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Thailand: UN experts condemn use of defamation laws to silence human rights defender Andy Hall

Autor(a): United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Publicado en: 17 May 2018

A group of UN human rights experts* has criticised the use of defamation legislation in Thailand to silence human rights defender Andy Hall and others who report business-related human rights abuses...Since September 2016, Mr. Hall has faced multiple civil and criminal cases for exposing alleged human rights abuses related to the working conditions of migrant workers in several Thai companies. The UN experts say the case against him is emblematic of the growing number of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) in Thailand, filed by business enterprises seeking to silence legitimate concerns about working conditions in certain industries..."The UN Human Rights Committee has made clear that States should consider decriminalising defamation and that, even in the most serious cases, imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty. It is, therefore, critical for the Thai Government to revise its civil and criminal laws as well as prosecution processes to prevent misuse of defamation legislation by companies," they added..."The cases filed against Mr. Hall and against workers who complain about abusive working conditions may embolden other companies to file similar civil and criminal defamation cases against human rights defenders and workers, adversely affecting their legitimate and critical work standing up for human rights," they concluded.

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