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Migrants' rights: reports of violations
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Individual Documents

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: Forgotten Workforce: Experiences of women migrants from Burma in Ruili, China (Burmese)
Date of publication: February 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Burma’s continuing political repression and economic deterioration, coupled with China’s rapid growth, have caused a new phenomenon over the past few years: large-scale northward migration from Burma to China. The Yunnanese border town of Ruili (called Shweli in Burmese) has seen an estimated tenfold increase in the number of migrants from Burma since 2006, with numbers now exceeding 100,000. Formerly mainly employed in the jade, transport and sex industries, migrants are now working in a range of sectors, including domestic work, restaurants and hotels, sales, construction and manufacturing industries. Migrants are arriving from all parts of central and eastern Burma, particularly from the central dry zone, where continuing drought has deprived farmers of their traditional livelihoods. In Sagaing and Magwe, whole villages are draining of young people coming to find work in China. A large proportion of the migrants are women. During 2010 the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) conducted in-depth interviews with 32 of these women from various work sectors. Most were from Burma’s central divisions. About half were high school graduates, and some had even graduated from university, but none had been able to find jobs inside Burma. The migrant women interviewed by BWU in Ruili revealed persistent patterns of work exploitation, occupational health and safety hazards and mistreatment by employers throughout different work sectors. A particularly dangerous kind of work being carried out by migrant women in Ruili is processing of petrified wood, imported from Mandalay Division and sold as highly valued home ornaments throughout China. In hundreds of small workshops, women are paid a pittance to sit for long hours sanding and polishing wood, using hazardous electric equipment and chemical solvents, without protective clothing or health insurance. On top of general exploitative work conditions, women also face gender discrimination, receiving lower pay than men in most sectors, no maternity leave and benefits, and suffering sexual harassment from employers. Health and safety risks are particularly high for the several hundred Burmese women working in the sex industry in Ruili and Jiegao, who are often forced to have unprotected sex, and face violence from clients, especially those who are drug users There are no existing mechanisms for foreign migrant workers to seek redress for cases of exploitation and infringement of their rights. They also forbidden from organising any workers’ committees or unions. This has occasionally caused workers’ pent-up resentment to erupt into violence against employers. There are no signs that the migration from Burma will ease in the foreseeable future. Burma’s November 2010 elections were neither free nor fair, and power remains constitutionally firmly in the hands of the military, which continues to receive the lion’s share of the national budget, while health and education needs remain critically underfunded. During 2011 the Burma Army has launched fierce new offensives against ethnic resistance groups seeking to protect their communities and environment from damaging resource exploitation. The military mismanagement at the root of Burma’s economic woes thus looks sets to continue, together with the outflow of migration to neighbouring countries, including China. Mechanisms to protect the rights of foreign migrant workers and prevent further injustices, particularly against women in China are thus urgently needed."
Language: Burmese
Source/publisher: Burmese Women's Union (BWU)
Format/size: pdf (1.8MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmesewomensunion.org
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2012


Title: Forgotten Workforce: Experiences of women migrants from Burma in Ruili, China (English)
Date of publication: February 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Burma’s continuing political repression and economic deterioration, coupled with China’s rapid growth, have caused a new phenomenon over the past few years: large-scale northward migration from Burma to China. The Yunnanese border town of Ruili (called Shweli in Burmese) has seen an estimated tenfold increase in the number of migrants from Burma since 2006, with numbers now exceeding 100,000. Formerly mainly employed in the jade, transport and sex industries, migrants are now working in a range of sectors, including domestic work, restaurants and hotels, sales, construction and manufacturing industries. Migrants are arriving from all parts of central and eastern Burma, particularly from the central dry zone, where continuing drought has deprived farmers of their traditional livelihoods. In Sagaing and Magwe, whole villages are draining of young people coming to find work in China. A large proportion of the migrants are women. During 2010 the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) conducted in-depth interviews with 32 of these women from various work sectors. Most were from Burma’s central divisions. About half were high school graduates, and some had even graduated from university, but none had been able to find jobs inside Burma. The migrant women interviewed by BWU in Ruili revealed persistent patterns of work exploitation, occupational health and safety hazards and mistreatment by employers throughout different work sectors. A particularly dangerous kind of work being carried out by migrant women in Ruili is processing of petrified wood, imported from Mandalay Division and sold as highly valued home ornaments throughout China. In hundreds of small workshops, women are paid a pittance to sit for long hours sanding and polishing wood, using hazardous electric equipment and chemical solvents, without protective clothing or health insurance. On top of general exploitative work conditions, women also face gender discrimination, receiving lower pay than men in most sectors, no maternity leave and benefits, and suffering sexual harassment from employers. Health and safety risks are particularly high for the several hundred Burmese women working in the sex industry in Ruili and Jiegao, who are often forced to have unprotected sex, and face violence from clients, especially those who are drug users There are no existing mechanisms for foreign migrant workers to seek redress for cases of exploitation and infringement of their rights. They also forbidden from organising any workers’ committees or unions. This has occasionally caused workers’ pent-up resentment to erupt into violence against employers. There are no signs that the migration from Burma will ease in the foreseeable future. Burma’s November 2010 elections were neither free nor fair, and power remains constitutionally firmly in the hands of the military, which continues to receive the lion’s share of the national budget, while health and education needs remain critically underfunded. During 2011 the Burma Army has launched fierce new offensives against ethnic resistance groups seeking to protect their communities and environment from damaging resource exploitation. The military mismanagement at the root of Burma’s economic woes thus looks sets to continue, together with the outflow of migration to neighbouring countries, including China. Mechanisms to protect the rights of foreign migrant workers and prevent further injustices, particularly against women in China are thus urgently needed.
Language: English and Burmese
Source/publisher: Burmese Women's Union (BWU)
Format/size: pdf (764K-English; 2.95-Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://womenofburma.org/Report/Forgotten-workforce-Bur.pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2012


Title: Thailand petitioned over migrant rights
Date of publication: 15 July 2010
Description/subject: Rights groups have asked Thailand’s labour minister to alter a regulation that blocks migrant workers from accessing a government compensation scheme if they are injured in the workplace. Fourteen groups, including international labour unions and the US Committee for Refugees and Immigration (USCRI), signed an open letter on 12 July to Phaithoon Kaeothong asking for the Work Accident Compensation (WAC) scheme to include the country’s migrant worker population, 80 percent of which is thought to be from Burma.
Author/creator: NAW NOREEN
Language: English
Source/publisher: Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 November 2010


Title: Thailand: Discrimination Against Burmese Migrants
Date of publication: 09 June 2009
Description/subject: On 4th December 2006, Nang Noom Mae Seng, a 37-year old Shan migrant worker from Burma, was left paralysed after being struck by a 300 kilogram mould at her worksite. Her official compensation claim was rejected by Thailand’s SSO. This was because she could not satisfy conditions for access to the WCF laid down in a 2001 SSO circular, requiring that: (1) Workers must possess a passport or alien registration documents; and (2) Their employers must have paid a dividend into the WCF. These conditions make it generally impossible for Burmese migrants to access the WCF.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 November 2010


Title: Migrant Domestic Workers: From Burma to Thailand (short version)
Date of publication: 23 July 2005
Description/subject: Abstract: Millions of people from Burma have migrated into neighboring countries over the past decade. Most have left their country in search of security and safety as a direct result of internal conflict and militarization, severe economic hardship and minority persecution. This exodus represents one of the largest migration flows in Southeast Asia. Fearing persecution, the vast majority of those migrating from Burma find themselves desperate to survive, obtaining work in underground and, often, illegal labor markets. The majority of those fleeing Burma migrate to neighboring Thailand, where an estimated two million people from Burma work in “3-D jobs” (dangerous, dirty and difficult). Although there is a growing awareness of their isolation and vulnerability to labor exploitation and violence, there is little data available documenting their realities. This results in the alienation of domestic workers and perpetuates the disregard for their labor and basic rights. This paper presents the findings of research proposed and implemented by members of the Shan Women’s Action Network and the Karen Women’s Organization regarding girls and women who have migrated from Burma into domestic work in Thailand. This paper focuses on the roots causes of migration from Burma to Thailand, the harsh conditions in which foreign domestic workers are employed and their inability to defend their most basic rights while they are in Thailand, and lastly on their future aspirations. Foreign domestic workers interviewed in this study described that the major cause of migration were related to political and economic situations in Burma. The push-pull theory explains this migration stream. In Thailand, the migrant domestic workers being expected to work on demand, without agreed upon responsibilities or a written contract delineating working hours, days off, accommodations, salaries, sick leave, care or pay. However, they had their dreams and hopes of securing a better future for their families and themselves. In the recommendations, roles of both Burma and Thai governments, NGOs and CBOs in helping establish appropriate interventions to reduce the abuse, exploitation and trafficking of migrant domestic workers are stated. The importance of recognizing domestic work as labor as well as the need to provide protection for the domestic workers under national labor laws is emphasised in this study..."
Author/creator: Sureeporn Punpuing, Therese Caouette, Awatsaya Panam, Khaing Mar Kyaw Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: Office of Population Research at Princeton University
Format/size: pdf (226K)
Date of entry/update: 04 May 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 Price of Exploitation
Date of publication: October 2004
Description/subject: "Thai factory owners face huge claims after judge rules for Burmese migrants. About 200 Thai factories employing migrant Burmese workers are braced to meet compensation claims amounting to many millions of dollars following the success of a legal action brought by 18 employees in Thailand’s Tak Province. The Burmese migrants were awarded a total of 1,170,000 baht (US $29,250) in compensation for unpaid back wages owed by their employer, the Nut Knitting Ltd Partnership in Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border. The Tak Labor Court decision was hailed as a “landmark” by Moe Swe, director of the Mae Sot-based Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association, which backs Burmese migrant workers in their fight with Thai employers for proper wages and working conditions..."
Author/creator: Colin Baynes
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 November 2004


Title: NO STATUS: MIGRATION, TRAFFICKING & EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN IN THAILAND
Date of publication: 14 July 2004
Description/subject: I. Executive Summary; II. Introduction; III. Thailand: Background. IV. Burma: Background. V. Project Methodology; VI. Findings: Hill Tribe Women and Girls in Thailand; Burmese Migrant Women and Girls in Thailand; VII. Law and Policy – Thailand; VIII. Applicable International Human Rights Law; IX. Law and Policy – United States X. Conclusion and Expanded Recommendations..."This study was designed to provide critical insight and remedial recommendations on the manner in which human rights violations committed against Burmese migrant and hill tribe women and girls in Thailand render them vulnerable to trafficking,2 unsafe migration, exploitative labor, and sexual exploitation and, consequently, through these additional violations, to HIV/AIDS. This report describes the policy failures of the government of Thailand, despite a program widely hailed as a model of HIV prevention for the region. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) findings show that the Thai government's abdication of responsibility for uncorrupted and nondiscriminatory law enforcement and human rights protection has permitted ongoing violations of human rights, including those by authorities themselves, which have caused great harm to Burmese and hill tribe women and girls..."
Author/creator: Karen Leiter, Ingrid Tamm, Chris Beyrer, Moh Wit, Vincent Iacopino,. Holly Burkhalter, Chen Reis.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Physicians for Human Rights
Format/size: pdf (853K)
Date of entry/update: 19 July 2004


Title: Fertility and abortion: Burmese women's health on the Thai-Burma border
Date of publication: January 2004
Description/subject: "In Thailand's Tak province there are 60,520 registered migrant workers and an estimated 150,000 unregistered migrant workers from Burma. Fleeing the social and political problems engulfing Burma, they are mostly employed in farming, garment making, domestic service, sex and construction industries. There is also a significant number of Burmese living in camps. Despite Thailand�s developed public health system and infrastructure, Burmese women face language and cultural barriers and marginal legal status as refugees in Thailand, as well as a lack of access to culturally appropriate and qualified reproductive health information and services..."
Author/creator: Suzanne Belton and Cynthia Maung
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forced Migration Review No. 19
Format/size: pdf (110K)
Date of entry/update: 08 June 2004


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: Post Abortion Care: Who Cares?
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "This article is intended to give health workers an introduction into the individual implications of pregnancy loss as well as local issues on the Thai-Burma border and broader South-east Asian regional issues. I want to focus on the gender and social features rather than pure biomedical information, although this is of course highly important but is covered in other parts of this magazine. I will talk about some women�s stories that were collected in 2002 to outline typical cases, the reasons why the woman chose to end the pregnancy and impact on women�s lives. I will also present some findings from a medical records review conducted with the Mae Tao Clinic and discuss some findings from research in the international arena. So should we care about post abortion care? I hope to show that we should, as not only can it be a life threatening event for the woman but it reflects certain aspects about the communities we live in, social conditions, legal and religious norms, how we value human rights and the status of women..."
Author/creator: Suzanne Belton
Language: English
Source/publisher: Health Messenger
Format/size: html (60K)
Date of entry/update: 15 June 2004


Title: Lady’s Love Powder
Date of publication: June 2002
Description/subject: This article appeared in Burma - Women's Voices for Change, Thanakha Team, Bangkok, published by ALTSEAN in 2002... "...Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are problems that many Burmese women face with little support and a poverty of health resources. Of course it is difficult to quantify such statements in light of the limited sharing of information that occurs between the Burman military government and the rest of the world. One informed source, Dr Ba Thike (1997), a doctor working in Burma, reported that in the 1980s abortion complications accounted for twenty percent of total hospital admissions and that for every three women admitted to give birth, one was admitted for abortion complications...The records at the Mae Tao Clinic in Thailand, a health service that offers reproductive health services to women coming from Burma as day visitors or as longer-term migrant workers, reflects a crisis in women�s health. In 2001, the Mae Tao Clinic documented 185 abortion complication cases (Out Patients Department) and 231 cases that needed to be admitted into the In-patients Department with complications such as sepsis, dehydration, haemorrhage and shock from abortions and miscarriage..."
Author/creator: Suzanne Belton (Ma Suu San)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma - Women
Format/size: html (24K)
Date of entry/update: 15 June 2004


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: Labor Pains
Date of publication: September 2001
Description/subject: "The Thai government's latest resolution to control the growing migrant worker population lacks resolve. The Thai government is promising a "total solution" to the country's migrant worker population. But if history is any guide, the new resolution looks just like the latest rendition of previously flawed policies. For years Burmese migrants have fueled border industries with cheap labor, but with a recession looming the Thai government is once again trying to tackle a problem that has caused previous administrations to stumble. Thai Labor Minister Dej Bunlong has said this latest registration scheme would benefit employers and workers both. Bunlong said employers would no longer have to pay kickbacks to keep their workers from being arrested and the workers would in turn benefit from both their legal standing and from the health care coverage they would be entitled to under the new resolution. This is the first time the government has offered to issue an unlimited number of work permits. Any worker who is at least eighteen years old and who is living in Thailand before September 24th is eligible for a permit if they apply before the October 13th deadline..."
Author/creator: Tony Broadmoor
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol 9. No. 7, August-September 2001
Format/size: pdf (89K) ; html
Alternate URLs: http://web.archive.org/web/20020628190739/www.irrawaddy.org/database/2001/vol9.7/labor.html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Breaking Through the Clouds: A Participatory Action Research (PAR) Project with Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand
Date of publication: May 2001
Description/subject: 1. Introduction; 1.1. Background; 1.2. Project Profile; 1.3. Project Objectives; 2. The Participatory Action Research (PAR) Process; 2.1. Methods of Working with Migrant Children and Youth; 2.2. Implementation Strategy; 2.3. Ethical Considerations; 2.4. Research Team; 2.5. Sites and Participants; 2.6. Establishing Research Guidelines; 2.7. Data Collection Tools; 2.8. Documentation; 2.9. Translation; 2.10Country and Regional Workshops; 2.11Analysis, Methods of Reporting Findings and Dissemination Strategy; 2.12. Obstacles and Limitations; 3. PAR Interventions; 3.1. Strengthening Social Structures; 3.2. Awareness Raising; 3.3. Capacity Building; 3.4. Life Skills Development; 3.5. Outreach Services; 3.6. Networking and Advocacy; 4. The Participatory Review; 4.1. Aims of the Review; 4.2. Review Guidelines; 4.3. Review Approach and Tools; 4.4. Summary of Review Outcomes; 4.4.1. Myanmar; 4.4.2. Thailand; 4.4.3. China; 5. Conclusion and Recommendations; 6. Bibliography of Resources.
Author/creator: Therese Caouette et al
Language: English
Source/publisher: Save the Children (UK)
Format/size: pdf (191K) 75 pages
Date of entry/update: May 2003


Title: Small Dreams Beyond Reach: The Lives of Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand
Date of publication: 2001
Description/subject: A Participatory Action Research Project of Save the Children(UK)... 1. Introduction; 2. Background; 2.1. Population; 2.2. Geography; 2.3. Political Dimensions; 2.4. Economic Dimensions; 2.5. Social Dimensions; 2.6. Vulnerability of Children and Youth; 3. Research Design; 3.1. Project Objectives; 3.2. Ethical Considerations; 3.3. Research Team; 3.4. Research Sites and Participants; 3.5. Data Collection Tools; 3.6. Data Analysis Strategy; 3.7. Obstacles and Limitations; 4. Preliminary Research Findings; 4.1. The Migrants; 4.2. Reasons for migrating; 4.3. Channels of Migration; 4.4. Occupations; 4.5. Working and Living Conditions; 4.6. Health; 4.7. Education; 4.8. Drugs; 4.9. Child Labour; 4.10. Trafficking of Persons; 4.11. Vulnerabilities of Children; 4.12. Return and Reintegration; 4.13. Community Responses; 5. Conclusion and Recommendations... Recommendations to empower migrant children and youth in the Mekong sub-region... "This report provides an awareness of the realities and perspectives among migrant children, youth and their communities, as a means of building respect and partnerships to address their vulnerabilities to exploitation and abusive environments. The needs and concerns of migrants along the borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand are highlighted and recommendations to address these are made. The main findings of the participatory action research include: * those most impacted by migration are the peoples along the mountainous border areas between China, Myanmar and Thailand, who represent a variety of ethnic groups * both the countries of origin and countries of destination find that those migrating are largely young people and often include children * there is little awareness as to young migrants' concerns and needs, with extremely few interventions undertaken to reach out to them * the majority of the cross-border migrants were young, came from rural areas and had little or no formal education * the decision to migrate is complex and usually involves numerous overlapping factors * migrants travelled a number of routes that changed frequently according to their political and economic situations. The vast majority are identified as illegal immigrants * generally, migrants leave their homes not knowing for certain what kind of job they will actually find abroad. The actual jobs available to migrants were very gender specific * though the living and working conditions of cross-border migrants vary according to the place, job and employer, nearly all the participants noted their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse without protection or redress * for all illnesses, most of the participants explained that it was difficult to access public health services due to distance, cost and/or their illegal status * along all the borders, most of the children did not attend school and among those who did only a very few had finished primary level education * drug production, trafficking and addiction were critical issues identified by the communities at all of the research sites along the borders * child labour was found in all three countries * trafficking of persons, predominantly children and youth, was common at all the study sites * orphaned children along the border areas were found to be the most vulnerable * Migrants frequently considered their options and opportunities to return home Based on the project’s findings, recommendations are made at the conclusion of this report to address the critical issues faced by migrant children and youth along the borders. These recommendations include: methods of working with migrant youth, effective interventions, strategies for advocacy, identification of vulnerable populations and critical issues requiring further research. The following interventions were identified as most effective in empowering migrant children and youth in the Mekong sub-region: life skills training and literacy education, strengthening protection efforts, securing channels for safe return and providing support for reintegration to home countries. These efforts need to be initiated in tandem with advocacy efforts to influence policies and practices that will better protect and serve migrant children and youth."
Author/creator: Therese M. Caouette
Language: English
Source/publisher: Save the Children (UK)
Format/size: pdf (343K) 145 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_5205.htm
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/docs/small_dreams.pdf
Date of entry/update: May 2003


Title: Pa-O Relocated to Thailand: Views from Within
Date of publication: 31 October 2000
Description/subject: "The Pa-O are one of the ethnic minorities of Burma. They live primarily in the Taunggyi area of southwestern Shan State. A smaller number live in the Thaton area of Mon State in Lower Burma. The Pa-O in the Thaton area have become "Burmanized" -- like their neighbors the Mon and Karen, they have adopted Burmese language, dress and customs. The Pa-O in southwestern Shan State have learned to speak Shan, but have maintained their own distinct language and customs, including their traditional dark blue or black dress. Among the earliest Pa-O arrivals in Thailand may have been slaves captured by the Karenni and sold into Siam in the mid and late 1800s. During the 1880s, the Shan States were in chaos, the local princes at war with each other. Large numbers of people fled, many into northern Thailand, very likely including some Pa-O. The Pa-O also went to Thailand as traders of cattle as well as herbal medicines and other trade goods. More recently they have gone as refugees. Forced relocations have been particularly sweeping in Mon, Karen and Shan States -- those states where most of the Pa-O live. The Pa-O Nationalist Army signed a ceasefire with SLORC in 1991, but because the Pa-O live in many of the areas where other rebel groups are still active they have been swept up in the forced relocations and human rights abuses for which the ruling junta has become infamous. These are their stories..."
Author/creator: Russ Christensen and Sann Kyaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Cultural Survival Quarterly" Issue 24.3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 December 2010


Title: Dignity Denied
Date of publication: July 2000
Description/subject: Deportation from Thailand of Burmese migrants, half of whom are women
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Mae Sot: Little Burma
Date of publication: May 1999
Description/subject: An international symposium on migration in Asia was recently held in Bangkok. Burma sent a delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister U Khin Maung Win. Independent analysts and NGOs estimate that there are one million Burmese illegally working and living in Thailand. However, Thai officials put the figure at 800,000.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Burning Problem of Immigrants in Thailand
Date of publication: February 1999
Description/subject: As more and more Burmese go to Thailand in pursuit of relative freedom from persecution and poverty, Burma's closet neighbor is seeking new ways to address the root causes of their immigrant problem.
Author/creator: Win Htein
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Confusion Over Illegals
Date of publication: May 1998
Description/subject: "Confusion arose when the Thai Labor Ministry requested Cabinet approval to relax the repatriation of illegal immigrants. Earlier, the Ministry had announced that the labourers would be forced out by May 1. Labour Minister Trairong Suwankhiri, in a clear reversal of his earlier stand that some o­ne million illegal labourers in Thailand must be expelled by May 1, said it is impossible to push back all of them “in o­ne day.” Under an April 28 Cabinet resolution, Burmese, Cambodian and Laotian workers were allowed to continue working in 13 border provinces in Thailand, but were forbidden to stay in the country overnight..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Unwelcome Alien
Date of publication: February 1998
Description/subject: Deport first and discuss later," declared Gen Chettha Thanajaro. Thailand's Army. Army Commander-in-Chief was voicing his support for a plan to repatriate nearly 1million foreign laborers, most of whom are Burmese.
Author/creator: By Yurdle
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "MIGRATING WITH HOPE": Burmese Women Working in Thailand and The Sex Industry
Date of publication: July 1997
Description/subject: "...This report, "Migrating With Hope: Burmese Women Working In Thailand and The Sex Industry" attempts to present and highlight the needs, interests, and realities of undocumented migrant women from Burma working as sex-workers in Thailand. We look at the lives of women in Burma, the migration processes, processes of entry into the sex-industry, and factors which govern women's wellbeing or suffering during the time of migration in Thailand. The authors hope that the documentation presented will provide useful information to prospective migrants from Burma. We also hope that it can be used to instigate programmes to protect the rights of and to provide the necessary services for undocumented migrant workers, and by doing this, prevent more Burmese women from being exploited. This report is written in the knowledge that women can become empowered to make informed choices about their lives. It is also hoped that this report will provide the general public with information not only about Burmese migrant women, but also about the situation of undocumented migrant workers who flee from Burma, a country ruled by a military regime..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Images Asia
Format/size: pdf (284K)
Date of entry/update: 19 May 2005


Title: Burmese Exodus
Date of publication: June 1997
Description/subject: Recently, outspoken Thai Democrat MP Abhist Vejajiva, expressed his concern over the illegal population in Thailand, saying the problem of illegal workers would become "more severe" in the coming years and could lead to social turmoil if the government does not quickly intervene by producing a viable and widely accepted national strategy.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: No Home, No Future
Date of publication: June 1997
Description/subject: As many illegal immigrants wish to live in Thailand permanently, another serious problem arises - the growing number of stateless children. Between 1993 and 1996, the Mae Sot Hospital near the Thailand-Burma border delivered 2,202, 2,026, 2,031 and 2,077 stateless babies respectively.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Migrant Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances in Thailand
Description/subject: The aims of this study on "Migrant Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances in Thailand" were: * to provide readers with the most up to date and complete status of migrant children in Thailand * to identify and analyse the difficult circumstances which are confronting these children * to develop some indicators to illustrate the conditions in which the migrant children are suffering Structure of the project report: The full report can be read at this Web site, or downloaded. The report includes a summary, chapters on each of the main groups of children studied (child labourers, prostitutes and street children), and an explanation of the indicators developed in the study.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Research Center for Migration, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University,
Format/size: PDF (148 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.childsdream.org/fileadmin/uploads/general/Chula_StudyMigrantChildrenworkinginThailand_00...
Date of entry/update: 02 December 2010


Title: Sacrifice: the Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma
Description/subject: 2 minute 37 second extract from a film by Ellen Bruno. "Screened at Sundance, the film examines the social, cultural and economic forces at work in the trafficking of Burmese girls into prostitution in Thailand. The site also has linked resources - organisations, films, publications, calls to action etc.
Author/creator: Ellen Bruno
Language: English, Thai
Source/publisher: .brunofilms
Format/size: Adobe Flash
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003