Thailand-Myanmar (Burma) Border Refugees

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There are nine official refugee camps on Thailand’s western border, including three main camps around Mae Sot–Mae La, Noe Po, and Umpium. Together, these camps are home to about 100,000 Myanmar refugees. The Karen tribespeople, who have long occupied an area straddling Myanmar and Thailand, are Myanmar’s largest ethnic minority. The British were supposed to grant the Karen an autonomous homeland within Myanmar after World War II, but this did not happen. Following pro democracy demonstrations in Myanmar in 1988, and the subsequent crackdown, opposition MPs and ethnic minorities fled east to refugee villages. It is in such villages that the Karen organize their struggle for an independent state. The Thai government does not openly condemn Myanmar, and the Thai army does not usually intervene on behalf of the Karen

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