Mae Hong Son governor clarifies on Myanmar refugees
There are presently about 2,000 Karen refugees in Mae Hong Son’s Mae Sariang and Khun Yuam districts, with officials providing them with shelter and other necessities, provincial Governor Sithichai Jindaluang told a press conference on Tuesday.
The 2,000 Karen fled air strikes by Myanmar government forces. The strikes came amid the bloodiest week so far in the Myanmar junta’s crackdown on the civilian population, with 141 reportedly killed on Saturday alone.
“The refugees have been crossing the border since March 11 as the situation in Myanmar started to escalate, and there are now about 2,000 Karen refugees in Mae Sariang and Khun Yuam districts,” Sithichai said.
“Thai officials have not only provided shelter and other necessities to the refugees but are also negotiating with those who can return to Myanmar to leave voluntarily. We believe this particular group will return home within 1-2 days,” he told the media.
“As for those who refuse to return or are unable to do so right now, the province will treat them under guidelines to be issued by the Thai government,” he said.
“If the situation in Myanmar worsens and more refugees enter Thailand, the province may consider building a refugee centre, subject to approval by the Interior Ministry.”
Sithichai also said that seven refugees were injured while fleeing to Thailand. Five are being treated at Sobmei Hospital and one each at Mae Sariang and Sri Sangwan hospitals in the province.
“Once the injured have been cured they will either be sent back or sent to join other refugees in Thailand,” he added.
“The province has been following humanitarian principles and international laws in dealing with the Myanmar refugees,” the governor insisted.