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Cablegate: Embassy Refugee Referral for Zaw Than Htike

VZCZCXRO9496
PP RUEHCHI
DE RUEHBK #1859 0880859
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290859Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5922
INFO RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 3783
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 3358

UNCLAS BANGKOK 001859

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

///////C O R R E C T E D COPY////// CHANGING PARAGRAPH
MARKINGS ONLY.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM TH BMGT
SUBJECT: EMBASSY REFUGEE REFERRAL FOR ZAW THAN HTIKE


1. (U) This is an action request. See para 7.

2. (SBU) Embassy is referring Burmese citizen, Mr. Zaw Than
Htike, for resettlement to the United States through the
Department's Refugee Resettlement Program. Biographical
information follows:

Name: Zaw Than Htike
DOB: November 11, 1975
Nationality: Burmese
Gender: Male

Persecution Claim
-----------------

3. (SBU) Zaw Than Htike was one of the junior leaders of the
1988 student generation and a former political prisoner. He
was imprisoned from July 4, 1999 to July 6, 2005 at the
Pathein and Myingyan Prison for distributing literature
against the military regime. Zaw was heavily involved with
human rights courses at the American Center where he took
multiple English and Journalism courses.

4. (SBU) Zaw stated that he continued his political activities
after his first American Center training course held in June
2006. Upon completion of the course, he made two trips to
other townships to discuss human rights and distribute
literature. Training at the Center occured again in July and
October of 2007. After every training session Zaw would
embark on trips to various townships to create a human rights
network. After a workshop on documenting complex
humanitarian emergencies in January 2007, Zaw cooperated with
his colleagues to distribute thousands of copies of the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights in Burmese, Karen and
Shan languages. Among the material distributed was the Human
Rights handbook and hundreds of activist instructional DVDs.
Zaw claimed he obtained all the material from the American
Center.

5. (SBU) Zaw and his colleagues received a small grant from the
Burma Project by which they collected data on human rights
abuses in Burma and sent the information to advocacy groups
and news agencies. He previously traveled to Thailand on
November 17, 2006 and because he did not feel at risk at that
time, returned to Burma. At 8 p.m. on February 1, 2007 the
Burmese police came to Zaw's apartment and asked his family
members about his whereabouts and his activities. They
detained and questioned his relatives and searched his
parents' apartment. Zaw's brother remains in detention for
anti-governmental activities. After these incidents, Zaw
urgently left Burma and flew to Thailand on his valid Burmese
passport. He arrived in Bangkok on February 12, 2007. Zaw
claims that one week after he left Burma his friend, Myint
Zaw Do, who is also involved in these political activities
and a former political prisoner, was detained. The
government kept Myint's and four other students' passport.

Need for Resettlement
---------------------

6. (SBU) It is possible that Zaw would be detained and possibly
imprisoned if he was to return to Burma. There is no durable
solution for Zaw in Thailand.

7. (SBU) Post recommends that Department approve this Embassy
referral of Zaw Than Htike. Please provide guidance on
whether post should take further steps in processing this
case for U.S. resettlement.
ARVIZU

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