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


Latest update of camps and office locations: October 2017. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion South East Asia

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2016 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[170.05225616,159.04005036,169.348267493,139.741598142,186.14113247,326.58805622],"expenditure":[86.67864779,70.15169772,59.54246395,56.2090856,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[86.93198302,84.64840292,114.014204274,104.8296167,149.83797045,284.40110167],"p2":[15.84872147,16.99425914,20.40722544,7.317298551,11.02441297,27.55146192],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[67.27155167,57.3973883,34.926837779,27.594682891,25.27874905,14.63549263]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[39.40045105,38.35734844,43.66420899,39.16382945,null,null],"p2":[7.40528991,7.95518218,6.57623988,5.09494777,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[39.87290683,23.8391671,9.30201508,11.95030838,null,null]}
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People of Concern - 2018 [projected]

[["Refugees",141604],["Refugee-like situation",273100],["Asylum-seekers",66365],["IDPs",255418],["Returned IDPs",328626],["Returned refugees",15000],["Stateless",1534089],["Others of concern",80120]]
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Operational environment*

In 2017, UNHCR’s response in the subregion was characterized by hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, to Bangladesh. First wave began in October 2016 and saw 70,000 people flee, the second, much larger flow began in August 2017 and has by November 2017 witnessed over 600,000 crossing the border. The humanitarian needs for people of concern to UNHCR on both sides of the border, refugees in Bangladesh, and stateless persons in Myanmar, are likely to remain immense and dire in 2018. As a result, there is a risk that maritime movements of refugees will resume using routes across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to other countries in the subregion.
While only three countries in the subregion are signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, most countries respect the principle of non-refoulement. 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 the Rakhine State, progress towards solutions for refugees from other parts of Myanmar continues to be made. Voluntary return is maybe feasible for non-Rohingya refugee populations in Malaysia, Thailand 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.
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 third largest stateless populations.
Significant progress is also being made on the identification and reduction of statelessness in Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, building on past successes. 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. 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 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 (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.
UNHCR will advocate for regional support for the Rohingya crisis through regional mechanisms such as ASEAN and the Bali Process, and also utilize such mechanisms, particularly the Bali Process Task Force on Planning and Preparedness, to prepare for any onward movement of refugees to other countries in the region.

*as of November 2017

Response and implementation

Operations in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar are presented in a separate country pages.
UNHCR has declared a Level 3 emergency in Bangladesh in response to the Rohingya refugee crisis. While continuing to deliver protection and the significant humanitarian assistance that will continue to be needed by refugees in Bangladesh in 2018, UNHCR will also seek to build the resilience of host communities in Bangladesh and advocate for regional support in addressing root causes through the development of the cross-border region between Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and northern Rakhine state, Myanmar. UNHCR considers it vital for the response to already at this stage reflect mid- to long-term aspects while at the same time ensuring that voluntary return of refugees in safety, dignity and sustainability to Myanmar remains a viable option and, as feasible, will work for within an overall regional approach that also takes into account refugee populations from Myanmar in other countries.
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.
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 Mongolia, UNHCR will build on the visit of the Regional Representative and agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding in late 2017 to improve mandate protection and solution options for refugees in the country.
In Viet Nam, UNHCR’s partnership with the Ministry of Justice is also well-established. UNHCR will continue to support the Government to consider reforming its nationality law to further preventing and reducing statelessness. Relevant priorities will include: supporting the Government in enhancing its 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 Viet Nam acceding to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.


2018 Budget for South East Asia | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Bangladesh 220,442,812000220,442,812
Indonesia 7,159,41731,500007,190,917
Malaysia 15,841,742751,6550016,593,397
Myanmar 9,780,51724,801,370011,534,67446,116,560
Philippines 520,266333,81703,100,8193,954,902
Thailand 23,893,4781,039,1910024,932,669
Thailand Regional Office 6,762,871593,928007,356,799
Total 284,401,10227,551,462014,635,493326,588,056

2018 Voluntary Contributions to South East Asia | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Denmark 2,536,46200 2,536,462
European Union 3,641,73100 3,641,731
Germany 1,742,16000 1,742,160
Norway 2,315,97100 2,315,971
Private donors in China 194,13700 194,137
Private donors in Kuwait 536,36600 536,366
Private donors in Philippines 3,44300 3,443
Private donors in Qatar 1,500,00000 1,500,000
Private donors in Singapore 103,06300 103,063
Private donors in Switzerland 301,09000 301,090
Private donors in the Netherlands 18,01200 18,012
Private donors in the Republic of Korea 111,55900 111,559
Private donors in the United States of America 300,00000 300,000
Republic of Korea 200,00000 200,000
Sweden 634,51800 634,518
UNOPS 2,363,88100 2,363,881
Bangladesh subtotal 16,777,39100 16,777,391
European Union 631,32200 631,322
Private donors in Qatar 496,13900 496,139
Private donors in Singapore 300,00000 300,000
Malaysia subtotal 1,427,46100 1,427,461
Germany 00542,888 542,888
Japan 1,952,83700 1,952,837
Myanmar subtotal 1,952,8370542,888 2,495,725
Australia 0766,2840 766,284
Private donors in Philippines 056,3500 56,350
Philippines subtotal 0822,6340 822,634
Private donors in Thailand 713,45500 713,455
Thailand subtotal 713,45500 713,455
Total 20,871,144822,634542,888 22,236,666