BY NAW MOL MOL | 5 DECEMBER 2018
Everyone in the world has differences, including skin colour, language, culture, beliefs, food etc. The only similar thing that they have is being human and having human rights. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.
In my life, I have seen a lot of discrimination occurring in front of me, but this case that I am going to tell you about is a case that I could not erase from my brain. It happened two weeks ago in Thailand at Immigration. It was the day that I went to conduct training about the dangers of human trafficking, for the migrant workers. There were almost 100 migrant workers who were waiting for the Myanmar immigration officers to pick them up. When they were waiting, I gave and shared the information about human trafficking.
When I had finished training them, fortunately, the Myanmar immigration officers had already arrived at Thai immigration. One of the Myanmar immigration officers had a conversation with the migrant workers. He saw 2 of the darker skinned people included in the migrant workers group. He asked questions like: can you speak Burmese, where are you from, what’s your name, are you a Myanmar citizen, do you have a Myanmar ID card? Two of them answered that they were from Myanmar, but they had come to work in Thailand a long time ago. They could speak, read, and write Burmese very well. They gave their address in Myanmar. He asked again, “Do you have your ID with you guys now”? They answered that they had not brought it with them, but that they had it back home.
The officer told them that if they could not prove they were Myanmar citizens, they could not go back to Myanmar. The two of them looked very sad. They said that if they could not go back there, they did not have any other place to stay because they did not have any documents to stay and work in Thailand. At that time, I was so sad to hear this happening to them, so I asked all of the migrant workers who were there, “If you do not have your Myanmar ID with you right now, please raise your hand”. All of them raised their hands. I told the Myanmar immigration officer that the others also did not have their ID with them right now. How can you know that they were all Myanmar citizens? He said, “those two men were the only two people here with darker skin, and they looked like Rohingya people”.
The Thai immigration officers tried to help the two men and advocate for them too, but they couldn’t change the Myanmar officer’s mind. They defended them and explained that if the two migrant workers couldn’t speak Burmese, they would not allow them to return to Myanmar, but they could read, write, and speak Burmese very well. Although they tried to explain, they did not achieve their end goal of assisting the two men. In the end, the two men had to cross the border illegally.
In my opinion, we shouldn’t decide who they are, judge their ethnicity, or to look only at the skin colour or their physical state. Everyone has rights, although we may be different in everything else. It doesn’t matter whether you’re poor or rich. Please stop discriminating against skin colour, because everyone has the right to be treated equally.
Posted on Wed, December 5, 2018
by Global Alms Team