Operation: Opération: Thailand



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
12,000 individuals across the nine camps received information about the facilitated voluntary repatriation process 
1,820 asylum-seekers in urban areas, a decrease from 4,440 in 2016 
659 stateless persons were supported through the application process and granted Thai nationality 
590 urban children were attending local schools
90% increase in issuance of birth certificates to Myanmar refugees 
2018 planning figures
20,000 stateless persons will receive counselling and assistance to prepare citizenship applications
4,000 refugee children from Myanmar will be registered and provided with birth certificates
1,200 vulnerable urban refugees will be assisted though cash-based interventions

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2017 593,241
2016 599,459
2015 560,832


[["Refugees",54446],["Refugee-like situation",50169],["Asylum-seekers",2077],["Stateless",486440],["Others of concern",109]]
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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[28.04452125,32.79272407,38.36345908,30.69063927,33.24908962,24.93266875],"expenditure":[13.59962784,14.28995824,14.03384161,13.1905066,13.24290793,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[27.39084626,32.08266511,37.16554185,29.10028416,32.07457355,23.89347811],"p2":[0.65367499,0.71005896,1.19791723,1.59035511,1.17451607,1.03919064],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[13.23810227,13.77084946,13.51599089,12.22130649,12.30524211,null],"p2":[0.36152557,0.51910878,0.51785072,0.96920011,0.93766582,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

The political, security, and economic environment in Thailand remained largely stable throughout 2017.
Growing interest among Myanmar refugees to return home was thwarted by procedural issues.
The lack of a protective legal framework resulted in continued arrests/detention of urban refugees and asylum-seekers, with many facing difficulties related to prolonged displacement. Some progress was seen relating to alternatives to detention (ATD) for children and on the establishment of a national screening mechanism.
The strong political will to resolve statelessness by 2024 needs to be matched by agile administrative procedures.

Population trends

Close to 100,000 verified Myanmar refugees were residing in the border areas, with reductions largely due to resettlement and some spontaneous returns.
The urban population continued to decrease - partially due to resettlement, increased voluntary repatriation, but mainly UNHCR’s increased capacity to respond to the refugee status determination (RSD) backlog. While asylum seekers continued to approach the Office, the rate of new arrivals has continued to drop.
Despite the deterioration of the situation in Rakhine State in 2017, there was no increase in Rohingyas arriving in Thailand.
The overall figure of government-registered stateless persons only marginally decreased, with nationality acquisitions being offset by newborns and other newly registered cases.

Key achievements

  • The cases of 376 Myanmar refugees seeking repatriation were submitted to the Governments of Myanmar and Thailand
  • 85 per cent of the RSD backlog was adjudicated by the end of 2017 resulting in reduced waiting times.
  • Enhanced positioning in national and local statelessness fora was reached through increased engagement with key stakeholders, expansion of geographical coverage, and a solid presence in the field.

Unmet needs

A shortfall in the administrative budget significantly impacted on the mobility of UNHCR staff across the operation in particular for camp access in relation to protection activities, monitoring missions and coordination meetings.

Working environment

The political situation in Thailand will remain transitional, with a recent approval of a new constitution and further integration into the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Key priorities

In the absence of a formal national asylum framework, UNHCR will continue to undertake refugee status determination for urban refugees. Promoting the establishment of a government policy framework related to the protection of persons of concern to UNHCR and alternatives to detention will remain a priority.  
It is anticipated that further progress in the peace process and political reforms in Myanmar will increase opportunities for the return of refugees from Myanmar residing in nine camps along the border. While conditions are not yet fully conducive to promoting large-scale repatriation, UNHCR will facilitate voluntary returns if safety and dignity can be assured. Maintaining adequate resources to ensure that the most vulnerable are able to access repatriation support and services in all camps will be critical.
In the context of mixed maritime movements in the Bay of Bengal, UNHCR will maintain an emergency response presence in the south of Thailand for the protection of Rohingya people of concern to the Office.
In 2017, UNHCR will also continue to scale up support in line with the Government’s efforts to address existing cases of statelessness and mitigate risks of statelessness in Thailand.