China: refugees reported fleeing fresh fighting in Myanmar

Briefing Notes, 28 August 2009

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 28 August 2009, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

We are concerned about reports that between 10,000 and 30,000 refugees have fled Myanmar's north-eastern Shan State in recent weeks into China's Yunnan Province. We are liaising with the authorities to investigate what their needs are.

Our information is that as many as 30,000 people may have taken shelter in Nansan County since 08 August, saying they were fleeing fighting between Myanmar government troops and ethnic minority groups. We have been informed that local authorities in Yunnan Province have already provided emergency shelter, food and medical care to the refugees.

China is one of the few countries in Asia to have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention and we appreciate China's respect of the non-refoulement principle. UNHCR has reiterated its readiness to provide support to the authorities in responding to the needs of these refugees.