February News Summary

February News Summary

Roots of migration.

·         In response to the Myanmar government’s decision to give 53 Muslims official identification cards, around 600 people in Rakhine state held a protest, claiming the decision was illegal and that local people should be part of any government review of Muslim people given official identity cards.[i]


·         According to the Thai Ministry of Labor, the Myanmar embassy will issue certificates of identity and passports to all Burmese pink card holders who can produce both their national identity card and census document. With the certificates of identity, pink card holders will be able to apply for visas which will allow greater freedom of movement. Certificates of identity can be applied for as 7-Eleven stores and service counters starting on March 1st.[ii]

·         Certificates of identity are being issued at six different service centers in Thailand, including Mae Sai, Mae Sot, Ranong, Samut Sakhon, and two in Mahachai. Thai and Burmese officials joined a workshop organized by the Thailand Human Rights and Development Foundation to discuss ways in which they can spread information on documentation to Burmese migrants.[iii]


·         The Thai National House Authority (NHA) has piloted a residential zoning program for migrant workers in Samut Sakhon and Ranong. The program groups migrants in buildings according to their nationalities, with rent at approximately 1,800 baht plus electricity and water bills. By April, the NHA plans to expand the program to eleven other provinces (Chiang Mai, Pathum Thani, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Phuket, Songlka, Rayong, and Surat Thani) where migrant workers are employed.[iv]


·         According to a Thai Labour Ministry source, an executive decree is being drafted that would require employers to arrange accommodation for migrant employees within the state-specified zones.[v]

·         According to the Thai organization Aid Alliance Committee (AAC), a total of 300 Myanmar migrants working at the INDEX motorcycle helmet factory in Bangkok went on strike this month to demand better working conditions. The workers made 10 demands, including paid leave for sick days and the compulsory 6 days of casual leave awarded to Thais under national labor laws. Factory officials agreed to make most of the changes demanded of them[vi] 

·         In late January, more than 2,000 migrant workers at Sea Value Group—a major Thai seafood exporter—petitioned the company for better working conditions and higher wages. The workers have previously been successful in getting the company to reduce its recruitment fees.[vii]

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