Where can they go

What does a refugee camp of 600 people look like? Well a bunch of thatch huts, an orphanage boarding house, a library, a weavery, a bunch of communal wash places, toilet blocks and of course a temple. Here we are just a few kilometres from the border to Burma, and many can see the ruins of their old villages that they were forced to flee. (Read more)

Shan-Tai prayer month 2011, day 6

Shan who flee fighting in Burma are not given refugee status in Thailand, they are considered illegal ‘migrant workers’. Shan are not permitted to establish legally sanctioned refugee camps on Thai soil. They are forced to live in illegal makeshift camps and cannot receive international aid because the Thai government classifies them as economic migrants.

Without refugee status they have no legal access to schools, health facilities, or work and are constantly under the threat of being caught and sent back to Burma. If caught by Thai police and appropriate bribes are not paid, beating, imprisonment or deportation are likely outcomes.

The Thai say I am Burmese, but the Burmese say I am Shan. So where do I go?

With Thailand threatening to close existing Burmese refugee camps and send the occupants back to Burma, and the Burma Army intensifying military operations in Shan State, these people are in a very perilous and uncertain situation. They have no place to call home.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
(Hebrews 11:8-10 ESV)

Pray for

  • The Burmese government to cease its oppressive policies toward the Shan  (Psalm 140:1, Isaiah 60:18, Matthew 5:44).
  • Thailand to extend compassion and provide basic assistance to the Shan who cross its borders (Leviticus 19:33–34).
  • The Shan to seek citizenship in the kingdom of God (Hebrews 11:8–10).

External Resources:

  • View a film about a Shan refugee living in Thailand at Deidox (click on the link and select Pii Chui). This film gives a good idea of what life is like for Burmese people in Thailand. Don’t miss the extra scenes with narration by Director Brent Gudge which gives more detail on how tough life is for Pii Chui.
  • A Shan Missions report of a 2005 visit to a Shan refugee camp.

These kids live in a cold ravine in NE Burma. Their homes were burned down in 2008 and they have had to run for their lives 12 times since then as Burma Army forces advance. Having shoes, even socks, they are the fortunate ones. (Burma on My Mind)

Download the Shan Prayer Guide:

30 Days of Prayer for the Shan
Image of a Shan refugee camp: The Branch Foundation