News / Asia

Burmese Migrants in Thailand Await Changes Back Home

Burmese Migrants in Thailand Await Changes Back Homei
|| 0:00:00
X
Steve Sandford
September 10, 2012 5:44 PM
Millions of Burmese migrant workers have long sought economic opportunity abroad, but their life in exile frequently means working outside the law, in risky or dangerous jobs. Steve Sandford reports from northern Thailand on their life in legal limbo and some proposals that could change it.

Burmese Migrants in Thailand Await Changes Back Home

Millions of Burmese migrant workers have long sought economic opportunity abroad, but their life in exile frequently means working outside the law, in risky or dangerous jobs.

In Thailand there are more than a million registered Burmese migrant workers. The number of unregistered is even greater, and many of them work jobs that Thai laborers are often unwilling to do.
 
Working without proper documentation can often lead to arrest and deportation. But many, like Ta Jandee, say they prefer that risk to returning to Burma.
 
“When I was living in Burma. I got arrested by Burmese soldiers and they forced me to be a porter. I had to carry supplies for them in the jungle. That was a hard part of my life. That’s why I fled to Thailand,” he said.
 
The reluctance to go back home may be changing, with political reforms underway.

As migrants weigh a return, they are hungry for information about what is happening back home. Many turn to programs produced by the Migrant Assistance Program (MAP), based at a radio station in Chiang Mai, Thailand, just a few hours from the Burmese border.
 
MAP head Jackie Pollock says the reforms now underway in Burma will hopefully improve working conditions for migrants in Thailand.
 
“With Burma opening a little bit that is going to put pressure on Thailand because up until now there have been three million workers who had no choices and had no government to speak on their behalf or advocate for them,” Pollock said.
 
For years, Pollock and a team of Thai and Burmese legal advisers have worked as migrant advocates.
 
“Now it seems that the Burmese government, the ministry of labor means to be taking up the issue of migrant workers and so hopefully they will start to put a little pressure on Thailand to improve the conditions here,” Pollock said.
 
Such groups have long been a critical safety net, but there are signs of new help from Burma's government.

Last month, the Burmese government offered to issue certificates of identity to migrant workers in Thailand who wanted to return home.
 
For expectant parents like Ta Jandee and his wife Lugao, having more legal options is hopefully a sign of good things to come.
 
“When my child starts school he will need a birth certificate. In the future, I want my child to have higher education. If we still live in Thailand, I want them to study Thai. If we go back to Burma, I want them to study Burmese,” he said.
 
In the meantime, Ta Jandee says Burma’s ongoing armed conflicts that continue in several states still make him wary of going back to Burma. For him and many others it could still be months or years before they feel safe enough to return to their home country.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid