UN group resettlement to third countries for Myanmar refugees on the Thai-Burma border will end sometime in late January 2014


Vivian Tan, the spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Asia, said that eight years after the programme began in 2005, and with the departure of tens of thousands of refugees to the United States since then, the number of eligible refugees is dwindling.

Fewer refugees show interest in this programme in recent years, signalling a natural end to it, Tan said.

The United States first announced to camp residents in January 2013 that the group resettlement program for registered refugees would begin wrapping up this year, and a camp in Mae La, Thailand, stopped taking new applicants months ago. The announcement was made at different times in different camps, and each camp was given different deadlines for eligible applicants.

There are more than 130,000 Myanmar refugees, mostly ethnic Karen who abandoned their homes in eastern Myanmar and fled to live in refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border in provinces such as Mae Hong Son, Tak and Kanchanaburi.  Many refugees have been living in these camps for more than 20 years.

Tan, however, said that even after the group resettlement programme comes to an end, eligible refugees will still be able to express interest in individual resettlement to the United States and other third countries.

However, the US Embassy in Yangon denied the discontinuation of any resettlement programme. According to an official at the embassy, the refugees’ admission programme is ongoing and there is no halt to the processing of Myanmar refugees.



rice ration TBBC

TBC is making a transition to providing assistance based on household need. Rations are not being reduced for any

children under 18 years of age.

Households will be categorised by community committees as ‘Most Vulnerable,’ ‘Vulnerable,’ ‘Standard,’ and ‘Self

Reliant’. Households categorised as ‘Most Vulnerable’ will receive an increase in rations, ‘Vulnerable’ households will

maintain their current level of assistance, ‘Standard’ will see a change in the rice provided for adults, and ‘Self

Reliant’ households will no longer receive food assistance for adults over 18 years old. Again, there will be no

reductions in rations for any children under 18 years of age, including in ‘Self Reliant’ households.

Currently, the Standard Ration of rice is 12 kg per month for adults.* The Standard Ration is being changed to 8, 10,

or 12 kg, depending on camp vulnerability/need. Residents also receive yellow split peas, vegetable oil, vitamin and

mineral-fortified flour, fishpaste**, iodized salt, and charcoal, none of which are affected by these changes.

No reductions in rations are being made in the camp at Ban Mae Surin, which was devastated by a fire in March of

this year. There are also no changes being made in the camp at Ban Don Yang.

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Number of Bengali refugees in camps in Rakhin state rising,since Turkey offered houses to them

1.april 2013 emg

The number of Bengali refugees in camps for internally displaced people in Rakhine State has jumped to more than 100,000 since reports that Turkey had offered to help those in the camps build houses in the state, a member of the state government said.

Previously there were about 70,000 Bengali refugees in the state, according to official figures.

Win Myaing, secretary at the state government’s information and records committee, said there were reports that Bengalis were sneaking into the camps at night in order to get houses.

“Some of them are not actually refugees who lost their homes during the violence,” Win Myaing said. “Some people say they entered the camps secretly at night. Turkey made the offer to build houses for Bengali refugees, but we [we] rejected it. The number of them in the camps is rising,” he said.

The state government rejected the offer after residents of Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya townships protested against the housing-assistance offer on March 7.

Still, the number of Bengali refugees in the camps began rising soon after the offer was made.

“Previously, there were just around 75,000 Bengali refugees in the camps. Now, their number has reached 150,000. Some of them are not refugees. [They] don’t need to worry about food and shelter in the camps, so some who don’t want to work also went to the camps,” said Aye Thar Aung, chairman for Arakan League for Democracy.


Monday, 18 March 2013   A plan to build 5000 homes for displaced members of the Rohingya community in Rakhine State has sparked a series of demonstrations. Protesters say the plan, which has been proposed by the Turkish NGO TIKA, could allow the Rohingya to own land in disputed areas.

U Kyaw Zaw, who led about 10,000 demonstrators in Sittwe, told The Myanmar Times: “Half the 4959 houses to be donated will be built in Pauktaw and the rest in six townships in Rakhine State. In Sittwe, 500 big huts will be built as well. The huts don’t matter, but if houses are built, land ownership issues will ensue. It would constitute giving them plots of land without scrutinising their citizenship. That is why we object.”

“Thai Investigation on Refugee Camps because of pressure from the Burmese government”KIC

Thai authorities are scheduled to investigate Burmese refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma border at the end of May to determine the exact population in the camps, according to official sources.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, the governor of Thailand’s Tak Province, Samart Loyfa, said that local authorities and security forces will investigate the Mae La, Nu Po and Umpiem Mai refugee camps on May 23.

“We are investigating the refugee camps because we really want to know the exact population of the camps. Some refugee are living and working outside the camp,” said Samart Loyfa.

He said that Thai authorities are also investigating the camps in order to counteract illegal migration and drug trafficking. Continue reading ““Thai Investigation on Refugee Camps because of pressure from the Burmese government”KIC”

EU seeks more flexible camps


The European Union will push for a new deal to open up Burmese refugee camps, allowing asylum seekers to take up work outside the camps to make them self-reliant and productive members of the Thai community, a top EU envoy says.

The plan is part of a five-year strategy approved by the EU, the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to about 140,000 refugees in the nine remote camps strung along Thailand’s western border with Burma, said David Lipman, the European Commission’s ambassador to Thailand.

“It is very sad when you meet people who have lived in the same camp for 18 or 20 years and are bored of the camp,” Mr Lipman said.

“What we want to do with the refugees is to encourage more self-reliance and to try to integrate these people into Thai structures.”

The strategy, pioneered by non-governmental organisations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is set to bring about a drastic change in handling the decades-long Burmese refugee crisis in Thailand from traditional relief aid in the form of handouts to a more comprehensive and durable solution. Continue reading “EU seeks more flexible camps”

Thai refugee camps face tough year ahead

Nov 25, 2009 (DVB)–Rising rice prices and the threat of an influx of Burmese refugees into Thailand over the coming year could place a heavy strain on refugee camps along the border, the head of a refugee aid group warned.

The comments came in the wake of a visit by European Union officials to the Mae La camp in Thailand’s western Tak province, which is home to some 40,000 Burmese refugees.
EU funding accounts for around 65 percent of the total $US60 million in international aid that goes to the camps each year.
Jack Dunford, head of the Bangkok-based Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), which provides food, shelter and amenities to the camps, said that enough funding had been secured for this year, but warned of an uncertain 12 months ahead.
“There are three variables that we have no control over: exchange rates, the price of rice and the number of refugees, so when we look at annual funding we always have to do some guess work,” he said.
“All three tend to be going against us, and with the global funding squeeze, we are expecting that next year is going to be difficult.”
While the price of rice has dropped since the peak of the global food crisis last year, he warned that widespread flooding and storms in India and the Philippines, two of the region’s main rice producers, may push prices back up. Continue reading “Thai refugee camps face tough year ahead”

Tensions on the rise inside refugee camps

by Don Talenywun
Monday, 28 September 2009 13:09

Umphang, Thailand (Mizzima) – Trouble is brewing among the refugees of Burma’s civil war. Stranded in northern Thailand, fed on rations donated by the international community, unable to travel freely and not allowed to work, tensions among refugees in camps strung out along Burma’s border are ready to blow.

Umpheim Mai refugee camp is on tenterhooks, with violence threatening to break out among residents at any time. A football game on Saturday afternoon descended into crowd violence at
game’s end, with gangs of young men attacking each other. Some camp residents described it as a mini riot. The current trouble started earlier this month, with the murder of a Burmese resident after he allegedly failed to pay for a cow.

When it became obvious the buyer could not pay, the owner is said to have sought his money back, only to find that the beast had already been slaughtered. The dispute escalated rapidly from a verbal altercation between two groups of men into physical violence.

Whatever ensued, the alleged buyer is now dead. The camp, situated in Thailand’s Tak Province to the south of Mae Sot and officially home to about 15,000 people, spent months earlier this year on high security alert in anticipation of an attack by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a militia allied with the Burma Army – and these latest events have done nothing to ease tensions. Continue reading “Tensions on the rise inside refugee camps”

Camp Attack-There are an estimated 800 Burma Army troops, joined by 300 soldiers from their proxy forces spread along approximately 20 – 30km of border region.

We have just been informed by our team that the Burma Army have begun an offensive against displaced villagers along the Thai-Burma border and early this morning heavy bombing has been heard.

There are an estimated 800 Burma Army troops, joined by 300 soldiers from their proxy forces spread along approximately 20 – 30km of border region.

Three days ago there was an ambush which reportedly left four Burma Army soldiers deceased and four wounded. This resulted in the Burma Army retreating a short distance. On Thursday there was a second ambush where one Burma soldier died and four were wounded. This has resulted in the Burma Army reinforcing their troops.

Innocent children and families are hungry and at risk. With their home villages destroyed or in peril, the options to escape to safety are limited.

Major evacuations are under way. Yesterday all women and children were evacuated, leaving the older people and men at the camp last night. They plan to move them today.

Since the 3rd of June, more than 3,295 villagers have left their villages inside Karen State Burma and travelled to towns inside Tak province in Thailand. The Thai authorities have been very helpful.

These villagers from eleven different internally displaced persons villages were being forced to be porters and human mine sweepers for the Burma Army in preparation of this attack.

Many of these families have already fled previous Burma Army attacks. As recently as last week, Partners’ staff assisted 40 families with essential survival materials, such as mosquito nets, blankets, clothes, pots, pans, and bowls.

Partners’ staff are rapidly working with ethnic leaders to provide critical assistance to the hundreds of families have arrived at the border seeking aid and refuge. Food and medicine are being distributed.

Yesterday, the Partners Mae Sot staff delivered aid and emergency supplies to these villagers. Three four-wheel drive trucks were fully loaded and supplies were delivered to the camp leader.

We were able to give:

Two trucks of clothing
Medicines for 200 cases of each of the following illnesses: malaria, diarrhoeal diseases, respiratory, wound care, analgesics etc
30 pots
25 large sized tarpaulins
100 bottles of mosquito repellent
15 boxes each containing 100 dried fish
10 boxes each containing 180 individual packs of Ma Ma noodles
5 boxes each containing 96 packs of small shrimp
72 bottles of cooking oil
Rolls of plastic sheeting

All of this was brought in torrential rain, which continued for 90% of the journey – usually this journey takes 1 hour 45 minutes, but yesterday took 5 hours. The team prayed with the camp leader and Isaiah 41:10 came to their minds “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand”

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Thanks for your ongoing support and prayers. We will endeavour to update you as soon as we hear news.