Thailand and the national screening mechanism a step forward for refugee protection ?


Like the majority of states in Southeast Asia, Thailand has not ratified the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. At both regional and national levels, a specific regulatory framework on refugees and formal asylum procedure are also lacking, leaving those seeking international protection at risk of human rights violations. On December 24, 2019, Thailand enacted a historic legal instrument: The Prime Minister's Office Regulation on the Screening of Aliens Entering into the Kingdom and Unable to Return to their Country of Origin (B.E. 2562) to cope with this group of forcibly displaced persons. This essay seeks to examine the Regulation through the lens of international law, notably international refugee law and international human rights law, and to share a critical analysis, some observations as well as recommendations. It concludes that, taken as a whole, the legal milestone is a welcome but insufficient move towards the refugee protection.