personal

On the 3rd of October at around 9 p.m., an armed group of villagers,
including MOI representatives from the camp, assaulted a group of Burmese
exiles for 'making a loud noise'. The Camp Commander later admitted to
assaulting this group of camp residents. This admission has created a
climate of unrest within the camp that has already resulted in an attack on
the MOI office within the compound. Residents are concerned that the events
of recent days will provide the officials to further restrict the rights and
liberties of Burmese camp residents, who already endure sever restrictions
on their freedom of movement and freedom of assembly.

It has been alleged that a series of recent attacks on camp residents by the
villagers of 'Ban Maneeloi' in Ratchaburi province, Thailand, have been
actively encouraged by the Camp Commander, who has offered alcohol and gifts
of money to some villagers in return for acts of harassment and intimidation. 

Newly elected Chairperson of the Burmese Students Association (BSA), Aung
Htun, stated yesterday that around 8.30pm on the 5th of October, one masked
Thai villager attacked a camp resident who was returning from volunteering
labor at a local monastery. The Camp commander, when approached about this
incident, told BSA that he gave villagers his full permission for the
villagers to carry out the attack and would take no measures against future

A spokesperson for TACDB in Bangkok, Thailand, commented that "...these acts
of intimidation perpetrated by Thai officials are shameful. Burmese students
in Ban Maneeloi have enjoyed good relations with their Thai neighbors in the
past. It is a shame to see this community being undermined and destroyed by
a kind of state-sanctioned intimidation and violence.".

Roads leading into the area had been blocked off last night by local police. 

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and representatives of the Prime
Minister's office in Bangkok could not be contacted for comment. 

For further information please contact TACDB in Bangkok on (+662) 216 4463
or representatives of BSA at the Burmese Students Centre in Ban Maneeloi on
01 651 9929.
Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (TACDB),
328 Phayathai Road,
Bangkok 10400,

tel/fax:  (+662) 216 4463
email:	  tacdb@xxxxxxxxxx