INTERVIEW WITH AN IDC DEPORTEE

Pages

You are here

INTERVIEW WITH AN IDC DEPORTEE

Published date:
Tuesday, September 27, 1994

Thailand’s Immigration Detention Centres (IDC's) have become internationally notorious for squalid conditions and robbery, rape, and beatings by Thai police guards. They are built like high-security prisons: concrete cells, heavy bars, and armed guards. But the people in these cells are not dangerous criminals - they are mostly economic and political refugees from neighbouring countries and as, the following account shows, young children. This is the true underbelly of Thailand's "constructive engagement" policy with SLORC. Any refugee at any age who is caught outside of a refugee camp can end up here, whether a Karen farmer who fled being taken as a SLORC porter, a pro-democracy Burmese student who fled to Thailand after the 1988 massacres, a Shan girl was lured into Thailand by a brothel procurer's promise of a good job only to end up a brothel slave, or a labourer who fled Burma’s ruined economy seeking a better chance in Thailand's "economic miracle". Thai police put all such people in IDC cells until they can be deported back into the hands of SLORC. If SLORC gets them, they are usually put in another cell until they either pay a heavy bribe or are sent to be frontline porters and human minesweepers for the military.