Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia

ACHR Press Release
ACHR Index: PR/THAI/03/05
19 July 2005

Thailand is an Open Jail, UN Human Rights Committee told

Geneva: Asian Centre for Human Rights based in New Delhi in its shadow report, “Thailand: Not Smiling on Rights” ( submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee which is examining the initial report of Thailand on 19-20 July 2005, stated that Emergency Decree of 15 July 2005 subverts the parliamentary democracy and violates the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights relating to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, right to freedom of movement, right to privacy and freedom of expression.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) also stated that the restrictions on freedom of movement being imposed in Southern Thailand under the Emergency Decree have made Thailand an “Open Jail” for the non-Thais. The hill tribes, migrant workers and asylum seekers are required to take permission from the authorities to travel from one district to another. This makes them illegal and they become easy target of the traffickers. The policies and practices of the government of Thailand on the denial of freedom of movement promote trafficking and exploitation.  

The hill tribes are “tourist objects” and have no rights as they cannot travel freely, have little access to basic health care, no right to land ownership or employment. The citizenship applications of over 3,00,000 hill tribes are yet to be processed although the government was supposed to process all the citizenship applications by August 2000.

ACHR expressed concerns that in its Initial Report, the government of Thailand justifies “extrajudicial killings” in certain situations.

“The fact that there are no guidelines similar to the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials as to under circumstances the security personnel can resort to such extreme measures implies that the law enforcement agencies can be judge and jury, and take measures to deprive the right to life under various pretexts”, stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR in his oral presentation before the Committee.  The results of this practice of allowing extrajudicial killings are incidents like Tak Bai killings.

The key issue in Thailand is the lack of due process of law and rule of law – whether it is with regard to the hill tribes, impending refoulement of Hmong refugees without scrtunising their asylum claims or extrajudicial killings in Southern Thailand. Since the insurgency began in January 2004 in the Southern provinces, over 800 persons have been killed in numerous extrajudicial killings by the security personnel but not a single police or military personnel has so far been punished! The Emergency Decree which exempts the government officials from civil, criminal and disciplinary actions legalizes the impunity, the UN Human Rights Committee was told.

The UN Human Rights Committee has been urged to make appropriate recommendations for implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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