Governor of Tak Province Issues Warning to Humanitarian Workers

The governor of Tak Province warned Burmese humanitarian workers in Mae Sot on Tuesday that if they become involved in Burmese political affairs they could be deported, according to Burmese sources in Mae Sot.

Gov. Samart Loyfa told at a press conference on Tuesday, “There are humanitarian workers involved in politics and [they have] formed organizations illegally. We need to investigate. If we find any violations of law, we have to kick them out of the country.”

Burmese sources in Mae Sot said they believe the statement is a result of improved bilateral trade on the Thai-Burma border.

Meanwhile, Thailand has agreed with the Burmese regime to build another friendship bridge and create a second trade zone between Mae Sot and Myawaddy Township.

Moe Swe, the head of Mae Sot-based Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association, said, “Many civil society groups are now in Mae Sot. The Burmese government doesn’t like it, and it is worried about their activities.”

“But, the Thai government should understand that we help Thailand solve social problems with Burmese migrants such as education and health care,” he said.

According to the workers association, there are more than 20 humanitarian organizations that help Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot.

The Burmese government has asked Thailand to not allow its soil to be used for anti-Burma political or military activities. About 150,000 Burmese migrant workers live in Mae Sot. Many migrant workers rely on humanitarian organizations for health, education and other needs.

Moe Swe said he believed some pressure might be coming from Thai businessmen also, because Burmese migrant workers have taken part in several demonstrations in Mae Sot recently.

Mahn Bala Sein, a director of the Kwe Ka Baung School based in Mae Sot, said, “I don’t think they [Thai authorities] will put a lot of pressure on us because we only help students in education. But, because they want to build the bridge, they have to say something to us because the Burmese government requested it.”

In Mae Sot, some humanitarian organizations are staffed by Burmese pro-democracy activists who fled Burma after the 1988 uprising. The Burmese regime recognizes some of the groups as political activists who oppose the ruling regime.

The Thai government recently warned members of the Karen National Union in Mae Sot not to engage in political or military activities on Thai soil.
irrawaddy news

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s