wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BANGKOK6001
2005-09-19 23:58:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

THAI NOT DEPORTING PETCHABOON HMONG, YET

Tags:  PREF PREL TH 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS BANGKOK 006001 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

GENEVA FOR RMA, DEPT FOR PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL TH
SUBJECT: THAI NOT DEPORTING PETCHABOON HMONG, YET

REF: BANGKOK 005146



1. (SBU) Summary. Contrary to rumors circulating among NGOs,
the RTG is not currently deporting the nearly six thousand
ethnic Hmong living in Petchaboon province. The RTG is
cooperating with UNHCR's efforts to determine which Hmong may
qualify as refugees and for resettlement, but clearly plans
to deport the majority after UNHCR is finished. Post has
conveyed our concerns about the situation to both senior and
working-level Thai officials, who have said that deportation
is not imminent and that a number of the Hmong are willing to
return to Laos now that they realize there is no US
resettlement program. End Summary.


NEWSPAPER ARTICLE STIRS RUMOR POT


--------------------------





2. (SBU) An article in the English-language daily Bangkok
Post on 15 September ignited a new round of rumors that the
RTG plans to forcibly deport the nearly six thousand Hmong
encamped in Petchaboon province (see Ref for background on
this group). The Post reported that the RTG had approved a
budget for repatriating the Hmong, and that the Petchaboon
Governor was "awaiting the order" to commence the
deportation. This article coincided with rumors that Thai
police and/or military were already moving to push the Hmong
towards the Thai/Lao border and reports that several Thai of
Hmong ethnicity had been arrested (Note, in a sign of either
efficient-as-usual Thai bureaucracy or artful denial, the
governor's office plead ignorance of the article and
requested that we fax them a copy. End Note).


UNHCR MOVING AHEAD WITH INTERVIEWS


--------------------------





3. (SBU) Acting Refcoord contacted Deputy UNHCR
Representative Raja Panday on 15 September to discuss the
Hmong situation. Panday stated that he had seen the Bangkok
Post article and was likewise concerned about the plight of
the Hmong, but had not heard any other solid information on
possible RTG deportation plans. UNHCR has been working with
the RTG to determine which Hmong may have legitimate refugee
claims and plans to send interview teams to Petchaboon in the
next several days. Panday agreed to keep us informed of
their findings.


CONVEYING OUR CONCERN TO THE RTG


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Charge d'Affaires spoke with NSC Deputy Secretary
General Prakit Prachonpachanuk on 15 September to convey our
concern and to urge the RTG to maintain its dialogue with
UNHCR on the issue. Prakit replied that he understands our
concern and that the NSC continues to discuss the Hmong
situation. The Charge asked that RTG keep us apprised of key
developments.



5. (SBU) In a separate conversation 16 September, acting
Refcoord spoke with a working-level NSC contact, who
emphasized that a key dynamic in any decision will be
ensuring the safety of the Hmong involved. According to this
official, a number of Hmong had been misled by "some people"
claiming that either the RTG was willing to allow them to
settle in Thailand, or that the USG was planning a new
repatriation program. Now that both rumors have proven
false, a sizable number of Hmong are willing to return to
Laos but "want us (the Thai) to do it."



6. (SBU) That said, according to this contact, a large group
of Hmong refuse to return, and the RTG will have to apply
applicable immigration laws. When pressed on the modalities
of enforcing these laws, this official said that the RTG will
have to "wait for awhile" before moving forward, but pledged
to keep Post informed of any planned deportation.

COMMENT


--------------------------





7. (SBU) The RTG repatriation/deportation of the Hmong
appears inevitable at some point in the future but is on hold
for the time being. We will continue to seek a better
understanding of the situation on the ground and press our
government contacts to ensure they cooperate with UNHCR and
handle this situation in a humane manner.
ARVIZU