Thailand-Burma:Don’t Support Burmese Dissidents, Tak Governor Tells NGOs


By THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The governor of Thailand’s Tak Province has warned nongovernmental organizations based in Mae Sot not to get involved with Burmese opposition groups operating along the Thai-Burmese border.

Governor Samart Loifah gave the warning during a meeting with NGOs in Mae Sot on Monday evening, according to sources in the Thai border town.

The meeting was also attended by Thai police, army and immigration officials, as well as representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Thailand-Burma Border Consortium and members of camp committees from refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border, the sources said.

Thai authorities have also recently said that they will punish refugees who leave the camps to engage in illegal logging or get involved in the drug business.

Loifah told the NGO representatives who attended the meeting that he wanted them to carry out their work honestly, without getting involved in politics.

“I want to warn the NGOs not to help the Burmese opposition groups,” he was quoted by reporters in Mae Sot as saying.

Loifah said that action would be taken against NGOs that ignored his warning.

Sources said the governor’s remarks may have been prompted by the seizure of around 300 military uniforms and 262 shirts by Thai border security forces on May 11. Thai authorities did not disclose who was in possession of the uniforms and other items of clothing when they were seized.

However, Burmese dissidents in Mae Sot said that the warning was likely intended to help improve relations with Burmese authorities in order to increase bilateral border trade. The two countries have recently agreed to build another friendship bridge and create a second trade zone between Mae Sot and Myawaddy Township.

This is not the first time the governor has warned NGOs to stay away from politics. In January 2010, he warned Burmese humanitarian workers in Mae Sot that they could be deported if they get involved in Burmese political affairs. He also said that some humanitarian workers had illegally formed political organizations.

The Burmese government often asks Thailand to prevent anti-regime groups from engaging in political or military activities on Thai soil.

2010 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award Goes To Naw December Paw


2010 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award Goes To Naw December Paw

27 May 2011

The Phan Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2010 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award has been given to Naw December Paw, 26 years old, head of the district hospital in Tavoy District (Tenasserim), and in charge of healthcare for the region.

The Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award is given annually by the Phan Foundation in memory of Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, former General Secretary of the Karen National Union, who was assassinated by agents of Burma’s military dictatorship on 14th February 2008. Padoh Mahn Sha always encouraged and supported young people to help their people overcome oppression and poverty. The award comes with a $2,000 grant for the winner to continue their work.

Naw December Paw was nominated by the Federation of Trade Unions Kawthoolei (FTUK). Saw Lay Say, Head of the Organising and Information Department of FTUK, described in the nomination how Naw December Paw: “loves her people with strong commitment, selflessness and working hard. Although she grew up in refugee camps, she went back inside Karen State and worked hard for her people….Her family resettled to the U.S.A. She didn’t join them, instead, she chose to go back inside Karen State and help her people. Despite many difficulties and poor condition, she continues to work with the community. Through her strong and energetic enthusiasm, she always serves her people in the front line area. I see this young Karen woman as a good example for other young Karen not just inside refugee camps but also in other places. She is an inspiration and I hope other young people will follow her footsteps.”

Saw Kyi Noh, Secretary of Htee Moh Pwa Special area in Tavoy District, supporting the nomination, stated: “I came to know that she was a great young person with good character. She never hesitated to serve her people, despite challenges and difficulties. She tries her best until her work is successful. She doesn’t mind if it is a difficult path and mountainous areas. She would go out and help people at any time even if she had to go into the Burmese Army area.”

“We are very pleased indeed to be able to give this young leader award to Naw December Paw,” said Nant Zoya Phan, founder and Director of the Phan Foundation. “It is not just recognising her fantastic work and outstanding leadership role in the community, but also recognition of how important the work she does is. She is one of the many young people who give hope to our suffering people. My father, Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, would want to see more young people like Naw December Paw in the struggle for our rights and protection for the Karen people. Through recognising and supporting young people in the community, this award is one way that the Phan Foundation is determined to continue our parents’ dedicated work.”

The award will be presented by Saw Say Say Phan and Nant Bwa Bwa Phan at the Karen Unity Seminar in Kawthoolei (Karen State) on Friday 27 May 2011.