Follow Us:

Birth and Citizenship Registration

© UNESCO / V. Achilles

Lack of birth registration is creating an ever increasing number of stateless persons. Without legal status, ethnic minority people are considered “illegal aliens” in their own country. They are subject to arrest, deportation, extortion and other forms of abuse. They are denied basic rights, including education, health services, land ownership, the right to register marriage, political participation, freedom of travel and to find legitimate employment outside of their immediate area 

Under international law, every child is entitled to a birth certificate. Without a birth certificate, the child often has no recognized legal existence. In Thailand, however, citizenship for highland populations is an acquired status, which is obtained only through a highly scrutinized and complicated process. The Ministry of Interior estimated (2005) that nearly fifty per cent of the estimated 1 million highland minority people are unregistered for citizenship, permanent residency or any other legal status categories. 

UNESCO has worked closely with the Mae Hong Son Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) and the NGO Fight Against Child Exploitation (FACE)  to organize trainings for government officials and community leaders on the importance and process of birth registration. The curriculum explores the intricate details and complexities of Thai legislation. Two trainings were organized respectively in 2010 and 2011.  The partners are now working with the civil registration offices in Muang and Pang Ma Pa district to process pending requests for registration.