Thailand Migrant Workers’ Rights to Vote (2020)

  • As of August 2019, Myanmar population’s is 54,768,641 people according to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population department issued on 1st August 2019. Myanmar has 37.4 million eligible voters as stated by the UEC on 18 December 2019. This also included 4 million of eligible voters overseas.
  • The majority of Myanmar migrants living in Thailand lost the opportunity to vote in the 2015 election because they did not have access to information about voting in advance. Only 600 Myanmar migrant workers cast advance votes in Thailand in the 2015 election.
  • The Thai government has tried to eliminate illegal migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. Between 2017-2018, they arranged for all illegal migrant workers to register that they were working in Thailand. All Myanmar migrant workers who received a passport also had a work permit to work legally in late 2018. This meant that they were eligible to vote in the 2020 election. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1.5 million migrant workers lost the chance to vote.
  • Therefore, CAFFE Project Team travelled to Thailand and have meeting with migrant workers and encouraged them to vote in the advance voting in Bangkok Embassy. Among 1.5 Million of migrant workers in Thailand, only 39000 of them registered for advance voting.  This is a very little numbers of voters.

Hence, CAFFE Project has founded in its interviews with them that they have many difficulties in casting their votes.  Based on the consultations with migrant workers, the Project Team produced a report in a name of “Forgotten Citizens”.

(See migrant workers’ advance voting report: Forgotten Citizens, link to RESOURCES)



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