The ICJ, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, highlighted concerns with criminalization of political gatherings, arbitrary detention, use of military for law enforcement, and trials of civilians before military courts, in Thailand.
The statement was made during discussion of the outcome of the Second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand.
While congratulating Thailand on completion of the UPR, the ICJ oral statement continued as follows:
However, the ICJ is disappointed that several key recommendations concerning restrictions of civil and political rights in the country did not enjoy the support of Thailand.
The interim Constitution, put in place by the military government after the May 2014 coup, remains in force. Article 44 gives the government sweeping, unchecked powers inconsistent with the fundamental pillars of the rule of law and human rights.
The military government has issued numerous orders and announcements under the interim Constitution, including some that criminalize political gatherings, allow arbitrary detention for up to seven days without charge, and provide military officers broad powers of law enforcement.
At least 1,811 civilians have faced proceedings in military courts contrary to international law and standards, many merely for exercising their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.
Thailand did not accept any of the recommendations to remove these restrictions on the rule of law and human rights.
While the ICJ welcomes the Order of 12 September 2016 ending the practice of prosecuting civilians in military courts for crimes committed after that date, approximately 500 civilian cases remain in military courts.
The ICJ is also concerned that in July the government charged three human rights defenders with criminal defamation for raising allegations of torture in the deep South.
The ICJ urges Thailand to accept and implement recommendations relevant to:
- revoking the interim Constitution and all NCPO orders and announcements that are contrary to the rule of law and respect for human rights;
- transferring all pending civilian cases to civilian courts and set aside the convictions of all civilians prosecuted in military courts since the 2014 coup; and
- ending all harassment of human rights defenders in Thailand.
The statement may be downloaded in English and in Thai in PDF here: