Response from the Thai government on yesterday's UPR: The Thai government pushes back surprisingly hard
The Thai government pushed back surprisingly hard on all issues relating to human rights defenders and fundamental freedoms during their responses to the interactive dialogue.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, November 11, 2021
The first issue it raised was Article 112, followed by freedom of expression.
Thailand staunchly defended Article 112 given the monarchy’s place as one of the “main pillars of the nation” which was “highly revered by most Thai people.”
The position of Thailand was in line with the Constitutional Court’s verdict on the cases of detention of core protest leaders who called for the reform of the monarchy. The Court said, on the same day as the UPR event, that the monarchy was at the heart of the nation, and that calling for reform was equated to overthrowing the royal institution.
Moreover, Thailand returned to discuss issues of fundamental freedoms several times during its comments, appearing particularly sensitive and defensive on these fronts.
From another perspective, however, this may indicate that Thailand cared how it was perceived internationally with regards to these issues. In this sense, despite its pushback, it seemed that continued international advocacy in these regards remains promising.