GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The United Nations says it would like to have China's permission to talk to Myanmar civilians who fled to China to escape violence in their homeland.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees representative Andrej Mahecic told reporters Friday in Switzerland the United Nations has officially asked the Chinese government's cooperation in contacting refugees in Yunnan province, a U.N. release said.
"We hope this request will be positively considered as additional displacement may occur in the region should the situation deteriorate in the Wa state of Myanmar," Mahecic said.
An estimated 13,000 refugees have reportedly been staying at Yunnan camp sites since August, when they fled widespread conflicts between Myanmar government forces and ethnic minority groups.
Mahecic offered the United Nations' thanks to Yunnan authorities and the Chinese government for offering hospitality to the displaced refugees.
"As a protection agency, UNHCR wishes to visit these locations to assist the government in the provision of humanitarian assistance and to determine whether any of the people who remain there are in need of international protection," the UNHCR official said.