Global Report 2022
2022 Year-end population figures
Refugees and asylum seekers, including people in refugee-like situation: 1.3 million, 25% women and 48% children
IDPs: 1.5 million, 27% women and 49% children
New IDPs in 2022 alone: 1.2 million
IDP returns: 325,200
Stateless persons in Myanmar (Rohingya): 630,000
2022 Situation overview
In 2022, Myanmar grappled with multifaceted crises that resulted in significant further displacement within and from the country. Despite a rapidly evolving and complex environment, UNHCR stayed and delivered. It worked towards solutions within the country, focusing on establishing refugees’ right to return and improving conditions in Rakhine state. With 325,200 IDPs returning to areas of origin (albeit temporarily), transitional solutions activities were pursued in coordination with various regional working groups.
UNHCR maintained its cluster leadership role by coordinating and providing conflict-sensitive assistance in protection, shelter, core relief items, and camp coordination and camp management across the country. UNHCR gained access to parts of the country and expanded its geographic presence to address the escalating emergency in the north-west and south-east while continuing to advocate for humanitarian access and access to territory for those arriving in countries in the region. In tandem, strategic partnerships with local NGOs, civil society, and faith-based organizations were cultivated to strengthen access to people in need of life-saving assistance. In 2022, UNHCR reached 500,000 IDPs and host communities with in-kind support (core relief items), while 100,000 were provided with shelter support and 51,500 benefitted from multi-purpose cash assistance.
3,700 Rohingya, almost half of whom were women and children, embarked on dangerous sea journeys from Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2022 in search of protection, security, family reunification and livelihood opportunities elsewhere – an increase of 360% compared to 2021. In response, UNHCR jointly advocated for shared responsibility and for putting the Bali Declaration into operation, and welcomed steps taken by countries such as Indonesia, which allowed the safe disembarkation of over 700 Rohingya refugees in Aceh.
UNHCR engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other regional actors in pursuit of solutions for Rohingya and other refugees from Myanmar while advocating for access to territory and protection. UNHCR also supported the development of sub-regional networks of civil registrars, including a south-east Asian network launching in 2023, as part of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific regional steering group on civil registration and vital statistics.
In Bangladesh, the transition to the Myanmar curriculum continued with almost 40,000 children benefiting – a promising step expected to not only enhance prospects of sustainable voluntary return to Myanmar once conditions allow, but also promote access to education for Rohingya children in Bangladesh. Progress was made in 2022 towards implementing a skills development framework for refugees under the Government of Bangladesh’s leadership to facilitate their eventual return and sustainable reintegration in Myanmar once conditions are conducive. UNHCR delivered essential water, sanitation and hygiene services to 375,400 individuals in Cox’s Bazar.
In a region vulnerable to severe climate shocks, UNHCR provided life-saving emergency shelter support to almost 40,000 households affected by natural hazards and other sudden onset events in Bangladesh. To reduce environmental degradation and promote a more environmentally sustainable response, UNHCR provided blanket distribution of clean cooking fuel refills (LPG), new cooking stoves and LPG cylinders to all Rohingya refugee households in 16 camps in 2022. UNHCR also piloted the use of fuel-efficient technology among 6,000 households. UNHCR continued to strengthen national health services, in line with priorities outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees, by building specialized hospitals in Ukhiya and Sardar.
Elsewhere, UNHCR scaled up support to the Government-led response in Bhasan Char, where close to 30,000 Rohingya were residing by year-end, to reduce their economic vulnerability and reliance on humanitarian assistance. 24 facilities were constructed and handed over to the authorities and essential water, sanitation and hygiene services were delivered to some 14,000 refugees.
Against an increasingly challenging and competitive funding landscape impacted by the wide-reaching ripple effects of the war in Ukraine – the Myanmar situation was only 58% funded, receiving $204 million against the initial ask of $358.6 million – efforts were made to broaden and diversify partnerships, including through reinvigorated engagement with non-traditional donors from the development and private sectors to promote innovative approaches and galvanize support.
Global Appeal 2023
2023 population planning figures
Refugees and asylum-seekers: 1.27 million
IDPs: 1.35 million, 51% women and girls, 49% children*
Refugees and IDP returnees: 80,000
Stateless persons in Myanmar (Rohingya)**: 600,000
*Demographics based on 2021 annual statistical report.
**“Stateless persons in Myanmar (Rohingya)” figure includes IDPs who are also reported in the “Refugees and IDP returnees” category.
2023 situation overview
Violence against civilians and the intensified armed conflict following the events of February 2021 caused tens of thousands of refugees to flee into neighbouring countries and displaced over 982,000 people within Myanmar. Current displacement trends indicate that 1.35 million IDPs may be in urgent need of protection and humanitarian assistance in 2023. Humanitarian actors’ access to the newly displaced has been obtained only incrementally and remains unpredictable. The situation has stalled progress toward voluntary repatriation for refugees. UNHCR has called for comprehensive and regional approaches to solutions for close to 1.1 million refugees from Myanmar, the vast majority being Rohingya from Rakhine state. In response, third countries have committed to step up resettlement and have initiated new complementary pathways.
In 2023, UNHCR’s focus inside Myanmar will be on responsive and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, strengthening community-based protection and resilience, and supporting pathways to durable solutions for IDPs and stateless persons, including an estimated 600,000 stateless Rohingya. UNHCR will work with partners to support the creation of conditions conducive to return by promoting the restoration of the rights of Rohingya and implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. Across the region, UNHCR will continue to advocate for expanded and predictable access to displaced populations within and from Myanmar and will engage with community-based organizations to support the delivery of assistance.
In addition, UNHCR will continue to advocate for safeguarding the right to return for Rohingya refugees and work with the Government of Bangladesh and partners to sustain support to meet the needs of over 900,000 refugees in Bangladesh, including through the Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis. UNHCR will broaden the resilience agenda in Bangladesh through the expansion of the Myanmar curriculum to 12,280 children at the pre-primary level, skills development and livelihoods activities via the distribution of production kits to 72,000 households. UNHCR will collaborate with partners to advocate for alternatives to detention and enhanced self-reliance and empowerment for Rohingya in Malaysia and India via community-based initiatives. Region-wide, UNHCR will redouble efforts to facilitate third-country solutions for Rohingya refugees and strengthen resettlement processing capacity while also advocating for scaled-up support for complementary pathways.
Global Report 2021
2021 Year-end population figures
- Refugees and asylum seekers: 1.2 million, 25% women and 47% children
- IDPs: 671,000, 27% women and 49% children
- New IDPs in 2021 alone: 430,000
- IDP returns: 130,000
- Stateless persons in Myanmar (Rohingya): 600,000
2021 Situation overview
The situation in Myanmar was characterized by growing violence and insecurity and resulted in significant forced displacement within the country and into neighbouring countries (over 30,000 refugees between 1 February 2021 and 17 January 2022). Some 430,000 people were internally displaced in Myanmar after the military takeover on 1 February, more than doubling the 2020 IDP figure of 370,000. However, some 130,000 IDPs also returned to their places of origin in 2021, leaving a total of 671,000 IDPs at the end of 2021. As a result, humanitarian needs grew exponentially and were further compounded by new waves of COVID-19 and the resultant economic impact. Humanitarian access in many parts of Myanmar was restricted by insecurity, roadblocks and challenges in obtaining access approvals. In this challenging operating environment, UNHCR engaged host communities and local responders as well as partners who played a leading role in assisting displaced populations.
UNHCR reached 44,000 households (including IDPs and stateless persons) with core relief items, distributed $2.6 million in cash assistance to 17,000 people of concern, and delivered emergency shelters to 47,000 people of concern. Meanwhile, legal assistance was vital in addressing housing, land and property concerns.
In Rakhine state, UNHCR worked to create conditions conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees and IDPs, and undertook 95 quick impact projects with UNDP, benefiting more than 20,000 people. UNHCR continued to advocate for the implementation of the 2017 recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
Outside Myanmar, UNHCR led efforts to protect and assist Rohingya refugees in the region, including those undertaking dangerous journeys at sea, and engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other regional actors in pursuit of solutions for Rohingya and other refugees from Myanmar, while also advocating for access to territory and protection. In Bangladesh, COVID-19 measures constrained humanitarian services in the refugee camps and UNHCR adapted its response to ensure continuity of protection and assistance. An inclusive national COVID-19 response resulted in nearly 80% of those eligible among the 890,000 Rohingya refugees receiving a vaccination. UNHCR also piloted a cash assistance programme in Cox’s Bazar town for vulnerable members of the host community who were hit hardest by the pandemic. Inside the camps, UNHCR and partners addressed critical protection issues and responded to fires and the effects of natural disasters. Schooling came to a halt during the height of the pandemic. However, once the situation improved, UNHCR and partners were able to launch a project to introduce the Myanmar curriculum, training teachers in the skills required. UNHCR also expanded work with refugees and partners to reduce environmental degradation and ensure a more environmentally sustainable response.
In 2021, 19,000 Rohingya refugees were relocated to Bhasan Char, an island where the Government of Bangladesh has made substantial investments to provide a temporary alternative measure for hosting refugees to alleviate overcrowded camp conditions. UNHCR, on behalf of the United Nations, signed a memorandum of understanding that provides a protection and policy framework for the island. UNHCR has also worked with the Government to ensure the voluntariness of relocations and freedom of movement.