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[ineb] Fw: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE from David Arnott

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  • Panadda Kosakarn and Carl Doige
    Dear friends, The following is a request from David Arnott. In peace, Panadda
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 1963
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      Dear friends,

      The following is a request from David Arnott.

      In peace,

      Panadda
      >-------------


      >> From: David Arnott <darnott@...>
      >> To: Recipient list suppressed
      >> Subject: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE
      >> Date: 5 ??????? 2542 6:37
      >>
      >> Dear Friends,
      >>
      >> I would like help on the Buddhism section of a text which may be called
      >"Four
      >> Arguments why Thailand should not repatriate the Burmese Refugees" Other
      >> sections will be Economic, Legal/International Legal and
      >Ethical/Humanitarian.
      >> The last may go in with the Buddhist, making three sections in all..
      >Another
      >> argument which I may develop is the damage that would be done to
      >Thailand's
      >> international reputation by the deportations.
      >>
      >> The issue is that the Thai authorities have begun repatriating the
      >Burmese
      >> refugees and migrant workers in Thailand without any screening mechanism
      >to
      >> distinguish between genuine refugees fleeing fighting and persecution in
      >Burma
      >> and the migrant workers The refugees have nowhere safe to return to,
      >whereas
      >> the migrant workers generally do (more details in the documents below).
      >>
      >> I am preparing a text to be published in a Thai or international
      >newspaper
      >> and/or be sent to the Thai authorities, NGOs, placed on the Internet etc.
      >
      >> Briefly:
      >>
      >> * the Economic section will argue with figures that the presence of the
      >> refugees is a net gain for the Thai economy, since it is international
      >donors
      >> who provide the food, medicine etc and not the Thai authorities.
      >>
      >> * Legally, by submitting refugees to "refoulement" -- sending them back
      >to a
      >> situation where they
      >> will be at risk of arbitrary detention, torture, or execution, Thailand
      >is
      >> violating a number of its treaty obligations as well as a fundamental
      >principle
      >> of customary international law.
      >>
      >> * The Ethical arguments I would like to be mainly buddhist or Buddhist,
      >and it
      >> is here that I would like some assistance. What would be the principal
      >Buddhist
      >> arguments against sending people into a dangerous situation? The
      >> Dasarajadhamma covers state responsibilities for the people of that
      >particular
      >> state; the
      >> Sigolavada Sutta deals with specific responsibilities; the various sets
      >of
      >> precepts largely refer to individual
      >> action and motivation. There are of course general appeals to compassion.
      > Any
      >> other suggestions?
      >>
      >>
      >> Yours sincerely,
      >>
      >> David Arnott (Burma Peace Foundation, Geneva)
      >>
      >> ***********************************************
      >>
      >> BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS
      >> (a letter to UNHCR and a press release from Human Rights Watch)
      >>
      >>
      >> >
      >> > To the Director, Division of International Protection, UNHCR
      >> >
      >> > MIXED POPULATION/REFOULEMENT OF 100,000 SHAN REFUGEES
      >> >
      >> > Dear Erika Feller,
      >> >
      >> > From the beginning of November 1999 the Thai authorities have been
      >deporting
      >> > Burmese living in Thailand back to Burma. There are between 800,000 and
      >1
      >> > million Burmese in Thailand, most of them migrant workers, but
      >including a
      >> > high proportion of people who entered Thailand fleeing persecution,
      >having
      >> > suffered killings, torture, rape, ill-treatment, forced labour, and
      >forced
      >> > relocation by the Burmese military. Of these, the Thai authorities
      >have
      >> > allowed the Karen and Karenni refugees to live in camps (this
      >population is
      >> > not in immediate danger of repatriation), but not the Shan refugees,
      >who are
      >> > thus mixed in with the migrant worker population.
      >> >
      >> > The Thai repatriation of Burmese appears to make no distinction between
      >> > migrant workers and possible refugees in this mixed population.
      >> >
      >> > The principal NGO in Thailand working with the Shan estimates that
      >> > approximately 100,000 Shan have entered Thailand fleeing persecution,
      >in
      >> > addition to a larger number who came to work. Thus the indiscriminate
      >> > deportations involve the refoulement of 100,000 people, who their
      >return to
      >> > Burma will be in danger of arbitrary detention, torture, forced labour,
      >rape,
      >> > ill-treatment or execution.
      >> >
      >> > One factor which may be of interest is that the refugees have tended to
      >come
      >> > as families, whereas the migrant workers generally came as individuals.
      >> >
      >> > The Burma Peace Foundation would like to know what measures UNHCR is
      >taking
      >> > to prevent this current refoulement.
      >> >
      >> > Please feel free to contact The Burma Peace Foundation for
      >documentation on
      >> > the above.
      >> >
      >> > Yours sincerely,
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > David Arnott (Secretary, Burma Peace Foundation)
      >> >
      >> > 25 November 1999
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > Burma Peace Foundation,
      >> > 85, Rue de Montbrillant,
      >> > 1202, Geneva.
      >> >
      >> > Tel/Fax (+41-22) 733 2040
      >> > Email darnott@...
      >> >
      >> > *****************************************
      >>
      >>
      >> PRESS RELEASE FROM HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
      >>
      >> Thailand must screen for Burmese refugees
      >>
      >> (November 3, 1999, New York) -- The government of Thailand should refrain
      >from
      >> forcibly returning any Burmese immigrants who may have a claim to refugee
      >> status, Human Rights Watch said today. The Thai government today
      >initiated a
      >> campaign to round up and deport thousands of Burmese immigrants working
      >in
      >> Thailand.
      >>
      >> The Thai government should also guarantee access for the Office of the
      >United
      >> Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to screen any Burmese
      >migrant
      >> who presents a claim to be a refugee.
      >>
      >> "Thailand's campaign will put the lives of many Burmese at risk," said
      >Joe
      >> Saunders, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division. He noted
      >that
      >> under customary international law, the Thai government has an obligation
      >not to
      >> return anyone to a country where they have a well-founded fear of
      >persecution.
      >> "The Thai government must ensure that it identifies and provides
      >protection to
      >> those with a fear of persecution in Burma, before deporting any illegal
      >> immigrants," Saunders added.
      >>
      >> The Thai government has begun to round up and deport some 600,000
      >migrants
      >> living in Thailand. But massive human rights violations persist in Burma,
      >> exposing some returnees to the threat of serious persecution. Domestic
      >pressure
      >> on the Thai government to deport immigrant labor has increased in the
      >wake of
      >> the July 1997 economic crash and increase in unemployment.
      >>
      >> The Burmese army, under the direction of the ruling State Peace and
      >> Development Council (SPDC), continues to fight in areas adjacent to the
      >> Thai-Burma border against three main insurgent groups, the Karen National
      >> Union, Karenni National Progressive Party, and Shan State Army-South. The
      >army
      >> commonly employs tactics of forced relocation of villagers, summary
      >executions,
      >> and torture in its offensives. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on
      >Burma,
      >> Justice Rajsoomer Lallah, in a report released last week wrote that he
      >was
      >> "deeply concerned at the ongoing generalized human rights violations
      >committed
      >> against the ethnic groups and other minorities in the eastern part of
      >Myanmar
      >> [Burma]."
      >>
      >> The widespread use of forced labor in Burma is also a cause of refugee
      >flows.
      >> Officials demand up to fifteen days a month of uncompensated labor for
      >> infrastructure construction, portering and army camp maintenance. In
      >July
      >> 1999, the International Labour Organization (ILO) effectively banned the
      >> Burmese government from partaking in its activities or benefiting from
      >ILO
      >> programs because of the government's failure to end the practice of
      >forced
      >> labor.
      >>
      >> Human Rights Watch believes that members of the Shan ethnic minority are
      >> particularly at risk during the deportation sweeps. Fighting and forced
      >> relocation in central Shan State have driven as many as 100,000 villagers
      >> across the border since 1996. Unlike the Karen and Karenni ethnic
      >minority
      >> groups, the Shan have no access to refugee camps and survive by seeking
      >> employment in the Thai labor market, particularly in Chiang Mai and
      >Chiang Rai
      >> provinces. A round-up of migrant workers in these northern provinces
      >would
      >> result in many Shan being returned to a dangerous situation in Burma.
      >Human
      >> Rights Watch urged UNHCR to press the Thai government to ensure
      >protection and
      >> assistance for all Shan refugees in Thailand.
      >>
      >> UNHCR maintains a single officer at the Bangkok Immigration Detention
      >Center to
      >> offer potential refugees the opportunity to identify themselves. Human
      >Rights
      >> Watch urged UNHCR, in cooperation with Thai authorities, to assign
      >officers in
      >> its three sub-offices on the Burmese border to identify and interview
      >refugees
      >> and to designate staff to visit detention centers in provinces with large
      >> communities of Burmese workers, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and
      >Ranong. In
      >> late 1998, Thailand granted UNHCR a permanent presence on the Thai border
      >and
      >> greater access to more than over 100,000 refugees in camps there.
      >>
      >> Internet ProLink PC User
      >
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