International donors have cut aid to 9,000 displaced villagers from Shan and Karen States.
They fled their farms and villages following attacks by the Burmese Army, and now most live in jungle and mountain camps in Burma, forced to rely on international aid. Some have lived there for ten years or more.
From October they will no longer receive essential aid, and risk being forced to return to their villages despite it not being safe for most of them to return because of Burmese Army soldiers and landmines.
A child living in one of the camps for displaced villagers in Karen State.
The Department for International Development (DFID) and other donors and aid agencies are facing unprecedented challenges with more than 400,000 Rohingya who have arrived in Bangladesh after fleeing attacks by the Burmese Army. But that doesn’t mean they should forget other people who have fled attacks by the military.
DFID should step in and provide emergency funding to local community organisations which can provide aid to the villagers. In the longer term, it should coordinate with other international donors to ensure that there is funding for internally displaced people and refugees on the Thailand-Burma border so that they can return home when it is safe, or have another safe place to live.
No people should be forced to return home when it is not safe for them to do so.