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3000 Refugees Under Thai Pressure to Return to Burma

ICC Note: While not directly related to the orphanage ICC supports, this does have implications for all Burma refugees.

2/4/10 Thailand (CSW) – The Royal Thai Government and local military leaders are threatening to force 3000 Karen refugees living in temporary camps along the Thailand-Burma border to return to Burma without protection within the next two days.

The refugees fled into Thailand in June 2009 following a military offensive by the Burma Army and the pro-regime militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), in Karen State, Eastern Burma.

Of the 3,000 refugees approximately 1,200 came from Ler Per Her IDP camp, just inside Karen State, on the Thailand-Burma border. Christian Solidarity Worldwide has visited this camp many times in the past and sources say it is now riddled with landmines and under the control of the DKBA.

Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at CSW, said: “There is a severe risk that if they return, the Karen refugees will be subjected to severe human rights violations, including forced labour and rape by soldiers of the Burma Army. This is an urgent situation which requires immediate international attention. CSW calls on the authorities in Thailand to continue to provide shelter and protection to all Karen refugees. These people must not be returned until they can do so safely, and that will only be possible when Burma is free and at peace.“

[See full Press Release]