THAILAND: In landmark review, UN calls for protection of women human rights defenders

Press release
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(Bangkok-Geneva-Paris) The Thai Government must fully implement the recommendations made by the United Nations women’s rights body to protect women human rights defenders, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an FIDH-OMCT partnership) said today.

On July 24, 2017, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) released its Concluding Observations on Thailand following the review of the country’s combined sixth and seventh periodic reports on July 5, 2017. The Committee oversees State parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

“For the first time, the CEDAW acknowledged that women human rights defenders are under attack in Thailand. It’s time for the Thai Government to stop denying that women human rights defenders are being targeted and take urgent measures to protect them instead,”

FIDH Vice-President Guissou Jahangiri

In its Concluding Observations, the Committee expressed serious concern that women human rights defenders have increasingly become targets of lawsuits, harassment, violence, and intimidation by authorities and business enterprises due to their work. The Committee called on the Thai Government to adopt and implement, without delay, effective measures for the protection of women human rights defenders to enable them to freely undertake their important work without fear or threat of lawsuits, harassment, violence, or intimidation. It also urged Thailand to effectively investigate, prosecute, and adequately punish all cases of harassment, violence, and intimidation against women human rights defenders, and provide effective remedies to victims.

“Women human rights defenders remain at risk of attacks, harassment, threats, and intimidation. The Thai Government must go beyond words and show it is genuinely committed to implementing the UN Committee recommendations and ensuring the protection and safety of women human rights defenders,”

OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock

The concerns and recommendations expressed by the CEDAW echoed those raised by the Observatory, Protection International (PI), and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) in their joint report “In harm’s way: Women human rights defenders in Thailand.” The report, released ahead of Thailand’s CEDAW review, documented the pattern of repression of women human rights defenders in Thailand, especially rural women, since the 22 May 2014 coup d’état.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

For more information, please contact:
FIDH: Samuel Hanryon / Audrey Couprie: (+ 33) 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: (+41) 22 809 49 39

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