Refugees in Thailand IDPs in South East BurmaLight at the end of the Tunnel?Webinar, Montreal March 2012
CHN IA Shan State BRA UM LA S O Karenni M Sai ae State M HongSon ae Karen State ChiangMaiPeguDivision 1984 : Manerplaw T ALA D HI N Mon State Rangoon M Sot ae The First Kanchanaburi 10,000 Bangkok ANDAMAN S E A Tenasserim Division Refugees T n ow Capital Border Line Ranong
CHN IA Shan State BR A UM LO AS Karenni M Sai ae State M H Son ae ong Karen State ChiangMaiPeguDivision Manerplaw T AL N H IA D MonRangoon State Burmese Army M Sot ae overruns ethnic territory Burmese Army Kanchanaburi Bangkok Advances Tenasserim DivisionA NDA MA N S E A T n ow Capital Ranong Border Line
MilitarizationOne third of the BurmeseArmy is based in Eastern Burma
Over 3,700 villages and onemillion people have beendisplaced since 1996.105 villages were destroyed/relocated in 2010/11.
At least 112,000 people forcedto leave their homes between August 2010 and July 2011.Over 450,000 people currentlyremain internally displaced in South East Burma.
Thailand Border Refugee Population 180,000 160,000 140,000Number of Refugees 120,000 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 -
UNHCR’s Three Durable Solutions1. Repatriation to Country of Origin2. Local Integration3. Resettlement to Third Countries
RTG Policy Towards Burmese RefugeesTemporary asylum: Basic humanitarianassistance with refugees confined to campsRepatriation as soon as possibleNo local integrationNo Third country resettlement ( until 2005)
Pressure for Change: Donors• 20+ years … how much longer?• Does RTG want change?• Does TBBC want change?• Are these people really refugees?• Are we just prolonging the conflict?
Reducing support 2007 2010 2011 2012 % CutFood basket 2,200 2,100 1,955 1,654 25 kcals/day kcals/ day Kcals/ day Kcals/ dayShelter 100% 100% 50% 50% 50Nets, blankets, 100% New arrivals New arrivals 0 100mats only onlyX-border 100,000 92,000 49,000 53,000 47support IDPs IDPs IDPs IDPs
2011 Democratic Reforms• Myistone dam suspended• Political parties law amended• Laws permitting labour unions and freedom of assembly reformed• Registration of NLD for April by-elections• Release of political prisoners
Government invitation for peace talks in August; suspension of the Border Guard Force inSeptember; & new initiative led by U Aung Min, Railway’s Minister in November.
Non-state armed groups calling for peaceprocess to include community consultations and anational political process for constitutional reform.
Initial impacts of peace processes: * decrease in skirmishes* limited containment of troop patrols * human rights abuses ongoing * proposed political process remains vague * consultations with CBOs & inter-ethnic alliances about next steps
Key messages• Vigilance/ support needed to ensure that changes are not irreversible• Awareness of/ support needed to ensure inclusive political solution to ethnic conflict• Refugees/ IDPs are part of the solution not the problem. They must be part of reconciliation process and represent an asset for return• Need to support refugees until it is possible for them to return in safety and dignity• We have time to prepare … but for how long?
Key messages• Refugees/ IDPs are part of the solution not the problem• Time to invest, in these communities, not allow them to fall apart• Cannot be return without reconciliation• The refugees have skills in needs assessments, service delivery, M&E, management, good governance and accountability that will be and asset in facilitating return and reconstructionThank you!