Phnom Penh, 11 June 2014 – The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is gravely concerned at witness reports to ADHOC investigators of the killing of up to nine Cambodian migrants and the beating of another by the Thai armed forces as part of the Thai military junta’s campaign to expel illegal migrants working in the country. This vicious campaign has seen thousands of Cambodians packed into trucks like animals and forcibly returned to Cambodia. Returnees have reported violent raids on houses where illegal immigrants are suspected of residing and incidences of the tearing up of documentation entitling Cambodians to work legally in the country. ADHOC will continue to investigate these claims.
Since 01 June 2014, approximately 10,000 Cambodian migrants have either voluntarily returned to Cambodia or been forcibly returned by the Thai military. ADHOC has been monitoring the repatriations and has received witness reports of the killing of nine people, beatings and inhumane treatment. Returnees have told ADHOC that they have been extorted up to $65 by Thai soldiers and officials while being returned.
Many of the migrants now across the Cambodian border do not have sufficient food or money for onward transportation to their homes. Little provisions have been made for them by the Cambodian authorities and many have had to rely on charitable donations.
ADHOC is concerned that such brutal treatment and disregard for the human rights of the citizens of a fellow ASEAN state comes the year before the proposed ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The AEC aims at economic integration in the ASEAN region however the mistreatment and violent repatriation of Cambodians, some working legally in the country, does not suggest Thailand respects Cambodian workers or their human rights.
ADHOC calls on the Thai authorities to immediately investigate allegations of killings of Cambodians and ensure that the repatriation of Cambodians is carried out with respect to their inherent human dignity. Moreover, ADHOC reminds the Cambodian government that it has a duty to protect the welfare of its citizens and must pressure the Thai authorities to investigate allegations of killing and to respect the rights of Cambodian migrants.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ny Chakrya (Head of Human Rights and Legal Aid Section) 011 274 959 – Khmer, English
Mrs Chhan Sokunthea (Head of Women and Children Section and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section – Khmer, English