IOM has now resettled 67,000 refugees from Thai refugee camps since 2004. Of these over 50,000 came from Myanmar and nearly 55,000 – over 80 per cent of the total – went to new homes in the United States.

IOM Refugee Resettlement Tops 67,000

Posted on Tuesday, 07-07-2009

Thailand – IOM has now resettled 67,000 refugees from Thai refugee camps since 2004. Of these over 50,000 came from Myanmar and nearly 55,000 – over 80 per cent of the total – went to new homes in the United States.
In the first half of 2009 through the end of June, IOM Thailand moved nearly 10,000 refugees accepted for resettlement by the US (7,488), Australia (1,396), Canada (402), Norway (225), Finland (216), Sweden (75), New Zealand (59), Denmark (9) and the Netherlands (4).

The largest group of 4,281 came from Ban Mae Nai Soi – a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border in Thailand’s northern Mae Hong Son province. A further 1,691 came from Mae La camp, 1,080 from Umpium Mai camp, and 908 from Nu Po camp – all in Tak province to the south, according to IOM Resettlement Coordinator Hans Beckers.

“The programme is still very challenging, partly because the logistics keep getting tougher as we shift our focus from the more accessible camps in Kanchanaburi and Tak provinces to the most remote – like Ban Mae Nai Soi – in Mae Hong Son,” says Beckers.

Since 2004 IOM Thailand’s refugee resettlement programme has sent a total of 54,757 refugees to the US, 5,701 to Australia, 3,559 to Canada, 1,593 to Norway, 1,234 to Finland, 1,163 Sweden, 453 to New Zealand, 424 to the Netherlands, 276 to the UK, 110 to Denmark and 97 to Ireland.

While IOM plays no part in selecting which refugees are accepted, its global responsibilities in refugee resettlement include medical screening, which comprises physical examinations and chest x-rays for tuberculosis (TB) that is rife in the camps. If laboratory tests confirm the disease, IOM medical staff provide the lengthy treatment needed until the refugee is fit to travel with his or her family to their new home. IOM Thailand’s medical and laboratory staff are now acknowledged to be at the forefront of refugee TB screening worldwide. In June former Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom O’Rourke and Regional Laboratory Manager Warren Jones were honoured by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as co-authors of a scientific paper on the multidrug-resistant form of the disease among Hmong refugees leaving Thailand for the US in 2005.

IOM also provides a brief pre-departure cultural orientation programme for the refugees – some of whom have spent their whole lives in remote refugee camps – to prepare them for the trip and their new lives in resettlement countries.

When the refugees are issued with Thai exit permits, IOM arranges their flights and buses them to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. Depending on the composition of each group, IOM also provides an IOM medical or social escort to accompany them on the trip.

IOM’s 34-year history of refugee resettlement from Thailand began in 1975 in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, when it helped nearly half a million Indochinese refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to leave the country and start new lives abroad. It works closely with the Royal Thai government, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the governments of resettlement countries.

For more information, a fact sheet detailing IOM Thailand’s resettlement operations and detailed statistics, please contact IOM Bangkok.

Chris Lom
Tel. +66.819275215
E-mail: clom@iom.int

we don,t want resttlement-WE WANT FREE BURMA AND GOING BACK HOME

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