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UNHCR welcomes Royal Thai Government’s commitment to release of detained children in Thailand


UNHCR welcomes Royal Thai Government’s commitment to release of detained children in Thailand


BANGKOK, 21 JANUARY 2019: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the Royal Thai Government’s (RTG) commitment and progress to end the detention of refugee and asylum seeker children.  It follows the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will provide a framework for the release of all children detained in Immigration Detention Centres (IDC) in Thailand.


Numerous government agencies signed the MoU, including the National Security Council (NSC), Royal Thai Police (RTP), Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS), Ministry of Interior (MOI), Ministry of Labour (MOL), Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and Ministry of Education (MOE).


The MoU is a concrete outcome of one of the pledges made by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha at the September 2016 Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations in New York, notably to end the practice of immigration detention of refugee and asylum seeker children. UNHCR, UN agencies, and NGOs were consulted during the process leading up to the signing.


“This MoU is a positive example of Thailand’s humanitarian approach to refugees and asylum seekers, and is supported by the recent release of mothers and children,” said Giuseppe De Vincentiis, UNHCR’s Representative in Thailand. 


“As an immediate next step, UNHCR hopes that the remaining mothers and children who are still in detention centres will soon be released and all separated families reunited.”


Globally, UNHCR strongly advocates against the immigration detention of all refugees and asylum-seekers and for more humane and more effective alternatives to be pursued.




For more information please contact:

In Bangkok: Jennifer Harrison,, +66 (0) 82 290 8831

Notes to editors:

For more information on alternatives to detention, please access these UNHCR guidelines: