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Thailand opposition MP says let ‘refugees’ work; UN states nearly 2.7 million remain displaced in Burma

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Thailand opposition MP says let ‘refugees’ work

Kannavee Suebsang, a FAIR Party member of parliament, wants Thailand to adopt a contingency plan to assist Burma nationals avoiding military conscription, the Bangkok Post reported. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin warned Burma nationals against entering the country illegally.

“Myanmar citizens are fleeing to Thailand in large numbers. They are not sneaking in illegally. But they are escaping death. They escape being forced to go to the battlefields to face death or kill other people. They are escaping from military conscription,” said Kannavee.

The opposition MP added that allowing refugees to work could help with labor shortages. Nearly 2.3 million migrants from Burma work legally in Thailand, according to EconThai. Authorities on the Thai-Burma border state that Burma nationals are being detained on a daily basis for illegal entry. 

UN states nearly 2.7 million remain displaced

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has reached nearly 2.7 million in Burma. 

The ceasefire in January between the Brotherhood Alliance and the military in northern Shan State has allowed residents to return home, but there are a remaining 23,000 IDPs in the region. Humanitarian aid access has been limited in Arakan State since fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the military began in November. 

Airstrikes, artillery shellings, and armed clashes continue to displace civilians in northwest and southeast Burma. Nearly 2.4 million people have become displaced over the last three years since the 2021 military coup, added the U.N. 

Data for Myanmar documents robberies on the rise

Data for Myanmar has documented that 82 bank and gold shop robberies have occurred since the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021 – mostly in 2021 and 2022. It noted that the number of gold shop robberies has risen since May 2022 with one occurring each month. 

There were 12 robberies in Mandalay, six in Yangon, and three in Hpakant, Kachin State. Robberies have also occurred in Sagaing Region and Shan State. Two people have been killed while seven others have been injured. It is estimated to have cost nearly 15 billion kyat. Only twenty percent of all gold shop robberies have been prosecuted, added Data for Myanmar. 

News by Region

A monastery destroyed by an airstrike in Mansi Township of Kachin State Feb. 17-19. (Credit: CJ)

KACHIN—At least ten have been found dead in Mansi Township and many others were injured during fighting from Feb. 17-19. “The exact day of their deaths is unknown. Most were killed in bomb shelters,” a People’s Defense Force (PDF) spokesperson told DVB. 

The PDF, along with the AA, and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), took control of a military base on Monday. A school and a monastery were destroyed by retaliatory airstrikes carried out by the military. 

ARAKAN—The AA issued a statement condemning the military conscription law on Tuesday. It called on civilians to enter AA-controlled areas to avoid enforced military service. “The territories we have regained are the safest, not just for Arakanese but also for those oppressed by the regime,” said an AA statement. 

It accused the military regime of using hate speech against ethnic Rakhine in Yangon and Mandalay as signs have appeared calling on residents to boycott Rakhine-owned businesses over the last few weeks. 

AYEYARWADY—The PDF issued a statement warning employers in Pathein to send their workers home before 8 p.m. Pathein residents said the military is arresting people on the streets after 9 p.m. and demanding money to release them. 

“If the arrested people are unable to give money, they have been forced to choose to either serve in the army or be jailed,” said an unnamed PDF spokesperson. The PDF threatened to take action if employers refuse to abide by the warning. 

MON—The New Mon State Party (NMSP) stated that it will try to reunite with a new splinter faction called the NMSP Anti-Dictatorship (NMSP-AD), which vowed to fight the military on Feb. 14 after the NMSP met with the regime in Naypyidaw for another round of talks on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). 

Nai Bannyar Lal, the deputy leader of NMSP-AD, told DVB that he had no comment on the statement. Mon resistance groups and the National Unity Government (NUG) have welcomed the establishment of the NMSP-AD and said that it would cooperate in military operations. 

“The timing has been quite useful for the NMSP-AD, because there are a large number of people in Mon State who are deeply opposed to the SAC [State Administration Council] junta and the military coup,” said Ashley South, an independent consultant who specializes on political issues related to Burma. 

(Exchange rate: $1 USD = 3,590 kyat)

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