Rights groups call on Thailand not to extradite Vietnamese activist

Y Quynh Bdap, an indigenous Ede, faces torture if returned, says Amnesty International.
RFA Staff
Rights groups call on Thailand not to extradite Vietnamese activist This undated photo taken from Facebook shows Y Quynh Bdap before his arrest by Thai Police.
Facebook/Y Quynh Bdap

Two international rights groups have called on Thailand to abandon plans to extradite a Montagnard activist to Vietnam, raising concerns about “transnational repression” in the kingdom directed at foreigners seeking protection as refugees. 

Amnesty International said Y Quynh Bdap, an indigenous Ede, was likely to be tortured on his return.

Bdap was arrested by Thai authorities on June 11, for “overstaying” his visa, after Vietnamese authorities asked Thailand to send him back. His extradition hearing is next week.

“The Vietnamese authorities have a long history of violent and racist persecution against Montagnard Indigenous peoples. Thailand would be in breach of its non-refoulement obligations if it were to accept this farcical extradition request,” said Amnesty International’s Thailand Researcher Chanatip Tatiyakaroonwong in a news release on Wednesday.

Thailand’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment on Bdap’s case by time of publication.

Montagnards are mostly Christian ethnic minority people, based in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, who have faced years of persecution from authorities over religion and land rights. Montagnard means “mountain people” in the language of former colonial power France.

In January, Vietnam sentenced Bdap in absentia to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges, accusing him of involvement in 2023 attacks on two public agency headquarters in Dak Lak province in which nine people were killed, even though he has been in Thailand and recognized as a refugee since 2018.

In addition to Amnesty’s call, global civil society alliance the CIVICUS Monitor also raised concerns about “transnational repression” in Thailand, directed at foreigners seeking protection as refugees and added the country to its human rights watchlist.

It cited Bdap’s case, saying he could be “subjected to severe persecution” if deported to Vietnam.

⁠“Transnational repression describes efforts by governments or their agents to silence or deter dissent by committing human rights abuses against their own nationals or members of the country’s diaspora outside their territorial jurisdiction,” said CIVICUS Asia researcher Josef Benedict.

“It is extremely worrying that a country that is seeking a place on the U.N. Human Rights Council is facilitating harassment, surveillance, and physical violence of activists from abroad seeking refuge in Thailand.”

“The authorities must end such actions and instead create a safe haven for activists fleeing persecution from neighboring countries.”

Radio Free Asia is a news service affiliated with BenarNews.


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