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Home > Main Library > Migration > Migration from Burma > Policies towards Burmese migrants and refugees

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Policies towards Burmese migrants and refugees

Individual Documents

Title: Displacement and disease: the Shan exodus and infectious disease implications for Thailand
Date of publication: 14 March 2008
Description/subject: Abstract: "Decades of neglect and abuses by the Burmese government have decimated the health of the peoples of Burma, particularly along her eastern frontiers, overwhelmingly populated by ethnic minorities such as the Shan. Vast areas of traditional Shan homelands have been systematically depopulated by the Burmese military regime as part of its counter-insurgency policy, which also employs widespread abuses of civilians by Burmese soldiers, including rape, torture, and extrajudicial executions. These abuses, coupled with Burmese government economic mismanagement which has further entrenched already pervasive poverty in rural Burma, have spawned a humanitarian catastrophe, forcing hundreds of thousands of ethnic Shan villagers to flee their homes for Thailand. In Thailand, they are denied refugee status and its legal protections, living at constant risk for arrest and deportation. Classified as “economic migrants,” many are forced to work in exploitative conditions, including in the Thai sex industry, and Shan migrants often lack access to basic health services in Thailand. Available health data on Shan migrants in Thailand already indicates that this population bears a disproportionately high burden of infectious diseases, particularly HIV, tuberculosis, lymphatic filariasis, and some vaccine-preventable illnesses, undermining progress made by Thailand’s public health system in controlling such entities. The ongoing failure to address the root political causes of migration and poor health in eastern Burma, coupled with the many barriers to accessing health programs in Thailand by undocumented migrants, particularly the Shan, virtually guarantees Thailand’s inability to sustainably control many infectious disease entities, especially along her borders with Burma."
Author/creator: Voravit Suwanvanichkij
Language: English
Source/publisher: Conflict and Health 2008, 2:4
Format/size: pdf (170K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.conflictandhealth.com/content/2/1/4
Date of entry/update: 09 April 2008


Title: Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Thai Policy toward Burmese Refugees and Migrants
Date of publication: 25 February 2004
Description/subject: "The report, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Thai Policy toward Burmese Refugees, documents Thailand’s repression of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant workers from Burma. "The Thai government is arresting and intimidating Burmese political activists living in Bangkok and along the Thai-Burmese border, harassing Burmese human rights and humanitarian groups, and deporting Burmese refugees, asylum seekers and others with a genuine fear of persecution in Burma..." 1. Introduction... 2. New Thai Policies toward Burmese Refugees and Migrants: Broadening of Resettlement Opportunities; Suspension of New Refugee Admissions; The “Urban” Refugees; Crackdown on Burmese Migrants; Forging Friendship with Rangoon; History of Burmese Refugees in Thailand... 3. Expulsion to Burma: Informal Deportees Dropped at the Border; The Holding Center at Myawaddy; Into the Hands of the SPDC; Profile: One of the Unlucky Ones—Former Child Soldier Deported to Burma; Increasing Pressure on Migrants... 4. Protection Issues for Urban Refugees:- Impacts of the Move to the Camps; Profile: Karen Former Combatant; Suspension of Refugee Status Determination; Security Issues for Refugees in Bangkok... 5. Attempts to Silence Activist Refugees... 6. New Visa Rules: Screening Out the “Troublemakers”... 7. Conclusion... 8. Recommendations: To the Royal Thai Government; To the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); To Donor Governments; To the Burmese Authorities... 9. Appendix A: Timeline of Arrests and Intimidation of Burmese Activists in 2003 (3 page pdf file)... 10. Appendix B: Timeline of Harrassments of NGOs in 2003 (2 page pdf file)... 11. Appendix C: Timeline of Arrests and Harrassment of Burmese Migrant Workers in 2003 (2 page pdf file)...
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: pdf (244K, 1MB), html
Alternate URLs: http://hrw.org/reports/2004/thailand0204/profiles.pdf (refugee profiles)
http://hrw.org/reports/2004/thailand0204/thailand0204.pdf (printer-friendly)
Date of entry/update: 23 February 2004


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: Land of Guile: Migrant Workers in Thailand
Date of publication: October 2002
Description/subject: "Thus far, the government's labor legislation has brought few benefits to Thailand's migrant work force which continues to withstand deep-seated corruption and abuse...However precarious the situation may be for migrant workers in Thailand, it will continue as long as cheap sources of labor remain a vital component for a healthy and vibrant Thai economy. The time is ripe for both the Thai and Burmese governments to implement genuine measures that would help ensure the just and dignified treatment of Burmese workers in Thailand..."
Author/creator: Tony Broadmoor
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" vol. 10, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Come to Singapore And Leave Your Views Behind
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: "...The only type of foreigner more unwelcome in Singapore than an illegal migrant is an exiled dissident. Singapore’s intolerance of political dissent is a fact of life that is not lost on anyone who lives here. .."
Author/creator: Neil Lawrence
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 6, July-August 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Laboring in the Lion City
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: "Burmese workers in Singapore make great sacrifices to make ends meet. With its own economy wracked by decades of mismanagement, many Burmese workers look overseas to make their financial dreams come true. But for workers wishing to jump Burma’s sinking economic ship to go work in Singapore, they must first clear a series of legal hurdles, leaving many migrant workers wondering if making the journey is worth the effort..."
Author/creator: Moe Kyaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 6, July-August 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Myanmar: Lack of Security in Counter-Insurgency Areas
Date of publication: 17 July 2002
Description/subject: "...In February and March 2002 Amnesty International interviewed some 100 migrants from Myanmar at seven different locations in Thailand. They were from a variety of ethnic groups, including the Shan; Lahu; Palaung; Akha; Mon; Po and Sgaw Karen; Rakhine; and Tavoyan ethnic minorities, and the majority Bamar (Burman) group. They originally came from the Mon, Kayin, Shan, and Rakhine States, and Bago, Yangon and Tanintharyi Divisions.(1) What follows below is a summary of human rights violations in some parts of eastern Myanmar during the last 18 months which migrants reported to Amnesty International. One section of the report also examines several cases of abuses of civilians by armed opposition groups fighting against the Myanmar military. Finally, this document describes various aspects of a Burmese migrant worker's life in Thailand..." ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced labour, refugees, land confiscation, forced relocation, forced removal, forced resettlement, forced displacement, internal displacement, IDP, extortion, torture, extrajudicial killings, forced conscription, child soldiers, porters, forced portering, house destruction, eviction, Shan State, Wa, USWA, Wa resettlement, Tenasserim, abuses by armed opposition groups.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Amnesty International
Format/size: PDF version (126K) 48pg
Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/007/2002/en/6901af02-d81a-11dd-9df8-936c90684588/asa1...
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA16/007/2002/en
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/007/2002/en/7471b112-d81a-11dd-9df8-936c90684588/asa1... (French)
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2010


Title: Burmese Children in Thailand: Legal Aspects
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "People from Burma have become the major group of displaced persons in Thailand. Most of them are currently being sheltered along the Thai-Burma border, particularly in the Thai provinces of Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kanchanaburi and Ranong. It is estimated that there are some 40,000 children from Burma under the age of 15 accompanying their parents. In addition, thousands of unaccompanied children are driven across the border by the desperate circumstances in Burma. ..."
Author/creator: Nyo Nyo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Legal Issues on Burma Journal" No. 10 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand: Policy and Protection
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "It is estimated that the overall number of Burmese migrants in Thailand is somewhere in between 800,000 and one million. Cross-border migration into Thailand has steadily increased in recent years. Since the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Thais have gone to work abroad. Refugees from Burma, Laos and Cambodia have since filled this labour shortage in Thailand. However, many of them are undocumented, illegal workers and thus constitute the most vulnerable section of the work force. As illegal non-citizens, they are least protected by a national legal system. The Thai Cabinet recently announced a new policy on migrant workers..."
Author/creator: Darunee Paisanpanichkul
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Legal Issues on Burma Journal" No. 10 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Alternate URLs: The original (and authoritative) version of this article may be found in http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Legal_Issues_on%20Burma_Journal_10.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003