Advocacy charter Thailand
Lawyers for Lawyers submitted an advocacy charter to several country delegations to draw attention to the situation of lawyers in Thailand regarding the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand. In March 2021 Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a report for the UPR of Thailand.
Lawyers for Lawyers called attention to the situation of lawyers in Thailand mainly focusing on the difficulty of lawyers to carry out their professional duties independently. In addition to that, two factors are undermining the proper functioning of the judicial system, including the right to fair trial and effective access to justice.
In recent years, lawyers in Thailand have been facing significant constraints and challenges in exercising their profession and therefore their rights and those of their clients are not guaranteed. Difficulties with accessing their clients and a lack of lawyer-client confidentiality are two concrete ways in which lawyers are often impeded to work with their clients effectively. Their clients are sometimes held in detention centers often hours away from Bangkok, while neither they nor their lawyers know their exact whereabouts. This makes claiming or offering an effective and timely defense nearly impossible. Additionally, if consultation does takes places, officers will stand in the corner of the room and will move closer to the lawyer and client to monitor them. This means that lawyers are hindered in adequately carrying out their professional duties in an effective and confidential manner.
Furthermore, lawyers have faced persecution for their involvement in politically sensitive cases especially pertaining to human rights related issues. They are subjected to threats, intimidation, and improper interference or attempts to pressure them by members of law enforcement agencies, or the military. Consequently, they have been subject to legal harassment based on acts performed in their professional capacity.
Moreover, some lawyers in Thailand have faced disciplinary proceedings in connection to them exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.
A further concern is that the independence of the legal profession in Thailand is not fully guaranteed. The Lawyers Council of Thailand has not always provided adequate protections for Thai (human rights) lawyers when their rights and privileges are not being respected. Its role as an independent legal institution should be at the forefront of consideration as there is a strong need in the Thai legal community for disciplinary proceedings to be independent, impartial, fair, and based on clearly established standards of conduct.
Take a look at the advocacy charter here.
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