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BurmaNet News November 25, 1997

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------           
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"           
The BurmaNet News: November 25, 1997              
Issue #876


November 25, 1997

[According to sources in Rangoon, many of the NLD party members who 
showed up for the National Day Celebration were not allowed to enter 
Aung San Suu Kyi's compound.  Military authorities hustled some party
members into trucks and dumped them far outside Rangoon, to make their
way back into the city on their own.  This also happened at the NLD's 
September Congress when approximately 30 NLD members and one foreigner 
were trucked out to a satellite town after they were refused entrance.] 


Authorities allowed Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to
hold a mass meeting at her home yesterday to celebrate National
Day, but restricted the numbers attending.

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party had
invited more than 800 people.

Local authorities gave permission for 200 to attend, but about 
250 were present, including 100 who had arrived the previous day
and spent the night.

The crowd included party faithful in their customary peach-coloured 
traditional jackets, as well as the heads of diplomatic missions from 
Thailand the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, 
Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

A senior Thai official in Bangkok said the participation of Thailand's 
ambassador to Burma, Poksak Nilubol, was consistent with Thai policy 
since the release of Suu Kyi from house arrest two years ago.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Surapong Jayanama said yesterday's
attendance followed clear indications that the ruling SPDC
(formerly Slorc) recognised the NLD as a political group and
wanted dialogue with it.

The apparent wish for dialogue was a "good sign" and the ambassador's 
presence could not be misconstrued as interference, said the spokesman.

Ambassador Poksak and his counterpart from the Philippines were
the only Asean  ambassadors at the gathering, to which members of
the diplomatic community in Rangoon were invited.

Visitors were forced to wait at police checkpoints and prove
their identities. The diplomats were made to wait as long as 30
minutes before being allowed to pass. An unknown number of people
were turned back.

Suu Kyi expressed irritation at the restrictions, telling a reporter that 
such activity was what the country's military government was talking 
about when it touted the virtues of "disciplined democracy".
The NLD continues to operate under tight restrictions imposed by
the junta that took power in 1988. The party won a landslide
victory in a 1990 general election, but the military never
allowed Parliament to convene.

Though the state-controlled media, the military government has
constantly tried to paint the opposition party and its leaders as
unpatriotic and irresponsible. Suu Kyi, who was under house
arrest from 1989-95 is allowed only limited contact with the
general public. 
In a brief speech to the crowd Suu Kyi  said: "Tolerance, mutual
respect and understanding are necessary for the solution of
problems. In the interest of the people, we will proceed with our
political activities with courage and zeal."

"We are carrying out our political activities not to oppose anyone but 
as a legal party carrying out its legal party work," she added.

Other party officials gave speeches about the history of National
Day and read a message of support from Bohmu Aung, one of the
country's  surviving  independence fighters, who could not attend
the ceremony due to ill health. Bohmu Aung's message called for
dialogue between the government and the NLD.

The government, in its own  National Day message, also referred
to the political tensions with the opposition  group. 

In his message, published in the state press yesterday, junta
chairman Gen Than Shwe  referred to Suu Kyi, without specifically
naming her as an unpatriotic enemy of the nation, and said that
"neocolonialists" were interfering in other's internal affairs to
install their puppets in power. 
"Those who are lacking in patriotism, those who disregard  the dignity 
of one's own nation and race are enemies of the nation," he said.

National Day commemorates the first university students' strike,
held 77 years ago. The strike rekindled the country's
nationalistic spirit and marked a historically significant step
toward the struggle for independence from Britain.

excerpts from a related article: 


The movement arose in 1920 as a student boycott against the introduction of
the Rangoon University Act, which the Burmese saw as a deliberate move to
limit higher education to a privileged few.

In a statement announcing ceremonies to be held at Aung San Suu Kyi's
residential compound in Rangoon, the NLD noted parallels between the
situation then and now, as universities are still closed after student
demonstrations in December 1996.

"Nearly 50 years after independence [in 1948] the Burmese society, far from
enjoying liberty, justice and equality, sadly continues to lack in
democratic freedom's and basic human rights," the statement said.

In official commentary in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper
earlier this month, the movement against the University Act was highly
praised as "lending impetus to the struggle for independence".

The direct role of the students was not mentioned, and the movement was said
to have started the following month.

The article was seen as reflecting what observers call the junta's
uneasiness about the historical role of students in nationalist movements.

Student unions were banned for their opposition to the military take-over in
1962, and hounded out of existence again when they re-emerged in the 1988
democracy movement.

In December 1996, student unrest again arose over incidents of police
brutality in Rangoon, but quickly escalated into demands for the right to
form national student unions.

Universities were closed for nearly half of the nine years Slorc was in
power. For the most part. only children of the military elite were able to
continue their education uninterrupted - either in military schools or abroad.

November 25, 1997   REUTERS

RANGOON - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said
yesterday that she was reserving judgement on the revamped
military government because she needed time to form an opinion on it.

"We need to wait and see whether they really  change their
policies or not," she said before a National Day celebration at her house.

About  360 people, including party members, diplomats  and local
media, attended the ceremony at Suu Kyi's lakeside home. National
Day commemorates the boycott declared by a group of Rangoon
University student leaders in 1920 against the British, the
country's former colonial masters.

Her statement was the first since the sudden announcement earlier
this month that the ruling military body had changed its name to
the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) from the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc).

"Merely changing the name from Slorc to SPDC does not make any 
difference, she said. "There will not be any difference if the
heart does not change. There will not be any difference if the
policy does not change."

A government spokesman said that the new government's mission was
to restore democracy to Burma and the change of name and
composition at the top was a sign it was following that mission.

Diplomats had said a key test of the SPDC's policies would be if
it allowed Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy to hold
her own National Day celebration and it did.

The new government issued a statement saying it was allowing the
ceremony to take place because it was within the framework of the law.


November 24, 1997  (abridged)


                The National League for Democracy Party has informed the
concerned on the 18th of November that they intend to hold a ceremony on the
24th of November to commemorate the National Day. It is learnt that the NLD
has been given permission to hold the ceremony with (200) participants.
                The authorities concerned and the majority of the population
are hoping
that the NLD as a political party conduct its political activities within the
framework of the law governing such activities. It is important that all the
(10) existing political parties cooperate with the government and also to
meet their respective commitments which are part of the transitional process
in building any democracy.


November 25, 1997

Under the leadership of Chuan Leekpai, the new government in Thailand 
has announced that human rights and democracy are issues which must
be taken into account in Thailand's foreign policy toward Burma and other 
countries.  This is a significant change from former Prime Minister Chavalit's 
policy toward Burma, and the implications can already be seen.  

Yesterday, the Thai ambassador to Burma attended the NLD's National Day 
celebration.  Under Chavalit's adminstration, the ambassador was not permitted 
to have any official contact with Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD.  Morever, 
when the former Thai Foreign Minister, Prachuab, was in Rangoon just before 
Chavalit stepped  down a few weeks ago, he scoffed at the idea of meeting 
with Aung San Suu Kyi, saying "Who is she and who am I?"  The new
administration, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Sukhumbhand, will
try to bring Thailand's policy on Burma up to "international standards",
presumably meaning engagement with both the NLD and the military, 
and pushing for genuine political dialogue.

However, in Thailand itself, the civilian administration appears to have 
little control over the Thai Army, which is pursuing its own policy along 
the Thai-Burma border.  Several high and low level Thai army officers have 
developed good relations (and in some cases business deals) with their
counterparts in Burma.  Thai Army policy has shifted from one of benign
neglect or covert assistance to the resistance groups to carrying out forced
repatriations of reguees and making arrests of members of the opposition

During 1997, there have been several instances when Thai Army divisions 
and task forces have forcibly repatriated refugees or forced them to move 
to unsafe locations on the border.  Also, many members of pro-democracy 
resistance organizations, including individuals who were elected in the 
1990 election, have been arrested.  

In the past two  weeks, up to 2000 Karen refugees who were not allowed 
access to refugee camps, were forcibly moved out of Thai-Karen villages 
in Tak Province. And yesterday, 18 members of resistance groups were 
arrested in Sangklaburi.

At the same time, Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, some of whom 
have fled Burma because of forced labor and other abuses and couldn't 
get access to refugee camps, are finding it harder to survive in Thailand.
Thailand is in the midst of a severe economic crisis which has led to 
layoffs and rising unemployment.  The police have been rounding up
illegal immigrants and deporting them in record numbers.  

Thailand is suffering the consequences of bad government in Burma. 
Refugees, exiled resistance organizations, and massive numbers of 
migrant laborers are all a product of the military's harsh and economically-
incompetent rule.  If the Chuan administration can help facilitate genuine 
dialogue in Burma, and encourage the Thai Army to uphold internationally
recognized humanitarian principles in the meantime, the people of both 
countries will benefit.

November 25, 1997

(news from DPNS, ABSDF, and other sources)

17 members from various pro-democracy groups (NLD, DPNS,
PDF, Mergui-Davoy United Front - 2 adults and 3 boys, and the 
Karen Historical Research Department) were detained in Sangklaburi,
near Three Pagoda's Pass on the Thai-Burma border.  

They were picked up from their offices at about 11:30 am on November
24th by members of the 9th Division of the Thai Army and local
policemen.  Their offices were also thoroughly searched.

Last night they were held at the Sangklaburi police detention
center, and Sergeant Kyaw Zaw from the SPDC's Military Intelligence
Unit #5, which is based in Three Pagoda's Pass, was brought to 
the detention center to see the detainees.

Local sources believe that the local SPDC commander asked the 
Thai Army to arrest members of resistance groups in Sangklaburi
because several SPDC soldiers and one captain were killed in 
recent fighting with opposition troops in the Three Pagodas Pass
area.  Two high ranking officers of the Ninth Division came to 
Sangklaburi yesterday in conjunction with the raids.


November 20, 1997

FORMER prime minister Chavalit Yongehaiyudh denounced the Chuan
administration's policy regarding human rights and democracy yesterday,
saying it will fall from the start as Thailand will be handcuffed in its
relations with neighbouring states, in particular Burma.

During the parliamentary debate on the government's foreign policy, the New
Aspiration Party leader, whose close relations with the ruling military
junta in Rangoon is widely known, singled out the government's policy on Burma.

Other opposition MPs accused the new administration's foreign policy of
being selective in the way relations with other countries would be handled
as it would contradict the Constitution, which stipulates that relations
with foreign countries be carried out under the principle of equality. 1 In
defending the government's policy, Deputy Foreign Minister MR Sukhumbhand
Paribatra said it was merely a framework and that foreign relations would be
conducted according to the situation in each country.

Sukhumbhand, a well-known critic of Thailand's constructive engagement with
Burma, admitted it would be difficult to strike a balance between promoting
good relations with Burma and upholding the principles of human rights and
democracy. He said it would present a challenge for Thailand to adjust
itself to international standards. 'The question is how can we keep two
horses running in the same direction as civilised countries do," Sukhumbhand

The academic-turned politician said it was time Thailand showed the world
that the country could uphold principles. "We are entering an era in which
our policy should be principle-oriented, although we will face some
difficulty in upholding those principles," he said.

Sukhumbhand also rebuffed Chavalit for suggesting that Chuan meet US
President Bill Clinton during the leader' summit of the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation in Vancouver next week to discuss human rights progress
in Burma.

Sukhumbhand said the government would try to arrange a meeting between Chuan
and Clinton: but that it would depend on Clinton. 'If a meeting cannot be
arranged, Prime Minister Chuan would still have many occasions to talk to
Clinton, since they will sit side by side during the meetings, "he said.

Chavalit also told Parliament yesterday that Clinton had asked him to
encourage Burmese military leaders to make progress in democratisation. 'He
might ask Chuan when Thailand would help push for a general election in
Burma," Chavalit said. In return, Sukhumbhand said he doubted whether
Clinton would ask Chuan such a thing since Chuan had never had an 'unusual"
relation with Burmese leaders.


November 21,1997

ARMY Commander-in-Chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro's statements yesterday to the
governor of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) may indicate that
Chettha is no longer neutral in the dispute over the Yadana gas pipeline

PTT governor Pala Sukhavech met Chettha at the Army auditorium yesterday to
express gratitude for the general's role in convincing Rangoon to help
facilitate a number of projects, which resulted in the project being able to
begin early this year.

Citing the Burmese government's cooperation with the PTT in the Bt l.6 billion
project, the general told Pala, they [the Burmese] have never had any
problem with the project. The problem lies with [our] environmental groups.'
The Army chief called on environmentalists to 'realise the importance of the
benefits of the project.

"What we will lose can be rebuilt in the long run, but the country's industrial 
development will have to be delayed if we lose this chance,' he added.

After the meeting, Chettha said he was not considering taking any action
against environmental groups. He added that his role concerning the project
was limited.

'I only helped in some problem spots the PTT had with Burmese authorities.'
After the pipeline is complete, the PTT plans, to purchase natural gas from
Burma, which will be sent through the 216-kilometre pipe stretching from
Kanchanaburi's Thong Pha Phum district to Ratchaburi to supply a power plant

Environmentalists have campaigned against it, citing damage to the forest
and affects on wildlife living in Sai Yok National Park, where four
kilometres of the pipeline would be laid.

Meanwhile, a group of 20 students from Ramkhamhaeng University's environment
club gathered outside Parliament to call on the Chuan government to scrap
the project.

They submitted a written petition, which was received on behalf of Prime
Minister Chuan Leekpai by his personal secretary and former Democrat MP
Alongkorn Polabutr, who thanked them for their concern and requested their
help in monitoring environmental issues.


November 20, 1997

GENEVA, Nov 21 -- The UN agency for refugees has protested to Thailand
over the forced relocation of 1,100 Burmese refugees to an unsafe place
straddling the border, a UNHCR spokeswoman said Friday.

A UNHCR fact-finding mission to the Thai-Burmese border in northen Tak
province confirmed that an encampment of some 1,100 Karen refugees from
Burma was forcibly relocated last week, Pamela O'Toole said.

After the camp was cordoned off by Thai troops last Friday, it was
shelled from an unclear origin in the early hours of Saturday. Two people
were injured.

Armed masked men entered the camp in the morning, fired in the air and
beat or manhandled some refugees after the Karen first resisted soldiers
telling them to move, O'Toole said.

There was a stampede but no confirmed fatalities, the office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.

The incident led to the group being relocated across the river, to an
area straddling the border which Karen groups allege is close to a
Burmese army post.

''UNHCR deplores this incident and has raised the issue with the Thai
authorities in Bangkok and Geneva. It has called for and received
assurances that this will not happen again'', the spokeswoman said.

''UNHCR was particularly concerned at the rough manner and the forced
nature of this relocation to an area where the safety of the refugees
cannot be assured,'' she said.

There are some 115,000 Burmese refugees in camps along the Thai border,
many of them Karen. The Thai authorities are reluctant to allow new
refugees into the country. The relocated group started arriving in August. (AFP)


November 25, 1997  AFP

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 border.

"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. 

November 21, 1997

ARMY Commander-in-Chief Chettha Thanajaro yesterday denied reports 
that Thai soldiers had killed Karen refugees during an incident at a camp 
in Tak province on Saturday.

The soldiers had shot at "armed intruders who tried to cross from Burma into
Thailand and the military had a legitimate right to protect the country
against intruders," he said.

'In this case, we had the right to destroy them,' Gen, Chettha said.

ACTION (November 21, 1997)

The Third Army commander yesterday denied Thai soldiers had overreacted when
they opened fire during a recent repatriation of Karen refugees, which
resulted in the death of two refugees.

Lt-Gen Thanom said the shooting occurred around 4.00 a.m. when some 8-10
Karen refugees were seen to be engaged in some suspicious activities at
their camp in Ban Kui Lortor.

The general said at first the troops opened fire only to warn the refugees
when they failed to obey the soldiers' order.

He added the troops "had no choice" but to fire at them because the refugees
did not heed the warning shots.

"All of them would have been killed if we had intended to shoot at them
directly," he said.


by Saw Phar Ki 
November 25, 1997

Preamble:  The following is a rough translation of a (Karen language)
typewritten text just received regarding the attempted repatriation of
refugees at Thay Poo Law Htwee (a.k.a Thay Pu Law Sue), 15-16 Nov 97.  In
actual fact there are two virtually identical texts- one an open statement,
and the other addressed directly to the leaders of Noh Pho refugee camp
(where the witness is presumably now located).  We have attempted to deal
with factual omissions and inclarities by cross-referencing the two texts as
best as possible but aspects of the information remain imprecise (NGO

15/11/97 On Saturday at around 4:30 a.m. (Burma clock) the group of Thai
soldiers who were taking responsibility for security shot their weapons for
6 to 7 minutes.  After that they called out to each other "Hoo hoo" opened
their torch lights, and went up to their base on the hillside.  When they
fired their weapons we saw the flashes of light from both sides of the
river.  They used M-16s and M-79s.  We heard 6 or 7 M-79 shells explode.
We were running about in the dark to try and take shelter, and some bullets
came close to us.  Pee Naw Hkah and her husband, aged 60 and 63
respectively, were seriously wounded by shrapnel from an M-79 shell (I saw
this with my own eyes).  While they were shooting, people were frightened
and fled quickly to take shelter.  Two babies, one aged 3 days, another aged
one week, were dropped and died.  

Upon sunrise, that Thai military unit who were taking responsiblity for
security came and took notes.  We asked permission to go with them as they
were taking notes (to observe what they were doing) but they didn't allow
this.  At 10 a.m. this unit came back and shouted "Pai!Pai!"  Most people
didn't understand what they were shouting, so they continued to wait for the
camp leader and an interpreter.   At 11 a.m. a military unit, called
"Commandos", that we hadn't seen up to that point in time, came in wearing
gloves and balaclavas.  When they arrived they immediately shouted "Pai!
Pai!", hit people with the butts and barrels of their guns, and kicked them.
They shot their guns directly in front of us, so that the bullets almost hit
us.  Some people received bruised gashes, bleeding and open wounds from the
beating.  Some children were afraid, because the soldiers appeared like
monsters to them, so they cried.  Elderly women also were afraid and crying,
running up and down randomly.  Two of them, named Pho Hseet Mer and Naw May
Ar collapsed unconcious.  After that, they tied up three of us (including
myself) and detained us there.  They blindfolded us until after 5 p.m. They
then removed the blindfolds and told us to kill and cook pigs for them.  At
night they retied us.

16/11/97 At 8 a.m. they told us (the people) that we would be going to Noh
Pho, so they ordered people to collect all possessions together.  They then
returned some of the possessions, and burnt the rest.  We (three) could
understand a little Thai and realized that the Thai soldiers were lying- we
discussed matters, "If they were really going to send us to Noh Pho then
they wouldn't treat us this way".  We (three) said to the soldiers, "We
won't go, (and) we won't run (we'll stay here)".   We could see that the
people were terrified and ready to run off in any direction- if that
happened then we were worried that the Thai soldiers would shoot at them.
We sat down where we were, and so the soldiers beat us seriously,
re-blinfolded us and stripped us of our clothing.  Names:
	Saw Hsar Pay Moo, from Kya Inn village
	Saw Phar Ki, from Thi Khweh village
	Saw K'baw Htoo, from Ya Ther Dar village
	(NB:  These names are different from those in other information)

Keeping us blindfolded, they proceeded to split up the villagers into three
groups.  They forced them away, group by group.  While they were forcing the
second group, one soldier who could speak Karen said to an old woman,
"You're relying on the westerners- did you get enough medicine from them?"
She just answered, "I don't know".  He asked "Why didn't they give you
enough?"  then forced them along.   They split up families  among the
different groups leaving.  The people had no food or clothes to take with
them and were crying.  I don't know where the two injured (by shrapnel)
elderly people were sent to.  Some people heard that they were sent to a
place called Tha P'der Htah, aadjacent to Baw Naw Htah, near Ber Khler.  We
were not forced away, we had to stay with the soldiers.  We heard them say
something like "Sarm khun, khun lit lit khun, neung, sawng, sarm, pai Noh
Poh khao aow duay".  We couldn't understand clearly, but were afraid that we
would be sent to the Burma Army or be killed, so at 4 p.m., we escaped.  We
didn't know exactly what was up with the soldiers at that time (their
feelings), but we thought a lot about the situation we were in.  

All three (of us) were injured. 

 (This appears to be a medics note.)  The first one, Saw Hsah Pay Moo, had 
a slashed right cheek; a gash to the left side of his skull; bruising on the
side of his neck; numb breastbone; two painful left ribs; could not breathe 
deeply and couldn't walk normally. The second, (myself) Saw Phar Ki, had 
a sore back and neck until now.  Saw K'baw Htoo had pain in his back and arms.  

We don't know what they did with the other injured and dead- the soldiers
have given an order that for the following five days no one can enter Thay
Pu Law Htwee.  

We, the people who stayed in Thay Pu Law Htwee, were good people when we
stayed in our villages, but because the Burma Army abused and forcibly
relocated us, extorted our possessions, land and homes, we had to leave it
all and come to Thailand.  We thought that Thailand would respect our human
rights and understand the political situation, so we came here to be safe
from the Burma Army oppression.  But having arrived in Thailand we saw that
this group of Thai military behaved in the same way as the Burma Army, so we
don't know what to feel or how to understand this.

-Saw Phar Ki
Representative of the fleeing people



The Noh Pho camp leader met with people (the refugees) at Baw Naw Htah this
morning, 19/11/97.  These people are now living under the orders of the Thai
military.  They have been sent to a location on the Burma side of the
Thai-Burma border.  The Thai military have given them instructions not to
re-enter Thailand.  The number of people remaining at Thay Pu Law Sue is
unclear.  We are still investigating the situation at Htee Saw Hsghee.



THAILAND"  (abridged)
November 21, 1997

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. 

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
military projects. 

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.

20th November 1997       (excerpt)

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.

November 20, 1997  (Karen Youth Organization- Canada)

KYO Canada is seriously concerned about the current situation of
the Karen refugees along Thai/Burma border area.  All these refugees 
who recently fled Burma due to forced relocation, torturing and force labor.

We would like to request the Thai government to protect and allow the
refugees these refugee to stay in Thailand. It is only logical for
Thailand to honor this request  because it is a democratic country that 
respects human rights.

We also would like to request the Canadian government, UNHCR and
the Thai government  monitor this situation and investigate the
unfortunate deaths of these six refugees.

November 21, 1997   (Excerpt)

I write on behalf of the Karen Youth Organisations of Australia, Canada, 
Japan and United States of America because we are alarmed and distressed 
at the recent dastardly treatment of Karen refugees at the Thay Pu Law 
Sue and other refugee camps by soldiers of your government.

There are aid agencies that want to supply them with the basic 
requirements. Please give this matter your personal attention and make 
it possible for rescue workers and organizations concerned to do 
something for their fellow human beings.


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.

November 24, 1997

At 11 a.m. in New Delhi today, about 70 Burmese pro-democracy activists in
India staged a demonstration against Thai Government for its brutal
treatment over Karen refugees who had fled to Thailand to escape Burmese
army's brutal offensive against Karen arm-resistance group. The protesters
marched around with placards in their hands and shouted slogans in protest
of Thai government's brutal acts and illegitimate government of Burma.
They also went to Thai embassy and handed a memorandum to Ambassador of
Thai embassy. The demonstration ended at about 12:30. The memorandum


To The Ambassador, Embassy of Thailand, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi-110021

We strongly believe that a nation, which has respect for humanity and
integrity, has obligation to protect refugees who fled to other country
due to intolerable suffering and suppression at home.

The root of this refugee problem is lying with Burma's illegal regime, not
with refugees. This problem can not be solved without removing this root.
Helping Burma establish democracy is an only solution to this problem.

At the time of distress, people of Burma have a great hope for the support
from Thailand which they consider a good neighbor.

United Burmese Pro-democracy Activists in India.


November 23, 1997, Tak Province  (abridged)

More than 350 Burmese immigrants were arrested yesterday in a crackdown 
on unregistered foreign workers and sent back across the border.

The officers set up four checkpoints along Tak-Mae Sot, Mae Sot-
Umphang, Mae Sot-Mae Ramat, and Mae Sot, Moei River as well as
sent out mobile units to search all roads in the town to look for
illegal immigrants.

Over the past two weeks, the task force had sent 3,095 Burmese
immigrants back to Burma.

The task force will carry out the next operation in' Phop Phra
district and is expected to round up some 1,000 illegal
immigrants who are currently working in the agricultural sector.

The officers also ordered refugees who snuck out of Mae La in Tha
Song Yang to seek shelter along Mae Sot, Mae Sariang Road, to
return to the camp otherwise they would lose their refugee status
and be sent back to Burma.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Command Headquarters is pushing hard to
save a 1.2-billion-baht budget for the financing of a new map of
Thailand for border demarcation purposes.

The Supreme Command headquarters did not want the Budget Bureau
to cut the budget for the Base Map Project, as the project would
benefit up to eight ministries and help ease border conflicts
between Thailand and neighbouring countries, according to Supreme
Commander Mongkol Ampornpisit.

If the budget is approved, the Supreme Command's Royal Thai
Survey Department will be ready to run the project.


November 21, 1997

About 2,000 illegal aliens remanded at the Immigration Bureau's Soi Suan Plu
detention centre will be sent home before December 5.

Immigration authorities say they are speeding up repatriations as they can
no longer afford to feed detainees.

In future, illegal aliens would spend no more than four days at the
detention centre after which they would be deported to economise on the food

Temporary detention centres have been set up in Sa Kaew, Ranong,
Kanchanaburi, Tak and Chiang Rai to house aliens before repatriation to
Laos, Burma or Cambodia.

>From January-October, the bureau sent back 93,172 illegal alien workers,
mostly Burmese and Cambodians, compared to 25,358 returnees for the same
period a year ago. By year-end, the number of aliens repatriated is expected
to reach 100,000.

At least 800,000 aliens, mostly Burmese and Cambodian, work in Thailand. 
Of these, 351,706 are registered with authorities.  

(BurmaNet Editor's note: the unofficial figure is much higher - up to a 
million Burmese alone)