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News comment from Indrika Ratwatte, Director of UNHCR's Asia bureau

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News comment from Indrika Ratwatte, Director of UNHCR's Asia bureau

14 February 2018

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed at the deportation of a Cambodian refugee from Thailand, despite the confirmation of her refugee status and her well-founded fear of persecution if returned to Cambodia.

UNHCR understands that the refugee was taken from an immigration detention centre in Bangkok on 8 February 2018 and sent back to Cambodia, where she is now in detention in Kampong Speu Province and may face two or more years in jail.

This deportation is a clear violation of customary international law, notably the principle of non-refoulement that prohibits sending people back to a place where their lives and freedoms could be in danger. UNHCR continues to seek clarifications about the circumstances of this deportation and strongly urges the Royal Thai Government to refrain from taking such actions in the future. The UN Refugee Agency is prepared to discuss any similar situations, in view of supporting Thailand to uphold its international human rights obligations.

UNHCR is deeply concerned about the safety of the deported refugee and urges the Cambodian authorities to ensure that human rights groups can access this individual to monitor her situation in Cambodia.

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