Rangoon, Oct. 19: Burmese President Thein Sein has asked country’s exiles to return to the country amid wave of democratic reforms.
The exiles will, however, have been asked to sign written undertakings that they will avoid criticizing the government and from getting involved in politics or publishing anything that could “harm the state”.
Thein Sein has invited the thousands or even millions of Burmese who had fled the country for ‘various reasons’ to return.
Confronted by a shortage of educated workers, including teachers and engineers, he said the government would even help them find jobs or develop businesses, the Independent reports.
A number of Burmese, who left the country to avoid repression or else to find work, especially political activists, have been told they need to sign the five-point undertaking before they will be granted a visa.
According to the report, Phone Kyaw, 34, who left Burma for Australia in 1999 after being involved in the democracy movement as a student, said he recently applied for visa to allow him to visit for the first time in more than a decade.
“You have to agree to have no involvement in politics and do no actions that might damage the government,” Kyaw, who is currently employed at a gold mine, said.
According to a copy of the agreement, it said that the exiles should pay back the government’s ‘generosity’.
Mark Farmaner of the Burma Campaign UK, claimed the document showed that reforms in Burma were “skin deep”, the report said.
“Thein Sein faces a dilemma. Luring exiles home is important as they are one of the main sources of information about human rights abuses in the country. However, once home they will be dangerous as they will be effective advocates for change. This contract seems to be the way they are dealing with that dilemma,” he said.
“Political prisoners were released conditionally and now exiles are being told they can return conditionally. With all repressive laws still on the books, the threat of jail hangs over any returning exile who is critical of the government,” he added. (ANI)