Migrants fear for safety following crackdown

Mar 4, 2009 (DVB), Burmese migrants in Thailand report being concerned for their safety following Thai authorities' intense crackdowns on migrants over the past two weeks, according to a migrant activist group in Thailand.

Bangkok-based Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation says the migrants are devoid of safe places to sleep through fear they may get arrested by Thai police when they go back to their houses.

LPN also claim the Thai police officers were not following legal procedures in dealing with the detained migrants and were releasing those who agreed to pay bribes.

"There is no proper deportation procedure for the migrants who get arrested," said research coordinator at LPN, Ko Ko Aung.

Khun Patina, deputy director of LPN, said that most of the migrants were arrested from factories they were working in and freed in exchange for money.

"But then, they were left with no money at all after paying all the bribes," she added.

Ko Ko Aung also alleged that the recent activity by the Thai authorities was due to remarks made by the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that the illegal immigrant issue is a threat to national security.

He added that some female migrants carrying their newborn babies were facing difficulties keeping their children safe from harmful diseases when they went into hiding in mosquito and insect-infested scrublands.

"This is a very dangerous situation for those babies," he said.

Reporting by Thurein Soe

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