Thailand Turns Away Refugees from Myanmar

Karenni+refugees+from+Myanmar+arrive+in+northern+Thailand%2C+seeking+help+for+an+injured+person+they+had+on+their+boat.+Recently%2C+Thailand+has+begun+forcing+out+some+of+the+thousands+of+Burmese+refugees%2C+but+the+Prime+Minister+says+that+they+have+not+forced+anyone+to+leave+%28photo+courtesy+AP+News%29.

Karenni refugees from Myanmar arrive in northern Thailand, seeking help for an injured person they had on their boat. Recently, Thailand has begun forcing out some of the thousands of Burmese refugees, but the Prime Minister says that they have not forced anyone to leave (photo courtesy AP News).

Ashdon Kice, Photo Manager

The recent coup – and subsequent fighting – in Myanmar caused many of its citizens to flee to nearby countries. On March 30, Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, denied accusations that his country had forcefully removed the refugees, and instead stated that they returned home of their own accord. 

Prayuth told reporters “There is no influx of refugees yet. We asked those who crossed to Thailand if they have any problem in their area. When they say no problem, we just asked them to return to their land first. We asked, we did not use any force.”

According to several humanitarian aid agencies, Thai soldiers had begun forcing people to return to Myanmar. Refugees have been lied to about the safety of their homes. The U.S. suspended a trade deal with Myanmar on March 29 that will last until a democratic government is restored. This will not stop trade, but instead restricted U.S. dealings with two military holding companies that dominate Myanmar’s economy.

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