Although it is still early days, for the first time since TBBC began working with refugees from Burma there are hopes of reconciliation and of refugees returning home. To understand more about where refugees come from TBBC have produced a preliminary map of refugees’ previous townships of residence, confirming that most are from the conflict areas in South-East Burma.
This map was compiled from data collected during TBBC’s annual population verification process in December 2011. While some data is missing and the process of standardising township names was problematic, the result is a relatively accurate indication of the places that refugees have come from.
Over 20% of the refugees in camps reported coming from two townships (Hlaing Bwe and Hpapun) in Karen/Kayin State, and the vast majority have come from townships affected by armed conflict in the South East. However, there were also small pockets of communities who reported coming from the Irrawaddy/Ayeyarwady Delta, Rakhine State, Chin State and Kachin State. In total, over 50 townships spread across 7 states and 4 regions in Burma are represented to at least some extent in Thailand’s refugee camps.
A cautionary note is that when there is reconciliation in Burma/ Myanmar and it becomes possible for refugees to return, the refugees’ previous townships of residence will not necessarily be their preferred destination.
Please go here to see the map.