During 3 � 7 October 2016, delegation from Thailand, led by Mr. Vera Urairat, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Council, H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Ms. Pornprapai Ganjanarintr, Director General of the Department of International Organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affair, and joined by representatives from the Ministry of Interior and the Royal Thai Armed Forces, attended the 67th Session of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)' Executive Committee, at Palais de Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

During the meeting, Thailand shared its vision towards addressing the current global crisis of displacement and called for the need for greater international cooperation in addressing the crisis, based on principles of equitable burden-sharing, while also stressed that current wave of mass migration of refugees has now reached the highest point since the end of the Second World War. Also, considering the fact that 85 per cent of the refugees are hosted by developing countries, the international community must therefore grant more support to host countries to ensure adequate and appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance to these people.

To achieve the above cause, Thailand reiterated the need to address root causes, including ending conflicts, through promotion of development alongside humanitarian aid, and called for enhanced coordination amongst countries of origin, transit, and destination, in order to response to emergency situations more promptly and systematically, and to prevent the loss of lives.

At the Sessions, Thailand also shared significant positive development of the preparation with Myanmar on voluntary return of the displaced persons from Myanmar, with the pilot group comprising 96 persons scheduled to depart in the very near future; the development of a screening process to identify those who truly need protection from those who migrate for other reasons; and measures to end statelessness through the granting of citizenship to those who are eligible, and provision of basic services, especially education and medical services, to the stateless population. Moreover, Thailand also shared her experience in law enforcement operations and cooperation at the regional level and beyond to combat transnational trafficking and smuggling networks that was a major contributing factor to the decrease of irregular movements in the Indian Ocean by 95 per cent.

In response to Thailand's contribution, Mr. Filippo Grandi, the High Commissioner for Refugees commended and thanked Thailand for its longstanding generosity as a host country of the displaced, and commended the progress on the voluntary return of displaced persons from Myanmar. He also pointed out that the UNHCR looked forward to cooperating with Thailand at the regional level on combating and preventing trafficking and smuggling of persons.

Additionally, Mr. Volker Turk, Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees (International Protection) commended Thailand for including the principle of Non-refoulement in its new draft national legislation, and looked forward to working with Thailand in developing the screening mechanism. He also commended Thailand's measures to end and prevent statelessness, as well as its active role in UNHCR's #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness.

Alongside attending the UNHCR's session, Thailand, in cooperation with Australia, Finland, UNHCR, Handicap International and International Disability Alliance, also co-organized a side event on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the context of displacement, which is in line with Thailand's policy on persons with disabilities.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand

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