Thailand Restrictive Environment for Human Rights -
Amnesty International Submission to the UPR

11 May 2016


The submission was prepared for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand taking place in May 2016. In it, Amnesty International evaluates the implementation of recommendations made in the previous cycle of the UPR.


In general, human rights protection in the country has weakened since the last review, both in law and practice. The authorities have enhanced their powers to act without judicial or parliamentary oversight and have restricted the rights to redress,freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and fair trial.


The authorities have also expanded their powers of detention to arbitrarily detain individuals, and to hold them in incommunicado detention without adequate safeguards, thereby facilitating the continuing practice of torture and other illtreatment.


Human rights defenders are subject to prosecution, harassment, killings and enforced disappearance as a result of their legitimate activities, and while no executions have taken place, the scope of the death penalty has been increased.


Asylum-seekers and refugees remain vulnerable to arbitrary detention in poor conditions and some have been subject to refoulement.


In the final section of this document, Amnesty International makes a number of recommendations to Thailand to address the human rights concerns raised in the submission.




What Amnesty International calls on the government of Thailand

Amnesty International calls on the government of Thailand to:

Interim Constitution

  • Repeal Section 44 of the Interim Constitution and to restore constitutional human rights protection;
  • Repeal National Council for Peace and Order 3/2015, and other such orders arbitrarily restricting freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, freedom of movement, and those allowing for the trial of civilians in military courts.

Emergency and Special Laws

  • Repeal the 1914 Martial Law Act and the 2005 Emergency Decree, or amend these laws to remove all provisions violating human rights, in particular those authorizing the army to detain persons arbitrarily and facilitating impunity for the perpetrators of human rights violations;
  • Ensure that all detainees are allowed contact with family members, lawyers, and independent doctors, and that the provision of these safeguards is effectively monitored;
  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and to allow immediate and unfettered access to all places of detention by independent human rights monitors;
  • End arbitrary arrest and detention, to lift all conditions imposed on individuals released from “attitude adjustment” and bring all detainees promptly before an independent, civilian judicial authority.

Legislation on freedom of expression, association and assembly

  • Guarantee the right to peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and to immediately and unconditionally release persons detained or imprisoned for their exercise of these rights;
  • Unconditionally expunge sentences, quash convictions, and drop charges against anyone prosecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
  • Repeal laws providing for criminal defamation, and to amend the Computer Crimes Act and Article 112 of the Penal Code to ensure that they do not penalize the exercise of freedom of expression.

The death penalty

  • Immediately establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;
  • Commute without delay all death sentences to terms of imprisonment;
  • Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and enact legislation abolishing the death penalty.

Enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment

  • Enact domestic legislation in line with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,including expressly criminalizing torture as defined in that Convention;
  • Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance and to implement its provisions in national legislation;
  • Clarify the fate and whereabouts of those forcibly disappeared and to ensure that those responsible for their disappearance are brought to justice;
  • Ensure that all complaints of human rights violations by the police and security forces are subject to immediate, thorough and independent investigation and that the perpetrators are brought to justice in a civilian court. Pending such investigation, to suspend from duty anyone reasonably suspected of having committed such violations;
  • Ensure that the victims of human rights violations and their families can obtain full reparation.


Refugees and asylum-seekers


  • Ratify the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and to process all requests for asylum in prompt and effective proceedings;
  • Strictly abide by the principle of non-refoulement, ensuring that no one is forcibly transferred or returned to a country or territory where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations or abuses;
  • End the arbitrary detention of refugees and asylum-seekers and to end all detention of children for migration-related purposes.