Burma: Isolated in YunnanJune 25, 2012
Several thousand ethnic Kachin refugees from Burma are isolated in Yunnan, China, where they are at risk of return to a conflict zone and lack needed humanitarian aid. Human Rights Watch documented how 7,000 to 10,000 ethnic Kachin refugees are scattered across more than a dozen makeshift settlements lacking adequate shelter, food, potable water, sanitation, and basic health care. Most children have no access to schools, while adults are vulnerable to abuses by local employers and have been subject to arbitrary drug testing and prolonged and abusive detention by the Chinese authorities. While the government of China has allowed most of the refugees to stay in Yunnan, some have been forced back to the conflict zone or denied entry into China at the border. Many Kachin originally fled severe abuses by the Burmese army – including attacks on villages, killings, rape, and the use of abusive forced labor. Most of the displaced fled to makeshift camps in Burma, where international humanitarian aid has been minimal, and the only assistance has come from private and local Kachin aid networks.