Political changes in Burma since 2011 have raised the prospect that the protracted Burmese refugee situation could have an end in sight. However, enormous obstacles remain to a safe return and repatriation of refugees from the border camps and uncertainty among refugees about their prospects for repatriation prevails.
Thailand has hosted millions of refugees over the course of more than three decades, yet its refugee policies remain fragmented, unpredictable, inadequate, and ad hoc, leaving refugees unnecessarily vulnerable to arbitrary and abusive treatment. All refugee groups in Thailand strive for survival in a country without a refugee policy grounded in law, where asylum seekers face differing standards and procedures depending on their nationality, and abuses by Thai officials go unpunished. In Thailand's cities, urban refugees from countries in the region and around the world have little protection against arrest, and often are compelled to pay bribes to avoid immigration detention. Irregular migrants--including refugees--who are unable to pay fines or bribes are likely to be detained, sometimes for years.
Come hear Human Rights Watch's findings and recommendations for Thailand and Burma, as the issue of the return of refugees from Burma becomes a major point of bilateral discussion between Thailand and Burma, and a major initiative connected to the ongoing transition in Burma.
For more information, please contact Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch at mobile: +66-85-060-8406, or email: RobertP@hrw.org
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