Cave rescue boys and their coach granted Thai citizenship | The Cube

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By Rachael Kennedy
 Cave rescue boys and their coach granted Thai citizenship | The Cube
Copyright  Facebook/PR.Chiangrai ประชาสัมพันธ์จังหวัดเชียงราย

Three boys and their football coach who were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand last month have been granted Thai citizenship.

The Facebook page for public relations in the Chiangrai region released photos of the moment on Wednesday when they were handed their identification cards as fully fledged Thai citizens.

July rescue

Back in July, the group of twelve boys and their football coach attracted attention around the world after they were stranded inside a flooded cave for three weeks, requiring a huge international team of volunteers to help with the rescue effort.

The following video shows the unforgettable moment the group were found alive in the cave.

Following the rescue, attention turned to three of the team and the team's coach, who were, at the time, stateless citizens.

Reactions to the citizenship ceremony

There was plenty of reaction online to Wednesday's ceremony. The UN Refugee Agency said it welcomed the decision in a statement.

"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," UNHCR's special advisor on statelessness, Carol Batchelor, said. "By granting them citizenship, Thailand has provided them with a formal identity that will pave the way for them to achieve their aspirations and to participate as full members of society, for them to belong.”

Others on social media said the move highlighted the wider issue of statelessness in Thailand, where many stateless citizens live among ethnic minorities and in rural tribes.