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UNHCR Campaigns for Thai Support amid Global Refugee Crisis


UNHCR Statement

6th January 2016, As the world reaches record-high levels of forced displacement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is launching a campaign in Thailand to mobilize people to do their bit for refugees in the country.

According to a recently-released UNHCR report, there are now more than 20 million refugees and well over 30 million internally displaced people globally. The number of asylum applications has risen sharply – in Europe alone, over 1 million refugees and migrants arrived last year after crossing the Mediterranean. While the final figures for 2015 will only be available in June, we are on track to see global forced displacement exceeding 60 million for the first time since World War II. This means that 1 in every 122 humans is someone who has been forced to flee their home.

Syria’s war remains the single biggest generator worldwide of new refugees and internally displaced. At the same time, conflicts in Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Burundi and South Sudan are also contributing to the escalating numbers.

UNHCR financial requirements have nearly doubled as a result. Contributions from every sector are essential to make sure that we can keep up with the needs.

Since 2008, UNHCR has launched private sector fundraising activities in Thailand to offer an opportunity for Thai people to support our operation for refugees in the country. The activities have been well received due to the generosity of Thai people. It’s time to scale up the campaign to the wider public.

There are currently some 106,000 refugees in Thailand who are mainly ethnic Karen and Karenni forced to flee from conflict in Myanmar. For over 30 years, they have been living in nine camps in four provinces: Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Mae Hong Son, and Tak. Most of them are children, women and people with disabilities whose voice are seldom heard.

UNHCR recognizes the generosity of Thai people supporting refugees in Thailand throughout the years. While we are working to provide lasting solutions, we call for all sectors of society– Thai people, government, private sector and the press – to create a culture of generosity to rebuild the lives of less fortunate fellow human beings.

Even a small gesture means everything to those who have been through war, brutality and separation. What has happened to them is horrific and unimaginable. As victims of wars they did not create, they have been hurt and have lost loved ones. They have been forced to leave their homes and their former lives behind. They count on the public’s generosity to turn their scars into smiles. It is this collective power that UNHCR seeks to galvanize to build better future for refugees.