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Hilltribe Face Deportation
ID Cards and Deportations
Hilltribe Face Deportation In Thousands
Planned arrests delayed
More time needed to separate the illegals
Yuwadee Tunyasiri Pornsith Pibulnakarintr
Plans to arrest and deport hundreds of thousands of hilltribe people have been postponed until Aug 29 next year pending a decision on which of them should be naturalised.
The tribespeople, mostly from Laos and Burma, fled fighting in their home countries years ago. They were
The previous Chuan Leekpai government resolved on Aug 29 last year to naturalise hilltribe people who came to Thailand before Oct 3, 1975, or who were born in Thailand before Dec 26, 1972.
Their children born in Thailand before Feb 26, 1992, were also entitled to Thai nationality, it was decided.
Naturalisation was aimed at separating these refugees from hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from
The Chuan cabinet gave the Interior Ministry one year to make a survey and decide who was eligible.
The survey was still not complete, deputy government spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang said yesterday. Therefore the screening panel, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, had agreed to extend their stay until Aug 29 next year.
Mr Kuthep said Deputy Agriculture Minister Praphat Panyachartrak, who oversees the Northern Farmers
It was very difficult to distinguish the tribespeople from illegal immigrants.
Thorough checks were needed to ensure illegal aliens could not slip onto the waiting-list, he said.
Mee Ju Mallagu and Vivat Tamee have represented the hilltribe people in petitioning the government for a
Mr Vivat said about 400,000 of the more than 800,000 highlanders had already been naturalised.
The Aug 29 cabinet resolution last year made only 188,931 entitled to Thai nationality, but the actual number
Up to 250,000 people could be deported, he said.
``These people have nowhere to go. They deserve basic citizens' rights as Thais,'' Mr Vivat said.
Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation