In move to boost protection UN and Thailand reregister Myanmar refugees

In an effort to provide protection for some 140,000 Myanmar refugees in Thailand and assist in any solution to the decade-old problem, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Government have begun a massive five-month-long operation to re-register the entire population of nine camps sheltering them. The 47-member registration team will move from camp to camp, from south to north, using UNHCR’s newly-developed ProGres software to provide an accurate record of the number of refugees and to collect additional bio-data such as digital photographs and fingerprints required by the Government. All of the nine camps, strung along Thailand’s western border with Myanmar, are run by the Government with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing assistance. The exercise began on 2 December and is expected to end in April. The re-registration began in the densely-populated Tham Hin camp in Ratchaburi province which hosts in a 16-hectare site some 9,000 refugees from the Karen ethnic group who sought asylum during a military offensive in early 1997. The information will help UNHCR provide protection for the refugees and also assist with requirements for any eventual durable solution, the agency said in Bangkok, the Thai capital. It will also help NGOs provide better assistance to the refugees, many of whom have been living in the camps for nearly a decade. The camp population was first registered in 1999, but only very limited data was collected at that time. read more