6 June 2024

The administrator of a foundation in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai, which is providing temporary shelter to 18 of 126 undocumented Myanmar children from a school in Ang Thong province, said the children will be given the choice of being sent back to Myanmar or continuing their studies in Thailand.

A school close to the foundation’s office has agreed to accept the children, if they want to study there, said the official.

The children, aged from 7 to 13, were studying at Grade 1 and Grade 2 of primary education at the Thai Rath Witthaya School, in Pa Moke district of Ang Thong, before they were forced to leave and sent to five shelters in Chiang Rai to awaitrepatriation, after they were found to be illegal immigrants.

The official said one of the 18 is a stateless child from Mae Salong in Mae Fah Luang district in Chiang Rai, adding that the parents of only one child, living in Myanmar, could be contacted.

The official voiced his opposition to repatriating all 126 children, saying that they were in trouble and sought refuge in Thailand.

He said that there were numerous schools in Myanmar, but most of have closed due to the unrest, adding that many Myanmar children are attending schools in Thailand, because their parents want them to get an education so they can have a better future.