Migration, Deportation, Censorship

12 01 2010

As readers know, PPT began almost a year ago (our one-year anniversary is approaching) as a blog focused expressly on tracking and publicizing information about lesè majesté cases in Thailand.  We were concerned that these cases did not receive enough coverage in the mainstream media.  As the Abhisit government came into increasing conflict with various dissident groups in Thailand, our coverage has broadened to wide-ranging censorship, human rights, and red-yellow conflicts, to name a few topics.  While part of our logic for doing so has been to publicize stories not receiving enough attention, we have also done so in order to highlight the growing repression — across the board — in Thailand.

A few weeks ago, we posted on the forced repatriation of the Lao Hmong asylum seekers in northeastern Thailand. Today, we have learned of another series of possible deportations, this time of migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. The Asian Human Rights Commission has forwarded an article by Andy Hall, director of Migrant Justice Programme (MJP) at the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF). Hall explains the National Verification (NV) of the Thai government, which is the “ policy to formalise the status of some of the approximately 2 million migrants from Burma, Cambodian and Laos currently working in Thailand. These workers contribute an estimated 5-6% of Thailand’s GDP and make up around 5% of the nation’s workforce. For these workers who work in Thailand’s most dangerous, dirty and demeaning jobs, NV is apparently required because they left their countries without permission and entered Thailand “illegally”. They are currently nationality-less labourers.”

Hall writes the entire NV process, which is expensive, time-consuming, and laborious. Noting that the Thai government has threatened to deport workers who do not register, he asks: “Mass deportation is surely not possible, right? But if mass deportation did go ahead, would the government ensure it was “real” deportation and not the usual arrest and costly release processes we have all seen for years? Would migrants return to Thailand on the same day as they were deported to Burma and things go on as normal?”

Hall does not answer these questions, but recent events certainly make them apt. PPT urges readers to read the whole article: “Managing Migration in 2010: Effective Registration or Effective Deportation?”

Further, we urge you to make the connections between the various links of oppression being created in Thailand. Break the chains!



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