Thailand 2nd UPR will take place during the 25th UPR Session of the Human Rights Council, on 11 May 2016, when the Royal Thai Government will be reviewed on all its human rights record by UN member states. Prior to the review and in accordance with the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/21, § 17, encouraging States “to conduct broad consultations with all relevant stakeholders” at the national level to gather information to inform the State Report, the Royal Thai Government in cooperation with UPR Info hold a National Consultation to Inform Thailand UPR State Report on 21-22 December 2015. The purpose of the national consultation was to ensure local voices could be heard by the government prior to the State Report to be submitted on 5 February 2016.
Prior to the Dialogue-day, UPR Info Asia co-organized, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, a 1-day preparatory meeting for Thai civil society organizations, on 21 December 2015, to support local groups interventions with the Government and to guarantee the dialogue among UPR stakeholders is collaborative and aiming at providing constructive recommendations to efficiently inform the State Report. UPR Info Asia presented on the UPR Process and best practices in developing an UPR State Report, as well as provided CSO Statement Guidelines to ensure local groups could effectively update the government on the human rights situation on the ground, since Thailand last UPR in 2011, from a civil society perspective. The first day also included a panel discussion on the importance of integrating human rights into the SDGs and on linking the UPR process to the SDGs review. Panelists emphasized on the need for local groups to seize the opportunity offered by the SDGs to hold the governmental accountable not only on its human rights obligations but also on its obligations to achieve positive development outcomes.
On 22 December, the dialogue-day between government representatives and civil society organizations started with opening remarks by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice. The opening remarks were then followed by an update given by the Deputy Director-General of Rights and Liberties Protection Department and the Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Organization, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the progress on the implementation of UPR recommendations of Thailand 1st UPR Cycle and an overview of the draft state report of Thailand 2nd UPR Cycle. In the afternoon, civil society organizations took the floor to express their concerns on the most challenging human rights issues in the country. CSO representatives provided government officials with 14 CSO statements based on their respective thematic working groups, including concrete recommendations to improve the livelihoods of marginalized communities and to advance the realization of human rights on the ground. Working groups included: (1) Administration of Justice & Freedom of Expression; (2) Right to Privacy; (3) Right to Life (torture, enforced disappearances); (4) Right to Health; (5) People living with HIV & Key-affected Women; (6) Migrant Rights; (7) Land Rights & Natural Resources; (8) Human Rights Situation in the South; (9) LGBTI Community; (10) Indigenous People; (11) Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Stateless Persons, Human Trafficking; (12) Rights of the Child; (13) People Living with Disabilities; (14) Older Persons Rights.
Overall, more than 165 participants attended the National Consultation on 21-22 December 2015, of which over 30 government representatives, 2 Commissioners and 14 staff members of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) and 119 CSO representatives from 64 NGOs. The day was concluded by Ms. Kanchana Patarachoke, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Organization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who emphasized on the importance of cooperation among UPR stakeholders to identify goals at each stage of the UPR process as well as momentum that could facilitate the implementation of UPR recommendations. The national consultation officially kicked-off Thailand 2nd UPR Cycle and shall be seen as a first step towards inclusive and effective participation of civil society organizations in Thailand 2nd UPR. Such consultations are seen as good practices in the UPR world, as they build trust and confidence between all stakeholders.
UPR Info will continue supporting all Thai stakeholders in their engagement with the UPR mechanism and look forward to the discussions and dialogues that we will organize in Bangkok and Geneva between CSOs and diplomats before the UPR of Thailand, also known as UPR Info’s UPR Pre-Sessions.