The U.S. State Department is urging Thailand to protect about 200 Muslims discovered earlier this week in a jungle camp.
Police found the group Wednesday at a secluded jungle camp in southern Songkhla province. Authorities are attempting to determine their nationality, but suspect they are Uighurs from China's western Xinjiang autonomous region. The group includes 82 children.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. is concerned about the group and wants Thailand to provide full protection to them and to ensure that their humanitarian needs are met.
Human Rights Watch urged Thailand not to repatriate the group to China where Uighurs face repression. Xinjiang is the center of a low-level Muslim separatist movement.