Intelligence (August 2008)
covering burma and southeast asia
Friday, December 15, 2017
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Intelligence (August 2008)


By THE IRRAWADDY AUGUST, 2008 - VOLUME 16 NO.8


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‘Brokers’ Offer US Resettlement for a Price

Because obtaining a visa to the US became very difficult following September 11, many Burmese are now paying private brokers to help them obtain refugee status in Thailand and qualify for resettlement through the United Nations.

On the Thailand-Burma border, sources say a broker can be hired who will coach an applicant on how to establish a credible background story and answer questions on the required application forms, and will, in some cases, pay off people involved in the resettlement approval process.

According to a report in New Era, a Thailand-based Burmese language newspaper, one refugee who used a broker successfully resettled in the US after he moved his family from Rangoon to the Noh Poe refugee camp in Umphang Province in Thailand. The whole process cost about 300,000 baht (US $9,000), according to the paper.

Border-based sources claim that some pseudo-refugee families can even get resettlement approval to the US or other third countries without living a day in a refugee camp. The prices charged by brokers vary from 50,000 baht ($1,500) to 100,000 baht ($3,000), according to refugee sources.

The refugee resettlement process involves private brokers, refugee camp officials, nongovernmental organizations and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees agency.


If You Can’t Defeat Your Enemy, Try to Defeat Your Friends

Maung Maung, secretary-general of the NCUB
(Photo: The Irrawaddy)
Discord continues among exiled opposition groups on how best to defeat the military regime in Burma. The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), an umbrella organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand, has crossed swords with the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB, the Burmese government in exile).

Maung Maung, a controversial politician and the secretary-general of the NCUB, has announced plans to open an office in New York that will launch an aggressive public relations campaign against Burma’s military regime. Maung Maung has openly criticized the NCGUB as irrelevant.

Ko Ko Lay, a former leader of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, is tipped to head NCUB’s office in New York.

Dr Thaung Htun, the government in exile representative to the United Nations, has been in charge of the NCGUB office in New York for 17 years. Sources close to Maung Maung say he believes the NCGUB’s New York office is not effective.

Maung Maung helped to establish the NCGUB in 1991 when it was organized on the Thailand-Burma border. He is a loyal supporter of Sein Win, the prime minister of the government in exile who is a cousin of Aung San Suu Kyi. However, in recent years, he has frequently criticized the self-styled government in exile.

Maung Maung’s leadership style has been questioned inside and outside of Burma. He is known for a do-it-alone, authoritarian style that favors direct action over consensus building.

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