Refugee and Migration Affairs
The Office of Refugee and Migration Affairs (RMA) at U.S. Embassy Bangkok is the regional hub for the protection of and assistance to some 1.9 million refugees, asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants, other conflict victims and stateless persons, covering approximately 20 countries in the East Asia region. RMA’s primary tasks are to (1) Represent USG humanitarian policies and strategies; (2) Oversee the implementation of PRM-funded assistance programs administered by international and non-governmental organizations; and (3) Facilitate the resettlement applications of individuals referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More than 750,000 refugees have passed through Thailand to be resettled in a third country in the last 35 years, including more than 500,000 to the United States. Refugees originate from a diverse array of countries ranging from Somalia to Syria; however, the largest population of concern in both Thailand and the region is the Burmese, primarily ethnic minorities. Currently, there are approximately 120,000 Burmese refugees and asylum seekers residing in nine official camps along the Thailand-Burma border. In cooperation with the Royal Thai Government, UNHCR, International Rescue Committee, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 76,000 Burmese refugees in Thailand have resettled in the United States since 2005.
Humanitarian assistance and protection to refugees and asylum seekers are an integral part of RMA's work. RMA works in close coordination with UNHCR, other international organizations, and NGOs and provides funds for the provision of food, nutrition, health, gender-based violence prevention and response, and water, sanitation and hygiene, among other sectors. Current PRM-funded assistance programs implemented by NGOs are found in Thailand, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. PRM also provides contributions to the regional appeals of UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as to IOM for assistance to vulnerable populations throughout the region. In Fiscal Year 2013, PRM funding in the East Asia region totaled $71.6 million.
RMA is headed by a Regional Refugee Coordinator, supported by two American staff (Deputy and Assistant Refugee Coordinator) and two Thai staff (Program Assistant and Office Clerk).