Am I Thai, or Am I not?
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Am I Thai, or Am I not? Invisible and Left Out Thai-Born Non-Thai Nationals. Aree Jampaklay Institute for Population and Social Research Mahidol University IDP Workshop, Brussels, Belgium March 22-23, 2007. Outline. Undocumented Thais Hill tribes and ethnic groups

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Am I Thai, or Am I not? Invisible and Left Out Thai-Born Non-Thai Nationals

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Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Am I Thai, or Am I not?Invisible and Left Out Thai-BornNon-Thai Nationals

Aree Jampaklay

Institute for Population and Social Research

Mahidol University

IDP Workshop, Brussels, Belgium

March 22-23, 2007


Outline

Outline

  • Undocumented Thais

  • Hill tribes and ethnic groups

  • Migrants from neighboring countries

  • Birth registration

  • Challenges


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Undocumented Thais


No documents no rights

No documents, no rights

  • Tsunami -- a considerable number of Thais, especially children, do not have documents

  • A number of people missing in the registration system

  • No documents-- not registered at birth, lost documents

  • Being unregistered of parents hinders their children from being registered

  • These people have been facing a great limitation of access as though they do not exist


No documents no rights1

No documents, no rights

  • The number of unregistered Thais is not known

  • Estimated about 3% newborns unregistered

  • Difficult lives of unregistered Thai-born children of Thai parents increasingly reported in medias


Undocumented tsunami victims in pang nga province

Undocumented Tsunami victims in Pang-nga province

  • All were not registered at birth

  • Most born outside health facilities

  • Born in health facilities but the registration process not completed

  • Parents of most of them are Thai nationals and have ID

  • Used to have IDs but after moving to the south, their names are missing from the registration system, never checked in the place of origin


Undocumented tsunami victims in pang nga province1

Undocumented Tsunami victims in Pang-nga province

  • In Tsunami rehabilitation, Thai orphans without 13 digit ID number did not get any support from the government, whereas children of migrants with ID number did


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Hill tribes and ethnic groups


Hill tribes and ethnic groups

Hill tribes and ethnic groups

  • Have lived in Thailand for generations

  • Migrants from neighboring countries illegally crossed border a long time ago

  • Most found in areas bordering Myanmar

  • Dynamics, hard to clarify number and background


Hill tribes and ethnic groups1

Hill tribes and ethnic groups

  • By law, they live illegally

  • Restricted to move freely

  • Not allowed to work in a government sector

  • Cannot own assets (land, cars, or a motorcycles)

  • Children of them still not considered Thai nationals


Hill tribes and ethnic groups2

Hill tribes and ethnic groups

  • Database: the Registration Office, the Ministry of Interior, started in 1972

  • > 500,000, classified into 19 ethnic groups

  • Each issued a color ID card with 13 digit ID

  • Are in the process of applying for Thai nationality

  • The process is very slow, case by case


Hill tribes and ethnic group

Hill tribes and ethnic group

  • 400,000 granted illegal migrant status allowed for temporary stay

  • 53% males Chiengmai, Chiengrai, Kanchanaburi, Maehongson, and Ranong


Hill tribes and ethnic group1

Hill tribes and ethnic group

  • ~ 70,000 Children of hill tribes and ethnic groups

  • Status: children of the above

  • Chiengrai, Chiengmai, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, and Saraburi


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Hill tribes and ethnic groups by age group

Source: Achavanitkul, 2006


Children of hill tribes and ethnic groups by age group

Children of hill tribes and ethnic groups by age group

Source: Achavanitkul, 2006


Some limitations to acquire education among children of ethnic groups

Some limitations to acquire education among children of ethnic groups

  • Accepted to school but not receive certificates

  • Issues the certificates, but stamped that the child is not a Thai national

  • Not accepted to further study in non-formal education

  • Accepted but refused for education loan from the government

  • Restricted movement: cannot take educational exams or go to school in other areas

  • Accepted to college, but pay fees and stipend as foreigner rate

  • The degree is not enough for a government job


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Recent illegal migrants

from neighboring countries


Recent illegal migrants

Recent illegal migrants

  • 1996: registration for illegal migrant workers

  • 2004: registration for migrant workers, dependents, and employers

  • The Registration Office, Ministry of Interior

    • Registration (free)

    • Health check-up (600)+for health insurance (1300)

    • Work permit (100+1800)


Recent illegal migrants1

Recent illegal migrants

  • 1.52 million registered migrants (March 2006)

  • Bangkok 242,252

  • Samutsakhon 151,728

  • Tak 135,894

  • Chiengmai 94,431

  • Chonburi 67,697


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Registered illegal migrantsby age groups

Source: Achavanitkul 2007


Recent illegal migrants2

Recent illegal migrants

  • CBR = 3.5, children of migrants will increase

  • Educational chance for children of migrants is still limited

  • No consensus education plan from the central government


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Birth registration


Who are included in the registration system

Who are included in the registration system?

The Registration Act, 1991:

  • Thai nationals

  • Legal migrants (valid visa and passport)

  • Thai residents who received color ID cards (ethnic groups)

  • Illegal migrants who are registered


Who are excluded

Who are excluded?

  • Children of undocumented parents (illegal migrants without documents and undocumented Thai parents) ; they are stateless

  • International Covenant Civil and Political Rights 1966, which states that every child must be registered after birth and have a name, is violated


Why not registered

Why not registered?

  • Birth in remote areas

  • Ineligible parental status

  • Parents’ lack of knowledge and awareness

  • Parents’ attitude

  • Health officers and registrars lack knowledge and awareness

  • Health officers’ and registrars’ attitudes

  • Unclear guidelines, rules, and regulations

  • Language barriers


Am i thai or am i not invisible and left out thai born non thai nationals

Challenges


Challenges

Challenges

  • Database:

    • No database of undocumented Thais

    • Duplication of ID cards between hill tribes/ethnic groups and migrants from neighboring countries

  • Effective mechanism to include undocumented Thais


Challenges1

Challenges

  • Attitudes towards ethnic groups

  • Complicated registrationprocess

  • Unclear guidelines/policy -- inconsistent practice

  • Law that excludes children of undocumented parentsfrom registration


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