Today, Do One Thing to Help Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees hasproclaimed June 20 World Refugee Day. This year’s theme is “Do 1 thing to help refugees.”

In Southeast Asia, PHR is lobbying to improvethe conditions of refugees escaping war and oppression in Burma.

Last year, PHR published the report, Stateless and Starving: Persecuted Rohingya Flee Burma and Starve in Bangladesh. The report found that Bangladeshi authorities waged anunprecedented campaign of arbitrary arrest, illegal expulsion, and forcedinternment against Burmese refugees.

Unfortunately, things are not much better for Burmeserefugees today:

  • In Bangladesh, 28,000 minority Rohingya areregistered in UNHCR camps, and the UN estimates that about 200,000 more are living undocumented in makeshift camps along the border. A State Department official recently visitedBangladesh and has called for more aid for Rohingya refugees.
  • According to the US Campaign for Burma, more than 2,000 people have recently fled fighting in Kachin State following thelifting of a cease fire in the region. 
  • In Thailand the UNHCR estimates there are 100,000 registered and 50,000 unregistered refugees. Aid to these refugees has been reduced infavor of humanitarian aid programs implemented inside Burma, cuts which couldresult in food shortages.

In honor of World Refugee Day, PHRcontinues calls for improved conditions for all refugees from Burma and beyond.

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