Karen Student Network Group calls for more action around return of refugees and IDPs

The Karen Student Network Group (KSNG) used World Refugee Day on June 20 to call for more action on the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) around the Thai-Myanmar border.

In a statement, president of the KSNG Saw Htoo Htoo Stin claimed that the government seemed reluctant to repatriate these individuals, fearing it could cause political instability.

Saw Htoo Htoo Stin asked the government, ethnic armed organizations and local and international organizations to help provide passage for the refugees and IDPs to come home with dignity.

There are over 100,000 refugees currently living in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. Additionally, Ei Tu Hta IDP camp houses over 3,000 IDPs and other IDP camps such as Myaing Gyi Ngu, Htee Thay Khi and Naw Ta camps house over 5,000 IDPs.
“These refugees will need to return home one day,” Saw Htoo Htoo Stin said.

In the statement, the KSNG said pre-departure actions should include improved refugee education, refugee involvement in political reform and the peace process and continued support of refugees.

The group urged the Tatmadaw to relocate military camps away from the villages and clear landmines. It also called on the government to provide adequate land with guarantees for the returning refugees and IDPs.

Key points in the statement surrounding reintegration included recognizing the policies of the Karen Education Department, granting the right to the Kayin people to learn a Kayin curriculum and preventing discrimination against returning students and young people.

The KSNG statement also said the government needs to help create job opportunities for the refugees and IDPs.

Coordinator of the Karen Refugee Committee Saw Hayso added that government action in this regard will be vital to help these individuals return home.

Refugee advocates told KIC News that support for the refugee and IDP camps has been declining and that the residents are struggling with dwindling food supplies.

Tatmadaw clashes with unknown armed group in Maungdaw

A clash broke out between Tatmadaw troops and an unknown armed group in southern Maungdaw Township, Rakhine (Arakan) State on June 20, according to local residents.

One local resident of Kha Yay Myaing Village told Narinjara News that fighting took place between 10:30am and 11am near Kin Stream.

“We heard the sound of gunfire from the village,” the resident said. This was reportedly followed by the firing of heavy artillery that evening.

The resident said the clash took place between a joint team of Tatmadaw and Border Guard Police troops and an unknown armed group along with some people from Kha Yay Myaing Village.

This comes eight months after the government launched a counter-insurgency campaign in the area.
Narinjara News could not confirm if there were any casualties.

The authorities have not released information about the incident. But residents of Kin Chaung Village also confirmed the fighting to Narinjara News.

“We are worried after hearing the sounds of battle,” the Kha Yay Myaing villager added.

Pardoned Bangladeshi prisoners return home

Nineteen Bangladeshi prisoners who were recently granted presidential amnesty have been transferred back to their home country, according to the Border Guard Police Force.

Kya Khat Chaung High School on top again

Kya Khat Chaung High School in Kyain Seikgyi Township had the highest matriculation exam pass rate in Kayin (Karen) State – for the fifth year in a row, according to an official from the state’s education department.

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