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Migration from Burma: mixed and general articles and reports

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Salween News Network (Thai)/Salween Post (English)
Description/subject: A useful site focussing on helping Thai people to understand the situation in Burma. The main section is in Thai, with a set of articles from 2005-2007 translated into English... "SNN is a project focusing on information and media, working to produce news and information about Burma in Thai language. So far, no organization in Thailand is focusing specifically on this arena, despite the fact that Thai and Burma are neighbors and a large number of people from Burma have fled to Thailand.... Thailand and Burma are neighboring countries but most of Thai people are still not informed and not understand about situations in Burma. One of the reasons is that there is too little information about Burma in Thai language. Hence, Salween News Network was established to produce and to be a center of information about Burma in Thai language.... Main objectives: 1. To produce and collect information (news, articles ,features ,books etc.) about Burma for Thai society.... 2. To create a network among independent Burmese news agencies and Thai news agencies... 3. To train Burmese and Thai journalists to produce news, articles, features etc. about Burma in Thai mainstream media.... Main Activities: 1. Collect information and write news and articles 2. Publish newsletters and books about Burma in Thai language 3. Provide trainings for Burmese and Thai journalists. 4. Organise meeting for Thai and Burmese journalists.... Publication: 1. Salween News Network’s media 1.1 Listserve by snn_news@cm.ksc.co.thThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it 1.2 Newsletter ( every 6 weeks) 1.3 Website www.salweennews.org 1.4 Books.... 2. other media including Thai language newspapers and magazines.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Salween News Network/
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2008


Individual Documents

Title: Migration as a Challenge for Myanmar’s Socio-economic Development: Case Studies of Hpa-­an and Mrauk-­U townships in Myanmar
Date of publication: 04 September 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "Migration is the act or process of moving from one place to another with the intent of staying at the destination permanently or for a relatively long period of time (1992, Longman). It can also be assumed that people move from one place to another, usually their home place, to work or to settle in another place. As basic factors, migration take place an area where the migrants believe that their opportunity and life circumstances will be better at their destinations than the present location. Nevertheless, if an area where takes place a movement of in-­migration because of positive conditions (pull factors), this will be generally increased the population or human resources. Similarly, if an area where takes place a movement of out-­migration due to negative conditions (push factors), this area will lose their population or human resources. Some time it affects the negative impacts and potential challenges for sustainable socio-­economic development of this area. Therefore, this study is based on some specific areas of Myanmar: Hpa-­an Township, Kayin State and Mrauk-­U Township, Rakhine State where migration process takes place by focusing the question of how and why the people are migrating in these areas. This paper is intended to explore the migration patterns of these are as and to point out the main reasons of push and pull factors for these migrations. To obtain the relevant data, it is analyzed with field observation and in semi-­structured in-­depth interview survey method to the local authorities, experts and local people. Some of the facts from the interview data are assessed by SWOT Analysis to know the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats due to migration. As a result from this study, economic condition is the key factor of the migration for the study areas and that effect on the socioeconomic condition of these areas.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Saw Yu May
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (725K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2015


Title: Environmental Damage and Poverty Migration among Myanmar and its Neighbors
Date of publication: 28 August 2015
Description/subject: "In recent years migration studies have theorized that 21st-century migration is following patterns that both incorporate and diverge from academic and policymaking explanations of late 20th-century migration. The case of Myanmar, whose out-migration is well-known and well-enumerated, nevertheless shows both a less-known pattern of in-migration in rural areas as well as environmental (and not only economic) factors in both in- and out- migration. James Clifford’s earlier, Asia-Pacific-focused work Routes, published in 1997, was influential in modifying the conventional academic foci on migration. Addressing the “subjectivity” of the ethnographers of peoples and migrations and their subjects as more an issue of shared, though differing, ideas of movement and space, he brought a new awareness of the interplay between semantic webs purportedly possessed by fieldwork subjects and their would-be interpreters among scholars. He followed this work with a particular narrative of Native American migration in Returns, published in 2013. Both of these works open the door for new attempts to study and interview migrants in their own situations and to grasp the diversity of migration beyond push-pull factors. One burgeoning methodology within this new research initiative was that of ethnographic interviews with migrants. Clifford had revealed an extremely human, molecularly detailed side of interviewees and respondents. Newer works began to concentrate almost exclusively on the migrants’ own narratives and to pull slighter, more localized explanations from them in the same mode as Charmaz’s grounded theory. Here were the roots of ‘new migration’ ideas. With the wealth of published data becoming available from migrants worldwide, small and large differences between their experiences and general migration theory became more apparent...".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Lynn Thiesmeyer
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (69K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 28 August 2015


Title: From ‘Unidentified Corpse’ To ‘Hometown Association’ : The Standing of Self in The Religious Sphere Among Myanmar Migrant Workers in Ranong, Thailand
Date of publication: 28 August 2015
Description/subject: "This article studies the practice of the standing of self among Myanmar migrant workers in Ranong province, Thailand, which occurs through hometown association constructed within the religious sphere. In the past, Myanmar migrant workers h ave been limited to a socially self-less existence due to their illegal status, the lack of government protection, and the rejection by local people. The lack of self is particularly evident in the “absence” of migrants’ deaths. Even more evident is the way that a deceased migrants’ body has been assigned the status of “the unidentified corpse” and “the object of merit” to be “stored” in the cemetery to await the “cemetery cleansing ceremony” (พิธีล้างป่าช้า), initiated by local people of Chinese descent. Over the past ten years, improved legal status and more flexible state policy has brought about many religious activities and religious gatherings among mig rants. Arising from this phenomenon are “hometown associations” which oversee social welfare and life quality improvements for migrants. In particular, funeral associations assist in proper handling of deceased migrants, by seeking relatives, seeking bodies of the deceased, organizing public processions for the deceased bodies, arranging funeral ceremonies, as well as transporting bodies of the deceased across the border to Myanmar. In effect, these hometown associations are transforming “the unidentified corpse” (ศพไร้ญาติ) into “the identified body” (ศพมีญาติ), entitled to proper religious traditions, social space and dignity akin to the locals. By this implication, the “corpses” of migrants are not only lifeless bodies but a “place” which has been constructed and given social meaning as a site of negotiation of translocal subjects. There is an emerging practice in which migrants effectively stand for the “presence” of self through translocal networks, arising from the rebuilding of neighborhoods and communities in host country through the religious sphere.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Nattchawal Pocapanishwong
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (6.1MB)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 28 August 2015


Title: Educational Development In A Changing Burma: The Future Of Children Of Migrant Labourers Returning From Thailand To Burma
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper presents the findings of a research study that investigated the level of education that the children of labor migrants from Burma now living in Chiang Mai, Thailand can access to as well as looking at the possibility and different channels for their further education should their parents decide to return to Burma. The focus of the study concentrates on four different ethnic groups, Karen, Karenni, Palaung and Shan by looking at children from the age between 4-13 years old to identify factors that are involved when these migrant children move back to Burma. At the same time, for many children who spent most of their lives in Thailand, it is interesting to see the possibilities and challenges for them in relating to accessing to education since Burma is a new home for many of them. Therefore, it is also interesting to see how the Burma government as well as the Thai education system will respond to this issue of educational development in the changing economic and democratic processes of these countries.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Sutthida Keereepaibool
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (18K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2015


Title: Inequality and way of life of Burmese migrants in Thailand: A case study in Chiang Mai
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper draws on case studies of Burmese migrants in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, to explore concepts and theories of migration, uneven development and acculturation in which migrants engages in the new environment of urban societies. It examines the new emergence of push-­pull factors of migration, mainly economic reason and urban attractions, which bring Burmese migrants into the city. Further, the paper pays more attention on the concept of uneven development, which comes along with the process of development in urban areas. It discusses about the cities like Chiang Mai as a place where provides residents to access not only greater opportunities for work, activity and key good as well as services, but the places also emerge alongside rising urban inequality for a certain group of people, particularly Burmese migrant workers are recognized as a local symbol of inequality in Chiang Mai, as well as in Asia region. Lastly, the paper focuses analytical attention on ‘way of life’ of Burmese migrants of varying cultural, social, political and economic backgrounds, which it responds to the narratives a bout urban diversity and development of the city of Chiang Mai where they encounter. Based on acculturation framework, cultural way of life of Burmese migrants living in Chiang Mai is classified into three main areas; assimilation, separation and integration, and each area of way of life would be adapted by different generations of the migrants. Therefore, one can see the social phenomenon of Burmese migrants, especially Shan ethnic group, would emerge through Thai society in the city at different levels of lifestyles.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Tithirat Pripotjanart
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (375K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2015


Title: Mon Diaspora and the Relationships with their Homeland
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "This article aims to explain the relations of Mon diaspora at Baan Wang Ka, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand with their homeland. It argues that such relationships are diverse and reflect the complexity of notion of “Bifocality” explaining that homeland is the place of spiritual and cultural roots while host countries are more associated with economic and livelihoods. Mon diaspora has been living in Baan Wang Ka since AD. 1948. The ethnic suppression policies in Myanmar are the major cause of transnational mobility of these people, although, in the later periods, some of them left their homeland to go to Thailand for trading and eventually resettled at the village. Currently, Mon people in the village include four generations who were from Myanmar and heirs of those from Myanmar, however these people associate with their homeland differently. Some relate to their homeland as the place of spiritual and identity of Mon origin. For others, their connections to homeland have to do more with economic than cultural and spiritual dimensions. Such diverse relationships related to not solely generation differences and causes of migration, but also individual’s experience, economic opportunity, legal status, social status in Thailand as well as religious belief. On another score, the diversity of relationships has also associated with their homeland and host country contexts.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Patcharin Lapanu
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (232K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 28 August 2015


Title: The Social Relationship of Myanmar Migrant Workerrs In Malaysia: An Ethnographic Study
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "Migration for employment has been a global challenge in today’s world along with the rising figure of world migration population. For that reason, the drawbacks of labour migration need to be managed effectively based on understanding the real context of migrant workers in the country in which they work. Based on the pursuit of this interest, an ethnographic study has been been conducted to explore the social relationship among Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia since November 2014. The formulated research questions is: what does the social relationship mean among Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia? More specifically, what difficulties do they face and how do they seek from their social networks in case of difficulties in Malaysia; and what social organizations contribute to meet the needs and difficulties of Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia?...".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: Khin Soe Kyi
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (254K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 27 August 2015


Title: The end of exile
Date of publication: 26 June 2015
Description/subject: "Since Myanmar opened up under the semi-civilian government in 2011, the diaspora have been encouraged to return. As persecution on the basis of political activity or ethnicity is often the reason they left, many are reluctant to return permanently to what is an unclear political situation. As a result, brief stays are common. After so many years away from home, family and friends, it is difficult to image the experience of returning. Twenty-four years after leaving his home for a new life in Australia, Saya Nai Tin Aye, my Burmese teacher, applied for a tourist visa to return to Myanmar. The process took longer than it does for regular tourists, as the Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Immigration ministries must approve the application. It so happened that my trip to Myanmar would coincide with his. He invited me to visit his home village. Nai Tin Aye, once president of the Australia Mon Association, is a softly spoken man, with a keen interest and knowledge of history. He has an inspiringly fastidious memory for dates. He left his home in Kawkareik Township, Kayin State in 1991. Formally a star volleyball player and school principal, he was well known and liked in the area. He also spent eight years in the armed resistance, living in the jungle and resisting the Tatmadaw (Burma Army). In the 1990 elections, Nai Tin Aye worked for a local Mon politician. A warrant was issued for his arrest after authorities alleged irregularities in the campaign accounts. He fled to Thailand, registered with the UNHCR and was resettled in Australia in 1996. Between living in the jungle, Thailand and Australia, he has been away from his wife and three children for over 30 years. Arriving in Nai Tin Aye’s village I was at somewhat of a loss; the place was considerably larger than I had expected, and I did not know the address. I hadn’t been able to make a telephone connection from Yangon. The motorcycle taxi driver who had reluctantly driven me out here suggested retiringly that I spend the night in a nearby town instead. We approached a group of men in a teashop, and our concerns eased. They had no doubt it was the Sayar Gyi (“principal” or “great teacher”) who we were looking for, and escorted us to his home..."
Author/creator: James T. Davies
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2015


Title: Travelling back home
Date of publication: 21 August 2014
Description/subject: "Busarin Lertchavalitsakul charts Shan migrants’ experiences of ID card procurement and their mixed fortunes travelling between Thailand and Burma." ...Substantial article; contains information about the process of obtaining Burmese identity documents.
Author/creator: Busarin Lertchavalitsaku
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 August 2014


Title: From the Tiger to the Crocodile - Abuse of Migrant Workers in Thailand
Date of publication: 23 February 2010
Description/subject: The 124-page report is based on 82 interviews with migrants from neighboring Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. It describes the widespread and severe human rights abuses faced by migrant workers in Thailand, including killings, torture in detention, extortion, and sexual abuse, and labor rights abuses such as trafficking, forced labor, and restrictions on organizing.
Author/creator: Phil Robertson
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: pdf (2.26MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/02/23/tiger-crocodile-0
http://www.hrw.org/en/features/migrant-workers-thailand
http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/thailand0210webwcover_0.pdf
Date of entry/update: 23 February 2010


Title: Precarity and Social Mobilization among Migrant Workers from Myanmar in Thailand
Date of publication: 15 February 2010
Description/subject: ABSTRACT: "Fleeing state-sponsored violence and economic decline in their home country, hundreds of thousands of Myanmar émigrés have in recent years crossed the border into Thailand in search of a better life. For the estimated 2 million Myanmar migrants now living there, however, life in Thailand presents its own challenges. With insufficient legal provisions to handle the influx of migrants, the Thai government has largely turned a blind eye to abuse and exploitation suffered by migrant workers. Yet despite poor working conditions and exploitation, there does not appear to be much of a call to improve conditions through mobilization among the Myanmar migrant community. The marked absence of mobilization on any level thus begs the question: why is the migrant population in Thailand so passive in the face of severe strain and exploitation? This thesis explores the issue of non- mobilization among migrant groups, using as a framework two core concepts: social mobilization and precarity. The long-standing discourse on social mobilization focuses on social and political action in response to societal strain, taking into account other factors such as access to resources and institutional opportunities. Precarity, a newer concept and compliment to the established social mobilization debates, has been used to describe a lifestyle characterized by critical social, economic, and political insecurity..."
Author/creator: Eberle, Meghan Lea
Language: English
Source/publisher: The University of Hong Kong
Format/size: pdf (785K-reduced version; 6.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://hub.hku.hk/bitstream/10722/57613/3/FullText.pdf
Date of entry/update: 04 January 2015


Title: Illegal Heroes and Victimless Crimes - Informal Cross-border Migration from Myanmar
Date of publication: December 2009
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In the course of cross-border migration from Myanmar, many who are involved in the migration process such as migrants, their families, money lenders, brokers, transnational money transferors, etc., intentionally or unintentionally maintain the status of illegality. However, with the objective to negotiate their own way into the new livelihood space to secure their share of development through migration, they see their exercises in maintaining illegality as licit behavior, which is considered legitimate, given the social context in which they live. The gap between what is considered illegal by the state and as illicit by the people gets wider. It is easy for those who are involved in the migration process to define the thin line between illegal and illicit behavior – from their own social perception – which can never be identified or recognized by the existing legal system in any country. Strong social connections and networks of some ethnic groups that have been in existence for a long time between Myanmar and its neighboring countries have fueled cross-border human mobility in both directions, regardless of legal border restrictions. Migration is often seen by the countries of destination as a threat to national security and by the country of origin as a problem to be solved. These negative perceptions got worse when crossborder migration became more dynamic, taking place in various informal/ illegal forms. Most studies attempted to highlight push and pull factors of this dynamic cross-border migration from Myanmar, as well as the living and working conditions of Myanmar migrants living abroad and their remittances. However, there are very few studies that shed light on the course of cross-border migration from Myanmar from the view of migrants, their families and their home community, and its implications on them. Millions of Myanmar migrants are working under undesirable and vulnerable conditions in foreign countries far away from their families. Most of them got into such situations voluntarily, in order to improve the livelihood of their families, and to provide education and health care for their children at home. Although most of them are illegal migrant workers, they are far from being criminals. They are making important sacrifices and live “borrowed lives” in order to send money back home to help their families. They are just ordinary people trying to make ends meet, and for their extraordinary sacrifices, they are considered heroes by their families. Most people in the countries of destination normally hear a single story about illegal migrant workers. There are endless stories of illegal migrants portraying them as people who are sneaking across the border, stealing the jobs of local people, committing crimes, etc. Most people have been so immersed with negative media coverage that migrants have become one thing in their mind, the bad guys. It may not be fair if the bad behavior of few unscrupulous illegal migrants is considered representative of the millions of them working under very hard conditions, simply to provide bread and butter for their families back home and contributing to increased production and economic development in the country of destination. Although the acts of professional traffickers – who are committing serious crimes of human trafficking across borders that have a series of negative social impacts, not only on trafficked victims, but also on the families of those victims – are perceived as illicit, the acts of local brokers who facilitate voluntary cross-border migration of ordinary people (exploring job opportunities across the border) at a reasonable fee, and finding appropriate jobs for them (through their social connections in the country of destination), are not considered illicit by most local people. Far from being thought of as criminals, their services create win-win situations and are considered essential, and their actions – that may have flouted the state’s rules and regulations – cause no victims. This paper highlights the perception of each and everyone involved in the course of cross-border migration from Myanmar in each step they, internationally or unintentionally, maintain the status of illegality. It also attempts to identify the implications of cross-border migration on migrants’ families and their community in the country of origin. Interviews and questionnaire surveys conducted in different projects in 2008 and 2009 in different places in Myanmar and neighboring countries, coupled with qualitative and quantitative analyses, attempt to enhance the reliability and representativeness of the findings in this paper."
Author/creator: Winston Set Aung
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute for Security and Development Policy (Sweden)
Format/size: pdf (1.2MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.isdp.eu/images/stories/isdp-main-pdf/2009_set-aung_illegal-heroes-and-victimless-crimes....
Date of entry/update: 01 June 2011


Title: Island of Peace
Date of publication: August 2009
Description/subject: "A Karen village exists where children grow up in peace and security. They go to school and attend church with their families. They are not afraid of soldiers. Their parents vote and travel as they wish. The village has electricity, clean water and shops. It is not in the insurgent territory of Kawthoolei, beleaguered Papun or the cyclone-swept Irrawaddy delta, and it is not one of the fragile border hamlets of Thailand. Middle andaman (seen here in red) is India's largest island, covering more than 1,500 square kilometers. This village is Webi, on an island called Middle Andaman, which belongs to India..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 December 2009


Title: Abuse, Poverty and Migration: Investigating migrants' motivations to leave home in Burma
Date of publication: 10 July 2009
Description/subject: "International reporting of the large-scale migration of those leaving Burma in search of work abroad has highlighted the perils for migrant during travel and in host countries. However, there has been a lack of research in the root causes of this migration. Identifying the root causes of migration has important implications for the assistance and protection of these migrants. Drawing on over 150 interviews with villagers in rural Burma and those from Burma who have sought employment abroad, this report identifies the exploitative abuse underpinning poverty and livelihoods vulnerability in Burma which, in turn, are major factors motivating individuals to leave home and seek work abroad..." _Thailand-based interviewees explained to KHRG how exploitative abuses increased poverty, livelihoods vulnerability and food insecurity for themselves and their communities in Burma. These issues were in turn cited as central push factors compelling them to leave their homes and search for work abroad. In some cases, interviewees explained that the harmful effects of exploitative abuse were compounded by environmental and economic factors such as flood and drought and limited access to decent wage labour.[17] While the individuals interviewed by KHRG in Thailand would normally be classified as 'economic migrants', the factors which they cited as motivating their choice to migrate make it clear that SPDC abuse made it difficult for them to survive in their home areas. Hence, these people decided to become migrants not simply because they were lured to Thailand by economic incentives, but because they found it impossible to survive at home in Burma. Clearly, the distinction between push and pull factors is blurred in the case of Burmese migrants. The concept of pull factors for migrants is further complicated because migrants are not merely seeking better jobs abroad, but are instead pulled to places like Thailand and Malaysia in order to access protection. For refugees and IDPs, protection is a service that is often provided by government bodies, UN agencies and international NGOs. For refugees in particular, protection is often primarily understood to mean legal protection against refoulement - defined as the expulsion of a person to a place where they would face persecution. Beyond legal protection against refoulement, aid agencies have implemented specific forms of rights-based assistance, such as gender-based violence programmes, as part of their protection mandates. However, for migrants from Burma the act of leaving home is overwhelmingly a self-initiated protection strategy through which individuals can ensure their and their families' basic survival in the face of persistent exploitative and other abuse in their home areas. This broader understanding of protection goes beyond legal protection against refoulement and the top-down delivery of rights-based assistance by aid agencies. It involves actions taken by individuals on their own accord to lessen or avoid abuse and its harmful effects at home.[18] KHRG has chosen to use the term self-initiated protection strategy, rather than a more generic concept like 'survival strategy', in order to highlight the political agency of those who choose such migration. By seeing this protection in political terms, one can better understand both the abusive underpinnings of migration from Burma as well as the relevance of such migration to the protection mandates of governments, UN agencies and international NGOs currently providing support to conventional refugee populations. Understanding protection in this way presents opportunities for external support for the many self-initiated protection strategies (including efforts to secure employment without exploitation, support dependent family members, enrol children in school and avoid arrest, extortion and deportation) which migrant workers regularly use._
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Regional & Thematic Reports (KHRG #2009-03)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 November 2009


Title: Occupational Hazard
Date of publication: February 2009
Description/subject: "MAP Foundation, an innovative migrant workers’ support group based in Chiang Mai, has launched a short animated documentary on DVD to promote safety and health in the workplace aimed at migrant workers. In a humorous but informative way, the 10-minute cartoon deals with the hazards that lurk in factories, construction projects and farms. The moral of the documentary is that migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to physical dangers and must take steps to protect themselves, for instance, by wearing protective clothing or by opposing reckless employers..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 February 2009


Title: For Greener Pastures
Date of publication: October 2008
Description/subject: "With few opportunities at home, many young Burmese look overseas for work. But before migrants can earn a dollar abroad they have to face queues, fees, bribes and sometimes danger..."
Author/creator: Aung Thet Wine
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 November 2008


Title: Tears and Paint
Date of publication: August 2007
Description/subject: Migrant artist shares his earnings with the refugees who people his canvases... "Suffering from depression and weighed down by the hardships of life in Burma, Maung Maung Tinn finally decided to leave his home town, Moulmein, capital of Mon State. That was in 1994. “I felt I had no future there, so I left my home,” the soft-spoken painter said. The child of a Shan father and Karen mother, Maung Maung Tinn felt hopelessness at not being able to help his parents and grandparents. They were helping to pay for his studies at Moulmein University, while he did his best to lighten the load o­n them by working as a clerk in a government-owned electricity plant. Like many other Burmese, he made for Mae Sot, in Thailand, where he rapidly found employment at Dr Cynthia Maung’s Clinic, working at first as a chef, preparing meals for patients and medical staff, and then becoming a trained medic and health worker in the clinic’s outpatient department. His real talent surfaced, however, during his free time—hours he spent drawing and painting. He had shown promise at school, inspired by such famous Burmese artists as Wa Thone and Myo Myint..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 May 2008


Title: Industrial zones in Burma and Burmese labour in Thailand
Date of publication: January 2007
Description/subject: Conclusion: "Massive migration of Burmese workers into Thailand affects both countries. On one hand, it depletes the availability of skilled workers in Burma, which is a clear loss for a developing country, while on the other hand, Thailand benefits from such a reservoir of cheap manpower. Burma receives the monthly remittances of its expatriate workers, but Thai entrepreneurs capitalise on the value added to their export-oriented productions by the work of the Burmese migrants. Each country is aware of the size of the phenomenon and its impact on their economy, but each reacts differently. The Myanmar junta chooses to ignore the huge emigration taking place, because it reduces the potential of social, if not political, demands building up within society. The Thai government plays down the boost given to its economy by the widespread use of cheap Burmese workers by its industries, and prefers to play up the supposed or real social disorders said to be brought by Burmese immigrants: increase of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis industrial zones in burma 181 and HIV; the drain on hospital resources to care for sick Burmese;45 the expansion of prostitution; and murders and thefts. The dual attitude of the Thai authorities is politically useful to hide their own social and health shortcomings from their own population. The contribution of migrants to the Thai economy is still unrecognised officially, although a ‘new vision’ towards migrants is beginning to appear in government circles, probably out of necessity and to be in accordance with the Economic Cooperation Strategy illustrated by the launch of the first economic and industrial zone in Myawaddy-Mae Sot. For their part, Burmese authorities, until now ignoring the plight of their expatriate workers, recently realised the potential political benefits of monitoring such a huge workforce in Thailand."
Author/creator: Guy Lubeigt
Language: English
Source/publisher: 2006 Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
Format/size: pdf (760K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs4/BU-2006-Lubeigt.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 December 2008


Title: A Seat at the Table
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: In addition to greater international attention on their plight in exile, Thailand’s growing community of Burmese Muslims wants a voice in the political future of their country... "...The desire for equal protection—at home and in exile—seems to be the order of the day for Mae Sot’s Burmese Muslim community. Like the majority of refugees, they wait for the opportunity to return to a free Burma. Meanwhile, they do what they can to provide for their families, practice their religion without constraints and hope that greater attention is given to what the IHRC calls “the oppressed of the oppressed.”"
Author/creator: Edward Blair, Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


Title: Securitizing border-crossing: The case of marginalized stateless minorities in the Thai-Burma Borderlands
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: Abstract: This paper examines the securitization process of unauthorised migration in Thailand, in particular how the cross-border flows of marginalised minorities, the so-called 'hill tribes' came to be seen as an 'existential threat' to Thai national identity by the state. The paper aims to present a case of societal security by highlighting the importance of national identity. It intends to explore the reasons for portraying cross-border mobility of border minorities as existential threats to the integrity of the Thai state. More specifically, it will investigate the motives of the securitising actor, the Thai state – and examine why the issue evoked security concerns in the wake of the 1997 economic crisis and the way 'emergency measures' were introduced. This paper will illustrate the importance of ethnocized discourses on national identity by broadening the traditional security studies' framework on states and political-military competition at the borderlands.
Author/creator: Mika Toyota
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies Singapore (Working Paper 102)
Format/size: pdf (574K -- 44 pages)
Date of entry/update: 02 March 2009


Title: Preliminary Survey Results about Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand: State/division of origin, year of entry, minimum wages and work permits
Date of publication: September 2005
Description/subject: 1. INTRODUCTION: People from Burma have been entering Thailand since the Ne Win coup in 1962. Most of these people have fled civil war, hunger, poverty, unemployment and political oppression. A significant proportion of these Burmese are employed in the lower rungs of the Thai labour market. Despite the large numbers of people from Burma working in Thailand, there has been very little reliable statistical analysis undertaken in order to understand the situation faced by these people. The paucity of reliable information in this area led us to conduct a survey of about 1,400 people from Burma working in Thailand.1 The survey was undertaken between October 2003 and March 2004, in the following 12 provinces: • Bangkok • Singburi • Lopburi • Saraburi • Tak (Mae Sot District) • Ratchaburi • Kanchanburi (Kanchanaburi and Sangklaburi Districts) • Ranong (Ranong District) • Samut Sakhon (Mahachai) • Phetchaburi • Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai and Fang Districts)2 • Mae Hong Son (Mae Hong Son District)...The following is a discussion of the results of a partial preliminary statistical analysis of a sample of about 1,100 of these workers with regard to their place of origin, time of arrival, income in the last 20 years, receipt of a minimum wage and their possession of a work permit.3 The analysis does not involve the estimation of population parameters and any consequent inferences about the nature of the population (though inferences about the population will be published later). Rather, the following is a statistical description of Burmese workers in Thailand, which we, argue is important given the paucity of reliable and credible work in this area.
Author/creator: Wylie Bradford & Alison Vicary
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Economic Watch" 1/2005 pp 3-25
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 11 October 2005


Title: A Life in Hiding
Date of publication: July 2005
Description/subject: Karen Internally Displaced Persons wonder when they will be able to go home... "Sitting in his new bamboo hut in Ler Per Her camp for Internally Displaced Persons, located on the bank of Thailand’s Moei River near the border with Burma, Phar The Tai—a skinny, tough-looking man of 60 who used to hide in the jungles and mountains of Burma’s eastern Karen State—waits for the time when he can return home. “We are living in fear all the time,” he says about the lives of IDPs. His words reflect the general feeling among IDPs from Karen State, which has produced the largest number of displaced people in Burma..."
Author/creator: Yeni
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2006


Title: Art in Exile
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: Burmese paintings find their home in a Chiang Mai gallery... "It’s a sad reflection on the Rangoon regime’s restrictive policies on artistic expression that one of Southeast Asia’s finest collections of contemporary Burmese art isn’t to be found in Burma, but in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. All the works in Lashio-born Mar Mar’s collection—more than 400 paintings, drawings and collages by 50 or so artists—were created in Burma, but many of them could never be displayed publicly there. They include paintings deemed “political” and nudes that would offend the puritanical tastes of the Rangoon generals..."
Author/creator: Jim Andrews
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No.6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006


Title: In the Name of Mandalay
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: Preserving Burmese traditions in Thailand... "In 1886 the British finally conquered Mandalay, the historic capital of the last independent Burmese kingdom. San Toe, a servant of the beleaguered King Thibaw and a devout Buddhist, fled the newly colonized city, bringing with him an image of the Buddha crafted by Mandalay artisans. He worked in the logging business as an employee of the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation before settling in the town of Mae Sariang in northern Thailand. There he built a Burmese monastery in 1909 to house his cherished Buddha image. Historically, the Burmese have viewed the city of Mandalay as a source of pride and an important link to Burma’s rich cultural and religious traditions. The name of the monastery in Mae Sariang, Wat Mandalay, reflects this connection and honors the lineage of the monastery’s central religious artifact—the Mandalay-made Buddha image..."
Author/creator: Yeni
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006


Title: Blissfully Free
Date of publication: January 2003
Description/subject: An independent Thai film with a Burmese migrant in the lead has attracted a lot of attention.
Author/creator: Anthony Faraday
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Pushing Past the Definitions: Migration From Burma to Thailand
Date of publication: 19 December 2002
Description/subject: Important, authoritative and timely report. I. THAI GOVERNMENT CLASSIFICATION FOR PEOPLE FROM BURMA: Temporarily Displaced; Students and Political Dissidents ; Migrants . II. BRIEF PROFILE OF THE MIGRANTS FROM BURMA . III REASONS FOR LEAVING BURMA : Forced Relocations and Land Confiscation ; Forced Labor and Portering; War and Political Oppression; Taxation and Loss of Livelihood; Economic Conditions . IV. FEAR OF RETURN. V. RECEPTION CENTERS. VI. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS.... "Recent estimates indicate that up to two million people from Burma currently reside in Thailand, reflecting one of the largest migration flows in Southeast Asia. Many factors contribute to this mass exodus, but the vast majority of people leaving Burma are clearly fleeing persecution, fear and human rights abuses. While the initial reasons for leaving may be expressed in economic terms, underlying causes surface that explain the realities of their lives in Burma and their vulnerabilities upon return. Accounts given in Thailand, whether it be in the border camps, towns, cities, factories or farms, describe instances of forced relocation and confiscation of land; forced labor and portering; taxation and loss of livelihood; war and political oppression in Burma. Many of those who have fled had lived as internally displaced persons in Burma before crossing the border into Thailand. For most, it is the inability to survive or find safety in their home country that causes them to leave. Once in Thailand, both the Royal Thai Government (RTG) and the international community have taken to classifying the people from Burma under specific categories that are at best misleading, and in the worst instances, dangerous. These categories distort the grave circumstances surrounding this migration by failing to take into account the realities that have brought people across the border. They also dictate people’s legal status within the country, the level of support and assistance that might be available to them and the degree of protection afforded them under international mechanisms. Consequently, most live in fear of deportation back into the hands of their persecutors or to the abusive environments from which they fled..." Additional keywords: IDPs, Internal displacement, displaced, refoulement.
Author/creator: Therese M. Caouette and Mary E. Pack
Language: English
Source/publisher: Refugees International and Open Society Institute
Format/size: html (373K) pdf (748K, 2.1MB) 37 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Caouette&Pack.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: We got nothing except a place to stay in the rubbish dump
Description/subject: "Htay Htay is a half Karen half Burman woman who came to Thailand in search of a better life. Now, she lives in a rubbish dump in the outskirts of the border town of Mae Sot on the Thailand-Burma border. Htay Htay is one of about 400 people who live in the dump, all barely making a living by picking up and selling rubbish. Htay Htay says that although they really don’t want to live amidst the rubbish, they have no choice. Read her story to find out why she feels that life ‘living in the dirt’ is better than life in her home country."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2016