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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is alarmed at today's deportation of some 100 persons of Turkic origin by Thailand. It is believed that they were taken to China on two flights early on Thursday morning (July 10), despite having indicated that they did not wish to be deported to China. The group may have included women and children.
UNHCR has been aware of these cases for several months, and made numerous interventions on their behalf to the Royal Thai Government. In response, the agency was given assurances that the matter would be handled in accordance with international legal standards, and that the group would continue to receive protection.
A third country solution was identified and a group of 172 women and children benefitted from this solution last week.
"While we are seeking further clarifications on what happened exactly, we are shocked by this deportation of some 100 people and consider it a flagrant violation of international law," said Volker Türk, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who is currently in the region.
"I strongly urge the Thai authorities to investigate this matter and appeal to Thailand to honor its fundamental international obligations, notably the principle of non-refoulement, and to refrain from such deportations in the future," he added.
UNHCR urges the Royal Thai Government in the strongest possible terms to allow those remaining to depart voluntarily and as soon as possible to a country of their choice which is willing to receive them.