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A Case Study of the Burmese-Thai Border  
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Supported by the International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada, “Gender, Cross-border Migrants Workers and Citizenship: A Case Study of the Burmese-Thai Border” is an action research project which is implemented by Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand and University of Leeds, UK. The project explores a number of issues concerning Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, focusing especially on their working condition and rights. The project also investigates the underlying drivers in both Thailand and Burma which have lead to the establishment of new industries and new workers in these border areas. This involves understanding the policies of the Thai government related to industrial decentralization, as well as those concerning citizenship and registration of foreign worker. These issues also need to be understood in the context not just of local and national policies, but also to the changing dynamics of the regional and the global economy.

Gender analysis is a central tool of this research because the majority of the workers in Thailand’s border factories are women who, as in other countries, suffer from discrimination and subordination, which means that the entitlements and rights of women and men are not in balance. Thus, looking at any issue through the lens of gender, the linkages between what happens in the factory, and outside the factory - at home and in the community - both in Burma and in Thailand will clearly be seen. The research is also concerned with issues of nationality and citizenship, not just of migrant workers but also of their children, both those who migrate with their parents and those who are born in Thailand.


Art Exhibition and Seminar

at Pridi Banomyong Institute, Soi Thonglor Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok (15-28 February 2010)

On February 15th, a seminar and art exhibition held at the Pridi Banhomyong Institute explored the state of being of migrant workers in Thailand and globally. The title, “Illegal, Temporary and Precarious States of Being- Migration” already hinted at the frustration experienced by migrant workers and social activists at the current policies on migration. The threat of mass expulsion of all migrants who have not entered the Nationality Verification system by February 28th 2010 was frequently referred to during the seminar as a major cause of concern.

The seminar was opened by Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, vice president of Asian Institute of Technology, Ms. Navsharan Singh of IDRC Canada and Mr. Katsumi Kakazu of the Japan Foundation.

The key note speech was delivered by Dr Lae Dilokvidhyarat, Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University who explored the concept of “ the other” , a concept created alongside the  nation states. “ Alien is a new concept, previously people from other place were called “people with different language” , he explained. Dr Lae also pointed out that the the cycle of exploitation is difficult to break in our current economic system. Investors, businesspeople and employers work for profit. They want labour as cheap and compliant as it comes, and undocumented migrants without rights fit the bill.  As he stated, “we normally say human resources, but workers are not resources. They are human”.


Photo Gallery

at Art Ehibition



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Press Release

Exhibition Catalogue

Burmese Version


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