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State of the NCGUB concerning refug
- Subject: State of the NCGUB concerning refug
- From: kyaw@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 22:46:00
Refugees Get "Amazing" Treatment in "Amazing Thailand"
Because of the well-founded fear of persecutions committed by the troops of
totalitarian Burma Socialist Programme Party ( BSPP ), the ethnic Karen
have been fleeing to the Thai-Burma border and taking refuge on Thai soil
since 1984. Under the rule of another military regime namely SLORC, more
ethnic Karen have been escaping from forced portering and forced relocation
campaign being carried out by the regime since 1988. They have to take
refuge in Thailand for their safety from persecution by the repressive
regime. In those days, Thai authorities allowed the Karen refugees to stay
in refugee camps in Thailand adjacent to Burma including Amphur Umphang and
Amphur Mae Sot in Tak Province. Noe Phoe is one of the Karen refugee camps
situated in Amphur Umphang. During these time, the refugees from Noe Phoe
Camp were free to leave the camp and to return back. No serious
restrictions were imposed.
However, as of October 1997, all refugees from Noe Phoe Camp wishing to
leave were strictly prohibited from doing so. Moreover, the Thai
authorities did not allow hundreds of newly displaced-people to enter Noe
Phoe Refugee Camp too. Those refugees have been waiting for permission of
the Thai military to enter the camp. For that reason the newly-arrived
refugees had to stay in two temporary camps namely Kwee Le Taw and Htee
Shaw Shee which are very close to Noe Phoe Camp. On November 11, Thai army
personnel from Army Division -3 ordered the refugees from Kwee Le Taw
temporary camp to move to Baw Ner Hta Camp within 3 days. Failure to comply
with the order would result in Thai military disclaiming all responsibility
for any consequences. As Baw Ner Hta is only 200 yards from the outpost of
the Burma army, refugees are very much afraid to move to the camp. They are
in constant fear of being attacked.
At 5:00 a.m. on November 15, an 80-man Thai military column led by Capt
Thawee and Lt Naronchai from Battalion -44 of Army Division -3 came in and
started to open fire on Kwee Le Taw camp for 20 minutes. They used M16
assault rifles and M79 rocket launchers. They were ordered to shoot all
fleeing refugees. In order to escape being hit, the refugees ran in panic.
after the refugees were driven away, the Thai military burned down the
camp. During the shooting , a woman named Naw Hkee Lar from Tha Yet Tel
village while trying to flee, accidentally dropped her three-month old baby
resulting in the death of the latter due to a broken neck. Three male
refugees were also killed. They were:
Saw Pla Wah, 45 years, Tha Min Let village
Saw Hser Doh Kee, 28 years, Thein Kwe village
Saw Ta Kabaw Htoo, 30 years, Ta Lay Kee village.
Another unknown man was forced to run and then shot in the back. He was
killed on the spot. The injured people were not allowed to receive
appropriate treatment at the Thai hospital. Moreover, the doctor from AMI
was not permitted to enter the camp and take care of the wounded people.
In the press conference held Monday in Tak, the army denied there had been
any fatalities. The army also said that two refugees were injured when Thai
soldiers fired shots in an attempt to prevent hundreds of Burmese from
illegally entering Thailand early Saturday morning.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was requested by
the Karen groups to investigate the fatal attack. A team of United Nations
officials traveled to a temporary holding sites for refugees called Thay
Pu Law Sue, south of Umphang, to find facts about the case. Results of the
investigation were not immediately known
1.Current situation at Noe Phoe Refugee Camp
The camp is divided into 2 zones. Both zones have been divided into 7
wards. The population is approximately 10, 000 people. The camp committee
takes responsibility for health, social affairs, education, supplies, and
administrative duties, including selecting "volunteers" to work on Thai
In the past, people wanting to leave the camp were allowed to leave the
camp with approval from the camp committee. As of October 30, 1997, all
people wishing to leave have been prohibited from doing so. Those who left
the camp before the order went into effect, were denied reentry into the
camp, including those who left the boundary of the camp to collect
vegetables. Those caught outside the camp were kicked, beaten, in addition
to having their hands tightly bound behind their backs. They were brought
back to the Thai military base within the camp and placed in wooden stocks.
During the day, they were forced to do hard labor for periods of between
7-15 days. To discourage escape, prisoners were brought to and from the
work-sites in chain gangs and at gunpoint. In the evening, they were
brought back to the military base and, again, placed in wooden stocks. The
refugees are very much afraid of the recent behavior of the Thai military.
They see their actions similar to that of the SLORC troops. The Thai
military have also deployed artillery weapons on the hilltops surrounding
the camp for security reasons. If "enemy" troops enter the camp, Thai
military have orders to fire directly into the camp regardless of the
refugees that reside there.
Every day, the local Thai army Unit demanded 280 refugees from the fourteen
wards to complete their projects; to build barracks, fences, roads,
latrines, and to clean the compound. Some were even forced to polish the
floor of the barracks. Occasionally, for instance on religious holidays
and days when supplies were delivered to the camps, the camp committee
could not fulfill the quota given by the Thai military. The camp committee
apologized to the Thai's for not being able to provide the required
manpower. However, the Thai military responded angrily and forcibly
recruited, at random, men and women when the quota was less than 100.
2.Situation at Kwe Le Taw Refugee Camp
The Thai military forced the refugees from Kwe Le Taw to move to Baw Ner
Hta. But, due to the proximity of this new camp, about 200 refugees fled
into the jungle and are currently facing shortages of food and medicine.
Similarly, refugees in the Baw Ner Hta camp are facing these same problems.
As the SLORC outpost is only 200 meters from the Baw Ner Hta camp,
refugees are in constant fear of being attacked.
3.Situation at Htee Shaw Shee Refugee Camp
The Thai military ordered refugees from Htee Shaw Shee to move to Baw Ner
Hta within 3 days beginning November 18, 1997. Failure to comply with
these orders would result in Thai military absolving itself of
responsibility for any consequences.
NATONAL COUNCIL OF THE UNION OF BURMA'S DECLARATION CONCERNING REFUGEES
20th November 1997
On 15-11-97., there was an incident of shooting by the local Thai army
troops at Karen Refugees at a temporary camp near Kwee Ler Taw village in
Umphang District. The Refugees were then forcibly relocated.
NCUB made the following declarations concerning the incident:
1. Over two thousand Karen refugees took refuge at Kwee Ler Taw, Lay Taw
Kho and Htee Saw Hse near Noh Poe refugee camp. They are from Kyar-inn,
Seik-Kyee township in Karen State, who are fleeing from SPDC (SLORC)
persecutions and killings and who had arrived at the border region after
great hardships and sufferings.
2. The relocation of these refugees by the 44th. Thai army regiment to Baw
Ner Htar, which is very close to SLORC troops is erroneous and is most
inappropriate. Especially unsettling is the forced relocation of over a
thousand refugees at Kwee Ler Taw on the 15th of November 1997 and shooting
that ensues. The shooting, with deaths of a number of refugees is a most
sorrowful incident. The occurrence is the first of its kind concerning the
Karen Refugee Camp, and is in gross violation of International norms, which
will greatly affect the dignity of , and esteem for Thailand and the Thai
3. Shooting at and maltreatment of the refugees, and relocating them close
to the SLORC troops would only engender strife and discontentment and the
dispersion of refugees into the forest will entail dangerous implications.
The plan by the 44th Regiment to handle the problem of refugees at Htee Saw
Hsee and Lay Taw Kho in the same way as that of Kwee Ler Taw could have
4. Continuation of such undesirable actions by local Thai troops could lead
to serious consequences.
We most humbly request of the Thai Government and the Thai Army that such
actions be discontinued, that International Refugee Protection Regulations
be observed, that forced repatriations be ceased, and allowance made of
Aid Organisaations for help and support for the refugees.
We sent out entreaties to International Governments and Organisations to
help our Karen Refugees in this time of grief and sufferings.