HOST’s new capacity building initiative in Thailand highlights the value of collaboration between government and civil society in refugee protection

Since January 2019 when the Memorandum of Understanding on the Determination of Measures and Approaches Alternative to Detention of Children in Immigration Detention Centers (MoU) was implemented in Thailand, more than 230 children and their mothers have been able to access an alternative to immigration detention. The MoU is a positive development of Thailand to prevent children and their mothers from being held in immigration detention.

HOST International, one of the most active IDC members in Thailand, has enabled the swift implementation of a Thai community-based alternative to detention programme for children and families who were arrested in Thailand. HOST has demonstrated a way that international NGOs, local NGOs and governments can work together to respond to opportunities for case management and protection under the MoU.

Starting in August 2020, HOST has launched a new capacity-building initiative “Capacity Building Service Project” to support Thailand’s Immigration Bureau and Department of Children and Youth (DCY), the key agencies responsible for the implementation of the MoU for better understanding of refugee protection, case management, and referral system. Refugee organisations from Thailand’s refugee network “The Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons”, such as Asylum Access Thailand, Center for Asylum Protection, Jesuit Refugee Services and Fortify Rights worked together to support the training with the aim to enable the government officials to better respond to the needs of children and their mothers.




In the event, IDC was also invited to speak on global and Thailand’s refugee trends. From HOST capacity building initiative, there were 31 Immigration Bureau officers and 30 DCY officers who have learnt to apply International Standards and Principles to their work under the MoU. They shared their experiences in refugee protection, and built their network among agencies and civil society organizations. In addition, they prepared their works for the upcoming implementation of the National Screening Mechanism (NSM) for refugees.

Moving forward, HOST will continue to assist the Immigration Bureau and DCY through this capacity building initiative. There will be a number of capacity building activities toward the end of 2020 to enable the Thai government to reach out the country’s goal to better protect refugees or persons in need of international protection in Thailand.