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Migrant workers from Burma : general and mixed articles and reports

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: Social Exclusion, Livelihoods, and Gender Violence: Burmese Muslim Refugees in Thailand
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "This work seeks to understand gender-­based violence and the connection between violence and livelihoods for refugees living in conditions of social exclusion. Through qualitative research consisting of 40 interviews, a market survey, and observation conducted among Burmese Muslim refugees in Thailand, this work analyzes the connection between livelihoods strategies, social exclusion, and gender-­based violence. Muslims are a marginalized group within Burma and experience ongoing discrimination while living in refugee communities in Thailand, which results in risk for several kinds of violence at multiple levels. The experiences of Muslim refugees living in Thailand offer insight into the conditions that shape violence for refugees more generally. Findings show that several factors contribute to the incidence of gender violence, including structural, community, and interpersonal stressors and constraints. These dynamics also shape violence, whether domestic abuse, harassment and assault within the refugee camp, or experiences with Thai authorities. By showing the complex conditions that shape gender-­based violence for refugees in this context, this work demonstrates the need for consideration of marginalized groups within refugee populations and the layered nature of the conditions that underpin dynamics of gender violence. This pa per concludes with consideration of the implications of these findings for the possibility of refugee return to Myanmar in the context of ongoing ethnic difficulty and livelihoods struggles.".....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: Mollie Pepper
Language: English, Burmese and Karen
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 (309K)
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: Myanmar’s workers of the world
Date of publication: 06 May 2015
Description/subject: "...That large numbers of Myanmar’s migrants end up prey for criminals, exploited and discarded, is part of a wider problem. Ethnic minorities, and especially those from groups that don’t have full citizenship in Myanmar, are ripe for exploitation. When these stories hit the news there is some level of outrage, leavened by resignation that there are too many ills in the world. Muslims from western Myanmar are among those who seem to do it toughest when they seek out opportunities abroad. Yet it’s not all doom and gloom, and the possibilities for migrants are probably better than ever. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, to name just the three most obvious countries, all require huge surges of youthful and energetic labour to take care of the jobs that their own people can’t or won’t do. Foreign labour helps to keep goods and services cheap, and also frees up the Thais, Malaysians and Singaporeans to study longer and harder, and work toward achieving solid middle-class status. This means that the jobs lower on the economic pecking order are open to those who want to build new lives in foreign lands..."
Author/creator: Nicholas Farrelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 May 2015


Title: GlobalWork, Surplus Labor, and the Precarious Economies of the Border
Date of publication: October 2011
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper focuses on the recent emergence of regional production networks and border industrial zones, the labor migrations they are generating, and their consequences for “surplus populations” in the Greater Mekong Subregion (mainland Southeast Asia). In this region the textile and garment industry is employing increasing numbers of workers in border areas on flexible and highly precarious work “contracts”. To understand these emergent labor formations we focus on three scales of analysis through a case study from the Thailand–Burma border. We focus on initiatives led by the Asia Development Bank, accompanying subregional political groupings which aim to facilitate capital flows and trade by reducing transaction time and cost, and a case study of labor recruitment and employment practices in one border town. In examining these three scales, we question the value of characterizing such trans-national, state-led, authoritarian, and racialized labor formations as neoliberal." Keywords: precarious labor,migration, Greater Mekong Subregion, Mae Sot, border industrial zones, racialization, textile and garment industry
Author/creator: Dennis Arnold and John Pickles
Language: English
Source/publisher: Department of Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA;
Format/size: pdf (167K)
Date of entry/update: 09 November 2011


Title: Understanding Recruitment Industry in Thailand
Date of publication: November 2010
Description/subject: "Main objectives for this research report on Understanding Recruitment Industry in Thailand are: 1. Study the structure, profile and characteristics of Thai employment agencies 2. Examine the practices of licensed employment agencies in recruiting Thai migrant workers for employment abroad 3. Explore possible ties between the employment agencies and government officials and politicians 4. Investigate the enforcement of the labor recruitment law with respect to employment agencies, as well as possible links to human trafficking. The study examined the existing 218 licensed employment agencies in Thailand located in both Bangkok and upcountry. Through cooperation with the Thailand Overseas Employment Administration (TOEA), Department of Employment (DOE) and Ministry of Labor, information about employment agencies was analyzed and categorized by target destination country and sectors for employment opportunities..."
Author/creator: Supang Chantavanich, Samarn Laodumrongchai, Premjai Vangsiriphisal, Aungkana Kamonpetch, Pairin Makcharoen, Pattarin Kaochan
Language: English (English and Thai references)
Source/publisher: Asian Research Center for Migration, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
Format/size: pdf (1MB-OBL version; 1.32MB-original ) 202 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/ARCM-Understanding_Recruitment_Industry_in_Thailand-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2012


Title: Myanmar Migrant Laborers in Ranong, Thailand
Date of publication: September 2010
Description/subject: Abstract: "Thailand is the major destination for migrants in mainland Southeast Asia, and Myanmar (Burmese) migrants account for the dominant share. This paper sheds light on the actual working conditions and the life of Myanmar migrants in Thailand, based on our intensive survey in Ranong in southern Thailand in 2009. We found a wide range of serious problems that Myanmar migrants face in everyday life: very harsh working conditions, low income, heavy indebtedness, risk of being human-trafficking victims, harassment by the police and military (especially of sex workers), high risk of illness including malaria and HIV/AIDS and limited access to affordable medical facilities, and a poor educational environment for their children."... Keywords: Migration, Household, Myanmar, Thailand
Author/creator: Koichi Fujita,Tamaki Endo, Ikuko Okamoto, Yoshihiro Nakanishi, Miwa Yamada
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies, Jetro (IDE Discussion Paper No. 257)
Format/size: pdf (553K)
Date of entry/update: 06 October 2010


Title: Rapid Assessment on The Impacts of the Economic Downturn on Workers in Thailand (Phase I & II)
Date of publication: September 2010
Description/subject: Table of Contents: Acknowledgements... Phase I: Introduction... Government Policy and Gaps... Trends and future forecast for employment during the economic crisis from business sectors... Impact of the Crisis on Informal Workers... Impact of the Crisis on Formal Sector Work and Remittances to Rural Households... Conclusion... References... Appendix..... Phase II: Summary of findings... . Introduction... Informal workers in urban settings... . The rural poor... Workers in the formal sector... Migrant workers and the unemployed... Specific impacts on male and female formal and informal workers... Conclusion... Annexes.
Author/creator: Supang Chantavanich, Samarn Laodumrongchai, Mya Than, Artit Wong-a-thitikul
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Research Center for Migration Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
Format/size: pdf (1.06MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/ARCM-Rapid_Assessment.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2012


Title: Hard Labor
Date of publication: March 2010
Description/subject: The harsh conditions under which Burmese migrants are employed in Thailand are documented in an exhibition of the work of British photographer John Hulme that opens in Chiang Mai in April.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 3
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=17934
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2010


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: Abuse between borders: vulnerability for Burmese workers deported from Thailand
Date of publication: 22 February 2010
Description/subject: "The Royal Thai Government appears poised to deport as many as 1.4 million workers that fail to complete “nationality verification” procedures by the end of February 2010. The majority of these workers are Burmese. Based upon extensive research conducted by KHRG and other organisations, it is likely that many of these workers came to Thailand not out of an apolitical desire for economic opportunity, but as a protection strategy initiated in response to the exploitative and violent abuse that drives poverty in their home areas. Moreover, even workers who do not face abuse upon return face abuse at the checkpoints to which Thai authorities transfer them during deportation procedures. These abuses include taxation, forced labour, beatings, killing and rape. Incidents documented in this report took place between November 2009 and February 2010..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2010-F1)
Format/size: html, pdf (324K and 481K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/KHRG-2010-02-22-Abuse_between_borders_vulnerability_for_Burmese_...



https://web.archive.org/web/20100429223408/http://www.khrg.org/khrg2010/khrg10f1.pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 February 2010


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: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 21: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: 23 November 2009
Description/subject: "Every year, around 50,000 people reportedly leave Burma in search of work elsewhere. Estimates of the number of Burmese migrant workers who live outside Burma’s borders have varied greatly however, and depend on whether both registered and illegal workers are taken into account. While Burma’s Prime Minister, Thein Sein, claimed in December 2008 that a mere 46,057 Burmese migrant workers were legally employed abroad, Burma Economic Watch has estimated that around two million migrant workers and refugees live elsewhere. In contrast, Irrawaddy has reported that, of the estimated three million Burmese migrant workers who are employed abroad, around half work illegally.3 In contrast to this figure, Moe Swe of the Burma Workers’ Rights Protection Committee (BWRPC) has put the overall figure at four million. It has also been estimated that up to ten percent of the Burmese population resides outside of Burma. Such patterns of migration are likely to persist, as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has stated that it expects the flow of Burmese migrant workers to increase in the coming years...Many Burmese migrant workers have not fled for a single reason or because of a single event. Rather, many have left as a result of what Andrew Bosson has described as the “cumulative impact” of coercive measures and economic conditions, which push down families’ incomes until they can no longer survive in their present locations.14 For instance, the Burmese junta’s policies of forced labour, land confiscation and compulsory cropping have further impoverished an already desperate rural population. The result, Bosson argues, has not been a dramatic or spontaneous exodus of migrant workers and refugees, but rather a slower process of “gradual displacement.”..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
Format/size: pdf (1.38MB)
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2009


Title: PERCEPTIONS OF BORDERS AND HUMAN MIGRATION: THE HUMAN (IN)SECURITY OF SHAN MIGRANT WORKERS IN THAILAND
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: "...While there are many prior studies to date on the internal conflicts in Burma, these are mostly focused on the human rights situation within the country. In addition, many previous marked studies, such as works from Thai academics, International Organizations or the World Health Organization, have highlighted the human securities of migrant workers in the destination country whereby the process of migration has already taken place. However, none of them have focused on the phenomenon of migration in relation to perceptions of borders and human security. The lack of study addressing the influence of borders and human securities as the key indicators to people's migration behaviour supports the significance and relevance of this research...This research aims to understand the differences in the perceptions of borders between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers, and informal brokers, which perpetuate the flow of illegal migration. Due to the increasing number of illegal Shan migrant workers who are living, producing and consuming products and services in Thailand, or in other words, being absorbed into and continuing to contribute to the Thai economy, it is necessary to map out a framework of borders, human migration and human security for policy-makers to approach and use in addressing the migration issue as a basis for future theoretical development. A focus on the different perceptions of borders in the migration phenomenon may lead toward a more comprehensive view of the international migration process, particularly for ASEAN to have more realistic border and migration policies. Based on the purpose of the research mentioned above, my hypothesis is as follows: "The flow of illegal migrant workers is continuing and increasing due to the differences in the perceptions and functions of borders between the Thai government, Shan migrant workers, Thai employers and informal brokers". The actual primary data is derived from fieldwork conducted both in Thailand and Burma. In addition, secondary data collected from available literature was processed and reviewed in order to support the borders approach in addressing human security and migration. Finally, a comparative case study of Cambodian migrant workers is examined based on fieldwork made in the Rayong province of Thailand..."
Author/creator: Ropharat Aphijanyatham
Language: English
Source/publisher: IRASEC - I'Institut de Recherche sur l'Asie du Sud-Est Contemporaine (Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia): Carnet de l'Irasec / Occasional Paper Serie Observatoire / Observatory Series no. 01
Format/size: pdf (1.95K) 90 pages
Date of entry/update: 04 November 2009


Title: Brokers and Labor Migration from Myanmar: A Case Study from Samut Sakorn
Date of publication: August 2009
Description/subject: "The aim of this study is to establish a clearer view and a mutual understanding to the situation of migrant workers in Thailand, in order to find the right measures to reduce the problems related to migrant workers. These problems include human right violations, exploitation of migrant workers, human trafficking, for instance..."
Author/creator: Sompong Sakaew, Patima Tangpratchakoon
Language: English
Source/publisher: Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN),
Format/size: pdf (315K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/ARCM-Brokers_&_labour_migration_from_Myanmar-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2012


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: ROHINGYA, ASYLUM SEEKERS & MIGRANTS FROM BURMA: A HUMAN SECURITY PRIORITY FOR ASEAN
Date of publication: 30 January 2009
Description/subject: Since October 2006, about 10,000 Rohingya have boarded boats in Bangladesh and Burma and headed for Thailand and Malaysia. The thousands of Rohingya boat people are only the tip of the iceberg. Millions of Burmese have fled the country in the past decade, with two million in Thailand alone... ASEAN must be proactive in pressuring Burma’s military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to cease perpetuating the severe persecution and economic mismanagement that has been forcing millions of people to flee to neighboring countries.
Language: English
Source/publisher: ALTSEAN-Burma
Format/size: pdf (124K)
Date of entry/update: 03 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: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2007 - Chapter 18: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: September 2008
Description/subject: "...Migration is usually a response to a combination of push and pull factors. In Burma the push factors have been economic deterioration and human rights abuses, while the pull factors have centred around the strong economies of neighbouring countries and their demands for labour. A significant proportion of Burma’s middle class continues to be attracted by the higher salaries and better standard of living on offer in countries like Singapore. However, for the large part of Burma’s population already living in poverty, the push factor becomes stronger every year and many now see migration as a question of survival. [2] The level and extent of migration in Burma has now reached a point where it has become partially self-perpetuating. In a report for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (iDMC), Andrew Bosson, explains the cycle of cause and effect behind displacement in Burma. In rural areas of Burma, people survive largely on subsistence agriculture. The initial push factors of forced labour, extortion, agricultural restrictions, land confiscation, economic sabotage and ongoing violence are often exacerbated by a reduction in numbers of farmers, which pushes more people to leave and reduces the numbers yet again. When SPDC forces or ethnic militias make demands on villages for food, money or labour the villagers have little choice and the fewer there are to share the burden the heavier it is. If a large number of people have been taken to work as porters, for example, and not enough are left to tend the farms, then the village faces starvation. The poorest often have little choice but to leave. [3] (For more information, see Chapter 1: Forced Labour and Forced Conscription and Chapter 6: Deprivation of Livelihood). For this group migration is about finding whatever work is available. This generally means taking jobs in what is described as the “3D” category i.e. dirty, demeaning and dangerous. It also means working in sectors where national laws are ignored and international standards are considered irrelevant. Legal registration is often both difficult and expensive. It is also of limited benefit given the number of employers who confiscate their employees’ documents. Many migrants therefore live in a state of legal limbo and the constant fear of arrest and deportation. On top of all this, they also have to deal with largely negative attitudes from their host countries where migrant workers are often the scapegoat for myriad social problems..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit (HRDU) of the NCGUB
Format/size: html; pdf (1.07MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs5/HRDU-archive/Burma%20Human%20Righ/pdf/migrants.pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 June 2011


Title: A Dangerous, Difficult Life
Date of publication: May 2008
Description/subject: The tragic deaths of 54 Burmese migrant workers highlight once again the hazards of working illegally abroad... "THERE were 10 men lying beside me in the back of a pickup truck. Our bodies were covered with a thick plastic sheet and it was extremely hot. I couldn’t see a thing. I could only hear the sound of cars and trucks going by,” recalled Yan Naing Htun, a migrant worker who came to Thailand from Burma eight years ago, when he was just 10 years old. Yan Naing Htun said he left the Burmese border town of Myawaddy after his father, who raised him and his sister alone, died of malaria. Accompanied by a close friend of his father, he made the journey to Bangkok because he had no way to support himself in Burma. Burmese migrant workers take the lowest paying and most dangerous jobs in Thailand. (Photo: The Irrawaddy) Now, sitting in a square, featureless room that he shares with four other Burmese migrant workers in Mahachai, an industrial area on the outskirts of Bangkok, he looks frail, with sunken cheeks as colorless as the wall behind him..."
Author/creator: Violet Cho
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2008


Title: Fear Comes with the Job
Date of publication: February 2008
Description/subject: "The grass is greener in Thailand for migrant workers, but it’s stained with blood... Thailand offers a greener pasture for many Burmese migrant workers, but for some it can be a very dangerous place indeed. In the middle of a September night in 2007, Thein Aung and four other Burmese laborers were taken by three Thai men from the huts where they lived at a sweet corn plantation in the village of Ban Jaidee Koh near the Thai-Burmese border town of Mae Sot. The five Burmese were handcuffed and led to another village where the killing began. Four of the captives—Than Tun, 35, Kala Gyi, 27, Paw Oo, 28, and Naing Lin, 18—were shot in cold blood. The fifth man, Thein Aung, 58, feigned death and escaped..."
Author/creator: Shah Paung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2008


Title: Migrants Are Not Commodities
Date of publication: February 2008
Description/subject: "Thailand has a love-hate relationship with migrant workers... Since the December elections in Thailand, much of the country’s politics have been in limbo until a new government takes power. Of all the policies awaiting review, the new Thai government would be wise to prioritize a policy concerning the 2 million migrant workers. Are migrant workers a real threat to the national security of Thailand? Or are they contributing to the economic growth of the country, especially in border areas that were long ago left behind while the rest of the nation developed? The International Labor Office’s recent report, “Thailand: Economic Contribution of Migrant Workers” by Prof Philip Martin, an expert on international migration from the University of California at Davis, stated: “The Thai labor force of 36 million in 2007 included about 5 percent or 1.8 million migrants.” The report said that last year, migrant workers contributed US $2 billion to the Thai gross domestic product, a figure nearly three times higher than in 1995. It was a clear indication of Thailand’s growing dependency on migrant labor in the 21st century..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2008


Title: Stop the abuse of migrant workers
Date of publication: 19 December 2007
Description/subject: "Thais remain ignorant of the massive contribution made to our economy by foreign labourers...Not only do Thais fail to acknowledge the many positive contributions made to this country by foreign workers, but many also perpetuate prejudices against them. Thailand's lack of a coherent policy on migrant workers from neighbouring countries, who come in large numbers to do hard, physical jobs shunned by most locals, is preventing it from optimising the benefits of labour migration and protecting the rights of migrant and Thai workers. Those who benefit most in the absence of any genuine attempt to regulate the inflow of migrants from Burma, Cambodia and Laos are unscrupulous Thai employers bent on exploiting labour to maximise profits. Successive governments, including the outgoing Surayud government, have been complicit in the systematic exploitation of migrants, for failure to secure borders, and lax enforcement of laws relating to immigrants and employers who hire them..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Nation" (Bangkok)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2008


Title: Main findings and conclusions of report:"The Contribution of Migrant Workers to Thailand:"
Date of publication: 18 December 2007
Description/subject: "...If migrants are as productive as Thai workers in each sector, their total contribution to output should be in the order of $11 billion or about 6.2 per cent of Thailand’s GDP. If they were less productive (say only 75% of Thai worker output) their contribution would still be in the order of $8 billion or 5 per cent of GDP. Migrants contribute anywhere from 7 to 10 per cent of value added in industry, and 4 to 5 per cent of value added in agriculture...."
Author/creator: Philip Martin
Language: English
Source/publisher: ILO Bangkok
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 June 2011


Title: Caught Between Two Hells
Date of publication: December 2007
Description/subject: The Report Highlights the Situation of Women Migrant Workers in Thailand and China...Executive Summary: Ten BWU researchers eondueted 149 in-depth interviews with migrant women and girl workers in Chiang Mai, Mae Sot, Ranong (Thailand) and Rulli (China) between November 2006-March 2007. Women working in diverse areas of work, ethnicity and age were asked to participate in the research so that the report could represent a wide range of experiences... The research highlights the atrocious day-to-day working conditions and human rights abuses encountered by migrant women and girls working in irregular situations and provides insight into the occupational hazards and harms migrants from Burma face in Thailand and China. The interviews were designed to provide women workers with a much-needed opportunity to speak their mind and assert their own "voice" regarding their work, a power that was often denied in their host countries... The research has showed that: . Migrant women and girl workers from Burma have very limited work opportunities in their host countries due to their irregular status and are often relegated to working in so-called 3Ds jobs (dirty, dangerous and demeaning) with little or no labor rights. . Migrant women and girl workers are doubly marginalized and highly vulnerable to abuses of their human rights due to both their lack of legal status and their gender. Security concerns for migrant women and girl workers are grave as they regularly experience threats of sexual harassment and violence while working in host countries... The BWU strongly urges the SPDC and governments of the host countries to consider migrant workers' needs and basic human rights. BWU insists that international human rights law be upheld and states work to protect migrants working in irregular settings, by protecting their human and labour rights, and by providing channels for redress when they are abused.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burmese Women's Union
Format/size: pdf (2.74MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs4/Caught_between_two_hells.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 January 2008


Title: Border Industry in Myanmar: Turning the Periphery into the Center of Growth
Date of publication: October 2007
Description/subject: ABSTRACT: "The Myanmar economy has not been deeply integrated into East Asia's production and distribution networks, despite its location advantages and notably abundant, reasonably well-educated, cheap labor force. Underdeveloped infrastructure, logistics in particular, and an unfavorable business and investment environment hinder it from participating in such networks in East Asia. Service link costs, for connecting production sites in Myanmar and other remote fragmented production blocks or markets, have not fallen sufficiently low to enable firms, including multi-national corporations to reduce total costs, and so the Myanmar economy has failed to attract foreign direct investments. Border industry offers a solution. The Myanmar economy can be connected to the regional and global economy through its borders with neighboring countries, Thailand in particular, which already have logistic hubs such as deep-sea ports, airports and trunk roads. This paper examines the source of competitiveness of border industry by considering an example of the garment industry located in the Myanmar-Thai border area. Based on such analysis, we recognize the prospects of border industry and propose some policy measures to promote this on Myanmar soil." Keywords: Myanmar (Burma), Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), regional cooperation, border industry, cross-border trade, migrant workers, logistics, center-periphery JEL classification: F15, F22, J31, L67
Author/creator: Toshihiro Kudo
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies (IDE Discussion Paper 122)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 April 2008


Title: Unsafe Harbor
Date of publication: September 2007
Description/subject: Malaysia provides no protection for its refugee population... "I’ve always thought that the lives of Burmese refugees were much the same from place to place. They’re generally unwanted, have few opportunities to better their lives and in many cases suffer unconscionable abuse. An Irrawaddy correspondent witnesses the hardships facing migrant in Malaysia Witnessing the appalling conditions endured by Burmese refugees in Malaysia, however, has brought their misery and lack of hope into greater focus. During a visit to the Ampang suburb of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, a Rohingya community leader casually pointed to a group of young Burmese children playing near the small hut that served as their home. “Look,” he said, pointing in their direction. “None of these children can read or write.” None of the schools in Malaysia accepts refugee children from Burma, so these children are unlikely ever to learn while they remain in the country..."
Author/creator: Violet Cho
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 May 2008


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2006: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: June 2007
Description/subject: "...The number of registered migrant workers in the Thailand by the end of 2006 was roughly 400,000, whilst the number of undocumented migrants has been estimated as anywhere between 800,000 and two million, with those from Burma accounting for approximately 80 percent of this number, [4] with many working in the illegal, unregulated labor market, and in “3-D jobs” (dangerous, dirty and difficult) that often pay well below the minimum wage. The migrant community from Burma is comprised of a myriad of ethnic groups from across all of Burma’s 14 states and divisions, with the majority coming from the ethnic states which share a border with Thailand. Due to the combination of economic and humanitarian reasons prompting migration into Thailand, it is difficult to distinguish between economic migrants and asylum seekers. While many are forced to flee their homes in Burma due to continuing systematic human rights violations, migrants are also drawn across Thailand’s expansive border to escape Burma’s continually deteriorating economy in the hopes of benefiting from Thailand’s booming economy and constant demand for cheap labour. Regardless of the motivations perpetuating the constant flow of migrants from Burma into Thailand, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) maintains a strict and sometimes arbitrary policy on classifying those arriving from Burma as illegal immigrants with many victims of direct human rights abuses refused access to refugee camps, international humanitarian aid, and subject to deportation. Neither Thailand nor Burma are signatories to the 1990 UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, which provides basic human rights to those crossing international borders..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: pdf, html
Alternate URLs: http://burmalibrary.org/docs4/HRDU2006-CD/migrants.html
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2008


Title: Lion City Lament
Date of publication: March 2007
Description/subject: Burmese professionals earn good money in Singapore but still miss home... "I feel I am nothing,” said Bo Bo Win—a statement that’s hard to believe in view of his successful life in Singapore. Although he holds down a well-paid job as a senior engineer, with degrees from Burma’s best technical university and Singapore’s National University, Bo Bo Win is not a happy man. “It’s so sad that we cannot contribute to the country where we were born and were first educated,” he says. “There’s nothing here.” Bo Bo Win, who is in his thirties, is o­ne of an estimated 50,000 Burmese working in the city-state, most of them educated and skilled people who have joined a brain drain that puts additional strains o­n Burma’s weak economy. The loss of so many young professionals also weakens the country’s middle class, which is best equipped to help reduce poverty and strengthen the economy..."
Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 15, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 May 2008


Title: Malaysia Malaise
Date of publication: March 2007
Description/subject: Burmese migrants battle bureaucracy and exploitation in their search for a new life... "When he came to Malaysia 10 years ago, Tun Min Naing was full of hope. The 21-year-old even broke off his further education as a third-year student at a Rangoon university. His goal was to help his family survive in crisis-ridden Burma. But Tun Min Naing’s Malaysian journey ended behind bars at the Semenyih detention camp outside Kuala Lumpur, where about 1,000 illegal immigrants wait for deportation or, in rare cases, recognition as bona fide refugees. Several hundred are Burmese, many of them registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees..."
Author/creator: Kyaw Zwa Moe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 15, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 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: Flexible Labor in the Thai-Burma Border Economy
Date of publication: 2007
Description/subject: Capital Expansion and Migrant Workers... "...The research looks at the plight of Burmese migrant workers on the border between Thailand and Burma, in particular the town of Mae Sot. Mae Sot has become notorious for the amount, and severity of the human rights abuses. The research demonstrates that the changes to manufacturing, labour, and capital investment has led to a systematic erosion of labor rights. As argued in the thesis, labour rights are consistently sacrificed in order to attract and maintain investment, raising questions as to who are the primary beneficiaries of capitalist development. As Thailand and neighboring countries take further steps to increase border industrialization and development, labor standards are being pushed down both directly for the migrant workers employed in border industries, and often for domestic workers who are being forced to accept lower standards. The research examines the international economic context to the rise of Mae Sot as a manufacturing centre. It also looks at the groups involved in protecting workers rights, specifically the role of trade unions, and suggests that social and political organizing workers must be reignited in order to ensure their protection..."
Author/creator: Dennis Arnold
Language: English
Source/publisher: Office of Human Rights Studies and Social Development, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University (Human Rights in Asia Series)
Format/size: pdf (520K)
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2008


Title: The economic contribution of migrant workers to Thailand: towards policy development (English)
Date of publication: 2007
Description/subject: "This paper highlights the contributions of migrant workers to Thailand and recommends policies to promote economic development and decent work in both receiving and sending countries. The ILO views labour migration as a positive force that can stimulate economic growth and development in both labour-sending and labour– receiving countries, and has developed a framework of principles, guidelines and examples to ensure that labour migration contributes to decent work for all (ILO, 2004, 2006)...In 2007, migrant workers in Thailand totaled 1.8 million, comprising 5 per cent of the Thai labour force. They are mainly from Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR, and are employed mostly in agriculture and fisheries, construction, manufacturing, and services such as domestic workers. They are primarily young workers, in the age group that typically pays taxes rather than receives tax-supported services. The report estimates that, in recent years, migrants have made a net contribution of about US$53 million annually to the Thai economy. The report proposes changing migration policy to make it more flexible, with separate registration procedures for different economic sectors, and placing recruitment and deployment under Memoranda of Understanding with migrant sending countries. Labour migration is a process to be managed and not a problem to be solved, argues the report. By recognizing the contributions of migrant workers to the economy and following the proposed adjustments to migration policy, the Thai government could better manage labour migration while protecting migrants."
Author/creator: Philip Martin
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Format/size: pdf (518K)
Date of entry/update: 01 June 2011


Title: The economic contribution of migrant workers to Thailand: towards policy development (Thai)
Date of publication: 2007
Description/subject: This paper highlights the contributions of migrant workers to Thailand and recommends policies to promote economic development and decent work in both receiving and sending countries. The ILO views labour migration as a positive force that can stimulate economic growth and development in both labour-sending and labour– receiving countries, and has developed a framework of principles, guidelines and examples to ensure that labour migration contributes to decent work for all (ILO, 2004, 2006)...In 2007, migrant workers in Thailand totaled 1.8 million, comprising 5 per cent of the Thai labour force. They are mainly from Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR, and are employed mostly in agriculture and fisheries, construction, manufacturing, and services such as domestic workers. They are primarily young workers, in the age group that typically pays taxes rather than receives tax-supported services. The report estimates that, in recent years, migrants have made a net contribution of about US$53 million annually to the Thai economy. The report proposes changing migration policy to make it more flexible, with separate registration procedures for different economic sectors, and placing recruitment and deployment under Memoranda of Understanding with migrant sending countries. Labour migration is a process to be managed and not a problem to be solved, argues the report. By recognizing the contributions of migrant workers to the economy and following the proposed adjustments to migration policy, the Thai government could better manage labour migration while protecting migrants.
Author/creator: Philip Martin
Language: Thai
Source/publisher: International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Format/size: pdf (435K)
Date of entry/update: 01 June 2011


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2005: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: July 2006
Description/subject: "Throughout 2005 thousands of people from Burma continued to leave their country in order to seek employment abroad. Due to a range of political, economic and social factors, the population of Burma is highly mobile. Mass migration out of Burma has continued since the 1962 Ne Win military takeover of the country. The ongoing exodus represents one of the largest migration flows in Southeast Asia. It is estimated that 10 percent of Burma’s population has migrated to other countries. Most migration from Burma involves overland cross-border travel to neighboring countries, including Bangladesh and India to the west, China to the north, and Laos, Malaysia and Thailand to the east. The greatest concentration of migrant workers from Burma is in Thailand followed by Malaysia, Singapore and Japan. Accurate demographic data of migrant workers from Burma in most countries however is difficult to obtain because many are undocumented and unregistered in their destinations. In many cases migration is the only option for those targeted by the regime and caught in the middle of military conflict, particularly those of ethnic minority groups. Systematic human rights violations such as mass forced relocation, arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, and extra judicial killings carried out by the SPDC leave no other option other then to seek refuge in other countries. Because entry into refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh is limited and only some are granted refugee status, many are forced to either enter the camps illegally or seek unauthorized employment. Many who have fled severe human rights abuses in Burma with valid claims to refugee status are categorized as economic migrants and therefore are vulnerable to involuntary repatriation..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2008


Title: Die Lebensqualität von Migrant/innen in Thailand
Date of publication: 29 December 2005
Description/subject: Politik und Gesetzgebung für Arbeitsmigrant/innen, Lebens- und Arbeitsbedingungen, Bildung in Thailand, Probleme der Rückkehr und Wiedereingliederung, Sicherheit, Bewegung und Reisen keywords: migrant workers, working conditions
Author/creator: Jackie Pollock (Übersetzung von Daniel Hilbring)
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Asienhaus Focus Asien Nr. 26
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2006


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2004: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: 01 October 2005
Description/subject: "Throughout 2004, large numbers of people continued to leave Burma to seek work abroad. Approximately ten percent of Burma’s population migrates to other countries, according to a report, Migration, Needs, Issues and Responses in the Greater Mekong Subregion 2002, by the Asian Migrant Center. People leave Burma for a number of reasons. Rampant inflation, a deteriorating economy and general lack of employment and educational opportunities are factors that cause many people to emigrate. In addition to these hardships, many people living in rural areas are forced to pay heavy taxes to local officials and the military and to sell a large percentage of their crops to the government at below-market prices. The regime’s gross and continued violation of fundamental human rights resulted in the extension of U.S. trade sanctions and the institution of EU non-trade related sanctions in August 2004, placing further economic pressure on the citizens of Burma (source: World Factbook, CIA, 2004). For these reasons, many Burmese view their migration as less of a decision than an economic necessity. Ethnic minority people living in civil war zones often have no choice about emigrating, as they are forced to flee their homes to avoid brutal campaigns of violence perpetrated against them by SPDC soldiers. Every year thousands of people flee across the border, primarily into Thailand, to escape human rights violations which include mass forced relocation, arbitrary arrest, torture, rape and extra-judicial killing. Some of these people are able to enter refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh. However, many of those fleeing human rights violations are not recognized as refugees by the governments of countries neighboring Burma to which they usually arrive. These individuals are left with the choice of trying to enter refugee camps illegally or else trying to survive as migrant workers. Migration from Burma is facilitated by the fact that seven of Burma’s 14 states and divisions share borders with neighboring countries. In the west, Burma borders Bangladesh and India, in the north and northeast China, and in the east Laos, Malaysia and Thailand. In a 1999 report by Save the Children UK, Small Dreams Beyond Reach: The Lives of Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar, and Thailand, the authors note that in the past ten years the largest flow of migrants in the Mekong region has been concentrated along the borders of China, Burma and Thailand, with Burmese people making up the largest percentage of the population migrating. The report goes on to note that while China, India, Bangladesh and Thailand have collectively reported hosting over two million Burmese migrants, the actual population of people from Burma living in these countries is likely to be much higher. However, it is extremely difficult to obtain accurate estimates as to the number of Burmese working abroad, as many are illegal, and the migrant population as a whole is highly mobile. In addition, some migrant groups are ethnically similar to indigenous populations of neighboring countries, making them difficult to identify as non-natives..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2008


Title: EXPLOITATION IN GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS: BURMESE MIGRANT WORKERS IN MAE SOT, THAILAND
Date of publication: September 2005
Description/subject: CONCLUSIONS As outlined, the situation in Mae Sot makes it difficult for organisations to operate effectively in support of Burmese workers. In mid-2004 there were no Thailand-based organisations working specifically on labour issues in Tak. As we have shown, migrant workers are in a vulnerable situation and greater organisational and protection efforts are needed. This organisational and political weakness is in stark contrast to that of employers who enjoy the support of the state. This imbalance makes it difficult for workers to organise to protect or promote their rights. The handful of Burmese organisations attempting to assist workers is limited because of their problematic legal status in Thailand and the intimidation prevents them from operating without fear of reprisals. Structural factors promote the exploitation and human rights violations of Burmese migrant labourers. Burmese leave Burma due to political oppression and socio-economic hardship, and subsequently have a high threshold for the difficulties they endure in Thailand. Thai authorities and employers, regardless of nationality, are eager to exploit this vulnerability in their effort to maximise profits. A lack of corporate social responsibility and adherence to corporate codes of conduct means workers at the bottom of the supply chain, in places such as Mae Sot, produce textiles and garments and other products for developed country markets in a state of constant exploitation and oppression. It is obvious that Burmese migrant workers in Thailand face a myriad of human rights issues in Thailand and Burma. Denying the freedom to organise effectively undermines any attempts by migrant workers to improve their situation. The policy of the Thai government towards Burmese refugees and migrants is changing. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s government has forged closer economic and political ties with the Burmese junta and this has involved an increasingly hard-line stance towards Burmese migrants and refugees. Some million and a half Burmese migrant workers in Thailand are now stuck between one the most brutal military dictatorships in the world, and a Thai government intent on maintaining good relations. While the Thai government trumpets “constructive engagement,” there is no doubt that the government’s attitude is driven by business interests. It is worth noting that the traditional gap between migrant support organisations and workers, and Thai labour organisations has been reduced over the last year or so. This, in combination with greater advocacy for migrant rights – by Thailand’s Human Rights Commission, international and global trade unions, academics in Thailand and the region, governments and human and labour rights organisations both in the region and internationally – is creating space and the potential for greater transparency and respect for labour rights and adherence to labour laws and standards. It may enhance the ability of migrant workers to organise and improve work conditions, but the struggle will still be a long and difficult one.
Author/creator: Dennis Arnold, Kevin Hewison
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 35 No. 3, 2005, pp. 319-340.
Format/size: pdf (145K)
Date of entry/update: 08 October 2005


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: Thailand: The Plight of Burmese Migrant Workers
Date of publication: 08 June 2005
Description/subject: "...The material below seeks to examine some of the key issues and problems faced by Burmese migrant workers and their families, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) and the employers. These include flaws in the registration implementation process; the RTG’s obligations under international law; and the general lack of labour rights for migrant workers in Thailand, including adequate pay, living and working conditions; freedom from arbitrary arrest and deportation; and adequate health care. The report also describes those industry sectors employing migrant labour, including factories, fisheries, agriculture, and domestic and day labour. The material is based on testimonies from migrant workers, official documents and media reports...Amnesty International welcomes the initiatives which the Royal Thai Government has taken to regularize migrant labour within its borders. However it remains concerned that labour protection measures, such as payment of a minimum wage; protection from arbitrary arrest, detention, and deportation; and opportunities for migrants to seek asylum are not enforced by the government. Moreover, working and living conditions for migrant workers and members of their families fall far short of international standards. Employers, local police, and smugglers often exploit migrant workers, taking advantage of the fact that some workers are unregistered. Moreover it is extremely costly and difficult for migrants to register their labour, which is compounded by the fact that they must employed before they attempt to do so. As explained above, many of them only work seasonally making it even more difficult for them to register with the government. Amnesty International calls on the Royal Thai Government to:..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Amnesty International (ASA 39/001/2005)
Format/size: html (94K)
Alternate URLs: http://burmalibrary.org/docs3/Migrant-workers2005-OO.html
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA39/001/2005/en/6c36f007-d4e2-11dd-8a23-d58a49c0d652/asa3...
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA39/001/2005
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2010


Title: Pity the Burmese Tsunami Survivors in Thailand
Date of publication: January 2005
Description/subject: "Burma escaped the worst ravages of the Tsunami that devastated other countries in the Indian Ocean, but Burmese migrant workers along Thailand’s western seaboard have fared poorly...Although Burma escaped the worst of the tsunami, tragically many Burmese working on Thailand’s western seaboard were swept away by the wave. Before the disaster there were 60,000 registered Burmese workers in Thailand’s six western seaboard provinces— Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Ranong, Trang, and Satun—and an unknown number of illegal Burmese migrants..."
Author/creator: Aung Lwin Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2005


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2003-2004: The Situation of Migrant Workers from Burma
Date of publication: December 2004
Description/subject: "...Throughout 2003, large numbers of people continued to leave Burma to seek work abroad. Approximately ten percent of Burma’s population migrates to other countries, according to a report, Migration, Needs, Issues and Responses in the Greater Mekong Subregion 2002, by the Asian Migrant Center. People leave Burma for a number of reasons. Rampant inflation, a deteriorating economy and general lack of employment and educational opportunities are factors that cause many people to emigrate. In addition to these hardships, many people living in rural areas are forced to pay heavy taxes to local officials and the military and to sell a large percentage of their crops to the government at below-market prices. For these reasons, many Burmese view their migration as less of a decision than an economic necessity. One migrant worker who had recently arrived to Mae Sot, Thailand said, "The price of airplane and bus tickets have gone up 3 times since January first, and all the edible and household goods have also gone up." Ma Kyi, age 40, and a mother of four, continued," so I have to come here. I have never dreamed to come to Thailand. I have never thought to leave my family. My husband's income is not enough to feed the whole family," (source: "Rapprochement Continues," Irrawaddy, 14 January 2003)..."... Background: Situation for Women Migrant Workers; Situation for Migrant Children...Burmese Migrants in Thailand: Patterns of Migration and Trafficking; Living and Working Conditions; The Memorandum of Understanding; Thai Migration Policy and Legal Registration of Migrant Workers; Deportation of Migrants; 2003 Timeline of Events for Burmese Migrants in Thailand...Burmese Migrants in Malaysia: Burmese deported after labor complaint...Burmese Migrants in Japan... Burmese Migrants in India... Burmese Migrants in Singapore
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 May 2005


Title: The Situation of Burmese Migrant Workers in Mae Sot, Thailand
Date of publication: September 2004
Description/subject: CONCLUSION: As briefly outlined, the situation in Mae Sot makes it difficult for Burmese worker support organisations to operate effectively. As late as mid-2004 there were no Thailand-based labour organisations or trade unions working specifically on labour or trade union rights in Tak with an office and staff located there on a full time basis. The workers themselves are in an extremely vulnerable situation and greater organisational and protection efforts are needed. This organisational and political weakness is in stark contrast to that of the authorities, police and employers. This imbalance makes it difficult for workers to organise to protect and promote their rights. The handful of Burmese organisations attempting to assist workers is limited because of their problematic legal status in Thailand and the intense pressure preventing them from operating without fear of reprisal. Structural factors promote the gross exploitation and human rights violations of Burmese migrant labourers in Mae Sot. Burmese leave Burma due to political oppression and socio-economic hardship, and subsequently have a high threshold for difficulties they endure in Thailand. Thai authorities and employers, regardless of nationality, are eager to exploit this vulnerability for windfall profits. A lack of corporate social responsibility and adherence to corporate codes of conduct means workers at the bottom of the supply chain, in places such as Mae Sot, produce textiles and garments and other products for Northern markets in a state of acute vulnerability. It’s obvious that migrant workers in Thailand, particularly the Burmese, bear a lot of pressure from nearly every direction, both in Burma and Thailand. A myriad of human rights are abused in both systematic and random ways. Denying the right to freedom of association and right to organise effectively pulls out any attempts by migrant workers to improve their situation at the roots. The policy of the Thai government towards Burmese refugees and migrants is in the process of changing, for better or worse remains to be seen. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s forging of closer economic and political ties with the Burmese government has resulted in an increasingly hard-line stance by Thailand towards Burmese migrant workers and refugees, many of the latter have become migrant workers. Some million and a half Burmese migrant workers in Thailand are now stuck between one the most brutal military dictatorship in the world, and a Thai government intent on good relations with them, with an eye on increased revenue for businessmen operating in Thailand, and for Thai business operating in Burma. It is worth noting that the traditional gap between migrant support organisations and workers, and Thai unions and labour organisations has been reduced over the last year or so. This, in combination with greater advocacy for migrant rights – by Thailand’s Human Rights Commission, international and global trade unions, academics in Thailand and the region, governments and human and labour rights organisations both in the region and internationally – is creating space and the potential for greater transparency and respect for labour rights and adherence to labour laws and standards. It also enhances the ability of migrant workers to organise and improve work conditions."
Author/creator: Dennis Arnold
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) of the City University of Hong
Format/size: pdf (294K)
Date of entry/update: 08 October 2005


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2003: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: November 2003
Description/subject: "Throughout 2002 large numbers of people continued to leave Burma to seek work abroad. Approximately ten percent of Burma’s population migrates to other countries, according to a report Migration, Needs, Issues and Responses in the Greater Mekong Subregion 2002, by the Asian Migrant Center. People leave Burma for a number of reasons. Rampant inflation, a deteriorating economy and general lack of employment and educational opportunities are factors that cause many people to emigrate. In addition to these hardships, many people living in rural areas are forced to pay heavy taxes to local officials and the military and to sell a large percentage of their crops to the government at below-market prices. For these reasons, many Burmese view their migration as less of a decision than an economic necessity. Ethnic minority people living in civil war zones often have no choice about emigrating, as they are forced to flee their homes to avoid brutal campaigns of violence against them by the Burmese Military. Every year thousands of people flee across the border, primarily into Thailand, to escape these human rights violations which include mass forced relocation, arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, and extra-judicial killing. Some of these people are able to seek asylum in refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh, however many of those fleeing human rights violations are not recognized as refugees by the Thai and Bangladeshi Governments. These individuals are left with the choice of trying to enter refugee camps illegally or else trying to survive as migrant workers. Migration from Burma is facilitated by the fact that 7 of Burma’s 14 States and Divisions share borders with neighboring countries. In the west, Burma borders Bangladesh and India, in the north and northeast China, and in the east Laos and Thailand. In a 1999 report by Save the Children UK, Small Dreams Beyond Reach: The Lives of Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar, and Thailand, the authors note that in the past ten years the largest flow of migrants in the Mekong region has been concentrated along the borders of China, Burma and Thailand, with Burmese people making up the largest percentage of the population migrating. The report goes on to note that while China, India, Bangladesh and Thailand have collectively reported hosting over two million Burmese migrants, the actual population of people from Burma living in these countries is likely to be much higher. However it is extremely difficult to obtain accurate estimates as to the number of Burmese working abroad, as many are illegal, and the population as a whole is highly mobile. In addition, some migrant groups are ethnically similar to indigenous populations of neighboring countries, making them difficult to identify as non-natives..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2008


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2002-03: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: Background: "Throughout 2002 large numbers of people continued to leave Burma to seek work abroad. Approximately ten percent of Burma’s population migrates to other countries, according to a report Migration, Needs, Issues and Responses in the Greater Mekong Subregion 2002, by the Asian Migrant Center. People leave Burma for a number of reasons. Rampant inflation, a deteriorating economy and general lack of employment and educational opportunities are factors that cause many people to emigrate. In addition to these hardships, many people living in rural areas are forced to pay heavy taxes to local officials and the military and to sell a large percentage of their crops to the government at below-market prices. For these reasons, many Burmese view their migration as less of a decision than an economic necessity. Ethnic minority people living in civil war zones often have no choice about emigrating, as they are forced to flee their homes to avoid brutal campaigns of violence against them by the Burmese Military. Every year thousands of people flee across the border, primarily into Thailand, to escape these human rights violations which include mass forced relocation, arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, and extra-judicial killing. Some of these people are able to seek asylum in refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh, however many of those fleeing human rights violations are not recognized as refugees by the Thai and Bangladeshi Governments. These individuals are left with the choice of trying to enter refugee camps illegally or else trying to survive as migrant workers...Situation for Women Migrant Workers; Situation for Migrant Children... Burmese Migrants in Thailand: hai Migration Policy and Legal Registration of Migrant Workers; Working and Living Conditions; Repatriation of Migrant Workers; 2002 Timeline of Events for Burmese Migrants in Thailand...Situation of Burmese Migrants in Singapore...Situation of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia: SPDC and Malaysian Government Continue Agreement to Issue Work Permits; Five Workers Drown in Attempts to Avoid Arrest; Illegal Migrants Face Fines, Imprisonment and Whipping.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 May 2005


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: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2001-2002: The Situation of Migrant Workers
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "There are an estimated 1 million illegal immigrants from Burma and other neighboring countries working in Thailand. Migrant workers from Burma come from a variety of geographical locations and ethnic groups and work in several different industries and service sectors in Thailand. There are both push and pull factors at work when people make the decision to migrate to Thailand. The pull factors include the close geographical location of Thailand to Burma as well as the demand in Thailand for cheap labor. The push factors include the poor state of the Burmese economy and massive human rights violations that occur all over the country. Many workers have come to Thailand to escape the demands for forced labor and in their home states and divisions. In the case of the more than 300,000 Shans working in Thailand, the majority of them have fled from human rights abuses that include forced labor, forced relocations, arbitrary arrest and rape, but are denied refugee status by Thailand and therefore are considered illegal migrants..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2000: The Situation of Migrant Workers from Burma
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "The one million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand are one of the largest migrant populations in Asia. Migrant workers from Burma come from a variety of geographical locations and ethnic groups and work in several different industries and service sectors in Thailand. There are both push and pull factors at work when people make the decision to migrate to Thailand. The pull factors include the close geographical location of Thailand to Burma as well as the demand in Thailand for cheap labor. The push factors include the poor state of the Burmese economy and massive human rights violations that occur all over the country. Many workers have come to Thailand to escape the demands for forced labor on infrastructure and other projects in their home states and divisions. In the case of the more than 100,000 Shans working in Northern Thailand, the majority of them have fled from human rights abuses that include forced labor, forced relocations, arbitrary arrest and rape, but are denied refugee status by Thailand and therefore are considered illegal migrants..." Background: Situation in Mae Sot, Thailand; Situation in Myawaddy; Time-line of the Thai authorities’ operation to repatriate Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot, and related events in December 2000; Situation for workers in CKI Factory, Mae Sot; Raid on factory by Thai authorities; workers arrested and beaten, one killed; Employment Conditions of CKI Factory as of December 2000... Situation for Shans in Fang District, Chiang Mai...Situation in Samut Sakon, Thailand...Situation in Mizoram State, India...Situation for illegal migrant Rohingya women in Pakistan...Partial List of Incidents...Personal Accounts...Photos of The Situation of Migrant Workers from Burma
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 May 2005


Title: Cycle of Suffering
Date of publication: September 2000
Description/subject: A report on the situation for migrant women workers from Burma in Thailand, and violations of their human rights... "In the 1960s Thailand was besieged by the issues of refugees and for three to four decades this issue has come in one big circle. Today, Thailand faces yet another issue, that of undocumented migrant workers whose visibility and problems have become more sensitive and difficult. Undocumented labor- mostly Burmese -left their country for political reasons, or due to internal fighting and insecurity. Recent reasons are more economic. To escape hardship in their home country, they find work as unskilled laborers in three Ds- dirty- difficult and dangerous jobs in Thailand. Unlike many other migrant labor situation where most migrants are young men, women constitute a significant segment of the approximately one million of migrant population in Thailand. Women from Burma who migrate to Thailand, much like other people migrating all over the world, move from their homes and families in search of job opportunities in more prosperous areas. Human rights violations in Burma often cause economic hardship. However, determining whether people leave Burma due to the hardships they suffer as a result of human rights violations is not always easy to distinguish from purely economic difficulty. Some migrant women have stated that they left Burma solely because of economic hardship. However, many other flee because of serious human rights violations. Many who have fled do not have enough to eat because unpaid forced labor under harsh conditions prevents them from earning a living. The distinction between economic hardship and violations of civil and political rights is not necessarily a clear one. Many of these people have been unable to make a living due to continuing unpaid forced labor and forced relocation from the homes. With little knowledge of the country to which they are moving and working, its language and it laws, women migrating from Burma are in vulnerable position. Labor exploitation, sexual assault by their employers and law enforcement officers, abuse of power during detention and deportation against undocumented migrant women in Thailand are systematically documented..."
Author/creator: Aung Myo Min
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit (HRDU), Burmese Women's Union (BWU)
Format/size: pdf (887K)
Date of entry/update: 14 January 2006