Approximately 80 percent of the 10,000 Myanmar Muslims living near the Thai border are "stateless", a London-based rights group said Tuesday.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Approximately 80 percent of the 10,000 Myanmar Muslims living near the Thai border are "stateless", a London-based rights group said Tuesday.
The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) interviewed 36 Myanmar Muslims on their struggle to survive on the margins of their host and home countries from March to May in the Thai city of Mae Sot.
The group said most of the refugees do not have a citizenship document, and as a result, they are unable to acquire work permits and end up working illegally.
"This is a clear violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- to which Burma [Myanmar] is a signatory -- which states that all people are entitled to a nationality and must not be arbitrarily denied...a nationality," the group said in a report.
The Thai government set a deadline for the worker registration of Myanmar Muslims of June 30 which includes proof of identity from Myanmar.
As Muslims of Myanmar face systematic discrimination from Myanmar's authorities, they cannot obtain this verification.
The report added that Myanmar Muslims without official paperwork not only face fines but also deportation and prohibition from applying for a Thai work permit for two years.
"Without the adoption of a citizenship scheme based on human rights norms and a new, democratic, federal Constitution that removes the military from any political role in the country, Burma's [Myanmar] most marginalized will continue to struggle to live with dignity within and outside the country’s borders," it added.
Situated on the Moei River on Thailand’s western border with Myanmar, Mae Sot is a transit point and destination for Myanmar Muslims who are fleeing persecution and poverty in their country.
According to the report, there are no official figures for Myanmar Muslims living in Thailand, but multiple sources said their numbers are likely to exceed 10,000.
The report said most of them live depending on daily labor with a daily payment of $6.
The Myanmar Muslims interviewed by BHRN were not new arrivals but were on average living in the country for 17-20 years, the report added.