PHUKET: A majority of Gazette readers think unregistered migrant workers from Burma are denied basic human rights here in Phuket.
Overall, more than half of those taking part (56.5%) answered “yes” to the question:
‘Do you think unregistered migrants workers from Burma are denied basic human rights in Phuket?’
This was more than twice the number who answered “no” (20.4%). The remainder, 23%, said they didn’t know.
In a breakdown by demographic, local foreign residents were far more likely to think unregistered Burmese workers were denied basic human rights (70%) than their Thai counterparts (34%).
In fact, the most common answer among Thais taking part, at 42%, was that these rights were not denied.
Tourists who held an opinion on the issue were far more likely, at 45%, to think these rights were denied, compared to just 14% who thought they were not.
However, a large fraction of those identifying themselves as tourists, 41%, said they did not know.
The number of Burmese living and working in Phuket could be as high as 200,000, a Senate panel studying the issue was told last year.
Burmese and other foreign residents were counted for the first time in the 10-year census conducted last year, but the results of that exercise have yet to be released.
Thai officialdom generally groups all people from lands currently controlled by the Burmese junta as “Burmese”, but in fact many are from other ethnic groups. Many of them are actually stateless.
Doctors at government hospitals have also expressed concern over a new generation of “Burmese” who were born and raised in Phuket, speak Thai fluently, and have never stepped foot in Burma.
To view the complete poll results click here.
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