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Ethnic people’s children should get citizenship

Ethnic people’s children should get citizenship – TDRI

A social expert has proposed that the government grant Thai citizenship to children born in Thailand to ethnic parents or migrant workers, to address the declining birth rate among Thais.

Dr. Somchai Jitsuchon, research director of inclusive development at the Thailand Research Development Institute (TDRI), said that there were about 500,000 births in Thailand last year and these figures are expected to decline by about 100,000 over the next 4-5 years, because many families do not have children at all or just one child due to the financial burden.

Moreover, he noted that it has been discovered that about 60% of new parents are not ready or cannot afford to have children, adding that he doubts the government’s campaign to persuade married couples to have children will be effective.

Hence, he said he will propose the granting of Thai citizenship to children born in Thailand to parents who are in ethnic minorities or migrant workers. He estimated that there may be about a million such children already in the country.

Somchai said that the government should also develop the quality of these children, by allowing them access to education, medical care and other services, similar to Thai children, so they will have a sense of belonging and become productive.

Sivanut Soithong, of the Mirror Foundation, said that, even though the existing laws provide paths to Thai citizenship for these children, in reality there are problems in the enforcement of the laws by local administrations, resulting in many children being deprived of access to educational and medical services, as well as job opportunities.

She voiced her support for the National Security Council’s idea of “granting citizenships first”, to solve the problems faced by these children.

Such children are not currently included in the Thai census and do not have registration status. They are issued with 13-digit ID cards which begin with “0”, which are different from normal ID cards for Thai nationals.

There are, however, many children who do not have this special ID card, because they do not have official documents to prove that they were born in Thailand, though they do have access to free education up to Mathayom 3 (9th Grade).

credit PBS news

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