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UN To Study Possible Return Of Burmese Refugees - 2004-03-12


The U.N. refugee agency says the Burmese government has given it permission to begin operations aimed at a possible future return of Burmese refugees from Thailand.

Officials said (Thursday) the agency plans to send teams to the Thai-Burmese border area to study the state of roads, facilities and medical care in the region.

But the U.N. officials said this does not mean the time is right for the return of the estimated 130,000 Burmese refugees who live in camps on the Thai side of the border.

Most of the refugees are ethnic minorities who long ago fled violence between the government and minority rebel groups.

The Thai government says it wants the refugees to return home. But most human rights group say there can be no safe return without drastic political changes in Burma.

Information for this report is provided by AP.

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