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:
 

| Bangladesh | Brunei Darussalam | Cambodia | Indonesia |Lao People’s Democratic Republic | Malaysia | Mongolia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Timor-Leste | Viet Nam |

Subregion: South East Asia

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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South East Asia

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2017 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"budget":[109.712189803,170.05225616,159.04005036,169.348267493,139.741598142,186.14113247],"expenditure":[65.27725499,86.67864779,70.15169772,59.54246395,56.2090856,99.25054657]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[65.887160493,86.93198302,84.64840292,114.014204274,104.8296167,149.94478163],"p2":[12.66262066,15.84872147,16.99425914,20.40722544,7.317298551,10.91760179],"p3":[0.45499998,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[30.70740867,67.27155167,57.3973883,34.926837779,27.594682891,25.27874905]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[38.19299924,39.40045105,38.35734844,43.66420899,39.16382945,81.69782382],"p2":[7.65746913,7.40528991,7.95518218,6.57623988,5.09494777,5.55401014],"p3":[0.37040893,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[19.05637769,39.87290683,23.8391671,9.30201508,11.95030838,11.99871261]}
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People of Concern - 2017

[["Refugees",1099895],["Refugee-like situation",51159],["Asylum-seekers",54042],["IDPs",665051],["Returned IDPs",319167],["Returned refugees",2],["Stateless",1045171],["Others of concern",80180]]
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Response in 2017

As of the end of 2017, South East Asia (SEA) subregion hosted some 3.25 million people of concern, representing an increase of 15.4 per cent when compared to figures from 2016. The increase is due to a spike in the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Philippines as a result of the armed conflict in Marawi that began in May 2017, and to an adjustment to the baseline estimate of stateless persons in Myanmar. The Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh were already  of concern to UNHCR, due to their statelessness status.
 
The situation in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar deteriorated dramatically following the 25 August 2017 attacks and subsequent security operations, which precipitated the departure of approximately 655,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh. Against a background of decades of discrimination and effective statelessness, they have suffered severe violence, rape and psychological trauma. In addition to the protection and psycho-social problems, refugees found themselves in conditions of severe crowding and squalor. Bangladesh responded generously, keeping its borders open to the refugees. UNHCR focused on protection and reducing the risks and responding to the outbreaks of epidemics, landslides and flooding, as well as identifying and responding to particular vulnerabilities, such as a heightened risk of sexual and gender based violence, psychosocial distress, neglect, separation from caregivers, trafficking, and forced labour.
 
With funding received from donors, UNHCR also enhanced its refugee status determination (RSD) efforts in the subregion. In Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia the backlog was significantly reduced. With respect to stateless populations, excepting the Rohingya whose situation deteriorated further, there were positive developments. Efforts to support governments in reducing Statelessness continued. In Viet Nam, a project supporting nationality law reform saw state officials travel on mission to observe good practice in Germany and South Korea. At the regional level, UNHCR continued its partnership with ASEAN’s Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) to promote the legal identity of women and children.

Operations

Operations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are presented in separate country chapters. For other UNHCR operations in the subregion, please see below.
 
Of the 13 countries covered by UNHCR’s Regional Office in Bangkok, seven do not have, or have only a minimal, UNHCR presence. In Viet Nam, UNHCR partnered with the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice to review the content and application of its current nationality law and explore the possibility of accession to the Statelessness Conventions. In Cambodia, UNHCR worked, inconclusively, to secure the resettlement abroad of a residual group of Montagnard asylum-seekers from Viet Nam. In Timor Leste, UNHCR provided training to immigration officials and provided support for the translation into English of the country’s new immigration and refugee legislation. For immigration officials from Mongolia, UNHCR recruited a new local staff and conducted RSD and prepared the resettlement applications for qualifying refugees as well as supporting the extension of residence permits for persons of concern in the country and giving detailed feedback on an update of the MoU proposed by the Government. With Singapore, UNHCR received interns pursuant to its arrangement with Singapore Management University to work on emergency preparedness, protection and statelessness issues.  UNHCR undertook no major activities in Brunei or the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2017.

Operational Environment and Strategy

While only three countries in the subregion are signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, most generally respect the principle of non-refoulement.  UNHCR is endeavoring 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.  

The longstanding maritime movement of refugees and migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar to Malaysia through Thailand has not resumed since thousands were stranded in the Andaman Sea in May and June 2015. This has been the result of increased interception, an improved understanding of the risks, the lack of legal status in destination countries, and the increased risks and costs of the journey. 

With far-reaching social and political changes taking place in Myanmar, the possibility for solutions for refugees from this country is improving. Voluntary return is increasingly feasible for refugee populations in Malaysia, Thailand and other host countries. Long-standing resettlement patterns are changing, 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.

UNHCR’s statistics indicate that over 40 per cent of the world’s stateless persons currently reside in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States, including two of the world’s three largest stateless populations. In 2016, Thailand endorsed UNHCR’s “#IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness” and adopted the policy goal of “zero statelessness”, making a series of changes to better integrate and increase acquisition of Thai nationality for stateless persons. Between 2012 and 2016, over 23,000 formerly stateless persons in Thailand acquired citizenship. 

Significant progress is also being made on the identification and reduction of statelessness in Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, building on past successes. The Office will continue to encourage the development of a regional consensus on the need to address statelessness, in tandem with the development of the ASEAN Community 2015, including the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children and its Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The “2016 Bali Declaration on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime” recognized that the prevention and reduction of statelessness is a means to address the root causes of displacement. 

Birth registration to prevent statelessness will be promoted across the region, 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 (target 16.9) on providing legal identity for all by 2030. Links with academic and research institutions to improve baseline data and to identify possible solutions will continue to be strengthened and partnerships with civil society organizations committed to resolving statelessness in the region will be further developed.

Response and Implementation

Operations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand 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 will maintain its presence and leadership of protection efforts for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mindanao.
 
UNHCR’s partnership with the Government of the Philippines in addressing statelessness is well-established. Priorities will include: supporting further progress in the Government’s work in cooperation with the Government of Indonesia to resolve the nationality status of persons of Indonesian descent residing in southern Mindanao; improving identification of potentially “at risk” populations; supporting the further strengthening of the civil registration and vital statistics system to help prevent statelessness and implementing the Government’s 2011 pledge to accede to the 1961 Convention.
 
In Bangladesh, the Government census of “undocumented Myanmar nationals” is likely to dramatically increase the official number of forcibly displaced people in the country. UNHCR’s role and the protection and solutions options for the population of concern will become clearer through the course of the year, with the ultimate objective being to provide meaningful protection and other assistance to those most in need of it.
 
In Indonesia, UNHCR’s responsibilities for registration and refugee status determination will be accompanied by efforts to enhance temporary stay options for certain categories of refugees, such as those with strong family ties to Indonesia. The Office will advocate further expansion of accommodation options for unaccompanied children.
 
In Mongolia, UNHCR will build on the visit of the Regional Representative in late 2016 to improve mandate protection and solution options for refugees in the country.
 
Efforts in Viet Nam will focus on the prevention and reduction of statelessness by supporting the work of the Ministry of Justice in the border areas with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. UNHCR will also  review the nationality law and consider further improvements to close remaining gaps and bring the legislation in line with international standards.
 

2017 Budget and Expenditure in South East Asia | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Total
Bangladesh Budget
Expenditure
67,581,999
49,605,720
14,216
1,055
0
0
0
0
67,596,216
49,606,775
Indonesia Budget
Expenditure
7,173,894
4,336,050
26,500
1,327
0
0
0
0
7,200,394
4,337,377
Malaysia Budget
Expenditure
18,008,274
7,725,662
517,314
342,135
0
0
0
0
18,525,588
8,067,797
Myanmar Budget
Expenditure
17,782,489
3,829,238
7,704,243
3,171,029
0
0
23,675,468
10,536,901
49,162,200
17,537,167
Philippines Budget
Expenditure
713,572
653,346
762,240
676,078
0
0
1,603,281
1,461,812
3,079,094
2,791,236
Thailand Budget
Expenditure
32,074,574
12,305,242
1,174,516
937,666
0
0
0
0
33,249,090
13,242,908
Thailand Regional Office Budget
Expenditure
6,609,980
3,242,566
718,572
424,720
0
0
0
0
7,328,552
3,667,287
Total Budget
Expenditure
149,944,782
81,697,824
10,917,602
5,554,010
0
0
25,278,749
11,998,713
186,141,132
99,250,547

2017 Voluntary Contributions to South East Asia | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 4
IDP projects
All
pillars
Total
South East Asia overall
France 000700,000 700,000
Lithuania 23,229000 23,229
PRIV DONORS UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 00048,410 48,410
Private donors in Canada 000598,309 598,309
Private donors in China 000201,104 201,104
Private donors in Egypt 0001,000,000 1,000,000
Private donors in France 00027,995 27,995
Private donors in Ghana 0002,968 2,968
Private donors in Ireland 000303 303
Private donors in Italy 00012,019 12,019
Private donors in Spain 0003,286,952 3,286,952
Private donors in Sweden 000377,759 377,759
Private donors in Switzerland 00050,000 50,000
Private donors in Thailand 00019,664 19,664
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 000195,710 195,710
Sweden 2,717,096000 2,717,096
United States of America 00013,955,000 13,955,000
South East Asia overall subtotal 2,740,3250020,476,194 23,216,518
Bangladesh
Australia 1,891,074000 1,891,074
Canada 721,73200223,048 944,780
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 3,427,491000 3,427,491
Denmark 3,742,512000 3,742,512
Estonia 58,962000 58,962
European Union 1,207,841000 1,207,841
Germany 5,296,663000 5,296,663
Iceland 140,000000 140,000
Japan 4,834,872000 4,834,872
OPEC Fund for International Development 400,000000 400,000
PRIV DONORS UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 404,525000 404,525
Private donors in Australia 2,891,639000 2,891,639
Private donors in China 252,992000 252,992
Private donors in Egypt 56,632000 56,632
Private donors in India 2,556000 2,556
Private donors in Italy 188,799000 188,799
Private donors in Japan 1,274,607000 1,274,607
Private donors in Oman 300,000000 300,000
Private donors in Philippines 9,221000 9,221
Private donors in Portugal 46,458000 46,458
Private donors in Qatar 1,085,000000 1,085,000
Private donors in Senegal 53,130000 53,130
Private donors in Singapore 613,737000 613,737
Private donors in Switzerland 2,567,670000 2,567,670
Private donors in Thailand 82,852000 82,852
Private donors in the Netherlands 1,708,693000 1,708,693
Private donors in the Republic of Korea 45,215000 45,215
Private donors in the United States of America 1,122,216000 1,122,216
Slovenia 35,377000 35,377
Spain 1,623000 1,623
Sri Lanka 25,000000 25,000
Sweden 3,588,517000 3,588,517
Switzerland 1,529,542000 1,529,542
UNOPS 5,941,187000 5,941,187
United Arab Emirates 946,800000 946,800
United States of America 24,100,000000 24,100,000
Bangladesh subtotal 70,595,13500223,048 70,818,183
Indonesia
European Union 726,870000 726,870
Private donors in Japan 91,253000 91,253
Indonesia subtotal 818,123000 818,123
Malaysia
European Union 186,200000 186,200
Private donors in Japan 508,364000 508,364
Private donors in Qatar 663,336000 663,336
Private donors in Singapore 300,000000 300,000
UNAIDS 80,000000 80,000
Malaysia subtotal 1,737,901000 1,737,901
Myanmar
Australia 0001,491,424 1,491,424
Canada 000334,572 334,572
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 0853,11101,393,356 2,246,467
European Union 065,561369,579307,172 742,312
France 00300,0000 300,000
Germany 0001,085,776 1,085,776
Japan 0392,9013,003,3170 3,396,218
Private donors in Qatar 00500,0000 500,000
Private donors in Singapore 000100,000 100,000
Private donors in the United States of America 000202,400 202,400
Switzerland 000493,097 493,097
Myanmar subtotal 01,311,5734,172,8965,407,798 10,892,267
Philippines
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 00450,0000 450,000
Philippines subtotal 00450,0000 450,000
Thailand
European Union 622,091000 622,091
Private donors in Japan 249,818000 249,818
Private donors in Thailand 3,920,603000 3,920,603
Switzerland 000493,097 493,097
Thailand subtotal 4,792,51200493,097 5,285,609
Thailand Regional Office
Australia 113,420000 113,420
European Union 47,607000 47,607
Thailand Regional Office subtotal 161,027000 161,027
Total 80,845,0221,311,5734,622,89626,600,136 113,379,627
Note: