THAILAND: OPEN LETTER TO H.E. Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai Investigation on the seizure of Ratchaburi Central Hospital


Urgent Appeal Case: UA000128

Dear Friends, 

Attached with this message is the press rlease on the hostage taking by armed Karen group called \”Gods Army\”. There are allegations that some of the armed men were killed after they surrender or having been disarmed. 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please read the press release and draft your own letters to Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai 

Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai 
Government House 
Bhitsanulok Road, 
Bangkok 10300, 
Fax: 662 – 281 4358 
662 – 280 1443 
Email: Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai <> 

General Sanan Kachornprasat 
Minister of Interior, 
Office of the Secretary to the Minister 
Assadung Road, 
Bangkok 10200 
Fax: 662-226 4371 

and Diplomatic representatives of the Thailand accredited to 
your country. 

Please remember to send a copy of your letter to: 

PRESS STATEMENT by: Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development 

Press release 

January 27, 2000 

OPEN LETTER TO H.E. Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai 

Investigation on the seizure of Ratchaburi Central Hospital 

Your Excellency,: 

We, the counter signatories of this letter, would like to congratulate the government in its ability to resolve the problem of the seizure of the Ratchaburi Central Hospital by the so-called ¡°God¡¯s Army¡±, who took patients and physicians hostage during January 24-25, 2000. They belonged to a Karenresistance group which has fought the Burmese government in their attempt to demand for their right of self-determination. Those who seized the hospital came from their stronghold located along the Thai-Burmese border at Suan Pung District Ratchaburi Province. With the ability of the Thai authorities, no hostage was injured or endangered. 

However, we regret that some of the authorities were injured and all the terrorists were killed for we had expected that the situation would be resolved without the loss of life or bloodshed in any party. 

The violence which occurred at this time and at other times along the Thai-Burmese border have stemmed from the political violence in Burma in which its junta has carried out its cruel and inhumane suppression of democratic activists, opposition and minority groups. As long as the Burmese junta refuses to revive its democracy and negotiate a peace 
settlement with opposition group, the violence along the border will continue and increase until it spills into the Thai border. In order to prevent such an occurrence, we would like to propose our ideas to Your Excellency as follows: 

1. The Thai government revises its foreign policy towards Burma by seriously applying the flexible engagement as announced by H.E. Foreign Minister Dr. Surin Pitsuwan in co-operation with the international communities. ASEAN member countries should support and urge the Burmese 
government to start negotiating among all factions in Burma to create sustainable peace in the country. 

2. The Thai government should implement the policy of temporary shelter and provide humanitarian aid to the injured civilians, children and women which seek refuge in Thailand from the fighting with the Burmese military as has been the usual practice of Thai and international authorities. The Thai 
troops should strictly play a neutral role in the conflict and there should not be any action indicating that the Thai troops have joined hands with the Burmese in suppressing those minorities. If the Thai government is unable to clarify the allegation that it has cooperated with the Burmese 
junta, we fear that image of Thailand will be damaged in the eyes of the international communities while creating doubts in the minds of those minority groups. This may pose a threat to the peaceful situation along the Thai border in a long run. 

3. The photos and news which have been widely published both in the local and foreign press showing the way the authorities did not send the terrorists¡¯ bodies to the Forensic Department for post mortem, together with interviews given by some hostages, infer that some terrorists were killed after their surrender or having been disarmed. If it is true, 
Thailand will be condemned as violating the Thai law and obligations it has with the international law. This will tarnish the history of the country regarding human rights, in which Thailand has been praised and set as example beyond recall. 

With the application of violence in the a long term will not solve the problem but lead to continual and endless violence. The country will suffer the consequence. 

In order to obtain the truth to wipe out such allegation, we would like to propose a setting up of an independent and neutral committee consisting of members from various parties. The task for the committee is to conduct a 
fact finding investigation into the incident. The information obtained from the finding will serve as a basis for preventing such an incident to repeat itself. 

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) 
Friends without Borders 
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) 
Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma 
Foundation for Women 
Migrant Assistance Programme 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA000128
Countries : Thailand,