On 24 March 2021, Destination Justice and partner organisations filed a submission to the United Nations detailing the situation of human rights defenders and fundamental freedoms in Thailand. It was filed for the upcoming third Universal Periodic Review of Thailand’s human rights record, which will take place at the United Nations in Geneva in November 2021.
Co-authoring the submission with Destination Justice were local Thai NGOs the Cross Cultural Foundation, Duay Jai (Hearty Support) Group, the Human Rights Lawyers Association and the Justice for Peace Foundation, together with regional organisation Asia Centre.
The submission analyses fundamental freedoms in Thailand during its third UPR cycle from May 2016 until March 2021. Within this period, Thailand has installed a new monarch; adopted a new constitution; and transitioned from an imposed to (ostensibly) elected military administration. Since July 2020, these changes have inspired mass civilian protests most commonly calling for the prime minister’s resignation, amendment of the new constitution, and reform of the monarchy.
In this context, this submission focuses on human rights defenders ranging from first-time protesters through to seasoned human rights advocates. All enjoy fundamental freedoms thanks to Thailand’s commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its support of relevant UPR recommendations and Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 to “protect fundamental freedoms”.
However, this submission details how fundamental freedoms have been eroded in Thailand, particularly under Covid-19 related emergency rule. It addresses public participation; freedom of expression and access to information; lèse-majesté; freedom of assembly and association; enforced disappearances and torture; and institutional human rights protection/promotion.
Download the Human Rights Defenders and Fundamental Freedoms in Thailand submission and annexes here.