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Vietnamese refugees held in Thailand say they concern being pressured house — Radio Free Asia

Two Vietnamese refugees held by authorities in Thailand say they concern for his or her security after being visited in detention by Vietnamese embassy employees who urged them to return house, the place they face costs as political activists.

Nguyen Thi Thuy and Ho Nhut Hung, each members of the civil society Structure Group selling freedom of expression and meeting in Vietnam, had fled as refugees to Thailand in September 2018.

Each had taken half in protests towards proposed legal guidelines on cybersecurity and the granting of Particular Financial Zones to overseas traders that rocked main cities throughout Vietnam 4 years in the past, resulting in mass arrests.

Dwelling on expired UN-issued refugee playing cards in a province north of Bangkok, Thuy and Hung had been detained by Thai Royal Police on July 24, 2022, charged with “unlawful immigration and residence” and despatched to an Immigration Detention Middle within the capital.

Chatting with RFA by cellphone this week, Thuy mentioned that she and Hung had been visited in detention in early August by employees from Vietnam’s embassy in Bangkok who tried to steer them to return to Vietnam.

“Surprisingly, they knew my room quantity and my jail identification quantity,” Thuy mentioned. “They informed us they might create the very best circumstances for our repatriation, and warned us that if we didn’t agree and waited as an alternative for assist from the UN, we’d be in hassle.”

Each Thuy and Hung refused the embassy’s request, she mentioned.

“We informed the embassy that we now use UN identification playing cards as an alternative of Vietnamese passports, and that we’d subsequently wait till listening to from the UN, even when we have now to die right here,” she mentioned.

In February 2019, UN refugee officers issued playing cards with ID codes to Thuy and Hung, however the playing cards expired final yr, Thuy mentioned. Restricted by the COVID pandemic from visiting UN places of work in particular person, the pair had been informed by cellphone that their playing cards had been renewed, however they had been unable to choose them up and had been nonetheless utilizing their previous playing cards after they had been arrested, she mentioned.

Detainees held at Bangkok’s IDC have solely intermittent entry to water and are served meals missing diet, Thuy mentioned. Her cell usually housing as much as 60 girls is now much less crowded, although, as half of the detainees held there have been moved to different amenities, she added.

Social activists in Thailand have raised funds from totally different sources, together with Vietnamese dwelling abroad, to assist Thuy and Hung pay round 114,000 baht ($3,233) for bail, fines for unlawful immigration, and costs for COVID exams, Thuy mentioned.

Launch date unsure

Two weeks have now handed since Thuy and Hung had been detained, however they nonetheless don’t know when they are going to be launched, and Thuy’s calls to the workplace of the UN Excessive Commissioner for Refugees in Bangkok have rung unanswered, she mentioned.

Calls looking for touch upon Thuy’s and Hung’s case from Vietnam’s embassy in Thailand obtained no response this week, however an worker on the UNHCR workplace in Bangkok mentioned they had been conscious of the scenario and promised to report it to a senior official.

Additionally talking to RFA, Nguyen Hoan An — a Vietnamese social activist additionally dwelling as a refugee in Thailand — mentioned that refugees held in detention are usually freed on the identical day their bail is paid.

Detainees can’t be pressured house in the event that they refuse requests from their embassy to repatriate, An added. He famous nevertheless that Thai police have not too long ago entered rented rooms with out a warrant to arrest unlawful immigrants, reporting falsely that the arrests happened on the street.

Refugees’ requests to UNHCR and legislation corporations for assist are sometimes dealt with slowly or obtain no reply, An mentioned.

“We’re calling on communities, media teams and particularly the organizations liable for defending refugees to pay extra consideration,” An mentioned. “We hope that they’ll take motion rapidly every time refugees are arrested or face safety dangers in order that they aren’t intimidated and extradited again to Vietnam.”

In January 2019, RFA blogger Truong Duy Nhat was arrested by Vietnamese police brokers in Bangkok and compelled again to Vietnam only a day after submitting an software for refugee standing to UNHCR. He was later taken to court docket and sentenced to 10 years in jail for “abusing his official place” in a purchase order of actual property beneath Article 356 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.

Translated by Anna Vu for RFA Vietnamese. Written in English by Richard Finney.



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