Myanmar model seeks help from UNHCR after denied entry

45
2
Myanmar model seeks help from UNHCR after denied entry

A Myanmar model who spoke out against the military junta that seized power last year says she sought help from the UN s refugee agency after she was denied entry to Thailand.

Han Lay, who was stopped at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok last week, asked for help in a Facebook post on Thursday night, saying Myanmar police were at the airport and trying to speak with her.

She has been stuck in the transit area of the airport since Wednesday afternoon, her agent told Reuters. Hanlay could not be reached for comment.

Han Lay is a contestant in Miss Grand International Myanmar 2020 and has used her platform to raise awareness of the struggle for democracy in her country, where the military junta has used brutal violence to crush opposition.

She spoke about Myanmar Han Lay's struggled to fight back tears on stage during a competition in Thailand in 2021, and told the audience that more than 100 pro-democracy protesters had been killed on that day.

She said she was deeply sorry for the people who lost their lives.

Anyone in Myanmar who criticizes the military regime risks arrest and imprisonment in facilities where reports of abuse and torture are common. More than 15,500 people have been arrested since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma. This includes teachers, doctors and elected politicians, as well as social media influencers and models.

Han Lay appears to have been spending time in Thailand since the coup but was stopped from entering the country this week after returning from Vietnam.

I request Thai authority from here to help me and I will refuse to meet with the Myanmar police by using my human right! She wrote on Facebook on Thursday night. I have already reported to UNHCR. Amnesty International said on Twitter that Thailand must not return Han Lay to her country, where she has condemned the 2021 coup. She needs to be allowed to settle somewhere safe, and Myanmar is not safe for her, it said.

It added: Critics of Myanmar's military have been arbitrarily detained, tortured and killed in detention. Anyone who exposes, exposes, and documents the appalling human rights abuses since the coup is facing real risks. Nawit Itsaragrisil, founder of Thailand's Miss Grand International pageant, who also represents Han Lay, told Reuters she had been stopped by Thai authorities because she was the subject of an Interpol notice.

Thai authorities said that Han Lay had been denied entry due to a problem with her travel documents and that she had not been arrested. Tanee Sangrat, a spokesman for Thailand's Ministry for Foreign Affairs told media that there was no plans to deport her at this stage.