In 2013, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand proposed creating a ‘White List’ that would include the names of human rights defenders at risk in order to create public awareness and prompt the authorities to provide protection.
After the military coup of 22 May 2014, the Ministry of Justice adopted Order 412/2557 on 28 October 2014, giving the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice the power to develop regulations and a protection system to promote Human Rights and Civil Liberties.
In order to provide effective measures for the protection of HRDs at risk (i.e., those on the ‘White List’), the Department established a Working Group, whose main function is to propose guidelines and work on measures for the protection of HRDs. Its tasks also include the development of criteria and the implementation of the agreed measures.
The principal members of the Working Group were State representatives (including officials from the Rights and Liberties Protection Department; the Thai Police and the Judge Advocate Generals’ Department); the (independent) National Human Rights Commission; and civil society representatives (including an academic and organisations promoting Human Rights).
On 24 July 2015, the Working Group met to discuss the conclusions of two sub-groups. The first sub-group presented a definition of HRDs in line with the UN Declaration on HRDs, but excluded HRDs who violate the law. The second sub-group on risk analyses and lessons learned suggested measures to recognise, reward and engage in follow-up with HRDs working on issues that put them at risk. Although HRDs did not have permanent representation on the Working Group, community-based HRDs were present. The Working Group has organised several meetings but no concrete actions have been taken since. So far, it has not presented any results.
On 16-17 March, 2017 PI and UNOHCHR which act as an unofficial advisory for Working Group facilitated for of Rights and Liberty Protection Department, Ministry of Justice conducted the joint field visit to HRDs at Risks at Klongsai community, Surathani. They are a member of The Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (SPFT).
Since then In reality there is no progress on The Ministry of Justice adopted Order 412/2557 on 28 October 2014 to develop regulations and a protection system. The working groups are not functioning anymore under the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice.
During the first day of the review by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), committee members raised numerous human rights concerns –
in reply to UN CERD committee yesterday November 23,2021 The full video of day 1 is online https://bit.ly/3CIamuI
“The government represented by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice said it considers human rights defenders as one of its partners to promote and protect human rights in the country, adding that human rights defenders have been highlighted as a specific groups that needs appropriate protection”
“The government represented by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice said the discussions to develop measures to protect human rights defenders started in 2014 and a number of initiatives were launched, such as the development of manual for human rights defenders”. (The manual they referred to is the manual that they adapted from PI Thailand manual for HRDs and republishing it in 2016.)
In late January 2021, Thailand’s appointed Senate overwhelmingly chose Wasan Paileeklee to sit on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Wasan had no human rights experience. He has worked with the Prayuth Chan-ocha military government’s Anti-Fake News Centre implying that the state increasingly views allegations of human rights abuses as fake news.
On 25 March 2021, Protection International, together with ENLAWTHAI Foundation (EnLAW), Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC) and Campaign for Public Policy in Mineral Resources (PPM) submitted a contribution to Thailand’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
In that report we wrote about updates on Institutional protection mechanisms for HRDs and hope you can use some of the information there.