[ineb] Fw: REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE from David Arnott
- Dear friends,
The following is a request from David Arnott.
>> 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
>> Arguments why Thailand should not repatriate the Burmese Refugees" Other
>> sections will be Economic, Legal/International Legal and
>> The last may go in with the Buddhist, making three sections in all..
>> argument which I may develop is the damage that would be done to
>> international reputation by the deportations.
>> The issue is that the Thai authorities have begun repatriating the
>> refugees and migrant workers in Thailand without any screening mechanism
>> distinguish between genuine refugees fleeing fighting and persecution in
>> and the migrant workers The refugees have nowhere safe to return to,
>> the migrant workers generally do (more details in the documents below).
>> I am preparing a text to be published in a Thai or international
>> and/or be sent to the Thai authorities, NGOs, placed on the Internet etc.
>> * 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
>> who provide the food, medicine etc and not the Thai authorities.
>> * Legally, by submitting refugees to "refoulement" -- sending them back
>> situation where they
>> will be at risk of arbitrary detention, torture, or execution, Thailand
>> violating a number of its treaty obligations as well as a fundamental
>> of customary international law.
>> * The Ethical arguments I would like to be mainly buddhist or Buddhist,
>> is here that I would like some assistance. What would be the principal
>> arguments against sending people into a dangerous situation? The
>> Dasarajadhamma covers state responsibilities for the people of that
>> state; the
>> Sigolavada Sutta deals with specific responsibilities; the various sets
>> precepts largely refer to individual
>> action and motivation. There are of course general appeals to compassion.
>> 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
>> > Burmese living in Thailand back to Burma. There are between 800,000 and
>> > million Burmese in Thailand, most of them migrant workers, but
>> > high proportion of people who entered Thailand fleeing persecution,
>> > suffered killings, torture, rape, ill-treatment, forced labour, and
>> > relocation by the Burmese military. Of these, the Thai authorities
>> > allowed the Karen and Karenni refugees to live in camps (this
>> > not in immediate danger of repatriation), but not the Shan refugees,
>> > 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,
>> > addition to a larger number who came to work. Thus the indiscriminate
>> > deportations involve the refoulement of 100,000 people, who their
>> > Burma will be in danger of arbitrary detention, torture, forced labour,
>> > ill-treatment or execution.
>> > One factor which may be of interest is that the refugees have tended to
>> > as families, whereas the migrant workers generally came as individuals.
>> > The Burma Peace Foundation would like to know what measures UNHCR is
>> > to prevent this current refoulement.
>> > Please feel free to contact The Burma Peace Foundation for
>> > 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
>> forcibly returning any Burmese immigrants who may have a claim to refugee
>> status, Human Rights Watch said today. The Thai government today
>> campaign to round up and deport thousands of Burmese immigrants working
>> The Thai government should also guarantee access for the Office of the
>> Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to screen any Burmese
>> who presents a claim to be a refugee.
>> "Thailand's campaign will put the lives of many Burmese at risk," said
>> Saunders, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division. He noted
>> under customary international law, the Thai government has an obligation
>> return anyone to a country where they have a well-founded fear of
>> "The Thai government must ensure that it identifies and provides
>> 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
>> living in Thailand. But massive human rights violations persist in Burma,
>> exposing some returnees to the threat of serious persecution. Domestic
>> on the Thai government to deport immigrant labor has increased in the
>> 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
>> commonly employs tactics of forced relocation of villagers, summary
>> and torture in its offensives. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on
>> Justice Rajsoomer Lallah, in a report released last week wrote that he
>> "deeply concerned at the ongoing generalized human rights violations
>> against the ethnic groups and other minorities in the eastern part of
>> The widespread use of forced labor in Burma is also a cause of refugee
>> Officials demand up to fifteen days a month of uncompensated labor for
>> infrastructure construction, portering and army camp maintenance. In
>> 1999, the International Labour Organization (ILO) effectively banned the
>> Burmese government from partaking in its activities or benefiting from
>> programs because of the government's failure to end the practice of
>> 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
>> groups, the Shan have no access to refugee camps and survive by seeking
>> employment in the Thai labor market, particularly in Chiang Mai and
>> provinces. A round-up of migrant workers in these northern provinces
>> result in many Shan being returned to a dangerous situation in Burma.
>> Rights Watch urged UNHCR to press the Thai government to ensure
>> assistance for all Shan refugees in Thailand.
>> UNHCR maintains a single officer at the Bangkok Immigration Detention
>> offer potential refugees the opportunity to identify themselves. Human
>> Watch urged UNHCR, in cooperation with Thai authorities, to assign
>> its three sub-offices on the Burmese border to identify and interview
>> and to designate staff to visit detention centers in provinces with large
>> communities of Burmese workers, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and
>> late 1998, Thailand granted UNHCR a permanent presence on the Thai border
>> greater access to more than over 100,000 refugees in camps there.
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