THAILAND: Fears lives of pro-democracy Burmese activists in Thailand

Dear Friends,

The following is an urgent appeal from the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia), based in Bangkok, regarding the crackdown on dissidents and pro-democracy activists who have defected from the Burmese military junta regime. The Thai authorities arrested 31 Burmese nationals (But Forum-Asia claims a total of 34 were arrested) who were charged with illegal entry in the border district of Sankhlaburi in Kanchanaburi province on Tuesday.

However, the action is widely believed to be linked to Burma’s preconditions for reopening its border with Thailand. There will be Thai-Burmese talks scheduled for early next month, with reopening the border high on the agenda. We are sure if the arrested were sent back to Burma, they would be detained, tortured, and finally killed by the Burmese junta.

AHRC is requesting you to take action to prevent the arrested from being sent back forcibly to Burma and to prevent any further crackdown on other activists in the border areas, and to ask the Thai authorities to allow legal representatives access to the detainees as soon as possible.

Thank you for your action.

Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission


For immediate release


Fears for lives of pro-democracy activists arrested on Thai/Burma border.

21 August 2002

Pro-democracy activists taking refuge from persecution by the SPDC, Burma’s military government, were arrested yesterday by Thai police who charged them with illegal entry. The activists are being held in the remote town of Sankhlaburi in Kanchanaburi province on the Thai/Burma border from where they can easily be forced back into Burma.

Most of the activists are wanted by the SPDC. The Burmese embassy in Bankok has already called the Sangklaburi police station asking whetherthere were any NLD members in custody, according to an official at the station.

The group includes members of the following pro-democracy groups, as well as approximately 20 adults and children attending a Baptist Church run Bible study/english class: National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) (NLD LA); Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS); All Burma Student’S Democratic Front (ABSDF); Mon Youth Progressive Organisation (MYPO);People’S Democratic Front (PDF) and the Karen National Union (KNU).

If people from these organisations are forcibly returned to Burma they will be handed over directly to SPDC troops, where they will be detained, tortured and are likely to be killed.

Ms. Nan Nay Chi Oo of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy was separated from her 1-year-old child during the arrest.

At least three activists were reported to be carrying cards issued by the UNHCR. Most of the activists have been working from Thailand to promote democracy and reconciliation in Burma openly for several years with the full knowledge of the police and immigration.

The timing of the arrests suggests that the raids were part of a crackdown meant to placate Burma’s military government as a precondition for the reopening of Thai/Burma border checkpoints, the closure of which have cost Thai traders heavily.

Forum-Asia asks the Thai Government to intervene in the matter to allow legal representatives access to the detainees and to put a hold on deportations. Forum-Asia believes that by deporting pro-democracy activists back to Burma, Thailand will be placing economic interests before human lives and eroding its international reputation as a country dedicated to democratization in the region.

Names of those arrested:

Democratic Party for a New Society DPNS

– Aung Kyaw Soe (regional representative)

– Thien Lwin


National Leaugue for Democracy-Liberated Area (NLD LA)

– Aung San Nyunt, 35 yrs (regional representative)

– Zaw Weik 44 yrs

– Ms. Nan Nay Chi 26 yrs (seperated from her 1 (?) year old child, who was left outside)

All Burma Student’s Democratic Front (ABSDF)

– Thien Lwin (Deputy Regional representative)

– Htet Khaing and Wife (librarian)

– Ms. Khin Moe Way

– Mem Thet San

Mon Youth Progressive Organisation (MYPO)

– Ms. Mi Li Tanyar Mon

– Nai Mon Kyai Hlaing

People’s Democratic Front (PDF)

– Aung Htoo

Karen National Union (KNU)

– Ms. Naw Kha Yu

Bible Class of Baptist Church

– 20 People

For further information or comments please contact Somchai Homlaor, Secretary General Forum Asia on 66-2-276 9846 or

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-11-2002
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers,