'We won't push back refugees'

'We won't push back refugees'

Rescue workers and soldiers carry a wounded person who fled the violence in Myanmar and sought medical treatment in Mae Hong Son on Tuesday. (Photo: Reuters)
Rescue workers and soldiers carry a wounded person who fled the violence in Myanmar and sought medical treatment in Mae Hong Son on Tuesday. (Photo: Reuters)

Refugees fleeing across the border from Myanmar will be allowed into Thailand if the violence there escalates, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday.

He was speaking after the Myanmar army's air strikes against the Karen National Union (KNU) last week sent ethnic Karen civilians fleeing across the border to Thailand.

Many of them, however, just crossed the river back and stayed on the bank, too afraid to go back home.

"Thailand will not turn them away," Gen Prayut said. "When they are in trouble, we will not deny them entry to our country. However, this does not mean we will declare our intention to allow them in with open arms.''

Asked about reports that some refugees were denied entry on the border, Gen Prayut said that it was necessary to enforce requirements for legal entry.

"If there is a war, that's another scenario. In the event the situation escalates, leading to deaths and injuries, the government will put in place measures to deal with an influx," he said.

"We have years of experience, with nine refugee centres sheltering more than 400,000 refugees,'' Gen Prayut said.

Gen Prayut said the government would send them back when the situation across the border was safe.

Thailand already hosts about 100,000 refugees from Myanmar at camps along the border.

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Vocabulary

  • afraid (adj): scared -
  • air strike (noun): an attack made by aircraft - การโจมตีทางอากาศ
  • civilians (noun): people who are not members of the police or armed forces or government agencies - พลเรือน
  • deny (verb): to cause to be unsuccessful; to not allow someone do something - ทำให้ไม่สำเร็จ, ไม่ยอม
  • enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม
  • escalate: to become much worse or more serious - ทำให้มากขึ้น
  • influx: a large number of people or things coming in to a place - การหลั่งไหล การไหลบ่า  (เข้าไปยังที่ใดที่หนึ่ง)
  • necessary (adj.): essential, needful, something that you must do or have - จำเป็น, ซึ่งเลี่ยงไม่ได้, ซึ่งเป็นที่ต้องการ, สำคัญ
  • refugee: someone who leaves their country or living place, especially during a war or other threatening event - ผู้ลี้ภัย
  • requirement: something that you must have or do in order to do or get something else - ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ
  • scenario (noun): a description of possible actions or events in the future - การสมมติสภาพที่เป็นไปได้
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