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Historic release

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Two children, together with their mother and a relative were released from the immigration detention centre yesterday in a case human rights workers hope is the start of a more humanitarian policy towards migrants. 

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A stateless mother cries in delight and hugs Jan Davis, a volunteer with the Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation, after being released from the Suan Phlu immigration detention centre along with her son and daughter and a relative. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

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Historic case sees stateless kids freed

Pakawat Sunpituksaree

Two stateless children, their mother and another member of their family were released yesterday after 20 months in detention in a landmark case.

It is the first time stateless children arrested in Thailand have been allowed to go free as the country moves toward a more humanitarian policy in dealing with refugees and asylum seekers.

The four, whose names are being withheld, were released on bail from the Immigration Detention Centre and can now legally live in Thailand while awaiting resettlement in a third country.

The four were arrested in May 2010 in Chiang Mai where they had settled after they migrated from Vietnam through Laos to Thailand in June 2008.

During their detention, they were reportedly faced with relentless persecution, harassment and discrimination during endless interrogations by government officials and police.

Their release was fought for by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has launched a national campaign against the detention of children. The NHRC had appealed to the Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation and the Refugee and Stateless Persons Freedom Fund, which put up the bail for the four.

The four in from of the immigration detention centre after their release on bail. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

The family was given one million baht by Cognita, a United Kingdom-based private school group, so the children, a boy and a girl, can attend its local school before resettlement in a third country.

"We have been working together with other civil society organisations as well as national human rights commissions of our neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia to try to find some solution [to the stateless person issue]," said NHRC chairperson Amara Pongsapich.

She said contributions from civic societies and people from different countries show that many people around the world can join hands and work together for human rights.

"We strongly believe that education is the right of every child in society. With the release of this family, we want to assure their mother that we are here to assist her in developing the children's capabilities and help them lead educated lives in Thailand and hopefully when they resettle in the United States," said Annie Hansen, director of admissions and marketing of St Andrews International School, which will admit the children.

stateless – not having citizenship in any country ไร้สัญชาติ
delight - great pleasure, satisfaction or happiness ความปิติยินดี, ความสุขใจ, ความดีใจ
volunteer – someone who is not paid for the work that they do อาสาสมัคร
refugee – someone who leaves their country or living place, especially during a war or other threatening event ผู้ลี้ภัย
foundation – an organisation that provides money for things such as medical research or for a charity มูลนิธิ
release – to allow someone to go free ปล่อยตัว
immigration (bureau) – the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
detention centre – a place where people who have committed offences are kept in detention สถานกักกัน
relative – a member of your family ญาติพี่น้อง
historic –  of historical importance ที่สำคัญในประวัติศาสตร์
landmark – a major event or achievement that marks an important state in a process and makes progress possible  เหตุการณ์ที่เป็นการแสดงถึงความคืบหน้า
arrested – caught by the police and taken to a police station because you are believed to have committed a crime ถูกจับกุม
humanitarian – relating to efforts to help people who are living in very bad conditions and are suffering because of a war, flood, earthquake etc มีมนุษยธรรม
policy – a plan or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
asylum – the right to stay in a country, given by a government to protect someone who has escaped from war or political trouble in their own country การลี้ภัย
asylum seeker – a person who is trying to gain asylum in another country
bail – money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money  เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว
resettlement – the process of helping or forcing someone to move to another place to live การไปตั้งรกรากใหม่
settle – to go and live somewhere, especially permanently เข้ามาอาศัยอยู่
migrate – to move from one place to another อพยพ  
relentless – never seeming to stop ซึ่งไม่หยุด, ซึ่งไม่ยอมผ่อนผัน
persecution – unfair or cruel treatment over a long period of time because of race, religion, or political beliefs การกลั่นแกล้ง, การข่มเหง, การข่มเหงรังแก
harassment – annoying or worrying somebody by putting pressure on them or saying or doing unpleasant things to them การข่มขู่, การรบกวน, การก่อกวน
discrimination – the practice of treating someone or a particular group in society less fairly than others การเลือกปฏิบัติ, การแบ่งแยก
interrogation – asking someone a lot of questions in order to get information การสอบถาม, การซักถาม
human rights – the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think สิทธิมนุษยชน
commission – an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government  คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
campaign – a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์
appeal – to make an urgent request for people to do something or behave in a particular way ร้องขอ
fund – money provided for something เงินทุน กองทุน
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
civil – non-government พลเรือน
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
contribution – a sum of money, supplies, etc. that is given to a person or an organisation in order to help pay for something การบริจาค
assure – to tell someone that something is true or will definitely happen ให้ความมั่นใจ, ยืนยัน
capability – the ability to do something ความสามารถ
admit – to allow somebody to become a member of a school, a club or an organisation ให้สิทธิเข้าได้

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