UNHCHR chief briefed on rights situation

national June 13, 2014 00:00

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee

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Permanent secretary for foreign affairs, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, will today meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay to explain the latest political developments and human rights practices in the country after the military coup last mon

Pillay had expressed her serious concerns about the political and human rights situation in Thailand after the coup.

“I will update the UN Human Rights Commissioner on the latest developments to show that the situation in Thailand is improving,” Sihasak said.

“The most important message is that we still believe in democratic values but we want to reform our system to have sustainable democracy. The international community should look forward to the future with us and help us move forward to true democracy.”

Sihasak is in Geneva for the 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which he had chaired in 2010-2011.

“We don’t have any problems if the international community expressed their concerns and criticised Thai politics but such criticism should be based on an understanding and in good faith to help us reform and move towards democracy,” he said.

Sihasak was scheduled to brief the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Thailand in recent years and the implementation of a human rights agenda in accordance with Thailand’s commitment to do so.
The May 22 coup impacted on human rights due to a reduction of basic rights, including freedom of expression and the detention of politicians and political activists.
Many western countries have expressed concern over the detentions and urged the junta to have clear procedures and transparency on the matter. 
Sihasak said he would tell colleagues in the UN who he would meet formally and informally that the situation was improving – the curfew had been lifted in many provinces, freedom restrictions had been eased and people summoned to report before the junta had mostly been released. 
He would spend his time in Geneva seeking meetings with counterparts from western countries, notably the US and key European countries, to update them on the situation and to explain the junta’s three-stage roadmap for reform and democracy.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has instructed the Thai charge d’affaires in London to address the concerns of 48 educational institutions in England over the coup, said Sek Wannamethee, director-general of the Information Department.
He expressed hope that the move would result in the institutions having a better understanding.
The institutions had submitted an open letter through the website of British newspaper The Guardian, voicing their concern about the human rights situation in Thailand.