Insight Into Thailand’s Burmese Refugees [Season 3, Episode 34]

2018-11-14T08:11:58+00:00

Anyone familiar with Southeast Asia knows how complicated the issue of refugees is. Thailand, as the wealthiest country in the region, plays an important role in this.

To gain some insight into things, Ed interviews Ploy Singthainiyom, an expert on refugees in Thailand. Ploy explains that she has worked in Bangkok, northern Thailand, and the United States on various refugee issues, focusing on Burmese refugees from the Karen minority who have fled into Thailand and live in camps near the border. She explains how the issue of paperwork, citizenship, and even formal recognition as refugees is not as clear cut as you may think, which leaves refugees in a kind of limbo with limited options. Indeed, most are not permitted to enter Thailand proper, but also do not want to return to Burma, which leaves the long and daunting road of applying for refugee status in a third country, such as the United States, their only viable option.

Ploy talks about this long process and discusses some of the current problems facing the Thai government in addressing this complex problem.

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