A TOTAL of 342 children and young people of Karen ethnicity in Kanchanaburi have finally become Thai citizens – a long-awaited wish fulfilled yesterday.
Deputy provincial governor Bowornsak Wanich presented the group their first Thai national identity cards, which come with entitlement to rights and duties as well as access to healthcare and higher education, after officials confirmed their qualifications as part of the Department Of Provincial Administration’s project to provide nationality to “stateless people”.
During the ceremony at a local administrative meeting hall in Thong Pha Phoom district, the youths also enthusiastically promised to be good Thai citizens.
Twenty-five-year-old Norlae Pavipornkul, who was born to Karen parents in Thong Pha Phum, who graduated with a bachelors degree from Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University and currently works at a private company, said: “I’m so happy to finally get nationality after years of waiting.”
According to Bowornsak, the project was implemented in all districts of the western border province to provide Thai citizenship to eligible people, most of whom participated in “The Students under the Patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Project” scheme or students at schools under the Office of Basic Education Commission.
The nationality project is collecting requests from applicants who were born in Thailand and already have a 13-digit document as well as a “Thor Ror 13” housing registration document, before conducting inquiries to verify information and have Thai ID cards issued.
The project in Thong Pha Phum received 1,459 applications from 2015 until yesterday and officials have completed inquiries for 1,092 cases – 971 of whom had already received Thai citizenship. The 342 children and youths at yesterday’s ceremony were the third batch of successful candidates.