Thai / Cambodia Border Refugee Camps 1975-1999

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Revised 2 August 1989


1. Structure and Organization

The international community, through United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 34/22, has requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to make arrangements to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Kampucheans who are in need, especially those along the Thai-Kampuchean border. Accordingly, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Representative under whose overall authority the assistance programmes for Kampucheans are carried out. In January 1982, the United Nations Border Relief Operation (UNBRO) was established with the mandate to discharge the tasks of providing' humanitarian assistance to the Kampucheans along the Thai/Kampuchean border. The Regional Representative of UNDP in Bangkok is concurrently Director of UNBRO on an appointment by the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General convenes periodic meetings which are attended by interested Governments. UNBRO prepares situation reports and annual budget estimates upon which Governments are invited to cogent, and towards which they may make voluntary contributions.

2. Level & Type of Relief Assistance - Policy

Member Governments of the United Nations have, through U.N. Resolution No. 34/22, directed that emergency assistance of a humanitarian nature be made available to the Khmer. This accords with the policy of the Royal Thai Government, which does not want permanent settlements to be established at the border.

It is not, therefore, the policy of UNBRO to develop the border encampments into permanent establishments.

The operational policy of UNBRO can be summarised as follows:

- Provision of basic assistance to needy displaced Kampuchean civilians at the Thai-Kampuchean border, with special emphasis given to vulnerable groups, until these persons are able to return to their own homes inside Kampuchea.

- The scale and type of assistance should be of an acceptable level, and should not reach such a level that the border becomes a "magnet" for people living inside Kampuchea.

- Assistance is also provided to support primary education, adult literacy and various self-reliance activities.

- The assistance should be provided in such a manner as to enable the Khmer to retain dignity, pride, national identity and spirit. To the extent possible, the Khmer civilian administration is encouraged to develop their own capabilities to make effective use of the international resources made available to them.

- Assistance is provided to Thai villagers most adversely affected by the events at the Thai - Kampuchean border. This aid is targeted towards those affected Thai villagers most in need, and is structured so as to enable the villagers .to achieve self- sufficiency, in the expectation that assistance may be phased out in the medium term.

- Monitoring of all assistance is a pre-requisite in order to maintain accountability and retain donor support.

3. Interpretation of Policy

Basic humanitarian relief supplies (food, drinking water, shelter materials and personal supplies such as mosquito nets, blankets etc.) are provided directly by UNBRO to needy displaced Kampuchean civilians at the Thai-Kampuchean border.

In most encampments, distribution of basic humanitarian relief supplies is effected by UNBRO directly to individual beneficiaries. Basic food rations are distributed on a weekly basis. In the major encampments, food distribution is done through a system of family books, whereas ration cards are used in smaller camps.

Regular monitoring of distributions must be undertaken. UNBRO staff expect to visit all areas where assistance is utilised. Where this is not possible and the monitoring requirement cannot thus be met, assistance will be suspended.

For all assistance, emphasis is placed on encouraging and developing Khmer-run facilities wherever possible, with most material inputs provided by UNBRO, and utilising the services of voluntary agencies where appropriate.

4. Food

Dry rations (rice, fish, pulses and vegetable oil) providing a minimum average of 2,457 calories per person per day are distributed by UNBRO to eligible beneficiaries. Fresh vegetables, wheat and salt are also provided.

5. Supplementary Feeding

Supplementary feeding of vulnerable groups is provided through voluntary agencies in accordance with UNBRO supplementary feeding guidelines, combined with nutrition education.

6. Water

At the largest camp, Site 2, there remains the problem of dependence on trucked-in water although the reservoir above Site 2 North has improved this situation. In the other camps most of the water comes from nearby streams, reservoirs and protected wells.

7. Health/Sanitation

Health care and sanitation services are provided through voluntary agencies.' Emphasis is placed on an integrated approach to health care stressing primary / preventive / environmental health, in accordance with UNBRO guidelines and treatment protocols. Malaria vector control is carried out by UNBRO with an emphasis on training the Khmer to use equipment and insecticides provided by UNBRO. The World Health Organisation is kept informed and consulted as appropriate and assists in periodic evaluation of the health programmes in border encampments.

8. Medicines, Medical, Dental & Laboratory Supplies

UNBRO maintains a central border pharmacy to meet the health needs of the civilian Khmer population living along the border. Drugs are made available to voluntary agency health programmes and/or direct to the Khmer themselves taking into account seasonal changes, locations and ability of Khmer medical staff. As the misuse of medicines can have serious effects and cause death or lead to the build-up of resistance to certain drugs, monitoring by UNBRO and by voluntary agency staff is essential.

9. Education

With the agreement of the Royal Thai Government, UNBRO has undertaken a two-year (1988-1989) programme of general education at primary level (grades 1 to 6) in the border encampments. Support is granted directly to the Khmer education committees in six specific areas including curriculum development, printing of educational materials, teacher trainers training, teacher training, provision of supplies, and construction and equipment of classrooms. The prime objective is to achieve a standard setting of the Khmer-managed primary education programmes along the border on the basis of internationally accepted contents endorsed by UNESCO.

10. Community Services
Material support for Khmer-run social service facilities (such as the Khmer Women's Association) is provided by UNBRO. This includes items for needy families, special hardship cases etc. and materials for adult literacy programmes. Support is also provided to various self-reliance activities, such as water jar construction, blacksmithing and sewing.

11. Voluntary Agencies

Health care, sanitation, supplementary feeding, physical rehabilitation services and special education for the handicapped are provided by co-operating voluntary agencies co-ordinated and primarily funded by UNBRO. There are currently twelve voluntary agencies engaged on border programmes under contractual arrangements with UNBRO.

There should be no more than one voluntary agency per type of activity per encampment. After UNBRO in consultation with the Royal Thai Authorities has chosen a voluntary agency to undertake a programme in a particular encampment, a formal agreement with the voluntary agency is drawn up detailing the programme, funding and monitoring arrangements. So far as possible., programmes undertaken by different voluntary agencies are similar in terms of level of service, beneficiary selection criteria and cost per beneficiary cue allowance being made for differences which may exist between encampments. UNBRO supports and assists the voluntary agencies in every way possible in carrying out these programmes.

UNBRO does not support any voluntary agency programme unless the programme can be effectively monitored by both voluntary agency and UNBRO personnel.

Voluntary agencies should regularly keep UNBRO informed of activities financed by sources other than UNBRO and should not engage in any active political or religious programme in the encampments, nor distribute political or religious material.

12. Training

Training is undertaken to encourage the development of Khmer-run facilities for the utilisation of assistance provided through UNBRO and co-operating voluntary agencies in such fields as health, sanitation, supplementary feeding, education and social services.

13. Relief Materials

Relief materials (including plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, tools etc.) are provided by UNBRO directly to the Khmer on a "need" basis. Bamboo and thatch are provided for public facilities such as field hospitals and supplementary feeding centres. Tools and construction materials are provided to enable the Khmer to construct their own dwellings.

14. Security

UNBRO assumes responsibility for field communications and security co-ordination for U.N. and voluntary agency personnel officially working at the border (i.e. working on programmes under agreement with UNBRO), who are issued radio handsets as deemed necessary, and subject to the availability of equipment.

15. Cost Effectiveness

The border relief operation seeks to ensure cost-effective use of donor funds. Purchase and hire arrangements entered into by UNBRO are made through a standard UN procedure of competitive sealed bids. Agreements with voluntary agencies specify that voluntary agencies will follow the same procedures.

16. Affected Thai Villagers (ATV)

UNBRO provides assistance to Thai villagers affected by the events at the Thai/Kampuchean border. This aid is structured so as to enable the villagers to regain self-sufficiency. Food assistance is provided, inter alia, to school lunch programmes, "rice bank" schemes, school cooperatives, food-for-work programmes and childcare activities. ATV funds are provided to support specific development projects. It is further planned to use ATV funds for educational activities, agricultural training, sanitation programmes, etc. UNBRO monitors regularly the assistance provided and evaluates progress made under the various activities concerned.

As far as possible, ATV assistance using UNBRO resources is integrated with ATV assistance from bilateral, other multilateral and voluntary agency sources.

Revised 2 August 1989


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