Surge in Arrests of Youth Fleeing to Thailand to Evade Military Draft

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March 25, 2024

The number of people fleeing Thailand to evade conscription and also the number arrested for not been able to produce the proper documentation.

Since the enforcement of the conscription law by the current Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on February 10, which was initially enacted during the reign of former military dictator U Than Shwe but remained dormant, numerous young individuals have been departing for foreign nations using various means available to them.

Among them, many Myanmar nationals attempting to enter neighboring Thailand illegally are being continuously arrested in Kanchanaburi and Tak provinces, bordering Myawaddy and Payathonzu (Three Pagodas Pass), as well as in the Kawthaung-Ranong border areas.

There has also been a massive queues of Myanmar youths who can afford migration expenses seeking legal entry into Thailand, lining up at the Thai embassy in Yangon usually at least 1,000 every day. Faced by an overwhelming number of visa applicants, the embassy as tried to reduce the queues outside by accepting a limited number of online and in-person applications.

According to a report from the Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP-Myanmar), an independent research organization, the exodus of young people abroad as a result of the conscription law could adversely affect the country’s developmental prospects for generations to come.

U Aung Kyaw, a migrant assistance worker, informed Than Lwin Times that individuals aged 18 and above, are resorting to various methods to enter Thailand, driven by their fear of the conscription law.

“We’ve noticed an increase in arrests reported in Thai news, though it is very difficult to determine the exact figures, as some incidents go unreported. There are cases where individuals are deported back to Myanmar. It is evident that due to the unjust conscription of military service by the Junta, young people over 18 in Myanmar are fleeing to Thailand daily”, he said.

On March 22, Thai authorities apprehended 17 Myanmar nationals for illegal entry into Thailand via Payathonzu town on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

Similarly, on March 19, Thai police and border guards arrested over 100 undocumented Myanmar nationals attempting to enter Kanchanaburi through various routes and checkpoints in the town.

U Aung Kyaw added that following interrogations by Thai immigration authorities, undocumented Myanmar citizens are typically repatriated to Myanmar with an assurance that they will not attempt reentry into Thailand.

He urged the Thai government to provide accommodation, employment opportunities, and humanitarian aid to Myanmar youths who risked seeking refuge in Thailand to avoid the conscription law.

News: (Than Lwin Times)
Photo: Twitter

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