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UNHCR condemns deportation of Cambodian refugees by Thai authorities

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed at the deportation of two Cambodian refugees from Thailand, despite having advised the Royal Thai Government of their refugee status and their well-founded fear of persecution if returned to Cambodia.

The refugees were arrested on 8 November, taken to an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and subsequently deported on 9 November to Cambodia, where they are at risk of persecution.

UNHCR made interventions on behalf of the two refugees to the Royal Thai Government prior to their deportation, with the expectation that the matter would be handled in accordance with international legal standards, and that they would continue to receive protection in Thailand.

“While we are seeking further clarifications on what exactly happened, we are deeply troubled by this deportation,” said Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

“I strongly urge the Thai authorities to investigate this matter. I appeal to Thailand to honour its fundamental international obligations, notably the principle of non-refoulement, and to refrain from such deportations in the future,” he added.

The UN Refugee Agency stands ready to discuss this issue with the Royal Thai Government, in view of supporting Thailand to uphold its international obligations.

UNHCR is deeply concerned about the safety of the deported refugees and urges the Cambodian authorities to respect their human rights and allow human rights organizations to monitor their situation in Cambodia.

Media contact

UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok: Catherine Stubberfield, stubberf@unhcr.org, +66 65 929 8062