The administrator of a foundation in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai that is providing temporary shelter to 18 of 126 undocumented Myanmar children from a school in Ang Thong province, said the children will be given the option of returning to Myanmar or continuing their education in Thailand.
According to the official, a school near the foundation’s office has agreed to welcome the children if they choose to study there.
The children, aged 7 to 13, were attending Thai Rath Witthaya School in the Pa Moke district of Ang Thong when they were forced to leave and sent to five shelters in Chiang Rai to await repatriation after being discovered to be illegal immigrants.
One of the 18 is a stateless youngster from Mae Salong in the Mae Fah Luang region of Chiang Rai, according to the official, who said that just one child’s parents, who are in Myanmar, could be contacted.
The official spoke out against repatriating all 126 children, claiming that they were in danger and had sought safety in Thailand.
He stated that there were numerous schools in Myanmar, but the majority of them had closed due to the instability, and that many Myanmar children are attending schools in Thailand because their parents want them to have a better future.
Undocumented children in Chiang Rai
Undocumented children in Chiang Rai are children living in northern Thailand without proper legal documentation or citizenship status.
Children who are undocumented in Chiang Rai are those who live in northern Thailand without adequate legal papers or citizenship status. Children born in Thailand to non-Thai parents, children brought into the country illegally, or children whose immigration status has expired are all examples of this.
The position of undocumented children in Thailand is complicated and fraught with difficulties. These children frequently encounter impediments to school, healthcare, and other basic services. They may also be susceptible to exploitation, such as child labour, human trafficking, and maltreatment.
The Thai government has taken some initiatives in recent years to address the issue of illegal children. In 2018, for example, a new law was passed to confer nationality to Thai children who would otherwise be stateless. This law seeks to grant these children legal status and basic rights.
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations are also working in Thailand to assist undocumented children. They provide services such as education, healthcare, and legal aid to help these children’s situations and advocate for their rights.
However, obstacles continue, and additional efforts are required to secure the protection and well-being of Thailand’s undocumented children. This includes strengthening the legislative framework, raising awareness and understanding of the issue, and providing enough resources and assistance to meet the special needs of these children.