News / Asia

Rights Group Urges China to Protect Burmese Refugees

An elderly Kachin refugee and children, inside a shelter, look after the belongings of others who were out working near the China-Burma border in Yunnan province, China, August 11, 2012.
An elderly Kachin refugee and children, inside a shelter, look after the belongings of others who were out working near the China-Burma border in Yunnan province, China, August 11, 2012.
Human Rights Watch says several thousand ethnic-Kachin refugees who fled fighting in Burma now face a serious human rights situation in southwest China and risk being forcibly returned to their war-torn homeland.

The group says as many as 10,000 people have fled to China's Yunnan province from Burma's Kachin state, where heavy fighting broke out last year between the army and Kachin rebels.

Phil Robertson, the deputy director for the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, says the refugees are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

"They're facing a very difficult humanitarian situation.  You have about 7,000 to 10,000 Kachin refugees scattered around 12 or more makeshift camps," he said. "They're lacking adequate food, no potable water, inadequate sanitation, inadequate shelter."

The group says Chinese authorities have "generally tolerated" the thousands of refugees. But it says officials have repatriated about 300 people to Kachin state since the conflict erupted last year. It has also documented cases where Chinese officials have turned away potential refugees at the border.

Human Rights Watch wants China to provide temporary protection and allow humanitarian agencies free access to the refugee population.

So far, China has provided no aid to the displaced persons and has rejected attempts by United Nations humanitarian agencies to access the refugees.

"China needs to respect refugee rights, and it needs to provide humanitarian access to these refugees, including by UNHCR," said Robertson. "And it needs to recognize that there needs to be some temporary protection for these refugees until it is safe to go home."

At least 60,000 Kachin people have been displaced since June 2011, when fighting broke out between the military and the Kachin Independence Army, ending a 17-year ceasefire.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid