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The Bangkok Post logo The Bangkok Post 12/03/2023 Bangkok Post

No respite for refugees

Re: "Camp blaze renders 12,000 homeless", (BP, March 8).

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization in Malaysia (MERHROM) is deeply saddened by a massive fire in the Cox's Bazar refugee camp on March 5 at 2.30pm. The fire has caused huge damage. An estimated 2,000 shelters were destroyed resulting in 12,000 refugees being made homeless. Apart from their shelters, mosques, schools and health centres were also destroyed. This is really heartbreaking as we are entering the month of Ramadan soon.

The fire that started in Camp 11 quickly spread to neighbouring camps. Authorities and the fire brigades manage to control the blaze around 6pm. An estimated 22 learning centres were destroyed, resulting in children having to abandon their studies.

Fires at the Cox's Bazar refugee camp are nothing new. This happens every year. We don't know what the result is yet of the investigation. We hope for a thorough probe by Bangladesh authorities into this latest incident.

We hope such incidents can be prevented in the future. We hope the Rohingya brothers and sisters in the camps can also play a role in taking precautions to prevent fires from happening, including keeping watch day and night.

We call upon the United Nations, donor countries and international humanitarian organisations to continue providing immediate humanitarian support to the victims, including coping with their mental health struggles.

We hope the Human Rights Council -- 52nd Session in Geneva will seriously discuss strategic measures to end the Rohingya Genocide as a durable solution for the Rohingya refugees.

Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani

President of Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization in Malaysia (MERHROM)

Channelling Chuvit

Re: "Whistleblower risks losing his way", (Opinion, March 6).

I fully agree with ex-BP editor Veera Prateepchaikul that whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit was doing a tremendously beneficial job in unearthing massive corruption in the RTP's and other closets. He should stay the course on fighting corruption -- wherever it may be -- rather than fighting a political party on a narrow, highly divisive issue like liberalising cannabis.

Corruption permeates Thailand from head to toe, hitting the masses of the poor and benefitting the tiny minority at the top. The common person feels helpless in its grip. Mr Chuvit and his fearless whistleblowing have given us hope that we might defeat it -- as shown by the tremendous cheers from the poor and all the media attention he gets. We know that the whole system has to be reformed -- not just a few rogue generals here and there. By steadily focusing on where he can help the masses the most, Mr Chuvit can leave a legacy that will shine through the ages.

Take a holistic approach, Khun Chuvit. On the RTP, for example, push PM Prayut to reveal ex-graftbuster Vicha Mahakun's report on reforming the cops and public prosecutors' office. On the military, review the whole procurement process. Don't get distracted by cannabis.

Burin Kantabutra

Haze vs Covid

Re: "Mask use urged as haze fastens grip", (BP, March 8).

While it's my understanding that only N95 masks work, air pollution kills an estimated seven million people a year. That's more than Covid kills, even when you take into consideration that Covid death statistics are fabricated.

Why has the Thai government allowed the polluters to get away with it? Is it because the vaccine industries can't make any money exploiting air pollution?

I'll say it again and again: modern medicine is about making money and has absolutely nothing to do with human health.

Eric Bahrt

N-95 dust-gobblers

Re: "Mask use urged as haze fastens grip", (BP, March 8).

Relatively speaking, a particle of PM2.5 dust is about the size of a bowling ball when compared to the tiny ping-pong ball dimensions of a coronavirus. The masks all Thai people are now wearing are not protective against PM2.5, which is why N-95 masks should be worn during the hazy season. These are available in models made locally in Bangkok, have replaceable filter discs, and are quite effective. They are, however, expensive to use for months at a time since the clogged filters must be replaced every two weeks or so.

Michael Setter

Agro-troops needed

Re: "Haze and blazes hit North", (BP, March 7).

I have been living in the North for 18 years. Each year the "burning season" brings the same editorials and news stories, and the situation persists and is getting worse. Perhaps it's time to implement an "out-of-the-box" solution, at least as it pertains to one of the main contributors to this recurring environmental disaster. After studying this problem for almost two decades, including direct and face-to-face input from university agro and soil scientists, and crop farmers, I firmly believe that pleading for cooperation will never break the culturally ingrained slash-and-burn mentality. I propose a government-sponsored assignment of Army resources, whereby troops and equipment are deployed to directly intervene by tilling farmlands usually targeted for burning, and arresting violators of the law. If necessary, the government should declare a state of emergency to justify such actions, similar to the use of troops during severe flooding. This could be a win-win-win for all concerned: farmers would benefit from "free" government-sponsored tilling; the army would be seen as heroes who saved many endangered citizens; and the population at large would benefit from a less toxic environment.

Jonathan Nash

Tools of terrorists

Re: "Crisis in need of regional accord", (Opinion, March 2).

I am writing this letter in response to the article in Bangkok Post on March 2 regarding the exclusion of actual information about Myanmar.

I truly believe that reliable information is not only crucial for every single media outlet but is also essential to gauge the outcome and effectiveness of such information. The media should not be a tool of terrorist groups.

1) This is very much different from a coup. It should be noted that the State Administrative Council (SAC) seeks the executive, legislature, and judiciary of state in accord with the constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The root cause of taking state responsibilities was publicly announced by a transparent and lawful means.

The former government led by the NLD Party misused its executive powers in the 2020 general election, including voters' lists and voter fraud. The list is significantly flawed, with 11.3 million votes having been rigged. The Tatmadaw asked the then-president on two occasions to convene the National Defence and Security Council meeting in order to resolve those issues, but its entreaties were rejected.

The Union Election Commission assigned by the State Administrative Council looked into the voters' list of 315 townships where the Multiparty General Election was held in November 2020. As a result, there were 11,305,390 irregularities across the nation, which is equivalent to 29.54% of the total vote.

2) The NUG, CRPH, PDF are all terrorist groups. The frequency of terrorist attacks against civilians carried out by the so-called NUG representatives cannot be irrefutably ignored. At least 5,088 innocent civilians, including 68 Buddhist monks, one nun, 61 teachers, 14 health workers, 214 other government staff, 571 ward administrators and 41 military veterans were killed by the so-called NUG and PDF terrorists.

These terrorist groups perform acts of inhumanity to wipe out civilians, administrative officers and their family members, including children. They don't even have a single headquarters or command post for the PDF or NUG. Without any discipline or a change of command, the segmentation of terrorist groups like the PDF results in extortion and murder.

For example, U Ohn Khaine, a former ambassador, and his son-in-law were shot by followers of PDF in front of their home. Meanwhile, U Thein Aung, a military veteran who serves as managing director of My Tel Telecommunication Company, was shot dead while walking in Yangon on the morning of Nov 4, 2021.

In another illustration, an innocent woman was violently beaten and shot in the head in the middle of a public road. A member of the Tamu PDF claimed responsibility for the murder in an interview.

3) The government of Myanmar formed Task Forces made up of several ministries in conjunction with immigration and other agencies while also seeking international cooperation on Aug 17, 2021. Upon delivery of humanitarian assistance, these Myanmar task forces cooperated closely with the Asean AHA Center, as well as with other international organisations. The state and regional government, as well as the National Solidarity and Peace-making Negotiation Committee (NSPNC) and the AHA Centre conducted a Joint Needs Assessments Mission in Kyaukkyi Township in Bago, Loikaw Township in Kayah State, and Pintaya Township in Shan State. This is an effective way to deliver aid and assistance to the affected areas via Yangon, given its efficient institutions.

4) It is a delusion of terrorist groups that they are providing more assistance to border areas. This is not just humanitarian assistance for local ethnic groups. I believe they are also providing officially sanctioned, lethal assistance to ethnic armed groups and terrorist groups in Kayin State. The terrorists -- the PDF and NUG -- received all their weaponry, ammunition and explosives through the Thai-Myanmar border. In order to restore peace and stability in Myanmar, the Thai side should control the illegal arms trade at the border and refrain from neglecting the flow of assistance to armed groups.

I categorically disagree with the idea of sending direct deliveries to conflicted border areas.

Therefore, I strongly reject the above-mentioned article being published in the Bangkok Post, as it can only incite and encourage more terrorism in Myanmar.

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