Fear and Hope: Displaced Burmese Women in Burma and Thailand | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
février 2000
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Executive Summary:
"The impact of decades of military repression on
the population of Burma has been devastating.
Hundreds of thousands of Burmese have been
displaced by the government�s suppression of
ethnic insurgencies and of the pro-democracy
movement. As government spending has concentrated
on military expenditures to maintain its
control, the once-vibrant Burmese economy has
been virtually destroyed. Funding for health and
education is negligible, leaving the population at
the mercy of the growing AIDS epidemic, which
is itself fueled by the production, trade and intravenous
use of heroin, as well as the trafficking of
The Burmese people, whether displaced by government
design or by economic necessity, whether
opposed to the military regime or merely trying to
survive in a climate of fear, face enormous challenges.
Human rights abuses are legion. The government�s
strategies of forced labor and relocation
destroy communities. Displacement, disruption of
social networks and the collapse of the public
health systems provide momentum for the spreading
AIDS epidemic�which the government has
barely begun to acknowledge or address. The
broader crisis in health care in general and reproductive
health in particular affects women at all
levels; maternal mortality is extremely high, family
planning is discouraged. The decay�and willful
destruction�of the educational system has created
an increasingly illiterate population�without the
tools necessary to participate in a modern society.
The country-wide economic crisis drives the
growth of the commercial sex industry, both in
Burma and in Thailand.
Yet, international pressure for political change is
increasing and nongovernmental organizations and
some UN agencies manage to work within Burma,
quietly challenging the status quo. The delegation
met with Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of
the National League for Democracy, who is considered
by much of the international community as
the true representative of the Burmese people.
Despite her concerns that humanitarian aid can
prop up the SPDC, she was cautiously supportive
of direct, transparent assistance in conjunction
with unrelenting international condemnation of
the military government�s human rights abuses and
anti-democratic rule.
The delegation concluded that carefully designed
humanitarian assistance in Burma can help people
without strengthening the military government.
And, until democracy is restored in Burma,
refugees in Thailand must receive protection from
forced repatriation, and be offered opportunities
for skills development and education to carry
home. On both sides of the border, women�s
groups work to respond to the issues facing their
communities; they are a critical resource in
addressing the critical needs for education, reproductive
health and income generation." ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced

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