Cautious support from international community for govt’s moves on promoting human rights

politics February 13, 2018 07:00

By The Nation

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Embassies in Thailand and international organisations on Monday said that while they cautiously supported the government’s moves on promoting human rights, they were also maintaining a close interest in its commitment to and compliance with human-rights principles in line with international obligations.

Their representatives spoke to The Nation after attending an event at Government House, which heavily promoted human rights as a national agenda.

It was held amid criticism of the junta government for the purported continual infringement of rights, especially against the expression of political differences for which of many of those speaking out against the military-led regime have either had charges pressed against them or been prosecuted.

“The right to justice and redress, political participation, inclusion of marginalised, disempowered and excluded groups, respect for fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are practical necessities for successfully mainstreaming human rights,” said Cynthia Veliko, regional representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Southeast Asia.

“We hope that the current restrictions on fundamental freedoms, including on freedom of expression, opinion and assembly, will be lifted with urgency to allow for its successful implementation,” she added.

“The EU places great importance on the promotion and protection of human rights all over the world and we are always encouraged when our partners commit to upholding these universal principles,” said Pirkka Tapiola, ambassador to the European Union Delegation to Thailand. “We will continue to engage constructively with Thailand on this.”

“The announcement of this national human-rights policy is encouraging. But many challenges remain, particularly in ensuring that it is implemented effectively at the grass-roots level,” said Dana Graber Ladek, chief of mission for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“As the UN Migration Agency, the IOM will continue to work together with the Royal Thai government to ensure that the rights and welfare of migrant workers are protected in Thailand,” she said.

“We appreciated the PM and foreign minister’s emphasis that the government is committed to complying with Thailand’s human-rights obligations under the international conventions and agreements to which Thailand is a party,” said the US Embassy’s spokesperson, Stephane Castonguay.