Saltsman, Adam. “Contested Rights ”. MA, Boston College, 2009. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/983.
Through a qualitative thematic analysis of sixty-four semi structured interviews, this thesis focuses on the situation facing Burmese forced migrants in Thailand. In particular, I look at the ways in which forced migrants, their host government, and humanitarian actors negotiate the meaning of refugee status and what it means to be in a protracted space of transition. Findings for this study point to the ways in which the policies and norms of the Royal Thai Government and the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees inadvertently interconnect to complicate the space for refugee protection. The paper also finds that refugee status can be gained or lost through interactions between asylum seekers and various parties on the Thai Burma border. Certain actors within the refugee community and among local and humanitarian authorities play the role of gatekeepers, granting access to a variety of services and protection at a cost and excluding those who cannot pay the cost. Underlying this context of asylum are themes of extreme repression and resistance that have implications not only for the lives of those who seek refuge, but also for notions of sovereignty and citizenship.