Karen refugees flee Myanmar fighting

About 1,800 members of an ethnic minority have fled Myanmar into Thailand after renewed fighting between the country's military government and rebels.

    Hundreds of ethnic Karen have fled to Thailand

    The Karen say that for the past four months they have been forced from their homes, which are close to where the government's new capital, Pyinmana, is now based.

     

    Bernard Quah, of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said the numbers of refugees increased after Myanmar's rulers announced they were moving the capital last year.

     

    Analysts say the government's offensive against the rebels could be linked to the move to Pyinmana, a town much closer to the mountainous regions where the country's ethnic rebel groups are based.

     

     

    Karen rebels are among a handful of ethnic groups who have been waging a war against the Myanmar government for more than 50 years.

     

    Thai border officials told Reuters that about 600 more Karen were camped at the Salween River, which forms the border between the two nations, in an attempt to see relatives living in two camps in northwest Thailand.

     

    Shielding civilians

     

    Also on Wednesday, 

    Human Rights Watch, the New York based rights group, said that Myanmar had placed landmines along the country's border with Thailand to prevent civilians from fleeing.

     

    It called on the UN Security Council to put Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, on its agenda after the council agreed in an April resolution to shield civilians from genocide and other crimes against humanity.

     

    Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement:

    "The UN has committed itself again to protecting civilians at risk, and thousands of Burmese are in urgent need of such help."

     

    Myanmar has been run by a series of military governments since a coup in 1962, and has been strongly criticised internationally for its poor human-rights record.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.