UN will continue pressure Thai govt to amend 112: UN Special Rapporteur
January 10, 2012 -- UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank La Rue, said he will continue to pressure the Thai government to amend the lèse majesté law, as well as provide technical support for the authorities where necessary.
Frank La Rue
During his visit to the Prachatai office in Bangkok on Tuesday (January 10), La Rue said that he would like to come back to Thailand again on an official visit to engage with the government on freedom of expressions, not only in terms of the lèse majesté law but also other forms such as cultural expression, peaceful demonstrations, protection of journalists, and access to information.
La Rue has already visited Thailand three times but all have been unofficial visits, since the government has so far not responded to the Special Rapporteur's requests for official visits, which would allow the rapporteur to conduct fact-finding missions and write official reports regarding the right to freedom of expression.
In October last year, he made a statement calling for the Thai government to amend the lèse majesté law and Computer Crime Act to be in accordance with international human rights standards, saying that they “stifle important debates on matters of public interest, thus putting in jeopardy the right to freedom of opinion and expression”.
This statement prompted widespread criticism from some conservative critics, claiming that UN was “interfering” in domestic affairs and that it doesn't “understand” Thailand’s sensitive culture.
Asked about this, La Rue said he still stands by the statement.
“This is not intervention because human rights is an international issue, a commitment by all modern, civilized, democratic societies, and only those who want to move backward to more authoritarian, uncivilized and undemocratic regimes will reject human rights,” he said.
“In no matter which country we’re trying to make human rights universal because human dignity is the same across the world," La Rue told Prachatai. "And so there’s no reason to have an argument in that nature unless people want to avoid their responsibility to respect human rights.”