Civil Society and Human Rights Coalition of Thailand (CHRC), comprised of more than 50 organizations, institutions and groups, is urging the Thai government to take a serious decision in response to the 172 recommendations made by international community other state members of the United Nations Human Rights Council - Working Group on UPR on October 5-7, 2011 in Geneva.
Earlier, the Coalition had submitted the joint statement as the stakeholder report to the Working Group on UPR through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights since March 2011 for attention. The statement addressed a broad range of concern issues and highlighted some priority list.
UPR is a great opportunity for the Thai government in an effort to boost its international confidence. Therefore, in order to take a further step before the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council Session in March 2012 in Geneva, the Coalition would like to recommend the following:
National Security Laws:
National Security Act, Administrative Decree on the Administration in the State Emergency, and the Martial Law Act remain problematic and contrary to the international Human Rights principles especially the Basic Rights and Fundamental Freedom of suspects and detainees as well as other ordinary peoples. This indicates that the authority is lacking of capability on the investigation until they cannot apply normal criminal procedure law which will worsen the deprivation of people’s welfare and liberty. Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly, free travel and transportation and communication are also being restricted. So the laws must be reviewed and repeal at the early stage. Besides, the ongoing violence and conflict in the southern part of Thailand is still at a stake. Justice and Human Rights Based Approach is the best way to resolve all existing conflict s and the chronic problems.
We call on the government to response to the recommendations from UPR Working Group positively.
We congratulate the Thai government to sign the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance on January 9. 2012. However, we are disappointed that the government failed to ratify this convention in the early day. The full commitment is really needed to bring about the new changes for justice and the sake of victims and their families. The government should ensure that a newly drafted bill and amendment of related laws will be tabled for parliamentary approval very soon. We asked the government to ratify the Convention as soon as possible as Enforced Disappearance is one of the worst forms of Human Rights violation and Crime against Humanity. Such protection must be in place.
Rights to Life and Capital Punishment: Death Penalty:
Moratorium and the acceding ICCPR Optional Protocol II as recommended by the UPR Working Group is a way to move forward a global effort to end capital punishment. However, we are concern that the government hasn’t taken a positive stand to join international community on this matter. We, therefore, call on the government to take the “YES” stand regarding the moratorium rather than “ABTAIN” at the United Nations General Assembly. The government positive role is so important and can indicate that the government shall attempt to develop the alternative means for the good sake of our society. So far more than 130 Countries had already ceased this inhuman sentence.
Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly
The government should ensure the open atmosphere for the protection of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The review and studies of outdated laws and orders (such as the Computer Crime Act, Security Laws, Penal Code article 112 and the like) related to basic rights and fundamental freedom in a regular basis will be useful for such democratic society. Besides, the growing “Hate Speech” is also one of the clear examples leading to further violation of human rights. We urge the Thai government to seek advice from independent expert on Freedom of Expression by inviting him for the visit as the matter of priority. The state should come out with an appropriate approach to deal with this problem rather than taking the criminal charge against those who exercise their basic rights in democratic society.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is aiming to end the impunity worldwide since the Statute is covering the 4 key areas namely the (1) Crime against Humanity (2) Genocide (3) War Crime (4) Crime of Aggression. Thailand had already signed the Rome Statute in 2001 but not yet ratify.
We strongly urge the government to pay much more attention in joining international community to combat the serious crime against humanity and to end impunity. It’s also a moral obligation for the Thai government to be a party to the Rome Statute as soon as possible.
Migrant Workers and Non Discrimination
International Convention on the Right of Migrant Workers and their Families is an instrument to protect the basic rights of all migrant workers. Since Thailand is benefitting from the migrant workers both as the exporter and importer, to be a party to the convention will be a good opportunity for Thailand to manage the issue in the fair manner. Entering to this convention will be a significant step to prepare for the forthcoming ONE ASEAN Community by the year 2015 and providing equal opportunity to all concern citizen of ASEAN.
We strongly urge the government to ratify this international convention without further delay.
On Refugees and Stateless
The recommendations from the international community strongly encouraged Thailand to sign and ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as the 1954 and 1961 Conventions on Statelessness must be positively considered by the Royal Thai Government in order to demonstrate Government's sincerity in advancing its efforts on the promotion and protection of human rights in Thailand. Failure to recognizing these two chronic human rights problem would undermine Thailand's commitment to be one of world's leaders in human rights.
Right to Development and Access to Justice
All the Mega Projects need the involvement of communities and peoples who are the key stakeholders in the decision process. Prior consent is the key concern which always undermined by the state in the past. Multi-Billions Baht Schemes have to be taken into account both positive and negative effects.
Besides the UPR process, the Thai government is still being late in submitting the State Report to the treaty bodies in the due time especially on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – (2nd report) and others such as Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Convention against Torture (CAT). Accelerating the preparation of the report and implementation of the Treaties will be useful for the improvement of Human Rights at national level.
National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP)
The National Human Rights Action Plan endorsed and approved by previous government in 2009 to cover 2009-2013. However, it is unfortunately that there is no progress at all since then especially after the new government taken over the state administration. The FAILURE in implementing this NHRAP might indicate that the government ignores the commitment in the promotion and protection of all Human Rights at the national and local levels. The government must take this policy mission seriously and ensure that all of its organs shall incorporate NHRAP into its plan of action to show that the government is sincere on the promise committed to general public both nationally and internationally.
Besides, the government should propose the draft bill on gender equality & protection from gender discrimination prepared by the civil society to the parliament since the said draft bill is in accordance with the human rights principle.
In conclusion, to regain the leading role of Human Rights and Democratic Development in the region, Thailand needs to take a pro-active role to fulfill the pledge made before the Human Rights Council in 2010. Fail to do so might bring back Thailand to the square one and lost the credibility internationally. In the worst scenario, Thailand might be also plunged into the level of failed state.
Civil Society and Human Rights Coalition of Thailand is looking forward to a strong commitment of current government to take Human Rights a top most agenda and immediately transform the promise into practice.
Take decision seriously to make a progress in Human Rights and Development
Alliance Anti Traffick (AAT)
Campaign Committee for Human Rights (CCHR)
Campaign for Popular Democracy (CPD)
Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights Foundation (CPCR)
Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
Foundation for Women (FFW)
Friends of Women Foundation (FWF)
Friends of Peoples (FOP)
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)
Labour Protection Network (LPN)
NGO Coordination Committee on Development (NGO-COD)
Peace and Human Rights Resource Center (PHRC)
Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR)
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
And the partners of Civil Society and Human Rights Coalition of Thailand (CHRC)