The UNHCR says it still has no access to more than 4,000 Lao Hmong deported from Thailand three weeks ago amid an international furor. "We're still seeking access to all of the Lao Hmong who were deported in order to observe the arrangements that were made for them to settle in Laos, and also to assist with the resettlement of the 158 who were registered refugees," Kitty McKinsey, UNHCR regional spokeswoman, told IRIN. The move sparked protests from the U.S., Australia and international human rights groups when it deported the Hmong back to Laos on Dec. 28. Of these, 158 were UNHCR-registered refugees who had been held for more than three years by Thai authorities in a detention center in Nong Khai in Thailand's east, and had been awaiting resettlement to other countries. (IRIN)

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