Government must halt repatriation of refugees

Published on February 2, 2010

The Karen Women Organisation issued a press release Tuesday demanding the government not to forcibly repatriate more than 3,000 Karen refugees, the majority being women and children, who are currently living in Tha Song Yang district, in Tak province.
According to the organisation, The Karen refugees fled from fighting in the Ler Per Her area, located in Burma’s Karen State, last june.
The refugees were granted temporary refuge in different locations in Tak province, but the Thai Army has repeatedly pressured the refugees to return home, telling them they needed to return to Burma before February 15th. It was not clear as to why the military pegged the return date to mid-February.

Some refugees have already been forced to cross the border to clean the village’s homes in preparation for their return in an area that the organisation considers “very dangerous”.

“They are now living in fear of imminent forced repatriation into an area which is heavily land-mined, and where active conflict can re-ignite at any moment”, stated the press release.

Blooming Night Zan, a leading member of on of the organisations, stated that the since the situation is still very dangerous, evidenced by people being injured by landmines, the Government needs to call off the repatriation.

“We appeal to the Thai authorities now to show your humanitarian kindness again and provide these refugees with protection on Thai soil,” the statement quoted Blooming as saying.


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