We are deeply concerned about the deportation of two Chinese activists – both of whom are recognised refugees – by the Thai authorities, and the risks associated with their being sent back to China. We have expressed our concern to the Government of Thailand about their deportation, which comes just over four months after we voiced concern over the Government's deportation of 109 ethnic Uighurs to China.
The principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of a refugee to a country where he or she is likely to face persecution or torture, is contained in Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which Thailand is a party.
UNHCR said the two refugees who were deported had been due to depart for a third country where they were to be resettled along with their family. The reasons for the deportation remain unclear. Since their deportation, other family members that were in Thailand have left the country for third-country resettlement.
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. We further urge the Government to put in place an effective system of review of all cases before deportation happens to ensure that there are no serious risks of torture or ill-treatment.
We note that the UN Committee against Torture examined China's record, along with seven other countries, in Geneva this week. The Committee has previously expressed deep concern about the "continued allegations, corroborated by numerous Chinese legal sources, of 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.