Myanmar situation

2023 was marked by an expansion and intensification of violence across the country. Reduced humanitarian access, deepening poverty, and devastating natural disasters exacerbated the humanitarian needs. 

Countries affected:
Bangladesh | India | Indonesia | Malaysia | Myanmar | Thailand Multi-country Office
 
Situation plans:
2023 | 2024 
Situation reports:
2022 | 2021 | Previous years

 

Rohingya Boat Arrivals in Indonesia - Emergency Appeal

Woman standing.
Halu Bi, 30, wanted to stay in her house when Cyclone Mocha hit the coast of Myanmar. When the situation became unbearable, she sought safety at her brother’s house further inland. “When I came back the day after the cyclone, I could not find my house”, she says. © UNHCR/Fabien Faivre
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Year-end population figures | 2021 - 2023

For specific information on 2021 and 2022 data please navigate to their respective report pages.
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2023 situation overview

2023 was marked by an expansion and intensification of violence across the country, which caused civilian casualties and triggered significant new displacement. Reduced humanitarian access, deepening poverty, and devastating natural disasters exacerbated the humanitarian needs of the displaced and host communities. The intersecting crises had serious development and humanitarian consequences, complicating the search for solutions, intensifying needs and weakening people’s ability to cope.  

Against this backdrop of mounting political, operational and security challenges, UNHCR continued its principled engagement in support of affected communities, including IDPs, refugee returnees and IDP returnees, and host communities. UNHCR maintained its cluster leadership role and worked with partners to deliver conflict-sensitive assistance at scale in protection, shelter, core relief items (CRIs), and camp coordination and camp management across the country. In 2023, UNHCR reached 425,000 people with in-kind support (CRIs), 200,000 received shelter support and 47,000 benefited from multi-purpose cash assistance, which was significantly scaled up in 2023. 

As people fled from Myanmar to escape the new surge in fighting, UNHCR stepped up advocacy with other countries in the region to maintain open borders, access to asylum, and humanitarian access for UNHCR and partners. 

6,500 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar attempted onward land and sea movements in 2023 in search of protection, security, family reunification and livelihood opportunities. Around 600 Rohingya refugees were reported as dead or missing at sea.

Indonesia continued to receive and disembark the majority of Rohingya refugees and a joint UNHCR-IOM appeal was launched in late 2023 to scale up support. UNHCR called for a comprehensive regional response to address perilous maritime movements and advocate for humanitarian access and access to territory for those arriving in countries in the region.   

 

Online misinformation, disinformation and hate speech threatened to cause real-world harm to the most vulnerable and compounded the challenging protection situation in the region.

In Bangladesh, 295,000 refugee students gained access to primary and secondary education, with many Rohingya students following the Myanmar curriculum. Close to 3,500 refugees (50% women) from Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char completed vocational training as part of a multi-year formal vocational skills development project for refugees and host communities.  

Opportunities for third-country solutions for refugees from Myanmar from and within the region, including for Rohingya, were advanced in 2023. Resettlement submissions of refugees from Myanmar grew significantly in 2023, with more than 27,000 submissions, including more than 20,000 Rohingya refugees.

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Resettlement departures also increased with over 6,700 departures, including 3,200 Rohingya refugees. In addition, more than 2,000 refugees from Myanmar, in Thailand, Malaysia, India and other countries of asylum, were able to access complementary pathways, primarily to Australia and Canada. This includes a small but growing number of Rohingya refugees, some 275 individuals, who were able to find solutions via private sponsorship, labour mobility, education and other pathways.   

Promising steps were made to identify, reduce and address statelessness in 2023. Together with the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process, UNHCR developed a toolkit for inclusive civil registration and a guidance note on birth registration for civil registrars, which show pathways towards universal birth registration, addressing an important risk factor for statelessness in the region.

In Thailand, UNHCR worked with a partner and submitted over 3,500 nationality and permanent residency applications on behalf of stateless persons via the Statelessness Reduction and Community Sensitization Project.  

The ripple effects of climate change continued to be felt and intensified the hardships experienced by displaced communities, including many in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, and critically impeded their ability to secure safety, essential resources, and sustainable livelihoods.

A UN Flash Appeal was launched to ramp up urgent life-saving support to refugee and Bangladeshi communities affected by the devastating Cyclone Mocha in May 2023.  

 

An increasingly competitive funding landscape prevailed in 2023. To mitigate the impact of funding shortfalls, UNHCR diversified its partnerships and strengthened collaboration between humanitarian and development actors.

This included strategic engagement with non-traditional donors from the development, finance and private sectors as well as civil society and local organizations. This collaboration proved vital in the development of the Rohingya Multi-Stakeholder Pledge, which seeks to enhance resilience, expand solutions for displaced Rohingya and provide support to host communities in areas of displacement.

By the end of 2023, over 40 financial, policy and technical pledges were formally submitted by 25 actors to support basic needs and self-reliance, create conditions conducive for return, and advance third country solutions.  

 

More contributions information on previous years: Funding Update 2022 | Funding Update 2021

Rohingya refugee women gain skills and a voice making eco-friendly products

By Kristy Siegfried in Kutapalong, Bangladesh

 

From the outside, the Jute Bag Production Centre is just another temporary-looking bamboo structure in the sprawling Kutupalong refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. But step inside and it is a brightly lit hive of activity. 

The centre engages 130 Rohingya women to make products such as grocery bags, nursery bags for tree planting, and products for other humanitarian aid agencies.

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women producing items in a factory
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Latest updates

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