China: UN seeks access to newly-arrived Myanmar refugees

4 September 2009

The United Nations refugee agency today called on China to allow it access to civilians who recently arrived in Yunnan province after fleeing violence in north-eastern Myanmar, and proposed a joint needs assessment to offer support for any possible unmet needs.

“We hope this request will be positively considered as additional displacement may occur in the region should the situation deteriorate in the Wa state of Myanmar,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

The 13,000 or so refugees, who reportedly fled fighting in early August between Myanmar Government troops and ethnic minority groups, are being accommodated in seven camp sites in Yunnan province.

UNHCR thanked the Chinese Government for hosting them and the provincial authorities for their assistance, including emergency shelter, food, clothing and medical care.

“As a protection agency, UNHCR wishes to visit these locations to assist the Government in the provision of humanitarian assistance and to determine whether any of the people who remain there are in need of international protection,” said Mr. Mahecic.

He added that the agency is aware of reports from the Chinese media that some of the 37,000 ethnic Chinese Kokang people who crossed into China from Myanmar have begun returning home.

 

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN voices concern as fresh fighting in Myanmar uproots thousands

The United Nations refugee agency today voiced its concern about reports that between 10,000 and 30,000 refugees have fled violence in Myanmar's north-eastern Shan state in recent weeks and headed to China's Yunnan province.