International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC in Thailand

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) started working in Thailand in 1976 in response to the influx of refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Today, we serve people uprooted from Myanmar, also known as Burma, who began crossing into Thailand in 1984.  Refugees have been fleeing Myanmar for decades to escape civil strife, political upheaval and economic stagnation.  Many of the refugees are members of the Karen or Karenni ethnic groups who speak their own languages and follow their own customs.

The world’s longest-running civil wars have been ongoing in the Karen and Karenni homelands in eastern Myanmar for sixty years now. A generation of refugees has now been born and reared in the crowded camps, which by law they are forbidden to leave. They live a life of continued uncertainty with no immediate prospects of retuning home.

How We Help

The IRC is aiding nearly 70,000 refugees in four of the camps and provides a range of services, including healthcare, drinking water and legal services. In Tham Hin, the southernmost refugee camp in Thailand, the IRC provides healthcare and water to roughly 8,000 people.  

In addition, an IRC office in the Thai capital Bangkok assists people seeking admission to the United States as refugees.