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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


Myanmar Desk

Convenor: Eolene Boyd-MacMillan


Since the end of the Second World War, Myanmar has been in what is often described as the world’s longest-running civil war. In February 2021, the Myanmar military staged a coup, over-throwing the democratically elected government. This sparked protests around the country and led to state violence. Overall, more than 1 in 10 people from Myanmar reside abroad—a figure that does not include people who have forsaken Myanmar citizenship for a new passport. In 2022, Myanmar was ranked 4th globally as the origin country of 1.3 million refugees and asylum seekers, including people in refugee-like situations. Inside the country, the numbers are equally striking. One and a half million are internally displaced people (of which 1.2 million were displaced in 2022 alone) and 630,000 are stateless persons in Myanmar. Countries with the most stateless people also include Bangladesh (952,300) and Thailand (574,200), intricately connected to the situation in Myanmar. Further, 1 in 5 people in Myanmar is an internal migrant—meaning they currently live outside their hometown—usually for economic reasons. In 2022, the Myanmar-Thailand migration channel was the 15th biggest in the world with just under 2 million migrant workers. Considering the relatively modest population of Myanmar (around 54.5 million), if there were a ranking by proportion of the total population, this would be much higher. These figures are increasing - as of October 2022, IOM estimates that approximately 40,000 Myanmar nationals are leaving the country monthly for conflict-related but also economic and other reasons, through a range of regular and irregular pathways, with the majority migrating to Thailand. Additionally, given that many migrant workers are undocumented, and considering the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the military coup domestically, the real figures are likely to be even higher.



Myanmar is home to 135 ethnic groups, most with their own languages, all with their own cultural expressions and practices. Of course, decades of conflict have had an impact on the people of Myanmar. The objective of the desk is to bring people together who are from, in and engaged with Myanmar in some way, to explore and increase understanding in a range of areas on specific topics, such as mental health and education, and to engage in research, practice and constructive engagements at home and abroad.



Opportunities to discuss research and initiatives on Myanmar (including those forcibly displaced to Bangladesh, Thailand and/or the wider diaspora). Our aim is for cooperative collaboration through mutual listening and learning, guided by those in and from Myanmar and the surrounding region. Please see the Centre's events page.

12 July 2023

25 October 2023



Maha Y. See, PsyD, Clinical Psychology, founded Myanmar Clinical Psychology Consortium (MCPC) in Yangon in 2017, which is now nested under Community Mental Health International ( He has been a professional in mental health services since 2006. He began his career working with refugees from Burma in the U.S. and has been a community worker in the health and human services space for 30 years. Maha was born and partly educated in Burma and speaks, reads and writes Burmese.  


Charlie Artingstoll is a social entrepreneur and runs Sin Sar Bar, a social change organisation in Myanmar . He graduated in Politics, Psychology and Sociology from King’s College in 2014, and moved to Myanmar, where he lived until 2021. He speaks and can read and write Burmese. His speciality is project management and ways in which creative artist advocacy — use of social media influencers, and creative content such as illustrations and animations — can be used to influence and educate people’s opinions on public issues, such as mental health, human rights and financial literacy, for example. He has also started two watch companies - Burma Watches and Siam Watch Company - that work with local artisans in Myanmar and Thailand respectively.