On The Border


Thailand is expected to post a border-trade surplus with Myanmar within two years as that country welcomes flows of trade and investment, and its growing economy leads to greater purchasing power.
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The Karen National Union’s, secretary 1, Padoh Saw Thaw Thi Bweh told Karen News that unless the situation in Burma guarantees refugees safety, their dignity and is conducted according to international humanitarian guidelines any return at the moment is not appropriate.
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Community health workers in the Thai border town of Mae Sot have developed a health education campaign under the banner of Stop Dengue – Protect Your Family! Health workers said that the aim of the campaign is to combat the spread of the mosquito borne infection among the region’s migrant workers.
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Two weeks ago, Kyi Htay sneaked back into Mae La refugee camp in the dead of night. Working as a medic in southeastern Burma’s Karen State — and registered as a refugee in the camp for more than 20 years – the 45-year-old has made this journey dozens of times.
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A shift in funding priorities by donor organisations is affecting the work of the famous Mae Tao Clinic, says its founder, Dr Cynthia Maung.
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In eastern Myanmar, just a stone’s throw from the Chinese border, lies a den of drug smuggling, gambling, and vice.
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Refugees from Burma residing in Thai border camps are concerned about the lack of transparency and proper procedures by Thai authorities regarding repatriation, in light of a recent census poll being conducted in the camps.
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When Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha announced on July 11 that the Thai refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border would be emptied, many wondered if there really is new resolve by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to repatriate the 130,000 Myanmar refugees who have been living in Thailand for many years.
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Thai junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has given an assurance that human rights principles will be upheld when the time comes to repatriate tens of thousands of Myanmar from refugee camps, the Bangkok Post reported on July 27.
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Thailand’s authorities have banned Burmese refugees living on the Thai-Burmese border from leaving their camps, while they conduct a census to determine the exact number of refugees living in the country. There are nine refugee camps along the border and aid agencies say they provide relief to no less than 120,000 people.
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Myanmar and Bangladeshi authorities have vowed to strengthen border security and combat “illegal armed groups and criminals” following clashes on their shared frontier that Dhaka said left one of its soldiers dead.
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Northern Thailand has long been home to thousands of Burmese refugees who have fled ethnic fighting and their country’s military government for temporary camps. After Burma’s political opening, more of these refugees are returning home, but many, such as ethnic Karen groups, say it’s still not safe.
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A Burmese border guard police officer has confirmed that a member of the Border Guard Bangladesh was killed by his unit on Wednesday when a clash broke out between the two sides amid rising tensions along the border, with the government in Dhaka calling for an investigation into the incident.
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The Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge and border gates have been temporarily closed after Thailand’s military declared a coup on Thursday.
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Myanmar-China border trade has reached US$268 million between April 1 and May 15, since the start of the current fiscal year.
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A host of international based Burma human rights advocacy organisations have voiced grave concern that refugees on the Thai-Burma border are being forced to return to Burma prematurely because of deep cuts in international aid.
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Four border guard police officers were killed and another wounded after a clash with an armed group along the Burma-Bangladesh border in Maungdaw Township, northern Arakan State, on Saturday, local authorities say.
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The construction of a fence along Burma’s border with Bangladesh has resumed in Arakan State. (more…)

A border-based rights group has accused Thai immigration authorities for extorting and mistreating Myanmar migrant workers on the Mae Sot-Bangkok expressway.
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Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who have already been displaced twice and some even trice, have to flee once again as battles rage in southern Kachin State and northern Shan State between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese Government troops.
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