Asylum Seekers and Refugees Lack Protection in Thailand

When Aviv and his family were forced to flee their home in Pakistan due to religious persecution, they arrived in Thailand only to be met with another harsh reality.

“We are still facing persecution, but in a different way. It’s hard to find food or a safe place to live. The greatest danger is that if you’re found by the immigration police they will arrest and detain you.” – Aviv

Thailand is home to an estimated 130,000 refugees, but it is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has no domestic laws governing refugees. Refugees are considered illegal migrants and are routinely denied fundamental rights including legal status, freedom from detention and deportation, access to safe and lawful employment, and equal protection of the law.

Asylum Access and six other organizations* prepared a joint UN submission that calls on Thailand to recognize the rights of refugees during its upcoming Universal Periodic Review, a mechanism by which the United Nations Human Rights Council examines every country’s human rights record.

The joint UN submission provides detailed recommendations for the Thai Government to improve access to human rights for refugees and asylum seekers and marks an important step in refugee rights advocacy in Thailand.

Read the official press release.


Jessica Therkelsen
Global Policy Director, Asylum Access
(+1) 510.899.8700

Emily Arnold-Fernandez
Executive Director, Asylum Access
(+1) 415.601.3896

*The joint submission was published by seven organizations working to improve the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Thailand: Asylum Access, the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, Fortify Rights, the Human Rights Development Foundation, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Migrant Working Group, and the People’s Empowerment Foundation.