Press Releases : Clarifications on Recent return of Cambodian workers from Thailand And Thailand’s Policy on Management of Foreign Workers Media Center

Press Releases : Clarifications on Recent return of Cambodian workers from Thailand And Thailand’s Policy on Management of Foreign Workers

On 13 June 2014, Mr. Sek Wannamethee, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, denied as groundless news reports based on rumours that the Thai Military had run a national crackdown on Cambodian workers regardless of their status and forcibly repatriated them to their homeland, pursuant to a recent order by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), resulting in several ten thousands of Cambodian workers fleeing Thailand and allegations of them being mistreated with some possibly injured or killed by Thai authorities. 

The Spokesperson reassured that, after verification with relevant Thai authorities, including local authorities in Sa Kaeo and Trat provinces, no crackdown order targeting Cambodian workers had been issued by the NCPO. The rumour which was spread by unknown sources had caused panic among both Cambodian workers as well as Thai employers.  Consequently, a number of Cambodian illegal workers have reported themselves to the Thai authorities for being repatriated voluntarily to Cambodia.  To facilitate the voluntary return of a large number of illegal Cambodian workers, Sa Kaeo Immigration Office in cooperation with the local military units has provided transportation for them.  No use of force or killings had taken place as alleged in the rumours and news reports based on those vague and groundless rumours.

Local authorities have also indicated that, based on interviews collected from Cambodian workers, the main reasons behind such recent high number of outflow include (1) workers returning to work in the rice farm as it is the beginning of the planting season; (2) workers returning home as their 4 year-employment contracts had been completed; (3) workers fleeing because of fear due to rumours of mass arrests and deportations by Thai authorities, and (4) calls by their families  in Cambodia for them to return home due to concerns because of the rumours.

It should be noted that Thai authorities attach great importance to migrant workers from neighbouring countries as they not only help to contribute to Thailand’s economy, but also because of the close historical and friendly ties between the Governments and peoples of Thailand and those countries.

On 14 June 2014, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Chief of Defense Forces & Deputy Head of the National Council for Peace and Order chaired the meeting of the Policy Committee on Foreign Workers. He reaffirmed that implementation of the policy of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order on the management of foreign workers is in accordance with international standards, humane and done in cooperation with Thailand's neighboring countries

A policy of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order has been the integration of work for greater efficiency. Thailand will integrate the work and approaches of the seven relevant line ministries and agencies so that they will now work together with regard to management of foreign workers as one using the same principles.

In the initial phase, Thailand reaffirms to continue work on forced labour, child labour or any activity that leads to human trafficking. We will seriously enforce and enact laws and regulations to control and intercept unlawful activities in line with international standards. On other matters, we are considering appropriate and just measures, which will later be introduced. In the meantime, business operators are requested to control and look after their workers in an orderly and appropriate manner. As for pending cases or cases of corruption, all involved parties, whether officials and/ or agents, will be seriously dealt with. Pending cases will be expedited for immediate results.   

Measures in the bigger picture will be introduced gradually, and in accordance with international standards and humanitarian principles. In this connection, there is no cause for alarm. The measures regarding foreign workers management introduced will be reasonable and well suited to reality and everyday life. Importantly, the measures will be beneficial to the country, its economic system, and good for business operators and workers alike, both of whom will be treated with fairness leading to national stability and long term development.