An Uncertain Future for Myanmar's Refugees
In July, the Royal Thai Army announced plans to deport refugees back to Myanmar — formerly known as Burma — where, after 66 years of civil war, government forces and ethnic rebel groups are still fighting.
Today, around 130,000 refugees from the conflict live in Thailand, in 10 encampments along the border with Myanmar. The camps have been safe havens for generations of Burmese too afraid to return to their war-torn homeland. Many evacuees come from poverty-stricken areas, littered with land mines. In some cases, the areas have been staging grounds for armed resistance, and human rights activists say that mass repatriation could bring insecurity to the border region.
Though the refugee compounds are notoriously closed off, VICE News gained exclusive access to the Mae Ra Ma Luang camp. We spoke to evacuees about their life in the compounds, and what repatriation would mean for their livelihoods.