In 2004 a new political openness on refugee rights was in evidence. This can be attributed in part toUNHCR’s continued advocacy efforts and in part topoliticaldevelopmentsinMyanmar,andthegrowing realization in Thailand that early repatriation of themajority of Myanmar refugees would be extremelyunlikely. Progress included the recognition of newarrivals and the acceptance of UNHCR’s proposal toestablish a national asylum mechanism through theProvincial Admissions Boards (PABs) (expected toresume in 2005). The Government also agreed toUNHCR’s proposals to resettle some 5,000Myanmar refugees living in urban areas. By the endof 2004, the Government had expressed willingnessto discuss issues such as enhancing refugee rightsand extending the possibility of third country reset-tlement to refugees in camps.Other important posi-tive developments included the migrant workerregistration exercise, which gave prospectivemigrants options outside the asylum system. Thenew-found willingness of the Thai Government toaddress difficult issues – including some that hadbeen shelved repeatedly over several years – wasexemplified by its interest in establishing a nationalstrategy to address statelessness.
In order to operate in the absence of definitive legalstandards, UNHCR was obliged throughout 2004 todirectly negotiate all aspects of its work relating toasylum-seekers and refugees. This led to delays indecision making, however, UNHCR successfullyintervened in a number of individual cases andadvocated a change in policy on Myanmar refugeesand asylum-seekers in particular.
UNHCR’s overall financial stability in 2004 had apositive effect on the operation in Thailand,enabling all planned activities to be carried out,despite a marked increase in expenses for the urbanrefugees.
Achievements and impact
Protection and solutions
One of UNHCR objectives in 2004 was to ensure theprotection of refugees from Myanmar in the camps,as well as recognized urban refugees, through theprovision of temporary asylum until a durable solu-tion could be found. At the request of the Government, UNHCR discon-tinued RSD procedures for urban Myanmar asylum-seekersexceptforastrictlylimitednumberofurgentcases. However, all new asylum-seekers wereallowed to register with UNHCR pending the forma-tion of a national admissions mechanism. By theend of 2004, some 6,500 new applications had beenreceived by UNHCR. The Government agreed tore-establish its national admissions mechanism, the
UNHCR Global Report 2004
T h a i l a n d
Persons of concern
Population Total in countryOf whom UNHCRassistedPer centfemalePer centunder 18
Myanmar (refugees) 118,800 - - -
Income and expenditure (USD)Annual programme budget
Revised budgetIncome fromcontributions
Total fundsavailableTotal expenditure
7,627,942 1,950,590 5,649,303 7,599,893 7,599,893
Includes income from contributions restricted at the country level.
Includes allocations by UNHCR from unearmarked or broadly earmarked contributions, opening balance and adjustments.The above figures do not include costs at Headquarters.
- - -Myanmar (asylum-seekers)2,000