Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Burma: Thailand-Burma post election relations - Thai Government's response to refugee situation

Source: Royal Thai Goverment

Following the recent clash between the Burmese government troops and the Karen minority, Thailand, a neighboring country, has sheltered over 20,000 Burmese people who, out of fear for their own safety, have taken refuge in the Kingdom temporarily.

This year's election in Burma is supposedly expected to pave the way for democracy in the country after several decades of uncertainty. Many Burmese workers in Thailand returned to their motherland to participate in the election, hoping it would bring changes to the political arena, and perhaps lead to the end of poverty for the majority of the citizens.

However, the Burmese minorities believe the election has been rigged and that, despite their participation, their votes would be insignificant. This has led the Karen group to defy the authority and take over a police station in Myawaddy Province which is close to the Thai-Burmese border.

The clash between the Burmese military and the Karen broke out, sending many Burmese residents crossing over into Thailand for safety. Fortunately, no Thai residents have been injured during the skirmish, given the proximity of the clash site.

Thai troops have been dispatched to patrol along the border to prevent the influx of refugees. The Thai government has insisted it will not interfere with Burma's internal affairs, but will provide shelter for Burmese refugees in line with Human Rights protocols.

The Thai government says the situation along the border remains under control as a large number of Burmese residents are entering and leaving Thailand on a daily basis in spite of the fight, of which the end is no where in sight. For some, Thailand is their second home; for others, their efforts in making their home a better place never wane, and for the rest, the future still hangs in the balance.