UNHCR lauds decision to grant Wild Boars Thai citizenship

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed the Thai Government’s decision to grant Thai citizenship to three stateless Wild Boars boys and their football coach on Wednesday.

“By providing these boys and their coach with citizenship, Thailand has given them the chance to both dream of a brighter future and to reach their full potential,” said Carol Batchelor, UNHCR Special Adviser on Statelessness in a statement.

“By granting them citizenship, Thailand has provided them with a formal identity that will pave the way for them to achieve their aspirations,” she added.

The three boys namely Adul Sam-on, Mongkol Boonpiem and Pornchai Kamluang and their 25-year coach, Ekapol Chanthawong were part of the 13 Wild Boars “Moo Pa” soccer team who were trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.  Their ordeal captivated the world for almost three weeks from June 23 to July 10 when an international rescue operation was launched to bring them out to safety.

The four, as well as 14 other stateless individuals,  were granted Thai citizenship and issued with ID cards in Mae Sai district on Wednesday.