Updated: International migrants’ day

18 12 2010

18 December is International Migrants’ Day, and as regular readers of PPT will know, we try to give some coverage to the rights of migrants in Thailand and the abuses they have suffered. Today, the Asian Human Rights Commission has posted a joint statement issued by the State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation (SERC), the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC).

The statement begins with this demand: “Thai government should revoke policies that discriminate against and violate the rights of migrant workers…”. It asks that the government “re-open registration for all migrants in Thailand, review its deportation policy, cooperate with the United Nations in examination of violation of migrant rights, repeal discriminatory policies affecting migrants including wage deductions for a deportation fund and formulate long term migration policies in response to actual labour demand. Thailand and others members of ASEAN should also sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families.”

Noting that there are some 2 million migrants living and working in Thailand and that they are central to the Thai economy and the demand for their labor is increasing. While the government recognizes demand it allows a situation where migrants are abused and subject to discrimination, corruption and abuse of power by state officials and exploitation by employers. “Extensive reports on violation of rights of migrants during deportation have been submitted to the RTG but have not been examined carefully and no-one has been prosecuted.”

That’s a familiar and sad story to anyone who follows Thai politics. Read the full statement and its recommendations.

Update: Readers may be interested in this short report reproduced in total below, coincidentally on International Migrants’ Day, from Bernama:

Thailand plans to import workers from countries which do not share their border with the Kingdom, namely Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh, to solve the problem of unskilled labour shortages in local industries.

According to Thailand News Agency (TNA), Labour Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said that he has ordered parties concerned to study the labour import plan; while his ministry will also resume in 2011 the registration of foreign labourers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia who have worked in Thailand to legalise them–after their work permits expire in February.

Chalermchai revealed that he has also assigned Rajabhat Phranakorn University to conduct a research on overall demand for foreign workers in Thailand to facilitate an effective planning on immigrant labour forces in the future.

Alleged abuse of migrants deported from Thailand

25 10 2010

PPT draws readers’ attention to further information on policies fostered by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government that are detrimental to Burmese migrants and involve their deportation. Readers will remember our earlier posts on Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and his statements here and here.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)has this press release from The State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF). In the press release these organizations urge the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to “instruct related UN agencies to urgently investigate allegations of abuse committed against migrants deported from Thailand to Myanmar.” It begins:

THREE rights groups in Thailand have today called on Ban Ki-moon, the United Nation’s (UN) Secretary General, to intervene to prevent further abuse of Myanmar migrants deported from Thailand. The UN Secretary General will visit Bangkok on Tuesday as a guest of the Royal Thai Government (RTG).

The State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) call upon the UN Secretary General to instruct related UN agencies to urgently investigate allegations of abuse committed against migrants deported from Thailand to Myanmar. The UN Secretary General should also press the RTG to ensure increased respect for migrant’s human rights and to allow UN experts to visit Thailand to assist in development of future migration policies.

SERC, TLSC and HRDF also today called upon the RTG, in advance of the UN Secretary General’s visit, to ensure transparent investigations into all migrant deportation abuse claims and punish those involved. The RTG should also urgently reconsider its migration policies more generally to ensure respect for migrant’s human rights.

Human rights violations against migrants deported from Thailand to Myanmar continue to be reported. Al-Jazeera reported how migrants deported to Myanmar are being sent to camps controlled by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) where they must pay for their release before being smuggled or trafficked back to Thailand. The South China Morning Post (SCMP) revealed migrants are being sold to traffickers during deportations in waters between Southern Thailand and Kawthuang (Myanmar) and then returned to Thailand. Rights groups have demanded investigations into these allegations since July 2010 but no response has been evident and the abuses continue.

Read the report as it is revealing of state policies fostered under Foreign Minister Kasit.

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