Open Letter to the Government of Thailand on Refugees Fleeing Myanmar


Open Letter to the Government of Thailand on Refugees Fleeing Myanmar

2 November 2023

Open Letter to the Government of Thailand on Refugees Fleeing Myanmar

Re: New Thai government has the opportunity for a fresh start on Myanmar Refugees

To: Royal Thai Government 

H.E. Srettha Thavisin, Prime Minister 

H.E. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

H.E. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior

Attention to:

Hon. Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Thailand

Your Excellencies,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are writing to call upon the Pheu Thai government to ensure safe passage and access to humanitarian provisions for refugees fleeing violence and persecution in neighboring Myanmar. This would signal to the world that the new Thai government truly committed to respecting and upholding human rights.

As you know, the Myanmar military junta is committing ongoing war crimes and human rights violations against the civilian population, killing thousands and internally displacing 2 million people , according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. However, these numbers are likely much higher, based on data collected by local humanitarian organizations working on the ground in Myanmar.  This is just the latest wave of civilian displacement resulting from the unprecedented violence and scorched-earth earth terror campaign by the Myanmar military as Thailand is well aware, having housed tens of thousands of Myanmar refugees in refugee camps for the past 40 years. We commend Thailand for its long history of providing shelter and humanitarian aid to refugees from across Southeast Asia, particularly from Myanmar.

The new Thai government has an opportunity to establish itself as a governing body that upholds the human rights of all people, including the many seeking safety, shelter, and protection in Myanmar. There is the possibility for meaningful engagement with pro-democracy forces and those truly committed to a free and fair future in the country. This is possible with the support of the new Thai government in choosing to stand on the right side of history.

We urge you to enact policies that ensure refugees are granted safe passage and humanitarian assistance, starting by instructing Thai border authorities to immediately halt the forced return of Myanmar refugees, in line with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading Treatment or Punishment, of which Thailand is a state party, as well as Thailand’s own Act on the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance. Refugees living in the camps in Thailand must be given access to educational and economic opportunities that will allow them to thrive outside the camps in various capacities.

If your government enacts these policies, you will not only be acting with principled morality, and gaining the infinite gratitude of the Myanmar people, but you will also be raising the international community’s esteem and respect for Thailand as a democratic, humane, rights-respecting nation.

Yours sincerely,

Ah Nah Podcast – Conversations with Myanmar


ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights 

Asylum Access Thailand 

Australian Karen Organisation Inc

Burma Action Ireland

Burma Concern

Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons (CRSP)

CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland

CRPH Funding Ireland

CRPH/NUG Support Group, Australia, National representative for NSW Rep

CRPH/NUG Support Group, Western Australia 

CRPH/NUG Support Group Australia

Human Rights Foundation of Monland 

Initiatives for International Dialogue

International Detention Coalition (IDC)

Karenni National Women’s Organization

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) 

Manushya Foundation

Milk Tea Alliance – Friends of Myanmar 

Move Forward Party

Myanmar Campaign Network

Myanmar Geoscience Association, Western Australia 

Myanmar Response Network (MRN)

มูลนิธิสิทธิเพื่อสันติภาพ (Peace Rights Foundation)

The William Gomes Podcast, United Kingdom

U.S. Campaign for Burma 

Click here to read this open letter in Thai.

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ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) was founded in June 2013 with the objective of promoting democracy and human rights across Southeast Asia. Our founding members include many of the region's most progressive Members of Parliament (MPs), with a proven track record of human rights advocacy work.

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