Urgent Appeal

Thailand: Arbitrary arrest and imminent risk of extradition of Vietnamese human rights defender Y Quynh Bdap


The Observatory has been informed of the arbitrary arrest and imminent risk of extradition of Mr Y Quynh Bdap, a prominent Vietnamese human rights actvits and UNHCR-recognised refugee in Bangkok, Thailand. Y Quynh Bdap is the co-founder of Montagnards Stand for Justice (MSFJ), and has been a vocal advocate for religious freedoms and the rights of the Montagnard minority in Vietnam, a predominantly Christian ethnic group residing in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

On June 11, 2024, Y Quynh Bdap was arrested by Thai authorities following a meeting with Canadian Embassy officials in Bangkok the previous day regarding his resettlement process. Thai authorities have reportedly cited “overstaying” as the reason for his detention, which occurred amid persistent inquiries by Vietnamese authorities into Y Quynh Bdap’s whereabouts in Thailand, forcing him into hiding over the past six months. He is currently detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison awaiting an extradition trial requested by the Vietnamese Government, which is scheduled to take place on July 15, 2024.

In January 2024, Y Quynh Bdap was convicted in absentia by Vietnamese authorities to 10 years imprisonment on terrorism charges. The charges were related to his alleged involvement in attacks on government offices in the Dak Lak Province, Vietnam, in June 2023, which resulted in nine deaths. In a video statement recorded on June 7, 2024, Y Quynh Bdap reiterated his innocence and categorically denied any involvement in the attacks. At the time, he had left Vietnam to seek asylum.

If forcibly rapatriated, Y Quynh Bdap faces arbitrary imprisonment and the risk of torture. This threat is particularly serious given the documented history of violations against Montagnard communities by Vietnamese authorities. Human rights groups have repeatedly condemned Vietnam’s repressive actions against ethnic minorities and dissidents.

The Observatory also expresses its concern about the escalating trend of transnational repression of human rights defenders in Southeast Asia. On April 13, 2023, Vietnamese journalist Duong Van Thai disappeared. By April 16, 2023, Vietnamese state media reported that Duong Van Thai had been arrested while allegedly illegally re-entering Vietnam on April 14. Similarly, in 2019, Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat was abducted in Thailand, only to resurface in Vietnam days later. He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison. At the time of his disappearance, Nhat was seeking refugee status in Thailand.

If Thailand extradites Y Quynh Bdap, it would blatantly violate its obligations under domestic law and international treaties, notably the principle of non-refoulement enshrined in Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and in Thailand’s Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearances. This new law, which took effect on February 22, 2023, explicitly prohibits returning individuals to countries where they may face torture, ill-treatment, and enforced disappearance.

Additionally, Thailand ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which came into effect on June 13, 2024, mandating measures to prevent any actions that could lead to enforced disappearance, including extraditing individuals to states where they are likely to face such risks. Forcibly returning Y Quynh Bdap to Vietnam would constitute a clear violation of these obligations.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Y Quynh Bdap, which appears to be solely aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities, and calls on the Thai authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.

The Observatory further calls on the authorities in Thailand to put an halt to any extradition proceedings against Y Quynh Bdap and to put an end to all forms of harassment, incuding at the judicial and administrative levels, against him and all other human rights defenders in the country.

How You Can Help


Please write to the authorities of Thailand, asking them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Y Quynh Bdap and and all other human rights defenders in Thailand;
  2. Immediately and unconditionnally release Y Quynh Bdap;
  3. Refrain from forcibily repatriating Y Quynh Bdap and grant him the necessary protections as a UN-recognised refugee;
  4. Cease all acts of transnational repression against foreign activists and conduct thorough, impartial investigations into the involvement of Thai officials in any allegations of harassment, intimidation, threats, surveillance, and forced returns from Thailand by foreign governments;
  5. Uphold Thailand’s International obligations to protect refugees and asylum-seekers from persecution and harm.


Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Thailand in your respective country.

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