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

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South East Asia

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2017 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[159.04005036,169.348267493,139.741598142,186.14113247,326.58805622,403.68635415],"expenditure":[70.15169772,59.54246395,56.2090856,99.25054657,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[84.64840292,114.014204274,104.8296167,149.94478163,280.22573367,365.61626266],"p2":[16.99425914,20.40722544,7.317298551,10.91760179,27.80146192,25.68179083],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[57.3973883,34.926837779,27.594682891,25.27874905,18.56086063,12.38830066]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[38.35734844,43.66420899,39.16382945,81.69782382,null,null],"p2":[7.95518218,6.57623988,5.09494777,5.55401014,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[23.8391671,9.30201508,11.95030838,11.99871261,null,null]}
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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 environment

 In 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

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Bangladesh 307,553,397000307,553,397
Indonesia 7,864,301365,047008,229,348
Malaysia 17,088,602860,5940017,949,196
Myanmar 6,973,42122,230,16209,520,41738,724,000
Philippines 397,796392,33802,867,8833,658,017
Thailand 18,669,082920,5040019,589,586
Thailand Regional Office 7,069,664913,146007,982,810
Total 365,616,26325,681,791012,388,301403,686,354

2019 Voluntary Contributions to South East Asia | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 4
IDP projects
South East Asia overall
United States of America 0001,250,000 1,250,000
South East Asia overall subtotal 0001,250,000 1,250,000
Australia 00010,989,011 10,989,011
Canada 2,813,750000 2,813,750
Education Cannot Wait 1,639,226000 1,639,226
European Union 2,837,620000 2,837,620
Ireland 1,122,334000 1,122,334
Japan 5,667,211000 5,667,211
Private donors in Australia 43,039000 43,039
Private donors in China 30,7200099,955 130,675
Private donors in Denmark 1,090000 1,090
Private donors in Egypt 3,035000 3,035
Private donors in France 108,447000 108,447
Private donors in India 337000 337
Private donors in Italy 1,303000 1,303
Private donors in Kenya 18000 18
Private donors in Kuwait 156,692000 156,692
Private donors in Lebanon 20,088000 20,088
Private donors in Oman 1,616000 1,616
Private donors in Philippines 7,060000 7,060
Private donors in Qatar 00022,215,000 22,215,000
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 11,762000 11,762
Private donors in Singapore 3,038000 3,038
Private donors in Sweden 1,217000 1,217
Private donors in Switzerland 12,683000 12,683
Private donors in Thailand 46,403000 46,403
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 24,696000 24,696
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 9,168000 9,168
Private donors in the United States of America 2,493,799000 2,493,799
Republic of Korea 200,000000 200,000
Saudi Arabia 1,155,671000 1,155,671
Spain 6,132000 6,132
Sweden 000879,991 879,991
UNOPS 516,206000 516,206
United States of America 31,000,000000 31,000,000
Bangladesh subtotal 49,934,3600034,183,958 84,118,318
European Union 17,261000 17,261
Private donors in Australia 00014,380 14,380
Private donors in Canada 000527 527
Private donors in China 0008,241 8,241
Private donors in France 0005,018 5,018
Private donors in Italy 0001,487 1,487
Private donors in Japan 0001,029 1,029
Private donors in Kuwait 00048 48
Private donors in Lebanon 000275 275
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 000460 460
Private donors in Spain 0006,079 6,079
Private donors in Sweden 0001,080 1,080
Private donors in Switzerland 00010 10
Private donors in Thailand 0002,504 2,504
Private donors in the Netherlands 000255 255
Private donors in the Republic of Korea 00011,846 11,846
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 0006,509 6,509
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 0003,623 3,623
Spain 1,564000 1,564
Indonesia subtotal 18,8250063,372 82,197
European Union 19,795000 19,795
UNAIDS 50,000000 50,000
United States of America 160,500000 160,500
Malaysia subtotal 230,295000 230,295
Australia 000713,267 713,267
Canada 000379,939 379,939
Italy 01,201,92300 1,201,923
Japan 05,474,45300 5,474,453
Myanmar subtotal 06,676,37601,093,206 7,769,582
Private donors in Philippines 00140,9170 140,917
Philippines subtotal 00140,9170 140,917
Private donors in Thailand 1,532,635000 1,532,635
Thailand subtotal 1,532,635000 1,532,635
Thailand Regional Office
Germany 080,00000 80,000
Thailand Regional Office subtotal 080,00000 80,000
Total 51,716,1156,756,376140,91736,590,535 95,203,943