I call on the Chavalit Government to immediately release and not to turn over the three ministers of Burma’s government-in-exile to SLORC or Thailand must bear full responsibility for their safety and future.
The three ministers of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, all elected MPs from the leading democratic party of Aung Sun Suu Kyi, were arrested in a swoop on their offices on Monday and are held together with five others in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok for not having passports.
The NCGUB was formed by MPs elected in Burma’s 1990 general elections – which were won overwhelmingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy before the military junta disregarded the results – who hed fled political oppression in Myanmar.
The three ministers concerned are NCGUB Minister for Asia-Pacific affairs, Teddy Burns, Minister of Health, San Aung and Minister of Justice, U Thein Oo.
For the past five years, representatives of the NCCUB had been based in Thailand and they did not have any problems with regard to their stay in Thailand.
The crackdown appears to mark a new Thai policy to make Thailand inhospitable to Burmese students and exiles so that the Thai government could establish a closer relationship with SLORC.
This is most deplorable, showing that with SLORC’s admission to ASEAN, ASEAN nations are not prepared to influence the Burmese military junta to comply with greater democratic norms but are themselves adjusting to SLORC’s undemocratic actions and practices.
The Thai Government has a moral responsibility to give advance notice of any intention to change its policy to make Thailand inhospitable to Burmese students and exiles and should not be so irresponsible as to commit the heinous act of exposing the three NCGUB to personal harm, suffering and danger by turning them over to SLORC when they are deported to Burma.