Thailand activist expresses concerns about stateless children’s deportation to Myanmar News
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Thailand activist expresses concerns about stateless children’s deportation to Myanmar

Nutchanart Boonkhong, a civil rights activist and founder of Baan Kru Naam Foundation, told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that she was concerned for the safety of 19 stateless children from Myanmar, and worried that the government would deport them back to their home country despite the current civil war. The 19 children were taken from an affiliation of Boonkhong’s foundation in LopBuri, a city in the central region of Thailand, by the government on March 12 and have since been kept away from their families. 

Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa denied the accusation of deportation, and said they had taken the children from the foundation after social development officers had expressed concerns they were being exploited for monetary purposes, which Boonkhong has denied.

The UN has recently warned against the rising violence in Myanmar. The southeast Asian country has been under military rule since 2021, after the junta overthrew the democratically elected government. In 2023, the UN Office of Human Rights said that the human rights situation in Myanmar had reached “alarming levels”. According to Amnesty International, over 1.4 million people have been displaced, and 52,000 have been forced to flee to other countries since the war.

Tuenjai Deetes, a long time Thai social activist who has worked tirelessly to fight for the stateless in Thailand, has continuously criticized the government for refusing to remediate the situation of the stateless community within their borders, despite the Royal Thai Government’s endorsement of the UNCHR’s campaign to end statelessness by 2024 and to provide easier means for them to obtain citizenship under the current law.