Although the Thai Government and local authorities have officially stated that they will not force people to return, in practice they are applying significant pressure on the refugees to return.So PLEASE write to the Thai authorities to urge them not to force the refugees back to Burma. There is a simple form you can use here:http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/campaigns/actions/crisis-in-eastern-burma/write-to-thai-prime-minister
Until now the refugees have been kept in two temporary camps close to the Thailand-Burma border. Many of these refugees have already been forced to flee their homes four or more times.
If forced to return to Burma, the refugees face possible death, slave labour or forced recruitment as soldiers.
The area in Karen State where the refugees would be made to return to has many landmines. In addition, the area is now under the control of the DKBA, an organisation allied to the military dictatorship, which is guilty of committing horrific human rights abuses against civilians, including widespread use of forced labour, executions, torture and mutilations, forced recruitment of soldiers, including child soldiers, theft and extortion.
Burmese refugees at Mae La refugee camp are on alert due to a threat of attack by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), according to the vice chairman of the camp.
“The DKBA said they will destroy our camp,” said Vice-Chairman Htun Htun, speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.
Many of the refugees have packed clothing and belongings in preparation for a military assault, sources in nearby Mae Sot said. Camp authorities have imposed a curfew of 9 p.m. On all refugee residents.
The DKBA threatened to attack Mae La camp after one of their influential commanders, San Pyote (aka Soe Myint), the head of Battalion 7, was ambushed and killed by an unknown armed group while traveling by longtail boat on the Moei River on June 26.
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pray, yes, but we still can't eat your prayersWhatever you do, do NOT just sit there, do something even if it is only to cry a little!
While the faith and the spirits of the people I met in Mae La were strong, their current physical conditions are matters of concern. Registration froze two years ago. People who come to the camp--four or five new families everyday--are not given food rations or materials to build huts because they are not registered. They must move in with other refugees and those who open their huts must share what they have with the new-comers. Already, cuts have been made in the amount of food they receive twice a month.
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