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Tham Hin

Location
Suan Phung District, Ratchaburi Province

Distance from Border
10 km in a straight line

Distance from Kanchanaburi
90 km / approx. 2 hours driving time

Distance from Sangklaburi
295 km / approx. 4½ hours driving time

Distance from Bangkok
170 km / approx. 3 hours driving time

Accessibility
Car:  All-year-round access (incl. 13 km of unpaved road)
Phone: No mobile phone coverage

Camp Geography
Area 40 rai (6 ha)

 

Introduction and History

Camps Tham Hin 894X300

A total of 98 percent of the population of Tham Hin camp is ethnic Karen/Kayin. The camp is built on a very limited space and is one of the most ‘closed’ camps on the border.  Though the closest camp to the Thai capital Bangkok, it receives fewer visitors than many other camps.

Tham Hin was established in May 1997 following offensives by the Burma/Myanmar military in the Tanintharyi Region, which caused extensive displacement of civilians across the Thailand-Burma/Myanmar border. Three temporary sites were established for the displaced persons: Huay Sot and Bor Wii in Ratchaburi Province, Suan Phung District, and Phu Muang in Danmakhamtia District, Kanchanaburi Province.

The conditions at these sites were kept very rudimentary (people slept on the ground with only thin plastic roofing and skeletal bamboo structures). Agreement was reached in April 1997 to move the three sites to the current camp location. This was completed two months later in June.

In December 2001, UNHCR’s camp for political refugees at Maneeloy was closed and a new zone (Zone 4) was created in Tham Hin camp for the remaining residents from there.

Due to its isolated location, the camp is off the mains electricity grid. The camp office and health and education centres in the camp have access to power from electric generators. Some households also have access to these to recharge vehicle batteries to power residential lighting.

Conditions at Tham Hin are severely cramped.Only plastic sheeting is allowed for roofing as thatch is considered a fire hazard.

Breakdown by Age
<5 Yrs 14.1%
5-17 Yrs 34.5%
Adult 51.3%
Breakdown by Gender
Female 52.6%
Male 47.3%
Breakdown by Ethnicity
Karen/Kayin 98.7%
Burman 0.8%
Other 0.5%

Resettlement (Source: IOM)

In 2005, the Royal Thai Government gave approval for resettlement opportunities to be offered to camp residents. As of December 2013, 6,789 persons had departed from Tham Hin since 2006. The majority resettled in the USA.