UNHCR urges Thailand to transfer Myanmar refugees to safer location

BANGKOK: UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, has urged the Thai government to transfer approximately 1,000 Myanmar refugees sheltered in the “temporary safety area”, in Mae Sot, Tak Province to a safer location.

“The situation remains extremely uncertain and volatile in Myanmar. Given the pressing humanitarian needs of the refugees and the continued fighting on the Myanmar side of the border, UNHCR calls on the Thai Government to transfer the group to another location where they can access safer and more dignified temporary accommodation, and receive improved humanitarian assistance,” UNHCR said in a statement.

According to official sources, over 9,500 civilians have been forced to flee their homes in Kayin and Kayah states in southeast Myanmar, seeking shelter and protection in Tak and Mae Hong Son Provinces in Thailand folllowing clashes between security forces and militants.

While the majority have returned to Myanmar, UNHCR understands from the Thai authorities that approximately 1,000 refugees remain in Mae Sot, the vast majority of whom are staying in a site in Mae Kone Kane.

UNHCR reiterated its readiness to assist the Thai authorities in responding to the humanitarian needs of the new arrivals.

“To that effect, UNHCR and humanitarian partners continue to request access to the refugee population,” it said.

On Monday, the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy on Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, called on Thailand’s support to prevent a deterioration in the situation in Myanmar. – Bernama