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Three of the Tham Luang cavers are stateless

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By Pratch Rujivanarom

When three of the Mu Pa footballers were rushed to the Chiang Rai hospital after their rescue, they couldn’t check in as Thai citizens, or as citizens of any country for that matter. They are stateless – no passports, no ‘home country’, no ID.

The lack of Thai citizenship the three youth footballers highlights 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’. Authorities have already 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. This follows extensive support from social media over the past week about the plight of the stateless members of the team.

Ekkapol Chantawong, Phonchai Khamluang, and Adul Sam-on are just 3 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 – they can’t legally work, get married, apply for a passport, buy a house, apply for insurance, a bank account, etc.

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, says 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.

STORY: The Nation

 

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Crime

Man arrested for allegedly exchanging fake US bills for 1.2 million baht

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A man was arrested in Bangkok for allegedly exchanging counterfeit foreign bank notes at a currency exchange kiosk, taking off with 1.2 million baht.

Police say Thanat Amatawimut, a 42 year old building contractor, exchanged 360 fake $100 USD bills for 1.2 million baht at a kiosk in Bangkok back in 2019. The staff accepted the cash, but later realised the bills were fake and attempted to contact Thanat. A complaint was later filed at the Lumpini police station. The Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant last October.

Thanat was arrested in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district yesterday. He denied the charges.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals

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Photo by PR Phuket

2,473 new Covid-19 cases and 35 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. The majority of the new cases are local transmissions, primarily in Bangkok. 680 of the new cases were detected in prisons.

Thailand now has 42,988 active Covid-19 cases, a record high for the country. Out of those cases, more than 10,000 are linked to outbreaks at prisons. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 113,555 Covid-19 infections.

35 deaths involving Covid-19 patients were reported today, raising the pandemic’s death toll in Thailand to 649. Most of the new fatalities were reported in Bangkok.

Bangkok remains the epicentre in the latest wave of infections. The capital reported 873, raising the total since April 1 to 28,658.

There are now 29 Covid-19 clusters in 19 districts in Bangkok. The government has set up several locations for active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun, who gives the CCSA report in English, adds that Thai authorities are taking border breaches very seriously and security has tightened at land and sea borders as there have been a number of illegal entries involving those coming from neighbouring countries. Heightened border patrol has been an effort to prevent Covid-19 from being imported into Thailand.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 infections…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 873 28,658
Nonthaburi 155 4,757
Samut Prakan 121 4,329
Pathum Thani 117 2,467
Samut Sakhon 63 1,930
Phetchaburi 43 645
Chon Buri 33 3,768
Nakhon Si Thammarat 30 757
Songkhla 29 1,041
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 28 936

Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Education Ministry launches online platform as schools’ reopening plans delayed

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Thailand’s Education Ministry is launching an online platform for public school students who are, once again, being forced to learn at home due to restrictions and limitations imposed by the government.

The third wave of the virus has prompted authorities to postpone the reopening of government schools from May 17 (yesterday) to June 1. However, as daily infections keep rising, that date may be amended again.

As the future of the pandemic is unclear, the Ministry has launched www.ครูพร้อม.com, an online platform titled Kru Prom or Teachers Ready in English. The portal features content under 6 categories featuring the word “Wanna” in reference to the more grammatically correct English words of “Want to.” The Wanna Know page, is dedicated to educators as it features e-books to help them boost their skills.

Wanna Learn, Wanna Know, Wanna Teach, Wanna Do, Wanna Watch, and Wanna Share are the categories that students can choose from. Each category has a wide range of choices for students that includes different types of media for each lesson.

Students or teachers are not required to use the new Kru Prom platform, as the Education Ministry says it is just an alternative for those who are interested in learning more. Likewise, teachers are not being told they must compile reports over the platform and it won’t be included in their performance evaluations.

The Ministry has also noted that the platform can be used, even while physically attending school, as a supplement to students’ learning.

Prominent education academic, Athapol Anunthavorasakul, is not impressed with the idea as he says children are exhausted from online/offline classes. He says children should be allowed to play during the break, even if it is extended. He says the most schools should require over the break, is for the students to share what they had learned.

But the Ministry already has released plans that include online learning – once schools are allowed to reopen. The classes will be conducted using onsite, on air, on demand, online, on hand, and hybrid formats. The Ministry is also offering free internet packages to students to help them make the move to online learning. Meanwhile, the Education Minister says the website’s recent launch has proved popular on the first day, gaining thousands of hits.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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