UPR of Thailand: Concerns over handling of migrant workers and situation in the south of the country
Friday, 14 October 2011 15:45


On 5 October 2011, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Thailand. The delegation was led by Mr Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Special Envoy of the Royal Thai Government, and Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. In his introductory statement Mr Phuangketkeow stated that Thailand’s human rights record is one of the strongest in the region but that the situation for vulnerable groups, especially migrant workers and their families, needed further improvement. This view was shared by a number of countries, particularly those from the same region. States suggested that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should make increased efforts in this regard, and that Thailand should cooperate further with its neighbours to improve the situation. The dialogue largely focused on issues such as the situation of vulnerable groups, the ongoing security issues in the south of the country, and alleged restrictions on freedom of expression.


Specific recommendations, questions and comments focused on the following issues:

  • Calls to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Recommendations to review the lese-majesty law to ensure that its provisions regarding respect for the Monarchy do not curtail freedom of expression.
  • Requests to review the cyber-crime laws to ensure that they do not curtail freedom of expression, especially in connection to criticism of the Monarchy.
  • Requests to further the capacity building of law enforcement personnel, in particular raising awareness through providing human rights training.
  • Calls to tackle the issue of impunity of security forces who allegedly have committed severe human rights violations following on from the uprising prior to the recent election and in the south.
  • Calls to abolish the death penalty.
  • Calls to review conditions in prisons.
  • Recommendations to address violence against women and negative stereotyping.
  • Calls to ensure integration of migrant workers and their families into society, to prevent exploitation and discrimination.
  • Recommendations to improve the health care, social security and educational systems, in particular to provide easier access for vulnerable groups.
  • Recommendations to continue ongoing efforts to eradicate human trafficking and child pornography.
  • Encouragement to commit to closer cooperation with neighbouring countries and ASEAN.

The delegation from Thailand responded to some of the recommendations during the session. Concerning the problems with law enforcement personnel, the delegation gave assurances that further investigation would take place into allegations of police violence. The establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Thailand, it stated, would uncover the truth, help victims to uncover the truth, and prosecute perpetrators. The delegation did not perceive freedom of speech as a problem, pointing out that it is guaranteed in the Constitution, and it encouraged those present to visit Thailand to see for themselves how free the press is. The situation in prisons would be reviewed, as well as the possibility of ratifying the recommended conventions and optional protocols. Additionally, the delegation admitted that further work needed to be done to make health care, education, and social security more accessible for vulnerable groups, and that the situation of migrant workers needed to be addressed.


Of recommendations made, Thailand accepted 100 with72 left pending for decision by the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012. The country withdrew its reservation to CEDAW and will become party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. Other accepted recommendations related to the amendment of criminal laws to bring them in line with international human rights standards, the better integration of migrant workers into society, and the extension of standing invitations to all UN special procedures.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2011 15:46
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018