In the last two years, 20 Cambodians, including a six-year-old boy, have been fatally shot while attempting to cross the Thai border, the human rights group Adhoc said yesterday evening, denouncing the killings as violations of Thai law and international human rights protections.
In a report, the organization said Thai authorities have neither investigated nor punished any member of the Thai security forces reportedly involved in the killings, in which at least one person was shot in the head and two others died in Thai custody, including one man allegedly burned alive in Thailand in September.
All but one of the shootings were fatal, according to a list compiled by Adhoc of the incidents that occurred both in Thai and Cambodian territory.
“Thai soldiers have no right to kill Cambodian civilians who cross into Thailand,” Adhoc said in a statement, adding that if Cambodians enter Thailand without proper border inspection, they should be punished under Thai law, “not through arbitrary executions.”
Cambodian authorities have denounced the shootings of economic migrants and itinerant loggers as “atrocities” and called for those responsible to be investigated and punished.
Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday that he had no comment on the report’s contents but that the recent media reports of border shootings were “not verified.”
“We do not have any official information in such cases,” Mr Panitan said by telephone. “If it has any evidence, then we will certainly investigate. We can assure the international community that we do not violate international law or do anything wrong with migration.”