16 Jul Armed groups in Kayin State to help resettle returned refugees

Written by Kay Zue Published in Refugees Read 4829 times

Armed groups in Kayin State will cooperate in the resettlement of refugees from camps in Thailand when they return home, a Border Guard Force officer told Mizzima on July 15.

Major Naing Maung Zaw, from the BGF in the state, said it will cooperate with other Kayin groups in helping returnees to readjust to life in Myanmar.

“When they return home, they will no longer be refugees and will no longer receive aid and supplies, so we must help to find them jobs so they can make a living," Maj Naing Maung Zaw said.

"The Committee for Reunification of Separated Karen Armed Groups will discuss this matter soon and we will also need much help from the government,” he said.

Maj Naing Maung Zaw said it was planned to resettle most Kayin returnees at two locations near the border town of Myawady.

The return of refugees from the camps was an issue that would have to eventually be addressed, Myanmar Peace Center spokesman U Hla Maung Shwe told Mizzima on July 15.

"We must bring them back someday and we will be returning them to areas where there are no longer conflicts,” he said.

The Thai military on July 14 unveiled plans to repatriate the 120,000 refugees living in camps along the border with Myanmar but said it would not be possible to send them home immediately because their nationality would first need to be verified.

Head-counts were conducted at two camps in Tak Province took place earlier this month. Residents of one of the northernmost camps, Ban Mai Nai Soi in Mae Hong Son Province opposite Kayah State, say the Thai authorities have told them they will be counted soon.

“We have been told that we would be counted but the authorities have said nothing about returning us home,” said Ma Su Mae, a resident of the camp, which houses about 11,700 refugees.