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Published by: UNHCR_Thailand on May 23, 2013
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Almost all asylum-seekers from Myanmar wereadmitted to Thai soil; a total of 6,258 new arrivalswere registered and found shelter in one of the10 camps located at the Thai-Myanmar borderin 2001. Joint registration by the Thai Government andUNHCR of camp populations continued to beupdated regularly. This joint registration hasenabled UNHCR to intervene more effectivelyon behalf of the refugees. The quality of moni-toring of the needs of extremely vulnerablegroups improved significantly with a surveycarried out in all camps.The Government closed the Maneeloy BurmeseStudent Centre (MBSC) on 27 December as the
Main Objectives
UNHCR’s objectives were to ensure that the funda-mentals of international protection, particularly theprinciples of asylum and
are respected;ensure that refugees at the Thai-Myanmar border aresafe from armed incursions, that their protection andassistance needs are adequately met and that the civi-lian character of refugee camps is maintained; promotea uniform application of admission criteria thatshould include not only those fleeing fighting but alsothose fleeing the consequences thereof; identify andprotect individual asylum-seekers; promote thedevelopment of national refugee legislation and sta-tus determination procedures consistent with interna-tional standards; ensure fair and equal treatment of allMyanmar asylum-seekers and refugees in Thailand.
UNHCR Global Report 2001
majority of refugees there had been resettled inthird countries by UNHCR. The residual refu-gee group was transferred to the Tham Hincamp at the border.
 Working Environment
The Context
NGOs have been responsible for more than adecade for providing all types of assistanceto Myanmar refugees in the border camps.UNHCR’s main role is to address protection issuesand identify and tackle any needs not covered by NGOs.As relations between Thailand and Myanmarimproved over the course of the year 2001,Thailand revived bilateral discussion on therepatriation of refugees to Myanmar. The ThaiGovernment did not review its refugee policies,and the admission criteria for all asylum-seekersremained restrictive. The Government advocatedearly repatriation of refugees to the so-called ‘safeareas’ in Myanmar and the establishment of aUNHCR presence on the other side of the border.Although in broad agreement, UNHCR held thatrepatriation must be voluntary and that specificconditions must be met before any organisedrepatriation can be envisaged.
Although UNHCR had unhindered access to allcamps, a request to establish a more permanentpresence in the camps was turned down by theGovernment for fear of creating a pull factor.UNHCR repeatedly requested that one of thecamps be relocated further away from the borderfor security reasons, but this request was also turneddown on the grounds that only camps at the bordercould be sure to retain their temporary character.The Government did not apply its policy of ‘harmonisation’ (of registration requirements in allcamps) to asylum-seekers residing outside camps;this left them vulnerable, without adequatesecurity or assistance.The Provincial Admission Boards, which ruledon the admission of new arrivals, continued toapply restrictive criteria, and admission waslimited to persons fleeing actual fighting. UNHCRfrequently endeavoured to influence the decision-making process, both directly and by meansof appeals for deserving cases rejected by theBoards.In late October, a group of 63 persons fleeingMyanmar sought temporary asylum in ThongPhapum district. Despite the efforts of UNHCR,the diplomatic community and NGOs, the groupwas deported to Htee Wah Doh. UNHCR laterreceived reports that Myanmar troops arrested agroup of five persons in Htee Wah Doh, includingone of the 63 deportees.
Although not fully funded, planned activities wereimplemented without disruption through realloca-tion of resources mainly due to the scaling downand closure of MBSC which had been the mostcostly component of the operation.
 Achievements andImpact
Protection and Solutions
As voluntary repatriation is theonly viable durable solution forthe majority of refugees fromMyanmar, UNHCR has startedsensitizing the camp population by providing the refugees withopportunities to discuss a variety
Th ai   l    an d
UNHCR Global Report 2001
Persons of Concern
Total Of whomPer centPer centMain Origin/ in CountryUNHCR Femaleunder 18Type of Populationassisted
Myanmar (Refugees)110,300109,2004849
Income and Expenditure(USD) Annual Programme Budget
RevisedIncome fromOther FundsTotal FundsTotalBudgetContributions
Includes income from contributions restricted at the country level.
Includes allocations by UNHCR from unearmarked or broadly earmarked contributions, opening balanceand adjustments.The above figures do not include costs at Headquarters.
of issues related to prospects for voluntary repatri-ation. The number of spontaneous returnsremained very small. UNHCR did not always haveaccess to such cases to ascertain the voluntarynature of their return prior to departure. UNHCRfacilitated resettlement of a few individual refu-gees who were considered protection cases and forwhom resettlement was considered the only durablesolution.Urban asylum-seekers, including those in deten-tion, had access to refugee status determination byUNHCR. UNHCR was able to make interventionsat an early stage and prevent the arrest and deten-tion of many individual cases despite the fact thatunder Thai legislation all persons enteringThailand illegally are subject to arrest and deten-tion. There were no reports of deportations fromthe Immigration Detention Centre of refugees rec-ognised by UNHCR.Since Thailand is not a signatory to any refugeeinstruments and lacks any effective legislation onrefugees, promotion of refugee law and accessionto the Convention remained a priority for UNHCR.During 2001, UNHCR organised some 50 trainingprogrammes on refugee protection, targetinggovernment officials, NGOs, academic institutionsand local communities. Over one thousand personsparticipated in such programmes, increasingawareness and willingness amongst some govern-ment interlocutors to engage in discussions ondeveloping best practices for refugee protection.The public information strategy has been closelylinked to the promotion of refugee law, through co-ordinated dissemination of information, publica-tions and translated documents to target audiencesand interested groups.
 Activities and Assistance
Community Services:
To improve the quality of assistance, UNHCR mandated an operational part-ner to undertake an in-depth survey of extremelyvulnerable refugees in the camps to assess whetherthey were receiving adequate protection andassistance. For those in detention, UNHCR providedpsychological support and material assistance. Dueto the presence of landmines in the border areas,UNHCR continued to organise mine awarenesscampaigns in the camps.
Crop Production:
UNHCR organised small garde-ning activities for refugee women in MBSC tosupplement their daily rations.
Domestic Needs/Household Support:
All MBSCrefugees received monthly allowances until theclosure of the Centre. Since refugees in Bangkok had no source of income, UNHCR provided cashassistance to 576 persons, pending their admissionto the camps. After a thorough needs assessment,all vulnerable urban refugees living in Bangkok received a cash subsistence allowance. In Bangkok,a team of social counsellors provided counsellingto traumatised refugee children and others suffer-ing the chronic insecurity of prolonged detention.
More than 80 per cent of the refugeechildren from Myanmar were enrolled in formal ornon-formal education organised by NGOs.UNHCR provided school supplies to 46,000 stu-dents in 132 schools in the border camps. Environ-mental education was incorporated in the schoolcurriculum. UNHCR also opened camp libraries inMae Khong Kha and Mae Ra Ma Luang; more than78,000 refugees thus had access to educationalmaterial and literature in 2001. Primary educationand vocational training were also provided to refu-gees in MBSC. For urban refugee children, UNHCRsucceeded in making arrangements with local Thaischools for the attendance of 51 refugee children of various nationalities.
UNHCR provided fresh food rations for allrefugees in MBSC through an NGO. In the bordercamps, UNHCR organised supplementary feedingprogrammes targeting some 150 of the mostvulnerable refugees, mainly women and children.UNHCR also provided for the needs of the remain-ing 34 Laotian refugees in Ban Napho camp.
Activities to stabilise erosion and landdegradation in Umpium continued in 2001.UNHCR organised a series of environmentaltraining programmes in the camps and surround-ing villages. In the camps, environmental activitiesincluded tree nurseries and organic farming.
NGOs provided out-patientservices for refugees in camps, and the overallhealth status of the refugee population remainedsatisfactory. All refugees in MBSC, as well as those
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UNHCR Global Report 2001

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