thailand pushed back myanmar refugees to border
Thousands of Myanmar refugees have been facing risks in recent months. Their harrowing tales of escape from Myanmar, coupled with the uncertainty of their future in neighboring countries, reflect the human cost of the ongoing political unrest.
The Human Rights Watch said in a report titled, ‘Thailand: Recent Refugees Pushed Back to Myanmar’, that Thailand had pushed back thousands of Myanmar refugees at the border, putting their lives at risk in Myanmar, a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups.
Last month, the military force of Thailand forcibly started returning Myanmar refugees who had been sheltering in border areas to Myanmar’s Karenni State. They had to make a choice between Thailand and Myanmar. Fearful of being trapped in Myanmar, they chose to return to Thailand. However, the Thai authorities started pushing back Myanmar refugees.
This comes after Indonesia refused to provide shelter to Rohingya refugees. Recently, Bangladesh police officers detained 58 Rohingya refugees, who were trying to start a sea journey to Indonesia.
Bangladesh is home to 1 million Rohingya refugees, who fled a violent crackdown by the Myanmar junta.
What happened to Myanmar refugees in Thailand?
In recent months, thousands of people fled Myanmar after fighter jets attacked villages near the border held by a force from the Karen ethnic group. They left due to frequent airstrikes in Karenni State.
After the February 2021 coup in Myanmar, 45,000 Myanmar refugees fled to Thailand. The authorities gave them temporary shelters near the border.
However, the new arrivals were not allowed to enter existing refugee camps. Thai officials also imposed restrictions on their movement.
In July this year, 9,000 Myanmar refugees came to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son district. Thailand allowed them to stay in the informal temporary shelters.
However, last month, the Thai authorities ordered them to return to Myanmar within two weeks, putting their lives at risk.
A 45-year-old woman told HRW, “I’ve fled at least seven times since leaving my home earlier in the year because of the airstrikes.”
Myanmar junta have been carrying out torture, arbitrary arrests, and indiscriminate attacks against people that amount to crimes against humanity.
As the Myanmar refugees grapple with this crisis, their stories serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar.