ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thailand faces rights enquiries
Human rights activists will hold a live broadcast of the United Nations Human Rights Council's examination of Thailand's human rights situation in Geneva today.
At least six countries have sent advance questions to the Thai mission in Geneva for the three-hour session known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
Thai ambassador to the United Nations Sihasak Phuangketkeow will lead the Thai delegation to the council's UPR session.
The questions focus on hot-button issues including the Abhisit Vejjajiva government's crackdown on protesters during last year's riots, the ongoing insurgency in the South, reform of the lese majeste law and respect for the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Norway, for example, asked how the Thai government would ensure the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is given the needed resources and power to bring human rights violators in last year's riots to justice. Oslo also asked about justice and reconciliation in the South and how to set clearer criteria in determining the lese majeste offence so that the law is not abused.
The Czech Republic also cited the excessive use of force against demonstrators last year despite Thailand's ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which requires that force must be used in proportion to a legitimate objective.
They also asked whether Thailand was willing to enact domestic legislation so torture would become a punishable offence and when Thailand would consider abolishing the death penalty.
Denmark asked about measures to safeguard print, broadcast, and digital media and plans to safeguard the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
The Netherlands asked when Article 112 and the Computer Crime Act would be reformed while Switzerland wanted to know about measures to strengthen the independent and impartial role of the judiciary, ensuring freedom of expression, ratifying the convention on refugees and also abolishing the death penalty.
A number of countries have queued up for a slot to question the Thai delegation.
"It's going to be a lively discussion _ quite a rehearsal for the next heated session on Syria on Thursday [tomorrow]," a Geneva-based source said.
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