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The Border Consortium 2020 Annual Report

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This report covers the period January to December 2020 and outlines TBC’s progress based on the organisation’s Strategic Directions for Thailand and Myanmar 2020–2022. TBC’s programmes reached more than 140,000 men, women, and children—about 80,000 in nine refugee camps in Thailand, and over 60,000 in 14 townships in south eastern Myanmar.

In Myanmar the role of ethnic service providers in combatting COVID-19 was considerable, manning screening checkpoints and enforcing community based quarantines. Through quick adjustment with local partners and a transition to online meetings and trainings, programmes managed to stay broadly on track. In elections held on 8 November the National League for Democracy won over 82% of the total vote. 2020 saw continued militarisation and conflict throughout ethnic areas of the country and COVID-19 saw a large return of roughly 100,000 Thailand based migrant workers

In Thailand, COVID-19 saw the government declare a state of emergency. The enforcement of restrictions on refugees being allowed in and out of camp negatively impacted their ability to generate income outside of camps. In 2020 one case of COVID-19 was detected in Umpiem Mai, brought into the camp from a migrant worker visiting relatives. UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation scheduled for February was postponed with no-one returning to Myanmar through the formal process during the year. Restrictions in camp access saw TBC pivot to remote communications with camp based staff. At the end of December, 79,463 people remained in nine camps in Thailand, 982 people had departed for third country resettlement, and 1,362 people left the camps to seek alternatives in Thailand. There were 1,594 children born in the camps over the year.

Expenses for 2020 totalled THB 567M (USD 18M) against the adjusted budget of THB 586M (USD 18.6M) in income. The operational budget for 2021 is THB 544M (USD17.2M). With a constant population during 2020 due to COVID-19 and the added potential for increased needs on the border given the February 2021 Military coup in Myanmar, TBC plans to maintain current reserves.