Thailand/Laos: UNHCR urges conclusion of screening discussions before more Hmong are deported

Briefing Notes, 1 June 2007

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 1 June 2007, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

We are concerned to hear that the Thai authorities are considering deporting 48 newly arrived Lao Hmong back to Laos from Thailand. The Lao Hmong issue is complex and we appreciate the concerns of the Thai and Laos government on the irregular migration aspect and don't wish to complicate the issue. But there may be people coming who have humanitarian reasons for building a life in a third country and we would be concerned that people like this may be deported. We strongly urge both the Laos and Thai governments to conclude their discussions on a screening mechanism to allow the proper identification of different needs and put on hold any deportations until a conclusion is reached on this process.