Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Karen,Karenni refugees in Thailand

Thai authorities started the deportations, 3,000 ethnic Karen refugees back to Burma,sending 3 families back to Burma, but then halted them.European governments called on Thailand to halt the deportations,3 families were forced back to Burma return to the temporary refugee camp in Thailand.Though plans suggested repatriation of 30 families of a total of 900 refugees sheltered in Noe Boe temporary refugee camp.“UNHCR told them (the Thai authorities) not to send them back if they did not want to go back. But the Thai authorities insisted on sending them back forcibly,” a refugee from the camp said. International Organization for Migration in a press release on Tuesday said that since 2004, the total number of refugees shifted from Thailand’s refugee camps to new homes abroad, accounted for over 74,000. The majority of the refugees over 57,000 or nearly 80 per cent came from Burma, and belonged to the Karen and Karenni ethnic groups. Local soldiers have still been pressuring the refugees to agree to return, and no permanent solution has yet been agreed that means the refugees are safe and secure. Senior level meetings involving Karen organisations and government officials are being held in Thailand to try to find a solution.Thailand political and military Leaders claims of cooperation to the international community and media, soldiers and officials on the ground are doing the opposite. Sources close to the camp state that to avoid embarrassing pictures of Thai soldiers forcing families to leave, the removals were carried out by people in civilian clothing, and that they could have been soldiers in civilian clothing and vehicles. There are also worrying reports that Thai authorities are trying to stir up negative feelings about the refugees in nearby Thai villages, which they can then use as a pretext for their actions.

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