Back To Newsroom

Thailand: APRRN urges Thai Government not to deport Montagnard Activist

24 June 2024

Thailand: APRRN urges Thai Government not to deport Montagnard Activist

Bangkok, 21 June 2024

 

The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) calls upon the Royal Thai Government to immediately release Y Quynh Bdap, a Montagnard religious freedom activist and refugee, and to ensure that he is not forcibly returned to Vietnam. As we marked World Refugee Day yesterday, the Royal Thai Government should safeguard the core protection for refugees escaping persecution in their home countries, by honouring its obligation of non-refoulement under Thai and international law1.

On 11 June, the Central Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Y Quynh Bdap, a Christian from the Montagnard ethnic group in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. He was arrested that same day. Quynh Bdap first fled to Thailand in 2018 and has been recognised as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Y Qunh Bdap is the co-founder of Montagnards Stand for Justice. He advocates for the Montagnard people, speaking out against the religious persecution of his community by the Vietnamese government.

 

On 13 June, days after his arrest, Y Quynh Bdap was made the subject of extradition proceedings to Vietnam. The Vietnamese authorities are seeking the extradition of Y Quynh Bdap on terrorism charges related to armed attacks on Commune offices in Dak Lak province, Vietnam in June 2023. One hundred people were charged and all convicted, amidst criticism from human rights groups2, in a four-day mobile trial3 in January 2024 in Dak Lak province. Y Quynh Bdap, and 5 codefendants, were sentenced in absentia to 10 years imprisonment. Y Quynh Bdap, who has strongly denied the charges, is now detained in Bangkok Remand Prison facing imminent extradition to Vietnam. If returned, he faces a real risk of an unjust prison sentence and ill-treatment by Vietnamese authorities.

 

APRRN calls upon the Royal Thai Government to release Y Quynh Bdap in accordance with its own laws. Thai domestic law prohibits deportation under Section 13 of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, enacted in February 2023, where there are “substantial grounds that the person would be at risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, or to enforced disappearance”4. Further, since 2007 Thailand has been party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, which prohibits the return or extradition of a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture5.

 

APRRN welcomes Thailand's ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance on 14 May 2024. However, we remind the Royal Thai Government that this treaty both prohibits state officials from detaining an individual and subsequently not disclosing their whereabouts and from sending a person to a country where there is fear of enforced disappearance.

Furthermore, the arrest of Y Quynh Bdap by the Thai authorities has created a heightened atmosphere of fear and insecurity that is inconsistent with Thailand’s commitments to identify and protect refugees under the recently implemented National Screening Mechanism.

 

This arrest and extradition proceedings come as Thailand has announced its candidature as the only Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nominee to the Human Rights Council for the 2025-2027 term with elections set for October 2024.

“The Royal Thai Government should not detain and forcibly remove recognised refugee activists, especially whilst also working to build its international reputation on human rights. Y Quynh Bdap will not face fair treatment if he is returned and should be offered the protections he has a right to under international law,” said APRRN’s Co-Secretary General, Hafsar Tameesuddin. 

 

The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network strongly urges the Royal Thai Government to:

  • Immediately release Y Qunh Bdap from detention and stop his extradition proceedings to Vietnam where he is likely to face unjust imprisonment, torture or other forms of ill-treatment.
  • Honour Thailand’s domestic and international legal obligations, recognised both by Article 13 of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act and by international human rights law.
  • Cease its targeting of Vietnamese refugees and activists for arrest, detention, and forcible return.

                                                                                           

                                                                 ------- END -------

 

For further information or comment, please reach out to Lars Stenger, Program Coordinator, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, at Lars@aprrn.org 

 

The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) is a network of over 280 civil society organisations and individuals from 30 countries. We are committed to protecting and promoting the rights of refugees and other vulnerable groups on the move in the Asia Pacific

 


 

1 The prohibition of refoulement under international human rights law applies to any form of removal or transfer of persons, regardless of their status, where there are substantial grounds for believing that the returnee would be at risk of irreparable harm upon return on account of torture, ill-treatment or other serious breaches of human rights obligations.

https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Migration/GlobalCompactMigration/ThePrincipleNonRefoulementUnderInternationalHumanRightsLaw.pdf

https://the88project.org/y-quynh-bdap/#_edn11

National report submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 16/21* Viet Nam,

https://documents.un.org/doc/undoc/gen/g24/029/50/pdf/g2402950.pdf?token=sQF4Q4HrHsTnizfUwc&fe=true, https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/10/03/submission-universal-periodic-review-vietnam 

4 Article 13: No government organizations or public officials shall expel, deport, or extradite a person to another country where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, or enforced disappearance. https://www.icj.org/wpcontent/uploads/2022/08/Torture-ED-Bill_Unofficial-Trans_Aug-22.pdf

5 Convention Against Torture, Article 3 “No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

 

Recommended

DURABLE SOLUTIONS

June 7, 2024

Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (CRCP) 2024 Solutions in Action: Towards the 2030 Roadmap NGO Statement

We, the participating non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of the Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (CRCP) 2024, offer the following comments and policy recommendations to actors involved in refugee resettlement, complementary pathways and post-arrival settlement and integration support.

DURABLE SOLUTIONS

June 7, 2024

NGOs issue global call for expansion of refugee resettlement

Media release on 2024 CRCP NGO statement NGO delegates from 26 countries today have called for international action to expand resettlement and additional migration pathways for refugees as UNHCR releases a new report detailing that 2.9 million of the world’s refugees will be in priority need of resettlement in 2025. The three-day annual Consultations on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (CRCP) opened in Geneva today with the release of UNHCR’s assessment of global refugee resettlement needs for 2025.

DURABLE SOLUTIONS

Feb. 8, 2024

Joint Statement on Malaysia’s Harmful Immigration Detention Policies & Practices

“Malaysia should use its final year as a member of the UN Human Rights Council to implement urgently needed reform of its immigration detention policies and practices. We are alarmed by Malaysia’s arbitrary and indefinite detention of men, women, and children fleeing genocide and human rights violations. We see the repeated incidents of deaths and escapes from immigration depots as an indicator of injustices that need to be addressed humanely through reform”