UN warns Thailand of freedom of expression violation

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OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani

The United Nations Human Rights Agency has condemned the ongoing trials and harsh sentencing of people convicted of criticizing the country's royal family.

In a statement to journalists in Geneva Friday, the Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights warned that the criminal sanctions are unfair and violate the country's international human rights obligations.

The response comes as jail sentences are passed in Thailand for so-called crimes of lèse majesté, meaning offensive statements or actions against royalty.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says the law should change to stop this harsh sentencing:

"We urge the Thai authorities to amend its laws on lèse majesté. In the meantime, guidelines should be issued to the police and public prosecutors to stop arresting and charging individuals under these vaguely worded laws. In addition to the disproportionate prison sentences being handed down by the Courts, we are also concerned about the extended periods that accused persons are being held in pre-trial detention."

Duration: 22''

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