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China urged to stop sending Myanmar refugees back

world Updated: Aug 24, 2012 08:22 IST

AP
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A rights group says China has forced at least 1,000 ethnic Kachin refugees to return to a combat zone in northern Myanmar this past week and has plans to deport 4,000 more soon.

Human Rights Watch on Friday urged the Chinese government to stop repatriating the refugees to Myanmar and instead provide temporary protection for them in Yunnan province. The province lies along Myanmar's northern border.

The Kachin minority in northern Myanmar has been fighting government forces since last June, when authorities sought to shut down a Kachin militia base near a hydropower dam construction project. The hostilities ended a 17-year cease-fire and displaced about 75,000 people.

The rights group says the refugees who were deported this week had been living in makeshift camps in China since June 2011.