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Exiled Thais still without papers despite court judgement

A group of formerly exiled Thai people in Tak gathered at Mae Sot District Office on Thursday to request authorities speed up registration of their citizenship, which was recognised by the Administrative Court in September. A group leader, Ta Dhammajai, said the people have waited a very long time to be officially registered as Thai citizen. The Administrative Court on September 14 ruled that all 351 exiled Thai people and all of their offspring are to be given Thai citizenship.

The local authorities had not yet issued them ID cards, or added their names to the housing registry. Ta said the gathering was organised to ask authorities about their progress in registering them, and to request them to speed up the process.

Mae Sot District assistant district officer Theeranan Chaimanan said that the local authorities have already acknowledged the Administrative Court verdict, but are awaiting an order from the Provincial Administration Department to register them as new Thai citizenship.

Surapong Kongchantuk, who heads a working group of the lawyer’s council to aid in the cases of exiled Thai people, said he is concern over the delay in returning Thai citizenship to this group. The delay is causing them to lose many citizenship rights, including education, employment, health care and welfare.

The group members are ethnic Thai people who had settled in an area that later became a part of Myanmar. After the border was redrawn they were considered Myanmar citizens, and lost recognition of their Thai citizenship even after moving back to Thailand.

The Nation 

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