Cambodia: Thailand worker exodus tops 250,000

Expulsions began after military took power in Bangkok in late May and began crackdown on illegal immigrants.

    Cambodia: Thailand worker exodus tops 250,000
    Cambodia has accused Thailand's new military rulers of fomenting an exodus of migrant workers [AFP]

    Cambodia's prime minister says at least 250,000 of his countrymen who were migrant workers in Thailand have returned home this month under circumstances that initially violated their human rights.

    Hun Sen accused Thai authorities on Thursday of abusing their rights when the exodus began in early June, but said that after complaints from Cambodian authorities, they were treated in a more humane way.

    The Cambodians returned home after the military took power in Thailand in late May and announced a crackdown on illegal immigrants and those employing them.

    The belief spread that all migrant workers, legal and illegal, were at risk of arrest, and rumours circulated that some were beaten or even shot by Thai soldiers.

    The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 21 non-government organisations, earlier this month posted an open letter deploring the way the migrants were being treated.

    It accused the Thai military of "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment" towards the workers.

    Activists said the workers had been forced out of the country, but Thailand denied the accusation.

    Thai authorities then sought to quell concerns about a crackdown, adding that they had plans to systematise migrant labour.

    Both countries are now seeking the migrants' return to Thailand, which has a shortage of low-wage workers.

    Cambodians, working both legally and illegally, fill low-paying and undesirable jobs shunned by most Thais, as do migrants from Thailand's other poor neighbours, especially Myanmar.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.