31 Jan US ending Myanmar refugee program

Written by AFP Published in Refugees Read 10909 times
The Mae La refugee camp is located about 90 km from Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border. Refugees have been living in Thai camps since the mid-1990s. Photo: AFP The Mae La refugee camp is located about 90 km from Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border. Refugees have been living in Thai camps since the mid-1990s. Photo: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States is winding down a program which has helped to resettle 73,000 refugees from Myanmar over almost a decade, a US official confirmed on January 30.

After being introduced in 2005 primarily to help Kayin and Hmong minorities that have been displaced in Myanmar "we're reaching the natural conclusion" of the program, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"With our robust resettlement program, the number of eligible Burmese refugees has been reduced significantly, and not all Burmese who are eligible for resettlement consideration are interested in permanent resettlement," she said.

Refugees from Myanmar who are still interested in resettling in the US should get their applications in quick, Psaki added.

"If those who are eligible are interested, they should apply now, and we will see the process through for all those who apply."

Human rights groups have long raised concerns about the living conditions of the Kayin and Hmong minorities, many of whom have fled persecution.

Last modified on Friday, 31 January 2014 17:30