Political prisoners fear deportation

20 10 2010

The Irrawaddy has a report that refers to the former Burmese political prisoners now in Thailand who fear deportation. As the report states, “Although many former [Burmese] political prisoners come to Thailand with high hopes of a better life and freedom in a new country, their dreams are often shattered. In this area [Mae Sot], more than 120 former political prisoners are unrecognized by the United Nations as refugees, and they live in fear of arrest and repatriation by Thai authorities.”

A “campaign [was] recently launched to try and bring attention to the plight of unrecognized political prisoners…”. One activist claims: “We asked the UN why we cannot be registered, and they said it is out of their hands, only Thailand decides that. So we are left in limbo, concerned about our future, and our families’ future.” That worries many of them.

Because of their lack of status, many of these unrecognized political prisoners “say it sometime feels like prison here because they are always worried about being arrested.” With the Burmese military’s “election” taking place in a few weeks, and no doubt because Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya’s recent statements about sending Burmese back across the border, “many political former prisoners are concerned that Thai authorities will repatriate them, and they are preparing for the worst.”

One political prisoner claimed: “I will commit suicide before being sent back…. If we are sent back, the regime will take away our lives. We will have no future.”

There are some 2,200 political prisoners now in Burmese prisons. With support from the Abhisit Vejjajiva government to the military regime in Burma, many are concerned that this number will increase.



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20 10 2010
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