THAILAND HAS totally ignored concerns raised by UN agencies and human-rights groups, Human Rights Watch (HRW)’s senior researcher Sunai Phasuk said yesterday, after the government deported a Cambodian asylum seeker, even though he is likely to face persecution and possible mistreatment.
Immigration police chief Pol Lt-General Surachet Hakphan confirmed yesterday that Rath Rott Mony, a labour activist, had been extradited on Wednesday at the request of Cambodia.
Mony is accused of helping produce a documentary about sex trafficking in his country, but Cambodian authorities say the film misrepresents the country and can harm its reputation.
The “My Mother Sold Me” documentary, released two months ago, portrays impoverished families in Cambodia who hawk the virginity of their daughters, who are forced to become prostitutes later.
Mony was detained in Bangkok last Friday as he applied for asylum at the Dutch embassy. The immigration chief, however, insists his extradition followed due process.
Surachet said Mony faced an arrest warrant, so he had to be deported, adding that his case is different from that of the Bahraini footballer, who holds a refugee status. The immigration chief was referring to Hakeem al-Araibi, who is being detained in Bangkok and may be extradited to Bahrain.
HRW’s senior researcher said yesterday that the extradition of refugees or those seeking asylum was in violation of international law. Thailand is obliged to protect refugees and asylum seekers, yet the junta government has shown contempt of this obligation, he said.
“Thailand has frequently collaborated with repressive governments to hunt down and send back those who escape wrongful prosecution and abuse in countries like Cambodia and China,” said Sunai. “These cruel acts, which blatantly violate international laws, deserve condemnation in the strongest terms.”
Thailand has previously extradited several asylum seekers despite the risk of them facing abuse in their home countries. In February, the government extradited Sam Sokha, a Cambodian dissident, despite her status as a UN-recognised refugee. She was wanted for allegedly throwing a shoe at a billboard depicting Cambodian PM Hun Sen.