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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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South East Asia

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2018 {"categories":[2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020],"budget":[169.348267493,139.741598142,186.14113247,326.58805622,403.70435415,406.75509866],"expenditure":[59.54246395,56.2090856,99.25054657,212.90504519,null,null]} {"categories":[2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020],"p1":[114.014204274,104.8296167,149.94478163,280.22573367,365.60070766,361.70334681],"p2":[20.40722544,7.317298551,10.91760179,27.80146192,25.70885083,30.03845497],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[34.926837779,27.594682891,25.27874905,18.56086063,12.39479566,15.01329688]} {"categories":[2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020],"p1":[43.66420899,39.16382945,81.69782382,190.41983829,null,null],"p2":[6.57623988,5.09494777,5.55401014,12.490434,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[9.30201508,11.95030838,11.99871261,9.9947729,null,null]}
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People of Concern - 2020 [projected]

[["Refugees",1059222],["Asylum-seekers",48285],["IDPs",340980],["Returned IDPs",134786],["Returned refugees",15750],["Stateless",1575115],["Others of concern",26168]]
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Working environment

In 2019, UNHCR’s response in South-East Asia continued to be dominated by the situation of over 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, to Bangladesh in 2017. UNHCR continued to address the humanitarian needs of refugees in Bangladesh while also working with UNDP to begin improving conditions for the communities that remain in Rakhine State. The needs of Rohingyas in Bangladesh and Myanmar are likely to remain immense in 2020. 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.
Progress towards solutions for refugees from other parts of Myanmar continued in 2019, with several hundred voluntarily returning from Thailand. 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 education and legal employment.
In 2020, UNHCR will advocate for regional support for solutions to the Myanmar situation, seeking a range of solutions for refugees in Thailand and further improvements to conditions in Rakhine State. UNHCR will continue to engage regional mechanisms, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bali Process, for such support and to prepare for any continued or onward movement of refugees to other countries in the region.
While only three countries in the sub-region are signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, most countries respect the principle of non-refoulement. In 2020, UNHCR will continue 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. 
Addressing statelessness, including through increasing civil registration and access to identity documentation, preventing statelessness and realizing the right to a nationality remain key strategic priorities for UNHCR in the region. At the end of 2018, States in South-East Asia hosted over 55% (2,130,853) of the total number of reported stateless persons (3,851,983) globally.
With UNHCR’s support, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam continue to take important steps to address statelessness. Cambodia is reforming civil registration laws, which will contribute to the identification and prevention of statelessness. The Philippines has a National Action Plan (NAP) to end statelessness by 2024 and is working towards accession to the 1961 Convention. In Thailand, some 100,000 people have received nationality since 2008. Thailand has also implemented progressive measures to protect basic rights of stateless persons, particularly access to public education, employment and some access to local health services. Viet Nam is revising its laws and policies on nationality and conducting research on accession to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions.
UNHCR will continue to support the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) in developing a plan of activities with a view to increasing civil registration coverage and realizing the right to a nationality of women and children in ASEAN. UNHCR will also seek collaboration with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in these areas. UNHCR and the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process have supported the development of a Civil Registration Assessment Toolkit, which helps States assess and improve 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 being piloted in Thailand and Pakistan.
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 of providing legal identity for all by 2030. In 2020, UNHCR will support the organization of the Second Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific to ensure that populations of concern are included. In collaboration with the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness in Melbourne University and academic and research institutions, UNHCR will continue to enhance networks of statelessness scholars in the region, while also further developing partnerships with civil society organizations committed to resolving statelessness in the region.

Response in 2020

UNHCR’s 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 asylum support for government officials in these countries as well as in Mongolia and Sri Lanka. Additionally, in the Philippines, UNHCR will continue to build the protection capacity of local actors for IDPs in Mindanao and support the emergency transit mechanism for the temporary relocation of individuals being permanently resettled to other countries.
In the Philippines, UNHCR will provide technical and material support to strengthen the government inter-agency initiative to identify, reduce and prevent statelessness through the NAP. The Government of the Philippines has pledged to enhance frameworks to ensure that stateless persons will have full access to rights as guaranteed by the 1954 Convention and, with UNHCR technical support, to work towards acceding to the 1961 Convention.
In Cambodia, UNHCR will support the Government in its efforts to implement a national asylum system, through capacity building. It will aim to facilitate an increase in refugees’ access to rights, as well as their inclusion in national systems. Additionally, prevention of statelessness will be supported through the capacity building and training of government officials involved in civil registration activities.
In Viet Nam, UNHCR will continue to invest in the continuing progress being made to address statelessness in terms of reductions, legislative reform, and possible accession to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions through the implementation of a project with the Ministry of Justice, as well as provision of technical support to develop a Strategic Plan and Analysis to address statelessness.

2020 Budget for South East Asia | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Bangladesh 308,670,324000308,670,324
Indonesia 7,040,366361,577007,401,943
Malaysia 22,158,740873,1000023,031,840
Myanmar 5,333,63127,178,950012,413,94844,926,529
Philippines 666,236392,43302,599,3493,658,017
Thailand Multi-Country Office 17,834,0501,232,3950019,066,446
Total 361,703,34730,038,455015,013,297406,755,099

2020 Voluntary Contributions to South East Asia | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 4
IDP projects
South East Asia overall
United States of America 003,500,000 3,500,000
South East Asia overall subtotal 003,500,000 3,500,000
Canada 381,62800 381,628
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 2,080,07600 2,080,076
Education Cannot Wait 1,062,17000 1,062,170
Germany 3,355,70500 3,355,705
Ireland 1,100,11000 1,100,110
Italy 1,543,55000 1,543,550
Japan 1,881,89400 1,881,894
Private donors in China 261,14500 261,145
Private donors in Egypt 3,06200 3,062
Private donors in France 264,85900 264,859
Private donors in India 6800 68
Private donors in Kenya 2900 29
Private donors in Kuwait 103,27200 103,272
Private donors in Lebanon 16,71100 16,711
Private donors in Oman 52500 525
Private donors in Philippines 2,55200 2,552
Private donors in Qatar 8,000,00000 8,000,000
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 10,23100 10,231
Private donors in Singapore 103,90600 103,906
Private donors in Sweden 24500 245
Private donors in Switzerland 7,42400 7,424
Private donors in Thailand 6,74400 6,744
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 20,44900 20,449
Private donors in the United States of America 310,53800 310,538
Sweden 3,807,86400 3,807,864
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 10,296,01000 10,296,010
United States of America 10,400,00000 10,400,000
Bangladesh subtotal 45,020,76800 45,020,768
Private donors in China 0018 18
Private donors in Singapore 00145 145
Private donors in Switzerland 00313 313
Private donors in the Republic of Korea 002,149 2,149
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 0063 63
UNAIDS 0027,400 27,400
Indonesia subtotal 0030,089 30,089
Private donors in Kuwait 100,00000 100,000
UNAIDS 0050,000 50,000
United States of America 124,97600 124,976
Malaysia subtotal 224,976050,000 274,976
Japan 001,418,181 1,418,181
United States of America 001,800,000 1,800,000
Myanmar subtotal 003,218,181 3,218,181
Australia 0677,9660 677,966
Private donors in Philippines 099,4340 99,434
Philippines subtotal 0777,4000 777,400
Total 45,245,744777,4006,798,270 52,821,414
Latest contributions
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