urged not to refoule Hmong refugees to Laos:
to be at raised at UN hearing on Thailand on 18th July
New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights today urged
the Government of Thailand not to refoule about 6,558 indigenous Hmong asylum seekers sheltered in Phetchabun's Khao Kho
district to Laos and allow the UNHCR to assist these refugees.
government of Thailand has given a deadline, which expired on 4
July 2005, to the land- owners to expel the Hmong asylum seekers
or face charges for sheltering illegal immigrants which carry maximum
penalties of five years in prison and a 50,000-baht fine.
deadline tantamounts to promoting vigilante justice among the landowners
to take the law into their hands without verifying the claims of
the Hmongs asylum seekers and violates Thailand’s obligation under
international law.” – stated Suhas Chakma, Director of
Asian Centre for Human Rights.
“The action of the government
of Thailand also fails to take into consideration the grave human
rights violations against the Hmongs in Laos. The human rights violations
against the Hmongs are so grave that the United Nations Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) had
to make intervention under its early warning measures in August
2003.” – stated Mr Chakma.
On 18 April 2005, the CERD Committee after examining
the report of the government of Laos expressed concerns at concern
“at reports that serious acts of violence have been perpetrated
against members of the Hmong minority, in particular allegations
that soldiers brutalized and killed a group of five Hmong children
on 19 May 2004” and urged Laos to “provide more precise information
about the bodies responsible for investigating these allegations
and allow United Nations bodies for the protection and promotion
of human rights to visit the areas in which members of the Hmong
minority have taken refuge”. But no action has been taken by the
government of Laos to implement these recommendations.
Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that it would
raise the issue of refoulement of the Hmong asylum seekers when
Thailand comes up for hearing before the Human Rights Committee
on 19-20 July 2005 in Geneva on the implementation of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.