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URGENT STATEMENT: APRRN reiterates the need for the Royal Thai Government to comply with international law and cease the deportation of refugees

4 December 2021

On 1 December, the Royal Thai Police defrocked and arrested the Venerable Bor Bet, who is both a Cambodian refugee and a Buddhist monk. Although he was yesterday released from detention, given Thailand’s recent deportation of refugees to Cambodia, he fears that he too will be forcibly returned. The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) reminds the Thai government that, as Thailand has publicly acknowledged, the forcible return (refoulement) of refugees or people seeking asylum to a country where they are liable to be subject to persecution is prohibited.VenerableBor Bet has been recognised as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); deporting him to Cambodia would be a violation of Thailand’s obligations under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the customary international law principle of non-refoulment


The recent actions of the Thai government, including the arrest of Venerable Bor Bet, have created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity that are inconsistent with Thailand’s statements and history of hosting refugees.Since2019, Thailand has shown commendable leadership in establishing a National ScreeningMechanism to protect persons who are at risk of persecution and in taking steps to end the detention of children in immigration detention centres. However, prior to Venerable Bor Bet’s arrest, the Thai authorities forcibly returned three Cambodian refugees in November 2021, despite protests from the international community.2Forcibly returningVenerable BorBettoCambodia, where he would be at risk of persecution, would be in conflict not only with international law, but with the principles and values of the Thai people and their government. APRRN therefore strongly urges the Thai government to:

  • Immediately cease its targeting of Cambodian refugees for arrest, detention, and forcible return.
  • Comply with Thailand's international legal obligations, as recognised by the Thai government in its recent statements to the United Nations.
  • Cease the deportation of all refugees and people seeking asylum to places where they are likely to be harmed.


The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) is a network of over 200 active civil society organisations and individuals from 29 countries committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific region.APRRN aims to advance the rights of refugees and other people in need of protection through joint advocacy, capacity strengthening, resource sharing and outreach. While APRRN statements are prepared in consultation with members, they do not necessarily reflect the views of all APRRN members



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