‘Reforms’ in Burma Offer Little Hope to Refugees
covering burma and southeast asia
Monday, October 25, 2021


‘Reforms’ in Burma Offer Little Hope to Refugees

By SAW YAN NAING / THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Refugees at the Mae La camp on the Thai-Burmese border. (Photo: Moe Kyaw / The Irrawaddy)
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“The civil war will go on for a long time if the government doesn’t make real peace with ethnic minorities,” warns La Nan.

Last November, Physicians for Human Rights conducted an investigation into allegations of rights abuses and atrocities by the Burmese military in Kachin State and found that between June and September 2011, the army looted food from civilians, fired indiscriminately at villagers, threatened them with attacks, and forcibly used them as porters and minesweepers.

According to the Thailand-based Kachin News Group, on Nov. 30—the same day that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Burma for a landmark visit—government troops killed civilians and burned their houses in Kachin State.

Ashley South, a Burma watcher, says that the international community should encourage reforms by the government of President Thein Sein, but serious and widespread human rights abuses, particularly in areas affected by on-going armed conflicts, must not be ignored. Without addressing the aspirations and grievances of ethnic minorities, social and political problems cannot be solved, South adds.

Meanwhile, refugees living in Thailand and elsewhere continue to pray for the day when they can return to their homeland, but also doubt that they will see that day anytime soon.

Maw Lu, a 28-year-old refugee who has spent most of his life in a refugee camp, says he doesn't want to be foolhardy and attempt to return too soon. Going to a third country is a better option, he says, not only for himself but also for the “following generations”. Yet he still hopes to see the land of his ancestors again someday, when and if peace arrives. “But I might be an old man by then,” he says, laughing.

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Hawikom Wrote:
Not only have this reforms offer little hope for Burmese refugees abroad to come home but the entire civilians in Burma have no tangible hope by this ongoing hit and run reforms as there are clearly two camps in Burmese government. The other camp is trying to cement military role by using this nominally civilian-parliament while the other camp is walking seemingly on the way to reform.

I think military controlled parliament now needs one-way agreement between the two camps before they can make genuine approach to the same goal, democracy. The people in Burma now see that there is still a loophole in this reform as full change could bring back some thieves from old regime back who are now seriously not only in fear of losing all their illegal wealth but could further fall themselves down into jail if justice is finally unloaded.

KML Wrote:
President U Thein Sein should recognise the existence of Two Diplomatic Fronts, FORMAL and INFORMAL. The Formal front is MOF & diplomatic missions across the world, working just like machines and traditionally hopeless in public relation. The Informal front is overseas Burmese dominated by refugee population and associated NGOs. As our country produces significant number of refugees, the voice of informal diplomatic front is quite strong. The successive military junta failed to ignore this factor. If The President wants to promote his nation building progress (take it optimistic view), he needs to win the heart of informal front. The president needs an Independent & Honest Commission to tackle refugee issues and extensive public relation drive is necessary. While peace talks are underway in the Eastern Front of the country will hopefully reverse the refugees, abolishing discriminatory, shameful Ne Win’s 1982 Citizenship Law is compulsory to solve refugee issue in the Western Front.

khar Wrote:
Without ethnic people, there is no burma as we know now; no independence, no burmese government, no jade, no rubies, no irrawaddy, no Tatmataw. Without ethnic people, burma will be a buddhist, backward, deserted, hot, dry super poor in terms of natural resources and everything else place. It is the ethnic people who made independence and everything else that comes with it possible. we, ethnic people were never ruled by no one, not by foreign occupiers; we till the land we love, we were the masters of the land we inherited until this evil, buddhist burmese colonizers and occupiers come along.

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