Sunday, 14 November 2010

Fear behind the celebrations

We have joined in with the joy in Burma and Mae Sot at Aung San Suu Kyi's release. However, the reality of the fear Burmese and Karen people live with on a daily basis, hit home to us on Saturday.

We received this report from a good and reliable friend in Mae Sot.

In the meantime, the situation here is still really bad. Now the Thais really don't want any refugees here, they are forcibly sending people back. Yesterday there was reports of large numbers of people strung out along the river banks of Burma unable to cross but fearful of being in Burma so just hiding out under trees along the river bank. The Thai authorities are blocking aid. People who return are being recruited as porters, men, women and children. The SPDC (Burmese Army) has brought in thousands more troops to the area, and are determined to wipe out any opposition. Fighting is breaking out, lots more landmines have been laid and people are on the move in desperate need of safety.

We are sending out food, blankets, water, hygiene kits, maternity kits and baby kits. There are women close to delivery, brand new babies, elderly and disabled included of course in these populations. The Thais are not allowing international NGOs access to sites so everyone is relying on us to get stuff to the right people. "us" is merely a community network of Burmese people, healthworkers, monks, teachers, market people, activists etc.........using the networks to get people what they need. The whole Burmese community in Thailand has opened up their doors and is taking care of people - in villages three or four families are staying with
each village house. They are not relatives of each other - just people are looking after each others. Villagers may be looking after people at great personal risk since in some villages, the authorities have announced that anyone caught harboring refugees will be arrested.
So in the midst of the jubliation that Aung San Suu Kyi is free, let's help out our friends who are giving so much to help those in fear and remember there are still 2200 political prisoners in Burma's jails.

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