THAILAND: Human rights crisis is deepened

An Oral Statementto the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organization in general consultative status

Thank you Mr. President.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) continues to draw attention from the Council to the deepening human rights crisis in Thailand following the 22 May coup.Although the country has been experiencing political unrest, this unrest is protracted, and nothing in the current circumstances is justification to introduce martial law and launch a military coup under the international human rights law. Furthermore, the unrest is in large part a consequence of the last military coup, carried out on 19 September 2006.

General Prayuth has been elected as prime minister by an assembly of 194 people hand-picked by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). Martial law remains in force and the series of orders issued by the NCPO have severely curtailed civil and political rights. Activists, academics, human rights defenders and journalists have been particularly targeted and subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention and torture. This outcome is completely contradictory to the junta’s purpose of “reform” and stated intention to “return happiness to the people.”

In addition, the existing article 112 of the Criminal Code that restricts freedom of opinion and expression has been extensively used to target those who express their dissenting opinions to any matters that may trigger negative impactson the NCPO.

Thailand has so far had 12 coups in its history since 1932. The series of coups have deprived the Thai people of the capacity to solve problems through democratic process and perpetuated military intervention into politics. Unless appropriate action is taken, the strategy of the military coup will becomethe sole wayto keep society running. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law will never grow under such circumstances.

I thank you Mr. President.

Webcast video: 1:02:59-1:04:55:

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About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.

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27nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council – AHRC