Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 12th Session
Universal Period Review of Thailand
Statement by Australia
5 October 2011
Australia welcomes the delegation from Thailand and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process. We recognise the distinguished Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow for his able leadership as President of the UN Human Rights Council from 2010-2011.
We congratulate Thailand on successful democratic elections in July. We encourage the new government to continue to improve protection of human rights and respect the principle of civilian government.
We note Thailand has made substantial progress in lowering poverty rates and improving human development, already meeting many of its Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule.
We were concerned by the large number of casualties during last year’s large-scale protests. We hope the government-supported independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) has access to the resources and information required to fulfil its mandate.
We note the recent visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons in August, and Thailand’s commitment to combat human trafficking, including through the Bali Process. We encourage Thailand to ratify relevant international treaties.
We suggest that the committee established to provide advice on the conduct of lèse majesté cases under Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, as part of its deliberations, take account of Thailand’s international treaty obligations to protect freedom of expression.
We remain concerned by the conflict in Thailand’s southern border provinces and the number of unresolved enforced disappearances. We encourage continued dialogue, and impartial investigations of allegations of human rights abuses by all parties.
Australia recommends Thailand:
1. Fully fund the TRCT’s budget and staffing, and ensure it has sufficient powers and access to information to undertake its mandate;
2. Ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and
3. Investigate allegations of human rights abuses by all parties in the southern border provinces of Thailand.