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Borders fail to protect communicators and HRD’s

Throughout 2018, authorities in Thailand consented to extradition orders from their neighbours, often putting individuals at huge risk.

Sam Sokha – a protester who threw a shoe at a billboard of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen – was arrested in February 2018, having been sent back to Cambodia from Thailand. The UN refugee agency had reportedly formally recognised her as a refugee in Cambodia.[1]

In December, Thai authorities moved to return dissident Rath Rott Mony, President of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation, to Cambodia – despite clear evidence that he would face politically motivated prosecution, wrongful detention, and ill treatment in the country. Thai authorities arrested Mony in Bangkok on 7 December following a formal request by the Cambodian government. He was sent back to Cambodia and put on trial for ‘incitement to discriminate’, facing a year in prison. He had recently worked on a documentary critical of Cambodia’s role in child sex trafficking; Cambodian authorities accused the documentary makers of paying the featured girls and their mothers to lie on camera in order to harm Cambodia’s reputation.[2]

Thai authorities also began proceedings to comply with an extradition request by Bahrain for refugee Hakeem al-Araibi, who had been tortured in Bahrain. Authorities initially targeted him because of his brother’s political activities. A court finally denied the extradition request in 2019, and al-Araibi was allowed to go to Australia, where he has since received citizenship and publicly commented on the Bahraini government’s human rights record.[3]

 

[1] Associated Press, Cambodian Shoe-Thrower Arrested After Thailand Deports Her, 9 February 2018, available at https://www.apnews.com/e765113965014dd2aecbe237f62d7635

[2] Human Rights Watch, Thailand: Don’t Return Cambodian Dissident, 11 December 2018, available at https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/11/thailand-dont-return-cambodian-dissident

[3] ARTICLE 19, Thailand: Free Hakeem al-Araibi, Protect Free Speech of Refugees and Political Exiles, 4 February 2019, available at https://www.article19.org/resources/thailand-free-hakeem-al-araibi-protect-free-speech-of-refugees-and-political-exiles/

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