MADPET is for the Abolition of Death Penalty, an end of torture and abuse of rights by the police, an end to death in custody, an end to police shoot to kill incidents, for greater safeguards to ensure a fair trial, for a right to one phone call and immediate access to a lawyer upon arrest, for the repeal of all laws that allow for detention without trial and an immediate release of all those who are under such draconian laws.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Thailand - Accept UPR Recomendations to Respect and Protect HR Defenders
11 May 2016
Human Rights Defenders in Thailand at the 2nd cycle of the UN
Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand
Today Member States
of the United Nations (UN) gathered in Geneva for the 2nd cycle of
the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand.
Rights Defenders and civil society organisations welcome the statement by the
Thai delegation led by the Minister of Justice, that Thailand acknowledges it
is ‘their duty that human rights defenders and lawyers can carry out their work
in a safe and enabling environment.”
We note that at least
11 countries including Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Czech Republic, Iceland,
Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Switzerland and the UK made specific
recommendations on HRDs.
Czech Republic recommended
that Thailand ensure “a stop of harassment and intimidation of all HRDS and
effectively to implement measures at preventing violence and crimes against
them.” Bolivia specifically recommended the protection of the rights of farmers
and people who live in rural areas.
New Zealand expressed”
...strong concerns that the protection and promotion of human rights,
particularly civil and political rights, have deteriorated in Thailand since
theMay 2014 military coup...”
No country made
specific recommendation on women human rights defenders, who hugely contribute
to defending human rights injustices in Thailand. Only Spain recommended
implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2015 without restrictions on grounds
of religion or national security as is now the case.
While the commitment
for human rights defenders is good, Thailand must translate this commitment into
concrete actions immediately.
In the past 20 years,
at least 60 HRDs have been murdered and yet the perpetrators are yet to be
brought to justice.Botswana specified
that Thailand “investigate and ensure justice to all reported cases of
intimidation, harassment and attack of HRDs and journalists...” Romania
recommended that “perpetrators are brought to justice.”
For exercising their
freedom of expression, many HRDS have been targeted – charged with ‘criminal
defamation’, forced into ‘attitude adjustment’ in military camps, and subjected
to home visits by the military.Attitude
adjustment includes being detained, kept incommunicado and “brainwashed”;
and/or being forced to make public declarations that they will no longer be
involved in political activities, that is, that they will abandon their
struggle for human rights.
UK recommended that Thailand
ensure that there are “no restrictions on freedom of expression especially for
the media and HRDs, and no one faces threats and harassment including attitude
adjustment for expressing their views ... and that all legislation concerning
freedom of expression is compatible with international obligations as
recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur on HRDs in 2016.”
New Zealand also
called to “end the use of attitude adjustment and establishment of training
Belgium also recommended
that Thailand “put into effect the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on
the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and
expression...”Calls for freedom of
opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and media freedom were made repeatedly
by numerous member states.
called for the repeal of section 44 of the interim Constitution which grants
the military government absolute powers and impunity with regard to fundamental
freedoms and liberties.
Somchai Neelapaijit, Porlaiee
Rakchongcharoen (“Billy”), and Den Khamlae (missing since 16 April 2016) are
examples of HRDs who have been forcibly disappeared. A member of the Southern
Peasant Federation of Thailand and another land rights activist from the North
East, Mr Sawat Oppahad, are now being repeatedly threatened with enforced
disappearance by military officers since the 2014 coup.
A majority of countries
recommended full implementation of the Enforced Disappearances Convention, including
the passing national laws criminalising enforced disappearance and torture, and
recognising the rights of victims’ families to seek justice.
The human rights
defenders in Thailand, women and men, who have courageously always upheld the
cause of justice without fear or favour, appreciate the concern demonstrated by
the UN member states, who have heard their voice.
We call on Thailand
to accept all the recommendations concerning the protection of human rights
defenders and freedom of expression, criticism, opinion, peaceful assembly
including protest, and of the media.
We call on all the
member states of the UN, and in particular the 11 countries who specifically
expressed concern about the protection and freedoms of human rights defenders
to work to ensure that there are no reprisals on HRDs. Member states must work
with HRDs to continuously follow up on their recommendations to Thailand
Federation of Thailand (SPFT) E-San Human Rights
and Peace information centre Front Line Defenders
Against Death Penalty and Torture) Legal Action for Women,
London & US Global Woman Strike