More than 102 000 refugees from Myanmar/Burma are hosted in Thailand, in nine camps located along the border between the two countries. The refugees are officially restricted to the camps and their access to livelihoods is therefore limited. Their primary needs in the camps relate to primary health care, food, shelter, water and sanitation, education and protection.
In recent years, the country has witnessed a drastic increase in the number of asylum seekers who are not entitled to any legal status. They are consequently exposed to detention and labour exploitation.
Over the past few years, Thailand has also been a major transit country for the Rohingya people fleeing violence in Myanmar/Burma and trying to reach Malaysia.
The EU’s humanitarian response
In 2016, the European Commission allocated €1.3 million to addressing the refugee crisis, bringing the total amount over the past two decades to almost €120 million. Thanks to this funding, around 80 000 refugees have access to basic medical services in five different camps, including immunisation and mother-and-child care programmes. Training for health workers is also provided.
Additionally, a further € 300 000 was allocated to a programme implemented by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) aiming to support asylum seekers in Thailand in order to reduce their chances of being exploited.
Since 2013, the European Commission has also been funding emergency humanitarian support, language interpretation and medical care for irregular migrants from Myanmar/Burma and Bangladesh held in immigration detention centres. To date, the Commission has contributed more than € 1.1 million to this initiative.