Volume C of the study describes some of the innovations in survey methodology and analysis. Specifically:
- In response to underreporting of consumption patterns, the authors propose the adoption of “honesty primes” in survey design. Honest primes were randomly administered to half of the survey respondents in IDP camps and urban areas interviewed across South Sudan in the 2017 HFS. They included: (a) an emphasis on the importance of accurate answers at the beginning of the survey (appeal to honesty); (b) a short fictional scenario which requires passing judgment on the behavior of one of the characters (moral primes); and (c) additional questions to determine when was the last time that the household had a meal, forcing the respondents to explicitly report that they have not eaten in the last week (investigative probing). While the first two questions target intentional misreporting, the latter addresses classical measurement error. The primes helped ascertain whether there was indeed some misreporting of consumption, which might be the case if there was a differential impact on the consumption reported by IDPs relative to non-IDPs, or among the poorest. The results suggest that there was indeed some underreporting and that the honesty primes had an impact on the consumption reported by poorer and more vulnerable respondents.
- The authors also propose clustering approaches to derive typologies of IDPs, to inform the required specificity of programs, and to find durable solutions. Among the displaced, different groups can have different trajectories in displacement. Initial circumstances of displacement can translate into different needs and solutions depending on the displacement trajectory, which is pertinent for policy and programming. Clustering analysis helps to identify the different typologies of the displaced. The aim of the analysis is to exploit the socioeconomic micro-level data to identify different groups or profiles of displaced households across countries. These typologies are drawn using data on the causes of displacement, the current needs of displaced people, and the potential solution to end displacement.
Sydney (2019) “Before You Were Born, Your Mother Ran” Displacement and Disillusion in south-east Myanmar
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s Invisible Majority Thematic Series, December 2019
Around 162,000 people, predominantly ethnic Karen, remain internally displaced in southeast Myanmar due to armed conflict between Myanmar’s army (Tatmadaw) and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), one of the longest ongoing ethnic conflicts in the world. Violent counterinsurgency operations have included direct attacks against civilians, persecution and forced recruitment. Despite a nationwide ceasefire agreement signed in 2015, clashes continue, leading to new displacement. This study examines the relationship between internal displacement, cross-border movements and durable solutions in southeast Myanmar, focusing on drivers of displacement, priorities and preconditions for voluntary return, and obstacles and opportunities for durable solutions. The analysis is based on a preliminary desk review, a (non-representative) survey and qualitative interviews with IDPs and returning refugees in Myanmar, and refugees in Thailand (primarily from the Karen ethnic group).
- Multiple displacements precede cross-border movements. A third of survey respondents had been displaced more than five times, often hiding in the jungle before returning to their homes. Cross-border movement is often a last resort; nearly half of the refugees and returning refugees surveyed were internally displaced before crossing into Thailand. Barriers to cross border movements include lack of safety en route to Thailand and the cost of transportation.
- Aid has been cut to IDP camps, but barriers to return remain. An estimated 100,000 IDPs are living in forced relocation sites (resembling villages) in government-controlled areas. Most other IDPs are thought to be hiding in the jungle. A minority of IDPs in southeast Myanmar lives in camps. Ee Tu Hta IDP camp hosts approximately 2,400 IDPs. A decline in donor support has affected the provision of food aid and services. Most surveyed IDPs intend to return to their areas of origin in the future, despite better safety in Ee Tu Hta. Insecurity continues to be a key barrier to return.
- Refugees in Thailand face protection challenges and lack of recognition. Around 95,000 refugees from Myanmar live in nine refugee camps in Thailand. In addition, an estimated 50 percent of undocumented migrants from Myanmar in Thailand may also have grounds to be recognized as refugees. Refugees and undocumented migrants are not permitted to work in Thailand, but many find work informally, exposing them to exploitation from employers and threats of deportation. Decreased donor support is contributing to a reduction in monthly rice rations and worsening service provision in the camps, which may be encouraging potentially premature returns to Myanmar. Conflict and violence continue to be the main barriers to return.
- Expectations regarding refugee returns have not been met. Positive steps towards democratization in Myanmar in 2012 led the international community to expect rapid returns. However, only around 19,000 refugees have returned from Thailand’s refugee camps; the overwhelming majority of these returns have been spontaneous (without assistance). Only 729 refugees have returned through UNHCR’s facilitated voluntary repatriation operation. Impediments to facilitated returns include concern about the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement and fear of providing personal details to the government.