VIDEO: Thai troopers destroy footbridge utilized by Burmese refugees fleeing unrest

In a video posted on-line on Tuesday, Thai troopers may be seen dismantling a footbridge in Tak province on the border of Myanmar. The bridge was utilized by Burmese refugees fleeing unrest in Karen state to cross over into Thailand in recent months. Human rights organisations are urging the Thai authorities to research their forces’ remedy of refugees. The Thai army say they destroyed the bridge to cease crime.
A Thai soldier asks the anonymous cameraman, “What are you filming? Do you wish to die?” as three Thai troopers destroy the footbridge over the Wa Le River, a tributary of the Moei River on the Thai – Myanmar border.
The bridge related Thailand to Karen State in Myanmar, the place the Burmese junta have allegedly carried out airstrikes and killed civilians in latest months in unrest which started on February 1 final year when the junta took power of Myanmar by military coup, ousting the democratically-elected government at the moment.
Bangkok-based human rights group Fortify Rights – who posted the video – made the next statements…
“The principle of “non-refoulement” prohibits denying entry to those fleeing persecution.”
“Thai authorities should examine their forces’ treatment of refugees.”
Fortify Controversial confirmed the video was taken two months in the past on the Myanmar side of the border. In the background, a crying youngster and folks speaking Karen language may be heard.
“Sources acquainted with the bridge and the area told Fortify Rights that Myanmar refugees, especially children and older people, used the bridge to flee violence and persecution and that informal humanitarian staff used it to transport lifesaving assist from Thailand to internally displaced persons to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Myanmar.”
The third Army Area of the Thai army addressed the video in a press release on Wednesday…
“The video clip depicting Thai troopers breaking off a cross-border bamboo bridge was taken before the combating inside Myanmar flared up, and the bridge was illegal… The bridge has nothing to do with the migration of displaced persons… It was conducted following an order by the Tak border authorities to stop unlawful groups from doing their felony activities… At that time, there was no preventing between Myanmar troopers and ethnic minority force, and there have been no displaced people.”
The Thai army’s assertion is nonsensical on condition that displaced persons from Karen state have continually fled unrest and crossed over the border into Thailand since February final year when the military junta took energy over Myanmar. Furthermore, different footage taken in January this 12 months (before Thai troopers allegedly destroyed the bridge) shows a total of 45 people – together with girls and youngsters – lining as a lot as cross the river into Thailand to escape violence in Karen state, in accordance with Fortify Rights.
Thai authorities have been accused of forcing Burmese refugees to return to Myanmar after an alleged order from Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to forestall “illegal immigration.” Historically, refugees from Myanmar have struggled to be seen as such in the eyes of Thai authorities, who classify them as “economic migrants” somewhat than political refugees. Without the right documentation, no legal route into Thailand is out there for Burmese refugees, who are pressured to enter the dominion illegally out of worry of persecution from Myanmar’s army junta.
In December 2019, the Thai government enacted a regulation to “identify individuals in want of safety and to grant them legal standing and entry the necessary public services.” However, the regulation has not been implemented in actuality in many instances, according to reviews of interviews with refugees. Without authorized status in Thailand, refugees face legal penalties beneath Thailand’s 1979 Immigration Act which prohibits unauthorised entry or keep in Thailand. Refugees are subject to arrest, detention, forced return or refoulement in consequence.
Executive director of Fortify Rights instructed that Thailand ought to create a nationwide scheme to issue ID playing cards to refugees that provide them with genuine safety. Last month, the Associated Press reported that refugees have been being offered unlawful “police cards” for 350 baht every underneath the premise that they’d be protected.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners stated that the army junta in Myanmar has killed a minimal of 1,821 civilians – including many pro-democracy activists – for the explanation that coup occurred last 12 months.
Fortify Rights stated that since February this 12 months, they have interviewed 15 refugees from Myanmar on the Thai-Myanmar border, three U.N. officers and humanitarian assist employees. The interviewees claimed that Thai authorities had arrested, detained and extorted money from Burmese refugees.

SOURCE: Benar News

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