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Repatriation of Karen Refugees Halted for Time Being

By Burma Partnership  •  February 6, 2010

According to the Thai Foreign Ministry, the repatriation of refugees from Burma’s Karen State has been halted for the time being. Spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said that the Foreign Ministry wants “to dispel any concerns that their return would not be on a voluntary basis.”

Friends of Burma (FOB) has informed us that it has not yet delivered the open letter to Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. However, FOB did meet with the National Human Rights Commission, who accepted the group’s complaints, as outlined in the open letter to the Prime Minister. Meetings are also being planned with relevant government ministries on Wednesday, 10 February.

Yesterday, three families with a total of 13 people were sent back into Burma from Nong Bua Camp. In a statement, the Karen Women’s Organization said that nine of the refugees sent back were women, and the rest were children, including a 9-month old breastfeeding baby.

While the situation is stable at the moment, we join the Karen Women’s Organization in urging all concerned people to continue their efforts to advocate for an end to the repatriation of the remaining refugees.

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