(BANGKOK, May 2023)—On May 22, 2023, the Move Forward Party–winner of the popular vote in Thailand’s 2023 general election–stated during a press conference that it would respect the principle of non-refoulement in managing refugees along Thailand’s border with Myanmar. Specifically, Pita Limjaroenrat of the Move Forward Party said: “We have a protocol with the prime minister’s office in how we take care of all these situations along the border. Non-refoulement principles is one of them that was already clear in the legal basis, but it was not implemented.”
Fortify Rights documented the forced return of refugees by Thai authorities under the previous government and advocated for Thailand to uphold the principle of non-refoulement, including through publications that exposed the forced return of three Myanmar nationals in April 2023, the destruction of a makeshift cross-border footbridge used by refugees in 2022, and shortfalls in Thailand’s refugee rights record, an op-ed on Thailand’s push-back policies, and short videos on refugees fleeing military attacks and persecution in Myanmar. Fortify Rights has also engaged the Move Forward Party on several occasions specifically on the issue of forced returns and provided expert testimony before Thailand’s House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations in 2022.