Sat, 31/10/2009 – 18:42
The Human Rights and Development Foundation
In a landmark rights victory in Thailand, the Department of Transport (DoT) has announced that migrants from Burma, Laos and Cambodia, as well as a number of other minority groups, can now register ownership of vehicles and will soon be able to apply for driving licenses. The decision overturns a 15-year old discriminatory National Security Council (NSC) policy denying these rights on vague national security grounds. The positive impact will be felt by well over 1 million registered migrants and other minority persons in the country.
Gothom Arya, HRDF’s President, today welcomed the policy change: ‘This decision is to be strongly welcomed. Nothing can be gained in terms of national security by denying anyone an ability to decently live their lives in our society. Policies denying basic social rights to any group of people can only increase social tension, provide opportunities for corruption, and thereby actually undermine Thailand’s national security and reputation.’
Since 1994, DoT has relied on NSC policies to deny formal registration of vehicles and access to driving licenses to large numbers of minority groups and migrant communities in Thailand. This is despite the necessity of vehicle usage for many of them.
In late 2007, HRDF began a campaign against these policies when Region 5 Police Force launched early morning raids on Shan migrant camps in Chiangmai Province in Northern Thailand. These raids, launched on a premise of arresting illegal migrants, resulted in widespread confiscation of motorbikes on grounds of ‘suspected theft’ and on the basis that migrants had no rights to either own or ride motorbikes. Continue reading “MIGRANTS TO BE GRANTED DRIVING LICENSE RIGHTS IN THAI NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY U-TURN” →