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.
Community-based human rights defenders and civil society organizations 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.”
At least 11 countries including Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, and the UK made specific recommendations on human rights defenders in Thailand.
While the commitment to human rights defenders is good, Thailand must translate this commitment into concrete actions immediately.
In the past 20 years, at least 60 defenders have been murdered but the perpetrators have 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.”
Additionally, for exercising their freedom of expression, many human rights defenders have been targeted – charged with “criminal defamation‟, forced into “attitude adjustment‟ in military camps, and subjected to home visits by the military.
We call on Thailand to accept all of 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 human rights defenders. Member states must work with defenders to continuously follow up on their recommendations to Thailand.
Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand(SPFT)
E-San Human Rights and Peace information center
Front Line Defenders
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Legal Action for Women
Read the full press statement.