Deportation of Burmese Refugees is a Violation of International Law and Inhuman

Thailand wants to deport 142,000 Refugees to Burma

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) expressed severe criticism of the planned deportation of more than 140,000 Burmese refugees on Wednesday: "To put the destiny of the political refugees in the hands of the state of Burma is a violation of international law and is inhuman”, explained the head of the STP Asia section, Ulrich Delius. "Since every deportee is threatened with immense danger to life and limb, the repatriation of refugees is irresponsible as long as Burma keeps committing crimes against humanity and war crimes.” With this deportation Thailand would be infringing upon the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

Thailand justified the decision for a deportation (for which there is no set date) with the change of power to a civilian government on April 1, 2011. This signals a democratization of the country that has been ruled so far by a Military Junta.

"Burma’s so called civilian government is a puppet regime in which the military is still in charge. The only difference is that they do not wear a uniform anymore” said Delius. "Besides that there are also signs of war in the territories of several nations that border Thailand.” The Burmese army began a military offensive against Shan rebels in the north of the Shan State. This breached the peace treaty that had been signed 22 years ago between the government of Burma and the Shan liberation movement, which claimed more autonomy for the region. Burma’s army is sending 3,500 soldiers to the battle. They have engaged in at least 65 battles with the liberation movement. "Tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing from this latest eruption of violence in eastern Burma,” reported Delius.

The High Commissioner for refugees of the United Nations (UNHCR) also criticized the deportation plans and requested that refugees may only be deported voluntarily. However, "20,000 members of the Karen people who fled the skirmishes in Burma have experienced how these ‘voluntary repatriations’ look like in December 2010,” deplored Delius. Within a few hours they were forcefully jerked onto trucks and transported back to Burma. Now, members of the Karen, Karenni, Shan, Mon, and Chin are threatened from the planned deportation.