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“Fundamental rights at stake in Thailand” – UN experts concerned about
arbitrary detentions and restrictions
GENEVA (13 June 2014) – “Stability and reconciliation can hardly be
achieved in Thailand if human rights guarantees are neglected,” a group of
United Nations independent experts* said today, while urging the current
authorities to reverse all measures affecting basic rights and to restore
democratic rule in the country.
“In moments of political crisis and turbulence, it is crucial to promote
the full respect of the rule of law,” the human rights experts stressed.
“The various limitations to fundamental rights put in place since the
military assumed control of the country and the Constitution was suspended
are deeply disturbing,” they noted. “Reportedly numerous individuals remain
arbitrarily detained, and unacceptable restrictions continue to be imposed
on freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”
Particular concern was expressed with regard to the chilling effects of the
summoning by the military of more than 440 individuals, including political
leaders, academics, journalists and activists to army bases. Many remain in
detention without access to family or lawyer. Some are held incommunicado
in unknown locations and may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
“Public criticism of authorities and the freedom of the Thai media are
negatively affected by various measures, including the ban on political
gatherings of more than five persons and the reported closure of a vast
number of community radios,” they said.
“Restoring the space for public dialogue is crucial to allow durable
solutions to the political impasse affecting Thailand to be forged,” the
The group of experts requested information from the current authorities on
multiple allegations of human rights violations they received after the
imposition of martial law on 22 May 2014.
“We remain ready to engage in dialogue with the country authorities,”
concluded the experts.
(*) The experts: Mr. Mads Andenas, Chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary
Disappearances; Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on
the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and Mr. Juan
E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the
Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the
largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general
name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human
Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic
issues in all parts of the world.
They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor report and advise
on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14
mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders.
Three new mandates were added in March 2014. The experts work on a
voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for
their work. They are independent from any government or organization and
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