~Meaw & More~

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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

Not Thai nationals but a national heritage

What I would really like people working on nationality in Thaialnd to do for other long-neck karens in Mae Hong Sorn is to apply Thai citizenship for them or even nationality for their good conduct of drawing tourists to the province. Out them in National Strategy urgent channel. Thailand had never been shy of including them in cultural heritage tourism packages. They are represented as something “Thai” having Thai id cards or Thai nationality, just human being in volatile border zone.

The one in Mae Hong Sorn remains in Limbo as they are not considered breaching migrant labour limitation to 3Ds works: dirty, dangerous and difficult. They are just tourism objects to authority’s eyes. The Mae Hong Sorn long neck village was, as far as I remember last year, near the temporary ca.. err shelter, but the people in thier village were not counted as refug.. err persons fleeing armed conflict to be politically correct. They were not allowed to resettle in other area.

Someone in the same van, on the way to Baan Pang Tractor shelter said “like a zoo.”

My point is don’t ask or forced them to be Thai tourist attraction, though they are unfairly compensated, unless they are really “Thais.”

Long-neck village raided

Long Neck Karen women smile as their village in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district is raided by police.
Police raided a long-neck Karen village in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district yesterday after claims the people were being used to attract tourists. The Karen’s work permits allow them to work in agricultural jobs only.

The provincial deputy police commander, Colonel Chamnan Ruadrew, said police had been told an entrepreneur was charging tourists Bt300 to Bt500 each to visit the 20-rai long-neck Karen village.

Police found 18 of the long-neck Padaung people – 11 women, two men and five children – living in 10 bamboo houses surrounded by rice fields.

Chamnan said that using migrant workers in tasks other than those for which they had permission to remain in the country is punishable by up to three years in jail or a Bt60,000 fine.

Landowner Wibul Chaitham, 47, said he hired the Padaung legally to grow rice and allowed tourists to visit their village free of charge. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, stateless

Opps, they did it again.

Bilingual man faces deportation
Construction worker insists he is Thai

By Prasit Thangprasert

Bilingual in Thai and Khmer, Somsak Aran, 35, from Buri Ram, and his wife Wandee call for justice. He faces the prospect of being deported to Cambodia because he lacks evidence to prove his citizenship. — PRASIT THANGPRASERT

Somsak Aran, 35, from Buri Ram, is bilingual in the Thai and Cambodian languages, but that skill could also land him in trouble. Somsak, who does not have any identity documents to prove his Thai citizenship, has been charged with illegal entry and could be deported to a neighbouring country where he doesn’t belong.

Mr Somsak, a construction worker in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, insists he was born Thai and makes an honest living.

He was adopted when he was five years old but has a vague memory of his biological mother. He learned from his adoptive mother, Mrs Chuay, 55, that his mother was from Surin.

One day his biological mother asked Mrs Chuay to look after him while she went shopping. She never came back.

Mrs Chuay decided to adopt him but did not report his name to the registry office out of fear that some day his real mother might show up, and accuse her of stealing the boy.

Mr Somsak never went to school because of the lack of identity documents.

However, he has always wanted to obtain an identity card to prove he is a Thai citizen.

His life took another cruel twist when he met a man claiming to be a military officer, who offered to secure him an identity card for 40,000 baht.

He learned the officer was an imposter, but not before he cheated about 20,000 baht out of him.

When he refused to pay any more the immigration police were tipped off that he was an illegal immigrant from Cambodia.

Mr Somsak is now standing trial for illegal entry and cannot produce any documents to prove his nationality.

”Although I can speak Cambodian, I definitely am Thai. Cambodian is commonly spoken by Thai residents in northeastern provinces such as Buri Ram and Surin,” he said.

His 28-year-old wife, Wandee, said her husband is a Thai national through and through and is the breadwinner for their three children. Their lives would become difficult if he was deported to Cambodia.

”Without an identity card, he is not entitled to medical benefits under the 30-baht health insurance scheme when he falls ill,” she said.

Amphoe Thongsaeng, 33, a local businessman, said he believed Mr Somsak is Thai, and his heart went out to the unlucky man who was deceived by a conman.

Mr Somsak was a good Samaritan who had rescued people injured in road accidents, he said.

Mr Somsak had tried to persuade authorities he was Thai, but to no avail.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/03Sep2006_news12.php

I still remember the recent trip to Mae Sot that I was asked and questioned about my identification card. I don’t look Thai enough and sometimes this ambiguous appearance could be annoying. However, unlike Bangkok Post’s report on Somsak Aran who were to deport to Cambodia, I made it back to Bangkok everytime. At least my identification card can confirm that I cannot be deported. This story highlight problems faced by undocumented persons all over the country who could face the risk of being deported. No question asked.

The govermnent of Thailand had initiated the national strategy to survey and registered undocumented person in 2005 but the development had been only to conduct survey on school children and then there was no obvious progress announced to the public. Disparity between those with smart card and no-card seems absurd. It does not make any sense to me how can we find someone who do not have any document when smart cards and e passports salutrated the media. In fact they are among other people with smart cards.

They could be treated as minorities who were left behind by survey and registration and only small “margin error” or exception. Nevertheless, this “exception” could endangered their lives and families and threatens their well being. This exception should not be forgotten by civil registration system while they are moving forwards for the majority.

This could happen to any undocumented Thais. They could be deported at anytime until the national strategy will be effectively implemented.

Filed under: Security, stateless

Re-reading the national strategy through Rotis peddlers.

Just as I was about to belive that every group will be covered under the National Strategy on Personal Status and Right initiated as human security practices in Thailand to register and issue documents for stateless persons. I was encountered with a new challenge.

I went to a friend’s rented house- a shabby shared house partitioned by thin particle boards and I saw two persons that did not speak burmese or laos or cambodian. I asked him who they were. They were roti seller who is said to be from india. I went back home and checked te national strategy and did not see any category that would survey them.
Let me make it clear I am talking about survey undocumented persons not registering and give them stateless identification cards yet.

The fact that I met two indians that may have passport and travelling documents but they just overstay made me realised that whether the Thai state really know now many overstayers are there in Thailand what proper documentation rights can they have apart from being send back to their “supposed” countries of origin. Illegal immigrants in Thailand are not just “migrant workers from neighboring countries.” Roti peddlers are just one of many example of illegal and unrecognised migrants in Thailand. I would not mention the Shan and Rohinya that are not counted as registered migrant workers.

Figure-wise, they are not as much as those from neighbouring countries but to know how many of them is better than not knowing.

In the meantimes would their unsurveyed children can have birth certificates in case they would be deported back to their countries. Would they know what to do with delivery certificae in Thai issued to them by hospitals? Can they go to thier embassies and seek help as well? Between arrival and deportation, what kind of right to proper birth registration thier children will have?

Let me empharsize again: I am not talking about nationality issues.
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Standpoint declaration: I am not working in a state owned or sponsored organisation and I feel like it is my obligation to point out what would be like from other perspective. :-p

Filed under: Ideas, Security, stateless