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15 Jan 2016 description

Mae Hong Son, Thailand, 13 January 2016 -- In November 2015, Myanmar held its first national vote since a nominally civilization government was established in 2011, concluding nearly 50 years of military rule. Since the elections, there has been a wave of optimism for national reconciliation, which may allow for repatriation of Burmese refugees who fled to camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border decades ago.

27 May 2015 description

STATEMENT RELEASED ON 27 MAY 2015

Please find herein the Joint NGO Statement ahead of the intergovernmental Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean being held on 29 May 2015 hosted by the Royal Thai Government in Bangkok. The signatories below represent more than 600 non-governmental and civil society organisations operating across Asia and the Pacific regions.

21 Nov 2014 description

Rome, Yogyakarta, 21 November 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service observes with deep sadness yet another sudden retroactive change in the policy of Australia towards people seeking international protection in Southeast Asia. Yesterday, the government of Australia announced its decision to stop the resettlement of refugees who had registered with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Indonesia on or after the 1 July 2014. The number of refugees resettled by Australia from Indonesia will also be further reduced in 2015.

28 Aug 2013 description

Wieng Haeng, 28 August 2013 – More than a decade ago, two Thai Buddhist temples opened their doors to provide sanctuary to 500 Burmese Shan refugees fleeing conflict between the Shan State Army and Burmese military forces in southern Burma. This hospitality was later extended to the refugees by the local authorities of the rural town of Wieng Haeng, which allowed the establishment of Koung Jor in 2002. But with the human rights situation improving in Burma, there is much talk of sending Burmese refugees home.

19 Apr 2013 description

On Friday 22nd March a massive fire broke out in the Ban Mae Surin refugee Temporary Shelter located in Khun Yuam District, Mae Hong Son Province. The incident left 37 dead and others seriously injured, and completely ravaged two sections of the camp destroying the homes and limited possessions of 2,300 refugees (more than half of the entire population). This situation report presents the joint humanitarian response, up‐dates on the priority requirements, and indicates the agreed actions.

GeneralUpdate on Situation:

26 Mar 2013 description

Bangkok, 26 March 2013 – A fire that swept through Mae Surin refugee camp in northern Thailand on Friday has been met with swift relief by NGOs and community-based organisations. According to JRS staff, 37 Burmese refugees and asylum seekers lost their lives and several thousands have been made homeless.

"There has been a good coordinated response led by the refugee community to care for the survivors who have lost their homes", said JRS Thailand Director, Pauline Aaron.

22 Mar 2013 description

Bangkok, 22 March 2013 — Last month Thailand's estimated two million irregular migrant workers were granted a four-month extension, until April 2013, for work permits as they wait for their national governments to verify their nationalities.

Although this is a welcome step as a temporary measure, after the new deadline passes, irregular migrants will face the same risks of arrest and deportation as they do currently, according to JRS Thailand Migrant Outreach Officer, Kohnwilai Teppunkoonngam.

02 Jan 2013 description

New Delhi, 2 January 2012 – Twenty women graduated from the first JRS-sponsored Chin women's tailoring course receiving not only new sewing machines for Christmas, but the know-how to make use of them in the new year.

All 20 women – JRS staff and representatives from the Chin Refugee Committee and the Burmese Women's Department, community-based organisations that assisted in arranging the seven-month course – attended the ceremony.

28 Dec 2012 description

New Delhi, 28 December, 2012 – Despite legislative improvements in the protection of children in India, young refugees continue to be particularly vulnerable to neglect and abuse. This was the subject of a meeting in mid-December between Representatives from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the government, NGOs and advocates.

During the meeting, held by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in India, the participants came together to map the protection of children and seek solutions which minimise gaps in service provision.

19 Nov 2012 description

Ranong, 13 November 2012 – The seafood factory on the southwestern coast of Thailand is sometimes ironically referred to as the 'Burmese university in Ranong'. It is one of the only opportunities available to many Burmese migrant children denied an education due to chronic poverty and social pressure.

30 Aug 2012 description

Mae Hong Son, 28 August 2012 – A funding pitfall in education for the Burmese refugees along the Thai border may negatively affect their preparedness to go home.

The focus of the international donor community is shifting from the camps towards Burma, and a lack of sufficient resources has forced many organisations working in the camps, such as JRS, to make cutbacks to critical programmes like schooling.

30 Jun 2012 description

Rome, 28 June 2012 – Earlier this month, Jesuit Refugee Service officially signed on as a member of the latest civil society coalition, the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict.

18 Jun 2012 description

Asia Pacific: new research shows failings in protection in the region

Bangkok, 15 June, 2012 – When asylum seekers reach the Asia Pacific they may realise more than anyone what is missing in terms of their protection. Where some countries are successfully helping asylum seekers live in safety, others are lacking.

02 Apr 2012 description

Washington, D.C.) April 1, 2012 — The Chin people in Mizoram State, India, live in a protracted, urban refugee situation and face daunting problems related to protection, livelihood, health, and education. While many of them have been there for years, new arrivals continue to flee into Mizoram, including many youth who are fleeing forced conscription by the Burmese military.

08 Jul 2011 description

Mae Sot, 8 July, 2011 – Rotting pumpkins, sugar molasses and maggots float in red sludge creating a mixture that's both pungent and prosperous. Surprisingly, this rotting liquid is the secret to growing a strong garden. Well, that and good weather, of course.

In Mae Sot, Thailand, a border town where thousands of people migrate from Burma, work can be hard to come by, especially between planting and harvesting time in the large plantations. So in the mean time, a simple vegetable garden can mean everything.

10 Feb 2011 description

Bangkok, 10 February 2011 - Despite being forced to flee their homeland, more than 130 Burmese refugee families live in a temporary shelter in the hills on the northern Thai border.

In 2001, families from four Shan villages crossed the border to Thailand and lived on the grounds of a monastery. The next year they were allowed to set up a temporary shelter for themselves. But, because it is not a refugee camp, the Thai authorities can come at any time and force them back into Burma.

As the shelter is considered temporary, they receive little outside assistance, and are not allowed to …

11 Nov 2010 description

Bangkok, 11 November 2010 - An estimated 20,000 people have fled to Thailand since conflict broke out between government forces and the fifth brigade of the ethnic Karen rebel group, the DKBA. Fighting began on Monday morning 8 November in the southeastern border town of Myawaddy, less than a day after election polls opened in the military controlled region.

Within hours the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported 1,000 refugees crossing the border into Thailand.

11 Jul 2010 description

Bangkok, 11 July 2010 – In January 2009, the Rohingya hit international media headlines when the world witnessed hundreds of emaciated boat people being rescued off the Andaman Islands of India and in Aceh, Indonesia. They had been intercepted in Thai waters, transferred to deserted islands, tortured and eventually cast away by the Thai military on the high seas, in boats without engines and with little food and water. At least 1000 people were dumped at sea in three separate incidents. Hundreds were reported missing.

17 Dec 2009 description

(extract)

REFUGEE NEWS BRIEFINGS

1. Sri Lanka: authorities open closed camps

On 1 December, Manik Farm camp in the northern city of Vavuniya finally opened its doors.

17 Dec 2009 description

Dispatches is a fortnightly e-mail bulletin of the JRS International Office.