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Assistant High Commissioner's trip to Myanmar/Thailand

Briefing notes

Assistant High Commissioner's trip to Myanmar/Thailand

15 October 2004

On Monday, the Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane and the head of UNHCR's Asia/Pacific bureau, Janet Lim, will begin a six-day mission to Myanmar and Thailand.

During their four-day visit to Myanmar they are scheduled to meet top government officials and staff, and visit the eastern border area with Thailand where UNHCR is in the initial stages of providing assistance to improve basic health, education, community services and infrastructure in areas of potential refugee return.

Earlier this year, UNHCR reached an agreement with the Myanmar government on preliminary efforts to create conditions which could eventually lead to the voluntary return of an estimated 130,000 refugees from camps in neighbouring Thailand. There are also an estimated 600,000 internally displaced people in this area of Myanmar.

But, we want to stress that the current situation in the states along the Myanmar-Thailand border - Karen State, Mon State and Tenassarim Division - is not conducive to refugee returns.

On Thursday 21 October, Mr Morjane and Janet Lim will travel to Thailand where they are scheduled to meet senior government officials, diplomats, NGOs and staff. Mr Morjane will return to Geneva on 23 October, while Janet Lim will stay on until the 25th to visit two of the nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. These camps are run by the government, not UNHCR, although we do provide protection assistance.