Legal Advocacy Walk
A Brief Description of Legal Advocacy Walk and Its Mission
Approximately 15 million across the world today are considered stateless people, meaning their existence is not registered within any country. In Thailand, around 480,000 people are considered stateless, and that number grows every day. The majority belong to hill tribes, the ethnic minority groups located throughout Northern Thailand who have their own language and unique culture. Although most can trace their roots back many generations in Thailand, they do not have citizenship and lack any form of legal status.
Without citizenship, stateless people are the most vulnerable group in society. They live in fear of authorities, are at higher risk of violence or exploitation, and are much more likely to be trafficked than any other group in Thailand. Unfortunately, many lack the necessary knowledge about the legal process to obtain citizenship. A stateless person must navigate the complexity of the legal status process alone, traveling to great lengths from mountainous towns only to face language barriers or discrimination from authorities.
To meet this incredible need, Legal Advocacy Walk (LAW) launched in 2020 as a human rights organization helping stateless and vulnerable people from violation and human rights abuse. LAW works with government officials, non-governmental organizations, community leaders, volunteers, and villagers to secure legal status and ensure human rights are granted to stateless and vulnerable people in Thailand.
LAW focus on citizenship rights by teaching stateless individuals who lack legal status or citizenship about their rights. Volunteer staff support each person with the legal status procedure by compiling documents and submitting applications to authorities. As an organization, LAW works with community and government to improve application processes with better communication, identification of documentation, and appropriate follow-up for application approval.
Being granted citizenship opens the door to vast benefits to formerly stateless people. For the first time, a person with legal status receives access to formal education, gainful employment, public healthcare, the ability to travel without any fear of arresting, protection by the law, and security as a citizen. With citizenship, a person is free from fear and able to thrive.