THAILAND: Cabinet approves plan to join anti-torture convention

(Hong Kong, August 10, 2007) Thailand is set to join a global anti-torture law, according to a government announcement issued this week.

A notice on the government website dated Tuesday indicated that the interim cabinet has approved the proposal for Thailand to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, subject to interpretations of some articles.

Basil Fernando, executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), said that Thailand’s announcement of ratification was long overdue.

“This is a key international human rights law with 144 countries already signed up as parties and over 70 others agreeing to its contents in principle, so Thailand has been out of step with the rest of the world in failing to be a party,” Fernando said.

“That it now says it will go ahead with ratifying the treaty is a result of a number of years of hard work and perseverance by many people,” he said.

Fernando noted that whereas countries throughout the region had joined the convention, and Hong Kong and Sri Lanka had introduced domestic laws heavily penalising torture, still the majority of member states in the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) have not done so.

“This should be an opportunity for study and discussion in Thailand and in the region about the features of the convention and the need for its adoption among Southeast Asian states if the widespread torture and inhuman treatment practiced among them is to be eliminated,” Fernando commented.

Among the ten Asean countries, only Cambodia and the Philippines have so far joined the 20-year-old treaty.

“As Asean has been talking about setting up a regional body on human rights, it could demonstrate its seriousness by seeing to it that all of its remaining members become parties to the convention, not only Thailand,” Fernando said.

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PL-032-2007
Countries : Thailand,