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Country analysis

Thailand


A long-running insurgency, a large refugee population, and a high risk of natural hazards such as floods and extreme heat contribute to humanitarian needs across Thailand.

Since the 1940s, a Malay-Muslim insurgency has existed in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala, with escalations occurring in 2004 and 2019. Between 2004–2020, attacks on civilian areas, including markets and schools, and military offensives in the region resulted in over 7,300 fatalities. As at January 2024, a low-intensity conflict was still present in these provinces.

The Thailand-Myanmar border hosts nearly 91,000 refugees, the majority of whom are of Karen ethnicity. Many of them fled to Thailand in the 1980s to avoid persecution and conflict between ethnic armed groups and the Myanmar military. They face extreme restrictions on movement and legal protection and are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Insurgent activities in the south, the anti-insurgency campaign, and restrictions on refugee movements pose protection risks for those affected.

In 2020, the country experienced its worst drought in decades, directly affecting the food security and livelihoods of Thailand’s agricultural workers.

(ICG 19/04/2022, Abuza 09/2011, TBC 31/12/2023, UNHCR 02/08/2023, Bangkok Post 08/02/2020)

A long-running insurgency, a large refugee population, and a high risk of natural hazards such as floods and extreme heat contribute to humanitarian needs across Thailand.

Since the 1940s, a Malay-Muslim insurgency has existed in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala, with escalations occurring in 2004 and 2019. Between 2004–2020, attacks on civilian areas, including markets and schools, and military offensives in the region resulted in over 7,300 fatalities. As at January 2024, a low-intensity conflict was still present in these provinces.

The Thailand-Myanmar border hosts nearly 91,000 refugees, the majority of whom are of Karen ethnicity. Many of them fled to Thailand in the 1980s to avoid persecution and conflict between ethnic armed groups and the Myanmar military. They face extreme restrictions on movement and legal protection and are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Insurgent activities in the south, the anti-insurgency campaign, and restrictions on refugee movements pose protection risks for those affected.

In 2020, the country experienced its worst drought in decades, directly affecting the food security and livelihoods of Thailand’s agricultural workers.

(ICG 19/04/2022, Abuza 09/2011, TBC 31/12/2023, UNHCR 02/08/2023, Bangkok Post 08/02/2020)

Latest updates on country situation

17 April 2023

An escalation of conflict in Myanmar between the ethnic armed organisation Karen National Liberation Army and its allies, on one side, and the Myanmar military, on the other, has led around 9,200 people to flee from Shwe Kokko, a town in Myawaddy township in Kayin state, to Thailand since 5 April. Conflict has been escalating between these groups since late March 2023. Mae Sot and Mae Ramat in Tak province have provided shelter for these refugees in 13 Temporary Safety Areas (TSAs). As at 10 April, around 960 refugees remained in three TSAs, with the rest returning to Myanmar. They have been provided with food, water, medical care, shelter, and core relief items. (UNHCR 11/04/2023, BBC 07/04/2023, The Irrawaddy 07/04/2023)

11 April 2023

Since 5 April, around 9,200 people fled from Shwe Kokko, a town in Myawaddy township in Kayin state, to Thailand given the escalation of conflict between the ethnic armed organisation Karen National Liberation Army, along with its allies, and the Myanmar military since late March. These refugees were provided shelter in 13 Temporary Safety Areas (TSAs) in Mae Sot and Mae Ramat in Tak province. As at 10 April, around 960 refugees remained in three TSAs with the rest returning to Myanmar. They were provided with food, water, medical care, shelter, and core relief items.


([UNHCR 11/04/2023](https://reliefweb.int/map/myanmar/myanmar-emergency-overview-map-number-people-displaced-feb-2021-and-remain-displaced-10-apr-2023, Mizzima 11/04/2023, BBC 08/04/2023, ECHO 07/04/2023, The Irrawaddy 07/04/2023)

06 April 2023

As at 10 April 2023, the number of post-coup IDPs in Kayin state, southeastern Myanmar, was around 116,000. Movement restrictions, conflict, and insecurity have impeded the work of humanitarian responders and constrained the delivery of humanitarian aid, including NFIs and shelter assistance, to affected and displaced people in multiple states and regions, including Kayin state.


Since 5 April, around 9,200 people fled from Shwe Kokko, a town in Myawaddy township in Kayin state, to Thailand given the escalation of conflict between the ethnic armed organisation Karen National Liberation Army, along with its allies, and the Myanmar military since late March. These refugees were provided shelter in 13 Temporary Safety Areas (TSAs) in Mae Sot and Mae Ramat in Tak province. As at 10 April, around 960 refugees remained in three TSAs with the rest returning to Myanmar. They were provided with food, water, medical care, shelter, and core relief items.


(UNHCR 17/04/2023, UNHCR 11/04/2023, OCHA 06/04/2023, Mizzima 11/04/2023, BBC 08/04/2023, ECHO 07/04/2023, The Irrawaddy 07/04/2023)

current crises
in Thailand


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

THA003 - Refugees

Last updated 25/04/2024


Drivers

Conflict

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2 Low

Access constraints

2.0