Did you know that there are still refugee camps on the border between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma)? It’s quite a while since we read anything in the news, at least in Sweden, about the situation in Myanmar. The camp opened in the 80s and there’s more than 100 000 people living there today.
A refugee that lives in a camp aren’t allowed to leave the camp area. Thailand never singed the Refugee Convention, and they have no laws protecting, or even recognizing, refugees. All refugees, even the once recognized by the UN, enter Thailand illegally and are seen as illegal immigrants. If found outside the camps (like in Bangkok where at least 3000 refugees live hidden) they’re put in the Immigration Detention Center (men, women and children all alike) or are deported.
In the refugee camps the children get schooling through NGO’s and maybe former teachers also living in the camps. When they get out of the camps, either as a resettled refugee in a third country or returning to their home, they have no proof of education. Resettling takes years, waiting to return to Myanmar could take even longer.
The refugees that are living hidden in urban settings don’t have access to schools or health care. They risk deportation or ending up in the Immigration Detention Center every time they go outside. Adults have to take illicit work because they need to feed their families. They’re taken advantage off by employers, by the system, by corrupt police officers taking bribes.
I just want you to know this. Maybe education and information could change people’s view on the world, because what’s happening now is scary. People are barely surviving and in Sweden people are talking about refugees as if they came to Sweden to get their teeth fixed for 50 SEK.