The United Nations Human Rights Committee's session in Geneva
The United Nations Human Rights Committee's session in Geneva

Article 44 should be axed and civilians tried in normal courts, Amnesty International says

politics March 17, 2017 22:10

By Wasamon Audjarint
The Nation

CANCELLING Article 44 in the interim charter, passing the torture and enforced disappearance bill and transferring civilian cases from the military court to normal courts were among proposals included in Amnesty International’s report on rights in Thailand.



The report was submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for its review of Thailand’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on Monday and Tuesday in Geneva. It became publicly available on Thursday.

The 14-page report recommended that Article 44, which grants sweeping power to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) head, be repealed, together with NCPO order 3/2015 that grants policing power to military officers to perform arbitrary detention.

It also called for all cases of civilians before military courts to be transferred to civilian courts, and for individuals detained for peaceful exercise of human rights to be released and other such cases to be reviewed.

The draft bill on the prevention and suppression of torture and enforced disappearance should also comply with relative UN Conventions and be passed by legislators immediately, it said. Prosecutions of alleged perpetrators for torture and enforced disappearance should also proceed, and fair compensation paid to victims and relatives.

In regard to refugees, the AI report recommended that Thai authorities adopt a law concerning refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that such people are granted legal status and access to fundamental life needs, as well as independent legal advice and representation.

On future Thai politics, new laws, including those governing future elections or referendums, should not arbitrarily restrict human rights and freedom of expression or assembly, it said.

Appropriate measures should also be taken to protect the right to life, including by responding to death threats against human rights defenders and activists. 

Business enterprises should also put in place due diligence processes to ensure they do not cause or contribute to abuses of the right to life throughout their operations, it added.