Monday, 24 October 2011

Flood relief operation at Sam Khok, Prathumthani province

 The LPN team, and the crews from Department of Fisheries

At Sam Khok

Journey to affected people in Samkok

Following the fundraising activity conducted by the young campers, we could raise some fund to buy basic needs such as food, drink, medicine etc to distribute to flood victims living in the areas of Pathumthani, and Nontaburi province. After a week of emergency relief work, we found that the main obstacle for our effort is to work out with logistics. Sam Khok area in Pathumthani province can be a good example. Our goal was to distribute emergency relief bags at that remote and disastrously affected area. Even big trucks cannot bring us there! However, distance, water current and heat could not discourage our team which is comprised of LPN staff, and young volunteers to go to Sam Khok. All team members had carried cumblesome relief bags on their shoulders and walked over 10 kilometres until they met a motor boat from Department of Fisheries. With the help from this boat, they could finally distribute relief bags to affected people.

This can be just one example which we could successfully work to achieve our goal. Although the total number of affected people in Thailand are unknown, but assumably, it must be very high. We know that it is a big dream to help all flood victims, but we will do our best to respond to their basic needs!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Thai Flood

Rights Protection and Humanitarian Assistances
For All Flood Victims, under the Principle of Non-crimination, regardless of the Nationality, Race, Language, and Legal Status

                                                 The Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities, Stateless, Migrant Workers and Displaced Persons
The Lawyers Council of Thailand

October, 21st 2011

According to the flood crisis, striking many provinces of the Kingdom of Thailand, a significant number of people have unavoidably become victims who are physically, emotionally, and economically damaged. Among the number, there are, also, thousands of migrant workers, suffering from not only becoming the victims, but also from language barriers which fall down between them and other Thai rescuing corps, doubling the migrants’ unfortunates.

So far, it is a great pleasure to acknowledge that many public and private sections attempt to provide supports to all victims, regardless of the nationality, race, language, and legal status. However, there are, still, some parties that are worrying and questioning about the migrants’ legal status, their entry to the country, and their domicile. As such, feelings of concern and even threat have been created. Some Thai citizens may feel unsafe to house or shelter the migrant victims. Consequently, some of these victims are not able to get access to fundamental supports and services provided, as well as, are denied from staying in temporary shelters served by both public and private offices.

As a result, the Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities, Stateless, Migrant Workers and Displaced Persons, under the Lawyers Council of Thailand, is realizing that, in order to solve the existing problems with migrant victims, to make certain mutual understandings to all sections, including public authorities, private organizations, and Thai society, especially FROC, is crucial and, therefore, should all be advised that;

1) All migrant workers are one of the key factors, driving the country’s economic system, especially in unpopular businesses for Thai citizens such as low-paid works and labor jobs. Hence, these workers must be respected as members of Thai society as a whole. Assisting the migrant victims in this time of flood crisis must be protected under the Human Rights and Humanitarian principles which equally applied to all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, language, culture, and legal status. These principles are as well stated in many international laws, conventions, treaties, signed by the Royal Thai Government, and also affirmed and regulated by the 2550 Constitution.

2) Concerning the legal status of Burmese, Lao, and Cambodian workers, the Royal Thai Government has issued the certain measures that allow these workers and their attendants to temporarily stay and work in the state by registering themselves with the Ministry of Interior and filing for work permits to the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor.
Though some workers have been verified by the NV process and, accordingly, hold the passports, visas, and work permits, some are, on the contrary, illegally entering and residing in the country. However, no matter how the Immigration Act identifies the definition of legally and illegally entering and residing, Measures and practices related to migrant workers by means of saving their lives from the flood crisis by

                        1. rescuing and transporting migrant workers and their attendants can not be considered that the rescuers and the owners or the controllers of the vehicles are violating the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 Art. 70,

                        2. assisting and sheltering migrant workers and their attendants in any kinds of accommodation, both public and private can not be considered that the persons in charge are violating the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 Art. 64,

                        3. necessarily traveling outside the registered areas in order to save lives from the flood without requesting permission prior leaving can not be considered as violating the MOI proclamation on illegal traveling outside permitted areas,

                        4. as a result of the flood and for the purpose of life supporting, necessarily changing employments and employers to the prohibited careers or without informing the authority prior changing employments can not be considered as violating the related MOL’s proclamation

                        5. medical treating migrant workers and their attendants can not be considered that such medical officers are violating the laws

                        6. in case of public authorities, including police and administrative officers who are empowered to handle with illegal migration, domestically and internationally, not arresting illegal migrant workers and their attendants can not be considered as violating the Criminal Code, Art. 157

                        7. in case of the MOL officers who are responsible for investigating illegal working cases, not arresting or proceeding the migrant workers, who don’t hold work permits or work in the unregistered careers, can not be considered as violating the Criminal Code, Art. 157, and

                        8. among other things, assisting and saving lives of all victims which are the most important things to all officers, volunteers, and citizens are required under the humanitarian regimes with respects to human dignity, greater goods of co-habitation, and great morals implied in the human rights principles.

3) The flood crisis is happening very sudden in many areas. Therefore, there are a number of migrant employees who don’t hold important identification papers such as work permits and passports because of many reasons. Some lost the papers in the flood, and some left them in the accommodations, while some didn’t have them in the first place since their employers seized the papers. Accordingly, it is crucial to achieve co-operations from all relevant departments in order to provide helps to migrant victims without concerning to the papers and their legal status. 

4) Employers who seized the employees’ papers should return them to the owners at once since seizing such papers without proper causes is illegal.

5) Public and private sectors, including employers must equally assist, support, heal, and protect migrant workers and their rights as a labor worker under the Labor Protection Act B.E. 2551 and other relevant laws.

The Sub-Committee would like to thank all sections for kindness and generosity in equally handing humanitarian helps and services to all victims without discrimination.
(Surapong Kongchantuk)
Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities,
Stateless, Migrant Workers and Displaced Persons
The Lawyers Council of Thailand

For more information
Surapong Kongchantuk                             Chairperson (081-6424006)

Further legal assistance
            Thanu  Ak-Chote                                Sub-committee (081-1718228)
            Nassir Artwarin                                   Sub-committee (081-6181929)

            Thipvimon Sirinupong                        Sub-committee (085-0440234)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Youth Gathering "T-Shirt, Goodwill, No Border"

Meeting before the open-box rally started 
13 October 2011

Currently, a group of young people gathering to run an activity created and administered by themselves at the LPN. Initially, their programme has been launched since last Saturday, 9th October when they had the first meeting discussing the ideas of what to do in Mahachai area, where there are a lot of Burmese migrants living and working. Apart from this original idea, these young activists have concern about the current flooding problem in Thailand, which caused many people death and homeless. Therefore, they decided to deliver their concern to Thai and migrant communities in Mahachai, and opened the box and rallied over communities for donations. It was quite a big success after all as the financial donation from Thais and Burmese migrants in Mahachai has reached roughly 19,000 Baht in 1 day (12 October 2011).

The theme of the activity: Aud + Dee (Literally, it means Show off+ Good. By their definition; however, it means they would like to show their goodness to the society even though they are still young)
The concepts of activity: T-Shirt, Goodwill, No Border

On this upcoming weekend, 15-16 October 2011, these worker group will organise a gathering event with children at Luang Pat Koson Uppatham School. Besides camping event, they will open a booth sellingT-Shirts. The profit raised from sold products will be donated to help flood victims all over Thailand.

Trauma in Migrant Workers and Migrant Child Laborers in Thailand

This time, LPN is permitted to publish a written work of 2010 from our previous intern, Ms. Sutikant Ratanachaiyaphan, who is currently studying at New York University, on our blog. This paper is writing on the trauma among migrant groups in Thailand based on theoretical and clinical perspectives. As the paper is quite long, we decide to put only an introduction on the blog. Provided anyone is interested in reading the whole paper, please contact us at:

         Systematic political repression and brutality in Burma has been forcing millions of people to flee their homes – taking cover in the jungles or escaping to neighboring countries. Perverse human right abuses by the Burmese military junta, including torture, forced labor and relocation, forced recruitment, extrajudicial killing, rape, political imprisonment, and cutting access to information, health care, and fundamental needs for living are commonplace. Many ethnic nationalities have taken flight through Thai-Burmese state boundary, only end up living in darkness on the Thai side. Once they cross the border into Thailand, they are often regarded by the Thai society as the aberrant – unqualified political subject whose lives do not qualify to be accounted for (Tangseefa, 2006).
         Approximately 150,000 now live in the refugee camps in Thailand (“Regional thematic”, 2008), where life offers limited hope and self-determination that further proliferating the suffering brought on by the human rights abuses they have endured. In addition, millions live outside the camps as undocumented migrant workers: filling the difficult, dangerous, and dirty jobs with limited legal protection and redress under Thai law and remain vulnerable to human rights violations, physical violence, and exploitation (“Regional thematic”). Female are particularly vulnerable to rape, trafficking, and unwanted pregnancy. Their children, whether accompanying them at the time of migration or born in Thailand are also considered undocumented and hold illegal status. Throughout this paper I will use the term migrant worker and child laborer for them.
         Not only did they endure trauma in their country of origin, but they will also have been exposed to trauma during their journey across the border, and will continue to suffer relentlessly from persistent trauma in the destination country. The children, they are often pressed into child labor and denied the opportunity to enroll in a school: instead, they are forced to contribute to the family’s income to help them survive. While in Burma they are likely to have been exposed to war-related traumatic events such as witnessing people being severely beaten or being in close proximity to gunfire. Their childhood traumas are generated from outside, but damage them internally. Like rheumatic fever, it stays inside the body and remains active for years; often to the detriment of the young (Terr, 1991).
          My experience working with migrant workers and their children have been harrowing, the torments inflicted on them under the Burmese dictatorship and the Thai government that chooses not to see, have been imperceptible to the outside world. Their sufferings have rarely been adequate redress. Therefore, this paper attempts to examine their traumatic experiences and especially to focus on the plight of children by drawing on my fieldwork experience with them in Thailand. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Calls for Donations to Help Flood Victims in Thailand

Currently, Thailand is facing a severe flood situation especially in the northern, central and north-eastern region. Victims of the flood are suffering from the insufficient of food, clean water and medicine. Moreover, the floodwater has taken away their land and shelter leaving them homeless. The victims are relying on many parties for survival both governmental, private sector, and other non-governmental organizations for help and support. The Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation deems the importance of the occurring problems affecting the lives of the people both Thai and migrant workers needs to be taken care of immediately. The organisation together with migrant workers group is encouraging those who concern to donate goods for those being affected by the flood. Thai citizen and migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province has proceeded in distributing goods in the affected provinces, which will start on the 9th – 23rd October 2011. From the 23rd onward the activity will be carried over by organizations dealing with the provinces or central organisations.

For donation, please contact us at:

The Labour Rigths Promotion Network Foundation
25/17-18 Mahachai Muangthong Village,
Muang District, Samut Sakhon
Tel. 034-434726, 086-1631390, 089-4224213


Transfer money to: Labour Rigths Promotion Network
Krung Thai Bank Pcl.
Chamchuree Square Branch
Account No.: 162-0-09432-0
Swift Code: KRTHTHBK

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Granting the rights to healthcare for stateless people in Thailand: The case of migrant children in Muang District of Ratchaburi Province in 2010

This article aims to extract our lessons learnt in promoting the migrant children's right to health service. Firstly I would like to say “thank you” on behalf of the children to those who still think of marginalised population in Thailand who has no access to health service. Although the cabinet resolution granting this right was issued on 23 March  2010, it was not well publicised and only few relevant government agencies aware of this new regulation. The question now is how “migrant children and those who have no citizenship” can enjoy their right to health.

The cabinet resolution issued on 23 March 2010 regulated that the Ministry of Public Health must “return” the basic rights to the 457,409 stateless people – with the allocated budget of 472,823,683.30 Thai Baht. This can be operated from 1 April 2010. The guideline was that the people with identity number begin with (3) (4)  (5) (6) (7) (8) and (0) shall register themselves at the public health units in their locality without any cost. This should be done within three months starting from 1 April 2010. As I already mentioned earlier, this policy was appreciated. However, there have always been gaps in turning policy into practices.

When I first saw this cabinet resolution sent to a public health office, it was on the 9th of May 2010 – which is almost one and a half month passed the starting date of April the 1st. At that stage, only a few knows about this cabinet resolution, and moreover, the public health officials were not clear about the procedure of how this could be done, which offices exactly could register the stateless population, and what are the difference among the various digits of identify numbers. There has not been any public campaign whether through leaflets or cutouts that target stateless population. It was only “rumors” spreading amongst the migrants that they have the right to register for healthcare service, but nothing else is known.

As LPN has provided education opportunity to more than one hundred migrant children by sending them to government schools, and these children possess identity numbers which begin with (6) (7) (0) and etc. depending on how their parents were categorized; LPN therefore facilitated the registration process for these students. Documents they needed to bring with them for the registration include Thor Ror 38 Kor ( ทร.38 ) and their identity card. On the first day, it takes almost the whole day for the officials to register around 10 children as they have had no clear instruction. They themselves were not sure if all the children brought by us were eligible for this right. 

LPN realised that time is short, therefore, to speed up the process, we coordinate with schools to gather the list of children with eligible identity numbers as specified in the cabinet resolution. After that the step of making copies of the Thor Ror 38 Kor for each individual child had faced problem. The officials refused to make copies of documents if the children were not presented (as we did not bring the children with us). We had to explain and refer to the cabinet resolution to persuade the officials.

I am sure that there are much more children who are eligible to register for healthcare service and their parents are not aware of this right. Although there have been migrant children went to claim this right, but, still, many of them fail to.  This is due to various reasons; first of all, they do not know that this right was entitled. Secondly, many children do not have a permanent house registration, and this makes it not possible to identify the health unit where they should go for free service. With regards to permanent house registration, some parents made an effort to move children out of a central house registration, but fail to register them into a new house within 15 days. As a result, the children were removed from the house registration database and are not eligible for anything. To re-register them into the system is also challenging, as an official is needed to approve their status, and they are quite reluctant to do so for migrant children.

After my experience in this process, a suggestion occurred: If the Thai government wants to help this marginalised and underprivileged population in accessing the right to healthcare, a public campaign on this right should be developed and made it known among relevant governmental agencies including schools, village headmen as well as municipalities and district offices.

What had happened was that some target population came to know about registration for healthcare only when the deadline was closed. They then had to go through all troubles like being absent from work, hunting for their house registration documents which may take them to travel across provinces, not to mention costs that occurred from these efforts.

Another point that I want to make with regards to this cabinet resolution is that if the intention of the Thai government is to grant the right to healthcare to the stateless population, it does not make any sense to limit the timeframe for granting it. The registration procedure is cumbersome and lengthy; therefore it should not become an obstacle for migrant population to access this right. There are more migrant children and the children of migrant workers who are still await to be granted the right to healthcare as similar to their classmates. And this should be our priority.

Sompong Srakaew
Labour Rights Promotion Network, 2010

Translated by Chitraporn Vanaspong

A short documentary made for LPN

A team of volunteers has made a short film to reflect their appreciation of LPN work for all migrants.

Part I:

Part II:

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Situation of Migrant Workers, Child Migrants, and Dependants in Samut Sakhon Province (2011)

Samut Sakhon is the province where its Gross Domestic Production has reached the 6th rank of Thailand. It is also the province that houses a great number of migrant workers who work in the food export industries. Among these industries are seafood processing industry, and frozen seafood industry which have capacity to export their products and contribute to a huge sum of money from 90,000 to 100,000 million baht to the Country per year. Each year, the number of this business is increasing rapidly. From this phenomenon, it also implies that the demand for labours goes on exponentially.

Apparently, the problem of labour shortage is always expanding. This pull factor draws more migrant workers to migrate to Thailand continually by using service from brokers or agents from country of origin, country of transit, and country of destination. In response to the incident, the Government, by using the policy, encourages these irregular migrants who have employers to come to register for the work permit year by year.

The Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LPN) has experienced working with migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province since 2004. We have analyzed the Thai labour policy since the past 3 to 4 years, and find that the State is making a great attempt to administer the issue of migrant workers from three nationalities; i.e. Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, by giving the priority to the security of the State. This attempt to reduce the number of labour migrants is somehow in contrast to another attempt of the State which is to boost up Country’s economic by encouraging new investment in Country which will subsequently turns to the cycle of labour shortage. In fact, migrant labour is considered as cost of production. According this approach, it seems that the Thai Government cannot do something to meet the need of business owners. Subsequently, business owners are imposed to use irregular migrants. As for these irregular migrants, some of them have to seek way to avoid an arrest from State authority; others have to bribe the State officer by paying monthly fee to be free from an arrest. In some case, they have to seek protection from some group of powerful people in order to stay and work in Thailand.

In 2010, it was estimated that there were 120,000 documented migrants in Thailand. However, the number of migrants coming into the country could be much more, approximately 300,000 to 400,000.

On 26 April 2011, the Government; however, passed the cabinet resolution to solve the problem of migrant labour system integrally. According to this resolution, it takes an effect on three groups of migrants. First, children upper 15 years of age can register for work permit. Second, children and dependants of labour migrants can register at the registrar office of Ministry of Interior for the House Registration or Thor.Ror. 38/1 from 15 June to 14 July 2011 (1 Month).

After registration period, it shows that there were 79,215 migrants coming to register for the work permit: 70,508 Burmeses, 4,490 Laotians, and 4,217 Cambodians. Apart from this there were 1,328 young migrants whose age is lower than 15 coming to register for the Thor.Ror. 35/1 as well.

When we sum up the number of migrants coming since 2010, the total number of documented migrants who have work permit would be around 120,000. According to the cabinet resolution, these migrants have to do nationality verification in order to obtain temporary passport which allow them to stay and work in Thailand for 4 years. Thus, this implies that about 200,000 migrant labours are permitted to work in Samut Sakhon.
As can be seen, the numbers of migrant labours’ and their dependants are on the top of Country, and their man power helps promote economics in Thailand, particularly in seafood processing industrial area which makes more than 100,000 million baht each year in export product.

Hence, the most interesting issues regarding migrant workers which should be taken into account is to find the way to administer, control and protect migrant labours effectively by not violating human rights and labour rights. At the same time, there must be the way to prevent any threats and intimidations, the way to promote fundamental rights of children (especially in education, healthcare, and child protection), and the way to integrate these migrants to live in harmony in Thai society.

Sompong Srakaew
Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LPN), 2011

Translated by Chanladda Strassle