why southeast asian parliamentarians condemn thai authority
Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia have vehemently denounced the Thai government’s decision to turn over three opposition fighters from Myanmar to junta allies, where they are likely to suffer torture or worse.
Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia said over ASEAN….
The Thai government and the international community were urged to take steps to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future by the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).
Mercy Barends, the chair of APHR and a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives, claimed that the Thai authorities have been relocating refugees and asylum seekers to Myanmar against their will for far too long, putting them at risk of persecution. She added that this is a flagrant violation of international human rights law, norms, and principles.
Three members of a Myanmar opposition group crossed the border into Thailand on April 1 to receive medical attention, according to information provided to APHR by local civil society organizations.
The three men were detained by Thai immigration at a checkpoint while traveling to Mae Sot. Then, on April 4, despite attempts to negotiate a release, the Thai government turned them over to the Border Guard Force (BGF), a group affiliated with the Myanmar junta.
Witnesses claim that after the handover, BGF soldiers fired shots at the men. The 26-year-old Saw Phyo Lay was reportedly killed, but the whereabouts of the other two are still unknown.
The Thai government has not been friendly to refugees trying to flee the brutal violence of the Myanmar military, despite the two countries sharing a long border of more than 2,400 kilometers.
Human rights organisations have repeatedly criticized Thailand for returning border crossers.
Asylum seekers from Myanmar are in a precarious situation in Thailand because they are not legally protected and could be expelled at any time.
The UN Convention Against Torture, states that “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,” was officially adopted by the Thai government earlier this year.
This convention has clearly been broken by the decision to hand these three men over to the Myanmar junta, which has a history of arbitrarily detaining, torturing, and occasionally even extrajudicially killing dissidents.
The APHR calls on the Thai government to prioritize the safety of those escaping conflict in Myanmar by allowing them to enter Thailand.
It stated that the junta poses grave threats to the physical safety of citizens of Myanmar who are being deported by Thai authorities.
All Thai political parties and candidates were urged by APHR to address issues related to human rights in their platforms in light of the impending elections in Thailand.
Last but not least, the group urged ASEAN, its member nations, and the international community to exert pressure on Thailand to guarantee that everyone is treated with dignity and that their rights are upheld. No one should be detained and forcibly returned if they are fleeing persecution in their home country.
The incident is the most recent illustration of the difficulties refugees and people seeking asylum face as they try to escape the ongoing violence and instability in Myanmar.
Human rights organizations have compiled a large number of instances in which Thailand, China, and India forcibly sent refugees and asylum seekers back to Myanmar, despite the well-known dangers of retaliation, torture, and even death at the hands of the military junta.