HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Thai Government enacts law to criminalize torture & enforced disappearances

26 May 2016

After the recent review of Thailand at the 25th Session of the UPR in Geneva and receiving much pressure from the international NGO community, we welcome the decision of Thailand to criminalize torture and enforced disappearances.

As the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has reported more than 80 outstanding cases of forced disappearances this decision comes at a time of great urgency. Read the full news release from United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) below.


BANGKOK (25 May 2016) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia

(OHCHR) welcomes the decision by the Thai Government to enact a law to

criminalize torture and enforced disappearances, and to ratify the

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced


“These decisions by the Government are positive steps toward meeting

international human rights standards, and we urge the National Legislative

Assembly to pass the torture and enforced disappearance law as a matter of

priority,” said OHCHR’s Acting Regional Representative, Laurent Meillan.

“For too long, there has been no accountability on cases of torture

and involuntary and enforced disappearances due to the lack of

legislative framework. But when this bill goes through, torture and

enforced disappearance, will finally be criminalized and victims and families

will be able to pursue legal redress. Perpetrators of such heinous crimes can

be prosecuted.”

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

has 82 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances in Thailand.

The draft law provides penalties for government officials who commit

torture of up to 20 years in prison, 30 years if the torture leads to

serious injury, and life imprisonment if the torture results in death.

Officials who commit enforced disappearance face up to 20 years in prison,

up to 30 years if the enforced disappearance leads to serious injury, and

life imprisonment if death results.

As a further means to safeguard detainees from torture, the regional UN

Human Rights Office urges the Government to allow the National Human

Rights Commission of Thailand to independently monitor all places of detention.

OHCHR also calls on the Thai Government to promptly fulfill its commitment

to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

(OP-CAT), which will allow for the establishment of the National Preventive

Mechanism to undertake regular visits to places such as detention centres, prisons

and similar facilities. During the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of

Thailand’s human rights record in Geneva earlier this month, Thailand said

it planned to submit the OP-CAT treaty to the cabinet for ratification.

Thailand ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman

or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2007.