Strangers in a familiar land | Bangkok Post: news

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Strangers in a familiar land

Born in Myanmar and registered as 'Siamese', a small minority of migrants with roots in Thailand that go back generations have tried with little success to return and reconnect with the Kingdom, only to come up against a bureaucratic wall

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Forty-nine year old Prayoon Srisuwan lives in limbo: considered Thai and refused ID papers by the country of her birth; denied citizenship in the country she and her ancestors have always considered their motherland. 

THAI TIES: Ethnic Thais gathered at Wat Thungput to listen to Senator Thanom Songserm, chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, Rights and Liberties and Consumer Protection.

Mrs Prayoon was born in Myeik city, in the Tanintharyi region of Myanmar, and is among 18,000 ethnic Thais from the city who remain stateless. The Tanintharyi region was part of Siam until the Myanmar invasion of 1765 and a sizeable community of ethnic Thais remains there. Authorities in Myanmar designate members of this ethnic group as "Siamese", denying them Myanmar citizenship, a situation that effectively renders them stateless.

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