Operation: Opération: Myanmar



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
213,050 IDPs supported through CCCM services to ensure equitable access to humanitarian services and protection
20,480 IDPs received support for shelter construction or rehabilitation
18,300 households received core relief items in Rakhine, Kachin, northern Shan states as well as south-east Myanmar
3,990 people with specific needs received special assistance
93 refugees voluntarily repatriated from Thailand
2019 planning figures
235,000 IDPs will benefit from camp coordination and camp management services in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States
34,500 people of concern will receive shelter support in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States
12,000 people with specific needs be supported in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States
1,250 protection monitoring visits will be conducted in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States
1,000 IDP and refugee returnees will be assisted with civil status registration or documentation in south-east of Myanmar and Chin State

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 866,718
2017 849,733
2016 1,302,375


[["IDPs",370305],["Returned IDPs",379],["Returned refugees",95],["Stateless",495939]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[68.10870324,72.77272012,56.212578921,49.16219959,46.11656044,38.7240004],"expenditure":[21.52521921,17.61568966,17.12864861,17.53716726,16.68827604,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[6.09529354,25.313692,28.97865689,17.78248897,9.7805165,6.97342093],"p2":[12.94029106,15.99808438,2.59311248,7.70424298,25.05137031,22.23016208],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[49.07311864,31.46094374,24.640809551,23.67546764,11.28467363,9.52041739]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[null,5.55763533,3.75516825,3.82923806,2.24739244,null],"p2":[5.66947559,3.86446935,2.2372177,3.17102851,11.05580261,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[15.85574362,8.19358498,11.13626266,10.53690069,3.38508099,null]}
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  • 2014
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  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational Environment

Increased violence in parts of Myanmar resulted in an overall deterioration of the protection environment in 2018, with limited prospects for solutions for people of concern to UNHCR.
Overall, limited progress was made towards addressing the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine state, and there were no significant developments in the peace process. Cumbersome and unpredictable administrative procedures continued to hinder UNHCR and its partners’ ability to access conflict-affected populations.
In the north-east of the country, armed hostilities led to new displacement of civilians – both temporary and protracted in nature. Overall, some 106,000 people remained displaced by the end of 2018 in Kachin and northern Shan states – a 7% increase over the course of the year.
In the south-east, the prevalence of landmines, as well as limited availability of services and livelihood opportunities remained obstacles to IDP and refugee return.  
In Rakhine state, the overall security environment remained precarious.  Conflict intensified towards the end of 2018, displacing some 5,000 Rohingya and ethnic minorities in Rakhine and southern Chin states and adding to an already complex context. Meanwhile, some 128,000 persons (98% of whom were stateless Rohingya) remained in a situation of protracted displacement in central areas of the state. Hundreds of thousands of non-displaced stateless people continued to reside in various townships across the state, with restrictions on freedom of movement, access to services and livelihoods, as well as other protection risks continuing to be reported.

In June 2018, the Government of Myanmar, UNDP and UNHCR signed a tripartite MoU, aimed at supporting the creation of conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees to their places of origin or of their choosing. In signing the MoU, the Government affirmed its commitment to finding solutions, in line with the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations, including establishing a clear and voluntary pathway to citizenship and ensuring freedom of movement for all people in Rakhine State.

Population trends

The total estimated population of concern to UNHCR in Myanmar stood at some 845,000 people in 2018 – including some 600,000 stateless persons in Rakhine state; 26,000 individuals with undetermined nationality elsewhere in the country; and 242,000 other IDPs in Kachin, northern Shan, Rakhine states and south-eastern Myanmar.

Key achievements

  • In northern Rakhine state, under the framework of the tripartite MoU, 120 community consultations were conducted with over 1,400 peeople in some 56 villages, resulting in the identification of 71 prioritised community projects.
  • In central Rakhine State, UNHCR expanded its protection coverage outside IDP camps, through community engagement and social cohesion initiatives.
  • UNHCR maintained its responsibilities within the inter-agency humanitarian response in Rakhine and Kachin/northern Shan states, and assumed both a coordination and operational delivery role in the areas of protection, shelter, NFI and CCCM.

Unmet needs

One of the key protection and assistance gaps faced by UNHCR’s people of concern in Myanmar as a result of limited funding is shelter.  Some 16,300 IDP families had urgent shelter construction or rehabilitation needs that could not be met in 2018 in Kachin, northern Shan and Rakhine states. Moreover, only 21% of people with identified special needs received targeted assistance despite increasing vulnerabilities and limited coping mechanisms.

Community-based activities were limited to priority locations in central Rakhine State, despite their potential to promote social cohesion among affected communities and support a conducive environment for solutions. 

Working environment*

Myanmar is characterized by a combination of statelessness and protracted internal displacement, while being the country of origin of the majority of refugees in the region. The situation in Northern Rakhine State deteriorated dramatically in late 2017 and triggered the largest and swiftest refugee exodus witnessed in the region in recent decades. Over 600,000 people, largely stateless Muslims from the northern part of Rakhine State, have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the ensuing violence. The impact of the crisis and the magnitude of humanitarian needs of affected communities are expected to be significant but are currently difficult to ascertain due to the ongoing restrictions on humanitarian access in Rakhine State.
Progress in addressing the root causes of violence in Rakhine State including development and citizenship / rights related issues in line with the Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations and in creating conducive conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees to their places of origin will be key. Meanwhile in Kachin and northern Shan States, new conflicts have led to further population displacement and serious concerns about the protection of civilians.
UNHCR stands ready to resume its full-scale operation and provide essential life-saving assistance and services to the populations affected by the current crisis as soon as access situation improves.
As progress on the peace process and ongoing reforms has been slow, large scale return of refugees from Thailand to Myanmar is yet to gain momentum. The conditions for the safe and sustainable return of those affected by conflict and displacement in south-east Myanmar are expected to gradually improve, therefore an increasing number of Myanmar refugees in Thailand is anticipated to return home.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will continue to advocate increased regional support to help the Government of Myanmar address the root causes of displacement by providing temporary protection for refugees and sharing good practices on peaceful coexistence. UNHCR will also promote inclusive development, and the prevention and reduction of statelessness. UNHCR will focus on:
  • Maintaining high outputs on protection monitoring and analysis to address specific protection risks and conduct evidence-based advocacy;
  • Responding to prevailing humanitarian needs in IDP camps and beyond through the provision of shelter and non-food items, as well as camp management and coordination services;
  • Contributing to confidence-building measures through peaceful coexistence initiatives benefiting all communities;
  • Providing capacity building and technical support to the Government, communities and other relevant stakeholders for the preparation of sustainable solutions to internal displacement in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States and to address the situation of statelessness;
  • Providing technical support and advice to the Government ensure repatriation agreement and related measures for the return of refugees from Bangladesh meet international standards;
  • Facilitating return and sustainable reintegration of refugee returnees from Thailand to south-east Myanmar with a particular focus on access to civil documentation; physical safety and security; access to housing, land and property (HLP); community-based livelihoods; inclusion in national services and the economy.
*As of November 2017.
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