Press Releases : On the Return of Irregular Migrants to China

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Release on 9 July 2015,

With reference to media reports on the repatriation of Uyghur illegal migrants from Thailand to China on 9 July 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state the following information;

1. Since March 2014, more than 300 Uyghurs have entered Thailand illegally. The Government of China has requested the Royal Thai Government to repatriate this group of migrants to China as they may have been involved in criminal acts in China. The Royal Thai Government has inquired the Chinese Government to send evidence of nationality verification and relevant criminal records for Thailand’s consideration.

2. The Royal Thai Government has considered this matter very carefully, taking into account humanitarian and human rights principles as well as Thailand’s international obligations.

3. The Royal Thai Government has carefully considered all relevant evidences from every party involved, and classified the migrants into three groups. First, a group of 172 migrants who have no criminal records and have indicated their wish to travel to Turkey and are accepted for resettlement by the Turkish Government. Second, a group of 109 migrants for whom the Royal Thai Government has received evidence of criminal involvement and nationality verification from the Government of China. The last group consists of approximately 60 migrants who remain under the Royal Thai Government’s protection.

4. According to the abovementioned findings, the Royal Thai Government has proceeded as follows;
4.1 On 29 June 2015, the Royal Thai Government facilitated the departure of 172 migrants to Turkey. The group has since been successfully resettled in Turkey.
4.2 On 9 July 2015, the Royal Thai Government repatriated 109 illegal migrants, whose nationalities have been verified as Chinese and evidence of their involvement in criminal activities has been sent by the Government of China.
4.3 Currently, about 60 migrants who have no evidence that may suggest involvement in a criminal act are still under the protection and care of the Thai Government. The government will further consider appropriate and viable solutions for this group.

5. As for the concerns raised by some parties that those who have been repatriated may be subjected to severe and life threatening punishment, the Chinese Government has provided assurance that they will be given fair treatment and safety. In addition, those not guilty of any criminal act will be provided with assistance in order to reintegrate back into the society as well as an allocation of land for them to make a living.

6. The Chinese Government has also expressed its readiness to invite representatives from the Royal Thai Government for follow up visits to monitor the conditions of returned Uyghurs. The National Security Council of Thailand will assemble an inter-agency team and will consider inviting representatives from relevant international bodies such as ICRC to join the team during these visits.

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