Forced deportation

28 12 2009
The Abhisit Vejjajiva government, claiming to follow international principles and the rule of law, sent 5,000 troops on a pre-dawn mission to forcibly deport some 4,000 Hmong from a camp at Huay Nam Khao in Phetchabun province (Bangkok Post, 28 December 2009: Thailand starts deporting Hmong to Laos and New York Times, 28 December 2009, “Thailand Begins Repatriation of Hmong to Laos”).

According to reports, “Security forces were seen heading towards the camp by truck armed with batons and shields…”. Independent observers and the media were kept away. Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch stated that “[s]pecial forces members were among the troops entering the camp and 50 mobile prison trucks also arrived…” He said that the military was to “first target group leaders and potential trouble makers. Those people would be snatched and sent out first“.

The deportations came despite international pleading for the Thai government to halt its plans to send all of these people back to Laos even when Thai officials agreed that some had legitimate political concerns about such a repatriation.

Just a few hours ago PPT asked why anyone should believe Prime Minister Abhisit’s assurances regarding a forced repatriation. We have raised this question several times in other instances where Abhisit’s actions do not match his words.

One other aspect of this action that deserves some attention is the failure of the Thai media to deal with this human rights issue in any meaningful way. The forcible deportation barely rated a mention in television news reports early Monday. When it was mentioned it was reported in an entirely uncritical manner and supportive of the government.

It has to be said that the management of news under the Abhisit government now mirrors that under Thaksin Shinawatra. Indeed, it may be even more complete because the mainstream media is entirely pro-government. Free-to-air television news now appears as an advertorial for the government. As PPT has warned previously, this is a dangerous trend supportive of authoritarianism in government.



One response

31 12 2009
New: Hmong forced repatriation and human rights « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Hmong forced repatriation and human rights PPT has posted on the forced repatriation of Hmong and there is now plenty of international condemnation of the […]

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