Thailand and Myanmar BorderMyanmar and Thailand Border
January 26, 2014, 11:37 p.m. There are border crossing points. At the moment it looks as if only Mae Sai, Mae Sot, Ranong and Kanchanaburi exist. January 28, 2014, 12:19 p.m. Below you will find more current information about Kanchanaburi (near BBK) & Ranong junctions and how to find your way in Northbound.
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A dilemma of repatriation of refugees along the border between Thailand and Myanmar
Since the outbreak of Myanmar's civil and ethnical conflicts in 1948, several hundred thousand people have been evicted and abandoned to escape and resettle on the Thai border. Most of these are from the Myanmar minority communities, and as the dispute between the EAOs and the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) is continuing, many are in abeyance.
After the signature of the nationwide ceasefire agreement and the National League for Democracy's election win in 2015, there was a coordinated drive to repatriate to Myanmar. As a tradition, they were repatriated to a third party countries - above all to the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe.
However, now that these states have completed their relocation programmes, the donating organisations are urging large-scale relocation to Myanmar. This would eliminate one of the most obvious legacy of decade long conflicts, but it is not that easy. This urge to repatriate is coinciding with a relocation of relief organizations and sponsors from work on the Thai-Myanmar border to work within Myanmar.
Long-standing donor and relief organisations have been involved in supporting the border crossing border in the form of relief efforts for years. There has been no resolution in the needs of those who live in the wards. Over 100,000 people ( "both recorded and undocumented") live in nine border-campers. The Border Consortium, one of the largest contributors of international humanitarian assistance, has neglected to ensure the full financing of its programmes.
The Border Consortium's funds were cut by almost 50 percent between 2012 and 2016, leading to a reduction in the supply of foods - a worrisome tendency, as many stocks are too full to promote home-grown farmland. The Mae Tao Clinic, which provides life-saving healthcare to 150 ambulant patients a days, offers life-saving care to migrants on both sides of the border and has recently had to cut operational expenses by 20 percent.
By 2018, the United States Agency for International Development - the clinic's largest provider - will provide assistance only to relief groups working in Myanmar. Discontinuance of financing is contrary to Myanmar accounts, particularly on the questions and concerns in the places where these displaced people are to be resettled.
Whilst many stakeholder groups believe that the terms are mature for a comeback, Kayin and Shan government sources suggest otherwise. Growing trafficking in drugs is causing a variety of adverse societal impacts that have spread in the border towns, among them addictions, medical issues and drug-related abuse.
To put it briefly, there are relatively few pulling points that make a person come back across the border. Clearly, why is it that national minorities are not as enthusiastic about returns as their international donor countries? There are many who deplore the fact that they do not have enough information on the feedback procedure. Several of the first returners from the Nu Po camps in Thailand have said that they are undersupplied and complaining about a shortage of work.
There are many who would like to remain in Thailand, but this seems less and less likely when you consider how little assistance there is for giving refugee nationality to Thailand on such a large scale. However, this is not the case in Thailand. The donor should consider further supporting the work of civic and community-based organizations at the border until Myanmar has improved.
They need funds to keep providing educational, community healthcare and essential community service that would otherwise not be available. The full inclusion of these fleeing populations in Thailand is not realistic. Instead, the donor countries should help until the return process has eased. Maximilian Mørch is a free-lance reporter and explorer on the border between Thailand and Myanmar.