For immediate release on 20 June 2019
Cross Cultural Foundation calls for actions on World Refugee Day
In the occasion of World Refugee Day, Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) calls for relevant authorities to take actions to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Thailand in accordance with principles laid out in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which Thailand ratified in 2003.
On 24 August 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, after having reviewed Thailand’s compliance with the ICERD, adopted concluding observations with a paragraph concerning the situation of asylum seekers and refugees in the country as follows:
“While welcoming the State party’s generosity in hosting a large number of refugees from neighbouring countries, the Committee is concerned that the State party’s enactments, including the Provincial Admission Board screening procedures as well as those under the national Immigration Act, fall short of international standards for the protection and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Moreover, noting the information provided during the dialogue according to which humanitarian assistance is provided to Rohingyas coming into the State party, the Committee expresses concern at reports of members of the group being turned back to sea (arts. 1 and 2).
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt appropriate legislation and procedures for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers, in line with international human rights standards. The Committee also urges the State party to take measures to prevent any further expulsion of Rohingyas seeking asylum, and to give them access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and registration through the Provincial Admission Board mechanism. Furthermore, the Committee encourages the State party to pursue the universal periodic review commitment to review its position on the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto.
In this regard, CrCF calls for practical actions to monitor Thailand’s implementation of such recommendations by the Committee as follows:
- Take all the necessary steps to ensure a proper legal status for all refugees including
1.1 Guaranteeing birth registration for all refugee children born in Thailand.
1.2 Including information of all refugees in the civil registration system.
1.3 Issuing identification documents for all refugees
2. Take the following measures to protect refugees:
2.1 The state shall not prosecute refugees or asylum seekers on account of illegal entry or presence. Assign relevant agencies to provide protection and care until they are resettle in a third country or return to their home country safely.
2.2 Children and their family members must not be detained. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security shall be responsible for protecting this vulnerable population.
2.3 Refugees shall be granted the right to access temporary settlement.
2.4 Ensure human rights and humanitarian protection for refugees and asylum seekers according to the law.
3. State authorities must continue to uphold the principle of non-refoulement as it has done in the past with the cases of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi woman who fled domestic violence from her country, and Hakeem al-Araibi, the Bahraini footballer who was temporarily detained in Bangkok despite his status as a recognized refugee.
4. Enact laws and regulations on refugee management to determine policies, strategies, measures, and approaches to managing refugee issues with relevant stakeholders.
5. Withdraw the reservation on Article 22 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which allows a child who applies for refugee status able to be entitled to protection, humanitarian aid, and other rights in accordance with other international human rights and humanitarian treaties that Thailand has ratified.
6. Ratify the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugee
For more information please contact Surapong Kongchantuk, President of Cross Cultural Foundation, Tel. 0816424006