IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Over the Border and Under the Radar: Should Illegal Migrants Be Active Citizens?

  • Matthew Clarke
Registered author(s):

    Active citizens can become a powerful driver of development by holding to popular account those that traditionally hold decision-making power at the local and national levels. Active citizenship draws from a long history of understanding the importance of community participation and ownership of development interventions. However, in spite of its inherent strengths, active citizenship may not be a possible (or optimal) outcome in all circumstances. This paper argues for the realistic expectation of active citizenship (and indeed participation) of one specific sub-population within Thailand. Estimates of the number of illegal migrants within Thailand vary from 800,000 to 1.5 million. The overwhelming majority of these migrants are Burmese, seeking to escape the political regime in Burma and improve their material standard of living. Working with these illegal Burmese migrants in Thailand is complex. The development needs that would be expected in any poor community, such as limited access to health services, economic insecurity, inadequate housing, etc. are added to by the precarious existence these migrants have in Thailand. This in turn hinders their ability to actively engage in the development process. This paper reviews the lessons learned by one Thai-based NGO working with illegal Burmese migrants for over 15 years. The unique strengths and weakness of these illegal communities are discussed, before the appropriateness of seeking to engage such communities as active citizens is explored.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by BWPI, The University of Manchester in its series Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series with number 6108.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:6108
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Humanities Bridgeford Street, Oxford Road,Manchester, M13 9PL
    Phone: +44(0)7717 881567
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:6108. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rowena Harding)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.