[Joint Statement] Provide Humanitarian Aid in the Thai-Myanmar Border Area

    The civil society organisations on the name list below are working for providing humanitarian aids to those Myanmar people who escaped violence after the military coup staged by General Min Aung Hlaing on 1 February 2021. Many Myanmar people have been killed, and a number of them have moved to the Thai-Myanmar border area. The local civil society organisations in Mae Sam Laep Sub-district, Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son Province began to gather donated goods and distribute them among the refugees on daily basis since 6 April 2021. This effort continued until 17 April 2021 when a ship carrying these goods was shot by the Myanmar army. On 19 April 2021 a meeting was held in the office of the Mae Sam Laep Tambon Administration Organisation, attended by representatives of the army and the police, assistant district officers, village headmen, boatmen and shop owners.

    After the meeting, the boats were still allowed deliver the goods to the refugees, on condition that they must notify the Thai army in advance, and stop at every military checkpoint of the Myanmar army. They can deliver goods if they dare to do so. The village boatmen are afraid that the Myanmar military would seize their goods to demand money, arrest them as hostages, or shoot them, because these incidents had happened to them in the past. The villagers are concerned that if the goods for the refugees shall be examined by the Myanmar army, it might arouse suspicion of the KNU (Karen National Union). Therefore, at this moment no one dares to deliver the goods to the area under the control of the KNU. As a consequence, the refugees are suffering from the lack of necessary aids to sustain their lives. They are even pushed back to the Myanmar side of the river, despite the fact that there is no guarantee whatsoever for their safety in the country.

    All the organisations on the list below would like to express our concern to the governments of Thailand, Myanmar, ASEAN countries, and the international society as follows:

    1. Providing urgently necessary aids to those who escape warfare is one of the international humanitarian principles. The aid delivery should be conducted swiftly in order to protect their lives and lift their morale to survive without any exception. Providing humanitarian aids is a universal value respected and practiced all over the world. We thus demand that both countries should respect this universal value.
    2. The Myanmar army’s action of shooting a Thai citizen’s boat carrying necessary goods for the life of the refugees is an extremely evil deed against the humanitarian principles, and should be condemned by the international society.
    3. Allowing the Myanmar military to examine the boats delivering necessary aids for the refugees is malicious and utterly unacceptable. Thai local organizations send the list of goods to the Thai Red Cross and inform Thai military before delivering. We deny any examination conducted by the Myanmar army.
    4. It is regrettable that the Thai army did not provide protection for its citizens even though they are from a minority group delivering necessary goods for the refugees. It is also unacceptable that the Thai army lets the Myanmar army set undue conditions, transgressing the territory and demonstrating their might. The Thai soldiers should be properly provided with knowledge and understanding on humanitarian principles, and must be trained to abide to these principles in order to defend the sovereignty of the country so as not to be violated by the Myanmar army.
    5. The Thai government should guarantee that the refugees are not pushed back, and should provide them with necessary helps until the violent situation in Myanmar is abated.
    6. In the coming ASEAN Summit, we request that the governments of the ASEAN countries should put a strong pressure the Myanmar governments to stop using violence against its citizens, the Thai citizens and the refugees who urgently need humanitarian aids.
    7. The international society and the United Nations should acknowledge, denounce and condemn the Myanmar military’s evil actions against its citizens, the refugees and the Thai citizens who provide humanitarian aids to the refugees.

    We demand that the Myanmar military should stop any evil act immediately.


    Organisation/s Involved

    Signed by: People’s Empowerment Foundation Legal Status Network Foundation Development Center Children and Community Network Karen Network for Culture and Environment, Mae Hong Son Mae Hong Son Province Resource Network, The Thai Karen Group (22 member organizations), Indigenous Women Network in Thailand (IWNT), Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT)