Thailand hears freedom of expression concerns

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The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Thailand said that some limits on people’s liberties are used to maintain order. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

International concern at human rights restrictions in Thailand have been raised at the UN.

The South-East Asia nation was present at the United Nations in Geneva on Wednesday for an assessment of its rights record.

During the meeting, some Member States voiced concern about treason legislation used by the Thai authorities since a military coup two years ago.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

The scheduled review of Thailand is part of the UN's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure.

This requires that all countries who take part in it also have to agree to an examination of their own human rights record.

Ahead of a referendum on constitutional reform in Thailand in August, Member States expressed concern about "vague" treason laws that have been used since the military coup in May 2014.

Thailand also faced questions over restrictions on people's liberty of expression and right to free assembly, which left civil society organisations facing harassment, as well as limits to press freedom.

In response, Mr Charnchao Chaiyanukij, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice of Thailand, said that his country's human rights record had improved in recent years.

But he also said that the government needed to maintain public order:

"In the shorter term, we have the urgent need to overcome our political challenge that was a result of the years of social divisiveness and conflict. Such challenges of course cannot be solved overnight."

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’04″




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