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Concern at Thailand's planned deportation of refugees to Myanmar

Rights groups have expressed grave concerns over the Thai military's decision to deport up to 130,000 refugees from Myanmar.

"The policy of the National Council for Peace and Order is to send the refugees back and close all camps," a source within the military was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying.

"The Myanmar government is also ready to bring them home," the source further added.

"We are not at the stage where we will deport people because we must first verify the nationality of those in the camps," the Thai  army deputy spokesman Veerachon Sukhontapatipak told Reuters.

"Once that is done we will find ways to send them back. There are around 100,000 people who have been living in the camps for many years without freedom. Thailand and Myanmar will help facilitate their smooth return."

However, rights groups have raised concern about the safety of those deported, particularly of Rohingya people who have faced increasing violence over recent years.
"Sending back refugees to Burma is really dangerous for most of the refugees because Burma did not get peace and we don't know [when] there will be another conflict in Karen state," an activist told Voice of America.

"Burma is not ready [with] job creation for those returning refugees, and then land confiscation also landmine problems are not over yet. Therefore I have great concern," he added.

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