On The Border


The Ministry of Border Affairs and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) jointly hosted a consultation workshop on a strategic operation plan for the voluntary repatriation of Myanmar refugees in Thailand in Nay Pyi Taw on 6 July, state media reported.

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Thai and Burmese authorities will begin checking documents of Burmese nationals displaced by war who are residing in Thailand to pave the way for their repatriation.

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Myanmar’s government will send a delegation to Thailand to carry out a citizenship verification process so that 196 people living in the refugee camps along the border can be retaken as they have expressed their willingness to return home, according to a news statement released by the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Thailand and Burma have agreed to set up a committee to examine related documents in preparation for the repatriation of war refugees residing on the Thai side of their common border.

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Thailand and Burma have agreed to renew negotiations over disputed border demarcations, which had stalled under Burma’s previous government.

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Refugees at Mae La, the largest Burmese refugee camp in Thailand, have urged the Thai and Burmese governments not to forcibly send refugees on the Thai side of the Thai-Burma border to Burma.

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Burma’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has told Burmese migrant workers in Thailand they would be protected under new agreements signed between the two countries.

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Local Thai authorities have reportedly cancelled the State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s official visit to the Tham Hin refugee camp in Ratchaburi province on Saturday, according to sources close to the camp administration.

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After Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took over power of Myanmar a nationality verification process was initiated in the Rakhine State dominated by the Muslim minority community.

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The Thai government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have repeatedly insisted that the return of more than 120,000 Burmese refugees from Thailand should be voluntary.

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Myanmar will not reopen the long-closed Phaya Thonzu border crossing with Thailand before the controversial boundary is formally demarcated, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

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Migrant rights groups are calling for Burma and Thailand to form an agreement that will ensure the process for Burmese migrants renewing documents is not strenuous, timely and expensive.

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Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary of India’s Home Ministry in charge of the Northeast, said Delhi was alarmed by the recent ambush of Assam Rifles soldiers.

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Myanmar is planning to open seven new border trade camps under the second short-term five-year National Comprehensive Development Plan which spans from 2016-2017 to 2020-2021.

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Putting to rest reports of a surgical strike in Myanmar against rebels from the North East after an ambush killing six Assam Rifles personnel in Manipur last month, the Army on Monday said sometimes factional fights among insurgent groups were attributed to security forces.

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More individual and large-scale returns of Burmese refugees from Thailand are expected during the dry season next year, according to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide assistance to more than 120,000 refugees on the Thai-Burma border.

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The army has admitted it is struggling to repatriate more than 100,000 Myanmar refugees along the border, and is pinning its hopes on the new government in Nay Pyi Taw being able to guarantee safety and security.

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Two weeks ago, three Arakanese women from Kyaukphyu Township in northern Arakan met in an unlikely place: Shweli, a Chinese town also known as Ruili, on the border with Burma.

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Suspected tribal militants ambushed a BSF patrol party at Heirok in Manipur’s Thoubal district along the India-Myanmar border on Thursday.
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Photographer Shin Myint Mo lives in Kengtung in eastern Shan State, part of the notorious Golden Triangle region where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet and traders from China once paid in gold for opium and its derivative, heroin. Of Shan and Karen ancestry, Shin Myint Mo holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and works for a local NGO that promotes women and children’s rights.

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