Saturday, May 22, 2021

Empathy for the Myanma people.

In the Catholic Peace Weekly, a lawyer working in human rights gives the readers in the Diagnosis of the Current Event Column some of the feelings he has in working with Myanmar's pro-democracy activists.

In 2005, Myanmar people approached the lawyer. The decision to provide legal aid to refugees at the office level and the first case commissioned by the United Nations Refugee Organization was about refugees of pro-democracy activists in Myanmar.

"What's the use of litigation?" Nine Myanmar refugee applicants who rushed into the office poured out their anger. He is just trying to help, why should he be scolded by these people? The rather embarrassing and awkward meeting was all explained that those who applied for refugee status in 2000 along with the pain of Myanmar's situation, the right to live a predictable life, and the sincerity of their political beliefs were all denied.

Fortunately, the results of the first and second trials of the above cases were turned out well. However, as the Supreme Court's ruling was delayed, the above refugee applicants came to the office once again. The Supreme Court isn't making this decision, but shouldn't the lawyer be doing something? "It's probably because you met the wrong lawyer." A clumsy joke that was misunderstood. For some time, he met many Myanmar refugee applicants, including ethnic minorities. There were many cases of defeat, but still, about 20 Myanmar refugee applicants were helped to gain refugee recognition. It was time for him to learn about the lives of refugees, Myanmar, and people.

Several Korean companies continued their relationship with Myanmar in large-scale gas development projects while monitoring human rights violations in which they were involved or could be involved. He campaigned jointly with foreign organizations and filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. He visited the Myanmar-India border to find out the reality of refugees forced to relocate due to the construction of gas pipes. He interviewed adults and children, including deserters in refugee camps.
Children living in refugee camps where no medical services or education are provided. One child mentioned back home children were forced to work 'tired to death'. One child said he saw Korean students go to school, meet friends, and living happily with their families in Korean dramas, and he wanted to live that way. "I hope Korean students can understand my life, share my feelings and pain as human beings, and meet someday."

Participating in a network of refugee support groups in Asia, he also met several Myanmar activists working internationally and locally. Since 2007, he has focused on the Rohingya group's problems and tried to find what he can do at home and abroad. Through the coup in Myanmar, he thought that he had seen ordinary Myanmar people up close, and right next to him. This is why he has seen the military violence in Myanmar differently.

Not long ago, about 30 lawyers as a group took a picture of them saluting three fingers, a sign of support of Myanmar's democratization, and shared it on social media. There were comments from Myanmar acquaintances at home and abroad that gave them strength. Some of those recognized as refugees through legal aid are now leaders in the pro-democracy movement. Some of the children who he met in the border areas will now be members of the youth involved in pro-democracy protests. We are all connected. Even if the connection is small, and hopes they can move on to meaningful solidarity. He prays that democracy and peace can come to Myanmar without further sacrifices.

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