Offices of Burmese groups in Thailand raided

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MONDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2009

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Unprecedented security checks has led to Thailand’s police raiding the offices of some Burmese opposition groups based in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai city on Sunday, opposition members said.

The police, according to Burmese opposition members, came with a list of addresses of Burmese offices and took photographs.

“Since there was only our office worker in our office, we did not have any problem, but the police took photographs of the office,” a Burmese activist, whose office was also among those visited by the police, told Mizzima.

While Thailand’s Royal Police could not be reached on Monday for comment, a Burmese activist said, “This is the first time in many years that this kind of widespread search and interrogation has been made. I believe there is something behind this. “It is a targeted search, because it has been carried out only on Burmese organizations. It could be politically connected,” he further speculated.

The Thai police have often raided the offices of Burmese organizations in the past. But the source said it was never conducted in such a widespread manner.

“They have the list of most of the Burmese groups including some of the media offices in exile,” said a Burmese activist, who requested not to be named for security reasons.

Aung Myo Min, Director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), whose office was also among those searched, said interrogating a human rights office is in violation of the basic rights of the people and condemned the action of the police.

“We are working to promote human rights and coming to our office and interrogating us is violating our basic rights,” he said.

According to the Migrant Assistant Program (MAP) and other NGOs, currently Thailand hosts about two million Burmese migrant workers and about 140,000 refugees in nine camps along the Thai-Burma border.

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