Mae La Refugee Camp

Mae La is the largest camp for Karen refugees of the eight camps along the Thailand/Myanmar border. This is not the Mae La Oon refugee camp 90 kilometres north-west. The first refugees arrived in 1984, fleeing armed conflict and ethnic persecution by the Burmese government.

A union of 11 international non-governmental organisations provide food, shelter and non food items to the Burmese refugees and displaced people.

The camp was originally established at the Thai border village of Mae La with a population of 1100 people.

In 1995 a number of border camps were attacked in cross-border raids and the Thai authorities began to consolidate them to improve security, with Mae La being designated as the main camp. The population of the camp increased to 13,000 and then doubled to 26,000 over the following year.

Since 2005, all registered refugees have been eligible for resettlement to third countries and by 2018 nearly 100,000 had been resettled in the United States (75%), Australia, Canada, Finland, and Norway.

Up-to-date information on refugee camps is difficult to source.


© Kim Epton 2024
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