Further updated: Screwing refugees

12 04 2011

PPT has posted many times on the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s reprehensible approach to border-crossers and refugees, that has included several instances of forces repatriation. There has been far too little international attention to this issue and only weak attempts to condemn quite inhumane actions.

Now, however, this government has decided that it can solve its refugee “problem” in one easy, inhumane and arguably illegal action.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, “Thailand plans to close all refugee camps along its western border and send more than 100,000 Burmese back home now that a constitutional government has been installed in Burma.” Only a government that thinks a constitution is just a bit of paper that can be torn up at will will believe that Burma has a “constitutional government” in any meaningful sense.

The Post states that “National Security Council Chief Thawil Pliensri said the closure of the refugee camps was discussed at the agency’s meeting yesterday chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.” As we have said previously, this reprehensible approach to a weak and abused population is Abhisit’s. Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is well and truly on board with this inhumane activity, having discussed and apparently agreed it with Burmese government leaders.

Thailand currently has about 140,000 Burmese refugees in several camps on the Western border with Burma. They lodge people who have generally fled fighting and political persecution in Burma under the military regime there. Many have resided in the camps for several years and some for two decades.

Kitty McKinsey, a “spokeswoman for the UN Relief Agency in Bangkok, said it was too soon to send the refugees home.” She added: “We have been working very well with the Thai government and we do understand that they don’t want the refugees to stay here forever…. But the solution is not forcing people to go back to a country that is still dangerous.”

Foreign Affairs spokesman Thani Thongpakdi indicated that the Thai government would seek more involvement in the camps, now said to be managed by foreign non-government organisations, so that they could “prepare” camp residents for their return. PPT anticipates that such a return would again be forced and would involve the military.

This Abhisit government appears to have a very close and comfortable relationship with the fake constitutional regime in Burma. It seems they understand each other as sibling regimes. PPT would hope that the international outcry would be loud and long. The international community needs to acknowledge and label Teflon Mark and his regime as human rights abusers.

Update 1: Worth reading this post at Thai Intelligent News for more on this policy and this interpretation at Asia Correspondent.

Update 2: More reporting on this decision here and here.


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