Citizenship Rights

More Than 900 Hill Tribe People Are Now Thai Citizens—And That’s Just The Beginning

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND – Dozens of families waited patiently outside the rural government office, eager to begin the day they’d anticipated for so long: the day they could apply for citizenship in their own country.

The parents, grandparents and children had traveled from small villages in the surrounding mountains—one family even coming by tractor—to meet local officials newly trained on granting them this right. The officials, too, were eager to begin the day. They were finishing a three-day workshop led by IJM Thailand on the laws protecting these undocumented hill tribe people.

IJM Celebrates National Citizen Day by Honoring Hundreds Granted New Rights in Thailand

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND -- Today in the United States, we celebrate Citizenship Day. It’s a day to remember the creation of the Constitution and to celebrate the blessings of liberty that all citizens are meant to enjoy.

A group of Thai citizens recently celebrated a similar day to reflect on their new freedoms—though they have lived in Thailand for generations, many have just recently been recognized as citizens. The event was not an official national holiday, but hundreds showed up to celebrate. 

2.5 Million People in Thailand are Stateless

IJM Thailand: Citizenship Is Noi's Right, Her Family's Future

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND – Noi grew up like many girls in Northern Thailand. Her father was a farmer, and he earned just enough to provide for Noi and her brother. She studied through grade school, until her family could no longer afford to send her. Noi qualified for a scholarship, but she could not receive it. Thailand was her home, but she wasn’t considered a citizen – even though she was legally entitled to citizenship under Thai law.