Press Release — HRF to Laos: Do Not Extradite Thai Activists Seeking Refuge


In a public letter addressed to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos, Human Rights Foundation (HRF) urged the Lao government to uphold the country’s obligations under international law and protect pro-democracy activists seeking refuge in Laos from the Thai government. Last week, Laos accepted Thailand’s request to capture and return Thai dissidents within Laos’ borders, including activists facing charges for freely expressing criticism of the government. Thailand’s junta-led regime is known for abusing lèse-majesté, a type of criminal defamation provision, to silence peaceful critics of the government.

“To capture these courageous individuals and forcibly return them back to Thailand means Laos will participate in Thailand’s human rights abuses as an accomplice, and may open the door for Laos to be subject to international condemnation and sanctions,” said the letter signed by Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “We respectfully urge [Laos] to uphold international law and reverse the decision to assist Thailand in extraditing dissidents charged with lèse-majesté.”

HRF sent the letter to Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith on February 28, 2017. The letter is the latest development in HRF’s campaign to advocate for activists who are persecuted under lèse-majesté provisions, such as Thai student activist Jatupat Boonpattararaksa. Boonpattararaksa was jailed in December for sharing a BBC article highlighting the disturbing past of King Vajiralongkorn on Facebook. Jatupat’s bail request has been denied seven times, and he remains in detention.

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Read the full letter here.

Contact: Prachi Vidwans, (212) 246-8486,


  • Urge the Lao government to reverse its decision to assist Thailand in extraditing Thai dissidents charged with lèse-majesté.


  • Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of Laos, Address: Prime Minister’s Office, Lane Xang Avenue, Vientiane, Laos; Fax: +856 21 213650
  • Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos,
  • Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the United States of America,
  • Permanent Mission of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the United Nations,

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