The Human Rights Watch Wednesday alleged that Thai authorities have wrongfully arrested 64 asylum seekers, including seven children, from Pakistan and Somalia.
In its press statement Human Rights Watch said the 64 asylum seekers possess “person of concern” documents issued by the United Nations refugee agency so they must be immediately released from an immigration detention.
The agency said Thai officials and police raided an apartment complex in the Pracha Uthit area of Bangkok on Thursday, and arrested scores of Pakistani and Somali asylum seekers.
Sixty-four were quickly tried for overstaying their visas, fined, and sent to the Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok, Human Rights Watch said. Among those detained are 7 children, the youngest age 14.
Detention of migrant children is particularly damaging to their health and well-being, it said. “People who are seeking refugee protection should not be detained,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director at Human Rights Watch, said in the press statement.
In Somalia, ongoing fighting in the south and central parts of the country has caused considerable harm to civilians, which may make Somali asylum seekers eligible for international protection under UNHCR’s Refugee Convention mandate or under its broader mandate to assist in providing protection in situations of forced displacement resulting from indiscriminate violence or public disorder.