Thailand is a human rights abuser-Bangkok Pundit

March 17, 2012

Is Thailand moving in the right direction on human rights?

Bangkok Pundit: March 12, 2012


Kavi has an op-ed today in The Nation entitled “Kingdom moving in right direction on human rights”:


Thailand has moved away from being a blah-blah nation to become a serious and committed member of the UN Human Rights Council.

For instance, Uruguay suggested that Thailand should ratify the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court which it has no problem to do so on the section that related to genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes and crime aggression as the drafting of organic laws are on the pipe-line. However, the Rome Statue also deals with the crime committed by the head of state which raises concerns over here. Related suggestions on lese majeste that linked to freedom of expression from Spain, Brazil, Hungary and Switzerland have also been rejected.

One of the most controversial recommendations came from Switzerland, which asked Thailand to repeal section 17 of the Emergency Decree, which gives immunity from any prosecution to officials working in the southern provinces.

In response, the Thai delegation will point out officials who abuse their authorities would be also reprimanded under the country’s legal system. The section 17 also allows the victims to claim compensation from the government. Suggestions to review security laws from several countries have also been turned down as well citing the normative application rule of law. Deep down, it is an issue of governance and administration of justice which still remains Thailand’s weakest link at this juncture. By nature, Thai judicial process is time-consuming, which has given rises to criticisms of double standards and negligences. Improvement in this area will help improve the rule of law in all parts of the country.

Freedom of expression

After long delay, the government might take up the request by the Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, to visit Thailand in the future. 

In case of the proposed visit of special rapporteur of freedom of expression, it comes at the most sensitive due to the nature of divided political atmosphere, which has not yet been resolved.

The authorities fear that his visit at the earliest time frame, as requested by civil society groups, is not feasible. Frank la Rue visited Thailand last year in his private capacity and held extensive informal discussions with politicians and human rights activists. The civil society groups are eager to engage the UN agencies to strengthen their calls for tangible changes on human rights.

BP: Indeed with the amendment of lese-majeste and Computer Crimes Act; and the holding of people to account for the deaths in the war on drugs,  actions of the authorities in the Deep South, actions of the authorities during the red shirt protests etc., Thailand has been moving on the right direction on human rights…… Oh wait, none of that has happened. What has? Thailand has considered reports and rejected them. Over the past 10 years, freedom of expression and other rights have deteriorated in Thailand. There is talk of progress, but has there been any actual progress recently. BP doesn’t see any real progress. Until there is actual progress, BP sees hard to say Thailand is moving in the right direction.


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