Research on Arrest, Detention and Deportation in the Greater Mekong Subregion

As information regarding policies concerning the arrest, detention, and deportation (ADD) of migrants was scarce in the 2000s, MMN organised a symposium held in September 2004  to initiate dialogue with policy makers and civil society representatives. Over the course of 2005 and 2006, MMN carried out a collaborative study on ADD practices in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Country research teams (CRTs) from each country in the GMS carried out research in their respective country on this theme, resulting in a list of regional recommendations and contributing to the publication of the 2008 resource book on ADD. In 2011, a Thai version of the report was also launched to make information on ADD more readily accessible to stakeholders in Thailand.

MMN Project Partners


  • YMCA-Myanmar
  • World Vision-Myanmar


  • Chou Bun Eng, Chan Dara, Chhorn Ann, Meach Sotheary, Chou Thean Hak, and Chou Bun Lean, Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD); Chou Bun Eng acted as the team leader for the Cambodia CRT while Chan Dara acted as a coordinator for the Cambodia country research team 
  • Poe Oumoete, National Election Council (NEC) of Cambodia
  • Math Dolla, Youth Team
  • Chao Soeun, Rasmey Kampuchea Newspaper


  • Han Jialing, Huang Jinxia, and Tao Xinghui, Migrants Workers’ Education and Action Research Center; Han Jialing acted as the coordinator for the China country research team 
  • Zhang Dayu, Yunnan’s Floating Population
  • Li Chunrui, Yunnan Health and Development Research Association/Yunnan Reproductive Health Research Association
  • Zhao Peilan, Society of Strengthening Capability of Women and Communities

Lao PDR 

  • Kabmanivanh Phouxay, Phouth Simmalavong, Bounthavy Sosamphansay, and Phombouth Sadachith, Faculty of Social Science, National University of Laos (NUOL); Kabmanivanh Phouxay acted as the coordinator for the Laos country research team 
  • Kenchanh Sinsamphanh, Center for Environment and Development Studies, NUOL
  • Ninpaseuth Sayaphonesy, Lao Women Union
  • Vilaythone Sounthonxaymongkhoune, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Bounkham Sihalath, Ministry of Labor and Welfare


  • Pornpit Puckmai (Porn), Nataporn Ongwisith (Grib), EMPOWER Foundation, Pornpit Puckmai acted as the coordinator for the Thailand country research team
  • Jackie Pollock, Ayaka Kazama, and Satita Nolpoo (Nang), MAP Foundation; Jackie Pollock acted as the co-coordinator for the Thailand CRT
  • Suranee Phusuwan (Laem), Pattanarak Foundation
  • Brahm Press, Raks Thai Foundation
  • Adisorn Kerdmongkol and Myint Wai, Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (TACDB)
  • Moe Swe, Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association (YCOWA)
  • Tu Lu, Catholic Commission for Migration
  • Supatra Nacapew (Thom), Center for AIDS Rights (CAR)


  • Huynh thi Ngoc Tuyet and Nguyen thi Minh Chau, Southern Institute of Social Sciences; Huynh thi Ngoc Tuyet acted as the coordinator for the Vietnam country research team 
  • Tran Minh Hai and Nguyen thi Phuong Dung, An Giang University

Key Activities

In December 2005, MMN decided to conduct a regional research design for a collaborative research project spanning 2006 and 2007 on the issues of ADD of migrants in the GMS. MMN’s main research objective aimed to uncover the common situations, issues, needs, and responses regarding ADD (especially mass deportation) in the GMS. Project partners also agreed that information would be gathered concerning general migration-related policies and issues in the GMS. 

Once the regional research design was collectively adopted, MMN project partners went back to their respective country (Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, China, and Thailand) where they formed a CRT. Each CRT then adjusted their research guidelines to meet the specific conditions found in their own countries. In some cases, CRT representatives visited other relevant countries to conduct joint studies. 

In July 2006, CRT representatives held the first research consultation and, in October 2006, they jointly analysed the findings from the country research and drafted regional recommendations. The CRT members met several more times (in May 2007, November 2007, and February 2008) to finalise the analysis and update their information. The publication Migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion Resource Book (Third Edition); In-depth Study: Arrest, Detention and Deportation was eventually published in 2008.

Since publishing the resource book in 2008, MMN has continued to advocate for the reform of policies to help prevent the arrest, detention, and deportation of migrants and, in cases where ADD processes are unavoidable, to ensure that migrants receive humane treatment. The executive summary of the publication is available in Burmese, Chinese, Lao, Khmer, Thai, and Vietnamese. 

In June 2011, a Thai language version of the whole book was launched, as MMN felt there were pressing advocacy needs on the issue in Thailand. The book was intended to help inform policy makers, civil society, researchers, and the general public in Thailand on the needs concerning ADD of migrants in the GMS. To read the resource book in Thai, please click here.

MMN launched a website focusing on arrest, detention, and deportation on the occasion of International Migrants Day on 18 December 2012. The ADD website provided research findings, news, and information resources relating to ADD. It also provided alerts on facts and figures surrounding the ADD of migrants in the region, including serious cases of rights violations, which were used to mobilise the MMN network and civil society to take action and call upon those responsible to protect the rights of migrants. To access the website tool, please click here. The website was last updated in 2013. 


Further Reading

MMN Online Tool on ADD

You will be redirected to MMN's online tool on arrest, detention, and deportation (ADD) developed in 2012. The webpage provides research findings, news, and information resources relating to ADD.