Top Stories : Statement by Thailand at the Nansen Initiative Global Consultation, 12-13 October 2015 News

Top Stories : Statement by Thailand at the Nansen Initiative Global Consultation, 12-13 October 2015

Mr. Chair,

1. On behalf of the Thai delegation, I would like to congratulate the Governments of Switzerland and Norway for their initiative and leadership in developing the Protection Agenda to address the issue of displacement in the context of disasters, thus filling the gap in the current humanitarian framework.

2. Thailand is of the view that States have the primary responsibility to provide protection and assistance to both citizens and non-citizens in their territory who are affected by disasters. This responsibility requires states to prepare for disasters and to prevent any adverse effect on the lives and property of their people that may entail managing and preventing forced displacement.

4. In recent years, Thailand was faced with a number of unprecedented disasters, from the tragic tsunami of 2004 to a devastating flood in 2011. As a result, preparations for possible natural disaster have been included in the National Preparedness Strategy under the National Security Policy 2015-2021. In addition, to ensure effective implementation of the strategy, the Cabinet adopted the 2015 national prevention and mitigation plan, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

5. While the current national plan focuses mostly on internal displacement, Thailand is also aware of the need to prepare for potential disaster that may result in cross-border displacement. We need to be prepared to provide adequate protection and assistance in the event of a sudden large-scale influx of displaced persons. We will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure protection of human rights and adequate access to basic rights and services of all migrants, based on humanitarian consideration.

Mr. Chair,

6. I would like to comment on a few key issues that are of particular importance to us.

7. First: Thailand is of the view that, a set of clear criteria is needed in the context of disaster related cross-border displacement, for identifying those with genuine protection needs as well as for assessing the situation in the aftermath of a disaster as to when it may be safe to return.  Generosity of host country should not be abused.

8. Second: Training of those who will implement portions of the disaster preparedness plan is essential for effective protection. Each year, Thailand develops thematic field-based courses, as well as practical guidelines for practitioners. However, the protection will be best served if those who are at risk know what to do in times of disaster. For this reason, States are encouraged to extend community-based education and conduct evacuation exercise regularly. This will help increase the capacity of local governments and people to respond to these challenges themselves.

9. Third: Among many important issues is one of sustainability. While temporary admission may be granted to non-citizens forcibly displaced by disasters, the big question is to ensure that they can return home when it is safe and find ways and means to rebuild their lives. The Protection Agenda recommends that States should ensure cooperation between countries of origin and receiving countries as well as relevant international organizations, to ensure that returnees are received with respect for their safety, dignity and human rights, and under conditions that allow them to find lasting solutions to their displacement.  Such undertakings require close cooperation based on the principle of shared responsibility and international burden sharing.

10. Fourth: From our experience, we strongly believe that the rights of local population in the host community must not be overlooked. Steps must be taken to address any specific needs or concerns caused by the arrival of people displaced by disaster.  The local communities should be consulted and be active partners in providing protection to the displaced.

11. Last but not least: Given the spread of people smuggling and trafficking in persons in many regions across the globe, many may also be subjected to exploitation during their journey, with certain groups of people, including women and children and people with disabilities, at particular risk of such exploitations. We must make sure that those vulnerable will not fall preys to smugglers and traffickers. In this regard, Thailand remains committed to combating people smuggling and trafficking in person.

12. I thank you, Mr. Chair.