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The Guardian Describes Thailand’s Immigration Chief as Contradicting: We’ll Not Return Refugees Home Involuntarily, We’re Still Waiting Al-Araibi’s Deportation Measures

2019-01-19 - 10:03 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Thailand's immigration chief has pledged a reversal of the country's notoriously harsh treatment of refugees following the global furore around a young Saudi woman's attempt to seek asylum, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Speaking on Wednesday, the newly appointed head of immigration, Surachate Hakparn, said refugees would no longer be returned home "involuntarily".

The newspaper indicated that "this would be a major shift in the long-running policy in Thailand of refusing to recognize and shelter asylum seekers and frequently returning them to countries where they are in danger."

Surachate pledged that going forward, when it comes to asylum seekers, Thailand "will now follow international norms".

However, inconsistencies in Surachate's pledges to reform the Thai immigration process were already exposed in his comments on the ongoing case of Hakeem Al-Araibi.

Surachate said the case was "different" because there was an "outstanding warrant" for him, despite the fact that the Interpol red notice, requested by Bahrain and erroneously issued against Interpol's own refugee-protection protocols, has since been lifted.

Thailand is instead processing a formal extradition request from Bahrain, and Surachate would only say that al-Araibi would be able to make his case "in court".

The Guardian noted that Surachate's appointment as department chief has been marked by a harsh crackdown on illegal immigrants over the past three months, which has resulted in women and children refugees, who had previously been released on bail, rounded up again and put back into detention - described as "government shelters" - despite an earlier promise by the government to no longer detain single mothers and children.

However, speaking on Wednesday, Surachate pledged that mothers and children held in immigration detention would be given bail.

Hakparn said this statement in an interview with FCC, meanwhile, it seems that it is a whitewashing of media role, as the club indicated in the invitation text that Hakparn was at the center of this international drama caused by Rahaf case.

Rahad Al-Qunun posted on January 10 a tweet in support of Hakeem Al-Araibi. Using #SaveHakeem, Rahaf wrote "Please help him. Same story. Don't forget Hakeem. I'm with you." 

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