Myanmar Military Conscription Sparks Refugee Surge to Thailand


On February 19th, 2024, Mr. Kannavee Suebsang, the FAIR Party MP, publicly revealed the case where the Myanmar government announced military conscription without gender discrimination, leaving uncertainty about whether it would escape scrutiny under international human rights law.

Kannavee stated that currently, there are thousands of Myanmar nationals, both male and female, aged 18-35, seeking visas to Thailand at the embassy in Yangon, Burma.

The surge in refuge applications followed the Myanmar government under Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s announcement of military conscription for males aged 18-35 and females aged 18-27 for up to two years, with certain professionals like doctors up to 45 years old required to serve for three years, extendable to five in emergencies.

The violators could face up to five years in prison, prompting a wave of Myanmar nationals seeking refuge in Thailand.

Kannavee listened to all sectors’ concerns, including the Thai government and Myanmar nationals who sought refuge in Thailand. The primary concern was whether Thailand truly understood the main issue and how the government would respond and proceed forward, questioned Kannavee.

Kannavee proposed that the Thai government needed to address the fundamental human rights violations issue. Furthermore, if the first issue was addressed, how the Thai government would respond to the influx of Myanmar youth who sought refuge to avoid unnecessary conflict and killing. They were being forced into military service, a problem deeply rooted in Myanmar but often overlooked, said Kannavee.

Kannavee highlighted that the conscription was being protested by the Myanmar people as it coerced them into using violence against each other, posing a fundamental problem rarely discussed within Myanmar.

Regarding the temporary delay in sending labor MOUs from Myanmar to Thailand, Kannavee noted that before this delay, around 700-800 Myanmar workers were sent to Thailand daily to work in various factories across the country.

“The implications of the delay in labor MOUs were not confirmed whether it was related to the internal situation in Myanmar. However, if it was, if Thailand remained indifferent or even supported Myanmar military conscription, it was a significant issue,” Kannavee remarked.

This article originally appeared on our sister website The Pattaya News.

Kittisak Phalaharn
Kittisak has a passion for outgoings no matter how tough it will be, he will travel with an adventurous style. As for his interests in fantasy, detective genres in novels and sports science books are parts of his soul. He works for Pattaya News as the latest writer.