Thai Citizenship for Stateless Indigenous People

Thai Citizenship for Stateless Indigenous People

Living In the border areas has its problems. One of the examples is regarded as stateless by the government. This kind of issue also can be found in elderly people who lived in mountainous border areas in Thailand. In spite of the fact that they already have lived for all their life, yet they still have no Thai citizenship.

Thai Citizenship

Not only getting an identity, but citizenship also needed in order to allow access to education, healthcare, and birth registration. Due to the importance of it, Thailand simplify its laws to make the stateless citizens easier to get it. There were about 480.000 people with 77.000 indigenous people that already registered. Yet, the government mostly neglected the indigenous people in view of the lack of documents like birth certificates and house deeds.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

"The Thai government has been quite proactive in giving rights to the stateless, but for older indigenous people it is still very hard," said Tuenjai Deetes, 68, a former senator and founder of the Hill Area Development Foundation, a non-profit.

"Nationality should not be an obstruction to a better life or better opportunities. We need an easier, shorter process for those who are eligible, so they can have equal rights as citizens," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Fortunately, a non-profit group, the Hill Area Development Foundation helped a lot. This group helps the indigenous to do their paperwork which has to be done by them as the requirement to get the Thai ID.

"There were many forms to fill, many steps to prove I was born here and have lived here for a long time – I didn't think I would be successful," Chungyung Bekaku said, a 93 years indigenous people.

By having the Thai ID, she gets a monthly pension from the government, which helps her as an elder who sells handicrafts.

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