The ICRC regional delegation in Bangkok
Established in 1975 in Bangkok, the ICRC regional delegation covers Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Through offices in Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Chiang Mai and including a team in the southern provinces of Thailand, the ICRC visits detainees, helps to restore family links, assists vulnerable communities and promotes international humanitarian law.
Supporting detainee welfare
In Thailand, the ICRC first began visiting people detained in relation to the situation in the south of the country in 2004. In Cambodia, the organization has been carrying out detainee visits since 1991. In both countries, the ICRC works with the prison and other relevant authorities to help them build their capacities in the fields of health, water storage and provision, sanitation and prison management, in order to ensure that detainees are held in appropriate conditions.
Restoring family links
People deprived of their freedom should have regular contact with their loved ones. Detainees visited by the ICRC in Thailand and Cambodia are given the opportunity to communicate with their families by sending and receiving Red Cross messages containing personal news. In Thailand, the ICRC provides technical, financial and administrative assistance to enable family members from the southern provinces to visit relatives held in detention.
In Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand, the ICRC and the national Red Cross Societies work together to locate people separated from their relatives. This includes tracing missing persons, exchanging family messages and reuniting families.
Supporting health-care services
In partnership with health-care authorities, hospitals and non-governmental organizations in Thailand, the ICRC provides financial and technical assistance for war-wounded patients and victims of landmines or other remnants of war seeking medical treatment along the border between Thailand and Myanmar.
Together with the Thai Red Cross Society and the Thai Ministry of Public Health, the ICRC organizes specialized surgical seminars for Thai surgeons confronted on a regular basis with victims of armed violence.
Physical rehabilitation of amputees
Landmine and other conflict-related victims are often maimed for life. The ICRC’s physical rehabilitation programme helps such people, free of charge, to regain a degree of self-reliance, providing prostheses, orthoses, crutches, wheelchairs and physiotherapy services.
In Cambodia, the ICRC provides financial and technical support to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Veterans and Youth by managing the Battambang and Kompong Speu physical rehabilitation centres, as well as the orthopedic component factory in Phnom Penh.
The ICRC assists the centres’ outreach programmes by visiting remote villages to repair prostheses, and, in Vietnam and Laos, supports the provision of physical rehabilitation services to amputees. It also supports the Cambodian Red Cross Society’s micro-economic programmes, which help disabled people to start small businesses of their own.
To respond to the needs of people affected by the violence in southern Thailand, in 2011 the ICRC launched micro-economic initiatives which, through the provision of grants to fund sustainable livelihood projects, aim to help survivors boost their skills, economic well-being and resilience.
In Laos, the ICRC, in cooperation with the Lao Red Cross, has developed a programme to support victims of unexploded ordnance, helping in particular families in the southern provinces of Attapeu and Sekong.
Promoting international humanitarian law (IHL)
In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC promotes respect for IHL and its implementation in national law, working directly with the armed forces and police services, as well as with academic and religious organizations.
Through training courses, workshops and seminars, the ICRC seeks to promote humanitarian principles in order to prevent – or, at the very least, to limit – unnecessary suffering caused by armed conflict and other situations of violence.
Responding to emergencies
When natural disasters hit, the ICRC assists Red Cross Societies to help affected communities recover by providing food and household items, reconstructing essential services and offering livelihood support. At such times, the organization also helps restore contact between separated family members.