During 10 - 13 February 2020, U Kyaw Tin Shein, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular and Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, led an official delegation to visit three temporary shelters for Myanmar Displaced Persons (MDPs), namely, Ban Maela, Ban Umpium and Ban Nupo in Tak Province.
In a first-ever high level official visit, the delegation met and discussed extensively with MDPs covering issues and concerns such as safety, housing, education for children, and livelihood. MDPs were assured of the readiness of the Myanmar Government to welcome them back to a safe and secure environment and were informed of measures to facilitate and assist the returnees in their homeland.
The visit demonstrated the commitment of the Myanmar Government to explore pragmatic ways to help accelerate the voluntary repatriation process in which Thailand and Myanmar have been closely collaborating on finding sustainable solutions for the MDPs. The two sides, with support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), have successfully facilitated the voluntary return of 1,039 MDPs since 2016.
As a host to MDPs at nine temporary shelters for more than 30 years, Thailand, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, has conducted livelihood training programmes with NGOs and aid organisations to prepare the MDPs before they return. These programmes cover areas such as food preservation, organic farming and making home care products.