Model fearing Myanmar military heads for Canadian asylum


Bangkok – fashion model from Burma (also known as Myanmar) Fearing that she would be arrested by the country’s military government if she was forced back home from exile, she flew to Canada, where she was granted asylum.

Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, flew in from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport early Wednesday morning, according to Archayon Kraithong, deputy director general of Thailand’s immigration department. He said he was not authorized to reveal her destination.

Thaw Nandar Aung told US government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia on Tuesday that he was heading to Canada after being granted political asylum with the support of UNHCR and the Canadian Embassy in Thailand.

“Everything goes by quickly and I only have a few clothes, so I’ll have to follow what they have planned for me,” she said.

“I raised my voice Burma anywhere. During my stay in Thailand, I spoke to the media about my country. Canada is a safe place for me, so I will have more opportunities to talk about this issue. And as you know, Burma Being a Canadian community, I’m sure I’ll be able to keep fighting. Burma with their help. “

A phone call to the Canadian embassy seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Thaw Nandar Aung was stranded at Bangkok’s airport after Thai authorities denied her entry when she arrived on September 21 from a short trip to Vietnam. She lives in Thailand but to extend her stay she had to leave and re-enter.

While at the airport, she met UNHCR representatives to avoid being sent back to the United Nations. BurmaThose who are denied entry into Thailand are usually deported to their final point of departure, but UN agencies have advised her to be arrested in Vietnam and then repatriated. BurmaA spokesman for Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said she was denied entry into Thailand “due to travel document problems”.

Thaw Nandar Aung denounced her country’s military rulers from the Miss Grand International beauty pageant stage in Bangkok last year. She denounced their selfishness and abuse of power for using deadly force to quell peaceful protests and called for international help for her country.

BurmaThe military seized power from the elected Aung San Suu Kyi government in February 2021 and cracked down on widespread opposition to its rule. Critics, including actors and other celebrities, have been arrested on charges that carry penalties ranging from three years in prison to the death penalty.

In July authorities executed four activists accused of involvement in terrorist activities, and UN experts described violence in the country as a civil war.

Thaw Nandar Aung said he was charged in absentia with sedition for speaking out against the military takeover at pageants and online last September. This charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

New York-based Human Rights Watch accuses BurmaThe junta has invalidated or otherwise interfered with Thaw Nandar Aung’s passport, making her “a deliberate political act by the junta that renders her stateless upon her return to Thailand from Vietnam.” made a victim. This tactic was also used against other critics, he said.

“What happened was definitely a trap to force Han Ray back home. BurmaThere, she was promptly arrested and is likely to face ill-treatment and imprisonment in custody,” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy director for Asia, said in an emailed statement. , she was advised to stay at the airport and wait for the necessary protection to be provided.This was a victory for rights and refugee protection.”

Tasani Vejiponsa

Associated Press