Thailand braces for influx of Myanmar refugees following crackdown

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Protesters clash with security forces during a protest against the military coup and the detention of civilian leaders in Myanmar. Photo: Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa
Protesters clash with security forces during a protest against the military coup and the detention of civilian leaders in Myanmar. Photo: Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa

dpa/GNA – Thailand is preparing for a surge in refugees from neighbouring Myanmar, where a brutal military crackdown has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of anti-coup protesters.

“We are aware of our neighbour’s issues and are making considerations but let’s keep it internal for now,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday.

“We don’t want an exodus into our territory but at the same time we also have to consider human rights,” he said.

Prayuth said authorities will prepare areas to accommodate refugees but he declined to elaborate on the details. “Where will they go, how many will there be – we’ll talk about that later,” he said.

Sittichai Jindaluang, governor of Mae Hong Sorn province in Thailand’s north, said on Sunday that his province has already seen around 2,200 refugees from Myanmar, and more are expected.

As of Sunday, 459 people have been killed in Myanmar for protesting a February 1 military takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group, with many of the dead youths and students.

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