Thai opposition urges aid for Myanmar nationals fleeing conscription
Thai opposition urges aid for Myanmar nationals fleeing conscriptionLegacy

The Thai government is being urged by opposition MP, Kannavee Suebsang, to extend humanitarian aid to Myanmar nationals escaping mandatory military service in their homeland. Kannavee, who represents the FAIR Party, highlighted that Myanmar’s military junta has recently paused the export of labourers to Thailand, with a usual daily influx of 700-800 workers now absent.

Kannavee voiced his uncertainty regarding whether Myanmar’s internal turmoil has any connection with the migrant worker situation. However, he expressed grave concern over the potential consequences if Thailand were to repatriate the refugees.

“Myanmar citizens are fleeing to Thailand in large numbers. They are not sneaking in illegally. But they are escaping death. They escape being forced to go to the battlefields to face death or kill other people. They are escaping from military conscription.”

In response to this growing crisis, Kannavee underscored the need for a six-month contingency plan from the Thai government. He proposed that Myanmar nationals seeking refuge in Thailand be temporarily employed to fill the labour gaps caused by the suspension of the Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs), reported Bangkok Post.

Despite the plea for compassion, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin previously cautioned that any Myanmar nationals entering Thailand illegally would be subjected to legal repercussions. This warning came amid a significant increase in visa applications from Myanmar, following the junta’s announcement of plans to implement conscription in April.

In Phop Phra district, Tak, a joint operation between soldiers and local officials led to the arrest of 18 Myanmar nationals discovered concealed in a pick-up truck, having entered Thailand illegally. Two Thai nationals were also apprehended for aiding the illegal immigrants. Security sources confirm that arrests for illegal entry by Myanmar nationals occur daily.

According to a report by Reuters, Myanmar’s junta intends to enforce mandatory service from April, with the requirement also extended to retired security personnel, as the army grapples with a mounting anti-junta insurgency. Last Saturday, the junta announced that a law governing mandatory military service, introduced in 2010 but never enforced, would be implemented for men aged 18 to 35, and women aged 18 to 27, for a duration of up to two years, beginning in April.

The story Thai opposition urges aid for Myanmar nationals fleeing conscription as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Mitch Connor