Blog de César Salgado

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HRW report: abuse of migrant workers in Thailand

Human Rights Watch publicou recentemente un informe dunhas 120 páxinas sobre os abusos que sofren os inmigrantes en Tailandia. O informe leva por título “From the Tiger to the Crocodile: Abuse of Migrant Workers in Thailand”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción (a negrita é miña):

[…] From the moment they arrive in Thailand, many migrants face an existence straight out of a Thai proverb —escaping from the tiger, but then meeting the crocodile— that is commonly used to describe fleeing from one difficult or deadly situation into another that is equally bad, or sometimes worse. Migrant workers are effectively bonded to their employers and at risk of rights violations from government authorities. In many cases, police, military, and immigration officers, and other government officials threaten, physically harm, and extort migrant workers with impunity. Those detained face beatings and other abuses. And whether documented or undocumented, migrants in Thailand are especially vulnerable to abusive employers and common crime, which the Thai authorities are very reluctant to investigate and sometimes are complicit in.

In interviews in Thailand from August 2008 to May 2009 and in follow-up research through January 2010, we found evidence of widespread violations of the rights of migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. The violations are not limited to one or two areas but range the entire length of the country from the Thai-Lao border gateway towns in Ubon Ratchathani to the seaports on the Gulf of Thailand to remote crossroads in areas on the Thai-Burma border. Many types of abuses are either embedded in laws and local regulations, such as restrictions on freedom of movement, or are perpetrated by officials, such as extortion by the police.

Human rights violations inflicted on migrants by police and local officials are exacerbated by the pervasive climate of impunity in Thailand. Migrants suffer silently and rarely complain because they fear retribution, are not proficient enough in the Thai language to protest, or lack faith in Thai institutions that too often turn a blind eye to their plight. […]

Beyond threats of ill-treatment, extended detention, and deportation, migrants constantly fear extortion by the police. Nearly all migrants held in police custody that we interviewed said that police had demanded money or valuables from them or their relatives in exchange for their release. Migrants reported paying substantial bribes depending on the area, the circumstances of the arrest, and the attitudes of the police officers involved. It is not uncommon for a migrant to lose the equivalent of one to several months’ pay in one extortion incident. And if they do not possess enough money to be released, frequently the arresting officers ask whether they have relatives or friends willing to pay to secure their release.

Migrants’ daily lives are restricted in many other ways as well. Migrant workers are prohibited from forming associations and trade unions, taking part in peaceful assemblies, and face restricted freedom of movement. Often they cannot leave the area where their work is located without written permission from employers and district officials. The government prohibits migrants from obtaining driver’s licenses. Governmental decrees in the provinces of Phang Nga, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ranong, and Rayong sharply curtail basic rights of migrants, including by prohibiting migrants from registering motor vehicles, owning mobile phones, or being outside their work or living premises after designated curfew hours. […]

6 Marzo 2010 - Posted by | Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Politics, Thailand

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