Thailand: Ahmadiyya

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made representations to the Thai government on the arbitrary arrests of Ahmadi Muslim refugees.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

We closely followed the October 2018 detention in Thailand of approximately 100 people, mainly from Pakistan, whom the Thai authorities considered illegal immigrants. This followed arrests and refoulment of Cambodian and Vietnamese nationals in August 2018.

On 2 November 2018, the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, spoke to the Thai ambassador in London to raise our concerns over the detention of foreign nationals, including nationals of Pakistan, in Thailand. The British Embassy Bangkok also raised the issues with the Ministry of the Interior. We believe that the actions of the Thai authorities are not aimed at any specific group or groups, but apply to anyone whom they deem an illegal visa over-stayer. The UK has repeatedly urged Thailand to sign the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. The UNHCR are working closely with the Royal Thai Government over asylum, resettlement issues, and improving conditions for genuine claimants, for example by giving them documentation that allows them to access services and protected them from persecution. We are also working with the Thai authorities to improve conditions of detention.

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