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The Human Costs of Statelessness


There are a large number of Burmese asylum seekers have been coming to Thailand since 1988. Among them very few get official refugee status and have been lived in refugee camps. The majority , which is somewhat estimated to be more than a million people are living outside and these are the people whom considered to be illegal migrant in Thailand. Burmese refugees' children, who were born in Thailand are denied birth certificates, rendreing them stateless.

A member of research team of the Refugees International-RI said, "When a child is born to one of those refugees, who are described as illegal migrants or Burmese asylum seekers in Thailand, they are not allow to have any kind of documentaion or status as a citizen of Thailand. Because those children are not recognized as citizens, which creates a long cycle."

She continues, "That's create a long cycle where they don't have any kinds of birth registration, birth certificates to help them admission to school. They don't go to school, they have to work as low paid migrant outside where all kinds of abuses and exploitations."

In a significant step, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that provides concrete proposals to protect children in armed conflict. Refugees International is urging the UN to do all that is necessary to implement the new resolution and take extra steps to help child soldiers reintegrate into their communities.

RI researcher Maureen Lynch added some accomplishments of RI: "In July 2005, RI briefed members of the 84th Session of the UN’s Human Rights Committee on the issue of statelessness. RI also participated in a focused discussion addressing human rights issues in Thailand, in which several organizations highlighted the problems facing children who lack citizenship. As a result of these interventions, Committee members pressed state delegations from Thailand, Slovenia and Syria with targeted inquiries about nationality, birth registration, access to healthcare and education, trafficking of asylum/refuge-seeking children and issues related to other basic rights."

Ms. Lynch also explained, "Stateless children are mentioned under the Rights of the child. For example-specifically child should be registered immediately after birth and child has the rights to be named and acquire nationalilty. In that capacity Thailand has not fulfilled its responsibilty under that type of agreement because children are not registered in Thailand."

She expressed, "Stateless people actually live a kind of limbo is the way many people tend to descrbe it or as an individual another country who faces different kind of situation told between earth and sky,

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