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UPR of Thailand: MRG & partners urge the government to withdraw emergency laws affecting minorities

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This statement was delivered by Anchana Heemmina in the name of MRG, Duay Jai and the Bungaraya Group of Patan at the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Thailand, 49th Session, held on Wednesday 23 March 2022.

Thank you, Chair,

Minority Rights Group, Duay Jai and the Bungaraya Group of Patani welcome states’ expression of concern and recommendations regarding the enforcement of the Emergency Decree 2005 in the Southern Border Provinces and the issue of impunity, during the UPR of Thailand.

The Delegation of Thailand acknowledged these concerns during the review. Yet, it failed to support recommendation 52.62 from the United States, in the name of national security and public order. We strongly regret that rejection.

The emergency decree provides the executive with far-reaching powers that are vaguely defined, allowing authorities to suspend a range of human rights guarantees. In practice, its enforcement has proved arbitrary and discriminatory. Since 2020 alone, the enforcement of the Emergency Decree, Martial Law and the 2008 Internal Security Act has resulted in 56 extrajudicial killings, all of whom were Melayu Muslims. No state agent has ever faced criminal prosecution for these crimes.

These emergency laws are further used to justify widespread intimidation and harassment. A video clip released publicly on January 23, 2022 shows a woman screaming as a large number of military officers search her home to track down and arrest her husband, while there were only women in the house including an elderly bedridden woman and children. Security forces use these unchecked powers to conduct involuntary DNA collection during raids, including for children.

We therefore strongly regret that Thailand did not accept the recommendation to review and revise the Emergency Decree 2005, which is of deep concern for us.

We urge the Government of Thailand to withdraw this decree altogether, and for states to continue to call on Thailand to do so.

Without equality in law enforcement we cannot see the path of peace.

I thank you.

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