Lawyer vows to fight for disabled migrant’s rights to the end
A Thai legal counsel who is handling the case for three migrant workers, one of whom was paralysed in December 2006 while working at a hotel construction site in Chiangmai, declares today he hopes his lawsuit ends successfully at the local administrative court as he is ready to take the matter not only to the supreme law court in Thailand but also to the international arena.
Sumitrchai Hattasaan, Director of the Center for Protection and Revival of
Local Community Rights, was speaking to a handful of journalists from BBC and
Shan Herald Agency for News before submitting his petition, on behalf of three
Shan construction workers, to the Chiangmai
Administrative Court this morning. “The success of
the case will set as a precedent for millions of migrant workers here,” he
Nang Noom Maisaeng and Sumitrchai Hattasaan at Chiangmai Administrative Court
The three are:
- Nang Noom Maisaeng, petitioner
- Sai Harn Moeng, witness
- Sai Hsiha, witness
Nang Noom who came to the court in a wheelchair said she is a native of Kehsi township, southern Shan State, and came to Thailand 6 years ago. “My hushand, a native of Loilem, left following the accident.”
She was paralysed from the waist down when a broken sling sent a 300kg mould it was lifting crashing down and struck her while working at the Shangrila Hotel construction site on Chiangmai’s busy Changklan Road on 4 December 2006
The Social Security Office’s Workmen Compensation Fund had ordered her employer to pay B 2,418 ($75) a month for 15 years, refusing to accord full compensation to her as she was unable to show a passport or alien identification documents as required by the SSO circular 0711/Waw 751, dated 25 October 2001.
The petition submitted today has accordingly requested the court to revoke the circular, saying it is “unlawful” and “breaching non-discrimination principles enshrined in the Thai constitution as well as a number of international convention to which the Thai government is a signatory.”
The case is supported by Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) headed by the well-known social activist Somchai Homla-or, who comments: If the Administrative Court accepts the claims in this test case, the case can provide evidence that the Thai justice system is prepared to meaningfully address systematic discrimination against millions of migrants working in Thailand from neighboring countries, in particular Burma.
“The court will inform us within a month whether or not the case has been accepted,” concluded Sumitrchai.