UN agencies team up on family planning for refugees in Thailand

News Stories, 15 January 2009

© UNHCR/R.Arnold
Family Planning: Two women refugees take their children for a stroll in one of the camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

BANGKOK, Thailand, January 15 (UNHCR) Refugees along Thailand's border with Myanmar will be able to continue to plan their families thanks to cooperation between UNHCR and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The two UN agencies are collaborating to fill gaps in reproductive health care for the 111,000 refugees from Myanmar living in nine camps. A quarter of the refugees are women of reproductive age.

As an initial step, UNFPA on Wednesday handed over contraceptives to meet the needs of 8,500 current users and 400 new users for six months to one year. The UN refugee agency's private aid agency partners will distribute the supplies and provide related counselling, education and hospital referrals in four camps: Umpium, Mae La, Mae Ra Ma Luang and Mae La Oon.

"People's needs for voluntary family planning information and services do not end when they become refugees," said UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative Giuseppe de Vincentis. "We consider family planning and reproductive health a basic human right and UNHCR is committed to ensuring that all refugee needs are met."

The two agencies are also talking with the Thai government about long-term cooperation to address the needs of adolescents, whose access to information and services has been limited by cultural taboos.

"It is our hope that further collaboration with UNHCR will improve the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of reproductive health information and service provision for refugees here in Thailand," said Garimella Giridhar, UNFPA's representative in Thailand.

By Kitty McKinsey in Bangkok, Thailand

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Returnees in Myanmar

During the early 1990s, more than 250,000 Rohingya Muslims fled across the border into Bangladesh, citing human rights abuses by Myanmar's military government. In exile, refugees received shelter and assistance in 20 camps in the Cox's Bazaar region of Bangladesh. More than 230,000 of the Rohingya Muslims have returned since 1992, but about 22,000 still live in camps in Bangladesh. To promote stability in returnee communities in Myanmar and to help this group of re-integrate into their country, UNHCR and its partner agencies provide monitors to insure the protection and safety of the returnees as well as vocational training, income generation schemes, adult literacy programs and primary education.

Returnees in Myanmar

UNHCR Relief Items Pour into Myanmar

With eight relief flights and an earlier truck convoy from nearby Thailand, UNHCR had by June 6, 2008 moved 430 tonnes of shelter and basic household supplies into Myanmar to help as many as 130,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis. The aid includes plastic sheeting, plastic rolls, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets. Once the aid arrives in the country it is quickly distributed.

On the outskirts of the city of Yangon – which was also hit by the cyclone – and in the Irrawady delta, some families have been erecting temporary shelters made out of palm leaf thatching. But they desperately need plastic sheeting to keep out the monsoon rains.

Posted on 12 June 2008

UNHCR Relief Items Pour into Myanmar

Myanmar Cyclone Victims Still Need Aid

With eight relief flights and an earlier truck convoy from nearby Thailand, UNHCR had by June 6, 2008 moved 430 tonnes of shelter and basic household supplies into Myanmar to help as many as 130,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis. The aid includes plastic sheeting, plastic rolls, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets. Once the aid arrives in the country it is quickly distributed.

On the outskirts of the city of Yangon – which was also hit by the cyclone – and in the Irrawady delta, some families have been erecting temporary shelters made out of palm leaf thatching. But they desperately need plastic sheeting to keep out the monsoon rains.

Posted on 12 June 2008

Myanmar Cyclone Victims Still Need Aid

Displaced women sew up a future in Kachin campPlay video

Displaced women sew up a future in Kachin camp

Conflict in Myanmar's Kachin state has displaced tens of thousands. In the town of Laiza, UNHCR is helping women in Hpun Lum Yang camp to learn tailoring skills as part of a pilot project to foster cohesion among IDP women in the camp and help them find solutions for the practical problems they and their community face.
Myanmar: Olympic Spirit AlivePlay video

Myanmar: Olympic Spirit Alive

The International Olympic Committee and Samsung recently presented sports kits to 20 schools in south-east Myanmar. The lucky children were happy to show off their skills.
By Boat to SafetyPlay video

By Boat to Safety

The recent resurgence in inter-communal violence in western Myanmar, forced hundreds of people to sail to safety on their fishing boats.