Hmong: UN Pressure for Release of Refugees
The UNHCR has expressed its concern over 149 Hmong refugees currently detained in
Below is an article published by UN News Centre:
UN AGENCY CALLS ON
Voicing relief that 149 Hmong refugees from Laos held in a detention centre in Thailand had ended a hunger strike, the United Nations refugee agency today [20 August 2007] called on the Thai Government to release them, all recognized refugees.
“We are alarmed and deeply concerned about the steadily deteriorating detention conditions of the refugees over the last weeks," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Bureau for
“They are being held in truly inhumane conditions – including innocent children – confined to two small cells into which daylight does not even shine and they are not allowed to leave,” she added. They also have no water source other than a tap in the cells.
The Lao Hmong began their strike on Thursday at the Nong Khai Immigration Detention Centre in a protest over the deteriorating conditions under which they have been held since early December. After a UNHCR team visited and counseled them on Sunday evening, they began taking food again.
Among the 149 recognized refugees are 90 children, including some babies born in the centre which is run by the Thai Immigration Ministry.
“There is absolutely no reason for these 149 people to be detained, especially as other countries have come forward and offered them resettlement places if they are only allowed to leave
The group was rounded up for deportation in
Since then, UNHCR has been urging the authorities to release them. "We appreciate the assurances given by the Thai Government that these 149 will not be deported, but now we need to move forward to end their detention, particularly as there is a solution at hand,” Ms. Lim said.
UNHCR is also concerned about conditions faced by other asylum seekers and refugees in detention in