International Rescue Committee, Thailand

Zara and Sherry

Semester: 2010 Spring

Students: Zara Lockshin and Sherry William

Humanitarian agencies often speak of the importance of maintaining clear and just procedures for resolving disputes in refugee camps.  Under the rubric of such ‘camp management’, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Thailand has decided to initiate rule-of-law programming within selected refugee camp settings along the Thai-Burma border.

Key to the success of the project will be the IRC’s ability to generate buy-in to the final system of justice by camp residents and Thai authorities.  The use of alternative forms of punishment (other than imprisonment) for specified lesser offenses, as well as the potential use of judicial processes more familiar to the refugee population have emerged as the two particular points that need to be resolved before all stakeholders can agree on a new, more integrated, dispute resolution procedure in the camps.

Our work

Step 1: Conduct research on the relevant international and Thai law to define the margin within which stakeholders can design the camp justice system.

Step 2: Identify all relevant stakeholder groups with an interest in the camp justice system, and encourage their participation in the stakeholder meetings facilitated by HNMCP in March of 2010.

Step 3: Facilitation of stakeholder meetings, using the “one-text model” to develop procedural guidelines on the use of community service orders, and agreed-upon procedures for the formation and functioning of group conferences as part of the judicial process.

Final Product

Summary report of activities, complete with draft procedural rules detailing community group conferencing process, protocol on the use of community service orders, and recommendations for how to implement these justice system reforms within the refugee camp setting.

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