Migrants and human rights: An odious reputation

3 02 2010

PPT recently and briefly mentioned the case of 9 illegal migrants who appear to have been murdered by police near Mae Sot in the country’s north. For more details on this seemingly grisly case, see The Irrawaddy (2 February 2010 ).

The report includes these details that suggest that the life of a migrant is now worth $30.: “All nine victims were shot with a 22-caliber gun. Their bodies were found in two locations in northern Tak Province. The migrants had reportedly been arrested in the Phop Phra area and had tried to bribe the police for permission to stay in Thailand, The Bangkok Post reported, quoting one local source. The gunmen demanded 1,000 baht (US $33) from each of the group, but killed nine of the migrants when they had difficulty raising the money, one local source told The Irrawaddy.

The same newspaper includes details on the likely forced repatriation of Karen to Burma and the implications for these people.

The Abhisit Vejjajiva government, backed as it is by the military, has developed an odious reputation for its dealings with migrants and refugees.

Fairy tale Thailand

5 09 2009

In PPT’s it-might-be-humor-if-it-wasn’t-so-sad post recently, we mentioned Mong Thongdee. The Nation’s “Venus” column is not one we usually spend much time on, but this week has an interesting take on Mong and the not-so-fairytale ending to his case.

More broadly, the column points out “Surely, the incident has reminded authorities that they have not done enough for those underprivileged kids – or look at it in another way, they have done nothing so far.” Actually, it is worse than nothing.

A couple of years ago the military – they were running the government at the time – decided to really push the notion that stateless children and their families were threats to “national security” and tried to restrict migrants most basic rights. This didn’t get far, but the abuse of the human rights of migrants and stateless people by Thai authorities continues unabated.

Update: Chang Noi has a useful article on this topic (The Nation, 7 September 2009: “A paper dart that illustrated a huge waste of human potential”) and the plight of migrants in Thailand.

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