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Opening “Photo exhibition “Born in Limbo” by John Hulme
8 September, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Thailand is home to an estimated 3 million migrants of whom about 400,000 are thought to be children. As migration flows increase and so does the length of their stay, the number of migrant children born in Thailand also augments. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) over 1,300 births have been registered since the opening of a legal clinic at Mae Sot Hospital in April 2016 to provide birth registration, needs assessment and case planning for non-Thai children. Most of these children have parents from Myanmar, but neither Myanmar nor the Thai State grants them citizenship so they are legally in a limbo in between countries. In turn, statelessness restricts their access to education, health and social protection, exposes them to exploitation and limits their opportunities.
To foster greater awareness of the conditions of Myanmar migrant children in Thailand, The World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) and SEA Junction propose two interrelated activities consisting of a panel discussion and a photographic exhibition, both entitled “Born in Limbo”. On 26 August at 5PM, we will conduct a public dialogue to discuss issues and concerns as well as possible resolution to impending challenges affecting Myanmar migrant children in Thailand. The objective is to provide a platform for exchange of ideas among experts, members of the academia, CSOs, GOs, as well as the Myanmar economic migrants themselves who are currently living in Thailand. To facilitate communication Thai-Burmese-English translation will be provided.
After a brief introduction of WVFT’s activities in this area by project manager Julius C. Verdadero, discussion will be stimulated by a panel consisting of:
- Surapong Kongchantuk, legal and human expert and Member of Thai PBS Board of Governors
- Chuvong Seangkong, WVFT, Partnering and Resource Acquisition for Migrants
- Ellene Sana, Executive Director & Board of Director Secretary
A photo exhibition with the same theme will be held on 4-9 September from 11AM to 7PM and officially opened on 8 September at 6PM to illustrate the realities of birth and childhood in Thailand among migrants from Myanmar. The photographs have been taken this month by documentary photographer John Hulme in Mae Sot and Chumphon, both areas with high concentration of migrants. Few of his previous photographs on the same issue in the localities will also be exposed to show that contrary to general opinion for many migration is not a temporary solution.
The planned events complement the “International Conference on Birth Registration, Health and Social Issues of Myanmar Migrants in Thailand” which will be held at Mahidol Campus on 23-25 Augustus and are part of a comprehensive program entitled “Empowering Civil Society Organizations for the Protection of Migrant Children (ECPMC”, which is undertaken by WVFT with a grant of the European Union. The program, as well as the related events, aim to strengthen NGO’s capacity to ensure that migrant children’s rights to legal identity and access to equitable development are realized.
About the Photographer
John Hulme is a documentary photographer dividing his time between South East Asia and Britain. His work has focused on documenting social issues in Europe, Thailand, Burma and India. His work has been published in books, magazines and newspapers, including AOL, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Financial Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. As an accredited photographer for the BBC and Channel Four he has been involved in the production of several documentary. Recent work includes the documentation of Burmese migrant workers, the Karen people of Burma, including their military wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and gold mining in Kachin state.
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SEA Junction, OUR Venue on Southeast Asia
SEA Junction aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions –from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium) SEA junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org and join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693055870976440/
World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)
WVFT is a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping needy children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. As a child-focused organization, WVFT takes a holistic approach to development, with a strong focus on ensuring children’s fundamental needs are met, their rights respected, fulfilled and protected. Together with the Royal Thai Government and other partners, WVFT is currently implementing child protection, child participation and advocacy activities as well as child well-being programs in all technical projects which cover 44 provinces in Thailand. For more information see http://www.worldvision.or.th/index_eng.html