Amnesty International, USA, Sept. 30, 2017
For decades, Thailand has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence and human rights violations in neighbouring countries and locations further afield. Notwithstanding Thailand’s significant contribution to addressing regional and global refugee crises, the Thai government has frequently violated the rights of refugees.
Thai law does not provide formal legal status to refugees and asylum-seekers. They are therefore trapped in a life of perpetual insecurity, knowing that they could be arrested, detained or deported at any time. Many struggle to find employment, access medical care or even feed themselves and their families. Those who are arrested often find themselves detained for months or years in over-crowded immigration detention centers, which refugee rights advocates call “worse than prison.”
On several occasions in the past three years, the Thai government has returned refugees and asylum-seekers to situations where they face torture, persecution and other serious human rights violations. These actions contravene Thailand’s obligations under international law and demonstrate a callous disregard for the rights of people who have already experienced tremendous danger and suffering.