A Disappointment at the UPR III in Geneva
Despite the apparent effort to be seen as a human rights champion, the Thai government has let down whole communities.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, April 10, 2022
The three leading NGOs: Manushya, Amnesty International and Cross Cultural Foundation, produced an analysis on Thailand’s Third UPR Review (UPR III) Outcome, taking place in March in Geneva 2022. Below is the summary of such analysis.
Despite the apparent effort to be seen as a human rights champion, the Thai government has let down whole communities. On March 23, 2022, its final Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome was formally adopted during the 49th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Put simply, the list of UPR recommendations that Thailand accepted after its 3rd UPR on November 10, 2021, would be formally finalised. However, Thailand has already indicated which recommendations it would accept and which ones it would only ‘note’ (effectively meaning ‘reject’.)
Thailand received 278 UPR recommendations, accepted 218 recommendations, and noted 60 recommendations. In total, it accepted 78% of the recommendations it had received. Despite this high number, the Government rejected key recommendations that are crucial for the further advancement of human rights in Thailand. In a backward move, Thailand rejected all 4 recommendations aiming at legalising marriage equality. Unfortunately, this hardly comes as a surprise, after the Constitutional Court upheld the discriminatory Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code, which only sees marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Showing its undemocratic side, the Government also did not accept recommendations calling for revision or amendment of the draconian lèse-majesté law, infamous Section 112 of the Criminal Code. This, neither, unfortunately, comes as a surprise. On the very day of Thailand’s UPR, November 10, 2021, while Thailand was congratulating itself on its progress in human rights protection in Geneva, Bangkok offered a very different picture. The Constitutional Court had just passed a verdict that rendered all efforts to reform Section 112 unconstitutional.
The Government also refused to fully commit to signing and ratifying important international human rights treaties, including treaties putting an end to the death penalty or providing protection to migrant workers. In a slightly more positive development, 8 recommendations calling for a revision of the draft NGO law were accepted.
Can we expect the Royal Thai Government to truly implement the accepted recommendations and improve the human rights situation on the ground? Not without us. Not without YOU! It is now a duty of all stakeholders, civil society organisations, local communities, international organisations, and most importantly foreign diplomats representing countries (Recommending States) that had provided the recommendations in question, to pressure the Thai government to comply with its international human rights obligations and commitments.
112WATCH is playing its part in rallying support from those stakeholders to continue to pressurise the Thai government in the improvement of the lèse-majesté situation.
Attached here is the report of the working group on the UPR, Thailand (Advanced Version), dated February 17, 2022.