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UN rights office ‘deeply concerned’ about Thailand’s deportation of Chinese activists

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.
UN Multimedia
OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

UN rights office ‘deeply concerned’ about Thailand’s deportation of Chinese activists

Voicing strong concern over the deportation of two Chinese activists by the Thai Government and their risk of being tortured and ill-treated by the authorities once sent back to China, the United Nations today urged Thailand to stop deporting individuals while calling on China to ensure its human rights obligation to those extradited.

“We strongly urge the Thai Government to stop deporting individuals, including potential refugees and asylum seekers, to countries where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would face an imminent risk of grave human rights violations, including torture,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told journalists at the regular press briefing in Geneva.

Thailand, she said, should launch an effective review system for all cases before deportation, which to guarantee and avoid serious risks of torture or ill treatment.

This current deportation came following the extradition of 109 ethnic Uighurs to China four months ago, which was of great concern to OHCHR.

Ms. Shamdasani further noted that Thailand is a party of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in which it stresses the principle of non-refoulement.

Meanwhile, China, along with seven other countries, is being examined by the UN Committee against Torture in Geneva this week.

With the Committee’s previous deep concern about allegations on China’s routine and widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody, “we call on the Chinese authorities to ensure that those extradited are treated in full conformity with the country’s human rights obligations,” said Ms. Shamdasani.

The two refugees, while reasons for their deportation remain unclear, had been due to depart for a third country where they were to be resettled along with their family, according to the UN.