Humanitarian corridor from Myanmar wars planned in Tak

Humanitarian corridor from Myanmar wars planned in Tak

Foreign minister to inspect border area

Humanitarian corridor from Myanmar wars planned in Tak
A member of the rebel Karenni Nationalities Defence Force helps civilians caught up in government airstrikes, during the fighting around Loikaw in Kayah state, Myanmar, on Nov 14, 2023. (Reuters photo)

Thailand will set up a safe zone in Tak for international operations to help Myanmar people fleeing the fighting in their home country, with an eye to expanding the corridor to other border areas.

Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said on Tuesday Tak had been chosen for the first humanitarian corridor to deliver basic needs to displaced Myanmar people, and would be the model for similar zones in other border provinces.

The minister plans to visit Tak on Feb 8-9 before launching the humanitarian corridor for international agencies to mount assistance to Myanmar people.

The announcement comes after foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed in a meeting in Luang Prabang, Laos, to the Thai initiative.

Thailand proposed the zone to help displaced people inside Myanmar and those fleeing the fighting in their country.

The ministers said in the statement released on Monday the operation would be carried out by the Thai Red Cross Society and its Myanmar partner.

“We welcomed the initiative between Thailand and Myanmar to scale up humanitarian assistance along the border through the Red Cross societies of the two countries, to provide effective, credible and transparent delivery of basic needs to those in need, without discrimination,” the Asean statement said.

Laos is the regional bloc chairman this year.

Mr Parnpree said other international Red Cross agencies would participate at a later stage, to ensure transparency and non-interference in the operation.

He stressed there would be no interference by Asean members in Myanmar affairs, and Thailand would not allow other countries to meddle in the humanitarian initiative. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had agreed with the idea in talks with him, the minister added.

China’s top diplomat and the US top security official were each here for bilateral talks. 

Myanmar generals toppled the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. There has been continual fighting within the country since then between govenment and rebel ethnic groups.