News Releases 2015

OHCHR calls for Laos Govt to provide answers in Sombath case


Sombath.BANGKOK (14 December 2015) - On the third anniversary of the disappearance of human rights defender Sombath Somphone, representative of OHCHR's Regional Office for South-East called on the Laos Government provide answers in the case. The following statement was delivered by the Deputy head of the Regional Office, Laurent Meillan, at a news conference arranged by the Sombath Initiative in Bangkok. Read more...

Technical Note: Universal Suffrage in South-East Asia


OHCHRlogo.GENEVA (8 December 2015) – The UN Human Rights Office has written a technical note aimed at informing debates in South East Asia on the question of universal suffrage, setting out relevant international human rights norms and standards. Read more...

OHCHR alarmed by attacks on Vietnam human rights defenders


Vietnamflag.GENEVA (8 December 2015) – The UN Human Rights Office said on Friday it was alarmed at the recent spate of violent attacks on human rights defenders in Viet Nam and are concerned by the apparent failure of the authorities to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators. Read more...

Our ‘Gandhis’, ‘Mandelas’, ‘Rosa Parks’ and ‘Malalas’ deserve support and protection


HumanRightsDefenders.GENEVA (8 December 2015) – Ahead of the International Human Rights Defenders Day on Wednesday 9 December, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst called for better support and protection of defenders by States, funders and the general public. Read more...

OHCHR calls for Thailand to stop civilian detentions in military barracks


Thaimap.BANGKOK (24 November 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) calls for the immediate closure of a Bangkok military detention facility where two inmates died over the past month, and urges the Thai Government to include independent experts to join an investigation into the cases. Read more...

Thai version

Political crackdown in Cambodia reaching dangerous tipping point - UN rights expert


RhonaSmith.GENEVA (23 November 2015) –The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, today expressed her deep concern about the breakdown in the political dialogue between Cambodia’s main political parties given its implications for human rights of the Cambodian people. Read more...

OHCHR deeply concerned about deportation of 2 Chinese activists by Thai authorities


OHCHRlogo.GENEVA (20 November 2015) – The UN Human Rights Office is deeply concerned about the deportation of two Chinese activists – both of whom are recognised refugees – by the Thai authorities, and the risks associated with their being sent back to China, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday. Read more...

OHCHR alarmed at reports nine North Korean nationals arrested in Viet Nam


Vietnamflag.GENEVA (20 November 2015) – The UN Human Rights Office is alarmed at reports that nine North Korean nationals, including a one-year-old infant and a teenager, were arrested in Viet Nam last month and subsequently transferred to China, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday. Read more...

Committee against Torture considers report of China


Chinaflag.GENEVA (18 November 2015) – The Committee against Torture concluded this afternoon its consideration of the fifth periodic report of China, including Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Read more...

Secretary-General concerned by increasing political tensions in Cambodia


SamRainsy.NEW YORK (17 November 2015) - The Secretary-General is following with concern the increasing tensions between the ruling party and the opposition in Cambodia. Read more...

“No turning back in Myanmar,” says UN human rights expert


MyanmarElection.GENEVA (16 November 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee today welcomed the recent elections in Myanmar as “a new chapter in the country’s history” and reaffirmed her commitment to work with all parties to improve the human rights situation for all in Myanmar. “The people have expressed the will for change. There is no turning back now,” Ms. Lee stressed. Read more...

Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Timor-Leste


TimorLeste.GENEVA (11 November 2015) - The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today considered the combined second and third periodic report of Timor-Leste on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Read more...

People and leaders of Myanmar can build better future, says Ban


Myanmarvoters.NEW YORK (12 November 2015) – Welcoming this past weekend’s elections as “a significant achievement in Myanmar’s democratic transition,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today extended warm congratulations to the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for their landmark performance at the polls and to the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) for its dignified acceptance of the verdict of the people. Read more...

UN chief: I will never stop calling for end to death penalty


Deathpenalty. NEW YORK (5 November 2015) – Vowing to never stop calling for an end to the death penalty, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said studies have proven that those who are poor, mentally disabled, and/or are minorities are at higher risk of receiving the death sentence, regardless of guilt or innocence. Read more...


Universal Periodic Review: Myanmar's human rights record


The twenty-third session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 2 to 13 November during which the next group of 14 States are scheduled to have their human rights records examined under this mechanism.

Myanmarflag.GENEVA (6 November 2015) - In total 98 States participated in the dialogue on Myanmar: 34 HRC members and 64 observers. Myanmar was represented by 20-member delegation headed by Tun Shin, Attorney General of Myanmar. Read more...


(Disclaimer: The brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed.)

UN Special Advisers' Statement on Myanmar


AdamaDieng.Statement by Adama Dieng, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, on the upcoming elections in Myanmar.

NEW YORK (4 November 2015) - The Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, called on the Government of Myanmar to take all possible measures to ensure that the upcoming elections of 8 November are held in a peaceful environment.

The Special Advisers expressed concern at the politicization of ethnicity and religion during electoral campaigning in violation of Article 364 of the 2008 Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

Read more...


Myanmar’s human rights record to be reviewed by Universal Periodic Review


IDPcamp.GENEVA (3 November 2015) – Myanmar’s human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the second time on Friday 6 November 2015 in a meeting that will be webcast live.

Myanmar is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 2 to 13 November. Myanmar’s first review took place on 27 January 2011. Read more...

Burmese version

UN chief concerned by hate speech ahead of Myanmar elections


NEW YORK (1 November 2015) – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern at the continuous resort to hate speech, provocation of communal hostilities and the abuse of religion for political purposes, incited by “extreme element among the majority community in Myanmar”. Read more...

Worsening climate for opposition politicians in Cambodia


GENEVA (30 October 2015) - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes the worsening conditions for opposition politicians and activists in Cambodia in light of the recent physical attacks on opposition MPs that left them in the hospital. OHCHR stresses that "the right to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression belongs to all individuals, regardless of their political or other opinion. Read more...

Human rights must be at heart of election in Myanmar - UN expert


PhotoofYangheeLee.NEW YORK/GENEVA (29 October 2015) – UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, called on all those in positions of authority in Myanmar to ensure that respect for the human rights of all must be at the core of the historic elections due to take place in 10 days’ time.

“This is a watershed moment in the democratic transition of Myanmar and I urge everyone involved to ensure that respect for human rights is front and centre in the run up to the elections, during the elections and following the elections,” Ms. Lee said. “It is vital that the elections are conducted in an environment that encourages participation from all sectors of society. In the same vein, it is crucial that divisions and tensions are not manipulated for political purposes.”

Read more...

OHCHR concerned by criminalization of transgender women in Malaysia


BANGKOK (9 October 2015) – The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) notes with regret this week's decision by the Malaysian Federal Court to reinstate Section 66 of the Negeri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment (1992) that criminalizes transgender women on the basis of their appearances, and subjects transgender women to fines and up to six months imprisonment. Read more...

UN Human Rights urges Thailand to drop charges against journalists


BANGKOK (14 JULY 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) is highly concerned with the ongoing trials of two Phuketwan journalists for reporting on smuggling of Rohingya and the alleged involvement of the Royal Thai Navy in Southern Thailand. Read more...

Thai version

OHCHR urges Thailand to release students


BANGKOK (30 JUNE 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Government to promptly drop criminal charges against students who have been arrested in Bangkok for peacefully demonstrating in public and release them from custody. It further urges the Government to review its use of laws that limit freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in line with its obligations under international human rights law. Read more...

Thai version

Singapore Govt should consider best interests of child in Amos Yee case - OHCHR


BANGKOK (22 JUNE 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) is concerned about the conviction of 16 year-old Amos Yee for uploading remarks and images critical of the late Lee Kuan Yew, the founding Prime-Minister of Singapore. He is due to be sentenced on 23 June 2015. Amos was remanded on 2 June for three weeks after he refused probation and is currently detained in Changi prison where, according to his lawyer, his physical and psychological status is deteriorating. Read more...

Myanmar: UN rights experts alarmed at adoption of first of four ‘protection of race and religion’ bills


GENEVA (27 May 2015) – A group of United Nations human rights experts today expressed alarm at the enactment of the Population Control Healthcare Bill in Myanmar, the first of four in a package of bills that seek to ‘protect race and religion’. The bills are highly discriminatory against ethnic and religious minorities as well as against women. Read more...

Technical Note: Key human rights principles for 2015 constitution of Royal Thai Government


BANGKOK (25 MAY 2015)- In light of the on-going constitution drafting in Thailand, the United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) summarizes some key human rights principles, including the right to participate in public affairs, right to remedy, distinction between citizens and non-citizens and the constitution drafting process, that should be incorporated in the new constitution to ensure it is in line with Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law. Read more...

Thai version

OHCHR urges Royal Thai Government to expedite investigation into disappearance of prominent Karen human rights defender


BANGKOK (16 APRIL 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) reiterated concerns about the lack of progress in the investigation on the enforced disappearance of Mr. Pholachi Rakchongcharoen (also known as Billy), a prominent Karen human rights defender. Read more...

Thai version

Malaysia: Draft anti-terror and sedition laws undermine freedom of expression, opinion – Zeid


GENEVA (9 April 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today urged the Government of Malaysia to withdraw its proposed amendments to the 1948 Sedition Act, warning that the new provisions would seriously undermine the freedom of expression and opinion in the country, in breach of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution and its international human rights obligations. Read more...

UN expert dismayed over Thai leader’s intimidating statements against freedom of press


GENEVA (1 April 2015) – United Nations expert on freedom of expression David Kaye today urged the Government of Thailand to unequivocally distance itself from the Thai’s leader intimidating statements against freedom of the press, and take immediate measures to allow space for debate and freedom of expression. Read more...

Thai version

Technical Note: National Human Rights Commission of Thailand in draft 2015 constitution


BANGKOK (31 MARCH 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) urges Thailand's Constitution Drafting Committee to reconsider its proposal to merge the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand with the office of the Ombudsman and calls for the compliance of the selection process of the human rights commissioners with the Paris Principles. Read more...

Thai version

New OHCHR publication on "Moving Away from the Death Penalty. Lessons in South-East Asia"


BANGKOK (27 March 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) is pleased to release its new publication on death penalty in South East Asia. The report provides an extensive review of global trends in the application of the death penalty, a summary of the applicable international legal standards, and the current status of legislative reform related to the death penalty in the region.

The English version is accessible on OHCHR Bangkok website. The publication will be soon available in Thai, Bahasa and Vietnamese. In the coming months, the Regional Office will also launch the publication at the occasion of events organized with partners in the region. Read more...

UN Human Rights Office concerned by situation of rights in relation to land in Thailand


BANGKOK (11 March 2015) -The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) is concerned that the rights of poor communities in maintaining access to land and livelihood are not being upheld and urges the Government to comply with its international human rights obligations in pursuing its land polices. Read more...

Thai version

Nepal: Zeid hails Supreme Court rejection of amnesties for serious human rights violations


GENEVA (6 March 2015) - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today welcomed last week’s decision by the Supreme Court of Nepal to strike down a clause giving the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation and the Commission on Investigation of Disappeared Persons the power to recommend amnesties for serious human rights violations committed during the 10-year internal conflict (1996-2006). Read more...

Myanmar “needs urgently to get back on track” – Zeid


GENEVA (25 February 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today warned that Myanmar “seems headed in the wrong direction and needs urgently to get back on track” in a crucial year for the country’s democratic transition and long-term reconciliation. Read more...


Human rights defender advocating for land rights killed in southern Thailand


BANGKOK (13 FEBRUARY 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) urges the Government to promptly the killing of a land rights activist in the south of Thailand and increase security measures for the members of his community. Read more...

Thai version

Comment by OHCHR chief on abuse of Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar


GENEVA (21 January 2015) - "The sexist, insulting language used against the UN's independent human rights expert on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, by an influential monk during Ms. Lee's official visit to the country is utterly unacceptable. It is intolerable for UN Special Rapporteurs to be treated in this way and I call on religious and political leaders leaders in Myanmar to unequivocally condemn all forms of incitement to hatred including this abhorrent public personal attack against a UN-appointed expert. Read more...

Press Briefing: Death penalty in SE Asia


GENEVA (20 January 2015) - We are concerned about the continued use of the death penalty for drug crimes in parts of South East Asia. Last Sunday, six people convicted of drug offences were executed in Indonesia in spite of several national and international appeals. Sixty others remain on death row for drug-related offences. We are particularly concerned about the respect for due process in such cases after the President reportedly stated that he will reject all requests for clemency for drug-related crimes. Read more...

UN Myanmar rights expert: Backtracking on democratic space gains momentum


YANGON/GENEVA (19 January 2015) – “Valuable gains made in the area of freedom of expression and assembly risk being lost,” United Nations Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee said at the end of her ten-day official visit* to the country. “Indeed, there are signs that since my last visit, restrictions and harassment on civil society and the media may have worsened.” Read more...