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UN Refugee Agency Denies Thailand's Charges Over Burmese Exiles - 2003-07-01


The U.N. refugee agency has denied charges by Thailand that it granted refugee status to Burmese exiles in Thai territory without informing Thai authorities.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement from Bangkok Tuesday that it always shares details of asylum requests with Thai officials and invites their participation.

It says it submitted its latest list of Burmese refugees on June 13th.

Thailand accuses the refugee agency of violating its sovereignty.

The UNHCR has the authority to grant asylum to refugees in Thailand because that country has not signed a U.N. refugee treaty and does not have legislation of its own governing determination of refugee status.

A large number of Burmese have fled across the border to Thailand to escape Rangoon's repressive military government.

The exact number of Burmese refuges in Thailand is unknown. Only a handful have formally applied for refugee status.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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