Destination Justice and partners have today filed a submission to the UN on how the right to peacefully protest in Thailand has been impacted during crisis situations – in particular, socio-political unrest and Covid-19.
Co-authored with the Human Rights Lawyers Association, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and Asia Centre, the submission was made to the UN Special Rapporteur for the freedom of assembly and of association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, in support of his forthcoming July 2022 report to the UN Human Rights Council on the right to peaceful protest in the context of crisis situations.
As the submission details, the socio-political crisis and Covid-19 health crisis have severely curtailed freedom of assembly in Thailand and continue to endanger those who exercise it. Under the guise of responding to the two crises, Thailand has introduced laws and policies curtailing assemblies and associated fundamental freedoms beyond international law’s permissible limits, even in times of emergency.
Individuals have been prosecuted for exercising freedom of assembly and related freedoms e.g. expression, association, and political participation, among whom several have also experienced fair trial violations.
Ultimately, while Thailand has made progress in terms of new constitutional protections for assembly and abolition of the use of military courts to prosecute civilian protesters, significant progress remains necessary for it to conform with its International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obligations vis-à-vis fundamental freedoms.