Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Thailand

Quick facts
Number of IDPsUndetermined
Percentage of total populationUndetermined
Start of current displacement situation2004
Peak number of IDPs (Year)Undetermined (2006)
New displacement50,000
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index103

Around 50,000 people were displaced in February and April 2011 by fighting between Thai and Cambodian forces related to a decade-long border dispute between the countries. Most people were able to return to their homes shortly after the fighting subsided, but some faced recovery challenges due to damage to their property, the presence of unexploded ordnance and a decline in household income due to the suspension of border trade.

Displacement was also ongoing in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, where the government has been facing Malay Muslim separatist groups for more than a century. Violence which resumed in 2004 had by 2011 caused an estimated 5,000 deaths and 8,300 injuries. During 2011, around 1,500 people were killed or injured, most of them civilians.

The Buddhist minority in the south has been disproportionately affected by the violence, and many have fled their homes and moved to safer areas within or outside the three conflict-affected provinces. The number of people displaced since 2004 remains unknown, but available information suggests that at least 30 per cent of Buddhists and ten per cent of Malay Muslims, or up to 240,000 people in total, may have left their homes. While some have fled in direct response to the violence, many have moved because of the adverse effects of the conflict on the economy and on the provision of education and social services. Most IDPs have moved to urban areas inside the affected provinces, where like the rest of the population, they remain at risk of violence from both sides.

The government has not taken any steps to assess the extent of this displacement, through systematic monitoring of movements and needs; nor has it adopted measures to address the issue. It has mostly limited its assistance to victims of insurgent violence and their families.


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