THAILAND: Pitsanuloke Administrative Court orders Mae Sot Municipality to provide 750,000 baht as compensation for the death of a migrant workers’ child

A Press Release from Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

THAILAND: Pitsanuloke Administrative Court orders Mae Sot Municipality to provide 750,000 baht as compensation for the death of a migrant workers’ child

For immediate release on 20 June 2013

Press Release

Pitsanuloke Administrative Court orders Mae Sot Municipality to provide 750,000 baht as compensation for the death of a migrant workers’ child

On 19 June 2013, the Pitsanuloke Administrative Court, Pitsanuloke Province, ruled in the case between Ms. Ma Maw Di Yan, aka “Juju”, the procurator of Zamira, aka “Zalima”, v Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), the first defendant, and Mae Sot Municipality, the second defendant. The case is centers on alleged breaches or violations committed by administrative agencies owing to negligence of their duties as provided by law. The Mae Sot Municipality, the second defendant, was found guilty by the Court for failing to maintain, monitor, and repair power grid system on public roads under its charge. As a result, the girl, Zalima, got injured and later died. The Mae Sot Municipality has been ordered to provide 750,000 baht as compensation to the plaintiff for the loss of a source of support. The compensation shall be paid within 90 (ninety) days from the date of the final verdict. The case against the Provincial Electricity Authority has been dismissed.

The incident took place on 25 June 2011 at around 6 p.m. Zalima, 10 years old, daughter of Ms. Ma Maw Di Yan, a migrant worker with work permit to work in Thailand, and the plaintiff in this case, was on her way home from a grocery store. En route, there was heavy downpour and inundation, and while wading through water, Zalima got electrocuted, presumably from currents that leaked from three nearby electric poles, and as a result, sustained grave injuries. According to the medical report, her heart stopped beating due to brain anoxia. Resuscitation was applied, but failed to help her regain consciousness.

The plaintiff held that the death of Zalima had been caused by electrocution owing to the leak of electricity in the water that had accumulated. Both the PEA and the Mae Sot Municipality are in charge of the electric poles, power grids, and electricity. They are supposed to maintain and ensure safety of the electric poles, related devices, and electricity, and they are experts in their profession. In addition, according to the Provincial Electricity Authority Act B.E. 2503 (1960) and the Municipality Act B.E. 2496 (1953), both authorities are obliged to prevent the leakage of electricity which may harm the public. But the two defendants have failed to observe their duties carefully and, as a result, Zalima was exposed to electric shock until she sustained grave injuries and died. It has been considered a breach of duties by administrative agencies or governmental officials and their negligence of their official duties as provided for by law. The plaintiff demanded 6,220,185 baht from the PEA and the Municipality to cover medical expenses, account for inability to earn one’s living, mental suffering from the date the incident took place and its enduring and incurable effect, lack of income (as the plaintiff was not able to work as she had to tend to her child), and any future medical expense.

Ms. Preeda Tongchumnum, Assistant to Secretary General of the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), said that the order of the Pitsanuloke Administrative Court for the Mae Sot Municipality to provide compensation to the plaintiff who is a migrant worker sets precedent for the right to access to justice, which is provided for by the Constitution and international standards. In this case, agencies in the justice process have effectively performed their duties to receive the complaint and solicit input from various concerned agencies as well as to acquire oral evidence. As a result, the plaintiff who is a migrant worker in Thailand, acquired enough evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice within Thailand’s judicial system. It affirms that regardless of status, i.e. a migrant worker or a Thai citizen, everyone in Thailand is equally protected by law.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Thanu Ekchote, Attorney, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF),phone 081-171 8228 and

Ms. Preeda Tongchumnum, Assistant to Secretary General of the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), phone 02 277 6882

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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