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The United Nations has urged Thailand’s military junta to reverse all curbs on human rights and return power to a democratically elected government.
“The various limitations to fundamental rights put in place since the military assumed control of the country and the Constitution was suspended are deeply disturbing,” said a group of UN experts who have been commissioned by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report, and advise on human rights issues around the world.
Since seizing power in a bloodless coup on 22 May, the junta has severely restricted public expression by censoring the media, banning peaceful protests, and silencing vocal critics of the regime.
The experts urged the junta to reverse these restrictions on public expression immediately.
“Restoring the space for public dialogue is crucial to allow durable solutions to the political impasse affecting Thailand to be forged,” the human rights group emphasized.
The group also expressed particular concern over the military’ juntas summons orders and arbitrary detainment of hundreds of political leaders, academics, and activists. Many of those who are summoned to army bases have been held captive in undisclosed locations and barred from communicating with the outside world.
The junta says it is necessary to detain political activists and leaders in order to provide them with a “cooling-off period.”
“We talk to them, we try to convince them to put the country’s interests before their own,” an army spokesperson said on Thursday.
The UN experts say they have requested information from Thai authorities regarding multiple allegations of human rights violations.
“We remain ready to engage in dialogue with the country authorities,” the experts said.
(1) The experts: Mr. Mads Andenas, Chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and Mr. Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.