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BP: More tribes people to be absor

May 25, 1998



              More tribes people
              to be absorbed

              Plan to offer alien status to 300,000 

              Supamart Kasem 

              The Interior Ministry plans to grant alien status to around
              300,000 tribes people who have lived for years in four northern
              provinces in an attempt to prevent national security problems.

              They will later be given Thai citizenship.

              H'mong, Yao, Muser, Lisu and Ekaw tribes people in Chiang
              Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak and Kanchanaburi will benefit.

              About 200 officials, including provincial governors, district
              officers, kamnans and tambon administrators last week attended
              a two-day seminar in Tak province and received guidelines on
              how to carry out the plan. The seminar was chaired by Interior
              deputy permanent secretary Damri Wattanasingha.

              An official said most hilltribe people in the four provinces had
              migrated from Laos, Burma and China and been in Thailand for
              over 20 years. They had helped destroy the forest with their
              shifting cultivation, grown opium, and destroyed the environment.

              Those entitled to alien status must have lived in one place in one
              of the four provinces for more than 10 years or lived elsewhere
              in Thailand for at least 15 years as of October 1995.

              The official said a deadline would be given before which tribes
              people would have to apply. It would cost them 100 baht. Those
              applying after the deadline would have to pay about 52,000

              After achieving alien status, to become Thais they have to show
              they are permanently settled in one place, have jobs, and can
              speak, read and write Thai. Their offspring will automatically gain
              Thai citizenship. 

              The Interior Ministry plans to give alien status to 20,000 tribes
              people in Tak and to about the same number in Kanchanaburi
              this year. The remaining 260,000 tribes people will come under
              the programme in subsequent years.


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Last Modified: Mon, May 25, 1998