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Burmese migrant workers evicted from campsite

Jan 16, 2009 (DVB), About 200 Burmese migrant workers have been forced to go into hiding in the jungle after Thai authorities raided their campsite in a bamboo forest near the town of Phop Phraya.

Phop Phraya is located south of the Thai border town of Mae Sot, which is across the border from Myawaddy in Burma.

Htike Thu Aung, a school teacher who lived on the campsite, said officials had threatened to deport anyone who remained in the camp.

"On the 14th of this month, a group of Thai officials from Phop Phraya came to the campsite and announced that the place would be demolished," Htike Thu Aung said.

"They said anyone still living there, whether they hold legal documents or not, will be arrested and sent back to Burma and their property will be seized," he said.

"There were elderly people and small babies among those kicked off the campsite."

Nay Win Aung, a six-year-old kindergarten student, said conditions were difficult in the jungle.

"We had to run very deep into the jungle and it is so cold at night without any blankets. There are a lot of mosquitoes here too," he said.

"We are not eating properly as no one dares to go into town to buy groceries."

Moe Gyo, chairman of the Thailand-based Joint Action Committee for Burma Affairs, said the Thai authorities' actions were against international human rights norms and Thai domestic law.

"We think this is ridiculous. These Burmese workers were only making a living working for farming businesses owned by Thai people," Moe Gyo said.

"Now the Thai authorities are even destroying houses where workers with legal documents are living," he said.

"This is unacceptable both on human rights grounds and under Thai law and regulations."

Reporting by Htet Yazar


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