U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Thailand
As prepared for delivery.
25th Session, May 11, 2016
The United States welcomes the Thai delegation.
The United States is troubled by the restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, since the May 2014 coup. In particular, we note our concern with the broad powers granted to the military under Article 44 of the interim constitution, including expanded internal policing responsibilities. The military has used these self-appointed authorities to ban some political and human rights-focused events and to arrest peaceful protestors. Over 1,400 cases have been initiated against civilians in military courts [that lack fair trial protections]. Prosecutions for lèse majesté and sedition have increased dramatically, with at least 36 lèse majesté convictions since the coup. Rules prohibiting campaigning on the constitution have contributed to self-censorship.
We recommend that the Government of Thailand:
- Lift undue restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, particularly section 61of the referendum law and NCPO Order number 7/2557, to allow all Thai people to participate fully in the political reform processes, including efforts to produce a new constitution.
- Immediately return civilian prosecutions to civilian courts and rescind NCPO Order 3/2558 and 13/2559.
- Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for lèse majesté