13 Jan Government, KNU to discuss census plan for refugee camps

Written by Hein Ko Soe Published in Refugees Read 10140 times

The governments of Myanmar and Thailand are planning talks to enable fthe residents of border refugee camps to be counted in the national census later this year, an official from the Ministry of Immigration and Population told Mizzima on January 9.

The official said the assistance of the Karen National Union would be needed for the population survey of the estimated 130,000 people living in the camps on the Thai side of the border.

The Minister of Immigration and Population, U Khin Yee, and central committee members of the KNU would begin two days of talks in the Kayin State capital, Hpa-an, on January 14 to discuss the census plan, the official said.

“If the discussions are successful, we will go over there to?conduct the census,” he said.

The joint secretary (1) of the KNU, Saw Si Bwe, told Mizzima on January 9 it was essential that camp residents be included in the census.

“We want them to take part in the census no matter what,” he said.

The assistance of the KNU in the census would help to overcome a number of challenges, including language barriers and security.

As well as large numbers of Kayin, the camps are also home to Mon, Kayenni and other ethnic groups.

Kayin have been seeking refuge in Thailand since fighting erupted between the KNU and government forces within weeks of Myanmar gaining independence from Britain on January 4, 1948.