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Inadequate Protection! The Respons
- Subject: Inadequate Protection! The Respons
- From: brelief@xxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 02:54:00
Subject: Inadequate Protection! The Response, The Effects and International Legal Considerations Re. Karen Refugee Crisis, Burma Update, April 1997
3. THE RESPONSE
3.a REFOULEMENT OR DENIAL OF ACCESS?
The offensive on KNU 4h brigade area that began on 7 February (17) caused
people to flee to Thailand. On 25 February, 1,000-1,500 people arrived in
the border area of Pu Nam Rawn, Kanchanaburi adding to the 1,500 refugees
who had previously arrived in this area. Also, 1,000 people had sought
asylum in Bong Ti. Kanchanaburi.
During the night of 25 February, women and children were separated from the
men in Bong Ti. On this date, it is known that circa. 230 men were sent back
to the village of Htee Khee from Bong Ti and were told by the Thai 9th
Division to fight or surrender. The village of Htee Khee was taken over by
the Burmese Army on 26 February. That the 9th Division of the 1st Army did
not attempt to ascertain 'fear of persecution' was all too evident. Women
and children were granted access into Thailand and an arbitrary decision
making process for boys under 13 years of age and men over 60 years of age
was in place.
Also on 25 February, approximately 300 women and children were loaded onto
trucks from the site of Pu Nam Rawn and were taken to Suang Phung district,
Ratchaburi and from there were forcibly repatriated to Mya Pho Hta. On 26
February approximately another 600 women and children received the same
The separation of families by force on 25 and 26 February clearly violates
international law as well as basic ethical humanitarian values. An article
in the Nation (18) described how complaints 'that male children, elderly and
sick people and even a Christian priest were among those forced away.' It
was also stated in the same article that:
'A senior officer at Army headquarters in Bangkok said yesterday the Army
was "just performing their duty" and that the fugitives were pushed back to
"a safe area" in Burma. He said the Army had "learned a lesson" from the
sudden uncontrolled influx early this month of Karen refugees fleeing the
Burmese military offensive into Thailand's Umphang district, and did not
want a similar situation to happen in Kanchanaburi.'.
It has also been reported that on 26 February, 500 men were also denied
access into Thailand whilst attempting to flee the offensive on 4th brigade.
By 1 March, following intense international criticism, The Nation reported
that 'an abrupt halt to the relocation and repatriation of thousands of
Karen refugees' had been ordered by Gen. Chettha Thanajara, Army
However, refugees were also pushed back into Burma on 9 and 10 March, to the
areas of Hti Lai Pah and Tho Kah. There is some debate as to whether these
3,300 people were refouled on these dates. A report in The Bangkok Post (10)
clarifies this debate by stating that:
'The deportation of Karen refugees from Thailand to Burma has resumed ... A
group of 1,800 Karen men, women and children, who had crossed into
Kanchanaburi's Tong Pha Phum district on Sunday, were pushed back into Burma
early yesterday ... The 1,800, who had fled their homes in Tho Kah ahead of
a State Law and Order Restoration Council advance, were civilians. Also on
Sunday, another 1,500 Karen civilians who had taken sanctuary in the Thung
Yai Naresuan wildlife reserve in Kanchanaburi were sent back across the
border into Burma '
This group of 1,500 people were forced to return to Hti Lai Pah. On 22
March, the Burmese Army crossed into Hti Lai Pah causing the people there to
flee once again. To date no safe alternative site has been found for these
people whom, it has been estimated, have been forced to move eight or
nine times already.
On 29 March there were reports of a further refugees fleeing into an area
south to a new site called Huay Sut. Some of the refugees in this site, as
well as in a site further south called Baw Wi, are those people who were
either refouled or denied access into Thailand further north. Families from
the 4h brigade area now find themselves separated into three refugee camps -
Pu Muang, Huay Sut and Baw Wi - due to the refoulment of women and children,
the denial of access to men attempting to seek asylum in Thailand and the
resulting need to escape the offensive by walking between 7 and 10 days due
south in the hope that asylum would be granted further south. The number of
people who have not managed to undertake this journey cannot be estimated
3.b. INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE
Strong international pressure for Thailand to cease the forcible
repatriation came from a number of actors. The US Embassy was very clear in
its concern for the women and children forcibly repatriated as well as for
the 'forcibly repatriated civilian Karen males, including boys as young as
ten years old ... and denied asylum to several hundred others' (20)
As mentioned above, UNHCR, Thailand, had already deplored the attacks
against civilian refugee camps. (21). Their distress regarding the
involuntary repatriations and their concern regarding the security of
refugees in Pu Nam Rawn was expressed in a press release on 28 February.
This release requested clarification from the Royal Thai Government
regarding these matters. A press briefing in Geneva on 28 February also
expressed these concerns, stating that 'UNHCR is very alarmed about the
The UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific, Francois Fouinat, met Secretary
I of the SLORC on 7 March. In this meeting 'UNHCRs preparedness to expand
its presence in Myanmar to the border areas when conditions are peaceful'
was expressed. Mr Fouinat did not visit any of the new refugee camps on Thai
soil. Goodwin-Gill (22) reminds us that; 'In 1992, the Executive Committee
... emphasized also that UNHCRs involvement with internally displaced
persons and related approaches, 'should not undermine the institution of
asylum, as well as other basic protection principles, notably the principle
A National Security Council (NSC) resolution on 11 March (23), stating that
'Thailand will push back more than 100,000 ethnic minority refugees to Burma
as soon as fighting in the country subsides... ,24, was rapidly responded to
by Amnesty International. Their Appeal (25) expressed their 'grave concern'
as well as expressing their 'fears that the Thai authorities may repatriate
all Karen refugees once fighting between the Karen National Union ... and
the Burmese army has stopped.'.
One of the most bitter disappointments came from Nelson Mandela. Aung San
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and leader of the National
League for Democracy, has been compared with Nelson Mandela on numerous
occasions. She is at present under virtual house arrest in Rangoon. It came
as a surprise that the man who had supported sanctions from his prison cell
to end apartheid, 'told a news conference that Burma's admission into ASEAN,
which pursues a policy of "constructive engagement" with the junta, would
not affect his country's efforts to expand ties' (26) with ASEAN. .
THAI NGO ACTION
'The humanity and generosity of the local villagers to the refugees is
unfortunately unmatched by government policy.' (27)
In response to the large-scale military offensive and the resulting influx
of refugees, the Coordinating Committee of Human Rights Organization of
Thailand (CCHROT) and the Thai Action Group for Democracy in Burma (TACDB)
organized a fact-finding mission to Pu Nam Rawn and Pu Muang. This mission
noted the forcible repatriations, stating that; 'Such practices have an
impact on the image of Thailand and also raises grave concerns about the
fate of the refugee people who were sent back.'.
The findings of this mission included the fact that it was strongly believed
that civilians, rather than combatants, were sent back. The reports
Conclusion also notes the serious human rights violations that were carried
out. It states:
'Many women were raped and killed, often while their families were forced to
watch. Men were murdered, often by having their throats slit. The refugees
grave fears for their safety are well-founded. Clearly, their homes in Burma
are not safe at all.'
The mission put forward recommendations, urgently requesting the Thai
government to take steps to disallow further forcible repatriation.
Recommendation No.5. was that the Thai government, 'Officially acknowledge
these people as refugees, thus allowing the UNHCR to provide humanitarian
3.d. KAREN REFUGEE COMMITTEE
'The situation being as such we, the KRC, would like to request the Royal
Thai Government to permit the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) to perform its mandated role in protection of refugee rights and
security . . . '
This call for UNHCR access came from the Karen Refugee Committee (28), in a
statement (29), following the attacks on camps and the military offensive.
The statement pointed out the protection needs for the Karen people along
the border, emphasizing the fact that camps had started to be attacked by
the DKBA in 1995. They also pointed out that the 'major military offensive
against the Karen' had 'forced many Karen villagers to cross the border into
Thailand.' and that these villagers had been forced to 'settle in areas
directly adjacent to the SLORC troops' on the other side of the border. It
was stated that any type of refoulement would result in 'slave labor. severe
torture and death.'
In response to this initiative, a senior army officer stated (30) that 'the
government still considered Karen refugees the victims who fled fighting in
Burma and not victims of warfare that might be a condition for the presence
of the UNHCR.'.
4. THE EFFECTS
'`Now we are refugees and we cannot even have that status." (31)
As of December 1996 there were 101,425 prima facie refugees along the
border, 79,449 of whom were Karen. By 5 March, 1997, this number had
increased to 114,831 people, 92,343 of whom were Karen. The increased
numbers of Karen represents those people who managed firstly, to escape the
barriers to exit created by the Burmese Army and, secondly, those people who
managed to gain access through the barriers to entry created by the Thai 9th
division of the 1st Army. Thus, 12,894 Karen people achieved this 'double
hurdle' in order to obtain their right to seek asylum. This quantitative
account, however, does not tell us about the actual reality of being unable
to seek asylum, of being pushed back from the border or of being admitted to
Thailand only to be separated from family members.
It would seem that the new refugee camps that have now been established at
Pu Muang, Huay Sut and Baw Wi are of an extremely temporary nature. The
delivery of basic relief supplies is allowed but the refugees have not been
allowed to build permanent structures or shelters that are adequate for the
impending rainy season. Access is only being given to aid workers directly
involved in relief supplies. Restrictions on other concerned individuals are
People fleeing the offensive on 6th brigade have been placed in a site named
Nu Po (32). This large camp houses refugees from Ta Per Poo, Tay Lor Kee,
Nong Luang, Klor Tor and Meteroke areas. The Karen refugees in this new camp
co-exist with other populations fleeing the offensive.
In Pu Muang, on 22 March, an officer of the 9th Army gave a 3 hour lecture
to the refugees about the advantages of returning to Burma. Access to this
camp is highly restricted. Reports from this camp have mostly centred around
the refugees realisation of their temporary asylum and their fears of
involuntary repatriation. Approximately 2,500 people are in this camp (33);
mostly these are the people that were transported to this site on 4 March
from Pu Nam Rawn.
The camp in Huay Sut (34) houses the people that fled Htaw Ma Pyo Hta (the
area that to which women and children were forcibly repatriated), Ke Ma Kee
and Htaw Ma Maw on 22 March. As of 31 March, approximately 2,700 people had
arrived to this camp. This camp is approximately 6 km from the border.
Again, no permanent structures can be built and the only water supply is
from one small stream. Residents of this new camp are fearful of involuntary
5. INTERNATIONAL LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS
It is not possible in this summary to cover all international legal
considerations given the enormity of events outlined above. What follows,
therefore, is a selection of legal concepts, particular resolutions from the
UNHCR Executive Committee (EXCOM), plus some Articles from relevant
Conventions and Declarations
Clearly, Burma has violated a number of international laws, most notably
Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, prohibiting violence
against non-combatants. This latest military operation launched against KNU
controlled areas has involved violence against civilians. It is tragic that
after so many years of violating human rights, the Burmese government is
still not held accountable for the numerous acts of arbitrary executions
killings, torture. rare. etc. documented thus far.
Thailand also has obligations in international law. Article 14(1) of The
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, states that; 'Everyone has the
right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.'.
Thailand has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, and
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, which both
contain Articles that should be looked at in the light of the refoulement of
boys below the age of 18 years and the separation of families. Article 9 of
the 1989 Convention states that; ' . . . a child shall not be separated from
his or her parents against their will... '. Article 22(1)35 of this
Convention states that; 'State Parties shall take appropriate measures to
ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status ... shall ... receive
appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of
applicable rights ...' Article 23 of the 1966 Covenant states that; 'The
family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled
to protection by society and the state.'. Article 24 of this Covenant
states; 'Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race,
colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or
birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his
status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the state.'
It is well known that the principle of non-refoulement is the cornerstone of
international law and has, over time, evolved into a norm of customary
international law. Goodwin-Gill states that; 'The principle of
non-refoulement applies to all States, whether or not they have ratified the
1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol.'36. As regards denying access to
asylum seekers and the question as to when refoulement commences, he states
that; 'As a matter of fact, anyone presenting themselves at a frontier post,
port or airport will already be within State territory and jurisdiction . .
. ' (37). Seen in this light, the events as described in 3.a. could each be
described as refoulement.
Thailand is a member of the UNHCR Executive Committee (EXCOM) and several of
the Conclusions, that 'consistently endorse the fundamental character of the
principle of nonrefoulement' (38) pertain to the denials of access as
outlined. Goodwin-Gill points out that (39);
'In 1977, for example, the Executive Committee noted that the principle was
'generally accepted by States', expressed concern at its disregard in
certain cases, and reaffirmed, .. . the fundamental importance of the
observance of the principle of non-refoulement both at the border and within
the territory of a State - of persons who may be subjected to persecution if
returned to their country of origin irrespective of whether or not they have
been formally recognized as refugees.'.
Thus, prima facie refugees are entitled to Protection. Further to this, the
Executive Committee Conclusion No. 19 (1980) stated that; 'In all cases the
fundamental principle of nonrefoulement - including non-rejection at the
frontier - must be scrupulously observed.'. Again, the events as described
in 3.a. can, under this definition, be described as refoulement. The status,
according to UNHCR, of refugees along the border is that of prima facie
refugee; i.e. in the absence of a Refugee Status Determination procedure, a
negative collective decision cannot be made. It was restated at the 1994
Executive Committee that Thailand would implement a Refugee Status
Determination procedure (40), given that there is no state mechanism through
which asylum seekers can apply. To date, this has not been done. Any fair
RSD procedure requires that asylum seekers be interviewed individually to
ascertain a 'well-founded fear of persecution'.
UNHCR also has legal obligations pursuant to its Statute but UNHCRs mandate
to protect refugees is not being fulfilled. The distress, concern and alarm
indicated in press releases from UNHCR, however, did not move the Royal Thai
Government to enable their presence along the border. On the 25 March Army
Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Chettha Thanajara, stated that 'the government had
no policy of allowing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees .. .
to provide humanitarian aid to Karen refugees seeking shelter along the
Thai-Burmese border.' (41). This was in response to the statement by the
Karen Refugee Committee as outlined above (3.d.). The same article referred
to statements by the Governor of Mae Hong Son as saying that 'fighting along
the Thai-Burmese border was much different from the situation in Cambodia
whose people had to flee civil war '
It is true that in; 'an effort to avoid internationalisation of the Burmese
refugee problem, Thailand has methodically excluded the international
community, i.e. UNHCR, from access to Burmese refugees.' (42). If
consideration is given to the fact that refugees are fleeing a country with
one of the worst human rights records in the world, it is difficult to see
how this 'problem' of internationalising the situation can be avoided.
It is also true that; 'UNHCR is the primary refugee advocate, and its public
statements (as well as its silence) have a measurable impact upon the
treatment of refugees. Silence from UNHCR certainly can be tantamount to
complicity when it is interpreted or cited as support for a certain action,
such a repatriation which falls short of accepted standards. (43)
A further policy of UNHCR to categorise people as 'Border Cases' needs to be
re-evaluated in the light of recent events and the fundamentally changed
nature of Protection needs along the border. During 1996 the categorisation
of people as 'Border Cases' became a particularly problematic phenomenon
since it leaves people who are recognised as 'Persons of Concern' with
limited options. 'Persons of Concern' from the border are only accepted into
the 'Safe Area' (44) if they are ethnic Burmans or if they can prove the
risk of secondary persecution at the border. All other Burmese 'Persons of
Concern' are known as 'Border Cases'. Thus, 'Border Cases' are those people
who can establish to UNHCRs satisfaction, that they have reason to fear
persecution in Burma but have not demonstrated a reason to fear persecution
at the border. UNHCR maintains, therefore, that these people can stay at the
border and that they have no need to seek resettlement in another country.
'Border Cases' are denied UNHCR assistance and are advised to go back to the
border where UNHCR is severely restricted in the exercise of its Protection
mandate. By the end of 1996, and currently with the attacks in border camps,
it is clear that this policy has excluded some 'Persons of Concern' entering
the 'Safe Area' and has therefore jeopardised their safety.
This policy of containment will continue to jeopardise the safety of present
and future 'Persons of Concern' unless UNHCR is able to establish a
permanent presence at the border. A Refugee Status Determination (RSD)
process along the border has always been lacking at the border. If an
individual fleeing persecution inside Burma wishes to claim the status of
'Person of Concern', they have to apply in Bangkok - where they are at risk
of arrest - where UNHCR implements its RSD screening procedures.
'... owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race,
religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political
opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing
to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that
country;' (45 )
A theory exists that the reason there are refugees in the world is the
creation of the nation-state and the struggle to dominate the social order
within this construction. In one edition of Burma Update it is impossible to
prove or disprove this theory without examining the entire history of
Burma's internal conflicts. However, at the forefront of the above analysis
lies the assumption that the central power, that is manifested in the
Burmese Army, staging a military attack against an 'ethnic' group within its
own national borders, is attempting to dominate the social order at any cost.
There is a strong argument that can be made to say that villagers in the
formerly KNU controlled areas are being persecuted within their country of
origin due to their imputed political opinion and that they, therefore, fall
squarely within the terms of the Refugee Convention. Whether the refugees
who have now arrived in Thailand are 'the victims who fled fighting in
Burma' and 'not victims of warfare' (46) or whether they are not fleeing
'civil war' (47), is semantic. The people who have crossed an international
border are by geographical reality 'outside the country of his nationality'
It is a tragedy that after 50 many years of violating human rights, the
Burmese government is still not held accountable for the numerous acts of
arbitrary executions, killings, torture, rape, etc. documented thus far. It
is well known, and well documented by concerned agencies, that the people in
refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border have fled their country due to
fear of persecution that include these gross violations of human rights.
Given the fact that refugees along the border are fleeing a country with one
of the worst human rights records in the world, it is difficult to
understand how the Royal Thai Government can avoid 'internationalising' the
Thailand has granted asylum to refugees for many years and for that it
should be commended. However, the recent reports of denial of access into
Thailand, 'pushbacks' of men seeking asylum, the tearing apart of refugee
families and refoulement of refugees into an active war situation demands an
urgent review of the legal status of refugees on Thai soil at an
The events thus far in 1997 do indicate that change is necessary if any
meaning is to be assigned to the word 'Protection' for refugees along the
Thai-Burma border. If serious consideration is given to the lessons learnt
from these events, many steps need to be taken in order to prevent further
security threats. Enabling UNHCR to fulfil its Protection role is crucial
and is dependent upon the will of the Royal Thai Government.
What also has to be considered is the role of other agencies. The serious
deficiencies, viz. monitoring and protection, that occurred with the Mon
repatriation should not be replicated. That 'international donors who are
financing - and therefore to an extent enabling - the Mon repatriation' (48)
is a consideration that needs to be seriously assessed.
One of the main Protection needs for the refugees now is taking steps to
ensure that the refugees are not forcibly repatriated and that any attempt
at 'voluntary repatriation' is truly voluntary and is carried out 'in safety
and dignity'. The example of the Mon repatriation has shown that return is
not viable without: formal protection for those returning; independent
monitoring, and a program to enable the reconstruction of livelihoods.
Consideration also has to be given to the fact that, unlike the Mon return,
this may need to be carried out in areas under SLORC control rather than
with a particular group that has negotiated a cease-fire.
Thus, the lessons learnt from the Mon return can be considered if the added
factor - that the
persecuting state agency is in control - needs also to be taken into
learnt from the Rohingya repatriation should also be incorporated into any
'voluntary' repatriation. Steps also need to be taken to ensure that
alternatives are available
for those people who truly cannot return to Burma due to a 'well-founded
fear of persecution'
It can only be hoped that steps are taken in order to prevent the further
disintegration of UNHCRs mandate for Protection. The following
recommendations are an attempt to outline what action needs to be taken to
enhance the Protection needs of the refugees along the Thai/Burma border.
The Royal Thai Government should not only publicly guarantee the customary
international legal norm and principle of non-refoulement, but should ensure
that this becomes state practice in the future. Clearly, this cornerstone of
international law has not be followed in 1997.
That calls from the refugees, Thai NGOs and the international community to
allow United Nations High Commission for Refugees to fulfil their
international mandate of Protection, be heard by the Royal Thai Government,
and that UNHCR should, therefore, be given access to the possibility of
having a permanent presence along the Thai-Burmese border.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees should continue to issue
public statements in order to support the refugees and should also 'be held
accountable when its silence communicates support for the status quo.' (49 )
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees should re evaluate its
current policies given the fundamental changes that have taken place in
refugee camps along the border. The 'border-case' category should be
re-evaluated and reformed to allow access to those Persons of Concern who
cannot at present apply to enter the 'Safe Area' due to being unable to meet
the 'fear of secondary persecution' criteria.
It should be accepted by the Royal Thai Government that refugees fleeing
Burma do not themselves believe that it is safe for them to return at this
The refugee camps that have been subject of attacks or raids should be
relocated further away from the border to safer locations. The refugee camp
at Hway Ka Loke should not be rebuilt in its existing location given its
proximity to the border. Also, the refugees from Don Pa Kiang should not
have been relocated to Hway Ka Loke, they should have been relocated to a
1 Humana, C., (1992, 3rd Ed.), World Human Rights Guide, Oxford, Oxford
University Press. The rating was actually 17%, making Burma equal to Iraq.
See Compassion and Collusion: The Mon Repatriation and the Illusion of
Choice, (February 1996), JRS-AP, for a detailed analysis.
2 See Thousands of refugees from Myanmar, ( 12 March 1997), Amnesty
International,, Al Index: ASA 03/03/97.
3 The DKBA (Democratic Karen Buddhist Army) and the KNDA (Karenni National
Democratic Army). Both groups are commonly considered to be militarily
supported by the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council).
4 Including the Royal Thai Government, UNHCR, the international community,
Thai NGOs and the Karen Refugee Committee.
5 The main function of EXCOM is to supervise the material assistance
programme of UNHCR. However, it also advises the High Commissioner on the
exercise of her function. The decisions and conclusions of EXCOM set
important international refugee standards which with time and practice
become part of international and national law.
6 For example, the UNOCAL/TOTAL pipeline.
7 See The Nation, (6 March 1997), for a full explanation of the reasoning
behind this switch.
8 Quoted from a refugee in Karenni camp 2, 20 January 1997.
9 Dated 5 November 1996, Circular No. 1/96.
10 The cease-fire agreement was made in March 1995 and broke down in June 1995.
11 The vehicle ferries from Mottama to Moulmein had been commandeered for
military use during the first week of February.
12 16 February 1997.
13 'Thura' translates to "Bravery'
14 Light Infantry Brigade 25, led by deputy commander Aung Myint.
15 It should be noted that, in some instances, 5,000 kyat was paid to men in
Moulmein to serve as a porter. It has been stated that this unusual practice
of payment for portering was due to the deficit of men available and the
extensive need by the Burmese Army for porters.
16 Eye witness accounts have been made regarding soldiers entering shops,
speaking to civilian men in the shops and these men then being loaded onto
trucks bound for the border areas.
17 For full details of dates of attacks see Fact Sheet on Forced
Repatriation of Karen, Burma Issues at durham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Internet,
27 February 1997.
18 27 February 1997.
19 12 March 1997.
20 Statement issued by the US Department of State, 27 February 1997.
21 Press release dated 29 January 1997.
22 Executive Committee Conclusion No.65, as quoted in Goodwin-Gill, G. S.,
(1996, 2nd ed. ), The Refugee in International Law, Oxford, Clarendon Press,
23 Chaired by the Prime Minister, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.
24 The Nation, 12 March 1997
25 Dated 12 March 1997.
26 The Nation, 7 March 1997
27 See report dated 4 March 1997. The mission was headed by the spokesperson
for the Justice and Human Rights Committee of the Thai Parliament and
contained representatives of Thai human rights organizations and members of
the Thai media.
28 The Karen Refugee Committee is a organisation set up by the refugees
themselves. Its main function is to assist the consortium of NGOs, that
deliver material assistance to the camps, to effectively distribute rice,
fishpaste and salt supplies.
29 Dated 19 March 1997.
30 The Bangkok Post, 23 March 1997.
31 Quoted from a villager, fleeing the military operation on 4th brigade, in
Pu Nam Rawn refugee camp, I March 1997.
32 As of 31 March 1997, approximately I 1,000 people were housed in this camp.
33 As of 31 March 1997.
34 Approximately 6 km from the border.
35 It should be noted that Thailand voiced reservations to Articles 7, 22
and 29 in that this Article would be upheld; 'subject to the national laws,
regulations and prevailing practices in Thailand.'.
36 Goodwin-Gill, G.S., (1996, 2nd ed.), The Refugee in International Law,
Oxford, Clarendon Press, p. 169.
37 Ibid., p.123.
38 Ibid., p.127.
39 Ibid, p.127. From Executive Committee Conclusion No. 6 (1977).
40 Compassion and Collusion: The Mon Repatriation and the Illusion of
Choice, (February 1996), JRS AP, p.14.
41 Quoted from The Bangkok Post, 26 March 1997. The army chief was quoted
as saying that "The government has deemed the UNHCR presence unnecessary,".
42 Compassion and Collusion. The Mon Repatriation and the Illusion of
Choice, (February 1996), JRS-AP, p. 16.
43 Ibid. p 26
44 A semi-closed camp set up in 1992 for the students.
45 Article l.A(2) of the Convention Relating to the Status of 'Refugees, 1951.
46 The Bangkok Post, 23 March 1997.
47 Quoted from The Bangkok Post, 26 March 1997. The army chief was quoted
as saying that, "The government has deemed the UNHCR presence unnecessary,".
48 Quoted from Compassion and Collusion: The Mon Repatriation and the
Illusion of Choice, (February 1996), JRS-AP, p 26
49 Ibid. p.28.
BURMA UPDATE is produced by the Jesuit Refugee Service-Asia/Pacific
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