THAILAND: Dr Cynthia’s clinic targeted by Thai Government’s crackdown on migrant workers 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-57-2003
ISSUES: Migrant workers,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from FORUM-ASIA that Dr. Cynthia Maung’s Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot District of Tak Province, which provides healthcare service to asylum seekers and migrants on the Thai-Burmese border, may have to close down as a result of the Thai Government’s crackdown on migrant workers.

This action, if pursued by Thai authorities, will have serious impact on a vital healthcare service for asylum seekers and migrants on the Thai-Burmese border. AHRC also fears for the safety and welfare of those medics and school teachers if they are deported from Thailand into the hand of Burmese authorities. Medics and school teachers from Mae Tao Clinic may be singled out by Burma’s ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which could possibly lead to severe persecution and maltreatment including torture and execution.

AHRC requests your urgent action to pressure the Thai government to allow the clinic to continue functioning undeterred.

Urgent Appeals Desk
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


On 29 September Mae Tao Clinic was inspected by Thai authorities. Officials from Mae Sot District Office and the Immigration Department, who were accompanied by armed police and intelligence officers, told Dr. Cynthia that she should prepare for the arrest and deportation of medics and school teachers who have previously been registered as migrant workers with the Ministry of Labor. This warning came after the Thai Government passed a cabinet resolution in August prohibiting 12,161 registered migrant workers from renewing their work permits. As a result, more than 100 medics and school teachers at Mae Tao Clinic could no longer stay in Thailand after their work permits expired on 25 September. This may include Dr. Cynthia herself. Although she has now lived in exile in Thailand for 15 years, Dr. Cynthia has no official papers and is effectively stateless.

Mae Tao Clinic treats 150 patients a day, delivers 10 to 20 babies a month, trains 30 medics a year and provides prenatal checkups, childhood immunizations and education about nutrition, sanitation and family planning. Its five doctors and 123 other medical staffs treat everything from diarrhea to gunshot wounds for almost free of charge. For that, Dr. Cynthia has won numerous international prizes including a Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.


Please write a letter or email to the addresses below to express your concern over this case. A sample letter is attached.

1. Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra
Prime Minister
Government house,
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District,
Bangkok 10300
Fax: +66 2 282 8631

2. Mr. Suwan Liptapanlop

Minister of Labour

Ministry of Labour

Mitmaitri Road

Din Daeng

Bangkok 10200


Fax: 662 245 9133

3. Pol. Lt. Gen. Hemaraj Thareeethai

Commissioner of Immigration

Immigration Bureau

The Royal Thai Police Department

507 Soi Suan Phlu

South Sathorn Road

Bangkok 10200


Fax: (662) 287 1310; 287 3114; 287 1516

4. Professor Saneh Chamarik


The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand

422 Phya Thai Road

Pathurn Wan District

Bangkok 10300


Fax: 662 219 2940


5. Mr. Jahanshah Assadi

Regional Representative

UNHCR Regional Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

3rd floor, United Nations Building

Rajdamnern Avenue, Bangkok 10120


Fax: (662) 280 0555; 281 6100


6. Ms. Gabriela Rodriguez Pizarro

Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

CH-1211 Geneva 10
Tel: 4122 917 9111

Fax: 4122 917 9003


To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER



Re: the closure of Dr Cynthia Maung's Mae Tao clinic for asylum seekers and migrants

I am writing to express my deep concern at the Thai government's threat to close Dr Cynthia Maung's Mae Tao clinic in Mae Sot district of Tak province and deport the medics and students who work there, including Dr Cynthia herself.

The Mae Tao clinic is the main provider of healthcare services for migrants and asylum seekers along the Thai-Burma border. Apart from treating patients, the clinic trains medics and provides health education.

Also, Dr Cynthia and her staff may face persecution and maltreatment if they are deported from Thailand into the hands of the Burmese authorities. I therefore urge you to pressure the Thai government to not deport Dr Cynthia and her staff, and to allow the clinic to continue functioning.

Sincerely yours,




Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-57-2003
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Migrant workers,