[Thai] Troops face probe over [Burmese] child killings

Sunday, February 28, 2010

SPRAYED: Bullet holes in the pick-up truck fired on by Thai soldiers on Thursday. Three Burmese, including two children, died in the incident.

Bangkok Post

Local media reported that police are sending a case of "manslaughter in the line of duty" to prosecutors to consider.

The five unharmed migrants and the two who were discharged from hospital, are being held at a police station in Ranong, and will be charged with illegal entry into Thailand.

NGO officials say the bodies are with the military and they have not been able to access the survivors.

Human Rights Watch researcher Sunai Phasuk said it's important that a quick and transparent investigation be conducted into the incident. "We need to get a clear account of what the situation was," he said.

He said while the police have spoken of commitment to press charges, the situation needs to be monitored and the right steps taken.

"Clearly there was excessive use of violence in the incident and a violation of the UN's Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials resolution. The actions of the truck-driver or those inside it did not pose a large threat. You can't claim it's necessary to stop a civilian truck with an M16."

He also expressed concern for the safety of the survivors, saying they should be held in Thailand in a safe place out of military custody until any court hearing is finished.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch released a report "From the Tiger to the Crocodile," criticising Thailand for its poor treatment of migrants.

The report documented cases of migrants from Burma, Cambodia and Laos, who were subjected to extortion, arbitrary detention, forced labour, physical abuse, rape and murder, often at the hands of state officials operating with impunity.

On Monday, the bodies of four migrant workers who had been been shot were found near the coast of Ranong, and nine migrant workers were found executed in Mae Sot earlier this month. Both cases are still under investigation.


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