After the recent review of Thailand at the 25th Session of the UPR in Geneva and receiving much pressure from the international NGO community, we welcome the decision of Thailand to criminalize torture and enforced disappearances.

As the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has reported more than 80 outstanding cases of forced disappearances this decision comes at a time of great urgency. Read the full news release from United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) below.


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BANGKOK (25 May 2016) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia
(OHCHR) welcomes the decision by the Thai Government to enact a law to
criminalize torture and enforced disappearances, and to ratify the
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearance.

“These decisions by the Government are positive steps toward meeting
international human rights standards, and we urge the National Legislative
Assembly to pass the torture and enforced disappearance law as a matter of
priority,” said OHCHR’s Acting Regional Representative, Laurent Meillan.

“For too long, there has been no accountability on cases of torture
and involuntary and enforced disappearances due to the lack of
legislative framework. But when this bill goes through, torture and
enforced disappearance, will finally be criminalized and victims and families
will be able to pursue legal redress. Perpetrators of such heinous crimes can
be prosecuted.”

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
has 82 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances in Thailand.

The draft law provides penalties for government officials who commit
torture of up to 20 years in prison, 30 years if the torture leads to
serious injury, and life imprisonment if the torture results in death.
Officials who commit enforced disappearance face up to 20 years in prison,
up to 30 years if the enforced disappearance leads to serious injury, and
life imprisonment if death results.

As a further means to safeguard detainees from torture, the regional UN
Human Rights Office urges the Government to allow the National Human
Rights Commission of Thailand to independently monitor all places of detention.

OHCHR also calls on the Thai Government to promptly fulfill its commitment
to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture
(OP-CAT), which will allow for the establishment of the National Preventive
Mechanism to undertake regular visits to places such as detention centres, prisons
and similar facilities. During the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of
Thailand’s human rights record in Geneva earlier this month, Thailand said
it planned to submit the OP-CAT treaty to the cabinet for ratification.

Thailand ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2007.