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Thailand: UN Virtual Forum on Business and Human Rights organisers urged to highlight ongoing judicial harassment of human rights defenders
Author: 53 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) & 23 Individuals, Published on: 7 June 2020
"An Open Letter to the Organizers of the United Nations Virtual Forum on Business and Human Rights: New Challenges. New Approaches, Asia and the Pacific, to be held on June 9 -11, 2020", 7 June 2020
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals...request the UNWG and other agencies working on Business and Human Rights intervene and highlight the ongoing situation of judicial harassment of...Human Rights Defenders (W/HRDs) in Thailand.
In particular, we ask you to raise the following points with the Thai Government:
1. The need to address...reports and recommendations made by the U.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights since 2018. We urge the UNWG and organizers of the Forum to request the Thai government report on their progress towards compliance of these recommendations.
2. ...[T]here have been no concrete moves to effectively protect or recognize the work of W/HRDs. The [National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights] and subsequent Articles regarding judicial protections do not have the status of law. [...]
3. In 2019, Articles 161/1 and 165/2 of the Criminal Procedure Code...to try and address...SLAPP lawsuits...have not been effective. [...] Most applications by W/HRDs to invoke Article 161/1 to date have been denied.
4. ...[C]omplaints, including those brought to harass, intimidate, or retaliate against human rights defenders...must be made by the Attorney-General alone. This is a lengthy procedure and it's not clear whether adequate resources and support have been provided to the Attorney General's Office....
5. There is also no clear procedure or provision for fining or otherwise penalizing businesses who have been found guilty of trying to resort to judicial harassment of W/HRDs. [...]
6. [...] We urge the UNWG and other agencies to strongly encourage the Thai Government decriminalize defamation....
7. We call on all stakeholders...to ensure that the Thai Government and all relevant business enterprises immediately end judicial harassment of W/HRDs, especially women....