Thailand hosts nine recognized refugee camps along its border with Burma, housing around 90,000 refugees. These camps, referred to as Temporary Shelters by the Thai Ministry of Interior (MOI) and UNHCR, have been in existence for almost 40 years. Although Thailand has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention or its optional protocol, the Thai government has allowed these refugees to stay in Thailand on humanitarian grounds and has permitted UNHCR and NGOs to provide humanitarian support. Unfortunately, due to the decrease in humanitarian funding and restrictions on movement outside the camps, refugees have increasingly faced immense challenges to sustain their livelihoods, including food shortages and inadequate access to health and education.
On World Refugee Day,20 June 2023, six local and regional organizations organized a seminar talk At SEA-Junction (4th Floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Center) on the topic of “Time for A Change World Refugee Day 2023,” which highlighted current challenges faced by refugees from . It was a great opportunity to present the policy on victims to the public and the Thai government. There was a call to the new Thai government for a more humane refugee policy by representatives of political parties such as the Move Forward Party and Fair Party.
One short film produced by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Myanmar was screened at the event. During the event, community-based representatives presented the ground situation of refugees in camps and the waves of new refugee arrivals. The newly elected members of the Thai Parliament from the Move Forward Party and Fair Party also delivered their responses and engaged in further discussions.
Photo credit: Lattapol Jirapathomsakul and Kelly Khin