Thailand: misuse of laws restricts fundamental freedoms (UN statement)

At the UN the ICJ today called on Thailand to stop misusing laws to restrict fundamental freedoms.

The statement was delivered during the general debate on situations requiring the attention of the Human Rights Council (item 4) and read as follows:

“Mr President,

The ICJ remains concerned at continued misuse of the law to restrict fundamental freedoms in Thailand.

By invoking military orders, criminal defamation laws and sedition-like offences, the Computer-Related Crime Act, and the Public Assembly Act, the legal system has been misused to harass human rights defenders, academics, lawyers, journalists, victims of human rights violations and their family members.

For example, this year alone, acting on complaints filed by the military, the police charged more than 50 people with violating a ban on political gatherings of five or more persons, put in place after the military coup of May 2014. Merely for exercising their human rights, people face a potential sentence of imprisonment. In one case, last year, police charged five academics and students after a banner reading “This is an academic forum not a military camp” was displayed at a University.

In February, security forces filed a complaint of defamation against an alleged victim of torture, Isma-ae Tae, simply because he was shown on television describing being tortured and ill-treated in military camps.

The ICJ urges Thailand to revoke or amend all laws, orders and announcements that are contrary to the rule of law and human rights protections, and to prevent the legal system from being misused to harass individuals who merely exercise their human rights.

Thank you Mr President.”

Video of the statement of the ICJ is available here:

Thailand-Misuse of laws restricts fundamental freedoms-Statement-HRC-2018-THA (Full statement in Thai, PDF)

AdvocacyNon-legal submissions