The first major influx of refugees from conflict in South East Burma/Myanmar fled to Thailand in 1984.
At that time, the crisis was expected to last a short time. At the request of the Royal Thai Government (RTG), the refugees were provided with basic humanitarian aid by a group of voluntary agencies who formed the Consortium of Christian Agencies (CCA). As it became clear that the refugees would not be able to return in the short term, a system of camps evolved on the border, the populations grew and greater donor support was required.
CCA evolved into the Burma Border Consortium (BBC) when the Royal Thai Government introduced new guidelines for the delivery of assistance in 1991. The organization was then incorporated as a charity in the United Kingdom as the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) in 2004. A change in name to The Border Consortium (TBC) was registered in 2012 to facilitate the establishment of an office in Yangon the following year. Throughout this period TBC and its predecessors has been the main conduit for humanitarian assistance to the refugees by providing food, shelter and camp management support.
For a fuller history of The Border Consortium from 1984 – 2004, see Between Worlds, Twenty Years on the Border.
Between 2004 and 2014, major developments affecting the border camps have included the introduction of a resettlement program which has seen some 88,000 refugees resettled to third countries, and, in 2010, the introduction of political reforms in Burma/Myanmar. Peace talks between the Burma/Myanmar government and ethnic minorities have raised the prospect of lasting political change that could lead to refugee returns. In mid-2014 the peace negotiations remained at an early stage.