South East Asia
Operational information on the South-East Asia subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:
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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South East Asia
People of Concern - 2019 [projected][["Refugees",1102441],["Asylum-seekers",55658],["IDPs",515943],["Returned IDPs",332483],["Returned refugees",18050],["Stateless",1135808],["Others of concern",80120]]
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Operational environmentIn 2018, UNHCR’s response in South East Asia continued to be dominated by the situation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, over 700,000 of whom fled violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar in 2017. The humanitarian needs of both the refugees in Bangladesh and the stateless persons in Myanmar are likely to remain immense and dire in 2019. As a result, there is a risk that refugees will continue making dangerous crossings, either overland or by sea, to other countries in the sub-region.
While only three countries in the sub-region are signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the principle of non-refoulement is largely respected. UNHCR continues to build on this positive practice by formalizing temporary stay arrangements in countries in the region, including, as a first step, joint registration of refugees and asylum-seekers with relevant governments. This is coupled with efforts to decrease detention rates and improve access to education, health care and employment opportunities.
Despite the crisis in Rakhine State, progress towards solutions for refugees from other parts of Myanmar continues to be made. For non-Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, several hundred voluntarily returned from Thailand in 2018, and voluntary repatriation options are now being explored for those in Malaysia and other host countries. Long-standing resettlement patterns have changed, with UNHCR’s regional policy emphasizing individual, rather than group, referrals based on specific needs and vulnerability. Significant efforts are also being made to enhance refugee access to legal employment, both for refugee populations with an ongoing need for protection and to provide a “soft landing” for those who may soon have access to durable solutions.
In 2019, UNHCR will advocate for regional support for the Rohingya crisis through a Solidarity Approach for the People of Rakhine State to which countries in the region and beyond could make contributions in a variety of areas. Regional mechanisms such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Bali Process will also be encouraged to facilitate contributions, and to prepare for any continued or onward movement of refugees to other countries in the region.
Addressing statelessness remains a key strategic priority for UNHCR in the region, in close collaboration and cooperation with ASEAN member states. UNHCR’s statistics indicate that over 40 per cent of the world’s stateless persons currently reside in ASEAN Member States, including two of the world’s third largest stateless populations.
Building on past success, the Philippines and Thailand continue to take steps to reduce statelessness. The Philippines has a National Action Plan (NAP) to end statelessness in the country by 2024. Cambodia and Viet Nam are in the process of reforming civil registration and nationality laws, efforts that will contribute to the identification, reduction and prevention of statelessness.
UNHCR will continue to support the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children in increasing civil registration coverage and realizing the right to a nationality of women and children in ASEAN. UNHCR and the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process have supported the development of a Civil Registration Assessment Toolkit, which aims to help states in assessing and improving their national civil registration systems in order to incorporate and provide basic protection for hard-to-reach and marginalized population groups such as refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons, persons of undetermined nationality and undocumented persons. The Toolkit is planning to be piloted in Malaysia and Thailand.
Birth registration will be promoted across the region to prevent statelessness, particularly with governments and development partners working towards the goals set out in the ‘Asian and Pacific civil registration and vital statistics decade 2015-2024’ and the sustainable development goal on providing legal identity for all by 2030. UNHCR will further strengthen links with academic and research institutions to improve baseline data and to identify possible solutions, and further develop partnerships with civil society organizations committed to resolving statelessness in the region. UNHCR will support civil society advocacy and interventions, and is collaborating with the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness in Melbourne University and the Statelessness Network for Asia and Pacific (SNAP) to promote capacity building and enhance collaboration among civil society organizations engaged in statelessness work.
Response and implementation
UNHCR’s operations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar are presented in separate country pages.
In the three 1951 Convention signatory countries—Cambodia, the Philippines and Timor Leste—UNHCR will continue to provide training and other support for government officials. Additionally, in the Philippines, UNHCR will continue to support the emergency transit mechanism for the temporary relocation of individuals being permanently resettled to other countries, and continue building the protection capacity of local actors for IDPs in Mindanao.
In the Philippines, UNHCR is also providing technical and material support to strengthen the government inter-agency initiative to identify, reduce, and prevent statelessness through the NAP. Discussions are underway to enact comprehensive legislation for the protection of refugees and stateless persons, and the government of the Philippines has pledged to work towards acceding to the 1961 Convention with UNHCR technical support.
In Cambodia, UNHCR is providing technical support to the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Identification in reforming its law on Civil Registration, Identification and Vital Statistics to allow better access to civil registration for refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons, and persons of undetermined nationality.
In Viet Nam, UNHCR will continue to support the Ministry of Justice in enhancing the identification of stateless persons; reduction of statelessness in the border areas with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; and protection of stateless persons who reside in the border areas with Cambodia. These efforts would eventually result in a strategic plan on the potential reform of the nationality law and policies in preparation for Viet Nam’s possible accession to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions.
2019 Budget for South East Asia | USD
|Thailand Regional Office||7,069,664||913,146||0||0||7,982,810|
2019 Voluntary Contributions to South East Asia | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Pillar 1
|South East Asia overall|
|United States of America||0||0||0||1,250,000||1,250,000|
|South East Asia overall subtotal||0||0||0||1,250,000||1,250,000|
|Education Cannot Wait||1,639,226||0||0||0||1,639,226|
|Private donors in Australia||43,039||0||0||0||43,039|
|Private donors in China||30,720||0||0||99,955||130,675|
|Private donors in Denmark||1,090||0||0||0||1,090|
|Private donors in Egypt||3,035||0||0||0||3,035|
|Private donors in France||108,447||0||0||0||108,447|
|Private donors in India||337||0||0||0||337|
|Private donors in Italy||1,303||0||0||0||1,303|
|Private donors in Kenya||18||0||0||0||18|
|Private donors in Kuwait||156,692||0||0||0||156,692|
|Private donors in Lebanon||20,088||0||0||0||20,088|
|Private donors in Oman||1,616||0||0||0||1,616|
|Private donors in Philippines||7,060||0||0||0||7,060|
|Private donors in Qatar||0||0||0||22,215,000||22,215,000|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||11,762||0||0||0||11,762|
|Private donors in Singapore||3,038||0||0||0||3,038|
|Private donors in Sweden||1,217||0||0||0||1,217|
|Private donors in Switzerland||12,683||0||0||0||12,683|
|Private donors in Thailand||46,403||0||0||0||46,403|
|Private donors in the United Arab Emirates||24,696||0||0||0||24,696|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||9,168||0||0||0||9,168|
|Private donors in the United States of America||2,493,799||0||0||0||2,493,799|
|Republic of Korea||200,000||0||0||0||200,000|
|United States of America||31,000,000||0||0||0||31,000,000|
|Private donors in Australia||0||0||0||14,380||14,380|
|Private donors in Canada||0||0||0||527||527|
|Private donors in China||0||0||0||8,241||8,241|
|Private donors in France||0||0||0||5,018||5,018|
|Private donors in Italy||0||0||0||1,487||1,487|
|Private donors in Japan||0||0||0||1,029||1,029|
|Private donors in Kuwait||0||0||0||48||48|
|Private donors in Lebanon||0||0||0||275||275|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||0||0||0||460||460|
|Private donors in Spain||0||0||0||6,079||6,079|
|Private donors in Sweden||0||0||0||1,080||1,080|
|Private donors in Switzerland||0||0||0||10||10|
|Private donors in Thailand||0||0||0||2,504||2,504|
|Private donors in the Netherlands||0||0||0||255||255|
|Private donors in the Republic of Korea||0||0||0||11,846||11,846|
|Private donors in the United Arab Emirates||0||0||0||6,509||6,509|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||0||0||0||3,623||3,623|
|United States of America||160,500||0||0||0||160,500|
|Private donors in Philippines||0||0||140,917||0||140,917|
|Private donors in Thailand||1,532,635||0||0||0||1,532,635|
|Thailand Regional Office|
|Thailand Regional Office subtotal||0||80,000||0||0||80,000|