Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Burmese Refugee Camp

Refugee: a person forced to leave his or her home or native land to seek safe refuge as a result of war, persecution, or the like.

The country of Burma is being ruled by a "military regime [who] arbitrarily arrests, tortures, rapes and executes its own people, ruthlessly persecutes ethnic minorities, and bizarrely builds itself a new capital city while failing to address the increasingly urgent challenges of refugee flows, illicit narcotics and human trafficking, and the spread of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases." (Wikipedia)

Some of these people have lived in this camp for over 20 years. Others die in this camp, never to see their homeland. While the children who are born here may never leave the camp itself, wherein their world view is only as big as this camp.

Even so, within this darkness of a "Forgotten Crisis" - deep down there is a light that never goes out.

Myanmar refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border

The situation of refugees from Myanmar in camps in Thailand is one of the most protracted in the world. These refugees have been confined to nine closed camps since their arrival in the 1980s. According to Thai law, those found outside the camps are subject to arrest and deportation. Officially, refugees have no access to employment.

The prolonged confinement of the Myanmar refugees has created numerous social, psychological and protection concerns. The coping mechanisms of refugees have been eroded, and the restrictions imposed on them have increased their dependency on assistance.

Against this background, the introduction of third-country resettlement has opened a durable solutions window. In 2009, UNHCR expects 18,000 departures. Despite this remarkable burden-sharing effort, the camp population is not likely to dwindle rapidly because of a number of factors, including the irregular functioning of the screening and admissions system for the camps. The Office will continue to work with the Government to find durable solutions for the refugees and ensure that asylum-seekers have access to fair and efficient asylum procedures.

(extract from UNHCR report, Global Needs Assessment: Thailand)


This video won't give them justice, but at least it can give you a window, a chance to see another world much smaller and more fragile than our own, a chance to understand what is happening at the Refugee Camp.

UNHCR partners in Thailand
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Ministries of Education, the Interior, and Justice
NGOs: Aide Médicale Internationale, American Refugee Committee, Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees, Handicap International, International Rescue Committee, Malteser International, Right to Play, Ruam Mit Foundation for Youth, Shanti Volunteer Association, ZOA Refugee Care
Operational partners
Government agencies: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Social Development and Human Security, and the National Security Council
NGOs: ICS Asia, JRS, Solidarité, TBBC, WEAVE

The ninemillion.org campaign
The ninemillion.org campaign was created in 2006 by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in partnership with Nike and Microsoft.

The goal of the campaign is to give more than nine million children better access to education, sport and technology by 2010.

The ninemillion.org website exists to raise funds, but also to give voice to those who often go unheard, allowing visitors to see pictures of the camps where children pass much of their lives, read refugee children's stories and understand what refugee children's lives are like.

Related articles:
1.My Blog article on Wednesday, June 24, 2009, Clinic Mae Tao at Mae Sot(แม่สอด)
2. UNHCR makes dream of education come true for Myanmar refugee boy, dated 22-6-2009 http://www.unhcr.org/4a3f8c126.html
3. Restless Souls(2006), by Phil Thornton, published by Asia Books, Bangkok,Thailand
4.The repatriation predicament of Burmese refugees in Thailand: a preliminary analysis(2001), by Hazel Lang, UNHCR Working Paper NO: 46, http://www.unhcr.org/3b7d24214.html
5. Mae Tao Clinic official website, http://www.maetaoclinic.org/
6.Global Needs Assessment: Thailand, by UNHCR, ttp://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e489646
7. The ninemillion.org campaign, http://www.ninemillion.org/

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