News / Asia

    Rights Group Calls for Change to Thai Migrant Child Policy

    Suspected migrants being detained at a rubber plantation in Hat Yai district of Songkhla province southern Thailand Thursday, March 13, 2014.
    Suspected migrants being detained at a rubber plantation in Hat Yai district of Songkhla province southern Thailand Thursday, March 13, 2014.
    Ron Corben

    A report by Human Rights Watch calls on the Thai Government to end its policy of detaining migrant and refugee children in immigration detention centers, saying the process is arbitrary and in violation of international law. The New York-based rights group says alternatives to detention should be examined, as well as improved conditions in the centers.

    Human Rights Watch says at least 4,000 children of migrant workers and refugee children are processed through Thai immigration detention centers each year.

    The report says the children stay on average nearly 10 months, but many are held for up to two years.

    Alice Farmer is a children's rights researcher with Human Rights Watch.  

    "Thailand has a system of arbitrary detention of children and migrant families that detention can often be indefinite and that arbitrary indefinite detention is in violation of international law including the convention on the rights of the child to which Thailand is a party," said Farmer.  

    The study was based on interviews of over 100 migrant children and adults as well as government officials from the immigration department, the police and the ministry of social development and human security.

    Human Rights Watch says detention centers often are severely overcrowded, and children are packed into cramped cells with adults. In a case study, a family was shared a cell with 100 others, with filthy toilets and raw sewerage on the floor and poor air quality.

    Thailand has also faced a sharp increase in refugees and asylum seekers from Syria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia, although the vast majority of those held in the detention centers are from neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma.  

    Farmer says that because families often are separated, children are left at risk of psychological harm and physical health concerns, including insufficient nutrition and poor medical care. They also often have inadequate access to education.

    "When children are detained at a young age they don't understand why it's happening to them, particularly for refugee children they have often fled conditions that are traumatic in the course of fleeing to another country, they have experienced more trauma during their journey, and immigration detention just exacerbates those problems," said Farmer.  

    Those in the detention centers receive some assistance from non-government organizations, the United Nations Office for Migration, and the U.N.'s High Commission for Refugees as well as foreign embassies in Bangkok.

    Human Rights Watch asks Thailand's government to end immigration detention of children in line with guidelines set by the U.N.'s Committee on the rights of the child.

    The Thai government's response to the report says that problems in detention camps are being addressed, and that the government takes seriously its responsibilities to protect children. It also said many migrant and refugee adults ask to have their children remain with them in camps. In addition, the government says, delays in releasing detainees often have to do with their lack of legal status in their home countries, or because of delays by the United Nations in assessing their asylum requests. 

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora