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|2019 year-end results|
|214,700||IDPs benefitted from camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) services focusing on ensuring equitable access to humanitarian services and protection|
|45,000||people were supported through approximately 100 quick impact projects (QIPs) rolled out across Myanmar|
|30,200||IDPs received core relief items in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, as well as in south-east Myanmar|
|24,900||IDPs received support for the construction or rehabilitation of their shelters|
|3,400||people with specific needs received special assistance|
|2020 planning figures|
|235,000||IDPs will benefit from camp coordination and camp management services in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States|
|52,500||people of concern will receive shelter support in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States|
|29,900||people with specific needs be supported in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States|
|5,750||IDP and refugee returnees will be assisted with civil status registration or documentation in south-east of Myanmar and Chin State|
|2,050||protection monitoring visits will be conducted in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States|
People of Concern
Operational contextThe protection environment in Myanmar remained challenging in 2019, with few prospects of solutions for people of concern to UNHCR.
Limited progress in addressing the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State, particularly for some 600,000 stateless Rohingya in Rakhine State and some 1 million Rohingya refugees across the region, was compounded by escalating clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces and the Arakan Army (an ethnic armed group), displacing an additional 60,000 people in 2019. Despite the Government's commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, little progress was achieved in addressing freedom of movement, access to essential services and statelessness. Some opportunities were presented by the adoption in November of a national strategy for the closure of camps. Its implementation is linked to the broader peace process and will rely heavily on support from the humanitarian community.
Despite the Government’s commitment to improve conditions in northern areas of Rakhine State, as demonstrated by its extension of a memorandum of understanding with UNHCR and UNDP, humanitarian access remained time-bound and location-specific. Conditions were not conducive to voluntary or sustainable return of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and elsewhere.
While a slightly improved security environment allowed for small-scale returns of IDPs in Kachin State, clashes in northern Shan State led to new displacement.
Limited access to services and livelihood opportunities, as well as the presence of landmines, remained obstacles to IDP and refugee returns in and to south-east Myanmar. Nonetheless, close to 900 refugees returned from Thailand in 2019, the largest number since UNHCR began facilitating voluntary repatriation from Thailand in 2015.
Population trendsThe total estimated population of concern to UNHCR in Myanmar stood at some 773,600 at year end. This figure is comprised of some 600,000 stateless Rohingya in Rakhine State (some 140,000 of whom are IDPs in camps or camp-like conditions) and over 170,000 other IDPs, mostly in Kachin and Rakhine States.
In addition to the 855,000 refugees from Myanmar remaining in Bangladesh, some 154,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar remained in Malaysia, while some 93,000 remained in Thailand.
- In the northern townships of Rakhine State, UNHCR and UNDP conducted needs assessments in over 100 locations and implemented 45 QIPs benefiting approximately 15,000 individuals. UNHCR also implemented 14 QIPs for IDPs in central Rakhine State, aimed at preserving peaceful coexistence between affected communities.
- In Kachin State, some 7,000 IDPs found small-scale solutions ranging from return to local integration and resettlement, partly through 40 QIPs implemented by UNHCR.
- UNHCR maintained its responsibilities within the inter-agency humanitarian response for IDPs in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States and assumed both coordination and operational delivery roles in the areas of protection, shelter, non-food items and CCCM, resulting in shelter construction and rehabilitation for 25,000 individuals, CCCM activities in over 150 IDP camps and non-food item support to 30,000 people.
Unmet needsThe underlying protection needs of stateless Rohingya in Rakhine State — freedom of movement, access to services, and a pathway to citizenship — remained unfulfilled. Access and movement restrictions impeded UNHCR’s ability to scale up community projects aimed at creating a conducive environment for solutions.
A funding shortfall of $12.2 million (32%) limited shelter assistance to IDPs, leaving a gap of 3,800 shelter units in Kachin and Shan States and 6,400 families in need of shelter construction or rehabilitation in central Rakhine State. Funding shortfalls also reduced refugee returnee monitoring and peaceful coexistence activities in south-east Myanmar by some 30%.
Working environmentIn the past 18 months, the protection environment for people of concern to UNHCR in Myanmar has deteriorated. In south-east Myanmar, with limited progress in moving the peace process forward, large-scale return of refugees from Thailand is not foreseen in the near future. However, small-scale facilitated returns and an increased number of spontaneous returns are likely to occur.
In Kachin and northern Shan states, the escalation and geographical spread of conflict generates new – at times multiple - displacement of civilians. Durable solutions for those who have been displaced since the resumption of the conflict in 2011 remain unachieved.
Meanwhile, the outbreak of violence in Rakhine State in August 2017 resulted in the exodus of approximately 725,000 refugees into neighbouring Bangladesh. In June 2018, the Government of Myanmar, UNHCR and UNDP signed a tripartite agreement aimed at supporting the Government’s efforts in creating conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees. Considering the scale of the protection crisis in Rakhine State and until there is concrete progress to address root causes of statelessness and displacement in and from Rakhine State, comprehensive and durable solutions return are likely to remain elusive in 2019. Challenges include freedom of movement, limited access to livelihoods and basic services, pathway to citizenship and inter-communal relations.
In 2019, UNHCR will continue strengthening its collaboration with actors engaged in early recovery and development, including UNDP and the World Bank, to jointly contribute to creating conditions conducive to solutions to displacement and addressing root causes of statelessness, in close consultations with all communities and specialized UN Agencies.
In 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
- Maintaining high outputs on protection monitoring and analysis to address specific protection risks and conduct evidence-based advocacy;
- Responding to prevailing humanitarian needs in IDP camps and beyond through coordination and robust operational delivery in the Agency’s core areas of responsibility – protection, shelter, NFI and CCCM;
- Contributing to confidence-building measures through peaceful coexistence initiatives benefiting all communities;
- Providing capacity-building and technical support to the Government, communities and other relevant stakeholders for the preparation of sustainable solutions to internal displacement in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan and to address the situation of statelessness;
- Providing technical support and advice to the Government to ensure measures for the return of refugees to Rakhine, Chin and south-east Myanmar meet international standards;
- Facilitating return and sustainable reintegration of refugee returnees to Chin State and south-east Myanmar with particular focus on access to civil documentation; physical safety and security; access to housing, land and property (HLP); community-based livelihoods; as well as inclusion in national services and the economy.