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Rights for Cambodian migrant workers

Thai government must humanely treat Cambodian migrant workers with respect for their rights and dignity

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) – a coalition of 21 NGOs working on the promotion of Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law in Cambodia deplores the decision of the Thai junta to deport Cambodian migrants en masse and demands that their deportation is carried out in a manner which respects their human rights

Since June 1st, 2014, about 40,000 Cambodian workers in Thailand have self-deported or have been forcibly removed from the country by the military junta. ADHOC investigators have received credible witness accounts up to nine Cambodian migrants have been killed, and that beatings have occurred at the hands of the Thai armed forces.. Unfortunately, in times of crisis in Thailand Cambodians are often scapegoated. Many Cambodian workers are now stranded at the border without enough money to get them home.

In the past, the authorities have turned a blind eye to the presence of illegal immigrants in Thailand needed for booming economy. But the situation has changed and the country has experienced a decline in GDP of 2.1%1 in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous quarter.

Human Dignity is a fundamental human right as mentioned under Article 1 of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which both Thailand and Cambodia are signatories.

The Thai military violated the human rights of undocumented Cambodian migrant workers when it forcefully expelled them from the country, placing them in crowded trucks. This treatment subjected these workers to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment as prohibited by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Moreover, due to inadequate preparation and coordination between the Thai and Cambodian authorities, the migrants workers have been forced to shelter in makeshift tents at the border, and hundreds more workers continue to arrive every day. Water, food, healthcare and shelter are severely limited. .

To address and improve the situation of human rights of these Cambodian migrant workers, CHRAC calls and put forwards the following recommendations to both Thai and Cambodian governments follows:

Thai government shall create a due process for deportation of Cambodian migrant workers and ensure that Cambodian migrant workers’ right are respected and inform Cambodian Embassy and/or Consular in Thailand in relation to the arrest, detention and any necessary deportation of Cambodian migrant workers and treat them fairly and humanely.

Thai government shall promote and respect the migrant workers human rights and shall also fulfil its international human rights obligations regarding the treatment of Cambodian migrant workers as members of ASEAN.
Thai government should immediately investigate allegations of killings of Cambodians.

Cambodian government should create ad-hoc commission to monitor Cambodian migrant workers’ situation and address emergency issues faced by Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand and have a clear plan for the evacuation of Cambodian migrant workers, providing them temporary shelter, food and water.
Cambodian government should set up temporary offices to provide emergency support and assistance to Cambodian migrant workers and widely disseminate the temporary offices where Cambodian migrant workers are located and working.

ends

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