16 November 2018, Geneva, Switzerland
By Roman Kubovic
Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) appeals to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to seek help on behalf of more than 600 refugees who find themselves in a dire situation in Thailand.
Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees
In its two letters dated 14 November 2018, GICJ asked the two High Commissioners to take measures in relation to a great number of individuals who are in terrible conditions in Thailand. We have been receiving cries for help from many Arab refugees who had fled war or massive human rights violations in their countries of origin, namely Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Among the individuals seeking assistance are men, women and children, many of whom with education and experience in medicine, engineering, journalism, art and sales. Some of them have been staying in Thailand for more than six years in poor living conditions awaiting resettlement.
As Thailand is not a State Party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol, these people have been unable to enjoy any basic rights that would normally be afforded to refugees and asylum seekers. During their stay they have experienced hardship, suffering and poverty. Even those seemingly lucky ones who advanced through the resettlement procedure to be admitted to the United States where they could start a new life, and who had undergone interviews, medical checks and vaccinations, were in the end rejected as a consequence of the recent U.S. immigration policies.
Currently, many of these refugees and asylum seekers are subjected to arrest and detention based on their status of irregular migrants. Since they have been waiting for resettlement for more than six years, their travel documents, passports and visas have expired. Without their travel documents and without any residence permits in Thailand they are left completely unprotected and they face prosecution and jail time or deportation.
GICJ called on both United Nations High Commissioners to use any available means to alleviate the situation of refugees in Thailand and to ensure their early release from prisons so that they could live in safety, dignity and peace. We further asked the High Commissioner for Refugees to secure their expedited resettlement, in particular in relation to those that are the most vulnerable ones. All these refugees deserve to enjoy fully and effectively their fundamental human rights, among whose are the right to safety and security, education and healthcare.
GICJ hereby calls upon the international community to provide assistance by recourse to any available means. We remain informed of the situation through daily contact with the concerned individuals.
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