The Thai government should swiftly act to end police abuse and discriminatory laws and policies against migrant workers and their families, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The February deadline for more than a million migrant workers to enter the "nationality verification" process or face immediate deportation creates the risk of further abuses and should be postponed until it can be carried out in a fair manner.
Human Rights Watch's 124-page report, "From the Tiger to the Crocodile: Abuse of Migrant Workers in Thailand," is based on 82 interviews with migrants from neighboring Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. It describes the widespread and severe human rights abuses faced by migrant workers in Thailand, including killings, torture in detention, extortion, and sexual abuse, and labor rights abuses such as trafficking, forced labor, and restrictions on organizing.
"Migrant workers make huge contributions to Thailand's economy, but receive little protection from abuse and exploitation," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Those from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos suffer horribly at the hands of corrupt civil servants and police, unscrupulous employers, and violent thugs, who all realize they can abuse migrants with little fear of consequences."
To read more: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/02/22/thailand-migrant-workers-face-killings-extortion-labor-rights-abuses?tr=y&auid=5991216
Ethnic Shan from Burma work on a construction site in Chiang Mai.
© 2007 John Hulme