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E.U. CONCERNS OVER MILLIONS DISPLACED KAREN'S ETHNIC



The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office said that many of the refugees were Karen villagers who fled in fear of conscription or forced labor as porters for the Myanmar army.
The Karen refugees have taken shelter at several points about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Mae Sot, a Thai border town that lies about 240 miles (380 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Bangkok.
  • Some 100,000 mostly ethnic Karen refugees already shelter in camps in Thailand after fleeing counterinsurgency operations, while aid agencies say nearly half a million others are internally displaced inside eastern Myanmar.
  • A counterinsurgency offensive in eastern Myanmar has forced more than 4,000 ethnic Karen to abandon their villages and cross into Thailand this month, according to the Thailand Burma Border Consortium, the key aid provider to border refugees.
The Karen National Union has been fighting for more than 60 years for greater autonomy from Myanmar's central government.
It is the country's largest ethnic rebel group and the only major one that has yet to sign a cease-fire with the junta.
  • The EU last week expressed "serious concern" over the mounting offensive in the military-ruled nation and the exodus of refugees, and called for an immediate truce.
  • However, Myanmar's Foreign Ministry statement carried in state-run newspapers Sunday said the EU's criticism was "unwarranted," "politically motivated" and based on "inaccurate information originating from the insurgent groups and biased media reports."
Source: The Star
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