– About 3000 Karen refugees, who fled to Thailand to escape the Burmese Army’s offensive in eastern Burma, will be shifted to another camp – ‘Thinukhok’ on the Thai-Burma border in the first week of July, said a Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).

Karen refugees to be shifted to another camp
by Ko Wild
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 22:15

Chiangmai (Mizzima) – About 3000 Karen refugees, who fled to Thailand to escape the Burmese Army’s offensive in eastern Burma, will be shifted to another camp – ‘Thinukhok’ on the Thai-Burma border in the first week of July, said a Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).

“The authorities plan to shift the newly arrived refugees to a new camp. They will decide this week. The camp is called ‘Thinukhok’ and it is said to be an old camp,” said Naw Ei Paw Thu, spokesperson of KHRG.

“An official announcement is yet to be made. Approximately, it is slated for July 7,” she added.

The decision to shift newly arrived Karen refugees was made at a meeting held on June 23, where representatives from Thailand’s forest reservation organization called Black Ranger, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Thai Army and other civilian authorities participated.

The Karen refugees fled from Burma and sought shelter in Thasaungyang town in Tak district in Thailand after the Burmese Army backed Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) attacked the Karen National Liberated Army (KNLA) in Karen state, eastern Burma in early June.

The refugees will be allowed to stay for only two or three months in the new camp. If it is not safe in places where they fled from, the refugees will be taken back to the Mae La camp.

However, there is no official confirmation that the refugees will be asked to go back to the Mea La camp if the situation in Karen State is still tense, said the person in-charge of the Mae la camp.

“The UNHCR, MOI and the Thai Army have not yet informed the camp. In my point of view, if the camp is overcrowded, there will be problems relating to rations and accommodation. Since they used to live in the forest, I think they can manage,” Saw Aaku, joint-secretary of the Mea La camp told Mizzima.

Now, the newly arrived refugees are sheltered in three Thai villages Nophaw, Mae Usu and U Tutha village in Thasaungyang Township, around 70 kilometres north of Mae Sot in Thailand.

Dr. Cin Tia Maung’s Mae Taw clinic, Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), the Karen Women’s group and other NGOs in cooperation with the Thai authorities gave aid such as food and medicine to the Karen refugees.

To make matters worse the refugees are facing shortage of drinking water, according to camp authorities.

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