TBC’s Burma/Myanmar programme strives to mitigate and reduce the vulnerability of internally displaced people (IDPs) and communities emerging from conflict and abuse in rural areas of southeast Burma/Myanmar.
“Southeast Burma/Myanmar” refers to states and regions adjacent to the Thai border, as well as to eastern Bago region.
According to the 2014 Myanmar census, the total population of the largely mountainous and hilly territory is estimated to be approximately 11.5 million. The area is home to diverse ethnic groups and has been the centre of longstanding armed conflicts. Many parts are heavily contaminated by landmines.
Working with its local partners, TBC supports communities to develop and recover from conflict, mainly through community-driven development, natural resources management, and agriculture and livelihoods initiatives.
Activities cover a wide territory ranging from southern Shan State to southern Tenasserim/Tanintharyi Region.
Together with its partners, TBC has conducted detailed assessments of the numbers and conditions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the southeast since 2002.
The areas surveyed include part of southern Shan State, Karenni/Kayah State, eastern Bago Region, Karen/Kayin State, Mon State and Tenasserim/Tanintharyi Region.
In 2012, TBC estimated that there were 400,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) spread across 36 townships in the southeast. A survey of a smaller area the following year suggested that there had not been a significant reduction in total IDP numbers.
There has been no new survey since TBC’s last comprehensive report published in 2014. However TBC and other partners have assessed that IDP numbers remain substantially unchanged in the period since, given a continuing pattern that has seen small numbers of IDPs return to their original home places while new persons are displaced as a result of land confiscations, militarisation, natural hazards and other causal factors.
TBC’s earlier research indicates that poverty levels in some conflict areas are as high as 59 percent, with fewer than half of families having an adequately nutritious diet, and most agricultural households lacking farm machinery or regular access to cash income.
Additional information, data and maps on health, education, governance, conflict and related topics in southeast Burma/Myanmar is available at the Myanmar Information Management Unit.
In September 2017, TBC was unable to continue food rations support to seven Shan and Karen/Kayin IDP camps situated close to the Thailand border. It has continued to share reflections with donors and supporters on the cessation of food assistance to camps for internally displaced persons and the need to broaden options through which refugees can access support during return and reintegration.