The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee's review of Thailand's human rights record under the ICCPR are now available


Thaiflag.BANGKOK (28 March 2017) - The concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee review of Thailand's human rights record under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Geneva earlier this month are now available online.

During the review, the Committee raised concerns about a number of issues including the military's growing role in government affairs, curbs on freedom of expression, detentions under the lese-majeste law and harassment of human rights defenders. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office condemns secretive executions of two brothers in Malaysia


Malayflag.BANGKOK (15 March 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia condemns the executions of Malaysian brothers, Suthar Batumalai and B. Rames Batumalai, expressing concerns that the judicial procedures in their case did not fulfil the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process.

The two brothers, who were convicted of murder in 2010, were hanged on Wednesday, despite the submission of a clemency petition last month containing new evidence in the case. The men were granted a temporary stay of execution as a result of the petition. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office hails decision by Thailand to drop cases against three leading human rights defenders


Thaiflag.BANGKOK (7 March 2017) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia welcomes the decision by the Thai military to withdraw all charges against three prominent human rights defenders who documented allegations of torture.

The Director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Anchana Heemmina, founder of the Duay Jai Group, and Somchai Homla-or, a well known senior human rights lawyer, were facing criminal charges over publication of a 2016 report that recounted allegations of torture by security forces in the southern border provinces. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office disappointed by Thailand’s decision not to enact a draft anti-torture and anti-disappearance law


Thaiflag.GENEVA (28 February) – The UN Human Rights Office is disappointed by Thailand’s decision not to enact a draft anti-torture and anti-disappearance law, and we call on the Government to promptly reintroduce legislation to criminalise such deplorable acts.

Despite the Government’s decision last May to enact the bill, we were informed last week that the National Legislative Assembly - the military-appointed parliament - has shelved the legislation which would have made enforced or involuntary disappearance and torture criminal offences. Read more...

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UN expert urges action to protect Rohingya population in Myanmar


MyanmarFlag.GENEVA (27 February) – The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar is calling for urgent action by the Government there to end the suffering of the Rohingya population in the country.

Speaking at the end of a four-day visit to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar Yanghee Lee said: “the magnitude of violence that these families have witnessed and experienced is far more extensive than I had originally speculated.” Read more...

UN Human Rights Office concerned by Malaysia conviction over film screening


MalaysiaFlag.BANGKOK (22 February 2017) - We are concerned by a Malaysian court’s conviction of human rights activist Lena Hendry over a private screening of a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war, and the chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.

“Lena Hendry’s conviction for showing a film is a clear violation of her right to freedom of expression and assembly, and we urge the authorities to re-examine the case in line with international human rights law,” said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of OHCHR’s South-East Asia regional office. Read more...

UN rights expert concerned by the continued use of lèse-majesté prosecutions in Thailand


Thaiflag.GENEVA (7 February 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today called on the Thai authorities to stop using lèse-majesté provisions as a political tool to stifle critical speech. In Thailand, defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family carries a penalty of three to fifteen years’ imprisonment.

“Public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority, may be subject to criticism, and the fact that some forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify restrictions or penalties,” the expert underlined. Read more...

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Devastating cruelty against Rohingya children, women and men detailed in UN human rights report on Myanmar


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (3 February 2017) – Mass gang-rape, killings – including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces in a sealed-off area north of Maungdaw in northern Rakhine State have been detailed in a new UN report issued Friday based on interviews with victims across the border in Bangladesh.

Of the 204 people individually interviewed by a team of UN human rights investigators, the vast majority reported witnessing killings, and almost half reported having a family member who was killed as well as family members who were missing. Of the 101 women interviewed, more than half reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence. Read more...

Myanmar: UN rights expert condemns senseless killing of respected Muslim Lawyer Ko Ni


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (30 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, today strongly condemned the brutal murder of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and constitutional law expert, who was also the legal adviser to the National League for Democracy (NLD). Ms. Lee called on the Government to openly condemn this act and to carry out a proper effective impartial investigation into the killing.

Mr. Ko Ni was shot and killed outside Yangon Airport on Sunday after returning from Indonesia where he had been part of a Government-led delegation attending an interfaith study tour. A suspect has been arrested. Read more...

Cambodia: UN experts call for the immediate release of five human rights defenders


Cambodiaflag.GENEVA (25 January 2017) – Two United Nations human rights experts today called on the Royal Government of Cambodia for the immediate release of five human rights defenders detained in May 2016 on charges relating to assistance lent to a woman who was allegedly pressured by the AntiCorruption Unit to lie about a false allegation. The charges were seen as politically motivated, and in November 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled their detention to be ‘arbitrary’.

“The use of criminal provisions as a pretext to suppress and prevent the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression and to silence human rights defenders is incompatible with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR), which has been signed by Cambodia,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith. Read more...

UN human rights expert concerned about reprisals during recent visit to Myanmar


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (24 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, today warned about possible reprisals against people she met during her recent official visit to the country (9 to 21 January). “There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit – reprisals,” the expert said.

“I am deeply concerned about those with whom I met and spoke, those critical of the Government, those defending and advocating for the rights of others, and those who expressed their thoughts and opinions which did not conform to the narrative of those in the position of power,” she said, while noting the increasing use of section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law against many, “merely for speaking their minds.” Read more...

UN rights expert launches new official visit to assess recent developments in the country


Myanmarflag.GENEVA (6 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will undertake her fifth information-gathering visit to the country from 9 to 20 January.

Ms. Lee plans to visit Kachin State (Myitkyina, Hpakant and Laiza) as well as Rakhine State (Sittwe, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw), in addition to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon in order to assess recent developments. Read more...

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