Hollywood star and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) Angelina Jolie called on the Thai Government to allow greater freedom of movement for tens of thousands of refugees confined to makeshift camps after fleeing neighbouring Myanmar.
On Wednesday (04 February), Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt listened to refugees at the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in Mae Hong Son in northern Thailand describe the difficulties they have faced over two decades living in closed camps.
Some 111,000 registered refugees sheltering in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border are restricted from leaving the camps and as a result unable to earn a living or receive higher education, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Local authorities have yet to process some 5,000 people who fled to northern Thailand's Mae Hong Son province between 2006 and 2007, the last time there was significant fighting in Kayah State just across the border in Myanmar.
And throughout last year, there was a steady trickle of refugees from Myanmar into Ban Mai Nai Soi and three other camps in the province, mostly fleeing forced labour and other human rights abuses.
Recent media attention has focused on the large number of stateless Muslim refugees making the perilous trip from northern Myanmar to Thailand in rickety vessels. UNHCR has recently gained access to 78 of the Rohingya boat people held in detention centres in the south of the country to determine their need for international protection.