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Functionally Refoulement: Camps in Tha Song Yang District Abandoned as Refugees Bow to Pressure

By Karen Human Rights Group  •  April 1, 2010

Two temporary refugee camps established during June 2009 in Tha Song Yang District, Tak Province, Thailand, to provide refuge for villagers that fled increased conflict and exploitative abuse in Pa’an District have now been all but entirely abandoned.  The camps were home to more than 2,209 refugees as recently as January 2010; over the last two months, the camp populations have dwindled as small groups have departed one by one. On March 31st and April 1st, the last residents of the Nong Bua and Mae U Su sites left in two large groups, of 24 and 102 families respectively.  This report details the circumstances of the refugee’ departure, including interviews that indicate refugees left because of a persistent campaign of harassment by soldiers of the Royal Thai Army (RTA), who pressured the refugees to return to Burma in spite of warnings that safe return is not currently possible.  The report also details the dangers returned refugees may face, including risks from landmines as well as violent and exploitative abuse by the DKBA and SPDC Army.  This section also includes details regarding the death and injury of two young boys that accidentally detonated an unexploded M79 cartridge they found outside the village of Mae La Ah Kee on March 31st 2010.  Highlighting the risks returned refugees may face, the boys came from a family that had been forced out of the Mae U Su site by RTA soldiers at the end of the rainy season 2009.

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Displacement, Human Rights

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