Written by U Ne Oo on 1997-03-13
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
Canberra ACT 0221
13 March 1997
Dr. U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St. Marys SAffes Road
St. Marys SA 5042
Dear Dr. U Ne Oo
Thank you for sending a copy of your letter to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on protection and humanitarian assistance for refugees in Thailand (dated 5 March 1997) to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Downer has asked that I reply on his behalf.
The Australian Government shares your concern about the safety and well-being of the Karen refugees and has already acted to provide humanitarian assistance of $800,000 to Burmese refugees livi Burmese refugees living along the Thailand-Burma border. Mr. Downer has also publicly deplored the attacks you refer to and called on the Burmese Government to ensure that there be no further attacks on the border camps.
Reports of fighting between SLORC forces and Karen National Union on the Burmese side of the border has added to the uncertainty about the security of the camps and caused an influx of refugees into Thailand. Against this background, we have requested our Embassy in Bangkok to raise this matter with Thai authoritwith Thai authorities and seek assurances that steps would be taken to ensure the safety of camps in Thailand. In addition, we have asked our Embassy in Rangoon to convey Mr. Downer's message to the Government of Burma that it withdraw its forces immediately and seek to resolve its differences with the Karen people through negotiation and dialogue.
Sd. Frank Milne
Mainland South East Asia Branch