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Sick children arrive and die of easily preventable childhood illnesses because in many parts of Burma, particularly those in rebel-held areas, the government provides no health facilities and makes it difficult for charitable organisations to operate there. The Mae Tao clinic sends out teams of doctors to provide simple medical care in local villages but reports that Burmese soldiers steal the medicines and harass their staff. More seriously, seven of the clinic's health workers have been shot or killed by landmines and six have been arrested. Three of these are still missing. The UN's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma has brought these cases to the government's attention and registered the UN's deep concern with the Human Rights Council.<br />
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There are around 1 million Burmese migrants living in Thailand. They exist in appalling poverty. Most are employed in backbreaking manual labour, on dangerous construction sites and fisheries or in karaoke bars and brothels.  They face constant harassment - wage exploitation, physical abuse, rape and even murder are commonplace and routinely go unpunished. Few have access to decent healthcare, to education or to legal protection. For the Burmese in Thailand, human rights are little more than a dream. And yet they choose to stay. Why? Because as bad as things are in Thailand, on the other side of the border, they are even worse.

Sick children arrive and die of easily preventable childhood illnesses because in many parts of Burma, particularly those in rebel-held areas, the government provides no health facilities and makes it difficult for charitable organisations to operate there. The Mae Tao clinic sends out teams of doctors to provide simple medical care in local villages but reports that Burmese soldiers steal the medicines and harass their staff. More seriously, seven of the clinic's health workers have been...
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Copyright Rob Few