Burmese refugees in Thailand
Exile and extortion
For more than half a century thousands of human beings have been forced to abandon their homes and villages to save their lives and escape the oppression and ethnic cleansing that is being carried out by the military dictatorship in Myanmar (previously Burma). The majority of these people seek refuge in the neighboring country of Thailand, a country that is open to tourism from the Western World and which projects an idyllic image of paradise. However it is also a country where extreme racism has lurked for centuries, including labour exploitation, human trafficking and unpunished murderers. The passive attitude of the Thai authorities with regard to extortion turns these refugees into citizens without rights, even more vulnerable due to their status as “illegal aliens” who are refused residence papers or a passport.
The refugees coming from Myanmar, turned into second-class citizens, have suffered xenophobic treatment and a lack of sensitivity on the part of the Thais for more than four decades of cruel exile.