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[AHRC Forwarded Statement] THAILAND: Rights groups to take case of … to hospital bed to Labour Ministry demanding urgent systems

review 07.02.11 12:40

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We wish to share with you the following joint statement
from Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), State
Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC),
Council of Work and Environment Related Patient’s
Network of Thailand (WEPT) and Human Rights and
Development Foundation (HRDF).

Asian Human Rights Commission


Hong Kong

-------------
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-FST-008-2011
February 7, 2011

A Joint Statement from Thai Labour Solidarity


Committee (TLSC), State Enterprise Workers
Relations Confederation (SERC), Council of Work
and Environment Related Patient’s Network of
Thailand (WEPT) and Human Rights and the
Development Foundation (HRDF) forwarded by
the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND: Rights groups to take case


of Myanmar migrant work accident
Victim chained to hospital bed to
Labour Ministry demanding urgent
systems review
For Immediate Release: 6th February 2011
Rights Groups to Take Case of Myanmar Migrant
Work Accident Victim Chained to Hospital Bed to
Labour Ministry Demanding Urgent Systems
Review

For more information on this statement, please


contact:

Mr. Chalee Loysong (President, TLSC): +66


89 030 9178 (Thai)

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[AHRC Forwarded Statement] THAILAND: Rights groups to take case of … to hospital bed to Labour Ministry demanding urgent systems review 07.02.11 12:40

Ms. Somboon Sikhamdokkae (President,


WEPT): + 66 81 813 2898 (Thai)
Mr. Sawit Keawan (General Secretary,
SERC): +66 863 361110 (Thai)
Mr. Andy Hall (Advisor, HRDF): +66 846
119209 (English)
Mr. Hsein Htay (Fieldworker, HRDF): +66
830 139736 (Burmese)

Mr. Charlie Tiyu, a migrant worker from Myanmar


who was illegally chained to his bed whilst
receiving treatment for a work-related injury last
week, is being supported by Thai rights groups
tomorrow (7th Feb 2011) to demand
compensation from the Social Security Office’s
(SSO) Workmen’s Compensation Fund (WCF).
After a campaign by the Human Rights and
Development Foundation (HRDF), the
Immigration Bureau ordered Charlie unchained
on 4th Feb 2011 but he remains under custody in
the Police General Hospital in Bangkok.

The Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), State


Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC),
Council of Work and Environment Related Patient’s
Network of Thailand (WEPT) and HRDF will tomorrow
meet with the Minister of Labour in Bangkok to point
out systematic failures by the Royal Thai Government
(RTG) in effectively dealing with migrant work related
accidents. Evidence suggests injured migrants like
Charlie continue to be deported from Thailand in
gravely ill conditions whilst very little coordination is
undertaken to ensure hospitals are paid for treatment
expenses for these workers. Rights groups are
advocating using Charlie’s case since many migrants
who suffer work related injuries and disabilities
continue to be barred from the WCF and are
abandoned by their employers. Rights groups will
demand the WCF cover treatment costs and
compensation for Charlie despite RTG’s discriminatory
policy denying migrant access to the WCF.

Charlie Tiyu, a 28 year old migrant worker from


Myanmar, was severely injured at work on 9th January
2011. He was working as a bricklayer and an employee
of the SNU Supply Company. SNU is hired to expand a
building in Tambon Kukot in Pathum Thani Province.
During his work, a concrete wall crumbled and landed
on his torso causing him to break his left hip and suffer
severe injuries of internal organs including a fractured
large intestine and bruised urinary bladder. During
treatment at Pathum Thani hospital, Charlie was
arrested and transferred into the custody of the
Immigration Bureau on 31st January 2011. Pathum

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[AHRC Forwarded Statement] THAILAND: Rights groups to take case of … to hospital bed to Labour Ministry demanding urgent systems review 07.02.11 12:40

Thani hospital reported his case to the police as Charlie


could not pay his hospital costs and they said his work
permit expired on 20th January 2011. He was detained
at the Immigration Bureau pending deportation to
Myanmar in a very sick state. Following a complaint
from HRDF, Charlie was transferred to the Police
General Hospital in Central Bangkok to receive
treatment from 1st February 2011.

During his first four days at the Police General Hospital,


Charlie was chained to his bed. HRDF reported his case
to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and
the Royal Thai Police (RTP) claiming that putting
shackles on a sick patient who could not walk and was
already imprisoned in a cell was in breach of the
Immigration Bureau’s own regulation, a human rights
violation and in complete disrespect of human dignity.
Eventually, the Immigration Bureau ordered Charlie
unchained on 4th February 2011 but he remains in
custody. Charlie is concerned with the extension of his
work permit which expired on 20th January 2011 whilst
he was receiving treatment. HRDF is preparing to
demand accident compensation for him in accordance
with the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1994.

According to a senior Ministry of Labour official


interviewed on Thai PBS on 4th February 2011, an
extension for all migrants whose work permits expired
on 20th January 2011 has now been allowed and MoL
officials will urgently ensure Charlie’s work permit is
renewed. Charlie’s work permit expired on 20th
January 2011 simply due to his extraordinary
circumstances, the official said.

Though Charlie has now been unchained, the overall


system to manage migrant workers in Thailand remains
intact. This migrant worker management system
continues to cause grave concern amongst human
rights and labour organizations. Occupational injuries
are a common phenomenon for migrant workers who
can be subject to deportation following such accidents
and are frequently abandoned by their employers.
Migrant access to the WCF is forbidden because of a
RTG policy which says employers must respond to pay
compensation and medical fees instead but these same
employers often flee or fail to respond adequately.
With no attempt by the RTG to address this problem,
hospitals often cannot receive payment to cover work
accident treatment. Despite 4 years of complaints by
the NHRC, International Labour Organization (ILO) and
the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of
Migrants, WCF access for migrants in Thailand
continues to be denied.

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[AHRC Forwarded Statement] THAILAND: Rights groups to take case of … to hospital bed to Labour Ministry demanding urgent systems review 07.02.11 12:40

As Charlie’s case shows, migrant workers are denied


the right to medical treatment costs for work related
accidents from the WCF and since the migrant health
insurance scheme likewise excludes treatment costs for
work related accidents, hospitals become hesitant to
provide treatment to migrants through fear that they
cannot recoup the costs. That Charlie remains in
custody and was chained up, despite his serious
injuries, is also symbolic of how management of
migrant workers in Thailand, including systems relating
to public health, immigration, labour protection and the
operation of some law enforcement officers is not in
compliance with the law and principles of human rights.
Migrant workers continue to be systematically denied
respect for their human dignity.

###

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is


a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring
and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong
Kong-based group was founded in 1984. The above
statement has only been forwarded by the AHRC.

Posted on 2011-02-07
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