Thailand Country Report Reported by Maliwan (Tik) Khruemanee / Country coordinator for Thailand Submitted to the Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN) February 4th 2005, Singapore Introduction The International Organization for Migration (IOM) proposes that at least 160 million people were staying outside their country of origin in 2002, up from an estimated 120 million in 1990. Within a decade the number of migrants significantly jumped by 40 million. This challenging phenomenon embraces many countries worldwide. In the future there will be an inclination for the number of migrants to increase and this in turn will affect most States worldwide. The APMRN was established in 1995 as a research project of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Program of UNESCO. Its focus is the long-term role of migration and increased ethno-cultural diversity as major factors in the social transformation of the societies of the Asia and Pacific region. Its goal is to establish an international research network which will carry out interdisciplinary research on social and political aspects of international migration and growing ethno-cultural diversity in the region, in order to provide a base of knowledge and analysis for forward-looking policy-making. Overview picture of migration in the Thailand 1,300,000 irregular migrants from the three neighboring countries: Burma, Cambodia, and Lao PDR presented themselves to the Ministry of Labor (MOL) during August 2004. It was the first time since 2001 when the migrants from the three neighboring countries were allowed to be employed regardless of illegitimacy of previous stays or entry into the Kingdom. This time, while registering irregular migrants, the Thai government tried harder to overcome the blemish(s) which had been anticipated after the last registration in 2001. With some information conferred by some local academic institutes, the hindrance faced by the migrants from registration was brought up for review before the 2004 registration. Despite this (slim) effort made by the policy makers, some human rights activists working in NGOs made a claim that infringement of human rights of migrants still existed since the new registration did not seem to be well-equipped for full-protection of labor rights. The research reviewed and conducted by the government and NGOs appears to contradict each another. Since the nature of work of both government and NGOs appears to be bipolar, obtained/empirical data were utilized supporting for their own agendas. To overcome this issue, research institutions which are free from all forms of intervention/influence of any agency can test the validity of obtained data. Thai research on migration via academic institutes The Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR) of Mahidol University began operations in 1966. In 1971, IPSR was designated as a research and postgraduate teaching institute with the status of a university faculty. Since 1971, the Institute has grown to become one of the major population research and training centers in Asia. 2 The Institute and its faculty have demonstrated excellence in academic research, including applied research, aimed at improving the quality of life of Thailand's people and those living in the Asian region. IPSR's major areas of expertise include: 1. Demographic Transition and Society 2. Reproductive Health, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS 3. Population and Health 4. Labour, Migration and Urbanization 5. Population and Environment 6. Gender and Development 7. Southeast Asian Population Studies 8. Emerging issues IPSR’s current research focuses on population and environment, migration, and reproductive health, in Thailand. A 2003-4 Migration database is a major project being carried out by the institute. However, the IPSR not only carries out its own research; it also actively co-operates with other national, regional and international organizations (governmental, non- governmental, community-based, UN) in conducting population and social research on timely and emerging issues. Studies have ranged from exploratory to intervention and evaluation. The IPSR faculty has actively organized research projects and provided consultancy services for projects being undertaken in such countries as Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Asian Research Centre for Migration (ARCM), Chulalongkorn University ; ARCM developed from the Indochinese Refugee Information Center (IRIC), originally established in 1987. ARCM has a wider brief than IRIC, with specific aims: Act as a centralized source of migration-related information for the Southeast Asia region, by researching and documenting regional migratory movements and the impacts of such movements Conduct research on key migration topics, including migrant workers, refugees and other transborder movements of people Strengthen links with other academic institutions, governments, NGOs and international organizations Build a significant resource and information base, and disseminate information in relevant formats Organize lectures, seminars, training and consultancies for individuals and organizations in the region Main field: Conducts research on migration and the spread of AIDS, and migrant labour. Covers Southeast Asia. Publication(s): Amaraphibal, A.; Worasaen, C., Assessment of needs of migrant children in Thailand: 3 case study of migrant children in Ranong, 2000; Chantavanich, S.; Germershausen, A.; Beesey, A. (eds), Thai migrant workers in East and Southeast Asia 1996-1997, 2000 Research projects: - Reproductive health of Burmese migrant women in Thailand; - Cross-border migration and HIV/AIDS vulnerability; - Female international migration in the age of globalization in Southeast Asia. Past projects: Migrant Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances in Thailand Thai Migrant Workers in Southeast and East Asia: the prospects of Thailand's migration policy in the light of the regional economic recession HIV and Migration Reproductive Health Survey: Migrant Burmese women in Ranong fishing community, Thailand Thai Migrant Workers in Southeast and East Asia The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) was established in 1984 to conduct policy research and disseminate results to the public and private sectors. TDRI is Thailand's first policy research institute; it was conceived, created and registered as a non-profit, non-governmental foundation and is recognized as such by the Royal Thai Government. The Institute provides technical and policy analysis that supports the formulation of long-term policies.. Updated research regarding migration was covered under “International Migration and Labor Development in East Asia”,this is a part of a joint research project on "The Impact and Coherence of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Country Policies on Asian Developing Economies." The project reviewed the major trends in international migration from and within the region in the broader context of labor market development in relevant countries, both OECD and Non- OECD, and discussed the ways by which they can make a more productive use of migrant workers. The project, funded by the Policy Research Institute of the Ministry of Finance, Japan and the OECD, started in December 2003 and lasted until June 2004. International Organization/Intergovernmental Agency/United Nation Agency /International and local NGOs Eradication of the violation of human rights of migrants is a major concern of these organizations. Migration cannot be considered in isolation, for example a particular 4 receiving country such as Thailand. The framework for migration can be better visualized between Thailand and its neighbors. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons in the Greater Mekong Sun-Region (MOU) was a masterpiece of good cooperation between the governments from six countries (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam) for combating trafficking of persons, which may well happen in the process of trans- border migration to a destination country. To attain the consensual agreement from all States required huge support from both NGOs working at the grass root level and international agencies, including the United Nations. As a negative component of migration, traffic in persons can be viewed as the hardest task to handle since it may need good cooperation from countries both sending and receiving individuals. Many research articles and projects related to the trafficking of persons, especially in women and children, comes to light with the sponsorship of these organizations. In 2004-5 there were some significant workshop, meeting, conference, and congress meetings held by concerned organizations namely: December 2, 2004, Human Rights and Human Trafficking: Gains and Challenges from a Global Perspective, issues were discussed at a roundtable meeting at the UN building. This roundtable meeting was set with the cooperation of the OHCHR, UNIAP, and ILO-TICW. December 7-10, 2004, Human Trafficking and Human Rights : Meeting the Challenges Together, held as an International Congress on the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW). December 17-8, 2004, a conference on “Foresight in Migrant Workers in Thailand” was held by the Rak Thai Foundation, Thailand with the main aim of contributing to an increase of access in health services and protection of migrant rights. January 21, 2005, the roundtable seminar on “Abuse of Migrant Workers’ Rights: Why (obvious in)????? Mae Sot?” was held in Maesot, Thailand. It was hosted by the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, MOL, the National Health Security Office, The Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR), Mahidol University, The Human Rights and Social Development Department of Mahidol University, the Forum Asia, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), and the Thai Labor Campaign (TLC).