Thai PM Defends Decision to Hand Over Activists to China, Despite their Acceptance to Canada as Refugees
“So when there were warrants for their arrest, we had to send them back,” he explained, adding that it was not possible for the government to find a new home for the two activists in just a few days because of their status as Persons of Concern.
Despite the fact that they had been granted refugee status in Canada and awaiting travel arrangements, while their families left Bangkok en route to Canada for resettlement as refugees, on Wednesday.
He said that his explanation about the case was based on facts to create a better understanding. He said he didn’t mind if other people did not understand his explanation but it would be just fine if the Thai people understood what his government did to protect national interest.
The prime minister further said that the government had asked the Chinese government to make sure that the two repatriated activists should not be subjected to mistreatment.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that Jiang and Dong were legitimate refugees who should not be sent back to China.
“This action by Thailand is clearly a serious disappointment, and underscores the longstanding gap in Thai domestic law concerning ensuring appropriate treatment of persons with international protection needs,” the UNHCR said.
Vivian Tan, regional spokeswoman for UNHCR, told Reuters: “These people are recognized refugees, meaning they were interviewed and their claim of persecution was found to be legitimate,”
“They should not be sent back to a place where their lives can be put in danger.”
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