The Shan State Refugee Committee (Thai Border) is gravely concerned for the safety of nearly 6,000 IDPs in camps along the southern Shan State-Thai border following the Burma Army’s announcement it will start attacking border positions of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).
On March 30, the Tachileik Township Border Committee sent a letter to their Thai counterpart in Maesai, informing them it was necessary for the Burma Army to launch attacks against RCSS/SSA bases along the Thai-Burma border, because the RCSS/SSA had taken the side of the protest movement.
The letter said the Burma Army would make sure that no ammunition fell on the Thai side of the border, so as not to affect relations between the two countries. The RCSS/SSA bases lie opposite Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces of Thailand.
The news of possible attack has terrorized residents of the five IDP camps along the Shan-Thai border, who are mostly women and children. The IDP camps lie on exposed mountain-tops, within easy shelling range of the Burma Army camps surrounding them. The IDPs’ long-standing fears of being shelled are now heightened by news of air attacks taking place in Karen State.
The IDPs have prepared bunkers in all camps, and are carrying out evacuation drills to take shelter at the first sign of attack. However, once attacks start, their only guaranteed safety lies on the Thai side of the border.
The Shan State Refugee Committee (Thai Border) therefore urgently appeals to the Thai government to allow these IDPs to cross over into Thailand as soon as attacks start, and to provide them safe refuge, shelter and access to humanitarian aid.
Shan State Refugee Committee (Thai Border) is comprised of camp committee members from all five IDP camps and one refugee camp on the southern Shan State-Thai border.
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