OTTAWA The Canadian government mentioned on Wednesday it had registered severe concern with Thailand and China over a selection by Bangkok to send back to China two Chinese refugees who were awaiting resettlement in Canada.
The two Chinese men have been under the protection of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), mentioned Francois Lasalle, spokesman for Canada’s foreign ministry.
“We have expressed severe concerns with both countries, including our deep disappointment that the individuals had been sent by Thai authorities back to China ?despite getting in possession of UNHCR protection documents,” Lasalle said.
The Thai junta knew that two Chinese males it detained were refugees awaiting resettlement in Canada but nevertheless deported them to China, according to a United Nations letter seen by Reuters.
The letter, reported on by Reuters on Nov. 30 contradicts Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s statement final month that Thailand “did not know” that the men have been below UNHCR protection.
Military-ruled Thailand arrested the males, Jiang Yefei and Dong Guangping, on Oct. 28 and deported them at Beijing’s request in mid-November.
In the letter, dated Nov. 16, the UNHCR raised its objections to the deportations and reminded the Thai foreign ministry that it had informed the government in writing on Nov. 10 that the males had been refugees and had been accepted for fast resettlement by Canada.
(Reporting by Randall Palmer Editing by Sandra Maler)