(Bangkok, 25 September 2020) In a development welcomed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, thousands of undocumented stateless students across Thailand will have the opportunity to access health services through the country’s national healthcare system, including disease prevention, medical treatment and rehabilitation.
On 22 September 2020 the Thai Cabinet approved the inclusion of the first group of over 3,000 students who have been screened and hold an eligible ID number in the National Healthcare Fund for Persons with Legal Status Problems. This will allow these students to access government health facilities, by supporting the cost of health services they could otherwise not afford.
The National Healthcare Fund for Persons with Legal Status Problems was approved by the Thai Cabinet in 2010, following Thailand’s adoption in 2005 of a progressive nationality strategy to address statelessness. Inclusion of undocumented stateless students in the Fund was approved in principle in 2015.
“Thailand continues to take positive steps to identify and address challenges faced by stateless persons in accessing some of their basic rights,” said Mr. Giuseppe De Vincentiis, UNHCR’s Representative in Thailand.
“This approval represents the Royal Thai Government’s continued efforts to include marginalized and vulnerable groups such as stateless persons in its national healthcare system, which is now more crucial than ever in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This development is also in line with the pledge to enhance social protection for stateless persons made by the Royal Thai Government in October 2019 at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness convened by UNHCR in Geneva, marking the mid-point of the #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness.
Thailand has demonstrated strong commitment to and been a regional leader in taking action to prevent and reduce statelessness and protect the rights of stateless persons. Following important reforms to Thailand’s nationality and civil registration laws, over 100,000 registered stateless persons have acquired Thai nationality since 2008.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
+66 822 908 831