#ThaiCaveRescue: 'Stateless' boys, coach granted Thai citizenship; UN hails move
The decision of the Thailand Government to grant citizenship to three of the boys recently rescued after being trapped in a flooded cave, along with their football coach, has been welcomed by United Nations refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Reportedly, it emerged that although the three boys and their coach were Thai residents, they were officially Stateless.
Thai Cave Rescue: Stateless boys, coach granted citizenship
Citizenship will allow them to fulfill their aspirations: UNHCR
Granting the "Wild Boars" team members secure status should make a significant difference to the prospects of the boys and their coach, according to Carol Batchelor, UNHCR's Special Advisor on Statelessness.
"By granting them citizenship, Thailand has provided them with a formal identity that will pave the way for them to achieve their aspirations and to participate as full members of society," Batchelor said.
Half a million people in Thailand don't hold citizenship
Almost half a million people in Thailand, often from nomadic hill tribes and other ethnic groups that have been based in border regions for centuries, do not hold Thai citizenship.
Worldwide, several million people are Stateless and can find themselves denied access to basic rights and services.
Other restrictions include being refused the right to travel, marry, own property, or work.
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Thailand has been hailed by the UNHCR as a leader in regional efforts to end Statelessness. In the last decade, 100,000 people have been granted Thai citizenship, and the government has committed to finding nationality solutions for all those living within its borders by 2024.
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