High Commissioner Guterres in Thailand/Myanmar mission

Briefing Notes, 13 July 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 13 July 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is currently in Bangkok, and earlier today met Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. A common understanding was established to guarantee the voluntariness of returns of Myanmarese refugees living in camps in Thailand, making sure that returns take place in safety and dignity, and that all parties will work together for security, economic and social conditions to be created on the ground to make returns successful and sustainable.

High Guterres ended a two-day mission to Myanmar yesterday, where he reiterated UNHCR's commitment to delivering humanitarian assistance to both populations in Rakhine State Rakhine and Muslim without any discrimination. We believe that this can be a factor for reconciliation between communities and we hope that a situation will be established in Rakhine State with the rule of law prevailing and a human rights-based approach.

The High Commissioner expressed to the president and the government of Myanmar his hope that, independently of possible improvements in the nationality law, nationality should be granted to the members of the Muslim community who are entitled to have it according to the present legislation. And others should receive a legal status that would grant them the rights required to develop a normal life in the country.

In his meeting with the president of Myanmar and other authorities, the High Commissioner stressed UNHCR's commitment to support all efforts for peace-building in the southeast, mainly through assistance to displaced people. We are ready to help prepare for returns, which should be voluntary and carried out in safety and dignity, both of those displaced within the country and from the nine refugee camps in Thailand.

Mr. Guterres is travelling onwards to Ethiopia this weekend for the African Union summit, and for a field mission on Monday to see the conditions for refugees from Sudan's Blue Nile State currently in Ethiopia's Assosa region.

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UNHCR country pages

The High Commissioner

António Guterres, who joined UNHCR on June 15, 2005, is the UN refugee agency's 10th High Commissioner.

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

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat campPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits Arbat camp

Concluding a visit to Iraq, UNHCR chief António Guterres met with Syrian refugees in Arbat camp in the Kurdistan region. Guterres noted the recent proliferation of humanitarian crises, but urged the international community not to forget about Syria, "the mega protracted crisis of our times."
Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced IraqisPlay video

Iraq: High Commissioner visits displaced Iraqis

This week UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is visiting Iraq to meet with families displaced by conflict in recent weeks. After listening to accounts of their difficult journeys to safety, Guterres called for more support to help deal with the crisis. He will also visit some of the 300,000 Syrian refugees currently living in camps in northern Iraq.
Jordan: UNHCR and Host Countries Discuss SyriaPlay video

Jordan: UNHCR and Host Countries Discuss Syria

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres meets in Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp with leaders of countries hosting Syrian refugees in the region. He again urged the international community to do more to help these countries shoulder the burden.