Chin Refugees in Thailand Fear Forced Deportation
14 April 2011: Chin refugees stranded in Nu Poe Refugee Camp on the eastern border are among those reported to be in fear of forced deportation to military-ruled Burma following recent plans announced by the Thai government.
The ‘unexpected’ plans by Thailand to send more than 142,000 refugees back to Burma have triggered mounting concern among the residents of nine refugee camps along the Thai border.
One of the Chin refugee leaders told Chinland Guardian: “We are really shocked and in despair when we heard about the news that the Thai government is sending us back to Burma.”
“The news has affected and hurt us mentally. If this actually happens, our lives will be in grave danger. We are very much worried,” added the Chin leader in Nu Poe Refugee Camp.
Tawin Pleansri, Thai National Security Council Chief, said the Thai government is in the process of discussion with the Burmese government over their new plans to close down the camps that has existed for more than 20 years, according to sources.
Sally Thompson, Deputy Executive Director of Thailand Burma Border Consortium that urged the Thai government not to forcibly return any of the refugees, was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying: “There are still new arrivals coming into the camp. There’s still conflict in eastern Burma.”
There are about 251 Chins, with 105 females and 57 children mostly under the age of 13, currently sheltering in Nu Poe Refugee Camp, home to an estimated 15,000 refugees from nine different ethnic groups from Burma, with the majority being Karen.
Van Biak Thang