EU funds project for registering migrant children in three provinces

The Nation on 19 August 2016, by Thanapat Thongpaiwan


Photo Courtesy of The Nation

WORLD VISION Foundation of Thailand has launched a Bt38-million project for registering the birth of migrant children in the provinces of Chumphon, Ranong and Tak in a move to protect their rights.

The project, called “Empowering Civil Society Organisations for the Protection of Migrant Children” or ECPMC, is being funded by the European Union and officially kicked off in Tak’s Mae Sot district under the theme “A child registered is a child protected”.The EU has earmarked 1 million euros or Bt38 million for the project with the World Vision Foundation of Thailand as a key recipient. The foundation has a three-year period from February 2016 to January 2019 to run the campaign in Chumphon, Ranong and Tak where the number of migrant workers is high and rising.

“Migration is a key priority in the EU’s Global Strategy, and it is committed to support partner countries on migration issues. This programme will help improve the living condition of migrant children and at the same time contribute to a more sustainable development of the three provinces,” EU representative Jerome Pons said.

He revealed that the funds will be used to train civil society and community-based organisations in line with its curriculum on Community Voice and Engagement, contributed by UK’s World Vision, to empower them to make changes at the local level leading to sustainable development.

The plan is also to establish awareness among migrant workers of the importance of registering newborns.

“Children without birth registration will be denied access to fundamental rights, especially education and healthcare, and they will become stateless persons facing all forms of abuse, violence and trafficking. Hence, the civil society and community-based organisations will have to drive changes at the local level to strengthen migrants’ understanding of policies related to them and their children”, World Vision Thailand director Chitra Thumborisuth said.

“I expect at least 4,700 migrant children to be registered and 180,000 migrant workers to become aware of their rights. Community-based organisations will be able to raise awareness of the importance of |birth registration and how it can lead to sustainable development in the long run,” she added.

Improving plight of migrant children

Purituch Meekaew, a Social Development and Human Security Ministry officer in Tak province, said registered migrant children will be protected under the Children’s Right Convention and Child Protection Act. Though migrant children will not have the same rights as Thai children, they will still have full access to education and healthcare.

“This project will be beneficial to both Tak province as well as Myanmar workers,” he said.

The Tak Provincial Governor’s Office has contacted both provincial authorities and the private sector in Tak province, including district chief officers, sub-district Administrative Organisations, police, soldiers as well as related non-government organisations, to tell them to cooperate with World Vision Foundation of Thailand and its partners.

“Tak province is ready to support this project until the operation is wrapped up,” Tak’s vice governor Wasant Chamnanjui said. World Vision Foundation of Thailand is a non-profit organisation and has been operating in Thailand for 42 years in about 44 provinces.

Safe migration, anti-human trafficking and child-protection measures have been part of its work via projects such as the one awarded by the Global Fund, which ensures migrant workers have access to basic healthcare to curb the spreading of communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.