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AKA Statement

American Karen Agency Statement

RE:  Thai Army Responsibility for refugee camp protection and control

On November 15th, 1997 the Thai army breached its usual practices in their
handling of Karen Refugees in camps along the Thai / Burma border. That
incident, committed at Thay PuLaw Sue Camp, was brutal and inhumane a
tactic normally exhibited by the Burman Army in dealing with citizen of
Burma ( Myanmar ). At least 6 persons were killed as a direct result of
Thai Army action under the orders of Lieutenant Narochar of the 4th
Battalion, 3rd Army.

The American Karen Agency is appalled by these actions and calls upon the
government of Thailand to act with vigor and with appropriate deeds to
correct these actions. Access to the camps and to the refugees must be more
open and under close view by non-Thai sources to insure that the refugees
are treated with respect and their safety is not endangered by such tactic
as were witnessed on Nov. 15th  1997.

What is most puzzling to the American Karen Agency is why this attack
occurred and who is responsible?

1.  Could it be that these were Burman and DKBA troops in disguise. The
evidence does not conform to such a proposition.

2.  Could it be that the Lieutenant acted on his own initiative? If so the
Thai government should replace him and try him for crimes he ordered to be

3.  Could it be that this this attack was ordered by other of the Thai Army
of higher grade whose role is politically motivated? Such a idea is not
beyond the realm of possibility considering that new leadership of the Thai
government has just been completed with the former Prime minister replaced.
The economic collapse has disgraced him. What is also troubling about this
is the direct link between the former Thai PM and the SLORC which on Nov.
16th conveniently changed its name from the SLORC to The State Peace and
Development Council, a junta position in line with the former Thai Prime
Minister?s plan for Thai/Burma development.

Also playing into this witches brew is that the Karen Leadership recently
appealed to the new PM, Leek Pai to serve as mediator between the Burman
government and the Karen.

The action of the Thai Army in this case, where the former PM is also the
minister in charge of the border could de-stabilize the border and bring on
a further Thai government crisis.

We at the American Karen Agency deplore this action by the Thai Army and
urge the Thai government and the US government to take this episode with
great seriousness.