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REFUGEES: THE LOOMING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS


The Myanmar Military’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters resulted in hundreds of activists, journalists and politicians fleeing the country to escape arrest, taking refuge in remote border areas under the control of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). The military targeted these encampments with air strikes against the ethnic villages, displacing tens of thousands of new refugees on the Myanmar-Thailand border. 


Panelists will discuss the urgent need for humanitarian assistance for these refugees, their need for increased security, and the international response so far.


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Panelists:


Sally Thompson

The Border Consortium

Sally Thompson is the executive director of The Border Consortium (TBC), established in 1984 to respond to refugees fleeing from Burma into Thailand. TBC is responsible for food and shelter in the nine camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Sally has three decades experience working with TBC, coordinating and delivering humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as a result of the conflict in South East Myanmar.

 

In 2010, Sally was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for community services to Burmese refugees in Thailand.


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Eric Schwartz

Refugees International

Eric Schwartz, President of Refugees International, has also served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, was the senior human rights and humanitarian official at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration managing humanitarian responses to crises in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Eric also served as the UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Asian Tsunami, and as Washington Director of Asia Watch. He was Staff Consultant to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.


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Myra Dahgaypaw

U.S. Campaign for Burma

Myra Dahgaypaw is a Karen human rights activist from Karen State, Eastern Burma. She was an Internally Displaced Person for nearly 12 years and a refugee for 17, until she fled to the United States. Many of her family members, close relatives and friends were tortured and killed by the Burmese SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) troops.


Myra is director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma, an organization dedicated to empowering grassroots activists in the Burmese diaspora across the U.S., to rally for human rights, and bring an end to the military dictatorship in Burma.


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Naw K'nyaw Paw

Karen Women’s Organization (KWO)

Naw K’nyaw Paw, a Karen woman and refugee, is the General Secretary of the Karen Women’s Organization, an organization with over 70,000 members. Naw K’nyaw Paw is responsible for leading all KWO work and programs as well as implementing policies and goals set by the KWO Congress.


KWO is a feminist, indigenous rights community-based organization that plays a leadership role in the struggle to bring democracy and human rights to Burma. 


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Moderated by Jeanne Hallacy.