Operation: Opération: Thailand



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2016 end-year results
56% reduction in RSD backlog 
16,600 stateless people received support in preparing application for citizenship
8,200 formerly stateless people acquired citizenship
5,300 refugees were resettled to seven resettlement countries
820 urban refugee home vulnerability assessments completed in Bangkok
500 urban cases received cash assistance
480 refugee children between 6 and 17 years old were enrolled in primary and secondary schools in Bangkok
70 refugees returned to Myanmar under facilitated voluntary repatriation
2017 planning figures
50,000 refugees from Myanmar will depart through facilitated voluntary repatriation by the end of 2017
20,000 stateless people will receive counselling and assistance in preparing citizenship applications
4,300 refugee children from Myanmar living in camps at the Myanmar-Thailand border will be registered and provided with birth certificates
3,400 vulnerable people of concern to UNHCR in urban areas will be assisted through cash-based interventions  
1,000 children of concern to UNHCR living in urban areas will be enrolled in Thai language classes

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2016 599,459
2015 560,832
2014 644,761


[["Refugees",54251],["Refugee-like situation",52196],["Asylum-seekers",5010],["Stateless",487741],["Others of concern",261]]
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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"budget":[22.34713669,28.04452125,32.79272407,38.36345908,30.69063927,33.79208962],"expenditure":[13.74266628,13.59962784,14.28995824,14.03384161,13.1905066,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[21.64090697,27.39084626,32.08266511,37.16554185,29.10028416,32.61757355],"p2":[0.70622972,0.65367499,0.71005896,1.19791723,1.59035511,1.17451607],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[13.39057775,13.23810227,13.77084946,13.51599089,12.22130649,null],"p2":[0.35208853,0.36152557,0.51910878,0.51785072,0.96920011,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Working environment

As the only ASEAN country attending the Refugee Leaders’ Summit in September 2016 (the Prime Minister also attending the broader UN Refugee Summit), resulting in key Thai pledges related to improving the overall legal framework for protection of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons. The Royal Thai Government (RTG) specifically committed to the development of a refugee status determination (RSD) screening mechanism enhanced access to health care for migrants (including people of concern to UNHCR) and addressing detention of children. While the detailed processes for implementation remain to be determined and there is no indication of accession of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness conventions, these pledges and the steps already taken are encouraging and support UNHCR’s strategy of progressively moving from an RSD/resettlement to a community-based protection model.

Population trends

  • In 2016, there were close to 8,000 urban refugees and asylum-seekers.
  • In 2016, over 102,600 verified Myanmar refugees lived in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border.
  • The total number of stateless people stood at 481,700.

Achievements and impact

In the Urban, Rohingya and Statelessness contexts, UNHCR:
  • continued its advocacy with respect to development of an RTG Screening Mechanism for refugees and asylum seekers, resulting in a 10 January 2017 Cabinet Resolution endorsing its implementation in principle
  • completed the transition to an innovative multi-purpose cash-based interventions (CBI) framework, using pre-established standards of cash assistance that enable PoCs to meet their priority needs with greater autonomy and dignity
  • fully implemented the issuance of UNHCR cards to all urban refugees and asylum-seekers with all new arrivals being processed with biometric identification;
  • negotiated access to and supported attendance of Rohingya children to Thai schools in the South and expanded field protection outreach to Rohingya outside of the Southern provinces;
  • continued advocacy for access to rights of Rohingya determined to be victims of trafficking, leading to a Cabinet decision allowing access (with conditions) to Work Permits; For almost 50 per cent of UNHCR’s Rohingya PoCs, this resulted in access to temporary stay permits and increased access to temporary work permits, in addition to non-detention in Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs), enhancing their overall protection situation.
  • formalized and expanded a statelessness reduction pilot Partnership with the Adventist Relief and Development Agency (ADRA) increasing to 11 from five initial service points, providing nationality application support and sensitization and reaching 16,623 people as against a target of 15,000 while preparing 8,995 nationality applications against a target of 10,000;
  • continued multi-level legal gaps advocacy contributing in part to a Cabinet Resolution expanding access to nationality processes for some 61,000 children; and
  • met resettlement targets both on the border and in the urban context, while managing expectations and reducing future resettlement targets in line with the sub-regional resettlement strategy and in support of both voluntary repatriation at the border areas and the progressive transition to a community-based protection model for urban refugees.
In border areas, UNHCR:
  • engaged in a strategic partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which resulted in the construction of nine Voluntary Repatriation Centres (VRCs) in camps, the establishment of stand-by arrangements for the provision of multi-purpose cash grants, transportation from VRCs to designated crossing points, pre-departure medical check-ups and distribution of core relief items, such as mosquito nets and hygiene kits;
  • concluded a partnership with Handicap International (HI) aiming at providing mine-risk awareness refresher sessions to all returning refugees.
  • 1,627 birth certificates were issued by the RTG with UNHCR’s support, to refugee children with at least one registered refugee parent.  As a result of UNHCR’s extensive advocacy with the RTG, the MOI agreed to issue birth certificates to all refugee children born on Thai territory, regardless of the registration status of their refugee parents.

Unmet needs

  • Due to funding constraints, sustained efforts to manage the RSD backlog increasing potential risks of arrest, detention and exploitation for people of concern to UNHCR remained at risk.


The political situation in Thailand will remain one of transition, with a continuation of the current Government’s reform programme which includes plans for a new constitution and further integration with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The overall protection context is likely to remain fluid and, in the absence of a formal national asylum framework, UNHCR will continue to undertake refugee status determination for urban refugees. Promoting alternatives to detention for people of concern detained for illegal entry or stay will remain a priority.  
Further progress in the peace process and political reforms in Myanmar will also increase the chances and opportunities for the return of refugees from Myanmar accommodated in nine camps along the border. Although conditions are unlikely to be fully conducive to promoting return immediately, UNHCR will facilitate the implementation of the voluntary repatriation operations plan developed with key stakeholders. Maintaining adequate resources to secure equal access to repatriation support and services to the most vulnerable in all camps will be critical.
The maritime movements in the Bay of Bengal will require emphasis to be maintained on protection issues for Rohingya people of concern in the context of mixed movements.
In 2016, UNHCR will also continue to scale up support in line with the Government’s plans to address existing cases of statelessness and mitigate risks of statelessness in Thailand.