IOM Thailand provides not only humanitarian assistance to stranded migrants in post-crisis situation, but also takes a comprehensive approach to create community cohesion in order to ensure that migrants can fully engage with their host society from a socio-economic, political, and cultural perspective.
Due to a variety of political, structural and personal factors, stranded migrants in Thailand often lack identity documents that would accord them rights and protection. The lack of access to social services including health and education, high unemployment, high incidences of domestic violence, and increased vulnerability to human trafficking and labour exploitation, all contribute to isolation and put them in a disadvantaged position. Irregular migrants are also more likely to live in informal housing which exposes them and their host communities to increased health risks, often as a consequence of poor environmental health conditions.
IOM Thailand utilizes its expertise in community stabilization to promote community cohesion while addressing key infrastructure and community enhancement needs. Emphasis will be placed on interventions that benefit both marginalized migrants and disadvantaged Thais in host communities, and require them to share resources for their mutual benefit. Community cohesion is ensured through capacity building efforts involving community and religious leaders from both migrant groups and host communities, giving them a stake and ownership in stablization initiatives.
With a focus on the process of engagement, ownership and cohesion, this mechanism will support an enduring link between the various actors, helps to build rapport and trust among stakeholders, and enhance stability and security. Particular attention is also paid to mainstreaming gender and vulnerability perspectives across all aspects of programming. With a wide range of activities being implemented through various means, by multiple actors, dialogue and advocacy with the Royal Thai Government at the national and local level is also being emphasized in order to address the systemic vulnerability of the marginalized migrants.
IOM Thailand's current Myanmar Muslim and Host Communities project (infosheet in sidebar) is a continuation and expansion of a previous programme jointly funded by the EU and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which ran from 2013 to 2015 and assisted Myanmar Muslims in eight host communities in Mae Sot, Tak province. For more information on the previous phase, click here.