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Thai junta's pledge to send back Myanmar refugees sparks concern

Published on Jul 14, 2014 3:07 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's military government said on Monday it would send home 100,000 refugees who have been living in camps for two decades and more along the border with Myanmar, a move rights groups say would create chaos at a tense time for both nations.

Thailand's military overthrew the remnants of an elected government in May after months of sometimes violent street protests. Its National Council for Peace and Order has rolled out a raft of tough measures it says are needed to restore order and has promised a return to democracy next year.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is emerging from nearly five decades of isolation under repressive military rule.

Its nominally civilian government has talked about repatriating the refugees, but non-governmental organisations say they are concerned by a lack of infrastructure to help returnees rebuild their lives.

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