Thai authorities have begun expelling 4,000 Hmong remaining in the Huai Nam Khao camp in Thailand's Petchabun province back to Laos. No third-party organization is present at the site. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) which left the camps in May 2009 following military pressure, had denounced the forced repatriation policy.
On Friday, May 23, a fire destroyed close to 60 percent of the houses in the Huai Nam Khao refugee camp in Petchabun province in northern Thailand. The blaze took hold after a week-long demonstration in the camp, which is home to nearly 8,000 Lao Hmong refugees, to protest the arrest of a community leader and the imminent threat of a forced return to Laos.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2008, four ethnic Hmong families from the Huai Nam Khao refugee camp in Thailand were sent back to Laos. This confirmed fears expressed by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in October 2007 with respect to the Thai government’s plans to forcibly repatriate 8,000 Hmong before the end of 2008. The refugees are currently confined to this camp in northern Thailand’s Petchabun province and claim to have fled violence and persecution in Laos.
It is not uncommon for people living with advanced HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia to go completely blind, mysteriously, and in a very short period of time. In fact, these irreversible cases of blindness are caused by Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a member of the herpes virus family, which leads to blindness in those with compromised immune systems. Dr. David Wilson, former MSF medical coordinator in Thailand, explains why access to affordable valganciclovir is so critical in low and middle-income countries where CMV poses a major threat.