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Army officer defends action

The Nation (25 November 1997)
Army officer defends action 

Agence France-Presse 

A SENIOR Thai Army officer yesterday defended the Thai armed forces'
adherence to humanitarian principles, following criticism last week by
the United Nations of its handling of some displaced Burmese at the Thai

''We are blamed or accused by foreign agencies from time to time, due to
a lack of real situational awareness, that we do not pay attention to
humanitarian issues in repatriating displaced persons," said General
Chokechai Hongstong, deputy chief of joint staff of the Royal Thai Army. 

He was speaking at the opening of a five-day seminar sponsored by
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the international law
of armed conflict in East Asia which began yesterday. 

''These kind of accusations discourage our honourable intentions.
However, we will continue with our humanitarian obligations," he added. 

On Friday, the UNHCR protested to Thailand over the forced relocation of
1,100 displaced ethnic Karen to an unsafe area straddling the Thai-Burma
border. Thailand denies mistreatment.