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Citizenship of three young cave survivors shines light on plight of stateless persons

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Citizenship of three young cave survivors shines light on plight of stateless persons

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM 
THE NATION

 

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THE lack of Thai citizenship of three youth footballers who were saved from the Tham Luang cave has highlighted the hidden problems of stateless people.

 

The Interior Ministry and the Children and Youth Department have confirmed that three of the 13 survivors from the Chiang Rai cave are stateless persons. Authorities have promised to provide them legal assistance in the nationality verification process and if there were no complications in their documents all of them will have Thai nationality within six months.

 

Ekkapol Chantawong, Phonchai Khamluang, and Adul Sam-on, three survivors from the Tham Luang cave, are among 500,000 stateless persons in Thailand who have to endure limitations in many aspects of their life as they are denied some rights and opportunities.

 

It was also disclosed that many stateless persons have to wait for a decade to get Thai citizenship because of the slow verification process.

 

Surapong Kongchantuk, a prominent activist on human rights and nationality issues, said that although the Thai government has provided basic rights to all persons in Thailand, ensuring compulsory education and healthcare, stateless persons still face many complications in their lives.

 

“Theoretically, all people must be under the care and protection of being a citizen of at least one state, but in reality there are more than 500,000 persons in Thailand who do not have any nationality, even though they are born and raised in Thailand,” Surapong said.

 

He said the lack of citizenship means that stateless persons are denied access to many fundamental rights such as travelling abroad, getting higher education or employment in some careers, so they do not have many opportunities to improve their lives.

 

According to Surapong, stateless persons can ask for nationality verification at their local administrative organisation to acquire Thai citizenship. They must provide proof of their birth and lineage and that they were born to a Thai national parent. Ethnic minorities born in Thailand are eligible to get Thai nationality.

 

Otherwise, they can submit a bachelors degree or diploma or ask for a special grant from the Thai government to get Thai nationality, he said.

 

Nevertheless, he said the procedure to verify and seek Thai nationality is slow and complicated because local administrative organisations often do not have enough staff to deal with the overwhelming number of requests for nationality verification.

 

Some people have to wait for more than 10 years to get Thai nationality and receive a Thai citizen ID card. Legal Status Network Foundation chairman Santiphong Moonphong also said that due to the complications and the long period of time it takes to get Thai nationality, many youths who do not have citizenship lose opportunities.

 

Santiphong said he hoped that the nationality status of three survivors from the Tham Luang cave would bring the problems of stateless persons to public attention and get prompt solutions from the government.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30349971

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-07-13

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50 minutes ago, webfact said:

 

Nevertheless, he said the procedure to verify and seek Thai nationality is slow and complicated because local administrative organisations often do not have enough staff to deal with the overwhelming number of requests for nationality verification.

 

I don't think staffing levels is the issue.

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Straits Times:

"Born in Myanmar, raised by Christian teachers in Thailand, and now trapped in a flooded cave for 13 days, Adul Sam-on's unflinching politeness and startling ability to speak English is capturing hearts.............. He was the only one able to communicate with the British divers who discovered the boys"

 

First page of Google search "Adul Sam-on english" had numerous media references to him and his abilities as translator........none of them Thai.

 

 

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57 minutes ago, webfact said:

Surapong Kongchantuk, a prominent activist on human rights and nationality issues, said that although the Thai government has provided basic rights to all persons in Thailand, ensuring compulsory education and healthcare, stateless persons still face many complications in their lives.

 

“Theoretically, all people must be under the care and protection of being a citizen of at least one state, but in reality there are more than 500,000 persons in Thailand who do not have any nationality, even though they are born and raised in Thailand,” Surapong said.

 

He said the lack of citizenship means that stateless persons are denied access to many fundamental rights such as travelling abroad, getting higher education or employment in some careers, so they do not have many opportunities to improve their lives.

I like this guy. Thailand need more people like this, that actually without walking around the problem can present it crystal clear in just 3 sentences.

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Coach of rescued Thai soccer team a 'country boy' longing for citizenship

By Panu Wongcha-um and Patpicha Tanakasempipat

 

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The Thai Navy pose for photo as they depart from Chiang Rai International Airport after finishing the rescue mission for 12 soccer players and their coach in Chiang Rai, Thailand July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

 

CHIANG RAI, Thailand (Reuters) - A soccer coach rescued with a 12-member squad of boys this week from a flooded cave in Thailand is a kind and humble young man who loves sports and hopes to become a Thai citizen, a relative and friend said on Thursday.

 

The coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, or Ek as he is known, has come under scrutiny as the only adult in the group of 13 who got trapped in the cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai on June 23 during an expedition.

 

All 13 were finally brought out after a dramatic rescue through flooded tunnels this week.

 

Ek, 25, along with the 12 boys, has been in hospital since being extracted and has not spoken publicly about the ordeal, or about how the group got trapped by flood waters after a rainy season downpour.

 

He showed remorse in a note to the boys' parents that rescuers brought out of the cave, apologising and vowing to take "the very best care" of the boys.

 

"Ek is a kind and humble man," said one of his relatives, Charoenpol Rattanaweerachon, 52. "He loves sports, cycling and football since he was young."

 

"He's a country boy so he enjoys nature."

 

Attention has also focused on Ek's status in Thailand.

 

He is a member of the Tai Lue minority, one of several groups whose people have over generations moved around the region, across open borders in remote hills between southern China, Myanmar and Laos, and into northern Thailand's ethnic patchwork of communities.

 

Many such people do not have Thai citizenship papers and are officially stateless.

 

Weenat Seesuk, an interior ministry official in Bangkok, said Ek and three of the rescued boys from the "Wild Boars" soccer team were stateless.

 

"They are not Thai citizens," Weenat told Reuters, adding that officials were checking to see if they qualified for citizenship.

 

'LIKE A FATHER'

Many Thais on social media say the boys and their coach should be given citizenship following their ordeal.

 

"He would love to become a Thai citizen," said Charoenpol.

 

Recounting Ek's life, Charoenpol said he ordained as a novice Buddhist monk at the age of 10, after his father died.

 

He stayed at a temple in Chiang Mai province until he was 20, when he left the monkhood to take care of his grandmother.

 

Ek did odd jobs and lived a simple life, often sleeping at a monastery high on a hill or with friends in the town of Mae Sai on the Myanmar border, not far from the cave complex.

 

Some people have wondered whether Ek's background as a Buddhist monk had helped him stay calm, and help the children, during their ordeal in the flooded Tham Luang cave.

 

"I think he helped the children a lot, being a novice monk for 10 years," said Charoenpol.

 

Chanta Chaichim, the mother of Duangpetch Promthep, 13, the rescued captain of the "Wild Boars", said the young coach was like a father to her son.

 

"He even washes his clothes after practice," Chanta told Reuters.

 

Ek's Facebook page is full of photographs of him with the boys playing sports.

 

Hours before he and the boys became trapped, he posted a last video of the "Wild Boars" practising under a cloudy sky.

Charoenpol said Ek would be warmly welcomed back into the community when he left hospital.

 

"He must be feeling guilty right now but I would say he has nothing fear. His goodness will shine through," he said.

 

(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Amy Sawitta Lefevre in BANGKOK and John Geddie in CHIANG RAI; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Robert Birsel)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-07-13

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If we mention people who deserve citizenship, there are thousands of foreigners who has been here for many years languishing under the archaic and outdated immigration laws and who have contributed immensely to Thailand prosperity, love this country, married to a Thai raising Thai kids and and still this country looks at them as second class guests, having to come over huge hurdles costing time, money and luck just to get a Thai citizenship...

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His life was spared due to the efforts of thousands of good people,  give the man a chance at a good life, give the man some papers. Why expend the effort to save and then set him up to fail in life later? Make something good out of this event.

 

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This sort of racial discrimination and bias really makes my blood boil. It is a disgrace.

 

I truly hope that Khun Ek and others will get citizenship in super-fast time. That young man is just amazing!

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38 minutes ago, ezzra said:

If we mention people who deserve citizenship, there are thousands of foreigners who has been here for many years languishing under the archaic and outdated immigration laws and who have contributed immensely to Thailand prosperity, love this country, married to a Thai raising Thai kids and and still this country looks at them as second class guests, having to come over huge hurdles costing time, money and luck just to get a Thai citizenship...

I share your frustration but it seems you overlook one important aspect: these kids are stateless we aren't. As far as I am concerned I have come to terms with being considered a tourist here and raise my daughters accordingly. Hope they will settle in a real country, not in this dump.

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Theoretically, all people must be under the care and protection of being a citizen of at least one state, but in reality there are more than 500,000 persons in Thailand who do not have any nationality, even though they are born and raised in Thailand,” Surapong said.

 

I married one 40 years ago.  Say no more.  Though she is now a citizen of the USA.

 

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2 hours ago, webfact said:

bring the problems of stateless persons to public attention and get prompt solutions from the government.

is this guy talking about thailand ? the current thai govt addressing human rights ? gotta be joking

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hopefully, this means they won't be sold into slavery on Thai fishing vessels. 

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yet when the PM visited the boys in the hospital he told them "to be good citizens"...

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I hope this doesn't encourage the other 497000 to go and sit in a cave in the rainy season. ?

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2 hours ago, Get Real said:

I like this guy. Thailand need more people like this, that actually without walking around the problem can present it crystal clear in just 3 sentences.

And I hope he's marked his calendar for 6 months and follows up with seriousness if no progress for Thai citizenship for the three boys.

 

 

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