Burma a Major Source Country for Refugees: UNHCR

Dhaka: Burma was listed as one of the “Major Source Countries of Refugees” worldwide by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in its latest report.

The UNHCR put the military-ruled Burma fifth on the list of ten major source countries of refugees, with a refugee population of 406,700, in its latest report titled 2009 Global Trends.

The UNHCR listed Afghanistan, with a refugee population of 2,887,100 in first place, followed by Iraq with 1,785,200 refugees, Somalia with 678,300 refugees, the Congo with 455,900 refugees, Burma with 406,700 refugees, Columbia with 389,800 refugees, Sudan with 368,200 refugees, Vietnam with 339,300 refugees, Eritrea with 209,200 refugees, and Serbia, with 195,600 refugees.

The report also said that Burma was added to the list of major refugee producing countries after 200,000 unregistered Burmese Muslim refugees taking shelter in Bangladesh were added to the official tally of refugees from Burma.

The report also added that refugees from Burma are the second-largest group of people seeking asylum abroad, and comprise one-third of the 48,600 total new asylum applications that have been accepted by the UNHCR in Malaysia.

According to regional sources, more than a million people have fled their homes in Burma to seek refuge abroad due to oppressive military rule, and most of those are now living as unregistered refugees in neighboring Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and India.

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