Chamarette slams blockade of medicine to Burma
WA Greens Senator Christabel Chamarette has spoken out against the Thai government's confiscation of medical supplies intended for ethnic minority groups inside Burma. The supplies were a private donation.
"I cannot understand why privately donated medical supplies should be held up by anyone, let alone the Thai government", she said on January 31. This action seems to indicate that the Thai government is becoming more and more supportive of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, Burma's military junta."
Chamarette said that, according to information from non-government agencies operating in the region, thousands of displaced people on the Burmese side of the border are in urgent need of medical supplies. "Tropical diseases are rife as well as respiratory infections and malnutrition."
The displaced people have, in most cases, fled over the border after harassment by Burmese troops. Well-documented reports of human rights abuses, including forcing people to become porters for the army, rapes, beatings and torture continue to come in from the border regions. NGOs including Amnesty International, Asia Watch and Tribal Refugee Welfare have gathered information of such abuses occurring on a massive scale.
"It's high time the international community took urgent steps against the illegal regime in Burma. Depriving victims of the regime of medical supplies is a violation of fundamental human rights", Chamarette concluded.
[Senator Chamarette will be one of the keynote speakers at the International Green Left Conference to be held at the University of New South Wales, April 1-4.]