Tragedy strikes refugee women

Three tragic incidents involving women sent shock waves through the Tham Tin refugee camp in Thailand this week.

The three separate incidents happened on August 13, when two Karen refugee women are alleged to have killed themselves, while a third woman survived an attempted suicide. The incidents happened at the Tham Hin refugee camp in Southern Thailand.

The first tragedy happened when a mother of four, working on a Thai farm near the refugee camp, was found hanging in a house – her body was later taken back to the camp.

The dead woman’s daughter aged 21, made allegations that her stepfather regularly abused her family. The daughter said that her stepfather abused her mother and was violent when drunk. Karen News is led to believe that the daughter’s allegations have raised suspicions about the woman’s death and the deceased woman’s husband is been question by the camp committee’s security.

The second case involved a mother with six children who attempted suicide, but was seen by her neighbor and rescued. The neighbor said the woman had alcohol problems and was heard to quarrel with family members. Neighbors said that when the woman attempted to harm herself , her husband was away at work.

The third case involved a young woman student aged 19, who committed suicide by hanging herself at her house. She was not found until the next morning. Karen News is led to understand that the refugee camp committee security is investigating allegations that the young woman may have been sexually abused.

Saw Raymond Bu, head of the Tham Hin refugee camp committee told Karen News.

“Domestic violence is common in the camp. Cases are sometimes reported to the Karen Women’s Organization in the camp. The KWO and other groups have carried out awareness about domestic violence. The domestic violence is mostly the result of alcohol abuse.”

Saw Raymond Bu said that cases of abuse or of a criminal nature are referred to local Thai authorities.

“If any incident that violates Thai law or if there are crimes committed the cases are sent to the Thai township authorities.”

Tham Him refugee camp is home to more than 6,000 refugees from Burma and is located in Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok.

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