Thailand: Do not return labour activist to Cambodia

11 December 2561

Amnesty International

Amnesty International calls on Thai authorities to promptly release Rath Rott Mony, president of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation (CCTUF) from Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok and to not deport him to Cambodia.


Thai authorities detained the trade union activist on 7 December 2018 in Bangkok following an official request by Cambodia for his deportation.


Cambodian authorities levelled criminal charges of “incitement to discriminate” for assisting a Russia Today television documentary about sexual exploitation of Cambodian minors, which aired in October 2018. Cambodian authorities claim that the film made false allegations that were damaging to Cambodia’s reputation and issued a warrant for his arrest. The charge of “incitement to discriminate” is routinely used in a politically-motivated fashion against individuals criticising the Cambodian government or its leaders.


By forcibly returning Rath Rott Mony to Cambodia, Thailand would violate the fundamental principle of non-refoulement under international law, which prohibits the transfer of persons to any country or jurisdiction where they face a well-founded risk of persecution. If returned, Rath Rott Mony would be at risk of arbitrary imprisonment or worse, including torture or other forms of ill-treatment.


Thailand has previously acquiesced to abusive requests for repatriation from foreign governments, such as in the case of Sam Sokha, a labour activist who had been recognised as a refugee but was nonetheless forcibly returned by Thai authorities to Cambodia on 8 February 2018. She was unfairly sentenced in absentia for “insult of a public official” and “incitement to discriminate” for having twice thrown a sandal at a roadside billboard put up by the ruling party ahead of local elections in 2017. She was jailed immediately upon her return to Cambodia.