Thailand leans towards more humane refugee policy

VNA
Thailand’s immigration chief Surachate Hakparn vowed on January 17 not to force refugees to return home “involuntarily” after a Saudi woman’s plea for resettlement drew global attention to the Southeast Asian country, which does not recognise asylum seekers.

Immigration chief Surachate Hakparn spoke during a news conference on January 11 (Photo: Reuters)

Immigration chief Surachate Hakparn spoke during a news conference on January 11 (Photo: Reuters)

Surachate told an audience at the foreign correspondents’ club that he would take a new approach and that under his supervision, there will be no one involuntarily sent back to their home country if they do not want to go back.

He also said that the processing of Saudi national Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s experience would not serve as a model for future cases in Thailand, and that refugees will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The country is not a signatory to the United Nations convention on refugees. The quick processing of Rahaf’s case was unprecedented for Thailand and was overseen from start to finish by Surachate himself.

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