Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia

ACHR Press Release
7 July 2005

Thailand urged not to refoule Hmong refugees to Laos:
Issue 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.

The 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.

“This 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.

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