Home News H'mong human rights activist arrested in Thailand faces deportation

H’mong human rights activist arrested in Thailand faces deportation

Vietnamese human rights activist Lù A Da, head of the H’mong Human Rights Coalition, was arrested by Thai Royal Police at his residence near Bangkok on December 7. 

His arrest followed his public denouncement of the Vietnamese government’s alleged systematic suppression of H’mong communities in Vietnam.

In a report, Radio Free Asia quoted Giang Thi A, Lù’s wife, saying that last Thursday, “the police arrested him and took him away while he and our daughter were washing a vehicle.”

She said he is currently being held in a police station, and a 10,000 Thai baht (US$280) bail has been set for his transfer to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC). 

The bail is attributed to Lù’s alleged illegal entry into Thailand in 2020. Giang Thi A said, “If we pay 10,000 Thai baht, he will be transferred to the IDC.”

Giang Thi A further disclosed that if the bail is not paid, Lù could be detained at the police station for 20 days before being transferred to the IDC. 

The family fled to Thailand in 2020 seeking refuge from ethnic and religious persecution. Lù applied for UNHCR refugee status but was rejected. 

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“Because we have not been officially recognized as refugees by the UNHCR, Lù, Giang, and their two children now face being deported back to Vietnam,” said Giang Thi A.

The arrest is believed to be linked to Lù’s participation in a video released by Boat People SOS on November 29, where he accused Vietnam of suppressing ethnic and religious minorities. 

In the video, Lù said, “Tens of thousands of H’mong people in Vietnam are not granted identification and birth and marriage certificates. As a result, children cannot go to school, adults cannot work, and seniors are not entitled to healthcare assistance provided by the government like others from the dominant ethnic group.”

The video previewed the UN’s review of Vietnam’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, with the official findings released on December 8.

As of December 2023, over 1,000 H’mong asylum seekers reside in Thailand, facing the risk of arrest as Thailand has not signed the International Convention on Refugees. 

The recent arrest of 11 members of the Montagnard ethnic minority near Bangkok further underscores the precarious situation of asylum seekers in Thailand.

Giang Thi A sought assistance from the Center for Asylum Protection (CAP) in Bangkok following her husband’s arrest. 

CAP confirmed their intention to pay the fine for Lù, facilitating his transfer to the IDC. 

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