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NEWS - Thai Army Poised to Deport
- Subject: NEWS - Thai Army Poised to Deport
- From: Rangoonp@xxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 19:53:00
Subject: NEWS - Thai Army Poised to Deport Karen Asylum-Seekers
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Thai Army Poised to Deport Karen Asylum-Seekers
MAE SOT, Thailand, Feb 1 (Reuters) - The Thai military
said on Monday it was poised to deport more than 800
people of Karen descent who had fled from Myanmar into
Thai border camps.
They are "economic migrants" who sneaked into Huaykalok
refugee camp, in northern Tak province, last month, said
Colonel Chayudhi Boonpan, task-force commander for the
"These newcomers are not people escaping from fighting but
are economic migrants who have sneaked into the country to
seek for work. We have to send them back," said Chayudhi.
Nearly 60,000 Karen refugees live in four camps in Tak
province, having fled fighting between Karen National Union
rebels and Myanmar government troops.
Chayudhi said the Karen Refugee Committee (KRC) and
some non-government organisations had sought a week's
grace to verify if the newcomers were genuine refugees. If
not, they would be deported, he added.
The Thai military also plans to relocate some 30,000
refugees in Tak province to a new camp deeper inside
Thailand, Chayudhi said.
A KRC official said a separate group of almost 3,000 Karen
refugees had fled their homes and were living in bushes
along the banks of the Moei River, which borders the two
"They want to come to Thailand but the Thai army does not
allow them in. So they have to live in the bushes on the
Myanmar side of the river but cannot return to their
because Myanmar troops have taken over their villages," he
A total of 100,000 Myanmar refugees of Karen origin have
fled fighting in their homeland to live in several sprawling
camps in Thailand's Tak, Mae Hong Son and Kanchanaburi