Thai Authorities Refuse Sanctuary to 2009 Villagers Seeking Safety from Burma Military Airstrikes

Today Thai authorities refused entry to 2009 displaced people from Ei Tu Hta camp who were fleeing Burma after military jets attacked villages on Saturday 28 March. The villagers were mostly from Ei Tu Hta, a displaced peoples’ camp on the Burma side of the Salween River.

The villagers who were forced back by the Thai authorities to the Burma side of the border are now too afraid to go back to their homes in Ei Tu Hta because of the threat of airstrikes and are now taking refuge in makeshift jungle hideouts.

Thai news media reported the Thai government said they were not prepared to interfere with internal politics in Burma.

On Saturday, Burma military fighter jets bombed more than 3,000 people from Mae Nu Hta, Kho Kay and Ei Tu Hta. The Burma military jets fired nine bombs in Day Bu No village in the northern Karen State, killing three civilians and injuring eight more.

The European Karen Network joined with humanitarian groups and called on “the government of Thailand to stop forced deportation of Karen refugees back into Burma. Forcibly sending people back into a conflict zone amounts to refoulment and is against international refugee law.”

The European Karen Network said in a media statement issued today that “Thai authorities blocked humanitarian aid to the newly arrived refugees and today started forcing them back into Karen State despite the danger of further bombings and jets continuing to fly over local Karen villages. They have been given until noon tomorrow (30th March) to leave.”

The Burma military staged a coup d’état on February 1, 2021, arresting politicians, including Aung San Suu Kyi as the country’s elected NLD government was about to begin a new term. Since the coup began on February 1 the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) have documented as of 28 March 2559 people have been arrested and 459 people killed by army and police.

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