Thailand - Universal Periodic Review
UPR 39, November 10, 2021
Recommendations by Canada
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Thank you, Madam President.
Canada welcomes Thailand's participation in the UPR process.
Canada recommends that Thailand:
- Amend, repeal or restrict the use of legislation that curtails the exercise of rights of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including online, with particular reference to Criminal Code sections 112 and 116 and the Computer Crime Act.
- In line with Thailand's international commitments relating to the rights of children, migrants and vulnerable minorities, strengthen efforts to protect the rights of persons who are marginalized and most vulnerable, including women, migrant workers, children, and LGBTI persons, while also taking steps to foster their fuller inclusion and to increase women's participation in decision-making.
- Adopt legislation to implement Thailand's international human rights commitments on torture and enforced disappearance, and investigate and prosecute all cases of alleged enforced disappearance.
- Ensure that potential new legislation governing the operations of the non-profit sector does not restrict the activities of civil society in a manner inconsistent with Thailand's international obligations, that all stakeholders are consulted on such legislation, and that the work of human rights defenders is encouraged and protected.
Canada notes that Thailand's accession to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and its optional protocol would be an important milestone, and encourages continued efforts to provide those fleeing persecution safe haven and assistance in Thailand, including including Myanmar Rohingya and other refugees, and Uyghurs from China.
Canada would welcome the development of national legislation that enshrines in law the approach Thailand has taken on LGBTI inclusion, particularly in recognizing same-sex unions and in prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Thailand's overall performance on human rights has been progressing in a positive direction, including religious freedom, progress on women's empowerment, partial decriminalization of abortions, respect for LGBTI rights, and new Criminal Code articles to prevent legal harassment of human rights defenders. Continued progress in these and other areas will be essential to advance the rights of women, minorities and vulnerable groups.
More generally, Thais face important limitations on their rights to freedom of expression and association that are inconsistent with the government's international obligations. Defamation of the monarchy (lèse-majesté) is subject to criminal sanction and can result in lengthy prison terms, with over 100 new cases filed since November 2020. Thailand's government is currently developing draft legislation on the non-profit sector that has raised significant concerns due to provisions that may restrict the scope and funding of activities of civil society and thereby undermine their ability to operate freely and independently.
Capital punishment can be applied to a large number of offences in Thailand's criminal justice system. In June 2018, Thailand conducted its first execution since 2009, ending a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. According to the International Federation for Human Rights and the Union for Civil Liberty, prison conditions do not meet the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
A long-standing insurgency in Thailand's Muslim-majority southern provinces has seen human rights violations perpetrated by Thai security forces, including extrajudicial killings, and human rights abuses committed by insurgent factions. The Thai government acceded in 2007 to the Convention Against Torture and has signed but not ratified the Convention for the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced Disappearance.
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