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UNHCR:Less Than Half of Burmese Refugees in Thailand Report to Authorities


A United Nations refugee agency official says less than half the Burmese refugees believed to be in Thailand have reported for transfer to refugee camps as authorities in Bangkok have instructed.

Kirsten Yong of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees told VOA Burmese service Thursday only about 1200 of the 3000 Burmese in Thailand who have been declared "persons of concern" had reported by the March 31st deadline.

Thai authorities say Burmese refugees who do not turn themselves in can be arrested and deported.

Human Rights Watch has accused Thailand of trying to strengthen its ties with the Burmese military government by suppressing the Burmese pro-democracy movement in Thailand.

On another issue, Ms. Yong expressed concern that detainees in refugee camps are denied access to cell phones or the Internet, a situation, she said, raises human rights questions.

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