Internal conflicts led by ethnic groups struggling for power have affected Myanmar since the country’s independence in 1948.
Hundreds of thousands have been displaced since the conflict began. Ethnic minorities still agitate for independence, self-determination, or even the most basic recognition, and the conflict continues to drag civilians through violence in most of the country’s border states.
The vast majority of internally displaced people (IDPs) have extremely limited freedom of movement, resulting in dire conditions and inadequate access to basic services. At the same time, the international humanitarian community has very limited access to deliver assistance and protection to them. Displacement is even more difficult for ethnic and religious minorities, who are often denied their basic rights.
Chronic underdevelopment, armed conflict, and landmine contamination have destroyed homes, livelihoods, water resources, health and education facilities.
People we helped in Myanmar in 2017
NRC Myanmar responds to the complex crises created by this civil war. We support displaced people as they encounter both short- and long- term issues.
We endeavour to direct our support to the most vulnerable populations throughout the country. To do so, we emphasise protection in all our programming and explore ways to combine them to maximise impact – for example, education and livelihood activities. We promote international humanitarian standards within camps.
In the south-east region, we work on cross-border activities in Thailand.
Working in partnership with displaced populations and camp and community leaders, we promote the respect of minimum standards and basic rights. Our teams:
- improve leadership in formal camps and displaced people’s participation
- advocate with local, national, and international actors
- improve basic camp services, especially for people with specific protection risks
- share information with displaced people in camps and outside of camps, which helps them know what support is available and when certain activities take place
- coordinate with other agencies to provide people fleeing in urban areas with shelter support and basic household items
We work with communities to develop programmes tailored to their needs. Our education teams offer:
- emergency education that gives short-term protection and psychosocial support
- vocational training in tailoring, food preservation, motor bike repair and construction apprenticeships
- life skills trainings that help people avoid threats and reduce their protection risks
- support for the formal education system, helping children access local formal school systems
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
Our objective is to ensure that people affected by displacement, including minorities and those at risk of statelessness, can claim their legal identity and exercise their rights. Our experts:
- give information and counselling on rights, laws, and procedures related to housing, land, and property, to address the problems created by an unclear and inefficient land registration system
- help people get the right civil documents, like birth and marriage certificates
- work with refugees who fled across the border into Thailand, so they know and can exercise their rights
Livelihoods and food security
As displacement for people in Myanmar is becoming an enduring reality, NRC has begun to think longer term. We are:
- carrying out studies to assess the viability of expanding current projects into a full programme
- conducting business-oriented courses on basic business planning, marketing, and accounting in connection with Education programming
- piloting livelihoods projects that will create long-term opportunities
Shelter and settlements
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We prevent and respond to displacement with protective shelter and WASH for providing physical safety and protecting people from harm. Our teams:
- provide essential non-food items, temporary shelter options, and cash assistance for IDPs to meet their basic needs in an emergency
- rebuild and construct community infrastructure, like schools, that are resistant to disasters
- work with affected communities to improve shelter conditions
- promote good hygiene practices for people who have been displaced
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation (Norad)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- OCHA’s Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF)
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
- Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund
- UN refugee agency (UNHCR)
- MyJustice Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council
- OFDA Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID)
- Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
- START Fund
About NRC in (country)
Statement of INGOs in Myanmar on the situation in Rakhine
As international NGOs supporting communities throughout Rakhine State, we express our deep concern with the continued fighting between the Myanmar Security and the Arakan Army Forces. This conflict is causing civilian casualties, displacing communities, and worsening the already precarious humanitarian situation in central and northern Rakhine State. Echoing our previous statement from January 2019, we urge all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians in compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law
Upsurge in violence in Rakhine State displaces thousands
Ongoing clashes between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar Military have displaced 4,500 people since early December.