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Published by: UNHCR_Thailand on May 06, 2013
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Operational highlights
The pace of resettlement increased significantly in2007, with third countries accepting over 18,200refugees, of whom 14,600 departed.
Following dialogue with the Royal Thai Government(RTG), Legal Assistance Centres (LAC) became fullyoperational in three camps as of July and examined174 cases. Training in Thai law for 700 refugees andjustice personnel contributed to the rule of law in thecamps.
The Strengthening Protection Capacity Project (SPCP)focused on security from violence and exploitation, andhas provided community-based organizations with theknowledge and resources to take the lead in preventingand responding to sexual and gender-based violence.
The Ministry of the Interior, concerned governmentagencies and UNHCR collaborated to strengthenadmission, screening and protection standards tobenefit Myanmar asylum-seekers. The ProvincialAdmission Boards regularized the status of nearly2,500 asylum-seekers. In addition, the distribution of88,200 identity cards in early 2007 benefited allMyanmar refugees over the age of 12.
UNHCR Global Report 2007379
Persons of concern
Type of population Origin TotalOf whomassisted byUNHCR Per cent femalePer cent under18
Refugees Myanmar 124,600 124,600 49 48Various 1,100 1,100 - -Asylum-seekers Myanmar 12,800 4,100 42 29Sri Lanka 250 250 21 18Various 480 480 - -
Total 139,230 130,530
The 38,000 refugees in Mae La camp benefited froma clean environment through the effective operation ofa waste management system.
Some 4,500 refugees participated in training in Thailanguage, culture and environmental protection, andvocational skills.
Working environment
A general election was held at the end of 2007.Migratory movements into Thailand have increased,with the country currently hosting more that two millionmigrants. Thailand is particularly concerned aboutnational security and bilateral cooperation, whichrestricts the availability of asylum space for certaingroups of concern. UNHCR faced challenges inupholding its mandate as well as in finding solutions forrefugees and asylum-seekers in detention, a trend whichincreased during the year and also affected manychildren.
Achievements and impact
Main objectives
In 2007, UNHCR’s objectives were to improveprotection in the camps, promote and assist thedevelopment of a State-run asylum system, mitigate theconsequences of prolonged encampment on refugees,and improve their prospects for self-reliance. The Officealso aimed to broaden the strategic use of resettlementas part of a comprehensive solution to the protractedrefugee situation in the camps, strengthen partnershipswith NGOs and other stakeholders, and find solutionsfor refugees from countries other than Myanmar.
Protection and solutions
Myanmar refugees have been living in closed camps formore than two decades. Some children and adolescentsdo not know any environment other than that of arefugee camp. Despite UNHCR’s advocacy, the refugeesdo not enjoy freedom of movement or access to the locallabour market. The negative consequences of suchprolonged encampment on refugees’ protection, mentalhealth and social life are significant.UNHCR has made efforts to mitigate this by improvingthe administration of justice in the camps, ensuring thatan adequate prevention and response mechanism forsexual and gender-based violence is in place, andimplementing vocational training activities. Access toeducation has also been improved, although it is stilllimited.While UNHCR will continue to work on comprehensivesolutions, resettlement to third countries is the mostaccessible solution for many refugees. The scope of thisactivity grew considerably in 2007, as the Office wasable to submit the cases of some 30,400 refugees toresettlement countries, making Thailand the largestresettlement operation in the world.The situation of asylum-seekers and non-Myanmarrefugees was precarious throughout 2007. Arrests andprolonged detention for certain groups were reported,most notably 152 Lao Hmong refugees (including 82children) detained since December 2006. UNHCR andthe Thai authorities continued their consultations on theOffice’s mandate and its exercise of refugee statusdetermination with the aim of reaching a commonunderstanding.
Activities and assistance
Most assistance activities for the Myanmar refugees innine camps in Thailand are conducted by operationalpartners working within a common cooperativearrangement. UNHCR’s involvement is limited to fillingunmet needs, and it can therefore focus onprotection-related activities.
Community services:
The monitoring system forunaccompanied and separated children identified over8,000 cases in the nine camps. It ensured that childrenwith special needs received support and assistance.UNHCR staff visited 1900 children living in 100boarding houses, as well as 350 children in foster care.Prosthetic and rehabilitation services for the disabled,including landmine victims, benefited a total of 3,500persons. As part of the strategy to address sexual andgender-based violence in the camps, all victims in needof assistance were provided safe shelter. Committees toaddress this issue were established in all camps, andawareness campaigns were conducted.
Domestic needs and household support:
Subsistenceallowances were given to over 1,200 very vulnerableurban refugees, and supplementary food rations wereprovided to almost 900 people of concern.
Some 1,500 refugee children attendednursery schools and 850 students benefited fromcomputer training. Almost 3,000 refugees graduatedfrom 50 vocational training courses and some 8,000refugees participated in Thai language courses.In addition, 378 children took advantage of theplaygrounds in two of the camps.
Health and nutrition:
Awareness campaigns on hygieneand reproductive health in Tham Hin camp targetedrefugee children and adolescents and had a positiveimpact on health and sanitation. UNHCR expanded itssubstance-abuse and HIV-prevention activities in 2007.
380UNHCR Global Report 2007
T  h   a i     l     a n d  
Some 1,300 urban refugees and asylum-seekersreceived medical care.
Income generation:
Refugees in Mae La camp benefitedfrom start-up support to engage in self-relianceactivities, which included the provision of 10 sewingmachines.
Legal assistance:
Legal Assistance Centres becameoperational in three camps, and counselling wasprovided in 174 cases. The Ministry of Justice assistedthese efforts to strengthen the rule of law in the campsand improve the administration of justice.The Provincial Admission Boards convened severalmeetings in the first half of 2007 which resulted in theregularization of nearly 2,500 Myanmarasylum-seekers. The resettlement operation grewsignificantly, and more than 14,000 refugees departedto a third country. Some 490 urban refugees and over230 asylum-seekers were given legal advice andcounselling in Bangkok.
Operational support (to agencies):
UNHCR helpedimplementing partners meet their project managementcosts.
Effective waste management systemsbenefited 38,000 refugees in Mae La camp.
Shelter and infrastructure:
Roads were upgraded,bridges constructed, gabion boxes installed, drainagesystems repaired and trees planted in five camps.
The risk of water-borne diseases in the landsliderelocation areas in Ma La Oon camp was reduced by theinstallation of a water back-up system.
The Provincial Admission Boards reduced their activitiesfrom mid-2007, resulting in an increase in the numberof unregistered families in the camps. UNHCR and theGovernment are discussing ways to improve thesituation.A total of 61 urban asylum-seekers and 159 urbanrefugees were arrested during the year. As of April,UNHCR’s access to the detainees in the ImmigrationDetention Center in Bangkok was restricted. In addition,152 Lao Hmong refugees were still in detention inNong Khai.
UNHCR Global Report 2007381
       T       h     a       i       l     a     n       d
Computer center in Tham Hin which was built and equipped with
million.org funds. The courses benefit 850 teenagers in thecamp on the Thai-Myanmar border. Most of them are ethnic Karen.
     U     N     H     C     R     /     M    c     K     i    n    s    e   y

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